a little goes a long way

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been enjoying practicing yoga with Adriene, whose free videos I watch on Youtube. She often says “a little goes a long way.” It’s an encouragement to add yoga into your life, even if only in a small way.

I’ve been thinking about the idea of a little going a long way, not just in terms of yoga, but in all areas of life.

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hanging onto summer

Somehow September is here. Schools are back in session. It’s feeling more and more like fall. BUT, it’s technically still summer. And I want to hold onto summer as long as I can.

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growing inspiration: violas

In my first Growing Inspiration post I wrote about nasturtiums. If there’s a flower I’ve drawn and painted more than the nasturtium, it might be the viola.

They always have a place in my garden.

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A Garden with a Mind of Its Own, Inspiration in Decorah

At Seed Saver’s Exchange’s Heritage Farm there’s a garden beside the barn. A sign in the garden says it “has a mind of its own.”

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words of encouragement (a fun, quick project)

Although I said I’d planned a studio update for winter, I’ve been making small changes this summer. Painting furniture. Switching out my sewing table. Putting up shelves. My colorful bookshelf and sewing table make me happy each time I walk into the room and I love having shelves over my painting table.

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growing inspiration: nasturtiums

About this time of year when the garden is at its height I begin making notes for next year. What I want to grow more of. What I forgot to grow. What I’d like to try. Today I’m sharing the first of a series of posts about some of my favorite plants to grow (and paint). I’d love for you to join in and share some of your favorites, too.

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summer's wild abandon

I wrote that phrase in my journal this week to describe my garden, but I think it’s a good phrase to describe what I want life to be right now.

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Shake Things Up

I wrote the words “Shake Things Up” at the top of the page in my notebook this week. I’ve been working on a plan to reinvigorate my art-making as lately I’ve been feeling a bit off.

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soaking it up

I sit in the garden and watch the robins taking turns on the nest in the birch tree. The nest is perched in a crotch of branches high above my patio. It doesn’t look very secure, but I’ve watched it hold tight when its windy. One robin swoops to the branch and the other plunges away. A few minutes later they switch. And switch again.

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Rest, creative energy and art

Last week I wrote about how making time for doing nothing, for rest, and for savoring the joys of summer is important for well-being and creativity.

And then a funny thing happened.

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The Art of Doing Nothing

“Summer afternoon — summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”

—Henry James

Ah, summer. Here in Wisconsin summer is well and truly here.

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a bit of this and that, finding inspiration (and joy!) everywhere

I’ve been feeling so inspired lately. My garden is providing me with abundant painting ideas, but more than that, it seems everywhere I look I see beauty and find encouragement from people who are living authentic, creative lives.

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Why Joy?

I talk about JOY a lot. The word is up there in my logo. It write about JOY in my blog posts. I describe my paintings with the word and when you sign up for my newsletter I send you a set of Joy Lists as a thank you. On top of that, I call my newsletter a JOYLetter.

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In the Garden Lately

I’ve been spending as much time as possible in my garden.

The dogs love being outside, too. During the week Jude goes with Matthias to his shop and Charlie stays home with me until I need to leave for my job at the library.

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The Joy of Whirly Birds! (Maple Seeds)

All week long I’ve been painting whirly birds.* That’s what I used to call maple seeds when I was young.

At this time of year when the seeds come helicoptering to the ground it’s hard not to feel a surge of childlike joy. I walk around with my eyes to the ground trying to find the most interesting ones.

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Keep Going

This week I painted bleeding hearts with the paint I mixed last week.

It’s lovely to be working with flowers from the garden again. But it’s also been a bit frustrating trying to get back into a groove of art-making and gardening and all the other stuff that life demands.

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Lessons in Patience

It’s another rainy day today. Last week I wrote about making time for the garden, but since then I haven’t been able to spend much time outside. It’s been too wet and cold.

I’ve been thinking a lot about patience. I’d say I’m a fairly patient person.

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Around Here Lately

I haven’t yet gotten around to painting more tulips. I’ve been a little busy. But also standing firm against overwhelm. I’m determined to take my days slow and to enjoy the spring. Oh how I love this time of year. The relief from winter. Being able to play with flowers and dig in the dirt.

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Allowing Do-Overs

Over the past week I was painting tulips. I’ve painted tulips before. Even earlier this year from a grocery store bouquet.

This time I was so excited to be working on a painting with flowers from my garden. The first time this season.

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Slow Going (and that's ok)

I came back from a trip to Seattle at 2 am on Wednesday morning and since then I’d been struggling to get back into the swing of things.

That is, until I realized that I could let go of the pressure to do, do, do and give myself time to rest and readjust.

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