Saturday, December 18, 2010

Eating to Live

Although I have never smoked or been addicted to alcohol or drugs, I have often overeaten, which could be viewed as a form of addiction - albeit a mild one, an addiction just the same.  Regardless of the type, addiction could be defined as a compulsive behavior which endangers your mental, emotional and physical health.  Often it is an emotional response to overwheming life issues or a traumatic occurence.

Overcoming an addiction requires time, patience, discipline and most of all, honesty.  You have to be honest with yourself as to why you overeat in the first place.  Certain reason don't count, such as: "Loving" food, liking to eat, liking to cook, "loving" food, liking to eat, liking to cook - you get my point.  It would be much easier to just say, "I'm overeating right now, and I"m unwilling to stop overeating right now."

If this is what you have chosen to say, you also must be willing to accept that overeating inhibits your spiritual development and your physical health.  More simply put, overeating puts a barrier between you and the higher power you say that you believe in, and it makes you gain weight - which can lead to illness and disease.

Having spent a great portion of my life as a thin person who became overweight following a traumatic, life- altering occurence, I have had to EXTREMELY SLOWLY deal with my feelings about how my body image relates to almost every aspect of my self, my spirit, my lifestyle and my LIFE.  Essentially, the choice to overeat is connected to almost everything else that we do - or don't do- with our lives.  KNOWING this is the easier part of letting go of overeating.  DOING something about it is the hardest part - HARD but NOT IMPOSSIBLE.

Food is pleasurable.  However, it is a fleeting pleasure that - when you really think about it - is different with each experience.  Each experience is sort of like a day - with the sensation of it being dependent on other factors, such as your mood, the environment, whether you're tired or not, the company you're around - and of course, the quality of the food.  This said, no matter how exquisite the taste, there are more enjoyable things in life.  Too much emphasis on the food means that there are deeper issues you need to deal with.

Here's how I'm dealing with food right now: Eating what I like in small portions only when I'm hungry.  Cooking for myself as a single person, which means cooking in small quantities (usually enough for 2 days).  Including fruits and vegetables in my meals.  Avoiding red meat, white flour, white sugar, fried foods, pastries, processed foods and coffee.  Not bringing into the house those foods that I simply cannot handle, such as gourmet cheeses, ice cream and chocolate candy.

Excluding these foods leaves an infinite variety of foods to choose from.  I enjoy eating, but do not like the experience of fullness and other problems that come from overeating.  While I realize that I am human, and will sometimes slip up, I also realize that nothing affects my health and well-being as much as what I choose to put in my body.  It's a day to day challenge, but it's worth my life.  It's worth quality of life. 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Committing to My Art

"Objects of Healing Series" / Acrylic on Canvas / 48x53 cm

As an artist who views painting and creating other art disciplines as the great loves of my life, I have made a commitment to my work.  One might say that I am married to my work in that I regularly spend time producing it, learning new things about it, developing it and loving it.

Like any commitment, some days are better than others.  Yesterday was not a good painting day for me.  My painting session started out well with the first two hours generating an undistracted flow between brain, heart and brush.  I was in the zone where time passed without being noticed.

But then something shifted, and I don't know at what point it happened.  All I know is that I was now entering the third hour with a painting problem to be resolved.  Had I stopped earlier, even when my physical fatigue was less apparent to me, this problem might not have occurred, particularly so unusually early in the process.

If I were not committed to my work, I might possibly have scrapped the work in frustration and walked away.  But even though that does happen occasionally, this was not one of those times.  Experience has taught me to intuitively know when a work is worth saving - and most of them are - if you're willing to find solutions to problems that sometimes arise.  Patience is a critical asset to problem-solving in art, as is being disciplined in creating art.

Being an artist requires commitment, which means being with the work by doing the work.  An artist is a person who creates art - on a regular basis.  One painting a year doesn't count, and neither does that great painting you did ten years ago.  Furthermore, an artist must continue to paint even when the work is not going well.  This is how we learn and how we develop our work.

As I mentioned, development of our work will be one of many visible rewards of a pursuit requiring time, sacrifice, love, energy, creativity, patience, discipline, education, skill and ...commitment.    

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Preview of New Paintings

"After Franz Marc:  Blue Horses" / Acrylic on Canvas   

"Blue Moon Dancer"/ Acrylic on Canvas

"Family #1/ Acrylic on Canvas

"Objects of Healing #3/ Acrylic on Canvas

Friday, September 10, 2010

Getting Paid for Your Art #2

Long before most artists become professional, they have spent many years developing their craft through education, experimentation and practice.  Many have paid their dues in myriad ways when they enter the marketplace.  It can be daunting to discover that there are those who will try in different ways to either steal your work or own it without paying for it.

Before I actually sold any work, I had a few experiences where my art was stolen.  The first time was by a man my sister was living with.  When she asked him to move, he took with him the beautiful charcoal drawing I had given her as a birthday present.  The second time was when I gave my uncle, who lived in another state, a nude charcoal drawing.  When he died a few years later, the drawing disappeared from his living room wall during his funeral.

Later, at the beginning of my professional career, there were experiences where greedy people attempted to purchase my work at less than the asking price because they figured I would be hungry for exposure - which I was.  There were a few times when I made poor decisions based on my desire to have my work seen by a larger audience.

The first time was when I was asked do a painting for a local restaurant through two art "businesswomen" who knew the owner.  Had I been less naive, I would never have agreed to a transaction that involved a three-way monetary split.  With a bit more business savy, I would have approached the owner myself without a middle person - which I  now tend to do with better results.

The second time was when I sold a painting to a well-known person at a lower price than I felt the work was worth.  Again, getting more exposure was my reason for doing this.  

Perhaps the most insidious way that artists are cheated out of their work is through non-profit organizations who ask for art donations for charitable causes WITHOUT ANY OF THE PROCEEDS GOING TO THE ARTIST IF THEIR WORK SELLS!!!  Many of these organizations make it clear that the artist will "gain exposure" in various ways that will be beneficial to him or her.

Although most art auctions do give the artist a decent percentage if their work sells, more and more of them have the audacity to give no percentage.  This is unfair because of the time and expense that goes into creating just one work of art.  Fortunately, art groups are forming around the country protesting artists unfair relationships with non-profit organizations.

I know some people will get mad at me for saying this, but I think an artist's donations should be proportional to their sales.  It's only fair.  Why would you continue to donate work on a regular basis if your work is not selling?  While I believe in giving back to the community, you are only harming your future sales prospects if most of your transactions as an emerging artist have been freebies.

Only an artist can understand the struggle necessary to become an artist.  Most of us work other jobs while finding the time and space to produce work.  In addition to juggling many other responsiblities outside of our art, we feel the grind of applying for grants, art exhibitions, media exposure as well as constantly promoting our work.

Making art is a noble pursuit in which the artist is really giving back to the community when he creates his work.  Like any other fair exchange, he should at least be paid for the blood, sweat and tears of his work.   

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Getting Paid for Your Art / Part I

Creating art is what most committed artists enjoy doing, and we also enjoy selling our work - some with aspirations of being a professional artist, and some who are already at that level.  However, the business of art can be ridden with financial pitfalls, from buyers who are slow in paying to organizations who want to own an artist's work without paying anything.  Invariably, these type of buyers prey on an artist's desire for exposure and their need to sell their work.  There are some precautions that serious artists can take to ensure getting paid at the time they sell their work.

In order to establish a track record through exposure, emerging artists tend to participate in almost any venue that is offered, including vendor shows, street fairs and group exhibitions.  They are often quite eager to accept commissions, as well.  It is important that proper forms are available and signed before an artist participates in any venue.

After being "burned" several times (in various ways)by not getting paid on time, I drew up every conceivable type of form to have on hand for selling my art.  Some of these forms included contracts, commission agreements, blank itemized bills, reminder notes, installment agreements and exhibition agreements, to name a few.  Even though art dealers and other art business people have their own forms, I wanted to make sure that all their forms covered all variables.

Other ways that artists can make sure they get paid is by establishing a business policy for selling their work and stick to it.  Again, put it in writing! This policy should include:  How, What, Where, When and Who regarding the exchange of art for the exchange of cash.  It should also include whether you plan to be paid in full or in installments.  An artist should always include any variables pertaining to special circumstances regarding their particular work.
For example, if an organization asks you to freely donate a piece of art with the understanding that they pay no percentage, agree to donate but state your percentage policy if you expect to be paid.  Make sure you either have a form or draw up a form for this type of exchange.  Gaining exposure is always good, but artists must get paid for their hard work.

In Part II of this series, I will share some of my experiences regarding this subject.  

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Creative Home as Sanctuary

"Who loves the rain
  And loves his home
  And looks on life
  with quiet eyes."
        Francis Shaw

Currently, I am finally beginning to beautify the home I've been living in for the past one and a half years.  Having painted an accent wall in the living room, all the bathroom and the bedroom, I find myself daydreaming constantly of colors for the other rooms to match the existing ones, which are in gradated shades of soft yellow, from palest pale to deepest gold.  The kitchen backsplash is lime.
Running through my head also are ideas for furniture and accessories, preferably trash-to-treasure and artful, respectively.  My favorite accessories would include pictures, pillows, plants, books, lighting, hanging paper mobiles and gifts from friends.  All of these items are related to my interests.

But more important than all these thoughts is that I want a space that is not only beautiful, but also imparts a feeling of stepping into another world, a visual sanctuary where I can always feel safe and relaxed and where visitors can feel welcome, happy and stimulated by their surroundings.  I want them to leave with a sense of having learned more about me based on my surroundings.

Ambitious? No.  I feel that a comfortable and beautiful home is a major component in contributing to one's sense of well-being.  It has been a life-long need that I must be surrounded by beauty at home in order to be fulfilled.  When I was younger, I thought I was odd in this strong need for beauty and comfort, but seeing other lovely homes in real life and in books changed my thinking.

Some favorite books in my library include "Feeling at Home" by Alexandra Stoddard, "Sacred Space" by Denise Linn and  "HouseBeautiful Art, Decorating with Art at Home."  The respective websites are and  There is much valuable information in all three books about  making your house into a home.  I was inspired to push forth in my beautification quest after reviewing them once again.

After painting the mentioned rooms, I began looking for fabric to make a special bedspread and pillows for my bed.  I also hung from the middle window panel five small hand-painted elephants suspended on golden thread.  I love waking each morning and looking at them because they were given to me by a friend, and were packed away in boxes until recently.  Objects like these become treasured friends over time, an integral part of your home.
 Step by step, I hope to have made good progress toward creating the type of atmosphere I desire in my space.  I will keep you posted.  Please feel free to comment on your own beautification adventures, be it home or garden. 

Monday, May 24, 2010

Loving Nature

As I grow older, my love and respect for Nature intensifies.  I find that during this time of the year, in particular, it is vital for me to find time to sit alone or walk somewhere in the presence of trees, flowers, river and birds.  Whether I'm reading or just reflecting, the peace I feel when I'm one with Nature is beyond description.
 Whenever I think about when my love of Nature began, I think back to my gradual, progressive journey with it - my awareness of it.  That awareness began during my early childhood in a small southern town, where my family and I often went on excursions into the woods during the summer to pick blackberries, cherries and grapes.  I loved the freshness of the air, the colors of the many different plants and the many, many trees everywhere.  I remember being excited that no two trees were the same.  I was even excited that we had to be careful to avoid areas known to harbor dangerous snakes.  Somehow, knowing the snakes were there and knowing that I was protected by adults kept my adrenalin flowing.

Growing up on my grandfather's small farm was another reason that I viewed Nature as a friend, especially in summer and fall.  In the summer, there was a garden filled with corn, green beans, tomatoes, greens, watermelons, cucumbers and okra.  There was also a fig tree in our front yard, and a chicken coop in our back yard.  I loved that we grew most of what we ate, and it wasn't until we moved north that I discovered  not everybody made  their own buttermilk - or wrung a chicken's neck in the morning and ate it for supper that same day.

Everybody had not eaten a yellow-meat watermelon from Georgia, or witnessed newborn kittens in a bedroom dresser drawer. Nor had they learned to climb a tree, catch a trout or watch caught-tadpoles turn into frogs.  Everybody had not caught June bugs in the summer, tied a string to their legs and watched them "zing on a string," making a zinging noise.  Nor had they sat on the front porch at night in the summer, catching lightning bugs in a jar. 

Everybody had not known the thrill of watching their relatives shake a pecan tree in the fall, and fill a crocus sack with the wonderful bounty.  Yet, as a child, I thought everyone had experienced all these things.  Later on, and even now, I am amazed that there are still those who think it is unsophisticated to love nature so much.  I have learned that it is they who are showing their ignorance with these type of thinking.

When I am in the presence of nature, especially trees and water, I am acutely aware that there is something higher than myself - something wise and mysterious.  Something that has been here forever, and for that I am thankful.

When I die, I will go back to the earth because I came from the earth.  I am a part of the earth, a part of Nature, and perhaps that is why I love it so much. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Living My Best Life

Today as I viewed yet another "to-do list," it occurred to me once again that there was no way to complete everything on that list.  The tasks before me could realistically be completed in a week or even two, but to try doing them all in one day would be begging for stress, irritation and exhaustion.  A two-week time span would allow for leisure time and socializing between tasks. Doing so would certainly make those tasks more palatable. 

After taking some time this morning  to reflect about my life, I realized that I continue to sometimes measure  the success of my day by the number of tasks accomplished, particularly the ones relating to my artistic goals.  This train of thought led to me to thinking about  what I would consider to be my best life. 

Even though some of my life goals have remained the same over time, the way I want to go about bringing them to fruition has changed.  My view of what constitutes my best life is rather simplistic and divided into four categories consisting of self-development, art, family and friends.  While there are sub-categories under each area, this is it for me. 

Spending my time focusing on these four areas and whatever is relevant to them is my best life. In many ways I am living my best life right now.  Most days find me dividing my time between various  activities relating to these four categories, with painting often being the top priority.

Besides the painting, I enjoy writing for the projects that are not yet "soup," reading, spending time in nature, and consciously developing myself spiritually.  Having lunch with friends or chatting with the long-distance ones on Facebook is also gratifying,  as well as spending time with my lovely family.  This is the gist of my best life.

Keeping in mind that a best life does not mean there will be no dark days, I can say that I am grateful for the best life I now have.  I just have to remember to keep those "to-do" lists short! 

Friday, April 2, 2010

Human Equality ( a rhythm/ performance poem)

Black people, red people, brown people white
Yellow people, pink people, dark people light
Tall people, short people, fat people thin
All people same save the skin they're in

Rich people, poor people, middle people drink
Smart people, dull people, dumb people think
Beautiful people, ugly people, pretty people plain
All living people have some type of brain

When you consider how basic the plate
It makes no sense to discriminate
When you consider the boat we're all in
It's best to accept all people as kin

Women people, men people, children people speak
Young people, middle people, old people eat
Girl people, boy people, straight people gay
All living people breathe every day

Moral people, sinner people, saint people priest
North people, south people, west people east
Good people, bad people, wrong people right
All living people face day and night

Black people, red people, brown people white
Yellow people, pink people, dark people light
Tall people, short people, fat people thin
All people same save the skin they're in

When you measure love with hate
It makes no sense to discriminate
When you consider the boat we're all in
It's best to accept all people as kin!

copyright 2009, Georgette Jones

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Week in Gratitude #4

"Objects of Affection #7 /  Private Collection

This week  has found me extremely anxious about some very real complexities in my life.  It is at times like these that I realize  my supreme source of comfort extends beyond the realm of the Human, but more toward the realm of the Divine.   The principle of gratitude continues to be a soothing mainstay for me.  Whenever I take stock of the blessings in my life, I feel reassured.  This is what I am thankful for this week:

Life - Regardless of what kind of day I'm having, there are so many things in life to enjoy, including the simple act of waking up and continuing to breathe.

Grandchildren - Here is an inexplicable love, so unlike any other.  They make me laugh really hard.  They say exactly what's on their mind.  And sometimes they say, "I wuv you" without really knowing what that means.

Books  - Cheez!  I am such a bookworm - sometimes sneaking in chapters between other tasks throughout the day.  Yes, it's true that I sometimes read on the run, but what better way to forget about your troubles than escaping through a book?  It's better than escaping through a bottle...............(I wouldn't fit into a bottle, anyway).

Food - On Wednesday, I made one of my speciality dishes, Tahitian Chicken, a stir-fry consisting of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, red bell peppers, onions, broccoli, pineapple chunks and Catalina dressing, all served over brown rice.  This is healthy, comfort food that can be prepared in small portions.  Totally delicious, served with peach tea Crystal Lite.

Work - When I'm feeling down, I become a workacholic.  I am thankful for having the energy to do my art, clean my place, go to the grocery store, do my laundry and answer my phone calls. 

Humor - Thankfully, there is a variety of humor to lighten any given moment of a day, whether you're alone  or with others.  I love to make others laugh and love to have my funny tickled, as well.

Pets - I am so thankful for my cat, Lucy.  No one would believe that when I'm putting on lipstick and mascara to go out, this cat jumps on the toilet seat so that I can put some on her, too.  Sometimes, she actually stands very still on her two hind legs while I pretend by rubbing each tube across her eyebrows.

Being grateful comes to me by remembering to focus on what I already have.  I hope this works for you, too.  Anyhow, these are the things I'm grateful for this week.  What are you grateful for this week?