Christina Rosalie

Posts from the “Studio” Category

The biggest adventure: forever, then all of a sudden

Posted on April 13, 2014

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The winter stayed and stayed. Snow came, then fell again with a vengeance, white, whiter, small hills gathering curbside. Softer snow layered with frozen rain and sleet. Our own glacial record, keeping the things we lost: A single mitten, pocket change, our sense of permanence, the feeling of home. It was the coldest year on record. Biting. Sharp. I spent from November until April in Sorrel boots; wore my grey woolen beanie hat indoors; stopped smiling at strangers (not for lack of interest but because it required too much exposure of cheek and neck). The days grew longer, but the cold lasted. And along with it, a growing, restlessness, a gradual anxiety; a realization that this, here, might not be enough anymore for many reasons. Some more complicated than others. The least of them being the weather, but the most acceptable to share about here.

In retrospect the universe was probably conspiring. In the moment it felt like everything skittered right up against the edge. Things happened slowly, then all of a sudden. It felt like it feels when you almost fall on black ice, but catch yourself just before and walk away, your heart still beating hard.

Everywhere else spring arrived. I watched on Instagram. People had cherry blossoms, camellias, daffodils by the arm-full. Here, it was snow or days of spitting sleet. Temperatures in the low teens. Hunched shoulders. Worry. The feeling of having outgrown our circumference. Uneven footing. A flirtation with change. The idea of moving West. An inkling. A passing remark here. A half finished sentence there. What-ifs showing up in my morning pages; the words “spend more time on the Pacific” in my 37 before 37 list; and then we started looking in earnest. Then we flew out, fell in love with the city of roses and bridges, saw friends, ate so much good food, interviewed many places, and T landed his dream job.

Or something. Something like that. Sort of. Minus the hundred thousand anxious moments. Minus all the things beyond our control. Minus the anxiousness stitched together to make days, and the logistical conversations we had over and over again on repeat.

Now of course we forget it all. We forget the way we hunched against the cold because today there is sun, and sun, and sun. People are using leaf blowers. The neighbor’s parakeets are flirting. Cardinals are making nests. The lake is melting, and the are is warm enough finally to sit in shirt sleeves, grinning.

And We’re moving.

Bittersweet. Wildly giddy. Thrilled beyond words. Tired. Heart-achy. Delighted.

And it’s all happening now, this very minute. We leave in 2 weeks. Hello Portland.

Finally I’m moving back. The Pacific is whispering. A new bungalow on a new street. A city to fall in love with. New paths to chart. New stories to tell.

And before that, goodbyes and then a cross-country road trip. The boys. The dog. A route mapped through Chicago and Wyoming and Idaho to see some of this big country for the first time. I can’t wait and I’m not ready. I’m over the moon, and I’m sad to be leaving friends behind.


Needless to say: I have added incentive to make the studio sale happen. I’m finishing a few pieces, and scanning them all. Fingers crossed it will go live tomorrow. Maybe Tuesday. Like always, it will be a pay-what-you-can sale, but I’ll be setting a minimum this time just to offset materials and handling. I make all items available to my newsletter list first–then open up whatever’s left to anyone who happens by this little blog after 24 hours. (Fair warning, last time everything sold in less than 12 hours.)


Ok.So enough about that. Tell me everything you know about moving. Cross-country trips. Portland. Everything.
Love,
C

*Studio Sale + An Update*

Posted on April 7, 2014

Hello dear friends,

I’m so sorry I’ve been quiet here. Spring is gradually arriving, and with it, many changes and new directions that I’m excited to share, but can’t quite share yet. I was traveling this past week, which put me behind schedule for when I’d hoped to have my studio sale at the end of March. But it will be happening mid April. (Jump on the list if you want first dibs.) There are lots of animals in this particular round–many pen and ink drawings and a few small canvasses. Lots of resurfaced original postcards.

If there is an animal that particularly speaks to your heart, let me know and I’ll try to ink one up for the sale as well.

No promises, but when someone asked if there’d be a few red foxes in the mix, I got inspired and made a few sketches that I’m excited to finish.

Now that I’m back from traveling of course I got sick: A full-on head cold, paired with a stint of solo-parenting, and a tight project deadline. Oy. Still, the tiniest glimmers of spring around here have me giddy. It’s been such a long time coming, so much cold, so many layers of snow I could hardly believe that after a few days of spring sun the ground is bare.

Soon, crocuses will show up among the litter of last year’s leaves, and overhead in the tangle of bare branches that snare the moon every evening as it climbs the blueing twilight sky will become a riot of leaves and blossoms. Each year this happens, and each year, I’m in awe: That a seed unfurls into a plant; that bare twigs become the ruffled delight of greening leaves; that the light lasts longer and longer till the boys beg to go out after dinner and play and play well past when their bedtimes. I haven’t the heart to call them in, until the final rays of sunshine slip beyond the edges of our world. Then they come, muddy kneed, smudge-faced, grinning like the rapscallions they are. It’s been a long winter around these parts.

Tell me what you’re up to, what spring adventures are underfoot, and if you’ve got something your heart is set on that you’d like for me to try to draw.

xo/Christina

The quiet is on purpose

Posted on January 21, 2013

 
 
 
 
 
 
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The quiet is on purpose. I’ve been gathering and holding close the moments as they come. Time for stillness. Evenings with books. The occasional afternoon when I can slip away at work and walk with my turquoise Hunter boots fingerless gloves down to the peer, over snowy grass or mud or pebbles, to watch the water move and feel the sky grow bigger there, unobstructed by things made by the human hand.
 
The quiet is my way of starting out the year: between the new year and my birthday, 26 days exactly to dwell and ruminate; to take inventory of where I’ve been and where I’m headed. What I’ve done, and what I long to do.
 
And maybe this year, more than any other year, I’ve needed the quiet. Craved it, like a hunger, all the way down to my bones after nearly four years of non-stop creating. First Sprout, then Kickstarter, then grad school, then writing A Field Guide To Now, then a new job, then the book launch, and now, finally here. A new year. I’ll be 35 at the end of this week.
 
That feels significant. A year for becoming… in new ways. Hence the reason I’ve changed things up around here design wise. I’ve been wanting things to be simple. To be just enough, nothing more. Room for art and words photographs and enough white space also for some breathing room. I hope you like it.
 
I’m also planning some truly lovely, simple things for this space. A little daily collaboration with one of my dearest friends. The most wonderful interview series I could ever imagine, slowly coming together with some of the most incredible creatives I know.
 
And quite soon, quite soon indeed, I’ll be having a pay-what-you-can studio sale, to make way in my small corner of the world for new work. If you’d like to be among the very first to know–and get a special sneak peak before it goes live for everyone else, sign up for my newsletter here. I’ll be sending an update out before the end of the week, and you don’t want to miss it. Really.

All kinds of fun & crazy

Posted on November 26, 2012

The past four days have been wild, in that snow-flurry, family-intensive way that only Thanksgiving vacation can produce. Pomegranate seeds in salad. Cousins chasing each other around the house. Fooseball between brothers. Red wine. Sleeping late. Snow flurries. A fractured foot. And vomit.

See how I snuck those in at the end?

That part goes something like this: The day before Thanksgiving Bean wound up at the hospital for x-rays. The night before in a moment of pure giddy flail he’d leaped (and fallen) over the space heater in his bedroom (“I should have listened to you, Mommy” he said with regret later) and still wincing and hopping about in the morning T brought him to the doctor’s while I was at work. Of course, Sprout went along too, and the three of them spent much of their day in one waiting room or another while Bean was x-rayed and fitted for a boot/brase with the prognoses of a “buckle fracture.” And then… wait for it… just as T was leaving the hospital, Sprout suddenly declared his stomach hurt, and then proved it, in a vibrant display in the parking lot.

Determined to get the ingredients he’d set out to get for the stuffing he was on the line to bring for Thanksgiving dinner the next day, he hauled both boys into town, arriving an hour before I usually leave work with two ashen boys and a very fragrant car. Needless to say, I left work early and drove them home, and we spent the rest of the night on the couch, Sprout clutching a bowl, and Bean muttering about his foot, while I read to both of them.

Thanksgiving day we awoke to milky sunlight, having slept late, and to the sounds of two very chipper boys playing contentedly in their room. Neither seemed the worse for the wear and Thanksgiving day passed serenely with all the usual delights of family and feasting. Friday was a blur. We cut a tree that recently fell across our driveway. We had dinner at the inlaws. There was even a nap. And then Saturday brought round two of vomit, that occured shortly after the most acrobatic lunch of the weekend, with inlaws and twin nephews at a noodle house. Roadside noodles for Bean. Sigh.

Sunday Bean was bright-eyed and bushy tailed as is his usual manner, and both boys painted for a while in my studio, where I holed up for most of the day–painting four canvases all told, and making this video for the Squam Art Workshops blog–which is the most fun I’ve ever had doing an interview with someone remotely.

Sunday was also the day my dear friend Jessica had her baby boy–and that news set me to wondering (at the fact that when Jessica has an an almost 8 year old, like my Bean is now, I’ll have an ALMOST 16 YEAR OLD, and holy moly, that is pure craziness) and also to remembering the birth stories of both my boys.

I am exited beyond words to be heading out to California this weekend see her, and Willow and, fingers crossed, a stop at Teahouse and a peak at my gorgeous Pacific ocean too. Oh California. I’ll never stop loving you.

So, there you have it. The most rambling of updates. It’s been far too long. I keep waiting for the perfect opportunity to slip back in and get all caught up, but the perfect opportunity is never, and so here you are. Rambling. Update.

How was your Thanksgiving? What are you looking forward to this December?

Uneven tempo

Posted on November 15, 2012

It was magical to be away, and upon return everything collides: parent-teacher conferences, busy schedules, and everyone in the house sick with one form or another of a nasty virus that’s been going around. Now, trying to catch up. That’s what vacation always does for me, like the few seconds of pause between fast-tempoed songs on an album. I’m looking forward to the weekend. To sharing about New Orleans, to getting artwork ready for my studio sale, and to making a bonfire. Right now though, I still need to make it through today and tomorrow.

Music always helps, and I’m dying for some new tunes.

What are you loving right now?

A Studio Update: Guest Posts + A Soonish Art Tag Sale

Posted on October 24, 2012

I’m guest posting over at Maven Circle today ~ about self image, and that terrain between being and doing. It felt so good to have the creative constraints of a topic to write to, and to explore something that feels very fresh and true to where I’m at right now. I hope you go take a peak.

Also, I wanted to give you a quick heads up in case you’ve missed a few other recent guest posts and reviews about Field Guide To Now:
 
An Interview With Thea Coughlin
 
A Warrior Woman Interview on Forest Of Stories
 
A review over at Scoutie Girl
 
Many more glimpses, guest posts and giveaways to come super soon!

Also stay tuned for my second ever Studio Tag Sale. It’s happening. Very soonish. Be among the first to know when it goes live–and get other goodness and inspiration by subscribing to my newsletter (on my sidebar for those of you who are reading via RSS.)

xoxo, Christina

My second son: three times around the sun

Posted on February 22, 2012

Do you remember him then?

I do. I remember the way I loved each day of his infancy; the way his smiles exploded my heart; the way I felt always a little high with helium wonder watching him watch the world. I’ve said this many times, but it’s true: if Bean taught me to be a mother; Sprout taught me to love the process of it.

The year Sprout was born was the hardest year. 2009; the year everything upended in our lives. The year the stock market lurched, and pitched T’s old job as a day-trader into a no-man’s land of guessing. The year I refused to go back to work in a classroom where test scores came meaningful learning and bureaucracy held creativity in check. The year our marriage felt like a painful off-kilter dance between two sleep deprived drunks. The year that forced me to begin to imagine a new paradigm; a new way of thinking; a new way of being in the world.

It was the year A Field Guide To Now began in my head as inklings, as drafts, as snippets here on the blog.

And it was the first year with my sweet second son.

And now:

He’s 3.

He is hilarious. He is empathetic. He is shy and boisterous in turns. He is all about yelling things and gesturing expansively, true to the core to his Italian heritage one minute; and then hiding behind my leg when he meets someone for the first time, the next. There are times when he loves to lie on the rug with his matchbox cars, driving them along the imaginary roads that the patterns make; or building block castles all by himself; and other times when all he wants to do is wrestle and hurtle around the house on his tiny two-wheel bike with training wheels, singing at the top of his lungs.

He loves to sing.
He loves to rub noses.
He loves to laugh.

And every morning he finds me while he is still half asleep, and I am still half asleep, and together we doze for fifteen or twenty minutes, curled into each other, our cheeks and noses touching, while T showers. I adore this time. I adore this boy of mine.

He has taught me contentment. He embodies verve. He is the pure poetry of love in motion.

On Making A Book (Part 3): Where words + images converge

Posted on October 17, 2011

Once the words were done, I threw myself into the unfamiliar, beautiful, terrifying territory of illustrating. I was wholly, utterly, entirely consumed. I spilled india ink twice. I wore the same jeans for a week, paint accumulating across my thighs. I skipped class. I considered only this: How the images I was creating might tell a little more of the story. How they might be a hook, a glimpse, some kind of emotional spark of evidence that might help you find your way into the moments I was describing and also into your own. I imagined making every postcard just for you: 22 notes from me to you about ways to be right here, to fall in love with this life, to hold on, to keep on, to become, be present, persist.

It was harder than I thought: To say just exactly what I meant to say with images. To get the right lines, the right metaphors, colors, shapes, words, gestures down on the 4×6 canvas of a repurposed postcard. Words are so much more precise and unambiguous. Illustrating is like writing poetry: It’s all about gesture and suggestion, nuance and hue.

Each time I finished a piece I would instantly fall in love with it or hate it… then lapse into a state of doubt, hanging it on the wires spanning the wall above my desk for a couple hours while I worked on other things and eyed it warily. Sometimes I’d look at it with new eyes and certainty; other times I’d scrap it and start again.

It was so incredible and scary and amazing to start, and start again. To make some terrible pieces. To make some pieces that made me proud. To become fixated on a piece and have it throw off everything: Becoming too precious, so that all the other pieces following it would feel derivative or contrived. To question everything. To commit to something. To find the right lines, the right color of a moment captured.

I discovered I was capable of more than I imagined. This is always the case, I think.

You are always more capable than you imagine. It’s buckling down and pushing through and doing, doing, doing the work you say you want to be doing that is So. Effing. Hard. But oh, so rewarding.

I discovered how much farther I could push, under the creative constraints of a deadline and the requirement of producing a cohesive body of work. There is something to this–the creative constraints part that I want to explore more here. I’m also going to be devoting some upcoming posts to exploring the relationship between word + image. It’s a powerful one, and one I would love to explore in conversation with you.

If you haven’t read the comments from yesterday’s post, you should. Such amazing leaps of courage + faith + joy.

Today I want to ask you: When have you pushed yourself past a point you believed yourself capable of?