Hello my friends. I know I have been away from you for quite some time. After I returned from my trip in September, I realized that I needed to make some changes in my life. I had been feeling quite overwhelmed. My painting studio was in disarray, I was still getting over an extended illness that remains a mystery and I seriously needed to assess my priorities.
Have you ever reached a point where you simply could not move forward because you knew that something in your life needed a serious overhaul? That is where I found myself in September. I was weary, unable and unwilling to create, and more than a little depressed. Something had to change.
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every purpose under the heavens..."
In the midst of my confusion, a still, small voice, the voice of my Lord, began to penetrate my consciousness. It grew progressively more insistent until I had no choice but to listen. It spoke the truth. The message was clear. Simplify.
I assessed my surroundings with new eyes and a glaring reality presented itself. I was literally drowning in creative excess. My husband has often teasingly stated that I could stock an art supply store with my stash of materials. Now, I've known what was necessary for quite some time but a part of me had been resisting. I did a bit of soul-searching and decided that there were two areas of my creative life that were closest to my heart: painting and quilting. I ripped off the proverbial band-aide and began filling boxes with everything that did not fit into those categories. Scrapbooking, jewelry-making, and crafting supplies began to stack up in the "donate" pile. Unusable junk was discarded. It took a month. My son helped me make numerous trips to the local Mennonite thrift shop. With every box deposited on the loading dock, my soul became a little lighter. And since the proceeds from thrift shop sales aide people in the furthest corners of the earth, I felt a deep satisfaction.
My visits to Sante Fe, New Mexico provided me with a vision for my painting studio. The galleries and studios there are simple and uncluttered. I began to envision a quiet, minimal space that freed me to work in peace. I wanted little more than an easel, drafting table and a chest of drawers in the room. All of my supplies were to fit into the closet or drawers. When the room was finally empty, I chose a soft, warm white to paint the walls and ceiling. I moved my drafting table and easel into the room. I framed a print purchased in Sante Fe and hung it between the windows.
I placed an antique chest of drawers, inherited from my father-in-law, into the room and added some lighting. At last, I was ready to work again.
The benefits of paring down spilled over into my sewing space. Since it no longer contains overflow from the painting studio, I've been able to spend more time at my sewing machine. This is my first ever machine-appliqued quilt. It is a Kim Diehl design from her book, Simple Blessings.
42" x 42"
Machine pieced and quilted by Terri Morse
I'm currently working on a Christmas wallhanging from Debbie Roberts' new book, Baskets, Birds and Boughs.
It was the perfect quilt for Kansas Troubles' new collection, Icicle Kisses.
I'm going to use hand-dyed wool for the applique.
Finally, I completed a painting. I subscribed to two websites: Art Tutor and Artist's Network TV. Both sites offer unlimited access to video painting workshops for a monthly fee. There are workshops to cover a variety of mediums - watercolor, acrylic, oil, pastel, and colored pencil. There are even some mixed media workshops. It is a wonderful way to gain tons of knowlege and fine tune your painting skills. There are also many workshops geared to the beginning painter. I did this painting with a workshop featuring watercolor artist, Geoff Kersey.
11.5" x 17.5"
Watercolor on 140lb. cold pressed paper
It has been a long road, but I'm glad I persevered. I still have more to do. My next project in my paring down process will be a cluttered walk-in closet that I would like to turn into a storage area for blank canvases and large sheets of paper. I think I'll wait a little while longer for that...
Thank you for hanging in there with me. We'll visit again soon. I will be linking this post to Works In Progress Wednesday and Paint Party Friday.
Until next time,