10. Take a Watercolor Class

ac watercolor class.jpg

I found my creative practice later in life. Growing up, I was told that perhaps I should stick to endeavors other than art, like athletics. I believed it, and so for years, while I was always interested in art, I shied away from it, telling myself I’m not an artist. I even took an art class in college and it happened to be one of my only B’s, and I fear I only got that because of effort! In my twenties a good friend of mine, Amanda, showed me that keeping even an art journal has nothing to do with talent. It’s creative expression and play; a visual interpretation of your thoughts. It changed my entire perspective on making art, and I didn’t need to be good in order to do something for me. After all, I wasn’t trying to sell my art to support myself.

Creative practice, like spending time in nature, balances and grounds me. I can get lost in it for hours. After the art journal revelation, I started dabbling in mixed media collages, book binding, sewing, and other craft projects. I even started a creative blog called Indigo 26. You can see the archives here.

Whatever reason we all stop doing something we love, over time I simply stopped making space in my schedule to create anything; even though it’s such at important part of healing my psyche. So, upon making my year of the 40 list I knew creative practice would be a priority.

In particular, the art of watercolor. I love the fluidity of the color as it meets the water and the bleeding of it on the page. It’s a media I haven’t played with yet. Knowing, of course, I could not, and did not want to create something that required drawing landscapes or portraits, I sent out in search of a class that fit my interests and abilities.

And voila! I discovered Wildflower Art Studio in Denton. Looking at the amazing photos of their studio, and of course their name speaking to my heart, I instantly knew this is was the place I wanted to go to reignite my passion. The light alone! Browsing through the catalog of workshops, I found one on watercolor lettering, which works well with my art journaling, and I signed up!

When the day of the workshop arrived, it couldn’t have been a more perfect Saturday. We were staying at the lake so the drive into Denton meant passing through horse country. The sun was shining, there was a February crispness in the air and the horses were lazily grazing the morning away as I meandered through the country on my way back to the city. It was peaceful and serene.

What ensued was nothing short of bliss. For two hours I was lost in the process, failing at techniques, trying again, ultimately learning the craft, and loving every minute of it.

You do not have to be an artist to be creative. It requires no skill or talent, despite what your art teacher may have once told you. It’s about the passion of your heart: Playing with color, clay or fabric. It’s for you and you alone. There is no judgment except from yourself, so let it go.

If this studio were closer, there is no doubt I would be there all the time because nothing screams gratitude like the creative expression of self through art. There are more watercolor techniques I want to learn, but for now, it’s been fun to play around. A perfect catalyst for sure! Gift yourself a class.

WILDFLOWER ART STUDIO

What Does Your Husband Do?

My WIFE 

My WIFE 

Between moving to a new city last winter and P starting school this fall, meeting new people is a regular occurrence these days.  Moms group playdates and activities, new school events and parent meetings; it's a lot of telling our story over and over.  

Not that I mind.  I love the community we are being absorbed into and the new community we are forming at school.  It's what I want for us and for P; a village, a tribe.  Being able to call your neighbor when you have an emergency while traveling or the older couple asking you over for dinner or the relationships you are forming with other parents in the same season of life as you.  The endless meetings are worth it.  

But with every introduction, there is always a question that makes its way to the surface; what does your husband do? To say that I'm intensely private in an understatement.  I don't divulge a lot of information to strangers, mostly because of trust issues.  Being gay is a tidbit about me I have a hard time saying.  Maybe to remain safe (yes, I have been verbally harassed by a stranger), or perhaps to protect myself from the beliefs of the other person that I don't want to deal with.  Whatever the reason, I don't go around waving a rainbow flag so naturally this question arises.

Just last week I was enjoying a conversation with another dad in P's class.  And there it was; "What does your husband do?" asked several minutes into the conversation.  "I don't have a husband.  My wife and I own a machine shop," I say.  The shock and awe on his face was amusing to say the least.  Not sure if he was stupefied or in wonderment.  The look was synonomous.  Either way, it was a cringe worthy response.

The uncomfortableness that ensues in all of the responses is just plain awkward.  Some people are embarrassed they made an assumption.  Some people judge, and want to run as fast as they can.  However, most are remarkably couth and stick it out.  In the past this would bother me.  I worried way too much about other people's feelings.  Today is different.  Either I just don't care, or I want my son to know that it really isn't a big deal.  We are "normal" people after all.  I'm sure there will come a day when he corrects the stranger.  "She doesn't have a husband."  

I'm uncertain that answering this question will ever get easier, but it's who we are.  A lesbian couple with a son, a boy with two mothers, two women that love each other, and yes, are married!  I'm proud of my family and particularly proud of my spifner (spouse, wife, partner = a word we made up).  Those that are meant to be friends stick around anyway, and those that don't, don't.  Just like any other relationship.  

Why people keep asking this question is what I want to know.  I suppose it's just one of those oddities in life; we are a product of our cultural training.  Child = married to a man.  What if I were a single mother, a widow, a divorcee?  But that's a rabbit hole for another day.  

What does my husband do?  Well, she is a beautiful woman that does it all.  Wait until you meet her.  She's lovely.  

Galveston, oh Galveston...

 
Hotel Galvez

Hotel Galvez

Glen Campbell made the song famous, but our interpretation differs after the first line.  We just returned from a quick juant to the gulf coast island and, yes, I can still hear your seawinds blowing. There is something refreshing and still about spending time with one's feet in the sand near the ocean.  My mind was so quiet I barely spoke a word all weekend.

P starts preschool this fall.  Five half days, so this trip was a good-bye to summer before he begins this week.  We gave the Hotel Galvez a try, but despite its historical draw, the results were disappointing. The beach, however, was a quick walk across the street and it never displeases.  Isn't it the sole reason for going to Galveston?  

Getting their feet wet 

Getting their feet wet 

We walked the beach most nights during my favorite hour; twilight.  The light is even more stunning on the beach; always finding a way to make everything enchanting.  

The Pleasure Pier at dusk

The Pleasure Pier at dusk

We typically opt for a house or condo rental on the opposite end of the island, away from the crowd.  However, with our trip being a short weekend we decided to stay in town and let someone else make the beds and do the cooking.  It was a good choice as it made for more beach and pool time.  

My wife goofing off

My wife goofing off

There is nothing profound to say here about this trip, except for the importance of taking care of one's soul.  Sometimes you have to leave the familiar and drop your feet somewhere new with your family in tow.  We all needed a little time to explore the sand, soak up the last bits of sun for the summer and just be.

Glen Campbell is still on our air waves; P keeps asking for the Galveston song.  I don't object and if we close our eyes, we can still hear the waves.  My hope is that it will keeps us grounded these first few weeks of chaos.