This is my final painting for Get Your Paint On. It is most certainly a culmination of everything that I learned in the class. I feel like, for one of the first times, I envisioned a painting and was able to make it real. It felt good. I used what I learned about color, composition and layering to create this painting one step at a time and I totally enjoyed every moment of painting it. Mati's final words for me were simply that she had wished she had painted it. That's saying a lot. I've posted my paintings from week one and weeks two, three and four as well.

With summer looming, I am trying to piece together a schedule for the kids so I can maintain the work time I have come to count on. I've got a little local summer camp planned for them, a few overnights with relatives and a daytime babysitter lined up to come to the house here and there. I am also embracing the summer. We have some vacation time planned and I'll be taking the kids to the local beach and parks, so things may be slower and more erratic around here over the next couple of months.

I'm looking forward to this time, to think about what I'm trying to do, and to figure out what I really want to focus on. I feel like I have been saturated with inspiration over the last year and I need to let things soak a little. Do you know that feeling? I have been seeking out every opportunity to be inspired, to learn and to connect with people and I feel like I need some down time to absorb it all. I didn't write about Mom 2.0 or about BlogStar Supper, not because they weren't amazing (because they totally were) but because I just needed a break from trying to formulate quantifiable learning points about every experience I have been having. 

Each experience influenced my life in one way or another, as all great experiences do. There were little moments and big moments and the ripples will probably be seen in everything I do. Sometimes it's hard to talk about these moments when the experience feels deeper than just what is on the surface. I feel a shift happened over the last month. I can't quite put my finger on it, but it's almost like seeds that I have been planting are just barely starting to grow. These little things are fragile and I feel like I need to cup my hands around them and protect them until I know they are strong and will keep growing.

The creative process is so mysterious! Sometimes you have to push outward, force yourself forward and soak it all up, and other times you have to pull inward, sit still and let things absorb into your brain. Here are a few great posts I read last week that have hints of some of the ideas I have been thinking about. (Also - one of the ripples from Mom 2.0 is that I have been commenting more, thanks to a great 7 minute talk by Liz Gumbinner of Mom 101. I left a comment on each of these posts and have committed to leaving a comment every time I read a post that resonates with me. You should too!)

•~

Bloggers: Are We All Neurotic Extraverted Introverts? by Melanie at Inward Facing Girl

Lemons. Lemonade. by Kelly at MochaMomma

Rebirth: What We Don't Say by The Sage Mama (thanks for the link S.M.)

Purge by Tracey at Sweetney

•~

Speaking of purging, that is exactly what I did this weekend in the family room/kid's playroom and in my studio space. We have a separate guest house that is semi-attached to the house that I use as my studio, but over the winter it became a major storage room. I am just finally digging myself out of it. I cleared enough space for me to do my work for the painting class last month, but I discovered a few problems with the layout of the room and I need to rearrange things and finish sorting through a ton of my own clothes, paperwork from years ago and a bunch of baby items. More shifting.

The goal is to have both the family room and my studio space pared down to just the things that we love and use. I find it so much easier to use a space when it's not cluttered and when I have easy access to everything I need. My work space has also been very fragmented lately and I think I would benefit from bringing everything together into one place. My computer has been in the family room in the main house, so I have had easy access to it, but with the kids home from school over the summer I think it would be good to move it out to the studio where I can have my own quiet space to work, even if they are home. 

How does your physical space influence your mental space? Does your creative process also have moments of pushing out and then pulling in? Summer is a good time for thoughtful reflection, don't you think? As always, I'd love to hear from you. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.