The main reason I haven’t been creating or sharing much this past year is because I’ve had both of my kiddos at home with me, one doing virtual schooling and the other homeschool preschool. We are finally done! We made it, woo hoo! I’m hoping I can carve a little more time out for creating and posting here now that I won’t be lesson planning and prepping every day, but I also want to enjoy this couple of months with the kids, too.
It was wonderful having them home, but I went over a year without a single break aside from a couple solo walks and two weeks of dress rehearsals. I would almost jump into my car with glee when I had to make the hour long drive to get to the theater I am designing for. But we’ve started getting some breaks now that the grandparents are taking the kids once in a while, and I really appreciate the solitude and the couple time with my husband.
Here is the song I wrote in the beginning of the year. I feel proud for surviving with my sense of humor and sanity somewhat intact.
I’m attempting to shift my sleep cycle to get up before my kids do in order to do yoga/some kind of exercise and a little journaling. It is tough because I generally like to have a little time to myself in the evenings, but the truth is I’m pretty wiped out by the time we get done with bedtime routines and nightly chores anyway, and it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to create post-bedtime unless I’m really on the crunch for a deadline. So, it is going to be a rough couple of weeks, but if it works, it will be much better for my mental health and my ability to deal with day-to-day stresses. And hopefully that will energize me during the day for being more present for my kids and more focused during the few hours I do get in the day for creative work. Part of this stems from committing myself two weeks ago to do inner work that includes meditation
I finally had a physical, my first in over a decade. I’m starting to try to figure out some of my autoimmune issues. My suspicion is that I have the beginnings of psoriatic arthritis, and I’m meeting with a rheumatologist in September. I want to avoid any pharmaceutical intervention as long as possible, since I’m not yet 40, but having a diagnosis will help point me in the direction of life changes I can make to help myself.
I start a new part-time sew-from-home job tomorrow too, just ten hours a week to start, which is all I can handle while simultaneously taking care of the kids’ schooling and trying to slowly build up originalsbykatharinetracy.com. I’ve got one costume commission and two prom dress alterations I’m doing right now too, so it’s been a busy time, and more difficult than it should be because I’ve gained a little wait and lost some pep and vitality this year. Working on sharpening my mind and body so I can give more to my family, my community, and all my creative endeavors without burning out is important.
My husband also kindly picked me up a half-day relaxation package at a local spa for Mother’s day/early birthday gift that includes time in a massage chair and a 60-min float tank session, which I am definitely looking forward to. It might be a month or so until I get around to using it, but just imagining an entire hour of sensory deprivation and a couple more hours of pampering is enough to keep me going.
So big personal changes for me. Adjustments and fine-tuning to help me grow as an individual and as a member of this crazy human race. Looking forward to what may come creatively out of all of this.
It is utterly ridiculous in this day and age for young girls to be shamed in this way because they could potentially distract the male students. The onus of control is on the one who is feeling any sexual urges, not on the object of desire, regardless of how one sexually identifies. It is especially disgusting that it is going on at the elementary level.
“Magic may be real enough, the magic of a word or an act, grafted upon the invisible influences that course through the material world.” – from Robert Edmund Jones’ The Dramatic Imagination, quote attributed to Santayana.
I rediscovered this quote while reading through some old school papers I wrote back in grad school, and it carries a lot more meaning for me now. I’m hoping maybe it will inspire some of you as well.
I finally made a sale over at my Fine Art America gallery, a greeting card of this painting. The email notifying me of the sale took me by surprise, honestly, a pleasant surprise at that. The dollar amount is meaningless, but it was a poke to me that someone saw my art enough to enjoy it and want to take it home.
As I posted the image above, my 4 year old came over and sat in my lap and said “Oh my god, mommy, that’s a really good painting!” (My 10 year old has picked up “oh my god” from his classmates, so now of course the 4 year old is saying it, too.) Then she wanted to see some of my other artwork, so I showed her the Gallery page, and I felt another little poke.
There aren’t enough hours in the day, and I only recently recommitted to taking care of my own health and well-being again, which has to be a priority so I can have more to give to others. But with that, I hope the energy I have been lacking will come back to carve a little more time out for creating and sharing here. I’ve been missing it a lot.
This time at home with my children this year has been really great, but it has left me with not a whole lot of time and energy for writing here or tackling big projects. Add on some freelance costume and sewing gigs finally, and trying to update Originals by Katharine Tracy monthly, it means there are sometimes weeks of no writing or art. I still always carve out time for music even if it’s just 10 minutes on piano every day, but there were a couple months at the start of the year that I couldn’t even play the uke or flute because it seemed like too much effort. The cycle of feeling energized and then almost burning out has been a theme this entire pandemic, and if I’m honest, my entire life. There hasn’t ever been anything like steadiness, which definitely keeps life more interesting.
I have songs and poems and stories and art inside that I hope I will have the chance to manifest into reality. I always chip away where I can. In the meantime, I’m continuing with focusing on my biggest creative endeavor (my children) and consider it such a profound privilege to watch them grow and help shape them into amazing human beings. I am pursuing my costume and sewing work, which is satisfying creatively in different ways. And I have learned to let myself off the hook a little bit. I cannot be a “creative machine”. I don’t need to feel guilt when I need to rest. I’m finally learning to ride my own waves, and that’s where I need to be.
Where are you all emotionally at this point? Hopeful? Despairing? Taking things in stride? Wherever you are, I wish you well.
Over the past month, I finished up Autumn and Winter personified, which was my series of 4 paintings to play with oil paints for the first time. And I also finally finished my little rodent acrylic painting. It felt good to be painting again!
I need to update the gallery page here and my Fine Art America site. Hopefully that will come in the next couple of weeks.
It feels appropriate to be sharing this poem again.
I really hate the “don’t speak ill” mindset. Though since many can’t be honest with themselves about their own lives, how can I blame them for wanting to cover the filth in others? I suppose it’s about a difference in scale though.
I finished my ballerina bunnies! I am so enamored with their cuteness. I left them fairly undetailed because they are going to be shrunk to about two inches each for the fabric design I have them planned for, but I think they are kind of charming in their sketchiness, and I hope that you agree with me!
The black and white one is inspired (but not an exact copy) by the rabbit we adopted this summer. She is named Spotticus, or Spotty for short, and she is quite a love.
You can see some of my other fabric designs at Spoonflower. I’m trying to do one or two new releases per month, which will hopefully mean more art coming this way.