The minutest concerns: poems, love, books and odd balls

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, art techniques, artistic inspirations, books, fine art, household surrealism, magic realism, mental health, Patch La Belle, poetry, sketchbook, This Rabbit, Uncategorized, words and pictures, writing and illustrating

This week in household surrealism I’ve been thinking of love. Love in the sense of the poetry, the food, the care for and cleaning of things, generally creating a gentle environment for ourselves and others. Perhaps an environment also filled with souvenirs of loving moments as I wrote in my last post.

My recent children’s book This Rabbit was about knowing what you like. Well, this week I’ve been thinking about how it can take practice as adults to remember to let ourselves love openly, wholeheartedly and to unabashedly enjoy things.

Among these thoughts is the fact that tulips are in bloom when I live in the Pacific Northwest. Here’s a photo from my spouse’s garden.

In the morning sometimes I read a bit of poetry while having my breakfast and coffee. The photo below is a poem by Mary Oliver, from “New and Selected Poems Vol 1”, I see this poem as talking about wholeheartedly living life. A life well lived is lived bit by bit in thousands and thousands of mundane moments. Many of those moments (even in pre-pandemic times) happen at home.

Letting oneself wholeheartedly enjoy and love little parts of daily life – why is that so hard? Perhaps as adults we get caught up in the “gotta do’s” as I call them. We sometimes almost chain-smoke, metaphorically, one gotta-do duty after another forgetting that love and pleasure is often part of the reason we do things. By contrast it feels good to pay attention to whatever interests you and revel in that focused moment. This wholehearted enjoyment is a way to be gentle  and loving to yourself and the people you love. Anyway, I thought of that while I doodled in my sketchbook.

Then I worked several days in a row to flesh out my thought using acrylic paint on cradled board. Yes, this is another piece destined for upcoming art exhibits at Burnt Bridge Cellars and at Caplan Art Designs.

Below is the finished painting I titled “The Minutest Concerns”.

The label on the bottle of cleaning fluid the mouse is using in my painting is actually a bit of collage. I’ve been using a falling apart copy of Jan Austen’s book Pride and Prejudice as my collage source. (See my last posts here and here for details)

As I worked I also thought about and reread a passage in a book I illustrated titled “Dr. Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit“. The passage reads “love is clarity of perception and accuracy of response”. 

Basically, in the bigger universal sense, things are okay, you are okay, and it’s okay to relax and enjoy just being yourself and liking and loving the world around you.

For example this photo below is part of my world that I love; I love picking up one of the books and reading a bit, I love just looking at the books on the shelves and I even love dusting them. Of course I confess that often I get distracted and stop dusting to read 😁

I love having lots of books so much that it feels like heaven. So I did this drawing and made a print of it…just in case someone else feels the same way. (This is part of the gift making I talked of last post) Even if I’m the only person who feels like this making a drawing and a print was a fun way to fully enjoy and love the feeling.

Books are all we know of heaven – an art print by Clancy –

I also love the challenge of cooking. It took me a while to figure it out but I can now reliably make meatballs to store in the freezer for use whenever the odd meatball is wanted with pasta or rice or roasted vegetables.

Here’s my recipe as written in my kitchen sketchbook. Yes, this is another souvenir of love! Books and sketchbooks are the best souvenirs!

My sketchbook page will still be there long after the meatballs have all been eaten! Plus I can share this sketchbook page with people and thereby share the love.

That’s part of what I love about poetry, books, gardens and art they each nourish one’s spirit and are shareable. They’re part of how we know we’re loved and part of how we love other people and how we remember to love ourselves and the world around us. They’re part of how we connect emotionally with each other.

A dear friend loaned me this book “The 3000 Mile Garden”. It’s a wonderful almost voyeristic view of two people sharing their love of food and gardens with each other. And we readers get to see their intimate exchange of letters! The book has hand drawn maps and photos too! It’s a fun evening read.

These are the sorts of thoughts that inspire me as I work on my new household surrealism fine art series that I’m titling “Odditorium”. In addition to the art itself I’m also working on an exhibit statement- which is kindof like the synopsis on book covers – a short paragraph or two to interest viewers and help them understand what I’ve created. Wish me luck at crafting the sentences?

Anyway, I hope this week that you’ll remember to allow yourself to love whatever is commonplace in your world. See you next Monday?

P.S. my book Patch La Belle is going to be featured on Kidz Stories And More – and I’m excited!! I will update my social media and this space when I have a link to share… Here’s the link to the read-aloud video they made!!

23 thoughts on “The minutest concerns: poems, love, books and odd balls

  1. I think the painting is delightful. I had not appreciated its dimensions before and I love that the little mouse and the tulip towering over it is on that size of board. You are so right about the pressure of powering through all of those “gotta dos” meaning we don’t always take the time we should to appreciate the small things or even gift ourselves some valuable “me time”.

    1. Thank you so much!!!! And thank you for your comment about the dimensions! And for understanding what I was saying about taking moments to relax…. Gosh I appreciate you!!!!

  2. I enjoyed your post. I loved the way you combined your art work with poetry This combination made for an interesting read.

  3. I LOVE your new painting! The purple and green are so rich, and the little mouse looks so content tending to the cleaning of the tulips. (After I read the post, I kept going back to the painting.)

  4. Another lovely post. Thank you!! I read another today on this same theme of looking inward and being kind to yourself. Loving the immediate around you, and they both even reveled in flowers. Especially welcome on this day after my final vaccination shot, when I’m feeling extra vulnerable. Sweet! I love your sketch and the resulting painting of dusting the tulips. Such a happy and satisfied-looking little mouse. 🙂 Have a wonderful week, Sue!

    1. Thank you for your kind words!! And I hope your recovery from the vaccination is smooth! I am fully vaccinated now too…and I used the couple of day recovery time to rest and rejuvenate. Okay…I did pure self indulgence in books, movies and favorite foods 😁 Hope you indulged yourself too!!
      So glad you liked my post!!! 🤗

      1. Yes, I took it easy – other than having two work shifts. Glad I have a sit-down job. I did some editing, which I enjoy, a little reading and quite a bit of Paint by Sticker which is my favorite semi-productive pastime. It makes mosaic pictures, but I don’t really do anything with them except keep the books of them. But the process feeds my puzzle brain and tactile maker-creator center in a very pleasing way. I also watched a lot of TV with my husband while sticking mosaics, and I’m almost too relaxed on this Monday morning. 🙂 Very refreshed, and seemingly fully recovered. Have a great week, Sue!! 😀

        1. Oh, I am glad to hear that you took such good care of yourself!!! Paint by Sticker…that’s a new one to me! I will have to look it up!! Sounds fun!! You are an editor??? I bow before you in humility and in honor of your editorship!! Editors, librarians and teachers rank very high in my esteem!!! 🤗❤ I hope your week is a very gentle to you.

          1. Thank you Sue. If you decide to try a Paint by Sticker, I would recommend the Workman Publishing ones. The quality is best for working with. I mostly edit my own novels, but I also do work for others. It’s a rewarding process, though very time consuming since I’m a slow reader and very thorough. Enjoy your creating this week! And I hope you find some wonderful new recipes to enjoy!! 🙂

            1. Bravo!!! I’m happy to know of another slow and very thorough creative!! I’ve recently read an article about this topic…will share on my upcoming blog post. So please bookmark this conversation – it relates. 😉 Enjoy your creativity this week too!!! And thanks for the info about the paint by sticker!

            2. I see by my other notifications that you’ve seen and commented on the blog and article mentioned here!! How fun is this?!

            3. Yes, extremely good article links. And I must say my estimation of James Patterson took a turn for the better. I’ve been concerned about the topic of attention span and media for several years, and I love that an author of such prominence brought it to Time readers’ attention… if they focused long enough. hehe 😀

            4. Thank you! I’m glad you liked the article links. My estimation of Patterson tocked up a notch too.
              I’ve been reading about attention spans and media and our uses of time for some years now too. I don’t want to be one of those stuck in the past “things used to be better” sorts of people. So I view the changes of attention span as a challenge to write shorter but clearer posts. But still there are times when something I write is long…even when I’ve followed the Strunk and White admonition “omit needless words”.

            5. Yes, I agree it shouldn’t be seen as ‘a bad thing’. I communicate more often with my friends since I can type to them. I see that as good. Short communication is useful. But points about depth and processes of mind – and perhaps spirit or soul – that happen when we sit quietly with ourselves, others or in nature, are important to continue to consider. Look how lovely this tool of blogging is in bringing you and I together! Wonderful!! But I also need the balance of unplugging and letting my mind wander. I believe young ‘modern’ humans will be richer if they are also encouraged to do both.

            6. Yes, yes, wholeheartedly YES!! I so agree with you on all points!!! And I too am very glad you and I are connected now!! My world is richer for it!!!

Thank you for reading and sharing encouragements!