Christina Rosalie

Posts from the “Musings” Category

Studio time

Posted on August 23, 2015

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Hello friends,

I can hardly believe that summer’s (almost) over. It was everything summer’s supposed to be: Art and sun and wine and friends. Late evenings and late mornings. If I’m totally honest, I’m reluctant to head back to the constraints and rhythms of school.

Summer’s moments of extra light and days without schedule allowed for more time for making, and I’ve been taking every advantage of that.

I thought I’d share a few glimpses into my studio and a new series of paintings that I’m making. The paintings are on much bigger canvases than I’ve ever painted on before, and I feel like the rules have changed. They’re experimental and unfamiliar and all I want to do is spend time with a brush in my hand, following where the ink and paint take me.

One of the biggest pieces began as a compilation of the 100 circles I made for the 100 Day Project. It felt incredibly risky, and then incredibly freeing to paint over that work. To let it evolve, become more.

This is something I’ve been exploring in general lately: How to not be too precious with things. How to let things go easily, and move towards the things that fill me up or move me in the moment, without needing to cling to them, or to contain them.

This is a theme I’ve also been exploring over on Tumblr, making 100 poems for 100 days. They’re raw, in the moment gestures that allow me to slip around the side door to my subconscious and tap into the stuff my heart knows, but my mind tends to get too clever about. Like I did with the 100 circles project, I’ve made the rule set super simple for these poems: In the moment, wherever I am, without much fuss or editing. Just write. Hit publish. Let go. It’s pretty sneaky how this work has started to change me.

How showing up for real, without doing much talking about it, or procrastinating, or posturing, has made me a better artist and a better writer. It takes a certain kind of daring and discipline I’d lost for a while, and I’m grateful to have rekindled it this summer.

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I’m deeply filled by this new approach to work, in a way I didn’t expect, and can’t quite put a finger on, except to say: Each time I show up, I feel myself become re-grounded. I find my breath differently. It’s become a practice, again, anew.

Thanks for stopping by. I’m so grateful for the scattered community that still finds its way here. And I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to this summer, and see glimpses, if you have them to share, of your creative practice, your work, your workspaces.
xo,
C

To the coast

Posted on April 13, 2015

We went to the coast, just us two for a few days. We climbed cliffs and ate fish tacos and watched whales spout and turn as the sun set and the gulls dance. We drank wine on sand dunes in the rain. We lay side by side and felt the earth spin. We ran down dunes, giddy, laughing. We slept in late. Argued. Made love. Went for a run. Explored every tide pool. Wandered slowly. Answered the 36 questions, and then more questions, mapping everything: tattoos, trips abroad, new ways of seeing, the future big, passion-filled, near. It was good. These are the images I don’t want to forget.

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Like magic

Posted on April 4, 2015

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Today I found myself standing in various rooms, having walked there from other rooms without knowing why, on auto pilot. I opened the bathroom cabinet, then shut it again, forgetting to take out the hair dryer. I opened too many browser tabs and crashed Chrome. I forgot obvious words in the middle of sentences. Basically I ran out of words. Every single word squeezed out into sentences for presentations in which every word must be the exact right word. It’s been a doozy of a week.

On Monday I gave away my cat. Bean is allergic, terribly. I stayed up with the friend I gave the cat to, drinking wine until nearly midnight. When I left the cat followed me to the door. We had her since our first apartment together, T and I. We had before 9/11. We had her from the advent of Web 2.0. Remember when email was a novelty? Remember when we had Hotmail accounts? Remember Ask Jeeves? My friend who took the cat is gorgeous and smart and loves brass figurines. Together with her husband I think they may love the cat more than we collectively did, seeing as T never really loved the cat, only grew accustomed to her. Still, to look back and remember getting her from the shelter together, baby faced, just out of college, and then to see our lives now? Time flies like magic.

On Tuesday I stayed up till nearly midnight, at a Guster show. I remember how much a friend in college adored their band, though I never listened to them much. Turns out, one of my sweetest writer friends in VT is married to the lead singer, and our families became friends. It was a kind of surreal to watch him perform. He was so exactly himself, and yet so much larger than himself, and then after the show, hugging him, he was just regular again. Like Magic.

On Wednesday I stayed up until midnight, working on a presentation for work. As a strategist, I basically start with the broadest and most complex challenges, or ambiguous data sets, and then distill them gradually. Often pages upon pages end up being a single page, so obvious that it doesn’t look like it’s anything at all. This, in fact is the mark of good strategy: to distill to the point where something is self evident. Where it’s so straightforward and intuitive, there can be no mistaking. The work to get there is often arduous, but invisible once the answer becomes evident. Strategy is all about process. Thinking about that this week, I thought of the Tibetan monks I once watched making sand mandalas. They bent over their work for an entire week with intention and focus, creating something splendid, and then sat back to let the wind blow it away. Magic.

On Thursday before I collapsed into bed the minute the kids were in bed, which is late these days because of spring vacation. My mother in law is to watch the boys for the two weeks they have off which is a boon. She makes soup and takes the boys on adventures, and her love, unconditional and abundant, is a gift. Yesterday they did tie dye. So far all I have seen as an outcome is that my ten year old’s hands are somewhat permanently dyed blue. His grin when he announced he was a Smurf was perfect.

Today I missed two coffee dates with two different sets of people because of the work. I said goodbye to one of my favorite designer friends who’s moving on to a rad new show. He is one of the zen travelers I know. I had the fortune of taking a trip with him to Chicago for a conference last year. He forever changed how I think about travel. Worry less. Just show up. That’s basically his approach. Its good for life too.

Now, looking ahead to Saturday, there will be Easter egg dying and coffee drinking and bike riding and writing.

I write every saturday, slowly but surely on my next book, or more realistically, on a single story that will be in my next book eventually. Each weekend I wrestle the piece back from a feral state. I write sentences. I delete them. I grapple with the way everything seems to come back to my mother, even though the story isn’t about my mother at all. I sit in a cafe a few blocks from my house and I write, and in between I watch people come in. One couple comes every weekend. They spend the entire time taking selfies, and photos of their coffees. She wears incredible stilettos. He wears one of those baseball caps with a flattened bill. Another is a guy who is also writing. He takes smoke breaks out in front and fiddles with his wait length dreads. So far we haven’t said hello. It seems like a matter of time.

Tomorrow, the weekend. How grateful I am every week for the interlude. It’s like code switching. Right brain left brain. On the weekend I exhale. Sometimes I fall apart. Sometimes we argue. Sometimes we fall harder in love. Whatever happens there always magically seem to be enough moments to reconstitute me for another week. Magic.

Happy weekend, friends!

Early Spring

Posted on March 16, 2015

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With the longer light the days have a little more ease. We get home, and there’s just enough time to go out on the back porch and listen to the wind stirring in the trees and the spring time birds serenading the setting sun.

Every weekend is a boon. A few hours spent writing at my new favorite coffee shop, listening first to Joan read aloud. Letting the sound of her clean, direct sentences wash over me.

Other hours doing the endless loads of laundry that creep up on us, and all the other things the week never affords: grocery shopping, vacuuming, the usual. But there is also time for sipping coffee + reading Modern Love. For riding bikes to Blue Star with the dog, the wind in our hair and the scent of cherry blossoms heady and sweet filling the air. Or picnicking up on Mount Tabor overlooking the reservoirs set aflame with the light of setting sun.

Not enough hours, really, together, all of us, but still. Enough to fill us up temporarily so that we all head off back to our separate worlds sated till about mid week wen we’re all hungry for time alone and time together and dinner happens later than it should. Enough for the time being. For March, for early spring in this city we’re falling in love with daily.

At the end of next month, we’ll have been here a year.

How did that happen?


PS:

There are just these few pieces left from my studio sale, including the little humming bird piece above. Just leave a comment & I’ll get in touch.

Owl Medicine

Find Flight

Flight Behavior

Messenger

Birthday glimpses

Posted on February 16, 2015

So I’m 37. My birthday came and went. A blink. It’s the first time in ten years I haven’t posted here on, or near my birthday. Instead, today my oldest son turns ten. TEN. In four days my youngest turns six. The world turns. It keeps turning. Every day with them is a hilarious mix of pure joy and annoyance, angst and delight, frustration and sweetness. Every day my heart is cracked open with wonder. Every day the floor is strewn recklessly with their things.

There is no way to make up for the lost days between my birthday and now: Nearly a month of milky winter sunrises through pale curtains; the smell of my boys’ skin curled next to me, reading stories before bed; oysters sucked down at the coast around a table with incredible writers; bonfires built on the sand; holes dug; donuts consumed.

No way to describe all the moments spent at the alter where ocean meets sky; at the cusp of the world where you cannot help but feel that you are made wholly anew; the ions dancing in the air; the kites; the bonfire smoke at twilight, sipping wine, watching the birds flock towards their rocky island homes.

No way to convey the way Tin House was both fire and solace for my writer soul, re-invigorating my work, and igniting new fervor. No way to list the he books I’ve read, or partly read; the thousand kisses exchanged with my love; the late nights spent on projects for work; the deadlines and the satisfaction of hitting them; the camellias in bloom; the downward dogs I bow into with each new day.

Instead, here are a handful of pictures. It’s been an incredible start to the year. A year I’ve begun with big intentions and deep gratitude.

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PS: I made a new Birthday List, here.

The world moves, and moves on. One minute, then the next.

Posted on January 3, 2015

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One minute everything is flaming up grandly, and the next, it seems desperate and desolate in the small fire pit at our feet that we’ve fashioned out of smooth beach stones. Every visible flame has licked itself to ash. Coals glowing on the blackened undersides of logs, but nothing more. Then the wind shifts direction, and up the flames lift. Flames bright and filled with sudden roaring heat. Sparks skid off into the dwindling light as the sun sinks down.

Beyond us, at the shoreline the waves lip at the rocks like a pony at a handful of sugar. Then fresh waves ride in slantwise, full of vim, and crash headlong into the rocks causing spray to skid off into the dusk.

Steadily, the earth turns. Each day, we arrive and are made new.

In the car, driving to the beach we hit the 1.5 hour mark and all of us have had enough. We’re sick of each other, sick of the sound of our own chatter. In a no-service zone, even satellite radio plays only the crappiest songs. Everything feels suddenly feels claustrophobic and close, and the coast seems like a horribly stupid idea. But then, out the window passing wetlands, a hundred birds lift into the golden winter air. They twirl and lift in a sudden exquisite ballet, and all of us see them, and as we drive on, we’re different. We pass around cheese sandwiches. We start the alphabet game: Antennas on the hill. A red barn across the way. Cars. A dog in a truck. Electrical wires. Fences.

So the world moves, and moves on. One minute, then the next.

Sitting watching the fire I realize how intensely I live into each moment. How easily I’m fooled into believing it’s a forever state, a constant. How my default is often still to power through or run when things feel dire or off kilter. Clam up, or tirade. Fight or flight.

Yet after the fire nearly dies three times, and I throw everything into it’s rekindling: smoke in my face, armloads of small driftwood sticks, sparks in my hair, I give up. Let go; try just sitting back observing. And the fire dwindles. And rekindles. On its own. The day becomes night. We sip wine. The boys dig holes. One minute they laugh. The next they yell. Water seeks its own level, and holes fill; every ember flares up to live its promise as a flame.

A wonder-filled new year

Posted on January 1, 2015

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We went, just before the New Year to the high dessert. To a place of cold air and saturated hues, big skies bigger quiet. The kind of quiet that reminds you what you are, and also, what you hope to be.

Among the topography of the dessert you feel time differently. Where the landscape looks Mars and bears the memory of Paleolithic beasts, you understand what you are, and realize that becoming means more than this day or even this life.

Time here tells not of daily things: hurry up, finish up, let’s go, come on, make it happen. But rather, galactic evidence. You are here. Part of everything. Breathing and alive. A speck on this spinning planet. A spark, a fleck, some inkling of the beyond.

I did what I haven’t done in years: lay down in the snow with my face towards the sky and let the quiet take hold of me until my heart began to thrum in tune with the painted hills. Thrum with the truth of their the vibrations; of the pebbles red and ocher and green; of distant tectonic shifts; of volcanic ash; of other landscapes, submerged, fiery, then cooling; of the, the earth spinning, spinning around the spirit sun. The sun that painted the landscape indescribable hues of gold and lavender in the long light of afternoon. The sun that flirted with the moon all day. The sun, the moon, the spinning desert that held me. And then my word for 2015 found me.

A word born of the blue, blue sky, and the gibbous moon, the golden dessert, and the silence.

Wonderful.

Yes.

Happy New Year, friends. May it be truly wonder-filled.

Around here, lately

Posted on December 11, 2014

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In this hemisphere the earth tilts farther from the sun. The days grow dark and short, but no matter. Inside there is light. In the evenings I’ve been making art. On the weekends, writing. Slowly a new short story, one in the collection for my new book is taking place. Three hours on the weekend isn’t much time to write, but it’s been just enough to stitch the story into being. I slip off to cafes, evesdrop next to people, let my mind wander, and catch the sentences as they arrive. It’s a ritual I cherish.

This week, I cracked open a new notebook. I’ve been a Molksine girl forever, but Leurchtturm has captured my curiosity. Something about the possibility of blank, yet numbered pages….

Here are a few other things I’ve been up to lately:

Listening :: The Paper Kites “Woodland” album.

Reading :: Dear Life, by Alice Munro + Bark, by Lorrie Moore.

Walking :: Around the neighborhood in the evening with my silly blonde dog the sidewalk wet and reflecting circles of light.

Sipping :: Rooibos Tea (my new favorite).

Smelling :: The fragrance of pine + juniper in the wreath on the table, and the candles we burn at dinner.

Working :: Long hours

Sleeping :: In on the weekend + then snuggling with boys in bed for longer still.

Watching :: Briefly

Reveling :: In the fact that I live on the same coast as my dearest friends.

Looking forward :: Two two weeks of vacation, coming soon.

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Tell me, friends. What are you up to lately?