Last week, almost Six weeks post the birth of my second daughter, I was able to revisit my old art projects. I posted the next in my series of hindi alphabet illustrations as well as worked on the sketchbook exchange.
Last week was also when I came across the following in a daily online magazine:
“The painter, Wayne Thiebaud, once said that “an artist has to train his responses more than other people do. He has to be as disciplined as a mathematician. Discipline is not a restriction but an aid to freedom.” Thiebaud insists that rather than being opposed to creativity, discipline provides the conduit through which creative engagement grows and develops freely.”
Oh ! I agree with the sentiment whole heartedly. I can tell you it was hard to get back to drawing after being passive for so long. It took longer to complete and I made more mistakes. I started this blog as another medium for self-expression – Started out as a mom-blog and then it converged with my drawing interests. Somewhere in between my writing lost it’s thrust and the blog went ignored for a very long period . Now, try as I may , I am yet to get back to my rhythm of posting regularly here. What my creative force still lacks is discipline. I have written about my struggle with disciplined creativity before but parenting two kids takes it to a whole new level.
Life with an infant is unpredictable. The daily routine I had going is not followed all the time. Depending on the baby, the schedule for my elder one changes. Sleeping, story time, reading and all other pursuits have to be constantly pushed around. Now-a-days my flair for story telling is limited to hashing out ever-new stories to get my three year old to eat her food or finish her chores (yes ! I have given her some chores . Yes . at HER age!but thats a topic for some other day) . With my mother around it has been easy. I have been able to find time to rest. I can’t imagine yet how hectic life will be when she goes back to India. The very thought makes me tense.
Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.
Corrie Ten Boom
Even though , I am not actually creating a lot of work, I am certainly observing more and observing more intently. Creativity demands a presence of mind and a presence of Your self. My hope is that all the mental notes that I am taking for myself, I will be able to bring them to fore when I actually sit down to draw or create. I am trying to be present.
present to see
present to feel
present to process
Rather than getting disappointed at not finding enough time to do the thing, I am trying to keep the momentum going, the thoughts flowing and the process continuing.
continue to explore
continue to dream
continue to steal from time…a moment here and a moment there.
I think I am finally ready to share the news here on the blog.
I am expecting Baby no. 2 next month! I have been mostly tired and exhausted last few months and the excitement to meet the new little one is growing with each passing day.
As I punch the keys in, My mother is in the air on her way from India to Canada to help me in the initial phase post-delivery. I cannot express in words the kind of relief the possibility of her being around me has provided me.
I read an old proverb somewhere that says ‘it takes a village to raise a child’. I propose an addendum- It takes time and courage to raise an involved village around the child. We recently moved to this new city and have been slowly settling down. The social aspect of any move is the daunting one and we are still working on ours. The fact that I have been pregnant, a severe flu-season and the very cold winters that we have been having does not help our case one bit but we are trying. It is so hard to find deep and meaningful friendships as adults that I sometimes wish I had stayed in the place where I was born and raised . Then the community around me and my social circle would have probably included familiar faces that I had known for all my life!
Thankfully, I have a very close-knit family on both sides and even when we are miles apart, we are connected by phone and video-chat. its not the real deal but it comes a close-second. The fact that my mum was able to come stay with me for some time which meant disrupting her life and being away from my dad for an extended period, speaks to fact that my family is as involved and interested in the well-being of my children as I am. I am filled with gratitude to have loving and giving parents and siblings. And this is what any parents wants in the village around the them and their children- People who are involved and interested, who are your well wishers and ones you can trust. Its not about throwing a bunch of people together and having a good time but having meaningful relationships that influence and shape the course of your life and bear positive fruit over time. I am seeing the beginning of a few of these in the church and my social circle but time will tell how things shape up.
As for the time being my focus is on the fact that grandma is coming!
I have never been the one to deal gracefully with failure. I sulk, whine and complain and usually it takes me a long time to reflect and take some corrective action (and learn from my failures). Even then I spend a lot of time dodging questions about things leading to it and mostly remain stupefied into inaction for quiet some time after any failure.
The MOOC I participated in asked us in the final task to look at our failures in a new light as oportunities for improvement. Here is the brief of the assignment:
Mastering a mindset of innovation requires you to learn from unexpected outcomes – or failures. Your assignment is to create your own Failure Resume, capturing your biggest mistakes, personal, professional, and academic. For each item on your Failure Resume, include what you learned from that mistake and what you will do differently in the future.
For someone who is in a habit of being a sore looser, revisiting my failures was not an easy task. More so because I take my failures personally. I am not much of a perfectionist and I in no way think that my work is the best that there could be but I often fail to separate emotions from logical or practical aspects of things. Unknowingly this task was asking me to not only revisit my failures but also was calling for a bit of (much needed) attitude adjustment. A few days before this assignment, the plug had been pulled on an illustration project that I had started working on and honestly, the pain was fresh.
Title illustration from “Creation to Christ ” Series – depicting Six days of creation and the last circle depicting various stories from the Bible- a project that never materialized for me. Ink on paper. 8X10.
But then, a challenge would not be a challenge if it did not ask you to go beyond your comfort zone. Interesting part of this assignment was that we were required to share our failure with the rest of the course participants and we could choose how we did it.
I chose to go back to my drawing board. Working with an illustration that I did for Women’s day, I decided to put a positive spin on my failures and the lessons I learnt from them. Here is an example:
I must say it was a cathartic process to observe how I have reacted and responded to failure in past and the growth that has happened as a result.
Look at this …. a flowering Lilac tree (or a bush if thats what you’d like to call it). You’d see a thousands of those this spring.
Lilacs in bloom
but hold on a sec, here is the other half of the tree.
You won’t see any blooms this side. if you strain your eyes you may see the deadheads where the blooms were last year.
And here is the tree shot head on …..the flowering and the non flowering side divided right in the middle.
I spent most of yesterday taking pictures of spring blossoms in and around my neighbourhood. When it came to the lilac in my back yard I noticed it had flowers only on one side.As hard as it seems what I am about to tell you is true. I have a bipolar Lilac tree in my back yard.
Oh ! about the spring round-up of my neighbourhood…. you can find those images on my Facebook page. Click here for the album.
Do you think plants have a personality?
Find a subject and instead of taking a picture from in front of, at an angle, to the side, or from behind, take it directly from above!
For this week’s challenge I decided to keep up with the spring that has finally sprung in our corner of the world. We have had long and mostly grey winter this season and now that spring is in the air it is difficult to ignore.
Well the Actual ‘above’ shot is really not the most awesome or breathtaking photograph to look at but what is happening here is pretty neat. A new plant is just emerging out from the soil. However fragile we consider it to be it has the life force to push through the seed shell and the frozen compressed ground to raise its head from under the ground.
Some tiny plants have come up.But let’s just have a look at what it looks from the side just for the sake curiosity.
Looks nice right? It is so intersting to see the leaves uncoil and soon this little corner of my garden will be full of thick fern leaves. 🙂