I have had so much on my mind lately. Our recent move from San Diego to Austin has presented it self to be more challenging than expected. Basically I think we are grieving the loss of San Diego in our lives. Literally grief. We never realized how much of our day to day lifestyle would change from not being in the sun and outside everyday, for the kids this was an all day happening. They had school outside a lot. We miss some relationships that we made. We did not have an abundance of a community of people that we hung out with and lived life together, like we have had in the past, but we had some special friends. To be honest while we lived in San Diego it never really felt like home. But that is what has shaken us since the move is realizing that it felt more like home than we realized. Things were familiar and predictable. We wore the same clothes all year, there was no winter wardrobe. We had our favorite restaurants thad we like to go to with friends. Our favorite parks, favorite beaches, favorite places to bike and run, and favorite drives up the coast. We could go to LA to the Getty spur of the moment or go to Yosemite last minute to camp for a few days. My kids went to a school that was absolutly incredible. The teachers loved my kids, truly loved them and I will never forget the tears shed by their teachers the last day of school for my kids. My brain just can not turn off. I think of all of this but I know that it was time for us to leave there. God truly opened obvious doors for us to come to Austin. I know it with all my heart. I am excited to live here, but things are not familiar yet. Staring over is hard. Making friends again is hard, but I can say that I feel like I have friendships here already that bless my life. I have lived a lot of places and I know that all will come in time. I also know that wherever I have lived I long for "home" from some of the places that I have lived before. When I lived in California, I LONGED for the south. I missed so much about the south, but I also enjoyed the place of San Diego everyday, the physical place. I think I have a fear that no place will ever feel like home. Questions like will we keep moving, will we live somewhere more than 3 years, will we have roots somewhere, what part of town will we settle? are always on my mind right now. I also know that my earthly home will always be temporary, my eternal home in heaven are those deep longings that I feel, but I still want things to feel like home here. I question a lot now what does home look like here now, my perspective might be changing, maybe, painfully in some ways changing. I think of what home felt like as a kid. Im thankful I grew up in a loving nurturing home where I felt loved. I loved being at home. I loved the security I felt as a kid. Im sure thats how my kids feel. But as a grown up now, I don't feel so rooted like I did as a kid. All of this creates tension in my life and as hard as this tension is I know I need tension there. I need tension. i really do need it. In California, the tension in some ways was low. The glorious sun was medicating me and numbing me. I don't means this in a negative way. I am thankful for that sun, it was used in a lot of ways of a means of God's grace to me, healing. It made me feel so good, everyday, but also masked a lot of my problems. Whenever I felt down, I could just go sit outside and I would feel better. I didnt deal with a lot of tensions. i just sat in the sun a lot :)
Now, how this effects my creative process and painting. I have always know this, but I know it more now than ever, there is no part in my life compartmentalized. My personal life, creative life, physical life, emotional life, relational life, spiritual life, they are all wrapped up into one and there is very little dividing them. So it is no suprise with the tension I have felt, they would take life in my paintings. My interests in painting landscapes, particularly sunsets sparked from leaving San Diego. The longing to see the sun and the colors that it makes there is still gut wrenching but special at the same time. I am more aware now that the land, the sea, the sky, physical properties are what spark my creativity and senses. Having lived in a sun drenched place, it literally absorbed part of my brain, now that light filters into my paintings. The smells, the way the sand felt at night vs. the day, the warm dry air, the dusty trails, the sound of the ocean, the vibrant sky, the sound of palm trees in my front yard blowing in the breeze. Now here in Austin, the green that wasn't in California, the smell of grass, more subtle, misty hazy sunsets and sunrises, the smell of barbecue everywhere:) the way water runs through rocks, peaceful acres of land, rivers. Literally as I write this my heart skips a beat thinkng of all of these things. I have realzed a lot recently the way I paint is sort of how I approach life and how life feels at times, particularly with landscapes. Whenever I start a landscape I have a tiny pit in my stomach. I know how I want to start but everytime a painting turns out differently than I expected. They have some of the elements that I intended, but then it turns out different. That's life. I paint thick, scrape the paint, over work the canvas and then paint over it again. There's a tension on my canvas, a tension in my process. That's life. I'm generally a tidy person, but not my studio. When I paint a painting, I leave all my paint out with all the caps off so I can quickly get a color, I rarely clean my palette between paintings because I like to built on previous colors I used. This process is messy. That's life. The colors that I scrape off of my canvas then blend together are a surprise, I don't see them coming, you can't find that color in a Pantone book, it happened because of tension. That's life. Then the new flecks of color on top of all that tension. Wow, didn't see that coming either. There was beauty that came out of all of this process. The beauty came from the wrestling, the tension, frustration, stress, anxiety, and starting things over. It's messy and lovely at times too. I want my work to reflect beauty that comes out of that tension and Im thankful now more than ever that God gave painting to me to teach me so much about life.