What makes a good afternoon? Sunny yet mild weather. Spending time outside at school and neighborhood playgrounds watching my kids play while I draw and paint things that I see. Coming prepared with plenty of water and apples and swimsuits so they could play in the sprinklers. At one point Alex handed me a leaf and asked me to draw it for her and then ran off. If this is what summer is going to be like I am so ready! My day bag is packed with all my minimal necessities and I am ready to go.
We came home from our vacation a day early so we would all have more time to recover before school, work, travel and chores take over our lives again. That is one of the advantages of driving. It paid off and I have a plan to take off running in the studio on Monday with no pressure on myself to do anything other than draw in my sketchbook before my core hours start. Then come Monday after getting the girls to school I will be on the clock working. It will be a week of streamlined schedules and hopefully learning how to be more efficient as a family and as an artist. Making time work for me instead of against me.
- Wakeup 6am to beat Charlotte
- Morning Pages + Blog
- Light Breakfast
- School Drop Off*
- Core Hours 10 - 12
- Lunch + Social Media
- Preschool Pickup
- Play or nap
- Alex Pickup
- Girls' Bedtime 8:30
- Read, draw and relax
- Bed by 10pm
Vacation week is over and the kids are back as school and I need to get back into my regular routine. The routine that I just started just this month when the youngest started preschool mid-year. Yeah, that routine. Break wasn't awful, it was actually a lot of fun at times despite some pretty poor weather. But it had some really hard moments, especially during the last day and a half when the kids were exhausted, I was exhausted and we were just done with each other. The weekend was a time to recharge for the week of dropoffs, pickups and afterschool lessons. And time for me to get to work and get to printing. I finished carving the block I have been working on since November and I will be ready to print once I have my paper torn to size. Probably my least favorite part of the art making process. I make a day of it and do it all in one big chunk so I don't have to do it again for many months.
As we finish up our second week having the girls in neighboring schools I am able to step back and get an impression of how it's going. It is going fabulous, better than I ever anticipated. Montessori school is a perfect fit for my youngest child and we love her class and she skips in most days. I am getting more time with big sister and feeling more of a connection with her and with her school by taking care of her drop offs in the morning and Jon is getting to the T faster. It's so bitter cold that we have been driving to school which I don't love. But I do love that the preschool has an actual parking lot and that I am usually home and ready to work by around nine. Pickup isn't until one for the little one. That is a lot of hours to get stuff done. And I am getting stuff done. I can't help it. Even when I waste time I am just not capable of wasting that many hours four days a week. Things are happening. I am gearing up for an exciting spring.
This morning exploded on us with big kid waking up with a twisted foot and a rash all over her body. Turns out letting her sleep in a new nightgown without washing it first was a very bad idea. At least she wasn't contagious and was able to return to school and not miss her field trip. But with doctors appointments and running around getting medicine there went my morning to do list. So I threw it out the window and enjoyed the rest of a gorgeous day with my little girl. What started out as a rainy day turned into a sunshine filled gloriously warm fall day. We went for a bike ride around our neighborhood and split some delicious thai noodles at our favorite playground and had a really fun day. I adapted and am now using my evening and tomorrow to catch up on what I missed on my to-do list this morning. It's all going to be okay.
For the past year or two I have been on a slow journey with minimalism. My free time is very limited so it can be difficult to have big purges but I do what I can whenever I have a free moment along the way. Just getting rid of a few items a week on a regular basis can make a huge difference over time. Then I spend less time cleaning and organizing and more time working and having fun with my family. Our main focus with minimalism is to not accumulate more items without careful consideration. Slowing down the consumption and going without has made a big difference. For our family it is all about finding what each member likes best and uses most and focusing on those items and getting rid of and avoiding the rest.
This philosophy of finding out what I enjoy working with as an artist and getting rid of the extra can be challenging to implement. Living a life of minimalism as an artist offers some special challenges. It is all too easy to collect and hoard various art supplies and justify it saying that it could be just what I need for some later project so I have to keep it around. My small studio starts to fill up with junk rather quickly and then when I need to do work I find it challenging. Now I purge supplies and donate them to my daughter's school on a regular basis. I figure they can put the random art supplies that I have collected over the years to better use than I can. And I still have plenty of materials to draw inspiration from and use in various projects, but without the clutter. Messy does not work very well in a small space.
Sewing machine I am looking at you and giving you the stink eye.