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I've Caught A Bug

The last thing I need are distractions. I have at least three books I want to get published by May and neither one of them is as far along as I had hoped for by this date. I also have 69 more map quest hikes to do by the end of the year. There is plenty of time for hiking but the book deadline is fast approaching. I am the only one to blame. I have caught a bug - actually three bugs.

A regular cold in January then Covid in February foiled any attempt at making progress on either of my goals. But now that my health is back on track I have been spending hours in the creative studio, making cards, and painting. Cards I can do and if you need a greeting card for a special person, jump on over to my site to check out my latest designs or order a custom one.

Painting is not something I know how to do, but last year a powerful urge to paint consumed me. Sure, I am creative, but as Shutlz used to say, "I know nothing" - in my case - about the fine art of painting. I know my colors and that's about it. Being the fool that I am, I invested a small savings setting up an art studio in our finished basement that is also my crafting area, writing area, gear corner, and visiter center. I call it the Bear's Den. I bought paints, stands, brushes, paper, canvases in all sorts of sizes, and a bunch of other stuff I thought I needed. I even took a class with a local artist which I haven't finished yet. I am working on a lemon. Thanks Jeremiah for your patience.

I dabbled with a few pieces last summer, most of which I repainted. But now that the first two bugs have been squelched, the creative painting bug as infected me. I dream about colors and techniques. I watch videos when I should be sleeping. I mix paints just for fun when I should be cleaning the house or writing. I have tried a few more pieces which are works in progress. Take a look-see. I enjoy the abstract more so than the detail. I am not patience enough to do detail. That's why my poorly done mountain scene has had unfinished for months.

Only two out of the several I have worked on so far encourage me to keep going and that I didn't waste all that money on a studio and supplies. They aren't complete either, but I at least like them, unlike my lemon that is still at the studio waiting for my return seeking Jeremiah's expertise.

This is a coaster that needs something. I don't know what but I know I will figure it out. For some reason I think it's cool. Is it a flower or a sunburst? I like the uncertainty.

I really like this one. It did not start out to be a ship in the ocean. It was a complete surprise to me and that was so much fun. I only wish I had painted it on a canvas instead of practice paper. I am going to frame this beginning piece. Who knows, maybe it will become a collectible - at least in my dreams. Maybe I should put it up for auction. Who wants to start the bidding?

While I have no clue what I am doing, I don't think this newest endeavor will fade from my interest. In the short time of testing the artist waters, I have learned so much already. I thought hiking the Appalachian Trail taught me a lot about myself, who knew there was more to discover? I never realized I was so dumb. Hush! No comment from the peanut gallery - you know who you are.

The AT taught me a lot about patience. I am a do it now, get' er done type of person - when I am not procrastinating. Don't you dare be thirty seconds late because I have shown up fifteen minutes early. Wait, I can't hike, the shuttle doesn't leave that early. How many are waiting for the shower? I'll skip it. Patience is a an important skill needed to hike a long-trail as well as a life-skill. Things don't always go as planned due to circumstances a hiker can't control. I thought I grew in that department after two successful AT thru-hikes.

I guess not! Welcome to the world of painting. What, I can't finish a painting in four minutes like the YouTube artist did? Oh, I have to let the paint dry before continuing to the next step? I want to do it now! I only have about twenty minutes while Ziggy naps. Let's just do it now!!! With that attitude all I was painting was mud. I felt like I was hiking in Vermont. For those that don't know - Vermont is nicknamed Ver-mud in the AT community.

While I may not like the outcome of what I am working on - which is a direct correlation to my lack of patience - I expect to be an expert after three lessons, no, make that after one lesson - I am in love with the process. I have a well stocked kit of self-therapy techniques - prayer, spending time with Bruce, loving on Ziggy, hiking, and now painting. I can go from calm while mixing colors to a little testy because what I envisioned is not what ended up on the canvas, back to calm as I remind myself to be patient. Yes, it does work. I think it is retraining my brain.

It's kind of like what I learned in a dog reactivity training course. Ziggy hates fast, loud moving anything. He goes nuts-O. The trainer said we need to retrain his brain to not freak-out. It's not like he is conscious of it. It's like someone being afraid of heights. They can't control their emotional response. The same is with Ziggy. But we are working on changing that conditioned emotional response to his triggers.

Hiking does it for me and now I am learning that painting is also. Because, I cannot always hike the way I want and I definitely am not at the level - if every will be - where I can paint something with a glorious outcome. But with both, I can enjoy the process and the journey.

Today's take-away. Try something new and enjoy the journey.

Happy Hiking.


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