I’ve often said that Austin is a happening city–both a blessing and a curse. Last weekend, I attended yoga four days in a row, Friday through Monday. I’d never done that before, but it was a luxury for both my body and mind, not to mention my bionic left ankle, which is still recovering from surgery.
As the rest of the week unfolded, I had at least two major things to do after school every single day. I normally don’t like to book my activities back to back like that, but occasionally life demands it. I don’t regret protesting for 3-year teaching contracts the doing yoga on Monday; attending a “Genetically Unemployable” meeting on Tuesday; attending EdTech on Wednesday before picking up my costume sword then participating in a webinar about my upcoming Peru trip on Wednesday; watching the African American program at my school then shopping for groceries on Thursday; and going to bikram yoga followed by an art exhibit at the Blanton on Friday.
Which one of those informative, life-enriching activities should I have eliminated from my schedule? I couldn’t think of a single one; so I did them all. As I strolled into the Blanton with a mixed drink that I’d bought before entering, I’d come straight from yoga as relaxed and energized as I could have been. I’d detoxed in order to retox. It’s all about balance.
My Saturday morning routine involved cleaning my apartment and changing my bedsheets. It’s the best time of the week to get such a chore done. During the week, the grime slowly builds up. Yet I don’t freak out about that since the healthy cleanliness of my apartment never dips too low. That’s how I feel about other aspects of my life as well.
Certain writing projects help me clean out the clutter. Otherwise, it would build up and rob me of sleep. I caught up on my rest on Saturday, then went to an art opening. I’d never heard of the artist before, but I will never forget him or his work.
What impressed me the most about Gabe’s work (I feel I can write about him, using his first name because he was just that warm and approachable) was the expressiveness in his subjects hands. Of course, most people are drawn into the Hollywood cinematographic quality of Gabe’s paintings, but I’ve never paid particular attention to an actor’s hands as I did with those paintings. I still struggle with painting hands.
When I finally got an opportunity to talk to the artist himself, I shared with him that I loved how he rendered the hands in all his paintings. He readily told me that a person’s hands tells you so much about them. I need to keep that in mind when I’m painting. I believe most of the hands I’ve painted reveal how uncomfortable I am with that body part. If I had the chance to have a longer conversation with Gabe, I would have told him how much I also liked the way his character’s bodies flowed. There is such movement and depth in his two-dimensional still paintings.
He teased me when I told him about my painting series, representing the main character’s work instead of mine. He quickly picked up on the fact I essentially distanced myself from my own shortcomings as a painter. Again, if I had the chance to talk with him further, I would’ve confessed I needed that distance in order to calm down the perfectionist in me and continue working instead of stalling out.
Gabe formally trained as a painter and has a 15 year career. I, on the other hand, am a writer, dabbling in painting. I was surprised when Gabe stated that he was actually a writer who painted as well. After hearing that, I gave him a business card with all the information about The Austin Writers Roulette, telling him if he was ever in Austin on the second Sunday of the month between 4 to 6, then he should stop by.
Even if I don’t have much confidence in my painting ability, I trust my organization and intrinsic motivation to keep my spoken word and poetry show alive long enough to attract other artists to participate. Everyone started from some point.