Self Portrait in the Dining Room with Daughter Rain
I moved my studio out of the carriage house and into the house for February and most of March. I was running low on firewood and finding it difficult to keep the carriage house studio warm enough on the coldest days. (I have since moved back to the carriage house again.) I set up my easel in the dining room and moved my paints and pallet back and forth from the dining room to the basement to make room for meal times. It was nice to have a different room to paint and draw in for awhile. It was also nice to have a closer connection with my family members while I was working. My youngest daughter Rain even made it into my newest self portrait that I am working on now.
Winter is always a bit of a lonely time for me. The cold weather and snow that makes us bundle up also seems to have a way of keeping us in our own private corner of the world. We just don't see as much of each other as we do in the warmer months. Could it be that a certain amount of being lonely is good for us? I know that alone times can become times of healthy introspection. These are times for taking stock of who we are and what we are called to. Being alone well, so that we can be together well. I know that both are necessary for staying balanced.
Self Portrait in the Dining Room (detail)
Speaking of introspection, I am thinking about my role as a working artist as I paint a new self portrait. I make pictures that I hope will find their way into other peoples homes and make these homes environments richer. My goal is to make art that speaks directly to the soul of the viewer. I believe that living with art makes people more alive because artwork has a way of opening us up inside. Art enlivens the imagination even as it lifts the spirit. I think living with art can even help us to think in new and creative ways. In this way art helps us to adapt to the constantly changing world that we live in. These thoughts about what art can do inspire me to keep going through the tough times. Winter can be a difficult time in the studio. This morning I built a fire in the wood stove. The wind was blowing hard against the giant Black Locust tree wedged into the north east corner of the studio making the whole building creak and groan like a ship at sea - with me all alone painting my next picture.
The tulip bulbs we planted last fall have been hidden away in the cold dark soil all winter. Now it is good to see their hopeful green points coming up through the March soil. It's officially Spring on the calendar but for Michiganders we know that there can be plenty of Winter-like weather right up through April. It's just the way it is. Today I am thankful for Spring's promise of new beginnings.