Motherhood & Self-Care

While this post may seem second nature, or even uncouth to many, it is my truth. I have always struggled with my own personal self-care. Especially since becoming a mother. It has become challenging to find the time to do what I need to as an individual. Truth be told, that’s actually really difficult for me to admit, because I love the appearance of having it all together and being in control of me and my life (Spoiler alert: I’m not at all in control of myself). While I have my house cleaned, my children fed, the dog run regularly, and work managed, (Double spoiler alert, this is not as realistic as I plan it to be) I almost always forget to put myself into the mix.

I fondly remember the days of 1.5 hour Bikram Yoga, weeks planning and perfecting a new recipe before presenting it to longing tastebuds, or countless hours holing myself up in the studio to create the perfect print with an artistic viewpoint that could be understood and argued over an evening of academic discourse.

However, as much as I try to fight the reality, my life has changed. I love, cherish, and dote upon my children, my husband, and my life as I know it. But I often find myself wondering what would become of me as a creative being if my circumstance had been different.

While I can never look back, I can only hope to recreate my inner self in the now. With real life and the glamours of artistic freedom becoming ever placed on the back burner of my mind in my ever expansive to-do list of motherhood/adulthood, I struggle to find the time to do what I need to do in order to release the creative beast within myself and fill that expanding hole of self expression and recollection. Sure, I work hard to create an exciting meal plan each week which might feature some seasonal ingredients that my kids will fight about eating. I try to give myself an extra half an hour each day after everyone is asleep to practice solid meditation and Youtube yoga (with ample interruptions from children and dog to make the session just not relaxing enough to actually “count”). But at the end of the day, week, month, year; what am I really looking at in terms of measurements for the time I spend for me?

I feel myself dwindling away year after year, and wondering if that is the normal when you reach middle age, specifically after childbearing years? Has my life really become that in which I strive to support others to the point of breaking my own existence? Is is worth letting that brilliant creative light die out in order to hope that my own future generations might have a better life and chance at creating something different? Or rather, is it worth me trying to exercise my own voice to try and create some change as is fit in my artistic realm? Is it worth trying to plan out my days to carve out a space to say what I feel I need to say on this Earth while my hands and mind allow for me to create the pieces that I find in my mind? Realistically, how does one balance time between exploring individuality and the selflessness that motherhood and wife-dom demand?

Clearly, I’m still struggling with that time management issue, but I’ll be damned if I don’t go out without a fight. I know that my creative energy is strong, and that I have many more series to produce before my time is done (even though I struggle with the mid life crisis mindset). Although when I can say that those finalized pieces will be produced, I know not when; But that they will be completed.

Year in Musical Review (2018)

Let’s start 2019 off with a bang! It’s that time of year again where I release my annual playlist comprising the songs that have accurately reflected my situations, emotions, and overall adventures throughout the year. I hope they are received with criticism, intrigue, and excitement as I release this mix upon the world in a way of expression for the personal experiences I have had throughout the year.

2019 Playlist

As always, I begin this musical journey on New Year’s Day and plan to capture the year as events take place then add songs to the list in real time. I find such a beautiful variety of music that speaks to my soul in its current state, add it into the mix, then spend the next eleven months reflecting on that choice. My husband and children are subject to listening to the same songs on repeat as I carefully consider each piece with its beat, emotional tone, and subject matter in order to determine in November if that song does, in fact, reflect the exact moment I was attempting to capture (while generally trying to cut the count down to under 40 songs, or more ideally, the amount that would fit within a reasonable listening experience, roughly 2-3 hours). Think of each song as a photograph that can only be viewed through an auditory lens, but one that has been carefully contracted in the heat of the moment. Further, upon careful scrutiny I decide if that song invokes the same emotional response within myself, and even further, if I can explain the situation to an outsider (or one with a deep understanding of the specific moment) and they are able to feel what I felt or what I was trying to convey via the song, it becomes a success to me.

Throughout December, once final culling efforts have been made, I determine the very specific arrangement for the full “album”, if you will, as I spend hours listening to the mix; changing the order of the songs and really experiencing the transition to determine if they flow well together and create a vivid story.

This year was a doozy, to say the least. As I have become more serious about and chose to spend significant time honing this new craft of mix-tape making, I feel very proud of the past three mixes in particular (circa 2016+). I feel as though this mix truly exemplifies my year better, as I have said each successive year past, than any other diary of sorts could and in a way that is accessible to others.

I considered writing a brief response to my thought process behind each song, but frankly I detest blog posts which are long-winded and redundant (although, this one is already bordering on wordy, I recognize). I truly am an open book, and if further clarification is necessary, I am happy to oblige the reasoning behind each song, but my hope is that they make sense on their own and can illicit an emotional journey within the listener regardless of the knowledge of my past year’s experiences.

I will also add that I have begun including one song from each member of my immediate family as a way for them to be included since they listen to the mix so much! (Titus: Far East Movement - Like A G6, Zoey [dog]: Billy Joel - Allentown, Dan: Mumford & Sons - Guiding Light, Evelyn: The Avett Brothers - Kick Drum Heart, Juliana: Jain - Makeba)

By nature, I am a dichotomy. Specifically as it relates to this medium, I feel as though I am equally an open book, and also a very closed off and private person who likes to keep many details of significant moments of my life to myself and those who experience them with me. I hope you enjoy the reflection, if you choose to listen to it, and thank you for taking the time to read this post! For further listening of my past mixes, you can check out this post.

My Musical Meandering of 2017

Ever since 2012 I have taken each year to gather my thoughts by representing my emotions and life situations through music. I collect various songs that speak to my soul at any given time throughout the year, listen to the playlist in progress and edit out anything that feels irrelevant. From December 26-31 I listen to the final cut and continue to rearrange the songs until they achieve the flow I'm seeking emotionally as well as tonally in a manner that I feel best represents the biggest highlights of my year. I'm very proud of last year's mix, and so, would like to present my 2017 Compilation

here.

This past year started out as a difficult one, became very loving, and ended on a sweet note. January and February found me in a complicated relationship which I doubted would last much longer. Luckily through a lot of hard work and introspection on both sides, my marriage has become stronger now than it ever has been. Lots of love has brought me a new sweet baby and deeper relationships with my other two children. My year ended with happy and mellow feelings surrounding me as well as excitement for what lies ahead in 2018.

To understand a taste of my adult life as an artist and the progression of my own musicality, following are my past 'year in review playlists'. They are deeply dear to me and I listen to them fondly as a sort of annual journal for myself:

2016 Compilation

2015 Compilation

2014 Compilation

2013 Compilation

Traditionalist Entering A Digital Age

I'm currently taking a Web Media class where I explore and disseminate what "internet art" is, look back through its history, learn some very basic coding, and how art is shared (for better or worse) through various social media platforms.

I have been working with different types of "glitch art" where I try to forcibly break images to create new pieces of work, as well as different digital painting techniques to alter my own photographs as well as other found images, to be part of a fluid artistic community online.

Here are a few of my pieces from the past month where I have been exploring this very new and different medium, and attempt to find my place in this arena, and break out my own digital voice. This is definitely not my typical style, but it's been fun to explore different media and learn new ways of expression!

Wanderlust

Wanderlust

In a world where we are inundated with commercial stimuli telling us the next best thing to buy or do, a false ideal of how to become our best selves by searching out other things, we often forget to stop and enjoy our own journey. It's important to ponder the intervals along the way as much as the finished product (failed or otherwise), and to appreciate the transformation that occurs during various life processes.

I created this project using editing techniques coupled with infrared photography as a means to remind myself, as well as the viewer, to stop and enjoy the process of each new adventure. I spent some time exploring the woods of Eastern Pennsylvania, hiking alone with only my thoughts and my camera. I made a cognizant effort to slow down and appreciate little things in my surroundings as I reflected on the very hectic life events that were occurring simultaneously.

Read More

Tranquility through Time

With all of the hustle and bustle during daily life, it is difficult to take a moment to breathe in some fresh air and relax. Oftentimes people can get caught up in their normal routine of suburban lifestyle and an overcrowded workspace, that stress overcomes each of us. It is my goal to show that there are beautiful, peaceful places in abundance just within driving distance, outside of our everyday paths. I’d like to bring focus to the road less traveled in our own backyard.

I’d like for people of all backgrounds to see the wonder that I was able to experience firsthand and to become inspired by the intimate details within the natural landscape. The landscape is steadfast, however it changes gradually over time. Just as we humans go through our own growth, development, and breakdown through changes and weathering, so does the landscape around us.

This year, 2016, marks the centennial anniversary of the National Park Service. As a personal form of celebration for this great organization, I visited all of the NPS run locations throughout Utah throughout the year. I was fortunate enough trade in my cell phone and computer for hiking boots and a sleeping bag over the course of six months and experience Utah’s great outdoors at their finest. To hear the silence of the mountains and breathe in the fresh forest air are memories I will never forget, and I’m grateful that I was able to capture those brief moments in time through the lens of my camera.

Please take a moment to check out the new landscapes I have added to my portfolio from this series and let me know what you think!

New Adventures Await!

It is with a heavy heart that I write this post.

After almost eight years I bid farewell to Utah, a place that has truly become home to me. This past year, specifically, has been one of incredible growth, insight, and reflection. I have come to know and develop such strong bonds with people that I have no doubt will be lifelong friends. I have learned so much from some incredible mentors, and have come to understand so much more about art from everyone around me. For that I am exceedingly grateful.

I have spent this past summer travelling all over the state, having been given the incredible opportunity to experience the beauty and magnitude that the Great Basin area has to offer, and have noticed a marked improvement within my own artwork as a direct result of these trips, and the powerful emotions that have overcome me in such lovely places.

I will miss this place and my people here dearly.

I am also excited to see what the future holds in store for my artwork and for our family. We begin our move out to Virginia on Sunday morning, and although a very bittersweet change it will be, I look forward to what's ahead.

I will be documenting our trip as we travel through Yellowstone, Badlands, Mount Rushmore, and above the Northern rim of Lake Superior. I'll add the pictures to this post after we become settled in our new home within Waynesboro, VA.

Words cannot express my gratitude and appreciation for everyone who helped to shape and inspire me here in Utah. You will all remain in my hearts, and I will, undoubtedly, think of you often.

Website Launch!

Welcome to my professional website where I will share my artwork, and go through the different processes I use to create each piece. Thanks for taking the time to check out the different pages, and check back often as I will be updating the site regularly with new content, videos, tutorials, and blog posts about my work. I'm so excited to finally have a page up and running, and I'm excited to share it with you.