Winners of the Postcard and Travel Brush Drawings
Thank you to everyone who re-subscribed to the new newsletter list. I really appreciate you taking the time to help me better tailor news to your interests and streamline my admin chores.
Congratulations to the winners of the drawing for the travel brushes and postcards! The winners are:
Princeton Aqua-Elite travel brush: Gee Lindblom
Princeton Neptune travel brush: Mary Jones
Golden Maple set of 3 travel brushes: Margaret Meloon
Winners, I will be mailing your prizes starting Nov 23. If the address you want me to use is NOT the address you signed up for the newsletter with, please let me know by Nov 21. Congratulations!
The Delights of Discord (wha . . . ?)
Discord (don’t be put off by the weird name) is a free online service started as a way for gamers to chat online while playing a game. But now it’s for all sorts of groups to meet up, in a more private (and less distracting) way than social media. Think of it as a mashup of the old online chat rooms (but with pictures!), a social media feed (but private and just for us Dragonflies), plus a way to have video conversations without making a “call”. You can also send each other private (direct) messages. So, basically, it’s a way for us to visit and share what we are working on. No ads, no fees, no tracking and skimming personal information. Just a place to talk about our art with other Dragonflies. (There are public servers, but our is private.)
How to get started . . .
For now, I am the only one who can invite new members to our Discord server. (At some point, I may have a channel where I allow people to invite friends—we’ll see how it goes.) For now, if you’d like to join, email me to request an invitation. I’m feeling a bit bruised from all the YT hoohah, so I want to keep a tight rein on this for a while to make sure the atmosphere stays supportive and nurturing for everyone.
Once you’re on our Discord server, you can use the text channel “general” to type messages and share images, which remain in the chat feed for others to view and add to (sort of like a simplified Facebook feed, with no ads, politics or nutty relatives). There is also a “postcard club” channel specifically for talking about postcards, or arranging postcard swaps.
You can also use the “paint-and-chat” or “postcard club” voice channels to chat via video call. All you have to do is enter the “room” by clicking on the channel (and giving Discord mic and camera permissions the first time). Right now, there aren’t many of us on our server, so you probably won’t just stumble upon someone else online in a voice channel. You might want to use a text channel to coordinate a time to meet. But, unlike Zoom, Meet, Skype or what-have-you, no one has to send a link or start a “call”. It’s more like walking into a room that is reserved for you to use.
(There are also class-specific channels, which are reserved for people who are in those classes or who have taken them. If you have taken a class, and would like access to that channel, please let me know (by a direct message in Discord, or via email), and I will assign you the necessary “role” to give you access.)
Hope you can join us on Discord!
The Fallow Time
Creative work is both restorative and draining. Designing good learning experiences for you, whether it’s classes or videos, takes a lot of thought, experimentation and energy. Fallow time is essential to renew the store of ideas, associations and inspiration.
I like to take a cue from nature at this turning point of the year, and ask myself What do I need to let go of? What am I clinging to out of habit or nostalgia that no longer serves me? Where am I wasting energy holding onto something I don’t have the power to keep? Where should I say, thank you for what has been, and then let go of the season that is leaving and look ahead to the possibilities ahead? How can I husband my energy and time for things that matter most? Where do I need to make space in my life for new things to emerge (even if I don’t know yet what form that will take)?
Yes, it’s a dark time of year, and it’s been a hard year for many of us. But, for me, pausing to deliberately choose where to let go, where to lay up stores and husband my strength and resources, and where to make space—in my home, in my schedule, in my mind—helps me look beyond the dark, with a spirit of hopeful anticipation and curiosity. I don’t have to know what comes next. Just recognizing where I’m wearing myself out trying to control things that I can’t control. At least getting all that wasted energy back. Grieving, if I need to grieve, which is different from clinging and denial.
Turning my head and heart from loss to potential.
Listening in the dark. Knowing the seeds are waiting in the soil, knowing the roots are holding energy to be released when the time comes and conditions are right. Knowing that we all also have potential yet-undiscovered.
In addition to taking some time to let go, and look forward in autumn, I have a pause in teaching classes and posting a lot of new videos three times per year:
- the holiday season from mid-November to mid-January
- “graduation and wedding season” from late May through mid-June
- “last dash for vacations season” in August
This year might look different for many of you, due to covid, but I still need these pauses to “mend harness” in the form of website maintenance, updating and testing software and systems, and preparing lesson plans and course materials for the next session of classes. Please don’t be alarmed if you don’t see as much activity from me during these “semester breaks”.
I’ll still be posting from time to time, and checking email, but I’ll also be taking time for a bit of creative retreat and rejuvenation and may be slower to respond.
Happy painting, and thank you for being here!