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Pulling on Socks

life as an artist miscellaneous orbs watercolor Jan 18, 2020

I might never have known the influence I had on a young life many years ago if I hadn't pulled on my socks this morning.

I've had a lot on my mind lately.  Due to intense jet lag, a "to do" list that's far too long and a burning desire to paint giant oil paintings in my studio, I've allowed stress to muddle my brain more than usual.  When I find myself in this state, I ask myself "What is one really easy thing, that will take no time at all, to make me feel happy and remind me of why I do what I do?" I reached into my sock bin and pulled on my constellation socks.  I just happened to be wearing the leggings I made from one of my Orb paintings several years ago.

It worked!  Memories flooded my brain and I couldn't stop smiling.  Monthly full moon walks with Alexis, Nicole and Mike; Sleeping beneath the stars on the top of Mount Diablo after being tracked by a wild boar; Moon Eclipses; the Northern Lights painting reds, blues and yellows in the night sky above my home in Martinsville in the late 60's; Watching tree lightning at midnight from the bed of an old hay wagon with my brother and a few fellow rock climbers in the early 70's; fire dancing with Nicole in the driveway after the sun went down; running in the early mornings in the 60's with my father; running in the early mornings with Alexis in the late 90's; paragliding tandem with my son; staring up at the milky way with my mother in the 50's as she pointed out the constellations and told me their stories; the poster of the planets my father tacked onto the dining room wall, quizzing us nightly until my siblings and I all could repeat the order of the planets from Mercury out to Pluto (back when Pluto was still considered a planet) .... 

The movement of planets through space has influenced the direction of my art in many ways.

Leto finds Refuge - Watercolor 14" x 18"

I really didn't want to stop the movie reel of memories as I stood in my leggings and constellation socks wearing a smile on my face.  I snapped a quick photo of the bottom half of me to throw up online as a quick hello, mainly to my kids.  They would know what I meant. 

My "To Do" list nagged at my brain. I decided to take care of two things simultaneously and added a link to my Zazzle site where all of my yoga leggings, created from paintings and photos, are listed (  I thought it was a pretty odd post that no one would bother paying attention to ... and that was alright.  For me, it was just about giving myself a warm hug (that I desperately needed) and getting back to the business of filming and editing before I would allow myself to squeeze out my paints.

A chart for the soon to be released Mixing Gorgeous Greens online course

Hours later I stopped to respond to a message and saw that Jessica, who was once my next door neighbor, had shared the post of my socks and leggings.  She isn't someone I thought would share a post about my yoga leggings and constellation socks, I looked to see if she made a comment along with sharing the post.  This is what she wrote:

"When we were growing up, we lived in a matching ranch house to an incredibly fascinating family whose twins ate mint jelly sandwiches and whose dad built a secret door between kids rooms and whose dogs romped wild, always seemingly grinning with delight. In the basement of that house was an art studio where magical things happened, the really unruly type of magic that broke the rules while staying just exactly where it should to end up losing only the bits that didn't belong.
Because my brother shared a name, we called their mother "Chris-next-door," and through art, the world was her playground. Unlike most adults, Chris somehow prioritized her play - her hobby, her love - not with shame or casual deferance but with such a passion that you knew it was as much a part of her as breathing. She often commented on things in casual talk that made me completely rethink everything I knew, as if perhaps the color blue was so much more complex then I'd been taught, and the expectation for women and mothers less a rule and more a culture, ready for rewriting. Scrap paper filled barrels and mistakes were not to be overthought, water a medium and nature a gift. Math and nature and art intersected naturally in her eyes, in a beautiful, bold dance.
Chris, you are a gem and I am so thankful that our lives intersected at the perfect time they did.

Shortly before my mother died, I spoke to Chris, whose adventures had taken her overseas and far away. At my mother's funeral, there sat Tom, whom I had not seen for the better part of 15 years or more, and it was a quick reunion out if necessity but a complete joy, that type which brings with it all the good memories one may have forgotten in a time of darkness and overwhelming duty.
If you haven't seen Chris Carter's art, you are in for a treat. She's also turned some into the only fishnet leggings I'd possibly ever wear..."

I had no idea! 

As an artist, teacher, mother, friend and female, I strive to live my life in a way that's a positive influence in our world.  It's difficult to know whether or not my actions and words have helped or have hurt.  I'm grateful to Jessica for letting me know that for her, a few of the seeds of curiosity and creativity that I sprinkle about wherever I go and wherever I live, sprouted and took root. As a young teen I certainly saw a special something in her photography.  She had a natural instinct for strong composition and a knack for capturing the personality of the people in her photographs.  I did my best to nurture her interest and apparent passion for photography whenever possible, never knowing if my nurturing had any impact. I still don't know if my nurturing had an impact but apparently the way I've lived my life certainly has.

I'm glad I pulled on my constellation socks this morning.  Thanks, Jessica!

Shelley and I walking together in the woods several years ago. We shared a passion for being outdoors in all weather. 


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