My SIL has been on a journey this year to live a mindful life. (You can check out here blog here.) This month she has been exploring the idea of simplifying. This is a theme that I would say has, in various ways, been a major part of my personality my entire life. In high school, I was the super organized girl. I've always lived by the de-clutter approach. I love organization and clean lines. I am constantly going through our home to see what we can donate. Use it or lose it!
So, as I read over Meg's blog posts this month, I tried to decide what else I could do to simplify. The thing that hit me first was how many books we have in our home. Now, I LOVE books and so does Patrick. We've built a lot of our lives around our love of books and reading. It has provided us with food on our table and a house. It even brought us together. But...but...do we really need SO many books? We both read 90% on our tablets, not hard copy. Would we ever really get to the hard copy books on the shelf? I went about clearing out as many books as I could stomach. Patrick also went through his collection. We loaded up a trip a few weeks back and got a few dollars for them. This past weekend, we loaded up half of the Jeep full and headed to Half Price. We faired much better this go round.
The second part of this exercise was to turn this simplification into something that we could do together. A way to reconnect and be still. We took the money we made from the books and purchased some art supplies. This past Saturday night, we sat in the dining room and painted water colors. Artists we are not, well not painting artists. But, it was the experience. Clearing out some room in our house, sending materials we weren't using on to new homes, and sitting in a quiet moment with the person I love the most in the world and doing a creative activity together. We slowed things down and had some fun along the way.
Patrick didn't want to share his art, but I thought I'd toss up a photo of my Red Flower. After pencil drawing a flower shape, I painted the background with water, then blue. I put salt on parts of the blue (the technique we did in this month's library art class) to get the textured technique. I went about applying color to the flower petals. Ugh. It wasn't working so out of frustration, I swirled all of my paints on my plastic palette with water and tossed it in the general flower area. I then dabbed at it with a paper towel. Then, I took a super thin brush and payne's grey and drew in the petal outlines. Finally, I added the brown center and then flicked some yellow dots onto the overall painting. It fits great into one of the yellow mats from another painting. All in all, I was pretty happy with my first attempt without a teacher providing the content idea and step-by-step instructions. I do find it funny that in my artwork I found going crazy and outside the lines was more my style!
Now that I have these art supplies at home, I hope to do a few painting sessions a month. I find it so relaxing and it uses a different part of my brain than my fiber arts do. I am trying to come up with a mixed media concept where I can embed some yarn into a water color. In between art sessions, I'll be moving on to cleaning out more closets and (the big chore of the summer) the dreaded garage! How do you simplify?