July 2008 Archives

monday night ritual: Adega

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We have a place that we go to every monday night. It is a little wine shop that serve great food, great wine but is really cheap and we have come to really love the people who gather and work there. It is like a modern Monmarte tucked into our town. If you live near Silver Spring I highly recommend it.

A good wine and some tasty, fresh food, a good desert and some great company...

what could be better than that to start your week.

ZAZIN pairs nicely with a burger.

Here our friend and artist Luis exchanges a friendly banter with Rebecca, who works there. Rebecca also plays the viola. For some reason the place attracts artists, both working there and eating there. Tonight we chatted with Jared who is in theatre and ministry. We saw some of Ben's paintings via Luis. Both these guys are waiters. Another waiter, Michael who yells out the numbers of orders in a big booming voice was not there tonight...he is a photographer with work hanging in the restaurant. We have been such regulars there that the staff know us as "the andersons" and treat us like family. It is an interesting place.


This weekend was sort of an odds and ends as we chip away at our great wall project. Someone might think us insane for taking on something so big.

And they would probably be right...
if it weren't for the empowerment that results in attempting something beyond yourself and actually accomplishing it...

or even just the attempt.

And for all of the blog entries over the last few years that look like a "what I did today" entry, there actually is some deeper life lessons here.

These are just a few things that are emerging in this experience. Spiritual, soul changing, character building stuff...

1. Something worthwhile takes time.
We are such a hurry up culture that everything around us from instant cereal to 24 hour news fosters an expectation for obtaining what you want right now without the payment of effort or time. We are an impatient generation. It amazes me that walking through the isles of an art store there are so many examples of "instant" creativity. Kits that take away the process(where the learning is) in order to "make" something that looks good and be able to say that you made it.

That makes me crazy.

The noble value of apprenticing or learning a craft or a skill has somehow been replaced with the idea that everyone can do everything. Which leads me to my next point...

2. Embracing the process is as important as seeking the finish line.
I like closure. I really do. But there is something very special that is gained when forced to live the process.


There are insights, and knowledge found inside the process of any undertaking that are not found in the "instant". Sometimes we discover our limitations, but I think more often we discover what we CAN do and build character qualities along with skill. Things like patience and endurance.

3. Recognizing that failure isn't failure.
We all know the quotes from various folk, inventors and such that refer to failures or mistakes as steps toward success. And it is true. The problem is we like the quotes but we don't like to do the work. In this grand process we have had many of what I like to call "roadblocks". Someone might call them failures, but when they are added up and the dust clears the finished product will look like a success.

4. Nothing stays perfect/everything changes.
When you finish something you kind of want it to stay exactly the way you finished it(at least I do) but I have learned that reality has things ever moving, changing, sometimes degrading. The change in seasons for instance can do a number on something that was newly built last season, but without the changes you wouldn't be able to grow a garden. So being able to accept what doesn't stay perfect while enjoying and channeling the benefits of change is something I have recently taken to heart. An example is a Wisteria stalk that I stuck in the ground near our fence three years ago. Today I am training it to cascade across the front of our deck and into an arched arbor. I anticipate what it will look like next year when in its tree-like state, it finally blooms.


As we move along with our projects, things that I longed to be finished to the point of frustration look more like opportunities for growth now. Setting aside some of my need for closure (notice I said "some") I have been able to live a little more in the moment and seek those benefits in the process, and maybe even feel good about them.

At least that is how I feel today ;-)

Here is Bryan grinding the old finish off of the metal handrail that we will put back in place to finish the wall. The entire fence goes around the pool and is probably fifty years old.



afternoon visitor

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Had a visitor like this last year around this time. This time there were two, this one was eating out of one of my planters and then decided that my grape vines looked tasty so I stepped outside to make my presence known.

run, run, run.

There cute until they want to eat a prized crop.


not so much.


one brick at a time

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Painting day on friday shifted into project wall on saturday. The biggest roadblock was the heat measuring in at 94 degrees. This slowed us down a bit but we still made some headway and had fun jumping in the pool to cool off.

You think we will ever get it done?

One thing that I am really pleased about is that the juniper that I planted last year after succumbing to the Costco Dilemma not only lived but doubled in size. Next year they should fill in the wall nicely and maybe even creep over the sides.



what the hell is that?

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Well, I let the muse loose but she must have been dropping acid.

Or regressing to cave painting, or faux painting, or a combination...

faux-cave painting?

Truthfully I am still exploring the behavior of water soluable oils and today ended up being a series of experiments landing on the canvas. It is a funky medium. You can treat it like watercolor (which I am not that big a fan of) or you can paint like it is oil. One thing I don't like about the water color-like behavior is that you can fall into using "techniques" that lack control but can give you a neat "effect". Like with faux painting (which I never followed the directions for anyway). Somehow I think less of this in a painting than being in full control of the paint.

Yea, I am a control freak.

But... if I was practiced enough then maybe it wouldn't feel like It was a technique.

Anyway, I learned a lot. One thing I am not sure about is what to do with the paintings that I consider practice studies.

Here is "Woman"

"Woman" detail.


I woke this morning with the intention of honoring the artist date and stroke the muse and tend to my creative soul. Even though there is work of various kind and the thought of it dares to leave a threatening track through my brain causing distraction from what is truly necessary.


I have resumed a winning schedule of balance that helps bring forth the muse. That being yoga, eating breakfast (yea it does make a difference, at least for me) and compartmentalizing tasks that can encroach if you let them. Truthfully the world and all its needs will always press, so it is up to the individual to make the space to allow amazing things to happen. It is important space and must be protected and nurtured.

Sometimes this space is where you find your truest self.

Remove the noise and the endless static, present your body as it is, a vessel that holds endless possibilities and light shines in.

At this stage in my life I can read what strikes the chords my heart better than before, but recognizing what thrills is not enough if there is no follow through. In fact, for a creative person the place right after inspiration can be the most fragile. In between inspiration and execution is where so many get lost. And a practiced soul may make it through the execution but then feel the depth of depletion on the other side.

Sometimes I fear that part.

After accomplishing a work you can feel as if a piece of you has broken off and blown away into the wind. It can be a painfully hollow place.

But there is potential for elation too and when you have poured out yourself into your art sometimes it pours something back.

Unravelling these things can be a challenge. Discovering the longings of your heart is first. But it is a romantic notion to think that it stops there. The true rewards come from following that longing to its fruition, pouring out the price brings something wonderful.


A ceramics installation at Artomatic. Hundreds of corkscrew-like shards attached to a white wall.

I had an interesting revelation looking at a series of pics I took at this installation. The craft makes me very happy. In fact that day, viewing the whole ceramics installation turned me on more that viewing the painted works.


Although my journey at this point involves painting primarily, it is harder, requires me to dig deeper, and exacts a greater emotional price than other creative work that I have done. The craft, working with my hands, whether with metal or clay holds a certain kind of ease. I am not sure if it is because it is a practiced skill and therefore flows more easily or if the content of a sculptural work (for me) leaves me less vulnerable.

not sure... just thinking it through.

A few days ago I inquired about a class at a local glass studio.

Again... the craft.

turns me on.

But today...

a blank canvas stares at me from the easel. Time to have a conversation with it.

a few more bricks

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Today Bryan and I were still in serious rest mode, but the wall continued to taunt us as this project only moves forward on the weekends and Bryan's days off. Mustering a little energy in spite of the ninety degree heat, Bryan decided to lay a few more bricks.

Notice I said, Bryan.

I was not much help managing only to tote a couple bricks from one side of the yard to the other and hauling a little gravel and sand. No, I spent the time sprawled on our purple floaty in the pool.(and I am so grateful that no one snapped a picture of THAT.)

It was just too hot, and I was still too tired.

But the heroic Bryan made great strides with the base coarse. It really is the hardest, and most tedious part(aside from the initial excavation last year).

At the end of the row.


Leveling, leveling, leveling, leveling...


last night at mcgees gallery


It is saturday morning, the morning after last night's reception and I sip my coffee while replaying the tapes in my mind of last nights conversations.

It was a great night.

There was a great turnout of folk to this funky little gallery on Bethesda's Art Walk. In fact the evening was a bit of a blur. Once people started to arrive there was really no lull.


And the best part was that people really "got" the work.

Feeling a little strange about hanging some of the older work this time ("girl in a box" and "seeds") I wanted the contrast of the attitude to be seen. People really seemed to respond to the symbolism of the work, and the contrast from "girl in a box" to "dancing in thin places" helped that big picture process.

So, this morning I am uber-tired having over extended my introverted self with three plus solid hours of chatting with folk about the work and doing it in heels none-the-less. It is still a little surreal thinking about those who approached me, hand outstretched, saying...

"You are the artist?"

Yes (weird). I felt like looking over my shoulder to search for the individual that they must be referring to.

Oh yea... its me.

The last show's reception was attended by people that I knew so this was a bit of a different experience being received by strangers. It was wonderful to listen to the reactions of folk and hear the personal interpretations. It was also interesting being questioned about how the work came about, what inspired me, whether I dreamed the work first, the process, and so on.

The first to arrive was a very elderly woman wearing a funny hat who walked in and went straight for the wine...


but as I watched her regard the work I approached her to see if she had any questions...

She looked in my eyes and started to speak of the spiritual nature of the work, how it inspired and how things weren't always as they seem...

Wow. so true.

Later, when the room had filled with other viewers she warmly shook my hand and thanked me for my work.

Before I knew it it was after nine and there were still people chatting and sipping wine. Bryan and I hadn't had dinner so we excused ourselves to go get a bite.

The work will hang at Mcgees for a month.

me in front of "girl in a box". Mcgees brightly painted walls, unconventional by most gallery standards were the perfect backdrop for my work.




coming up this friday night

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a long way from home

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Today I feel as if I am displaced. I feel like I am a long long way from home, which can be a positive thing if it is a way to track if you are moving in the right direction. If you long for the destination you must be going the right way. But tending to the journey has always been something that I have had to work at. I have been very intentional about this through our family life, intentional about our travel, making memories, being present. Looking back I am pleased with what has been, what was accomplished, and where it has taken us. Discernment and following.

But today I feel displaced in a way that can either bring discontent, or be channeled into something more productive. Time to recalibrate. When things seem like they are in front of me too much instead of me infront of them I get a little uncomfortable. A reactive state as opposed to a proactive state just feels yucky to this INTJ. Sometimes it comes from things that are just out of my control, and sometimes it comes as a result of procrastinating one thing to accomplish another, or just because I don't want to do it... today.

Ever get that way?

Employing some reflection and a little bit of focus and things should come clear. Truthfully the target is in sight, but it is a pretty big target and the journey is not a straight line, in fact some of the road I can not see yet.

Discernment and following.


what to do with the fourth

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Our fourth weekend didn't look very patriotic. Part of the lack of fourth-like activity was due to the fact that last weekend we sort of covered it with Mike and Laurelle and the kids. After they left on tuesday morning (july 1st) I went back to bed and didn't get up until six that evening (its an introvert thang). So when this weekend rolled around neither Bryan or I were in a mood to do anything festival-ish. So we stayed home and worked on two projects.

Exnihilo designs, more specifically, the main building.


the wall.

Exactly one year ago we were attacking that project and ran out of stone. The last few weeks the new stone has been sitting in our front yard begging to be placed. Between weather and lack of motivation it was really hard to get back onto this project, but Sunday we managed to get the wheels rolling again.

Yea we are crazy, i'll admit it. But we sure have fun.

Working in sketchup on the Exnihilo main building.


The beginnings of the second wall.


kissed by the sun, done?

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I think it is done (which probably means it's not). It is my first real attempt at using oils which take a painfully long time to dry. After using acrylics I like the versatility of oils to a point, until I want it to be dry and then I lose patience. But here is Kissed By the Sun. I am clearly longing for our little island as this one sort of sprang on me in a moment of discontent. Depicting peace when in conflict is interesting. I guess the canvas was the answer to the question broiling in my soul. Some new elements I am playing with like a not-so-tight approach and some textures that add some life I think. My woman is dancing on the beach, the spirit of peace resting in her hand from the other side.


Visitors from the north

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A rare occasion this weekend was having Bryan's sister Laurelle, her husband Mike, and their two kids, Jayden and Heidi come for a visit. What a fun time. Not only did we cram a trip to DC, Baltimore, and Six Flags, a ballgame and a movie into four days but our swimming pool has never seen so much action. And then there were the chess lessons for Jayden with Bryan and Daniel teaching, and the "High School Musical" lessons with Heidi teaching. (Heidi is only four but despite her limited size and age she is a fashionista through and through and does a mean Sharpe Evens impression.)

Chess lessons.



getting on the metro. Notice big brother's protective grip on little sister who kept wanting to step over the line.


At the Washington Monument Heidi on Mike's shoulders.


Time in the pool.

Jayden pulling Heidi around in the floaty. Heidi willing to model a bathing suit (she had several) but not wanting to get her hair wet!


Everyone in pool. Bryan showing Jayden how to put on the snorkel.


Jayden snorkeling like a pro.


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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from July 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

June 2008 is the previous archive.

August 2008 is the next archive.

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