Hello from snowy Juneau! Although I suppose I had better say icy Juneau, because we have been in this dance of snow, turning to rain, turning to ice…but that’s the nature of January in Juneau! That’s why we have X-tra Tuffs, metal-grated stairs, and studded tires. You can tell which kids have grown up here because they know how to run on ice.
But enough of that! I want to talk about the past few days and some things I’ve been pondering. After a week of house sitting, it has felt so good to be back in my little house and have time to devote to studio and just being at home. I’ve been flipping through cookbooks and planning my meals, actually going to the grocery store with a list instead of a ravenous appetite, and spending lots of good time in studio. And these are the moments of daily life which I’ve been pondering: the creative process, and why simple food (and cooking it myself) is so deeply satisfying.
Firstly, let’s talk about creativity. Last week, for four or five days, my studio time consisted mostly of me adding a few lines to a piece or flipping through more collage materials, and then sitting. And staring. And thinking. For a long time. This was mostly because I was running on very little sleep, and my creative energy typically parallels my physical energy. However, with a show coming up, I needed to be doing something in studio. And this is one of the lessons I have learned with art-making: sometimes you just need to let things marinate. To devote time to thinking about the work, imagining if you painted something here, or added a drawn element there. Sometimes it’s flipping through images that inspire you, sometimes is journaling about your concept – but all of this is better than making a haphazard or arbitrary decision. Yes, there are times were you need to push through a block, but I believe it should come from a place of intention and/or intuition.
This thought led me to consider the fact that in any given piece or series that I work on, there is a natural balance, an ebb and flow between reflection and physical output on the work. And when I expand that to my life as an artist, I can realize and accept that there will be (and have been) seasons in my life that are more creative and some that are more reflective, but I’m never “done” with my creative life until I die, because as an artist my ideas feed into one another and build and develop and expand in this way.
I then had a thought: if this is how I feel towards my art, the body of work which I am continuing to create, then are we not the same way? We talk about our creation in the past tense, like it happened once at the moment we came into being. I’d like to challenge that our creation is ongoing – are we not daily affected by the way we choose to respond to our lives? As a Catholic, I believe we are created by the Artist Himself, and it’s not “created” in the past tense. We are being created, and he gives us the ability to respond to and participate in his work in us. In this way, we become newer every day that we live.
So the creative process was one point – let’s talk about food, shall we? I think the best way I can express why I love simple, honest food is to describe my breakfast experience to you:
I woke at 6:25, just before my alarm. I love waking up early, before the sun rises (which isn’t hard to do in Juneau wintertime, but never mind that) because I feel like the world is still asleep. The early morning quiet seems deeper and more peaceful than any other time of day. I made my way to the kitchen and started water on the stove, grabbing a heavy, handmade mug. In a bowl I prepared banana oatmeal with cinnamon. I grabbed some Greek yogurt from the fridge. With the water almost boiling, I scooped out my coffee into a filter and made my make-shift pour-over coffee, hot and strong. With a dash of cream, it’s bliss. I stirred a spoonful of smooth peanut butter into my creamy oatmeal and a spoonful of wild blueberry jam into my yogurt and let myself wake up slowly in the early morning.
Having food that is honest, straightforward, and healthy makes me so happy. I feel good eating it. I love taking the time to make something, or even just taking the time to sit down to breakfast. It’s kind of a signal to myself, this is your home, this is your life – this is a moment in the day to be nourished. Sometimes we are the only ones who can take care of ourselves – cooking helps me do this.
Wow I can’t believe the time that’s passed just now – I need to go to bed! In case you were wondering, I’m planning on a banana smoothie for breakfast 😉