making and doing and finding balance

What a strange start to the new year it's been. On the one hand I feel like I've accomplished so much and on the other I feel like I'm so behind already. Before I decided to make over my studio and living room, I gave myself some deadlines for various projects. Those deadlines are sailing past without my even beginning some of the projects.

watercolor painting palette and swatches

When I disassembled my studio I brought down my watercolor painting materials and set them up in the dining room. I'd just begun a new painting. Sketched it out and mixed my colors. I haven't touched any of it since then. Time that I thought I would have while waiting for paint to dry never materialized.

I know that this is a temporary state of affairs and that soon everything will be back to normal. But I can be impatient. And I don't like the fact that my inbox is full with emails needing my time and attention. And, and, and....

Early on in this project I realized that I wasn't going to have enough paint to finish my studio. Matthias and I decided that on Thursday, our day off, we would make the trip to the city to get more paint and do some other shopping while we were in town. We also planned to look for a fun restaurant for lunch. And so we did. The day was snowy, but not enough to hamper travel.

snow and cliffs

We got our shopping done and found a fun restaurant.

Iguanas Mexican Restaurant

And then we came home. Did I jump back into my projects? Well, I did put a coat of sealer on the desk I'm painting, but other than that I decided to take it easy. I wrote in my journal. I caught up on some magazine reading. I even took a relaxing bath and lit some candles.

I was thinking about a couple friends' words for the year. Simone's is Serenity and Aga's is Slow. What good words those are. How important to have both slowness and serenity as part of each day. When I looked back at December at the end of the year I remembered my list for my month of focusing on joy and I realized just how many of those things I never got around to. Things like painting my toenails never seemed to make it to the top of my to-do list. But why not? It's not as if they take a lot of time. I made another realization recently. One thing that I struggle with is taking the time to work in my sketchbook. It's something I want to do, but it's so easily put off. For me, part of it is fear. I'm not comfortable doing quick sketches and doodles. Or maybe comfortable is the wrong word. Confident is probably better. I'm impressed by the sketchbooks of other artists and feel the pressure not to play and have fun, but to Make Art. It's so silly, really, but I think it's a common feeling for artists. Dana recently shared her thoughts on the struggle on her blog, too. But you know what? Playing in my sketchbook doesn't need to 1) take a lot of time or 2) be a big deal. And so, recently, I've been trying to make myself get over that hump and just do it. When we're watching TV or when I'm waiting for dinner to cook I've been taking out my sketchbook. Sometimes what I draw and doodle is silly and sometimes not.

None of that is really the point, though. The point is to have fun and to make art, not in capitals, but in lovely lower case.

And the key is balance. A balance between making & doing and finding serenity & slowness.

Wishing you a weekend full of balance and beauty.


  1. A lovely post Anne. I too need to make time for writing/drawing in a journal. The more we write/draw the more accomplished we become at it. I agree with you about having a balance in life with making and doing and serenity and slowness. Wishing you a harmonious weekend. Now I am wishing that harmony was my word for the year!

    1. You could always change your word! Or choose more than one word. Harmony and Serenity are a good combination! Wishing you lots of both and I hope that you are spending some time journaling. I find it to be very good for my spirit!

  2. I love the words others have chosen. If I were to have a "word" for the year it would be nourish. For me this keeps coming up. Is that thought nourishing? That food, those people, behaviors, etc. I'm not always good at it but the thought is there often.

    Yay. Glad you are working in your sketchbook. Fun isn't it? It seems after 10 days (I'm celebrating ha) that it's getting easier to show up and mess up too.

    1. Nourish is a wonderful word. And it's a great way to guide the choices in your life.

      It is fun to play in my sketchbook.Congrats on the 10 days (more now, I'm sure!).

  3. This is a great post. And I do think slowing down is something we all need to do. I am trying to teach my boys,we do not need to eat fast, shop fast and do everything fast. It seems we are almost taught to do just that.

    Slowing down,

    1. It's something I need to constantly remind myself. I don't know if we're taught to hurry or if it's more just the nature of our society. Multitask, get things done. Everything has to be immediate with the way we're all connected with technology. Stepping back from all of that can be so helpful. Glad you're slowing down and teaching the next generation its importance, too!

  4. I have the same struggle with sketchbooks (and journals) that you talk about here. I put so much pressure on myself that I end up giving up after just a short while. Thank you for the reminder that it's meant to be fun! Your doodles are lovely. :)

    1. Thanks so much, Laurie. It's hard not to put pressure on ourselves. I so admire the people who keep sketchbook journals effortlessly, or at least seem too.


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