Studio time by Christina Rosalie


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.




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

The biggest adventure: forever, then all of a sudden by Christina Rosalie

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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* by Christina Rosalie

[gallery ids="15593,15594,15598"] 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.

The quiet is on purpose by Christina Rosalie

           SelfPortrait_ChristinaRosalie 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 by Christina Rosalie

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 by Christina Rosalie

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 by Christina Rosalie

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 by Christina Rosalie

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 by Christina Rosalie

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 4x6 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?

{I am still here} by Christina Rosalie

...Finishing this book.


Getting paint everywhere.

Discovering + remembering what it means to be an artist like this: Courage. Revisions. Messes. Risk. It is time consuming. All consuming. It is terrifying. It is transformative. It is glorious. It is exhausting.

(Hoping to be finished Monday.)

What I really need now is good music to paint to. What have you been listening to that you love? Please share!

On making space for the work I am doing: by Christina Rosalie

Hello friends!

My semester ended today, and fall is in the air even though it's August still. You can feel it in the way the breeze is cool coming through the open windows in the morning, and the light is golden and slanted as it angles across the mountains after dinner. Twilight is already coming earlier. The corn, even though it was planted late because of the rains, has grown and grown through the hot July days, and is shoulder high now: fat ears with silken tassels waving on every stalk.

Between now and the beginning of next semester I have just exactly ten days of time that have nothing in them save for my book. Ten brief late summer days to finish the chapters that still refuse to be finished, and to revise and revise until the whole manuscript sings; then I'll send it off to my most trusted readers for one last look through, with a week or two on the other side for revisions.

And somewhere in that time, all the illustrations that have been slowly gathering, piece by piece on the wires I have hanging above my studio desk, need to come together too.

And all this feels momentous and utterly amazing. I sometimes still need to pinch myself to confirm: this is my life. I'm doing what I always dreamed of doing.

Still, it also feels completely overwhelming and daunting... Because, oh my, I am finishing the essays and illustrations for my first book! And there's more than a wee bit of pressure around it all.

And now I have ten days of time now that are just for this glorious daunting work and I've decided that I must use that time as wisely as I possibly can. I have been feeling spread awfully thin, and especially so in the digital space where I spend so much of my time learning and creating and absorbing. And I know how distracted I become under the urgency of deadlines, to slip down one rabbit hole after the next here: filling my mind with the snippets of news and headlines and information and inspiration.

So I've decided to take the next ten days off from the internet.

I've never done anything like this. The last time I didn't have a consistent internet connection was in 2004 when blogs were things people only talked about in whispered conversations or not at all, and people had no capacity to imagine the iPhone and the way it would transform us into a culture of being "always on."

I'm actually afraid of doing this.

I'm afraid of disconnecting. There are already a host of voices clattering in my mind: What if you miss something important? What if you miss out on some opportunity? What if you're forgotten? What if your readers stop reading? What if your twitter followers stop following you? What if your friends stop emailing, commenting, caring? What if you're not missed at all? These are the voices in the head of a girl who is always on, always connected, always engaged in the field of digital media. This is where I do my work, share my stories, and connect to my tribe.

And because I have so many fears, I know it is exactly the right thing to do. I need to trust that you'll still be here. That the story I am telling matters not only when I'm here telling it, but in the quiet times too when I'm creating new work with every fiber of my being.

I need to trust that opportunities will still find me; that inspiration will come knocking on other doors; that connections will happen in other ways.

Because the work that I am doing to bring this book to fruition is really really important work.

So I'm asking you this: Will you hold this space gently for me while I'm gone for the next ten days?

I'll be back then, with stories to share and magic to tell.

All the love in the world, Christina

A glimpse into my studio right now: by Christina Rosalie

Working on illustrations for the book. Mixed media collage + digital + graphite sketches.


Also: A midsummer migrane; cicadas singing into late evening.; trying to remember to drink enough water + follow garment care instructions for washing; wishing for decompression; wrapping up projects for the summer semester; singing songs to Sprout until he falls asleep in my arms (a rare occasion for us both.)

Utter failings and exquisite truths by Christina Rosalie

It hit me today while I was running that I don’t tell stories here nearly as much as I used to and I miss it, and I can see that you must miss it because the comments dwindle when I post sporadically and tersely with just a few scraps of observation from my day. And the truth is, your comments mean the world to me: not their quantity so much as their depth. I love what you have to say. I love how you see your worlds, and how you see mine. And the truth is, my readers here have saved my life many times over, and I mean that with no hyperbole at all.
When I started this blog six years ago it was my only creative outlet: I’d just move to a new town with my husband and six month old Bean, and I had no friends living within five hundred miles of me, not to mention no friends anywhere with children. This blog was my lifeline. I laugh now when I tell people, but I truly got at least 90% of all my parenting advice for raising Bean from the people who shared their lives through their blogs, and who shared my life by commenting here.
And gradually, I found my voice here, through telling stories about my kids, my muddy dirt roads, my heart full of wanderlust, my hunger for doing more and seeing more and being more; because you were listening.
I dreamed the idea for my book here; I shared the news of Sprout’s arrival here; I spilled the messiness and heartache of tenuous times here and man, I am so, so grateful for the inspiration, insight, and pure awesome that you bring to my life.
All this to say: I want to share more here, not less. I want to keep having this space be a place that I go to find my center: to find my words and hear your words. And it’s sort of slipped off the map a little in the past months because holy hell, grad school is no small thing.

I’m in the midst of cool project for school this week; an interactive documentary, to be exact. (Though if you ask me what an interactive documentary is, I’ll have to say wait and see—because I haven’t found a single example of what it is I’m trying to do. It requires action script code, and video editing, and interviewing, and graphic design and interaction design and animation. See?)
At it’s core is a series of video interviews with local artists who are all utterly brilliant, and intimidating, and awesome. They’re the kind of people I want as mentors. The kind of artists who have made it big time in their fields. The kind of artists who make me proud and terrified to call myself an artist.
I can’t wait to share it, but it I’ve still got a couple of weeks of work; and a lot of learning to do.
Right now it’s pushing me beyond every single boundary I have.
I’m interviewing people I never met; I’m designing a browser interface that accounts for emergent interactions; I’m learning to make lines do what I want them to do in Illustrator. This all but petrifies me.
But mostly the interviewing people I haven’t met part.
I’m good once I get to know someone, but those first awkward moments are a heat flash away from pure agony. Add to that the fact that I’m shooting video (a thing I am learning to do on the fly, as I go) and oh lord. Deep breaths.
Today I interviewed Maura Campbell who is fierce and fiery and passionate about her craft. My batteries died in my HD Flip just before the end; and then further embarrassment ensued because I couldn’t figure out how to open the damn thing. (Thank god for smart phones. I had the how-to googled in under a minute.)
Really. This happened.
And even though I was mortified, I was thrilled, because here’s the thing: I knew, even in the moment, that the battery malfunction I was having was just another way of falling down.
And learning to fall is necessary in learning to fly, or leap, or risk anything. Because it’s the people fall and recover that become rockstars and superheroes. It’s the ones who fall and get up time and again that discover how to make their dreams fly.
And if there’s one thing that has really gelled for me this winter it’s been this:
Falling is ok. Failing is part of the process. Doing both with frightening frequency means I’m pushing beyond my comfort zones, and that I’m learning. Big time.
Also that bravery doesn’t come from waiting for the perfect opportunity or knowing everything in advance, or getting it right the first time. Bravery comes from googling how the hell to open your video camera and replace batteries in the middle of an interview, and then recovering composure.

And at the end of the interview when we were standing in her paper strewn office, and she was telling me about how writing is requires being utterly selfish with one’s time, I asked her the question I always want to ask every creative person that I come into contact with: How do you balance this with the rest of your life? How do you do this and children?
And in not so few words her answer was this: you do the only thing that you can. When her kids were small, she wrote, fervently, in the center of the living room as her kids, four of them, twirled around her. When they were bigger, she retreated to her bedroom, leaving them with the warning: interrupt only with blood, or fire.
And that’s what makes her brilliant.
It has nothing to do with balance, with being a ‘perfect’ mother, or with having the right time and the right place to begin. It has to do simply with persisting. . With daring to dive every day towards what you love to do most. Always.
And it was such an awesome interview because I got to be reminded of that.

In it by Christina Rosalie

I meant to post yesterday. I am a NaBloPoMo failure, but that is ok. I'm going to keep posting anyway. I'm in it. That's what matters. In this moment, in my studio, writing. The light is so bright today I had to pin up paintings the boys made over the windows; my own stained glass, the light opaque and sacred falling on my desk.

At the doorway, Sprout hovers. It's just us today, getting things done. He's so good: I make him a snack in a wooden bowl and tell him to play and he does, mostly, coming to my doorway to check in every so often. The hall is wide--a perfect playroom, and toys are strewn inevitably, a cacophony of things with wheels rattling down the length of it. I put on my headphones so I can think. This mix helps this morning. I go back to the page I am editing. There isn't any other way except to be in it, is there?

What are you in the thick of today?

small discoveries by Christina Rosalie

At some point there will be enough hours and I’ll know it, but for now Photoshop is like sliding down a rabbit hole into an alternate reality where everything reacts and responds in arbitrary, brilliant, and unexpected ways.

I spent the whole day occupied in this way, siting at my long white desk, sheaves of paper sketches spread around me like snow, making images, digital and graphite both.

Outside the weather has turned decidedly autumn like, and today the sky was the kind of gray that makes me moody, and it’s that time of the month where everything seems blunt or sharp depending on the circumstance, and chocolate really is the only solution.

It takes more effort to dig out of my own head space on days like these: to inhabit family life without the residual layers of mood and intellectual momentum. Still, there were lovely moments: French toast with maple syrup from our neighbors, cuddling with the boys on the floor, taking a walk down the road with Sprout in the wagon, Bean holding my hand, T's arm wrapped around my waist. Every single day I fall in love with my boys more. All three of them.

Today I wanted to share a new mix of music I’ve been absolutely crushing on: A soundtrack for making things.

Also into this project: Love 146. And this awesome, awesome site: Arbutus Yarns I love, love, love discovering your sources of inspiration. What are you crushing on lately?

A studio glimpse + a way cool anthology by Christina Rosalie

Here are a couple snapshots from photo booth earlier when T. interrupted me unexpectedly. I had just finished this update. I often use photo booth for editing actually. I read to myself out loud, then play it back, while following along and making changes. It helps me focus on the text, especially if I've been working on a piece for a while. I also hear the little things that I slip in as I speak; the subtle nuance of an added word, a phrase, an emphasis. I like catching that ephemera. Especially for this book, where the pieces are almost prose poems, and images--both painted and imagined, mean as much as the words.


Mostly, I wanted to share this with you tonight ~ three of my pieces will be published in Milk & Ink this winter. I am so honored to be among this group of incredible authors. Go take a peak at the Facebook page...there are some profound, delightful, heartbreaking and wonderful stories being shared over there. And the very best part? All the proceeds of the book will be going to the charity, Mama Hope supporting women and children in Africa. Awesome, right?

August, just around the corner by Christina Rosalie

Summer is galloping by. Full tilt. Allready the shadows are longer as we head outdoors after dinner, the four of us. The boys head to the sandbox. T and I grab our new rackets and giggle as we attempt volley after volley in the fading summer light. Around our heads halos of insects swarm; the air is mellow and smells of the honeysuckle and roses by the front door.
In the garden things are suddenly ready for harvest: arugula every single day, spinach, basil, chives, lettuce. I walk down barefoot, often followed by one or the other boy to harvest a colander full before lunch. The best salads begin with a simple vinaigrette, chopped fresh herbs, every green imaginable, and then whatever we have around to throw in: grilled trout, quinoa, carrot curlicues, tomatoes. I will remember this summer as the summer of fantastic salads.
And of changes.

Wild crazy wonderful changes.

Your comments on my last post really filled me up. I want you to know that. Each one brought new perspective, encouragement, thoughtfulness.

I especially loved this from V Grrrl, because it reaffirmed exactly what I believe:

I think a healthy family is one where everyone’s needs are balanced against each others, where family members recognize that everyone works together for the family as a whole, and that sacrifice and compromise are part of that process.

T and I and our boys all made a promise to each other about this upcoming year. It's going to be an all hands on deck kind of year, and all four of us are in. We're all going to try our hardest to do it the first time, follow through, pick up the slack, pick up the messes as we make them, remember to take walks, exercise, eat chocolate, laugh.

It's going to be such an adventure. I can't wait.

T and I have basically become adults together. We met when he was just turning 21, and in the decade that I've known him he's either been a student or working in the stock market and I cannot even begin to describe the relief and disorientation I feel at imagining him doing work that matters in the world; work that he loves; work for a salary. It will be a learning curve for us both to discover ourselves anew in these new roles. I imagine it will be all about patience and patience and patience. Also humor. And chocolate.

For the next month I'm working my way through the manuscript for A Field Guide To Now. It's exciting to finally be in it. Things are coming together. Art, words, ideas. I'm excited by the direction and beginning to trust the process now that I've had a few days strung together of consistent project time. (That last photo is a sneak peak at a piece of art that will go into a postcard.)

I'm curious: What are your plans for August? What food are you crushing on right now? What tunes are you loving?

Also: If you could hear just one thing that you need to hear right now, what would it be?


Saying Yes by Christina Rosalie

The summer rain is falling slantwise against the open window glass. The sills are damp, the view a duotone of green and grey: foliage and clouds. In my new studio the window looks out on an apple tree, Norway beeches, and beyond the cloud cover, the mountains not so very far off. I’ve spent most of the morning here, working, and I love this new space so very much. I love how I can move from painting to words and back; how the book is taking shape now more quickly, my ideas knitting together from one day to the next. It's happening.


Now for the news:

I will be going to graduate school full time, starting at the end of August.

It’s an MFA in Emergent Media (web and graphic design combined with the technologies and storytelling mediums that are emerging from the future.) It’s an opportunity for me to be at the forefront of field that is new and growing; and to shape a new career that is lucrative, creative, and complementary to what I already do. This has been in the works for a while...this shift...but I've said very little about it here because I didn't want to jinx, or speak too soon. Last year, doing part time work, discovered how much I was into this field; how I naturally had an eye for color and design, and for shaping a vision, or ad campaign.

It took me awhile to give myself permission to consider perusing a new career; a financially viable career; a fast-pasted, demanding career. (I've shared before how it has taken me a long time to shake off my father's altruistic expectations for me as a teacher. Whew. What a process!) It also took me awhile to dream up a career that would complement writing, maybe even sustain it, instead of detracting from it (as teaching has always done.)

So I'm in. I'm going.

Of course it is terrifying. Programming languages + me? Ha. Virtual worlds? Video editing? Pure crazy.

But I have never backed down because something is hard. And this is exciting-hard. It's thrilling.

I’ve written so much about the endless tug-of-war that goes on in my head about being a mother and being more than a mother. About being an creator in my own right; a writer, an artist, a shaper of my own financial future. And about being a mother who gets down on the floor with her boys every single day: plays legos, wrestles, builds things, paints, reads stories, bakes bread. Of course I’m torn. When making this decision I thought of my boys in 18 years from now. I asked their future selves what they would think if I went for this, or didn’t. I asked them what they would resent more: me super busy through two years of their childhoods, or me unfulfilled and holding that resentment deeply.

The answer seemed clear.

They offered me really generous funding and I had to say yes or no within twenty-four hours (I applied late in the game, after deadline) and everything was topsy-turvy yesterday and the day before, deciding. T and I stayed up late, late, whispering about our futures and looking at calendars and daily schedules that seemed impossible to navigate. And then my inlaws and friends joined forces to say: we want this for you. We'll make this happen with you. (They are amazing.)

So I said yes.

I can’t believe where this year has taken me; us. It’s astounding. And awesome.

Snowed in by Christina Rosalie

18 inches of snow yesterday. Today: it's already 55 degrees. Forecast for the weekend? 75 and sunny. My brain is having difficulty computing. ALSO: we don't have power. Haven't for twenty-four hours. Which, truthfully, sucks quite a bit, especially since I work from home on the INTERNET.

Now I'm at a friend's house (she is a lifesaver) and the sun is shining and I'm popping in here to tell you that a guest post is up at Wishstudio that you absolutely must go read!