The Musings of Molly

A blog primarily chronicling the artistic and writerly endeavors of a girl who moves with the change in wind patterns, and is always trying to puzzle out, and explore the life given.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The day for art

Since I accomplished all of my errands, household chores etc. yesterday, I had the majority of the day all my own for some intensive art time. I started off the day with a wonderful conversation with Will Hillenbrand over breakfast, and as my followers know Will is my illustration mentor. The past two visits with Will, while talking shop, I've gone home with much on my mind in the way of improvement, new things to try etc. My focus since July was first to get a job out here, thus the 50 job applications for teaching, then Apple; then I have been very focused on self development, continued work on things to be the best person I can be for myself. Needless to say, doing these things has created a lack of focus from the more traditional, Trina, illustration, McL Design. I go on and off about whether this is a problem for me. On one hand, taking care of myself trumps all, and sometimes that sucks all my energy so I do what I can for fine art painting or outings. However, I am also aware of many of the gifts this area provides when it comes to fostering my love for children's literature and I would like to take advantage of that, silence the hitch hikers, exorcise the ghosts from art school, and make a focused stab at the area that has always peaked my interest like no other. So here I am with my mentor kindly offering to mentor me, gives me things to think about, and challenges me to work, however, not in a pushy way. I don't feel any need to do or disappoint. Will does a great job at just saying, hey, I'm here and happy to help if you'd like. It's refreshing. And I never leave talking with Will feeling like I am failing at this interest because I am not 100% devoted to it; I leave feeling more tickled by the prospect of engaging in that world again.

So, with that stated, instead of escaping to the fine art world of my oil paintings, I spent the day working on my alphabet. I had intentions to do more, however, this did take most of my time. By the time I had the sketch complete, value studies figured out, found some tracing paper and did the reverse with pencil on the block, it took probably three to four hours to carve. I am thrilled with the outcome though, as you will see attached. I intend to hand paint it, and use this for new born's bedrooms, an alphabet poster, and an alphabet book (hopefully). If nothing else, just a consistent body of work for my portfolio that demonstrates animals. It's going to take a while though with this one taking the better part of a day and only being one letter. But I am excited and happy with the outcome which is always a nice feeling after a long day at work. People would have laughed if they saw me though because the nature of this project is to carve on a flat surface, so for awhile I was hunched as my stool has me upright for painting on an easel. So I turned my stool on its side and put a pillow down so the block was only an inch or so from my chin. Worked great. Saved my spine.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


So I put up a new set of goals on the back of my door that I see each day. One of them is for 3 sketches a week so as I said before, new stuff to come. Tomorrow I have to grocery shop (b-o-r-i-n-g), do laundry, then it's all art. I'm pumped. I should probably get a chair that matches my desk though as my present one is super tall. I'll post last weeks sketches here tomorrow too although one of the bigger ones I painted on my lunch break and gave to Lauren because it was her birthday and I needed something for the Pottery Barn frame... I digress. I decided I like that word digress. I also like preclude. When I was younger I had journals that I kept and there was always an area for words I liked. This was more when I was focused on being a writer. I'm very tired from work today and don't know why I'm still on a computer as that's all I do all day and my eyes are exhausted. I have many more ways to be productive too but here I am... so updates tomorrow of some work I'm doing. Plus I'm doing more grunt work on the alphabet. Meet with Will on Tuesday too which is always fun, exciting, and motivating.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Sunday

I'm going to try to be more attentive to this blog. I have been a writing fein as of late. Loads going around in my mind, using words as my depository. That partnered with my art. The plein air day was not super long just because we got down to the river a little later than expected, partly because we were scanning options. It was overcast, which was fine just limited fabulous conditions for painting. It was great though, Lauren and I tromping through the shrubs to get to a beach of rocks, the bald eagle saying hello, a gift, and then a dog to keep us company. The dog made me smile at how one day I too will have a dog to do just that, cart along after me, though this one was borrowed from a farm up the way, just checking out the new visitors. The little flies were obnoxious, so I feel a bit later in the fall will be better as it will assist in their demise. So the little sketch is from there, then the larger image is what I came home and did. I slept for a good two hours after the trip, and then I was up painting to process some emotions. Set a new series of goals, nine total, three for each level, so I expect more sketches, should I keep up.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Anywhere works for me.

My present setup: Plastic File Cabinet. Coffee mug. Small Sketchbook.
I love that I have decided my space doesn't have to be perfect, but I have to have a space to paint.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Could it be the end of... Library Card Collecting?

"I was thinking about you because I think you'd like this new series." A friend wrote in an email.
I thought, hum. New place. New library card.
And then I realized, wait, you are in an old place.
You have a card for this place.
One of your twelve.

Sign Posts, God Moments, Signals

For a long time when a decision had to be made in my life I called my six closest friends or family members and went over my options. Polled the audience. After general consensus, I decided. Consequently, I never knew the temperature of Molly. There came a time when this awareness was dawning on me that I took to signs, reading from Julia Cameron's The Artist Way, I sought syncronicity. Coincidences that were more than obvious directions as to which way to go. Sign posts. God moments. Signals.

I am stubborn. This I continue to recognize, as if perhaps the trait wore off and I am introduced for the first time, and feel a sense of de ja vue. Yet when you spend a year and a half in The Dark Ages, stubborn is the least of your faults for which you're concerned. However, stubbornness, my old friend, chooses now to sneak up on me. If I fail to be attentive to myself, I may find myself suddenly crying for an unknown reason, and I have to stop and think about what the heck I missed. Why am I reacting? Because you were too stubborn to attend to your feelings. Ah. Thank you my friend. I find signals, God moments, sign posts share this same approach with me. You haven't received the message Molly? SLAM, sign in my face. You need to pay attention.

I left Ohio last in a chaotic space. Having moved past polling the audience, I now practice listening to my temperature, a temperature that is often hard to read as I am unfamiliar with the measurements, new to the science as I am. To help me, I see every car that I pull in back of sporting an Ohio license plate. Sign posts. God moments. Signals.

Tonight, I'm feeling the need to paint. I have no table. I have no chair. Hell, I have no bed. But I want to paint, I feel that, I read that. Moving things here and there I stumble upon a prayer bundle with handwriting of a friend who is not well. I speak a soft, "Get well," to the quiet of my room. I pick a song on the stereo to paint to, hit the mix and settle in, folding my legs beneath me to crouch at the edge of two tupperware containers stacked atop each other. The songs drift one to the next, each directly connecting to the friend and I have to stop painting and pause. I feel sign posts. God moments. Signals. But this time, I don't know what they mean, but I strain all the same to hear what I am suppose to hear as I gather the syncronicity of the evening.

Periodically I struggle to understand purpose in life. "Do you have to have purpose?" my mother asked me once. "I do," I say. There must be a logic somewhere. For an artistic mind, my need to make sense of things surprises me. However, one of my friend's breaking her neck hasn't fit a logic for me. This friend's illness doesn't fit a logic for me. Depression at the time did not have a logic, though now I can appreciate the learning curve. So I guess where I am at present is looking at if life really hasn't any logic to it at all. And if it doesn't then my paradigm is once again tossed to the wind and I wonder if following sign posts, God moments and signs will settle it down into proper order again or if it's all just a wash. Blue paint over charcoal.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Feline Found

I found a cat today in my room.

I keep my door shut ALL the time, because of that minor problem with allergies. So you can imagine my surprise when I open my closed door to find a chubby cat sitting in my patch of carpet.

"Buttons! What are you doing in here?" I exclaim as I sniff the air to see if I'll now proceed to die a slow death of itchy eyes, sneezes and runny noses.

Buttons, the chubby cat who is afraid of me saunters out the now open door.

I distinctly understand why people say cats have personality.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Art Update

I decided I'm going plein air painting on Sunday or Monday (my next days off). Since I haven't purchased a table yet, I'm not painting at the house for the moment. This has become less art directed lately, so I'm updating to tell all my readers, check back soon and I will have some pictures. I have been spending my lunch breaks sketching my alphabet though... they are just sketches at present and I have to do value studies and dig in for awhile with those...

So... the pressures on! Perhaps I will even find a friend to join me, and feel a kick back to The Starving Artist.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Burn out.

So today, I sat at another store meeting for the company I have worked with over the past year (anniversary date being Sept. 14th) and I felt an overwhelming sense of, "here we go again." I have switched three stores, moved three times, and met countless of people in this time. As noted from my previous entries, this has not been the first of my moves, so today as I went in to another "Meet your new friends" sessions, I just had a sense of "I'm tired of this," piggy-backed on the thought of, "Who is that kid, I recognize his face, but where?" As my brain paged through the countless names and faces over the past six years, narrowing it down to high school, but unable to go further. (Yes, I did re-meet someone from high school).

So I'm sick of moving. This is no shocker. I probably complain about this every time I move. However, I'm feeling it in a deep seated way. I want to set roots down. I want to know that I will be in an area for more than six months. I want to know there is a point to making friends with these 300 new faces I am meeting. I'm burnt out on moving.

Which brings me to a new insight. Perhaps moving has taken the same look and feel as some of my other mild addictive habits. For instance, freshmen year of college, I ate Pop Tarts daily. Promptly following this year, I couldn't stand Pop Tarts, and switched to Cinnamon Toast Crunch instant Cereal Bars my sophomore year. Done. Burnt out. Kroger granola bars (lasted two years) at which I consumed approximately 84 a month. I can no longer eat Kroger granola bars without feeling slightly grossed out. Freshmen year of grad school, Subway Turkey Subs. You will no longer hear me order turkey subs at Subway. Burnt out. These were all foods. I am, and have always been, thankfully, blessed with a high metabolism, so no, these addictions did not create any harrowing damage like that guy in Super Size Me. Regardless, I haven't been addicted to a food in a while. I have nothing that I consume religiously. No favorite breakfast item (by the way, I now really don't like breakfast at all any more), no favorite portable snack, nothing.

Airplane rides had a similar death. I use to get excited for plane rides, then for a whole year and a bit more, I flew every month half way across the country. I now despise having to fly in a plane. I drag my feet, I postpone booking flights. I would rather drive 16 hours than fly. Needless to say, my friend in Oregon, and the two in California, don't see much of me.

Maybe moving is the same way. I'm getting sick of it. The pure thought is disgusting. I'm beginning to think I never want to do it again. My sense of adventure, my need to declare my freedom of roots, my pride at packing and being on the road has dwindled. I want to settle down. I want roots. Trouble is, I've been at it so long, to set roots seems like squeezing in a sweater that's too small. Or like asking me to do fractions again. I can't remember how. I don't remember where to begin.

All that being noted, I'm also wondering what it feels like to know you're home. What is home? Where do I belong? Ah, the key word, belonging. I unpacked my room and in doing so came across two paintings, one done in the summer of 2007 with me clutching a pile of my things, words of my friend's behind me, a line running haphazardly around the background, indicative of a line on a treasure map. Postage stamps and markings collaged on top. I felt displaced then. That was that feeling. Where do I belong? Just myself and my things, moving, moving, moving. Then, a painting from the end of 2008, a road map, and me with my head down, pulling a suitcase behind me. Now, I think of this as my depressed painting, but the symbolism is the same. Displaced, carting my things, images of maps. Perhaps, had I listened to my hand, as it painted, I might have noticed this burn out earlier, but in all reality, I knew that but didn't know what to do with it. One thing I've learned is patience is a great skill to practice, and first and foremost is patience with one's self. So, as I am here again, and sense familiar questions, with less of the craziness of before, I also think, be patient with yourself, Molly and see what you find.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


So I have arrived and after a night of sleeping on the floor surrounded by my things, I decided it was time to start unpacking. I am now able to see some carpet. I do however, live with two cats at present and find myself tucked quietly into my room with the door closed (feeling rather unwelcoming), sneezing here and there, but it makes for this space feeling very mine. The cats by the way, are very friendly. Well, one is scared of me, and the other, if given the opportunity would roll on it's back and glorify in my petting it's stomach, so I do feel as though in part I am hurting it's feelings by never petting it. I tell it nice things though like, "Good morning Cat." It's name is cat, so I am not being cold in calling it such.

So returning to a familiar landscape has been a weird experience for the mind, however, many old friends have been excited at the prospect of me returning to the fine state of Ohio. I have been gone for just about a year and a half doing my own healing in the area of my childhood. When I was contemplating returning a friend gave me a Spook feather to ward off the spooks that linger here, and while it first blew out the window two days before I moved, I found it again tucked in the back seat of my car while packing. I felt it was a positive omen and one I watched and tucked back in to my visor for the ride out. I wanted to do a ceremony of sorts with it, however, the one who would know how to do that, is out of commission for awhile so it was returned to her and maybe will serve her well till she gets better. In the meantime, I find the experience of being here strangely odd. I often find my brain scrambled as to where I am, who I ought to recognize and compartmentalize to New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Ohio. Traces of young Molly flit through my memory and I have that distinct feeling of returning as a grown up rather than my adolescent/pre/post college student. This feels positive for me because after a year and a half of growing in the harder ways, I feel renewed and the landscape has not altered this feeling.

For now I am setting up shop in a great old house with deep stained wood floors in an older area of Cincinnati. I have a good pal living in the basement and two other girls on the same floor as myself. I am here till I make the great move to my own place, but felt very warm as the whole family piled down the stairs for hugs and hellos on move-in day. This family, the "landlady" and crew, is one from old days, that reminds me much of my own family and often I would drop in last minute on them, and they welcomed the surprise.

As I have left the land of four aunts, sixteen cousins, an uncle and grandparents, (and my own parents) I find it is a bit of an adjustment not to have the bloodline family around. However, my friend in California once said, "Molly, when you move away from your family, you just have to find the people who will become your family wherever you land." And as I will be here for awhile and my only bloodline is about 8 hours away, this is a good lesson to put into practice. Although, if all goes according to plan, I will add to my family with a labrador next month and that will make two of us.