Turning Fiddy

I turned 50 this year. Well, I like to say I turned fiddy as that sounds much less AARPish than “FIFTY!!” I’ve been thinking a lot about what that means for me, for my family, for my peers.

I am proudly part of the cynical, sarcastic GenX generation. We were kids in the 70s and early 80s. On Amazon Prime/Netflix, my peers are Paige in The Americans and Lorelei Gilmore (the second one). I used to go to my friends’ houses by walking or riding my bike. Long distance phone calls cost a lot of money. There were maybe four TV stations. I rode the school bus and had no after school activities, other than occasional Girl Scout meetings. I was part of the first wave of “latch key” kids because my Mum began working full time when I was about ten or so.

I had access to a suburban U.S., middle class white girl’s generally typical childhood. With two notable exceptions:

  • I was (and am) an artist, and
  • I am an immigrant, now naturalized citizen.

I’m going to start writing more about turning 50 because for whatever somewhat random math reason, it’s a milestone number and that has an effect on how we approach the world. Well, at least for me it does. Maybe it’s just me? I’ll post here and on my blog. If you want to follow along look for #SarahFiddy

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New horizons in "What 3 Colors Bring You Joy?" (literally), Part I (from August 11, 2018)

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you know that watercolor landscapes have entered into the What 3 Colors Bring You Joy? series--although now that's called What 3 (Landscape) Colors Bring You Joy?

How did that happen?

The summer road trip my husband and I took was a great adventure for us and changed my paintings, at least for now. I’m still painting What 3 Colors Bring You Joy?—but now I’m playing with 3 color landscapes.

I love living in Seattle but hadn’t yet visited much of the rest of the state. Back in June, we decided rather last minute to go on a road trip around Washington state. The drive was gorgeous. If you haven’t been to Washington state, there are all sorts of climates to experience--from Alpines, like Switzerland, to temperate rain forests, to high deserts like New Mexico, forests, farms, canyons, and on and on. And it’s all beautiful.

As we drove past all these scenes, my desire to return to landscape painting grew. By the fourth day of trying (and failing) to paint the scenery with my Fluid Acrylics, I knew I had to make a change. To get the paintings to come out the way I wanted, to my surprise, I realized I needed to go back to my old friend—watercolors.

Okay, I'll pause there. More on that story in my next blog!

And remember, wherever you go this week, be sure to look for joy. It's there. I promise.

("You Matter," the painting below, is On Reserve.)

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Creating art vs. rendering (from July 31, 2018)

“Making art is not simply rendering.”
—Barbara Earl Thomas

I was lucky enough to hear Barbara Earl Thomas talk about the intersection of her work as a museum director and her process as an artist recently. There was so much that resonated for me, particularly this—that as an artist my job is not to render. Rendering is not making art.

What that meant to me is that my job is to bring myself, my own reality to what I am seeing, thinking, feeling, and or experiencing to what I create.

Photos and copying machines do a better job at rendering than I ever could. And replicating what is seen, for me, is not the point of what I do.

I want to communicate with you, to share with you.

And so I change the reality of what I see when I make art. I am doing the work, the labor of making something that never existed before, because until I made it—without me—it *cannot* exist.

I am curious about how what I make affects YOU—what do YOU see, what do YOU think, what do YOU feel—when you see my work? What does it evoke for you? I most want you to feel lighter, to feel joy, to have some respite. It may not always do that but that’s what I want...more joy for you.

I want to show you my process, so you can see the choices I made and how they differ from the source photo--and get some insight into the enormous number of decisions that goes into each work. I normally would shy from showing you the source, because what I painted is different. But a life without taking chances is far less interesting.

So here we go. On the left, the inspiration photos. Then, on the right, the paintings.

Take gentle care of yourself. Look for joy. I promise it is there.

Inspiration_Landscapes_July_2018_WEB.jpeg

Time to rest and create some joy...how about you? (from May 21, 2018)

It's been a busy year of making Joy in the studio! Five solo shows (four of them with totally new paintings), painting and posting (just about) every day since January 1, and creating several beautiful commissioned works. It's been glorious and so much fun!

Now that the shows are wrapped, I'm catching up a bit and looking at what's ahead. I posted a lot of new art on Instagram and Facebook yesterday as I had taken a much-needed breather for a few days. For me, that's meant catching up on sleep, baking, visiting with friends, cycling, cleaning up my studio, playing board games, watching the Royal Wedding, drinking tea...all that "normal" stuff. I've also been thinking a lot about how to refine my goals and ambition so I don't burn out.

How about you? How are you doing? I know a lot of my parenting friends are trying to keep heads above water with all the end of the school year "fun" and school projects. My student friends are trying to get through mid-terms and finals. It seems like there are loads of events, travel, and work projects for many of my friends and colleagues.

The warmth and long days of spring are so welcome...just maybe not all the To Dos!

So as the Artist who Brings You Joy, I want you to consider this blog post as your permission slip to skip something--cancel a plan, ask someone for help, have your kids make their lunch this week, eat out/order in, call your dog walker to cover a couple of walks--and use that time to do something for you!

I'm back in the studio and have some fun ideas to paint What 3 Colors Bring You Joy?...but inspired by 3 colors from landscape paintings. If you have a favorite landscape you'd like to see translated into a What 3 Colors Bring You Joy painting, please send it by reply email or post to my studio Facebook page!

Until next time, take care of you. Find some joy. It's there. I promise.

Finding love, finding joy (from May 2, 2018)

In my last email I wrote about losing love and taking care of ourselves, so let’s swing the pendulum the other way this week.

Let’s talk about finding love and finding joy this week.

Finding Love, Finding Joy

The end of May marks thirteen years that I’ve been divorced from my then-husband and this past week marked the seven year “meetaversary" of my husband Tom and I met. That six year gap felt like dog years, some days. I knew I wanted a life partner, which for me was a husband, and a family...and just something different. I wanted adventure. Even a new city to live in after being in Washington DC area for twenty years. And then one night in April seven years ago, I had a date with a retired Marine who made me laugh and made me think, even on our first phone call together. And soon after the adventures began--moving cross-country to Seattle, meeting new friends, exploring new places, learning a new culture, re-establishing my studio space, and finding my calling by creating the series, "What 3 Colors Bring You Joy?" By creating a life that brought me joy, I have been able to share that joy with you through my art.

If you are in that place now--of knowing what you want and also knowing you're not there just yet--keep going. Hold on to that vision of what you want for your life. Keep taking steps that move you in that direction. Don't worry about how long it may take or that you started late. It may not unfold the way you thought, but keep going. And if you are an artist, writer, performer, protect your art and keep practicing. We need you. We need more creative, positive energy in this world and you are just the person to do it. Trust me.

Losing love and taking care (from April 22, 2018)

I woke up this morning to news that a friend's wife passed away after fighting ovarian cancer for two years. I am heart broken for her husband, daughter, their family, and friends. And, honestly, it's had me kind of paralyzed and teary today. There's all sorts of cliched thoughts running through my head, but what lingers are echoes of other losses. One of my family lost a very beloved friend recently. My cousin's beloved son who passed away six years ago. Ted, my painting mentor, who passed away 12 years ago. More. Too many more.

I'm not really sure what to write--or even if I should share this to you--but it feels important. Grieving, letting in and letting out the sadness and anger, feels so important. If you are struggling with loss, I hope you have some love you can lean into for support, whether family, a trusted friend, or counselor. That connection with others will help soften the jagged edges of grief.

And, while we are here, please get that thing checked. You know. That thing. I wrote this week on Instagram about my follow up eye appointment--and how 18 months ago I'd had to have emergency eye treatment. My recovery is going well and my doctor said now everything is stable. The procedure averted riskier and more invasive surgery. And that's where I implore you to get that thing checked. I'd had flashes in my vision, but didn't understand the level of risk I was in...until I called the nurse line, described my symptoms, and she booked my appointment that same morning. So whatever that thing is for you (as one friend said, when you hit a certain age, there are a lot of "things!"), please get it checked.

Thank you for reading and for taking care of your loved ones...and especially yourself.

Here is some healing heart chakra green joy for you. Sending you the peace and fresh air of a walk in the woods.

"Deep Forest" dark green lighter green and gray 04/14/18 #103 5"x7" Acrylic on YUPO.

01142018

“I have decided to stick to love...Hate is too great a burden to bear.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

1/14/18 14/365 in 2018. I am creating & posting a painting a day in 2018!

New Joy & Art daily! Follow, like, comment @artistgu3 #paintingaday #365paintings

 Love II” pink red white from What 3 Colors Bring You Joy? (c) 2018–5”x7” Acrylic on YUPO paper $95 USD

Love II” pink red white from What 3 Colors Bring You Joy? (c) 2018–5”x7” Acrylic on YUPO paper $95 USD

01132018

 “I have decided to stick to love...Hate is too great a burden to bear.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

1/13/18 13/365 in 2018. I am creating & posting a painting a day in 2018!

New Joy & Art daily! Follow, like, comment @artistgu3 #paintingaday #365paintings

  “Love” orange pink white from What 3 Colors Bring You Joy? (c) 2018–5”x7” Acrylic on YUPO paper $95 USD

 “Love” orange pink white from What 3 Colors Bring You Joy? (c) 2018–5”x7” Acrylic on YUPO paper $95 USD

01112018

1/11/18 11/365 in 2018. I am creating & posting a painting a day in 2018!

New Joy & Art daily! Follow, like, comment @artistgu3 #paintingaday #365paintings

 “Brave” Blue Green Orange from What 3 Colors Bring You Joy? (c) 2018–5”x7” Acrylic on YUPO paper $95 USD

“Brave” Blue Green Orange from What 3 Colors Bring You Joy? (c) 2018–5”x7” Acrylic on YUPO paper $95 USD

01102018

1/10/18 10/365 in 2018. I am creating & posting a painting a day in 2018!

New Joy & Art daily! Follow, like, comment @artistgu3 #paintingaday #365paintings

 “In the Seaweeds” Blue GreenWhite from What 3 Colors Bring You Joy? (c) 2018–5”x7” Acrylic on YUPO paper $95 USD

“In the Seaweeds” Blue GreenWhite from What 3 Colors Bring You Joy? (c) 2018–5”x7” Acrylic on YUPO paper $95 USD

01092018

1/9/18 9/365 in 2018. I am creating & posting a painting a day in 2018!

New Joy & Art daily! Follow, like, comment @artistgu3 #paintingaday #365paintings

 “Depth” Blue Gold White from What 3 Colors Bring You Joy? (c) 2018–5”x7” Acrylic on YUPO paper $95 USD

“Depth” Blue Gold White from What 3 Colors Bring You Joy? (c) 2018–5”x7” Acrylic on YUPO paper $95 USD

01082018

1/8/18 8/365 in 2018. I am creating & posting a painting a day in 2018!

New Joy & Art daily! Follow, like, comment @artistgu3 #paintingaday #365paintings

 “Fire” Red Yellow White from What 3 Colors Bring You Joy? (c) 2018–5”x7” Acrylic on YUPO paper $95 USD

“Fire” Red Yellow White from What 3 Colors Bring You Joy? (c) 2018–5”x7” Acrylic on YUPO paper $95 USD

01072018

1/7/18 7/365 in 2018. I am creating & posting a painting a day in 2018!

New Joy & Art daily! Follow, like, comment @artistgu3 #paintingaday #365paintings

 “Fury” Gold Yellow White from What 3 Colors Bring You Joy? (c) 2018–5”x7” Acrylic on YUPO paper $95 USD

“Fury” Gold Yellow White from What 3 Colors Bring You Joy? (c) 2018–5”x7” Acrylic on YUPO paper $95 USD

01062018

1/6/18 6/365 in 2018. I am creating & posting a painting a day in 2018!

New Joy & Art daily! Follow, like, comment @artistgu3 #paintingaday #365paintings

 “Circus” Turquoise Yellow White from What 3 Colors Bring You Joy? (c) 2018–5”x7” Acrylic on YUPO paper $95 USD

“Circus” Turquoise Yellow White from What 3 Colors Bring You Joy? (c) 2018–5”x7” Acrylic on YUPO paper $95 USD

01052018

1/5/18 5/365 in 2018. I am creating & posting a painting a day in 2018!

New Joy & Art daily! Follow, like, comment @artistgu3 #paintingaday #365paintings

 “Tapestry” Green Yellow White from What 3 Colors Bring You Joy? (c) 2018–5”x7” Acrylic on YUPO paper $95 USD

“Tapestry” Green Yellow White from What 3 Colors Bring You Joy? (c) 2018–5”x7” Acrylic on YUPO paper $95 USD

01042018

1/4/18 4/365 in 2018. I am creating & posting a painting a day in 2018!

New Joy & Art daily! Follow, like, comment @artistgu3 #paintingaday #365paintings

 Santa Fe Memories” Chili Red Turquoise from What 3 Colors Bring You Joy? (c) 2018–5”x7” Acrylic on YUPO paper $95 USD

Santa Fe Memories” Chili Red Turquoise from What 3 Colors Bring You Joy? (c) 2018–5”x7” Acrylic on YUPO paper $95 USD

01032018

1/3/18 3/365 in 2018. I am creating and posting a painting a day in 2018!

Follow me @artistgu3 #paintingaday #365paintings — like, comment, follow. Bonus stars for cheering me on! ***New Joy and Art every day!***

 “Black Ice” Black Silver Turquoise from What 3 Colors Bring You Joy? 5"x7" Acrylic on YUPO paper. $95 USD (c) 2018

“Black Ice” Black Silver Turquoise from What 3 Colors Bring You Joy? 5"x7" Acrylic on YUPO paper. $95 USD (c) 2018

01022018

1/2/18 2/365 in 2018. I am creating and posting a painting a day in 2018!

Follow me @artistgu3 #paintingaday #365paintings — like, comment, follow. Bonus stars for cheering me on! ***New Joy and Art every day!***

 Turquoise fyellow white from What 3 Colors Bring You Joy? 5”x7”  Acrylic on YUPO paper. $95 USD

Turquoise fyellow white from What 3 Colors Bring You Joy? 5”x7”  Acrylic on YUPO paper. $95 USD

01012018

1/1/18 1/365 in 2018. I am creating and posting a painting a day in 2018!

Follow me @artistgu3 #paintingaday #365paintings — like, comment, follow. Bonus stars for cheering me on! ***New Joy and Art every day!***

 Yellow White Blue 01012018 5"x7" Acrylic on YUPO paper. $95 USD email me at  Sarah@ArtistGu3.com  to purchase--or comment below.

Yellow White Blue 01012018 5"x7" Acrylic on YUPO paper. $95 USD email me at Sarah@ArtistGu3.com to purchase--or comment below.