Falling Back

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Took a wander through the fall foliage with John and Katherine last weekend. This is once of my favourite times of year and it was a delightful change to amble through life instead of sprinting from one thing to another. I’ve run these trails often and know every dip and bend, but walking them proved to be a nice change and allowed my to lug along the camera and notice the textures and nuances of autumn.

This is a particularly busy time of year for all of us, with the Law Society auditor coming by for her regular visit soon, the year-end business stuff to clue up and tax info to prepare, as well as the myriad of bedevilled details that cluster into October and November. The clocks change tonight, which is really not a significant deal (other than it now makes my automatic wake-up time 4:30am), but it made me stop and think about the passage of time and why my stress levels have been ratcheting up progressively this week.

Part of my time lately has been occupied with helping organize and prepare projects for the art auction at Katherine’s school. I helped them last year, for the first time, and apparently they were pleased because I was asked to help out again this year. As wonderful as the cause has been, it has also been a fair amount of work, a boatload of stress and I’ll be very glad when the pieces are in the hands of the framers and off my shoulders. When I agree to involve myself in a project of this nature and my name goes on it, I take it pretty seriously and invest a fair amount of mental and emotional energy in its success. One of the books from my childhood was “Euphonia and the Flood” and her motto was, “If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.” While not always strictly true, I think that it holds fairly well as an approach for things that do, in fact, matter to a person. There is no half-way in terms of the big stuff in life. The trick is really in deciding what things are going to fit the category of mattering.

I’ve been away from studio work for a year now and was feeling slightly rusty at the technical aspects necessary for the project, so I’ve had to devote a little practise time to rekindling my control over the media used (acrylics and watercolour). There’s a vast difference between painting on your own and painting in front of a crowd and I needed to regain my comfort with the latter before subjecting myself to the unfiltered commentary of observant children. I have also devoted a little extra time to building the vision of each piece as a whole and tailoring it to the skill level of the kids involved. Different age levels have differing abilities, both in terms of focus and dexterity/technical mastery and it is imperative to find a project that allows them to achieve the combined goals of creativity and productivity. This can be a tricky balance to strike, but I think we managed it well this year and I’m happy with the results as they appear to be maturing.

And TUESDAY morning, 10am, the last one will be out of my hair. Gone. Done. Dropped off. And my life can return to its normal self.

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