Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Stop and smell the ros...SNAKES!!!

Then run as fast as you can!!

I have shared many times here how much I love to run on the Centennial Trail, here in Spokane, Washington. As I run, I think. Some of my most creative ideas come during this time. I also notice objects and scenes as I run by and make a mental note to myself to return, camera in hand, to capture these details with the intent to turn some of them into paintings.

Walking the trail with a camera requires a completely different mindset and I have to prepare myself mentally for this different way of experiencing the trail. If I don't take a moment to mentally change gears, I approach the trail impatiently with a hint of guilt and frustration that I'm somehow doing something less worthy, walking instead of running. What's interesting though, is that if I relax into the experience, I end up having an equally (although different) rejuvenating time.

When I walk the trail I notice things - details that I don't see when I am running. First of all, I notice more wildlife. You can easily imagine why. Here I am running: pound, pound, gasp, pound, pound, gasp, pound, pound, gasp. By the time I finally lumber into view, any self respecting wild creature is long gone. Last week as I walked the trail, I stopped to watch the cloud formations move behind a gnarly old tree. As I began to walk forward, I noticed a rather large snake right in front of me, beginning to cross the trail. Not knowing what kind of snake it was, (rattlesnakes are common here), I decided to yield the right of way. I watched the beautiful, graceful movement as it disappeared into the grass on the other side of the trail. Then it was my turn to move on. I love sharing the trail, not just with the other runners, walkers, bike riders, skateboarders, but with the creatures that called the trail home.

I also notice smaller things, tiny plants, nuances of shape and form. I get into more conversations with people. When I am running, there is no time for talking...there is no breath for talking. It is a solitary activity, which I love. Walking invites community, which I also love.

I guess it's all about balance. Sometimes it's wonderful to speed up, run fast, breathe hard, feel your heart beating and your hair flying behind you...just you and the world. Other times, it's good to slow down, take stock of the situation, breathe deeply, smell the dirt and the flowers and the grass, and maybe even notice hidden dangers on your path.

I hope your community offers places like the Centennial Trail, where you can recharge and connect with this incredible world.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Case of the Missing Dragon

From the Studio Mystery Series. Case #32

Something is missing from the studio of K.B. Carpenter.

It wasn't noticed at first. In fact it only recently became clear that a dragon from the "Dueling Dragons - Impact" Series was conspicuously absent. Be advised that the proper authorities are feverishly working to discover the third dragon.

We first became aware of one of its associates:

Later we became aware of this handsome member:

They are known for their dramatically good looks while traveling together:

If you have any knowledge that might help crack this case, leave a comment. We will keep you posted with updates.

Note to faithful followers:
When I first painted "Impact" to be included in the "Dueling Dragons" series, I loved its drama. I also felt that it was destined to be a trio. The second version, which I just completed, is shown above and is very like "Yellow" in design with a few minor changes but makes a wonderful left end piece for the trio. I am now designing the third piece which will be the right end piece. Matted and framed, the three will be visually stunning.

Have a wonderfully mystery-filled week-end!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Running hot and cold

Did you know there are pockets of cool and warm air?

Yes, yes, we all know about cool and warm air masses from weather reports and we've experienced their effect while riding in airplanes, but I mean air that you can actually feel as you move through it. As I was running on the trail last week I experienced these pockets of air, moving from warm air into a cooler patch of air and then back into warmer air.

The funny thing is, my reaction to these pockets depends upon my situation. If it is a hot day, I have a positive reaction to a cool pocket of air, but I don't like the pockets of hot air. Inversely, if it's a cool day, I like the warmer pockets of air. Yet the pockets of air themselves are neutral - neither bad nor good - they just are. It's my reaction to them that is charged with the positive and the negative, and that is so changeable.

I was thinking that this is a bit like life. I can be running along through life and someone says that they love my paintings and they make a purchase. That makes me happy. It affects my mood, I feel good about myself and for a while I am in a happy state of mind. Then something else happens - maybe my car breaks down or someone clearly doesn't respond to my paintings. I have a negative reaction, and for awhile (sometimes way too long), I'm in a negative mood. The events were neutral, it's my reaction that is charged with the negative or positive.

I have a couple of thoughts about the mercurial nature of life that would benefit me to remember and I thought it might help you too, so I'll share them:

1. There are going to be hot and cold pockets in life. It's a certainty. While this realization can be sobering it is reassuring also. No matter where you are, you are moving forward through time and space. If you are in a scorching hot pocket, gasping for breath, doubting you can continue - have faith, my friends. Refreshing cool air is ahead. I can't tell you when but IT IS COMING. In the meantime, pace yourself, be kind to yourself, and hang in there. Inversely, if you are basking in perfectly cool air, cruising along, assuming this perfect state will continue forever, be aware that hot air is ahead. It is inevitable. Don't let the surprise of it knock your feet out from under you.

2. To maintain my equilibrium in foul or fair weather, cool or warm pockets, I must keep in mind that I cannot control anything but my own thoughts and actions. What happens externally happens. So, I can set goals for myself that don't rely on things I cannot control and I can feel good about accomplishing those goals - whatever else happens. I can learn from exterior events and then apply this knowledge to my new actions as I continue my move forward through time and space.
Note: These photos were from my most recent run. These two fellows in the shot right above were picking up trash along the trail. I stopped to chat and thank them and they told me that they do it regularly as their thank you for the trail. As I was headed back along the trail, I noticed a couple of pieces of trash along the way. Moved by their example, I stopped to collect them. Actions truly do make a difference.

Second note: I had a foot scare this week-end. Out of the blue my left foot really hurt when I rotated it at all. No rhyme or reason to it. I tried not to worry or plunge into a pit of despair (this would be a very hot air pocket to endure), and only rested it. Just as mysteriously it seems to be fine now. Go figure. Simply a little reminder that as I run I say thank you, thank you, thank you for a body that works and is healthy. This can change at any moment.

Have a wonderful week my fellow air pocket travelers!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Come on in!

The KBCarpenter Shop is officially open!

Just click on the shop page which will take you to my store site. Please stop by.

Right now very affordable archival quality signed, limited edition, giclee prints are available. These prints are amazing - they are printed on watercolor paper and it is very difficult to tell the difference from the original watercolor paintings.

If you don't see a print offered that you have admired on my portfolio page, please leave a comment or email me at kb@carpclan.org. I'd love to know what you are interested in and I will work to get them listed right away.

Original paintings will also soon be offered. Some followers have already expressed their interest in specific paintings, so if there is a piece that you are particularly interested in, please let me know right away and if it is still available, you can have the option to purchase it.

Thank you again for your support! If you haven't signed up for my newsletter please do so right away. I am offering free shipping for a limited time to all newsletter subscribers.

Have a wonderful week-end.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ready, set, wait!!

It's so good to be back with you, and I'm excited to share our stories of living on the edge and our new challenges.

But first - a couple of quotes to set the stage:

"Patience is waiting. Not passively waiting. That is laziness. But to keep going when the going is hard and slow - that is patience." Author unknown
"If you wait to do everything until you're sure it's right, you'll probably never do much of anything." Win Borden

If these quotes seem a bit contradictory at first glance that just illustrates the challenge of the human condition. How do you balance courage and foolhardiness - waiting and action? If you examine these quotes more closely, they are actually in sync with each other.

Keep moving forward. Keep growing. Pause and reflect when necessary. Keep pushing yourself to be who you were created to be. Get a little uncomfortable but always living consciously within your value system. Be patient with yourself. The answers won't always be clear. That's what faith is all about.

This all leads to my exciting news:

I am finally almost ready to open my online store!!!! (Speaking of which, have you signed up for my newsletter? If not, please do so now by going to my contact page on this website. You will be the first one to know about when the store goes live, and special discounts.)

This has been a huge leap of faith for me that I have been exceedingly uncomfortable with. I now have so much more understanding and respect for people who have started businesses. Mine is on such a small scale and yet the details that have been necessary to work through have been enough for me to declare more that once that this was a terrible idea and I'm just going to go back into the safe workforce that I am familiar with.

I will keep you posted with more details. I so appreciate your interest and support. I am excited to hear about YOUR forays of courage. What have you been up to that has pushed you past your comfort zone? It is such an encouragement to share with others, so we're waiting to hear all about it. It doesn't have to be something huge. Remember:

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow'". MaryAnne Radmacher

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Get a little uncomfortable

This is just a quick post to let you know that I will be unavailable for a little while.

I'm out of town and then working on an exciting project.

Let's get together here around the middle of May. I should be ready to share some fun things and one very exciting thing.

In the meantime, treat yourself well and challenge yourself to do at least one thing (a positive thing, of course), that makes you uncomfortable. Push yourself out there to the edge of your comfort zone at least once between now and then and we'll share it here and celebrate your courage.

I can't wait to hear from you!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Down to earth

How quickly the mighty have fallen.

From princess/fairy godmother to serf.

We had 6 yards of garden soil delivered as the next step in our ongoing yard improvement project that began last year when we demolished what we had and put in rock retaining walls and steps.

Before we planted, we needed to enrich the sadly neglected soil and fill in newly constructed raised beds for vegetables.

Unfortunately the soil must go from here:

down here:

down here:
all the way to here:
I estimate that yesterday and today I have made over 125 trips lugging soil. No upper/lower body weight workout needed this week!

After filling in raised planting beds, planting these:

and these:
and many other lovely plants, my dirt pile still looks like this:
No matter how many buckets of soil I fill and carry away, the pile looks the same.

Now that's magic. If only my bank account worked that way.