Spinning Plates

I’ve been thrilled by the fact that in the past few weeks I’ve become much more regular in my painting.  However, as we all know, the holiday Christmas season is upon us, which means major disruptions in my routine, which I tend to resent.  My older son is home from college, and my younger one is off school.  One of the stress factors of Christmas is that I have tended to get swept away by it, and have sacrificed my art during this time.  This is exacerbated by the extra expectations from a dysfunctional family of origin.  This year, I’m not going to stop doing art just because it’s a holiday season.



It is a real challenge to balance family needs with my need to create.  Today, I thought I would bake some pumpkin bread.  It took me a lot longer than I thought it would, mainly due to baking time, because  I made a double batch.  I finally got that done, and my sons said something to me about taking them to the new Star Wars movie today.  I told them they could go together, and I would stay home.  I really dislike going out on cold, dark winter nights, and I’m not a big fan of sci-fi movies anyway.  There just seem to be a million small tasks that go along with family, pet, and home ownership, which seems to usurp so much of my time.  I have gotten my sons to help with a lot of this stuff, including cooking, cleaning house, and doing dishes, but the lion’s share still falls on me.  Take out the trash, clean the cats’ litter box, sweep the excess salt off the back deck so it doesn’t all get tracked in the house, wash dishes, prepare a meal – these are just a small subset of all the tasks I do.  Finally, I grab a fast meal at a local Chinese takout and deal with my son texting me demanding to know when I will be home so he can use the car.


However, I also feel blessed by the fact that I’m available to my kids, and hence able to enjoy the impromptu conversation I had with my college son Jonathan before lunch, enjoy the savor of baking pumpkin bread wafting through the house, and walk out of the house and enjoy the sunshine for a little bit.

The good news is, I’ve finally gotten done with all these chores, and am now about to sit down and refine some pastel paintings that I started en plein air.

The secret for me, is not completely giving away all of my time and myself.  I give a lot to my family, but I also say “no” to them sometimes, so I can have some space for myself and my art.  That way, I’m a happier and less uptight and less resentful person, which makes me happier, and is healthier for them.

Now I’m off to go do some art!  (My son’s just called up to me to let me know I received a package…… it can wait!)

I think it’s time to let some of the spinning plates fall to the ground.

Old Coffee Roaster

My husband has been off work the past 2 days, and Andrew, my 13 year old, has been on his 8th grade trip to Chicago.  It’s been wonderful.  My husband and I have been out taking walks at the Missouri Botanical Garden and Forest Park, having lunch out, and relaxing and having coffee at local cafes.  One such cafe is Shaw Coffee Company, in “the hill” section in St. Louis.  I love the interior of this place.  It is spacious with high ceilings, being as how it is an older building.  There is an old fashioned coffee roaster that they still use.  Today, it was not in use.  I enjoyed sketching this in pencil first, then in charcoal.  After I got home, I added some hilights with off white pastel pencil.  I started to use a stump to blend it out all the texture, but decided to just leave it be.

By the way, Shaw Coffee Company makes some darn good coffee!

Old Fashioned Coffee Roaster, charcoal, 12 x 9