Of course being 7.5 months pregnant I think often about how I want to raise my son. A few weeks ago we were out to breakfast and saw a mom pick up their child and then watched as the child began to smack, hit, and just go crazy on the mom. I was shocked. Of course I said to Chris “Our child will never act like that.” And — I meant it. First of all, if my kid acts out I will take them outside. I do not care if it is rainy or beautiful out, I would want to take them out of the situation and discuss further. It might even mean making the choice to leave the restaurant. There is absolutely no reason to watch a child loose control and beat the crap out of his mom. Something is not right in that scenario. Those of you who are already parents think I might live in a dream world, but let me tell you, my father might have scared the crap out of me, but I knew how to behave.
So that little rant was about the kids misbehaving, but what about parents? I just read an article about a dad who was mocked for his son loving a custom play kitchen. Now, I will tell you I have not discussed this with Chris, and so he might not agree with me — but I would love for my son to have a play kitchen. Why you might ask? Chris is the chef in our family and he is a damn good one. He does not look at it as the wife’s job. He looks at it as art. He loves his time in the kitchen and from the taste of a dish, to trying something different, right down to how he displays the final product on a plate. Now that does not mean there are nights that it does not feel laborious to him, but he loves his kitchen and I stay out of the way. Why would I do anything to keep my son away from that? Why would he spend his childhood watching his father in the kitchen (and hopefully interested enough to want to join him) and then tell him he cannot have his own play kitchen?
What has this world come to? Cooking is an art and it is not just for women. If I was the one in the kitchen we would eat like crap — just ask Chris. I have no patience, I cannot time things right, and really have no interest. Chris has the patience, loves it, and I know he will have the patience to teach our son as well. My job will be teaching him how to bake. Yes, I will.
I loved this comment from the dad in the article:
“As far as my comment on if he wants to play with a barbie doll…again, let me stress this. HE IS 2. I have seen him get excited and play with a broom. Ya’ll need to chill. Kids are going to play with what they want, and if you try to prevent them from doing something as harmless as playing with the toy they want to play with, they are going to end up resenting you.”
So damn true. Let them play with what inspires them. I would much rather my son paint, get dirty, play in the kitchen and use his mind then be mesmerized behind a video game and develop no social skills whatsoever.
Over the weekend I took an encaustic art class. It was my first time playing with wax, a heat gun, and my desire to deep dive into this art medium. I have been interested for years, follow a few local artists, and finally took the plunge to dabble in something that has inspired me for quite some time. I learned a lot, have even more of a desire to purchase my own supplies and whittle away the hours in my own little creative world.
You may remember a post from almost a year ago on the encaustic piece that Chris and I purchased at the Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts. It is the second piece we have hanging from local encaustic artist Karl Kaiser. I love the modern look of his work, the clean, smooth look of the wax resin, and I have to say after spending 2.5 hours playing with this art medium, what he does takes incredible patience. Here are the two pieces I semi completed during the class. You should feel honored and lucky that I am sharing my unfinished artwork.
As soon as I have a spare moment (life has been busy what can I say), I am going to do some research to find out what it will cost me to purchase a heat gun, pancake griddle, metal warming pots, resin, wax, medium, encaustic paint, boards, etc. While it sounds like a lot, I think I can do it fairly inexpensively to start with to ensure that it really is something I want to do long-term. As I write this I have visions for different paintings I would like to try, and I can see it begin to become a bit of an addiction. I can only imagine that there are things to do at home, the house is interestingly quiet, and Chris tracks me down knowing that he’ll find me in the studio (aka baby room, aka dog room, if only we could decide), wasting a Saturday away playing with wax. Is that really so bad? There have to be worse addictions. There was something soothing about manipulating the wax and in some ways having no control over it.
I asked the instructor if I could play with hardware washers. I ended up only having the time to put one into my piece, but I can see where I would like to explore metal and wax, sort of a juxtaposition on organic and industrial in one piece. I think I am already addicted.
Chris are you ready for our shopping trip to the art, hardware stores and oh your favorite: Michaels?
Have you ever thought about how words matter? Writing is my world. Yes, I have other strengths and focuses, but at the end of the day, if I could do what I wanted it would be to write, play on the potter’s wheel, bring out a blow torch and do encaustic paintings, oh the list goes on and always tends to involve creative outputs. Words, though, dictate so much. You can provide a visual explanation of art through a painting, but to me words can bluntly or eloquently tell folks what you really think. They matter. They change emotions, moods, and communicate a variety of informative details.
Words alone do nothing. They have to be interspersed with tone, intention, care, and purpose. Without the emotion and care words have meaning but they stand alone. Sometimes even with the best intentions, how words are communicated can turn individuals away, make them feel guarded, alone, separate. With the best intentions and carefully crafted, words can make individuals feel included, respected, and valued. Words matter.
I am passionate about the selection of words, their meaning, and their intent. I think about it for almost every email I draft, every communication I write — whether for work, or among friends. I wonder, though, do we all think about our words and their effects on those around us? Do we write to make others feel inspired, engaged, and excited about what they are reading? Sometimes. Other times our words fall on deaf ears because we do not communicate well. We miss moments and opportunities to have a direct connection with our reader.
Yes, words matter. Think about that as you draft that next email, communication, blog post, Facebook post, whatever vehicle you use to share your ideas. You might find, as you focus on the words, you receive a different response from your reader.
Each year a few days away from our anniversary, we venture to the Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts. We try to go on Friday so that if we fall in love with a piece of artwork, there is still the possibility that it has not been sold. We have had this tradition for quite a few years, and sometimes we do not find or purchase anything and other years we come home with grins and excitement to go back on Sunday to pick up our new piece.
This year we came home with smiles across our face. Karl Kaiser’s talented encaustic work has come home to hang on our walls, and we also got to meet him at the Festival of the Arts. I am enamored with his work. If you are not familiar with encaustic, I encourage you to check out his blog as he will show you how he does some of his pieces. Encaustic is a form of painting using hot beeswax. Many encaustic artists mix their own colors, and you will find that each artist has a very different finished piece of work.
I have been wanting to start doing my own pieces, and had always been told that I would need a blow torch. Based on my multi-tasking and often dream world thinking Chris has not wanted me to have a blow torch in the house. To my excitement, Karl let us know that I could use butane to start out.
The piece you see is many, many layers of wax cut down and embedded into another piece. I love the rich color that he has brought into this piece. If you want to follow Karl’s work, you can like him on Facebook, check out his website, or his blog.