Sunday, September 28, 2014

Different kinds of perfectionism, and some da Vinci botanicals

I have a friend who is fighting chronic Lyme disease. Because Lyme bacteria don't like heat, one of her treatments is sitting in an infrared sauna, which kills off  Lyme in her muscle tissue. But the bacteria are tricky. During a sauna treatment, some of them flee her muscles and move to other parts of her body, such as the joints in her hands, causing inflammation there for awhile. I feel as if something like that has been happening with my barely conscious, all-or-nothing, chaos-causing perfectionism as it has given way to simple housekeeping habits that gradually bring order. As the perfectionism has been driven out of my housekeeping, it has been showing up in my spiritual life, for a time unrecognized.

Alongside my pleasure in maintaining an outwardly more ordered life has been a growing feeling of disorientation and disconnection from God and a nagging, guilty sense of neglecting some unknown but crucial spiritual duty. My regular Christian practices of simple, trustful prayer, scripture meditation and church participation have seemed shriveled and inadequate next to the grandiose phantasm of a great, unknown thing that I'm somehow supposed to be doing to relate to God. But God kindly spoke to me about it, I believe, suddenly, unexpectedly and clearly in my mind--not in words but in a rapid series of concepts and images. The phantasm was dismissed and explained. I saw that it was what Christians call a temptation. I saw quite vividly that my small, imperfect prayers and devotion are welcomed. I felt simply and directly that true thing: I am loved by God.

Below are some botanical studies by Leonardo da Vinci. These drawings are some of my very favorite pieces of art in the whole world.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Ready for good paper

I sat outside in the afternoon sun today and outlined my design in very soft, dark pencil. I will rub the design onto watercolor paper tomorrow, I hope. 

As I was finishing up, my five-year-old neighbor walked over and watched me with a serious, focussed expression. She is a sturdy little girl, tall for her age with very fine, floaty, white-blonde hair. She was wearing cowboy boots. "I want to learn how to draw careful," she said. I expect I'll give her a lesson or two in drawing careful someday.

Friday, September 12, 2014

A work in progress

I've been brooding over this sketch for, I think, about two years.

I sat down yesterday and plotted out a design I feel really good about. 

I got a lot more done today (sorry, no photos). After I get the design completely figured out, I'm going to transfer it to Arches hot-pressed watercolor paper and finish it in colored pencil and watercolor.

The Flylady is making it all possible. As I follow her instructions day by day, space is opening up in my home and in my time. If you struggle with disorganization and feel overwhelmed with your life, check out her website and follow her babysteps exactly. (I do mean exactly. I've tried to just do it my own way and it didn't work well for very long.) Since I committed, out of desperation, to following her directions as carefully as I could, I feel that I am entering a completely new phase in my life.