Analogue on Creative Mama Podcast!

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Analogue has made its way into the podcast world!

The Creative Mama Podcast artfully combines the responsibility of parenthood with the thrill of creative expression. This show is for anyone looking to breathe a little excitement into their everyday routine.

In Episode 22, Abbi takes us through her process for selecting her One Word for 2019, and includes how Analogue’s first issue was a part of that process!

Learn more at: zasinzebra.com/podcast

Love your Limitations

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For the past week, I’ve attempted to live in too many worlds—the paint and podcasts of my studio world, the domestic duties of my family world, and the scanning and sketching that comes with the Analogue world. Pile on top of that a micro-obsession over edible plants living in my yard, and a newfound paper-mentor in Parker Palmer, and my inner landscape has been saturated, flooded by so many sources at once.

I cannot. There is only so much of me to go around.

So I am shifting my focus, pulling in to what is required of me right now. I’m deep-diving into the journal pages of last spring, to complete the pages and prompts and illustrations of Issue 2. And I’m immersing my mornings in that world until the draft is strong enough to be reviewed by other eyes.

I’m choosing to settle into my limitations, seeing this need for focus for what it is: an invitation to immerse my attention in something. And my attention will hold. There will be fresh ideas in the pickup line. I will keep my journal on hand when stirring tonight’s meal. And more will come to me before bedtime. This is how I do my best work, and I’m learning to lean into it rather than run away.

We are who we are, y’all. And we can only do what we can do. When we learn to love these limitations, our life becomes our own.

Intentional Shopping in an Intentional Season

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There's a post somewhere in me about the conflict I feel between the commercialism of this season and being a seller who makes about half her profits in November and December.

For now I'll say I'm grateful for those who are thoughtful in their holiday shopping. Who choose small or local, or choose thrifty, or choose to support others who have retail jobs, or choose handmade, or choose the simple over the complicated, or choose online to avoid overwhelm......there are a million ways to do this well. 

Maybe that's all I really need to say: Thank you for being intentional this season.

What's moving you these days?

Right now, I'm gently rolling out new artomats while letting my mind wander and body work in small movements. It's podcasts, simple colors, small pieces, sustainable energy.
The timing is grace—a deep-breathed selah—permission for energy-recovery, for paying close attention to my capacity. These tiny paintings are not only what I can offer, but they are also what I need.
This is the beauty of the creative life: generative in so many ways.

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Art Critique 101

When you ask your 9yo what she thinks about one of your latest:
-"That's a very good painting."
What do you like about it?
-"It has a LOT of colors. And I like the circles."
Is there anything else I should do?
-"ummm... a little more circles? And you should put some hearts on it!"
(Swallowing a laugh) Hearts? And what color should the hearts be?
-"Green! Because that would be A REALLY CRAZY color!"

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The Art Spirit

"We are not here to do what has already been done."

I've been walking through a series of books recommended by fellow artists, and this one has caught my soul. It reads like the proverbs for Artists. Such practical wisdom on how to approach your creative practice.

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The Creative Habit

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My creative people: I can't recommend this enough. It's considered a primer on the creative process. And if you want to be fluent in your creativity, this book holds the key(s).

Since reading,  I'm attempting to transition from an intuitive process to a more deliberate approach for conceptual pieces. It feels a bit like jumping off a cliff without knowing if I can stick the landing, but what am I if I am not challenging myself?

(The Creative Habit, by Twyla Tharp)

In Progress: Welcome

These pieces feel like mountains to climb. 
Pilgrimage. 
A soul-stirring journey. 
Each piece carries its own weight, but they are intended as one. And the color is based off one of my most personal abstracts, "Denim," reaching back into my childhood, into clay-stained jeans and dirty knees. 
Fitting, as these are about prayer. 
Fitting, as I have to reach and kneel just to apply the paint.
Fitting, as that is the life of prayer, reaching and kneeling, and mostly for me: waiting.
There is more to come: We are just laying the foundation on these.

(Time-lapse video of an abstract painting in progress, inspired by The Welcoming Prayer by Thomas Keating.)

In Progress: Serenity

Here's a bit of the process. We aren't quite there yet. But this is how far we've come in the beginning stages of Serenity, a contemplative abstract painting inspired by the Serenity Prayer.

Our Examen

During our week I worked behind the scenes to write an examen for our group, pulling from both our time together and my own experiences of reflection and Divine awareness. The idea kept popping up in my mind and around day three a long-time friend and fellow creative, Fred McKinnon, contacted me with the same vision.

And here we are.

I want to share something personal about this examen. I recently experienced a difficult circumstance that left me feeling unsure of what was going on both within myself and in the circumstance itself. In all my journaling, I was only scratching the surface of understanding, without much resolution or hope.

As I previewed this examen, a compassionate understanding washed over me. I was overwhelmed by both facing my own pain and the realization that it was all okay; that there was a Divine presence with me even then. Hope had arrived. The change in me was so real that even Drew noticed a difference, and since then I have been able to dig deeper into this circumstance with an assurance that I am held. Hope carries me.

THIS is the power of the examen, not just in reflecting and stillness and being aware, but also in a direct and real shift within our souls. We can receive a new understanding of ourselves and our circumstances if we allow a moment to recognize the Divine at work.

I know we are each finding a reflective time that works for us, and this one may not be it; and that's okay. But for a moment, enjoy this gift from us to you.

Examen Day 7

Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God. (1 Pet 1:18a, MSG)

RESOURCES:

  • That Life-Changing article on Life-Giving routine HERE. Emphasis on how this changed the game for Mandy this summer, and I'll be referring to this for all of my future habit-planning sessions.

  • And an extra bonus resource: she talks more about this in "How to Set Goals Like a Normal Person." Y'ALL. Life-changing x2 right here.

And let's close with these thoughts again, amen? 

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s prayer HERE.

 

Examen Day 6

Today will be a quieter day, leaning in to the spaciousness of the weekend as I lean into a space of family and rest. 

I'm finding that my energy determines the type of Examen I engage. The guided audio examens work best when I'm energized and leaning into calm. The written examens fit those times when I feel overstimulated, the mind buzzing with thoughts, and I am able to use the questions to organize my thoughts and put the pieces of my day together. I let my energy guide me to the examen I need.

Now, today I want to bring you a few simple thoughts on silence and sheep.

“In the silence of the heart You speak, and it is there that I will know You and You know me.” Words by Audrey Assad, sent to us from my Spiritual Director. This is a beautiful song to hold close this weekend whether our days are filled with activity or quiet and restful. Either way, let our examen time be that moment where we can listen in on the dialog of our souls.

This quiet restful moment brings us to sheep. I recently learned that they can’t digest their food unless they are lying down, but the problem is they don’t seem to have a natural instinct to lie down. They would rather eat all day. So the shepherd has to regularly make them stop and digest. All they want to do is wander through the meadow chewing the next blade of grass, but this isn’t what’s best for them. Their bodies aren't able to process the day's nourishment unless they stop.

Sound familiar?

It’s the same for us: When we stop to digest our day, our souls are restored. We are nourished by the experiences of our day, given a better understanding of ourselves and others, and can listen to the whispers (or cries) of our soul and Spirit. But if we don't stop we won't be able to take in the nourishment.

So, as you're settling into your examen time tonight, remember that this is a moment of nourishment, of digestion—the pause your soul needs to be refreshed and ready for another day.

Those familiar words from Psalm 23: 

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.