“Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it."
Today is my mother's 83rd birthday. Happy Birthday Mom! It is also the day Jeff's brother, my brother-in-law, died 26 years ago. I went into premature labor with Sarah during Brad's funeral on my father-in-law's 60th birthday. This is a week filled with memories.
Why do I tell you all this? Because I missed the arrival of spring that year. When I suddenly realized the trees were budding and flowers were blooming, I was so mad.
How could the natural world have continued on? Nature was my heart and soul and it didn't wait for me. I now know I was being offered a gift that I didn't see - the gift of everyday beauty. But I wasn't open to receiving it.
This very clear memory was why I picked back up my art journal when Michigan (and most of the nation) started shelter-in-place. I knew I had to remind myself to see beauty in the midst of my worries and fears. Art helps me do that. And it was very clear I was not alone.
I so appreciate the folks that jumped on board to art journal with me and joined Good Morning Creativity! - Seeing Beauty. A community developed of creative, kind, thoughtful art journalers who were ready and willing to learn new techniques, new ways of thinking, and new on-line friendships.
Like everyone, for me, the past month has had it's share of family drama. Jeff and I drove 21 hours (nonstop) to pick up our oldest and bring her home where she has been quarantining in our house for the past three weeks. My middle daughter had a scary ER visit in a state too far away and is now slowly recuperating. My youngest is on the west coast in the mix of it all. And we have worked very hard to keep my mom out of the hospital - with a bad fall last week being an exception to our carefully laid plans.
Through all of this, my art journal has provided a haven to contemplate beauty. I DID see the daffodils bloom. I DID hear the red wing blackbird singing. I DID contemplate what my comfort foods are. And I DID observe carefully a pileated woodpecker in my backyard. I so appreciate the power of art to remind me to pay attention and provide a place to lose myself in the page. I think what surprised me the most about the first 4 weeks of Seeing Beauty was how much beauty is actually out there when you pay attention. So we are not done.
The next four weeks will be starting Monday. Anyone is welcome to jump in. It doesn't matter if you have never done anything "artsy" before or if you are an experienced artist. Everyone finds their place. You can be part of the Facebook community or not. Your choice.
The theme this month will be "Everyday Beauty." Prompts arrive three times per week for four weeks in your email inbox. There are so many ways to think about and journal around beauty. Included are special jumpstarts, inspirations, and tips given around the 4 C's: creativity, concept, color and composition. Intrigued? Join in!
You are all my community. I hope you and everyone you care about is in good health, staying safe and finding positive and creative ways to spend time. And I most sincerely hope you are able to find beauty in the every day.
From my heart to yours,