September 30, 2015

unavoidable metaphors everywhere

here's what I just learned this week: that muscles do not actually grow bigger the more you work them out. muscles develop tiny little tears that repair themselves, which makes them thicker and stronger than they were before. the body repairs the damaged muscle with new and improved muscle protein. in other words, muscles need to break down before they can build themselves up. and interestingly, this does not happen while you're actually doing the workout, it happens while you rest, after the workout.

I think that is amazing. I think it's amazing that God would make it that way (yes... I said God), and it makes me wonder and imagine all the million billion minute details of our bodies and our lives that God has also made that way.

in essence, nothing was really meant to be easy. we have to just figure out which battles are the most important, and how to carve out little moments of peace for ourselves.

Samantha Palmeri drawing
2 drawings from 2 days ago

today I plan to carve out some more charcoal drawings for myself, a similar process of breaking down and building up. like both a battle and a moment of peace at the same time.

September 24, 2015

Back in the Saddle Again

It's been a crazy long hiatus from the studio 
so I am very happy to report that I am  
I'm even happier to report that I've actually went and done it and stuck to my guns (sorry, Gene Autry is still singing in my head), including getting my comfy white couch settled in its new home, and finally starting my new "Black Tar" drawing series.

Samantha Palmeri art studio

Drawings are charcoal on heavy handmade paper colored with watercolor wash, approx. 11X14"

here's some more drawings from today, September 25th. same handmade paper but with no watercolor wash...

September 3, 2015

the grass is always greener

It is September again... already. I'm reminded of a September blog about Rituals 
I wrote that I thought was last year but turns out it was two years ago. This makes perfect sense as the next thing I was going to say was that my life seems to be replaying itself over and over. So it seems right on cue to want to talk about it all over again... 

My life is good, as in, I have a good life, but the critical part of me is extremely critical and always thinks the grass is greener no matter what. That annoying naysayer stuck in my head revels in an endless litany of malcontent. It matters not that this year I am settled in a new place, new location, new environment. Apparently the inward man is not affected by changes in scenery. My gut is still looking at the neighbor's lawn regardless.

I am supposed to be coming up with new morning rituals, and this seems very difficult. Afternoon rituals and night time rituals also just as difficult. I am usually so excited for September, writing new schedules and starting new classes, etc. but right now it all seems like so much work. I am slightly dreading my calendar that already has so many marks circled and crossed off and circled again I can't see the numbers of the days anymore.

I'm sure the fact that I have not been in my art studio since July has a lot to do with it. Things happen in the summer that can't be explained except to say, well... it's the summer. Even though I am so proud of all the work I accomplished last year, I want to be even better this year and even more focused.

Sometimes I think if I could only be more traditional and go about the day rigidly following lists and schedules, I would be more stable, temperate, less distracted, stop thinking so much. I would be the most focused devoted person in the world. I imagine what it would be like to be that devoted to my artwork. I'd figure out how to haul the white couch into my second floor studio so I could spend mornings and nights there and just work work work. I'd be so devoted to my family I'd hang on their every word and make every meal from scratch. I'd be devoted to goodness and God and happiness. I would never be restless, bored or irritated. And I would definitely not spend the entire month of August away from my artwork. 

Thankfully I'm able to temporarily wake myself from this unrealistic dream. A cool relief sweeps right over my thought that all those temperate, ritualistic traditionalists have it any better than me. That would be almost as ridiculous as hauling a perfectly clean white couch into an oil stained painting studio.

On the other hand, there's something to this idea of keeping rituals I can't get away from. If only there were a way to use my naturally restless character to help me accomplish all my goals. If only the very idea of rituals did not include blind devotion with no guarantee of reward. Unrewarded is a term I am not friendly with. This is something to ponder... 

Devotion comes little by little, step by step. The very notion that change can come from doing something repeatedly is difficult to grasp. But maybe it is not the doing so much as the perception of it that leads to change. If I keep doing the same thing but think about it differently?

Samantha Palmeri painting
detail, "abstract painting #5" 2014
Perhaps I can focus on what I've already been rewarded with and start from there, or perhaps stop thinking about the reward altogether. 

I love my art studio. For the first time in my life I can honestly say that in this particular case the grass is not greener. I do not want a bigger, better space. I don't visit other artists and think, oh if I only had that space what amazing work I could get done. Nope. I just want more time to enjoy it. Come to think of it, I do not want a better anything. Really all I want is to be happy with what I already have. So what if it's stupid to put a white couch in a painting studio, so what if pizza night is twice or three times a week, and so what what the neighbors or anyone else is doing with their metaphorical lawns.

This is precisely what's going on my September schedule this year: 
Be happy with what I have and who I am.