Sunday, August 2, 2015

Blending Art Into Life

Today is the day before Lois' third birthday, which is really all kinds of awesome. As Laura pointed out earlier, this means that 3 years ago we were sitting in the delivery room, waiting for medicines to take effect and to meet this little bundle of awesomeness who has grown up into this bigger bundle of awesomeness.

It's been an interesting 3 years, really. I lost myself a bit in being a father: I gave up much of what I love in the world so that I could focus on the slightly difficult job of making sure this willful baby didn't kill herself or permanently injure herself somehow. I know that sounds simple but it's somehow quite complex and difficult because children are freakin' insane.

Still, in that time I've come back to myself a little bit and found a balance. The surgeries (especially the brain surgeries) really didn't help but I've finally found time again in the day to work on the things that make me who I am.
 Art, for example. One of the few things I actually started getting into after becoming Dad was drawing. The brain surgery, unfortunately, took a lot of that away from me and with a combination of the surgery itself and time away from it, I lost most of the skill I had acquired in the year before.

But I'm back to working on it and I love it more than a little bit.

I've been playing with pastels. Oil pastels. One of the things I love about this particular medium is that I can put colors next to each other, on top of one another, in the general area of each other and then I can use tools to blend them together in a mess of different ways. I can scrape away colors, merge colors, and make interesting patterns of shadow and light depending on how I push against them and the tools that I use.

 That's what my days have been about, really. Not just the art but the blending of "being Dad" into "being Jeremiah." I can only be happy when I'm the person I want to be or am at least striving toward that person without failure after failure.

I'm taking each day an hour at a time. I'm stepping off the internet quite a bit more than I used to because I find that it sucks me in for hours at a time if I'm not careful and while I can merge "surfing the net" with "entertaining, teaching, and playing with my amazing daughter" it doesn't really blend well with any other activities, as I see it.

I've taken back up the mantle of art and I'm making sure to set aside time every day to go outside (unless it's raining) and work in the garden with Lois. Sure, this means that I've lost a few more plants than I would have in the past (she brought me a few green bean plants the other day and said "Here, daddy, I brought you beans!") but we're both learning and every failure becomes another learning opportunity.

I'm using an array of different tools to push the bits of my life and personality back together, to merge it all into a blend that makes a color of life that I enjoy. I work on things that maybe I don't like so much (like cleaning the house, which is a necessary evil); on things that I enjoy but can easily excuse myself out of ("but it's hot outside, I don't want to go work in the garden!"); and on things that I truly enjoy (like finding out what new colors or shapes I can make on my canvas today).

There are other things, too, of course. My life isn't just cleaning, keeping the crazy toddler alive, gardening and drawing. Tomorrow I'm going to try canning. Yesterday I made steak for 4 people because I love to cook. I'm learning, being responsible, and generally loving life.

Every day I'm finding new tools and trying to exert as little pressure as possible to make things come together in a beautiful swirl of color. Too much pressure, I'm learning, just breaks me. Little pressure, lots of tools. Perfect blend.