I’ve done clothes. I’ve made a dent in the pile of books so that I can put everything away.
Now I’m getting to papers. On her show, Marie Kondo makes it look very easy to get rid of papers, and for the most part I find that to be the case. I have financial records going back 17 years that could definitely be scanned and burned. But I also have stacks of sketchbooks and drawing pads chock full of drawings sketches and even little paintings.
A lot of them are pretty bad, but I love them all. They are proof that I have at least given my creative life a fair chance. But in my 10 x 10 office, there is only so much room, and right now that space belongs to the future. It belongs to the paintings that are waiting to be made and the books that are waiting to be written and illustrated.
About two months ago, I started scanning in the drawings, thinking I would make an e-book to sell on Amazon. I wasn’t sure what I would do with them once the scans were done, but now I think I know.
Thing2 has claimed dibs on anything I plan to discard (he hasn’t let the Big Guy know he’s second in line). But instead of burning doodles I don’t want, I’m going to start offering them here for a regular giveaway. I figure it’s a fun way to thank the drawings (and readers who like them) before sending them on their way and starting a new stack.
Tonight is the first giveaway. This is a painting I did at paint and sip in acrylic. if you like it, share the link and leave a comment. I will choose a winner at random from the comments on Wednesday January 16th and mail it out to you.
So far this is been a pretty good exercise. Sure there is a leaning Tower of clothing on my side of the bed, and the Big Guy could be suffocated if he tries to go to sleep too early. But going through this pile of stuff give me a chance to understand what it means to truly feel joy from something you own.
As I’m going through the contents of my closets and drawers, I’m realizing I have a little bit of a handbag problem, more of a footwear problem than I would’ve liked to admit, and a scarf problem.
I have a collection of scarves, but I tend to wear only one or two of them over and over again. my go to winter scarf was rolled up and put back in the drawer as soon as everything was emptied. It doesn’t give me joy, but I work constantly. Then I put another piece from the pile, and I smiled instantly.
It was a piece made from antique handkerchiefs collected and assembled by my friend Maria Wulf. I saw the scarf when I was a guest artist at one of her open houses, and I remember the moment I saw it. They were pinks and greens and blues, and two of the hankies had patterns in which Paris figured prominently.
As I rolled the scarf up and put it back in the shoebox I have now designated for these items, I felt myself smiling the entire time. Suddenly I realize exactly what this process was about. It was about being mindful of the things that surround us. Some people will certainly go through this process and find a lot more items in the collections that bring them back kind of joy. I realize (and I’m not terribly surprised) that a lot of my acquisitions only brought me joy when I was acquiring them.
The donation bags are filling up, and I’m going to try to hold onto that feeling of joy so I can summon some of it when I’m next to tempted to add to the collection of things in our house.
I had already decided to make 2019 the year of finished projects, but I was a little unsure of where to start and how best to prioritize them.
Last night I stumbled onto a new Netflix show, Tidying Up, and, having seen reviews of the host’s books on Amazon, decided to give it a whirl. I knew that the host, Marie Kondo, made her fortune helping people de-clutter. Some of the reviews had panned her strategies as being doctrinaire and extreme, So I hit play with healthy amount of skepticism.
Ten minutes into the show I was hooked. I recognized the people she was helping—parents of children a little younger than ours. they too had started the show as skeptics, but as they begin to think their relationship with their possessions, they begin to see the beauty and the advertised joy of illuminating what doesn’t make your life better.
I listen to the show last night as I struggled to settle on an illustration style for a book I’ve been working on for too long. I played with colored pencils. I played on the iPad drawing tool. And finally I got out what worked for me at the very beginning: a number two pencil and a $10 pan of water colors. It took me an hour to redo the first drawing, and it was the first time I’d been happy with the results for this book. I’m onto the next pages, issuing methods that I “should“ be using in favor of the one that works when I’m illustrating.
Focusing on the method that brings joy worked so well, I may actually have to try it on the house. My days of being able to write about being the world‘s worst housekeeper may be coming to an end.