Mixed Media Artist

September Give Away!

I love September, I always have. It is a time for new beginnings:  back to school clothes, new pens, stationary and books. A chance to start fresh, to start anew.

I love second chances (third, fourth, fifth ….chances).  I think that my most significant second chance was my second marriage.  I went out with Chris when I was sixteen and then married him at thirty.  Come to think of it, it may have been my second chance at marriage but it was  his second chance at me (he broke my heart at sixteen).

This September I have reached a new chapter in my life. My youngest has started kindergarten and after school care and I have 6 hours in a row to create.  6 HOURS IN A ROW! I just may shout it from the rooftop, which would be my studio,  so that is fitting because that is where I am planning to spend those 6 hours!

The best part, though, is Scarlett is so happy to be at school. I have never seen her happier.  She can’t wait to get rid of me in the morning.  She wants to learn, socialize, eat snacks and play with the other children more than anything.  I love that for her.

Gosh,  I am so proud of my girls right now. These are such good times. I realize that and that these times will not come again. There are no second chances here, these girls are growing up so fast. What I appreciate is, the time that I am given to create while they are away, allows me to be more present when they are with me. For that, I am grateful. I have been so angry lately, I hate to admit it,  but I have. Like a pressure cooker, ready to blow but with nowhere for the steam to release.  My art is my release.  If I don’t to make art I feel dangerous, volatile, ugly.

This last month has been so hard.  Chris working around the clock in the theatre has not been easy. Being a theatre widow kinda sucks and having no family living in your city kind of sucks even more at these times than it usually does.

One thing I wish?  I wish that I could find a balance within myself so that I didn’t feel this way when I can’t create for long periods of time. I wish that I could relax and kick back and enjoy my time with my girls and know ‘they’ll be back in school next month, enjoy your time’.    I can tell my self this one million times a day, actually, I think that I did, to no avail. Other people can tell me this, but my body…my whole being, refuses to listen. Instead, my heart vibrates, my breathing becomes labored and I  start carrying  ‘Rescue Remedy’ around in a hip flask.

Oh boy, ‘how do you solve  a problem like Maria?’ I wish I knew!

I am hoping  that now, this new chapter, can signify a clean slate and I can have a second chance with my girls to be a better mother. More patient, more calm, just more there.  Perhaps just knowing that I  need time to create is  a huge learning experience. ‘Just take a break’ is not an option for me.  That if I don’t get time to make art, then I am not the mother that I want to be. It may sound selfish but that is just who I am.  It is my responsibility to make sure that I get that time, no matter what, no excuses.

AND I guess  that was a lesson worth learning.

So blah, blah, blah … all that aside, THE GIVE AWAY for SEPTEMBER…

Do you have a second chance story?  or perhaps a suggestion for me to find balance or recipe for a good cocktail if all else fails? (Just kidding).

Comment on this post and I will put your name down to win a fine art reproduction of ‘Straight Ahead’  and at the end of the month, my girls will draw the winner out of a hat!

Good luck!

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36 responses

  1. Gayla Mitchell

    I really love this painting.

    2nd chances are a blessing. A very dear friendship ended for me many years ago. It was very painful. I never thought I would get it back, but I did. We are BFF.

    September 9, 2011 at 5:56 am

  2. Bridget

    I have no tips on finding balance or cocktail recipes (sorry) but I can relate to your post in so many ways…cranky me, busy husband, girls returned to school…wanting to be always present and patient yet also needing to create…it’s tough…but whatever you’re doing it seems you’re on the right track, love your work-thanks for sharing x

    September 9, 2011 at 6:12 am

  3. You have no idea how timely this post is to my heart. We are all “sisters-in-life” when the shoe is dropped. Maria, thank you for sharing such a personal moment in your life, you are my hero today!
    Beckie

    September 9, 2011 at 6:18 am

  4. corinne

    il faut TOUJOURS croire à la seconde,voire troisième…….croire à la chance!mais il faut la provoquer,ne pas attendre qu’elle vienne toute seule……..je dis toujours “souries à la chance,elle finira par te sourire elle aussi” et aussi…….”derrière chaque nuage gris il y a un soleil qui danse”!c’est VRAI!……………ne jamais baisser les bras,savoir se ménager des instants rien que pour soi,ce n’est pas égoiste,c’est vital!
    Maria ,prenez soin de vous……..
    avec toute mon amitié et mon admiration……….
    Corinne

    September 9, 2011 at 7:37 am

  5. Well, I’m just impressed that you can still create. I couldn’t find that balance, so I had to quit creating almost entirely when my boys were small. I got angry, just like you, and the only way I could see to get around it was to put my artwork away and be a mom. It felt like it was going to be forever, and yet, here I am painting for hours everyday with my “baby” in college this year. I can’t believe how the time has gone, and you’re right, you don’t get it back. You have to live in the moment with it.

    Your work just gets better and better. I love this piece!

    September 9, 2011 at 9:39 am

  6. David Benbow

    Love this picture! Please enter me in the drawing.

    As for second chances, my dear friend and intrepid blogger, Nancy Hicks, author of Pink Underbelly (shameless plug), broke MY heart over 20 years ago. We each moved on, married good people and raised families over 1,000 miles apart. A year ago, Nancy was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 40 and has spent the last year kicking cancer’s sorry butt. When I found out about her cancer, I understood that this was MY second chance to make things right with her. As it turns out, our families are eerily similar and, thanks to our understanding spouses, we have been able to reconnect and enjoy an incredible friendship.

    Happy September, Maria!

    September 9, 2011 at 10:56 am

    • David, as I wrote this post, I was thinking of Nancy. It was hard because I know that if I had real problems, like cancer or some other illness or my kids being ill, this would seem like small potatoes. I think that this is part of my guilt and anger, because I know that I should just be appreciating everything that I have because in truth, I have SO much!

      September 14, 2011 at 3:31 am

  7. Liz Frazier

    I really enjoyed this post! We share many of the same feelings, and it often catches me off guard to read that someone else thinks the way I do.

    September 9, 2011 at 11:13 am

  8. I am at this point but have a 2.5 year old and a 2.5 month old … I wanted to create this weekend to blow off some steam … my chance became making a Max and Ruby piece and a Curious George piece for my kid’s rooms. It still felt good to create but depressing it wasn’t anything I yearned to create … but my mantra lately ‘one thing at a time’ and ‘enjoy this day because I will never get it back (they grow up so fast)’.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:36 pm

  9. How frustrating it can be to not feel a balance in your life. Unfortunately, since I feel like I am at a similar spot in my life, alI I really know is that when God closes a door, He tends to open another. Look for the open doors, those opportunities (which you now seem to have because your youngest is in school) He gives you to create to your hearts fulfillment! And then say thank you God…how refreshing. 🙂

    Actually, I think I need to do that more often myself.

    September 9, 2011 at 2:09 pm

  10. I am in a similar situation – we just moved to a new town, my husband travels for business, my older children have left for school & my youngest (eek) has started high school.
    Such a busy summer has turned so quiet…..

    September 9, 2011 at 2:10 pm

  11. Hello Maria,

    This portrait is lovely – application and composition.
    J’aime beaucoup ce portrait 🙂

    It is very exciting to hear that you have 6 whole hours to create while your girls are in school. I am sure you’ll take advantage of this precious time and create more lovely paintings.

    I am so happy to hear that you had a second chance with the love that broke your heart a sixteen 🙂 It is quite rare to reunite with first love….but how beautiful when it happens!

    I can relate with you not having family close by (mine is in France) when things get hard. I felt the frustration and anger just like you when I am unable to create due to other responsibilities.
    Maria you are not selfish: it is just hard to be a mother, wife and artist. It take a while to find a good balance but, with time, you’ll find it.
    Close your eyes, breath deeply and visualize the beautiful face of your children. 🙂
    Thank you for sharing your feelings with us.

    All my best,
    Danielle

    September 9, 2011 at 2:24 pm

  12. Great cocktail recipe – an aperol spritz and you’ll love the crystal clear orange colour, Maria. Pour some of this Italian herbal-orangey aperitif called Aperol over ice, add some chilled prosecco or other white sparkly wine and top with soda and a fresh orange slice —– instant chill out.

    Good balance advice – to breathe deep and remember that who you are, in this moment, is enough, Maria. And read Rumi’s The Guest House.

    My second chance story….every day when I awaken and am blessed with a fresh start, that often takes me until bedtime to even know I’ve been given it. That and my re-turn to work after a leave of absence. Wrote about it in my blog last week.

    Blessings on the breath….

    September 9, 2011 at 4:39 pm

  13. Ruth

    I am embarking on my own fresh start. For the past ten years I have been struggling with bipolar disorder. My psychiatrist is excellent and has the qualities of a true healer. We tried so many different drug cocktails. The side effects were usually pretty horrible and the benefits minimal.
    I read every book I could find on cognitive behavioural therapy, alternative healing and spiritual growth, anything to help me understand why this was happening to me and how I could heal myself. Finally, I got fed up with the psychiatric medications and convinced my doctor to let my wean off of them and try a vitamin/supplement I had heard about. It was the scariest and best decision I have ever made.
    My emotions came back, first in huge, overwhelming waves. I felt like I was born again into the world. My emotions were so raw, without the psychiatric medications as a buffer. I noticed little things again, like the leaves on the tree outside my window.
    I feel like I was in hibernation. I did absorb everything I read in all those books, and now I’m able to articulate that knowledge. I was changing and growing and waiting for the right time to burst free.
    I don’t claim to know why people get sick or have to deal with tragedy. I just know that if you’re open to it, miracles can start to happen. My illness took me on a journey that I didn’t sign up for, but it taught me compassion for myself and others.

    September 9, 2011 at 5:12 pm

  14. Brandy McGee

    I can absolutely relate to the short-tempered, vicious, angry mommy that appears unbidden at the worst possible moments. I have been finding my own way through the craziness of life with a 2 yr old and 5 month old.

    I don’t have any specific suggestions for you, but I do have an observation. When I read your post I was struck by the fact that your desire to express your creativity seemed to have but one outlet: painting. Is it possible that there is another means by which you can be creative, perhaps even one that could involve your daughters on days that mom duties trump personal time? Maybe body painting, making up silly songs about mundane daily activities, coming up with as many imaginative uses as you can for a paper clip, naming cloud shapes, creating a story in a round – campfire style, hosting a ‘messy party’ where kids can get goopy with flour and water or cooked noodles? I don’t know. I am stressed enough not to do these kinds of things myself very often so I’m not preaching, but when I have done so they have always made for delicious memories. I have no doubt that your girls would gain by being involved in your creative process.

    If all else fails, peach vodka and fruit juice is a lovely tonic for the weary soul 😉

    September 10, 2011 at 3:10 am

  15. Oh, you guys, you fill my heart. Thank you for sharing your wonderful stories and life experiences. Thank you so much. If I could send each and everyone of you a print, I would.

    September 11, 2011 at 3:44 am

  16. Dinah Frese

    What a stunning image….the colors are fabulous! Once again , lovely as always!

    September 11, 2011 at 10:34 pm

  17. Hi Maria,

    I have just recently found your art and love all of it. So, whatever you’re doing, you’re doing something right!

    My favorite cocktail:
    (when nothing else works, or when everything is good and it’s time to celebrate)
    Cosmopolitan:
    1.25 oz vodka
    .25 oz triplesec
    1 oz cranberry juice
    1 twist of lemon
    ice

    A tip to find balance:
    If you can’t seem to find time to paint, use that time to take photos of things that inspire you, your children, flowers etc… Or flip through art books and magazines in between making snacks, washing laundry and helping with projects. I live with three children, I know how you feel. Sometimes staring at a beautiful painting from an artist that inspires you can give you that extra bit of fuel to keep on going.

    And my second chance story:
    When I was 19 years old I moved to the town I currently live in and had a friend who lived in a cabin out in the woods. I loved her house, which she was renting at the time. It was surrounded by a beautiful redwood forest with a creek running by and she had a big beautiful vegetable and flower garden. I taught my friend how to quilt in this house in a little room they called the craft room. One night she had a potluck party and invited many of her friends including her landlord John, who was 25, tall and very handsome. During the party, I met John and we were very drawn to one another, spending quite a bit of time talking and hanging out. As the night progressed, he told me that he had a girlfriend who at the time lived in another country. Of course I was a bit sad as I could tell we were drawn to one another, but also admired him for being upfront and honest.

    Over the next 15 years we both had children, got married and saw one another here and there in town. Then about 5 years ago, I had moved away from our town trying to start a career in a bigger city, which didn’t work out so well, so I moved back. When I got to town, I had to find a place to rent and the first place I thought of was this house that my friend had once lived in. I didn’t have John’s phone #, so I just drove out to his house and left a note on the front door step. About a week later he found my note and called me to say that the house was for rent. I hadn’t seen him in several years and had no idea how he was. We made a time to meet and look at the house. As he got out of his car, he came up and gave me a hug with tears in his eyes. He was going through a divorce. We were both in a place of transition and came to each other in that moment by chance.

    Over the next year we were there for each other as friends and well, the attraction was still there, so eventually became lovers.

    After almost 5 years, we have been a happy family together, living in his house in the woods. And that craft room, well now it’s my art studio and I still love it.

    September 11, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    • WOW, what a great story! Thanks for sharing this!

      September 14, 2011 at 3:21 am

  18. kathy

    MARIA, the look of the girls face mirrors your feelings today. your kids have a mom who found something she loves and shares that experience with them.. what a gift. i am envious. i read your posts and wish i was a mom like you. i look at your amazing paintings and find joy in all of them a hope my daughter appears in one…. grumpy? impatient? that is human. and teaches the kids how to deal in life..tell them you love them and your sorry when you act like you don’t . give yourself a break. and try a vanilla vodka or malibu rum with pinapple juice. 15 minute vacation coming up!!!!

    September 12, 2011 at 12:22 am

  19. Meditating always helps me remain calm and focused during the day. When I am present in the moment, I am more patient, creative, calm, and happy. The only catch is it’s hard for me to sit still long enough to meditate!

    Love the piece! It’s beautiful!

    September 12, 2011 at 3:36 am

  20. Carrie Jo Rehfeld

    If you don’t take care of yourself, how can you expect to take care of others! You are on the right track — good luck with your work, and enjoy your time to create!
    For me, after years of working around children and husband, I found I needed some “noise” in the background. I enjoy listening to art history DVD’s while painting — they generally have nice music and a soothing voice, and though I am not paying attention to the DVD’s, they somehow inspire me!
    😉

    September 12, 2011 at 7:29 am

  21. Maria, Thank you for such a blindingly personal post – you’ve put to words what every single working Mom struggles with, creativity aside. It’s a teeter-totter ride, balancing any passion alongside raising a family and having a personal life. And some days/times of the year are easier than others – and some days/times of the year seem nearly impossible! I am a fellow daily painter with 3 children (aged 10-16) who feels EXACTLY as you do – my painting time = my mental health time, and I am a much better parent when I get to hang at the easel a bit each day. But my reality doesn’t allow me as much time at the easel as my ego would like to happen, and it’s so very, very difficult, balancing that frustration with guilt.

    One thing that’s helped me enormously the last 2-3 years is journalling – I’ve taken up artmaking on a personal scale, inside the pages of a journal. Whether it’s dripping watercolor on a couple pages or doodling a mandala or pouring my heart out i off-the-hip-poetry, I’m able to grab some creative time in the midst of laundry and carpools and all that other stuff.

    I’ll be happy to send you a little bibliography of journalling titles to get you started if you are interested – just email me, k? and hang in there!! the good days make these bad ones not so bad…..

    September 12, 2011 at 4:50 pm

  22. Hi Maria…..I am considerably older than you are…..and I have been given lots of second chances in my life. Second husband…..second chance at a sober life…….second chance at getting to know my children as grown ups.

    Just know this sweet lady….Your art will always be with you…..your children grow up and leave….and reenter your life in a different way when they are grown. You will find the balance you need…..don’t be hard on yourself for not being the mother you think you should be. Your art shows what kind of person and mother you are.

    Keep painting,

    Jo

    September 12, 2011 at 11:26 pm

  23. As always, I love the painting. I am reminded of the line in Anne of Green Gables that goes something like …….. Everyday is a new day with no mistakes in it. Hope you can find your balance and enjoy it all.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:06 am

  24. Hi Maria,

    I’m in the UK so can’t come around to give you a hug but am sending one.
    When I met my husband he had a theatre company and I know that as one of the creative forces in it he wasn’t home when he was home. He was off in his mind creating or refining a piece of work. It is a very lonely place but you are a creator so you understand that out of your depths comes your creative fire.

    Now I could say paint out your anger or write out your frustrations and burn them to dissolve them, all good therapy but…I feel there is a feeling of abandonment of part of yourself in that (I’m not a therapist just an artist who has done lots of stuff in my 63 years).

    So…. I want you to use your imagination, intuition to draw a circle and place your self at the centre. Make yourself a coloured heart. Now somewhere on the edges of the circle are the rest of your bits that have been pushed aside. I sense the angry one is there, make a symbol/shape for her too and draw a lovely line to join her back to the heart in the centre and as you make the final connection to the heart shape say something loving to her. She is not ugly etc she is just hurting and just as you would understand your girls rage if they were hurt she needs a bit of TLC.

    If you find other parts of your self out on those margins bring them back to base, back home to you too. When our bits of personality go astray or get pushed aside out of our fear they may take over we get wobbly and unbalanced. This is so simple but does usually bring up a fair whack of emotion but that’s fine , absolutely fine.

    After go have one of those cocktails or if you were a Brit a nice cup of tea.
    Sent with love as I so enjoy your art, it is beautiful as are you.
    Kay

    September 13, 2011 at 7:51 am

    • Wow, thanks Kay! I will try this.

      September 14, 2011 at 3:06 am

  25. I’m afraid I’m just another mother guilty of being disproportionately happy that school is back!
    It’s true though that this time is never coming back and we should do everything in our power to savour it.

    My new mantra is ‘I wiil be grateful for this day.’

    I love this painting especially!!
    Please count me in….

    September 13, 2011 at 10:22 am

  26. this post and all writings have filled my heart. mom mom died (/11/12. i am home now and will return for the funeral, carrying with me a second chance. if there are mistakes written here, i may never know because it doesn’t show up on my computer. it all looks black, something your ART is not mar maria, your work is !!!!!!!!!! xoxo

    September 13, 2011 at 3:11 pm

  27. 9/11/11 mom died and i shall add after seeing my post in whiite, that your post , maria is so heartfelt in those fleeting moments to hold on to with our children, family and friends! xo

    September 13, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    • I am so sorry for your loss, Wanda. Thanks for your comment. It is a much needed reminder.

      September 14, 2011 at 3:03 am

  28. Once again. I am stunned by the comments here. They are all so honest, thoughtful and kind. You guys are amazing!

    September 14, 2011 at 3:26 am

  29. Hilary

    I nearly missed this with not having real computer access in Winchester. I’m so glad you love September and see it as a new beginning time! I have never really liked it as the shortening days herald the end of summer. I don’t really hate winter but I have to drag myself into that non summer mood. And while I am doing that the fall has rushed by.
    Have a ovely fall with your new beginning…..

    September 28, 2011 at 2:29 pm

  30. Julie

    I have the perfect second chance story, as I had a second chance to become the proud owner of one of your pieces of art. “Hopes and Desires” was up for bid at the JTMF silent auction and there was quite the bidding war. I lost out at the very last second. I was heartbroken for myself but eventually (and a tad begrudgingly) was happy for the lucky soul who got to take it home. I’m very happy to say I got my second chance at having this lovely piece of oh-so-more-than-art when prints became available on your etsy site. Delivered today, I am now dreaming of where it will hang in my home. Thank you so much!

    September 29, 2011 at 5:21 am

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