Steam rises from my bowl of oatmeal, visible in the cool morning air. Finches sing and wrens scold, filling the air with life. A young Goldfinch flutters wings and lowers head, begging his father for food. A loud humming heralds the arrival of a hummingbird, who is suddenly hovering a couple of yards in front of me as she studies me. Two sleek yearling does and two young bucks sporting velvet-covered spike antlers waft silently through the yard, pausing to nibble fresh grasses on their way from woods behind to woods in front, as Rowan lies beside me watching calmly.

My morning dog training client cancelled at the last moment this morning, so I’ve been enjoying the unexpected gift of a slow morning. Breakfast on the deck in jeans and a long-sleeved shirt– such a treat in August, some leisurely sketching, laundry hung on the line (always so satisfying), and time for a bit of relaxed reading. I have a full afternoon and evening schedule ahead of me, so am thankful for a quieter than planned morning to just be.

Musings on Busyness and Slowing through Sketching

For the past few months I’ve been pondering my schedule and working on slowing down internally, which has meant slowing down externally quite a bit. I tend to get too busy, then step back, then gradually (or not so gradually) get too busy again after a refreshing time of less on my schedule.

I’ve been doing some looking inward to try and figure out why, when I love solitude and peace so much, I keep getting myself over committed. I have some answers and probably have more to discover, but for now, I am enjoying the freedom of a less scheduled calendar and more time with Stephen, and for art, for walking with my dogs, and for cleaning my house and cooking (which I really enjoy when I’m not squeezing it in between too many demands).

One encouraging result of setting priorities was that within a day I began to think creatively and with enthusiasm about several things I had seemed to lose all inspiration for. Ideas have began popping into my head, sometimes when I least expect them, and I am eager to move forward with them. But, I’m taking my time and giving careful thought to my schedule and what I can fit in without cramming the essentials into the corners of an impossibly full week.

I’m hoping to post sketches, paintings, and writing a bit more often, so today I’m getting started with a sketch of a favorite jug of mine. I’ve been taking a sketching class called “Seeing” through Sketchbook Skool, and this is the final week of class. I didn’t sign up until two weeks into the six week course, because I didn’t have time, but when I realized how much I was stunting myself emotionally and spiritually by not allowing time for art, I signed up and worked on catching up. It was a great decision and has given me a much-needed jump start for sketching in a way that gets me to slow down, look more carefully, and see beyond the superficial glance. The instructor this week is Liz Steel, and one assignment is to sketch a teacup or other object, so I did this jug. I have greatly enjoyed all the instructors for this course, and I’m hoping to post some of my earlier sketches, but this is all for today.

I’ve been making tea in this jug for years, but today, for some reason,
it got many little cracks in the glaze (and maybe deeper) when I poured
boiling water into it. Unless, perhaps, it was already cracked and I
hadn’t noticed, but that seems unlikely, since I’ve used it nearly every day. Anyway, I decided to sketch it,
since I really like it and wonder if it will soon fall apart. I hope it doesn’t. It didn’t come from anyone special; I think I may have found it at Goodwill, but I love the rich brown, the beige trim, the simple shape, and its usefulness. It just fits me and our home, and often holds our wonderful well water or some delicious variety of tea.