Saturday, January 4, 2014

What to do now and next

Hi! Sorry for not being around for a long while. I don't have any good excuse of how/why it happened like this other than to just note that I really really needed a break from this blog.

I have been blogging on and off (but mostly on) for over a decade now and (if you've never tried to before) it can be quite a lot of work getting in the habit, staying in the habit, and delivering fresh content. This is especially true for content specific or niche blogging (which is what I do here). After I finished my masters degree (about October/November time) I found that I really and truly needed a mental break from writing papers and doing research and trying to get back on the metaphorical horse after doing such an amazing amount of blogging last year was only harder because of the break that I needed. So? I took the break and that's why it's been so radio silent here.

So I'm back here today to post this but honestly? I don't know when I will be back again and I am still trying to pray about what to keep doing beyond me just feeling like I need to be still and focus on other things (than this blog). I find that by not blogging here, I am much more connected and present with my 5.5 year old daughter and husband and students. I am thinking a lot less about how to churn the life and art teaching on my everyday into blog content and more about just being fully present and focused. This year for the One Little Word campaign I decided on the word "treasure" and I think it's going to work much better than last year's word of "joy" because it's been a focus of mine most recently in what I do, how I do things, and how I regard things before me. I've become so much more aware of the need for me to have less of a life virtually and more of a life actually.

I have loved this blog so much but I really and truly feel like I will probably not return to the posting schedule I had last year because it made it really difficult for me to have the time and energy I now know I want to have for my family and my students and to serve my school community. Blogging so much also makes it difficult for me to create artwork for my own professional development. I haven't painted in months and having realized this I decided that I needed to change that by trying to do something of my own art creation because I was starting to feel stagnant.

I have never kept up with a sketchbook OR done watercolor painting in all of my life but I recently started to do both in an effort to get beyond my own prejudices and learn something new that I had previously been so staunchly against. I got a visual sketchbook for both myself and my daughter and we have been trying to do a page a night in our books with either ink and watercolor or just plain watercolor. We both have less than a half dozen finished pages but it's been amazing so far and I am amazed that I was ever so against daily art creation (like in a sketchbook or visual journaling) OR watercolor. I have been "doing it wrong" the whole time. Thankfully, I have seen the light.

A page I finished last evening in my journal after everyone in the house was sound asleep.
I know I don't want to abandon this blog but I also know that how I have done it in the past is not a way that I can keep doing it in the present or in the future. I have a lot of content on here and I am regularly getting unique hits because of people finding things I have archived in the way of art lesson project ideas. (I'm so glad that what I have shared continues to be so useful to others!) Still, well... maybe it's time for me to deliver less that ends up being much more because it has greater substance at least as it applies to what I originally create - either in my painted sketchbook or with my own explorations of the creative process, creative callings, or what I am learning about the art of teaching art.

In any case, I hope you all are doing well in your classrooms and with your own artwork. I have previously "preached" the importance of being an artist as being actively creating art pushing yourself to do better design and stretching your creativity. I think perhaps it's time for me to do that sort of thing rather than giving myself endlessly to the efforts of others, the development and understandings of their creative processes, and enabling them to create beautiful works of art. That's what I do every day and when I leave work, I need to do a better job of allowing myself the same sort of gift.

So, I'm not quitting this blog or even taking it offline in any way. It'll keep being here. I just might be here less often but perhaps at the same time with a more worthwhile presence.
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