Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane, co-author Rainy Day Thought, where they write about ideas and creativity. Diane posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments, relating to the topic, are welcome as it turns an article into a discussion, but must be in English and not include profanity or threats.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

A catalyst

 by Rain Trueax

Spirit of Tatanka by Denton Lund - giclée

There might have been more divisive times in history-- we already know there have been, but they have not been in my lifetime. What has been going on felt bad when we were in Tucson; then, we had a little break (for us) as we drove north. Being on the road takes a person away from news or anything but road conditions and how the park will be for the night. 

Back up here, at first, there were things to get done-- sheep shearing, getting in the hay, concern over how low the creek is (lowest we have ever seen it in 40 years), family stuff-- and that all distracts from what is going on in the country.

Now though... Yeah, we can't avoid it and don't like it. So the question for here is-- what can we do about it? How do we take enough deep breaths to feel better even though stuff is happening we don't like. Frankly, that happens on either side of the partisan divide. 

 Turkeys on our place... look for the babies in the grass... notice how alert the mamas are. We have photos with more of the babies, as well as a video but needs editing

So one recommendation I have is-- bird watching. I know it seems like what good can that do? Well, it helps ground a person in another world. Birds are pretty. They have families and their own turf wars. Some migrate, which all on its own is an amazing thing to consider. Birds live in our world and yet are not of it. Watching them helps us move to another realm for that time-- very meditative.

I said I'd write about the quail but I have had something else going on-- finally got the next book started. I want to do more quail research when I write about them and all my research currently has been going into the next book.

Echoes of the Old Ones by Denton Lund-- giclée

If you write a series, and I've written a couple of them, you have to make sure the next book fits with the earlier ones. This is more of a problem when it's been a while between the books. I do create character notes and timelines for each book (always good but essential for a series). Sometimes, however, important aspects in the next book were not in the previous one. Of course, that can also make for more options in writing. I am running into that with the new book.

Writing a book is also a good way to distract from a world outside my own realm. I get into these fictional characters, and their problems are the ones I need to mull over in my mind. 

Frankly, what good does it do to mull over the world problems? How upset can I get at a new Supreme Court pick? Or what's going on down at the border? Or whether we have become more uncivil as a people? None that I can think of because there is nothing to vote on. I don't believe in demonstrating to stop traffic. I am up on writing letters or emails but not sure they change anything. In the end, the only thing we can really change is our own life-- sometimes. Oh, and me, I can change the book I am working on, at the whim of a copy, delete and paste :). Life isn't so handy.

So what can we do to make our own lives better? Well, in our case, we ordered some art. In Tucson, I had seen work by an artist whose spiritual symbolism I really liked, Denton Lund. I could not afford his work but then found he had licensed it for the giclée process through Great Big Canvas. I found the painting that I wanted there, at the price I could afford, and ordered it to come to the Oregon house where we would soon be and where I wanted to hang it as inspiration for my writing.

The thing was, when I got it, I was disappointed in the product. It left muddied areas and just wasn't like other giclées, I had bought. I looked at the original on Lund's site and felt that probably the problem was in the work that didn't lend itself well to this process. I privately messaged the company at Facebook because I felt it wasn't their fault but wanted them to know that this particular work wasn't what it should have been.

The reply was prompt and the lady could not have been nicer. We discussed what might've gone wrong. I said I didn't want to send it back as I still liked the subject. She said I could have a different one for just the cost of shipping minus or plus any difference in the cost of the two. 

Ranch Boss and I evaluated that possibility as there had been another one I liked a lot. I got back to her and we made the deal. When it arrived, I was thrilled with the result as the colors had the vibrancy the first lacked. It had totally worked with the process and was the inspiration I needed to decide which book to start next. It gave me the enthusiasm to start writing. 

Art can be a catalyst. When someone, like me, can't afford an original or it's already been sold (Lund's was both), a giclée can be the answer. I have bought others and always felt it provided the energy I wanted in my home because for me it's the subject more than any idea of an investment. In the case of the first one we'd bought, I think the colors can be enhanced as they were in the photograph at the top. I want to be careful though that I don't do anything to lose what the original had for energy.

My take on what to do when times seem dark-- bird watch, do something creative, and/or use art as inspiration. Just study it. Let it soak in. Forget what didn't work so well in the outer world. I've always found I can afford to take off some time from the upset. It'll still be there when I come up for air. 

What do you do to keep your own life healthy when the outer world seems anything but?


Diane Widler Wenzel said...

What works for you as an author of novels is parallel to what I do as a painter. I like to escape into a period where I paint. Or every day I look at nature. This time of year I enjoy the blue birds splashing in our bird bath and the swallows flying for insects at night. My mind is constantly distracted by what I see outdoors inspiring me to paint. I look at other art work once in awhile for inspiration but also literature. My favorite is MINK RIVER by Doyle. Thursday, Friday, Saturday I took a workshop from Ruth Arnmitage at her home on a working ranch similar to yours. I wrote a post for this Wednesday focusing on what I got out of the workshop.
Rain, I think you would like to take a workshop from Ruth and you may learn you idea that you can't paint anymore maybe wrong. The medium was unimportant and all that we did could be applied to a computer painting apt.

Joared said...

We all need to have escapes from life’s realities, I think. That’s certainly true now as it’s easy for some to feel overwhelmed. As distressing as we may experience circumstances, recognizing what we can directly effect, and what not, is important for retaining some semblance of sanity. I think engaging in an activity in which we can lose ourselves, that likely differs for each of us, and may vary from time to time is an important coping mechanism.

Rain Trueax said...

I might paint again someday, Diane. It got complicated by my tremors. Digital painting worked better because a jerk could be instantly erased-- with a brush full of paint, not so much. lol. I have heard that marijuana can help with the tremors but I haven't tried it enough to know if it could do it without other things I'd not like.

I think the key to coping is that finding something that not only makes us feel better but takes us elsewhere for a time like Joared said.