Beth Markel

Squirrel! Shiny object! Squirrel!

Posted on June 23, 2022 by Beth Markel

It’s easy to become distracted when the weather is warm, the sky is a cloudless, summer blue, the birds are singing, and the flowers are in full bloom in Michigan. So many things to look at and do…SQUIRREL!

As a gardener from way, WAY back, helping my dad plant roses for my parent’s wedding anniversary every year, to trimming the Coral Bells and eventually harvesting tomatoes and Swiss chard, I would rather be outside than any place else this time of year. I have tomato plants, herbs, lettuce, sweet peppers, and pots and pots of annuals…but I still get up and sew every morning for at least 4-5 hours. I start the day watering and filling the Baltimore Oriol and hummingbird feeders, but immediately after coffee on the patio, I start sewing.  This “sewing first” has been my practice for many years now, but it also has to be a daily decision, especially when it’s easy to become distracted by the weeds that need attention, or the bright pink geraniums that need to be dead headed.

I have a feeling I’m not the only artist that struggles with time management and putting our art before the mundane of living and working, laundry, vacuuming, and even weeding. While all of the mundane has to be managed, I’ve become pretty good at throwing laundry in the washer, then skipping downstairs to sew. A couple of hours later when I take a break, the laundry gets tossed in the dryer. Multi-taking for everybody! I’ve discovered the great rewards of both Crock Pot and Instapot meals, which can bubble and stew all day while I’m sewing. Running the vacuum happens every Monday morning for 20 minutes before I turn my sewing machine on. What works for you?

As artists, we all have to determine our priorities, but there is joy, growth, struggle, and learning when we prioritize our art. Make the daily decision to prioritize your creativity and art! You’re worth it.

Following up with that, this is a series I started last autumn called “Jazz” which I’ve broken down into Jazz 101, Jazz 102… and Jazz 202 which I just finished today. One of the things I see emerging in this series is the importance of the rich black moving from background to quite distinct shapes that become the composition. This is really surprising to me, especially as I started out using the black as a background for the bright shapes and colors. Does anybody else notice the changing strength of the background becoming the interesting shapes?

Jazz 101
Jazz 102
Jazz 103
Jazz 104
Jazz 201
Jazz 202

Make something beautiful today!





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