A work of Heart


I have not been posting as regularly here as I mean to. Perhaps because there seems nothing new under the sun and yet everything is new. Or, perhaps because I feel like a fly trapped in a lampshade buzzing around and around. In the current UU World Magazine, Rev. Mark Belletini has a thoughtful article about surviving in the pandemic where he mentions “the saving presence of art” in his life. At the same time, I read an article by Austin Kleon where he mentions that he is moving through the time of pandemic by giving himself art challenges. He had a quote by Octavia Butler, “All good things must begin”. I like these thoughts. Why not leap up into the space that has been given us and BEGIN something – anything?

So, what could you begin? I have been “playing around” with making small water color paintings which I turn into bookmarks or cards for friends. It gives me great pleasure at the same time that it seems trivial. And, it’s clear I’m no artist. I have decided to live with that. This sort of “pause” that we are in can hold both depth and lightness. If you, like me, are sometimes buzzing around in the lampshade, I suggest trying a commitment to making something with your hands.

Maybe you could make a blind contour self-portrait and paste a word or two in a journal each morning.




Or you could make a “coffee cup mandala” in your journal each morning.



Or you could make a collage each morning without know why or what it’s about until you’re done.


Or you could just doodle with paint and a pen.



Maybe you’ll decide to keep a one-sentence diary. One sentence on each page, and paste something else onto each page too. Add the date and call it a day.

Austin Kleon committed to making 100 blind contour self-portraits. Then he made 100 tiny “zines” on various topics, then 100 collages of houses. Is there something you could commit to making 100 of? Or 30 – one each day in July? There is some saving grace in making something with our precious hands even if we can’t figure out why – but especially if it feels like fun when you are doing it. Writer/artist Jill Badonsky says “Instead of focusing on how it’s going to turn out, focus on how much you absolutely love what you’re doing.” That would be good advice for living in this time of pandemic too, as I think about it! Call it a work of heart.

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