Sunday, January 13, 2013

Slow and Steady...

My turquoise panels for a spring show.
I have found that for me, slowing down can be more productive than rushing around trying to do three things at once. I was reminded of this just yesterday as I was revamping my display panels in anticipation of an upcoming show. As I was cutting the panels down, I found myself forcing the saw in an effort to hurry up so I could get on with the fun part of painting. I kept struggling, pushing harder and harder on the saw, meeting with resistance. So I stopped and took a deep breath, realizing there was plenty of time to do all I wanted. I decided to slow down, stop forcing it and let the tool do the work for which it was intended, and the job went much smoother.

Letters awaiting a response.
Even though I use a computer, have a digital camera and a cell phone which I forget to turn on, I find I get the most pleasure out of doing things consciously, slowly and mindfully, savoring the task at hand. Sometimes it means doing things the way they were done years ago before we decided to live our lives in a cyclone. Technology is miraculous and it has literally saved my life as some of you know. But instead of an email, I'd rather hear my son's voice on the telephone, listening to his excitement or frustration and being able to respond with pleasure or comfort. I prefer to hold a letter in my hand, admiring the care it took to craft it with inserts and unique penmanship. January is after all, National Penmanship Month. I don't know a single person that wouldn't enjoy a handwritten letter tucked among the bills and junk mail in their mailbox.

I belong to a group called The Letter Exchange, pen pals like when we were kids. I correspond with people of all ages from all over the country, mostly artists and nature lovers. It's been an interesting way to meet people who value the same things I do. My artist friends and I illustrate our letters and decorate our envelopes. With my naturalist friends I'll share the sighting of the flicker hammering the joints of the mimosa tree looking for a meal and the premature blushing of the bushes, turning pink with hopes of an early spring.

I added a pumpkin seed packet and some sketches.
And to keep life on track, I still prefer to use an old fashioned engagement book which I then alter by adding some of my own collage material and drawings. These datebooks make great sketchbooks since they are already divided into months, urging me to sketch seasonal images in all the space I can find. I love to open it up and see everything laid out in order for the upcoming week. Each book is a complete year of my life, what I did, what was important at the time, where I went and what I saw. I'm hoping my kids will enjoy looking at them in future years.
The bird was already in the book, the rest is my work.

These things may be time consuming but because of that I learn to fully appreciate what they represent. They allow me to contemplate where my time is spent and remember the importance of everyday life, the little moments. But mostly, they keep me in tune with the ever turning, spinning universe we all share.

"There is more to life than increasing its speed."   Ghandi


  1. Another Sunday where my heart is opened wider still by your tender, touching reflections. Thank you...

  2. You're very kind, but how can one not love a loon?

  3. You're absolutely right, of course--one simply can't not love a loon! In fact, I'm not sure I could wash my sweater--poop and lice be damned. I remember when I was in my early '20s I visited New York City and saw a favorite singer perform in a Broadway musical. It was Robert Goulet. Afterwards, I stood outside the stage door, waiting for him to come out and autograph my program. He was very kind...he signed the book, posed for a picture with me and then kissed me on the cheek. Seriously, I didn't wash that side of my face for over a week. The loon's a much bigger deal than Robert, I don't think I'd ever wash that sweater.