I’ve Been Pondering … Deeply | Part Two

YES, I’M STILL FREAKING OUT OVER THIS decision of cutting myself off from overseas travel—well … maybe not as much as I was when I first started thinking about this. I did promise two friends I’d visit their country … no, make that three friends … and now it looks like I’m going to have to renig on my promises. That’s something I seldom do. If I make a promise to do something, I like to keep it. But, sometimes, things get in the way … like finances—and, in the case of the three locations (India, Australia and Hong Kong)—distance plays heavily into the decision.

I’ve been trying to figure out how I could physically manage about 18 hours in the air. With my body’s slow meltdown after October, 2013 (I’ve had good times and not so good times—I never know when each will hit), there’s no way. Finances … well, I could probably figure that one out eventually (pull from “Peter” to pay “Paul” …), but the time spent in the air is a biggie. Even for a trip to/from across the Pond. I’m not thrilled about the travel time required for my 2016 visit to the UK and beyond, but I’ve already committed myself to this trip. And if I do decided to go business cla$$ (haven’t decided as yet), it’s going to eat into what I will be able to afford in the future.

A couple of friends have suggested to make the decision on a trip-by-trip basis: plan it, see how I’m doing … then if I’m doing well, make the commitment to go. If not, then … well obviously, don’t. Hmmm. I may have to take that under consideration. But in the meantime, I think … since I have time before my next big planned trip (after the 2016 trip … pattern is every two years or so), I think I will play with the shorter, on-my-continent trips to see how I do. There’s plenty to see in the States … and I have yet to make it up to Alaska, which is on my bucket list (actually, was on my husband’s list, too … and I still have some of his ashes destined for—hmmm … maybe Anchorage … or Denali National Park?) so, I’ll just have to see how that pans out. Right?

Looking at things in the short term is appealing, too. Long range planning is hard. Doable, but hard. Planning ahead a week, a month … even a couple months out is so much easier. Forking out deposits nine-plus months in advance, then paying the balance six-months out (to get the best discounts) for the delightful Celtic Invasion Vacations tour does have it’s drawbacks. With closer to home, shorter trips, costs should be more manageable also, allowing for more travel (insert huge grin here).

So, this is what I’ll do. For now. Hmm. Now, if I can just find the time … and solve Kaeli’s scrounging/scarfing issues, I’d be set.

Well, folks, I’m back to diving into last minute planning and creating art for my upcoming—yikes! It is just over a month away—painterly exhibition at Open Ground Studios. Deadlines loom (Sunday!!). Prior to the opening, I’ll have all of the art documented and live on my SquareMarket website for those of you unable to make it to the event due to conflicts (excuses like distance or prior commitments are allowed—wink).


Open Ground Studios showcases it’s Co-op Members artistic talents in an exhibition from November 25, 2015 – January 20, 2016
Debra Jameson Smith’s art and fantasy series will be on display
The Opening and Holiday Party 5:30-8:30pm will be December 4, 2015
1230 Fremont Boulevard • Seaside California




WELL, I DON’T THINK I HAVE A COMPETITIVE bone in my body. I don’t compete (I tried as a kid—on the high school track team … and that was more than enough). It’s never been high on my list of priorities, but the poor “loves” of my life definitely vie—they compete for my attention, my time … and my energy.

My painterly and writerly sides are in competition at the moment. Each vying for all my time, attention and energy. Both are racing to meet deadlines. I’m not sure who will win, but I’m hoping both meet their deadlines—though, the current Painterly deadline is far more important at the moment. (Teehee … re-reading this, I’m talking about “myselves” in third person—and it doesn’t seem odd … not at all. Should that bother me?)

I am scrambling—which is thankfully keeping my mind off the “travel dilemma” ahead—to get the required information and artwork (two pieces to hang … and any pieces that go into the art bin) completed before the November 1st deadline. It’s kinda hard to turn in information on art that doesn’t exist yet … oopsie—I’m workin’ on it! I’ve been working on a couple things, but have not liked the results. So this week and next will be spent sorting out what I want to do, creating/printing some art, then documenting it (photographing and writing up a description) for Open Ground Studios. The Exhibition for us co-op members will not be hung till the middle of November … and the Opening-slash-Christmas Party isn’t until December 4th (please mark your calendar if you’re local), but all information must be in by November 1st. All new work. So, I’m busy—beyond busy, trying to push myself to be creative … which isn’t that hard in the wonderful setting that makes OGS the creative place it is.

(Giggle …) Um … so, why am I working on this blog and not my art? Because I’ve made a commitment to being faithful to a weekly post. I’ve only missed it a couple of times and want to keep it that way. It’s only Tuesday (well, now Thursday as I re-read and fine tune) … and I’m hoping to get it done today (hope, hope … aah, well … so that didn’t happen, did it) so that I can focus on art for the remainder of the week. Today is more of a Writerly day, anyway. Tonight, I will be reading a small bit of my first book in front of an audience—which has me very, very nervous. A room full of writers, listening to me read from my flawed first book . Even I see flaws (little things like punctuation, ways I stated thing) in what I wrote—should I be saying this? … and errors not caught by my vanity-press publisher’s editors. My readers love the story … even if I do see all the errors. Are they simply looking beyond the errors or am I just hyper-critical of my writing? Ooh … that nasty feeling of doubt is rearing it’s ugly head. A writer’s nemesis …

Breath … deeply—and press on. And know that I’ve improved with each book I’ve written. And will continue to improve!

… And, as it’s now Thursday, I can tell you I did fine—even if I was a wee bit nervous. Nervous enough to forget to mention the book title in my introduction <giggle> but was able to use that nervousness to express the nervousness of one of my characters as I read. It was a good evening.

Oh! Did I mention that National Novel Writing Month is less than ten days away? Have I started preparing? Um … no. November 1st. Another deadline. These next few weeks are going to be crazy. But November will be equally as crazy—trying to keep my “routine as usual” on top of finding time to squeeze in an average of 1,667 words daily, writing with abandon. Fun. Honest … it is fun—and doable if I keep focused. Key word: focused (add winky face here as I’m sure I’ll have issues with that).

And, in the midst of that November chaos, there’s a book signing or two. I don’t think I know the meaning of moderate in my lifestyle. Sniggle. But, that’s part of who I am. Crazy, living life to its fullest … then crashing for a wee bit to recover, only to do it again. Yup.

Next week I’ll hopefully get back into my “usual” routine and post part two of my travel dilemma saga. Until then, I’ve listed a few of the things going on in my Painterly and Writerly life below—you might want to mark your calendar for a few of them:

November 1-30 24/7 (starts and ends at midnight)
National Novel Writing Month
Write with abandon all month, aim for 50,000 words by midnight on the 30th
Sign-up online: NaNoWriMo.org

November 14   Saturday  9am-1pm
Craft Show w/Book Signing
dj jameson smith w/fellow author (mysteries), Joyce Oroz
735 Ramona Avenue, Monterey CA

November 21-22   Saturday/Sunday 9am-4pm
Aromas Hills Artisans Holiday Art (and craft) Fair w/Book Signing
dj jameson smith w/fellow author (mysteries), Joyce Oroz
Aromas Grange, Aromas CA

December 4   Friday 5:30-8:30pm
Co-Op Members Art Exhibition Opening and Christmas Party
Open Ground Studios, 1230 Fremont Blvd., Seaside CA

Whimsical Art Exhibition

WRITING A WEEKLY BLOG CAN BE INTIMIDATING at times, especially when technology is against you. I was at least three hundred words into my blog for today and attempted to save it in the “quick draft” section—after I copied it completely (to be safe, right?)—and then … it decided not to save. No worries. I went into normal “new draft” section and pasted it in. Only three lines of the three hundred-plus words popped up on the screen. To say I was filled with dismay is a gross understatement.

When that sort of thing happens, it makes me wonder if maybe … just maybe, I’m not supposed to be writing about that topic right now. Sigh.

So … here I am, at the proverbial eleventh hour and I’m kinda at a loss as to what to write about (insert huge pout). The obviously easy way out is to slip in some photos—I have been taking lots of them lately. Nope. Or write a blurb about my upcoming release (which may be delayed either till next month or even later) … hmm. Or talk about an amazing young artist that is new to the area and to Open Ground Studios.

Indecision … (seem to be good at that this week) the pressure is on. Okay. Decision is finally made (actually, a no-brainer—sniggle):

In a little less than three weeks, Katie Crawford of Katie Crawford Art will have her first showing since she moved to the west coast. It will be on Friday and Saturday, July 10-11, 2015 at Open Ground Studios, 1230 Fremont Boulevard in Seaside, California. She is working feverishly to get everything ready for the show. Things are looking absolutely beautiful. I am excited for her!

This creative young lady has a whimsical side to her and her art shows it. She lets

Katie Crawford at OGS

At Open Ground Studios, Katie and other artists are able to spread out and create in an inviting atmosphere.

her characters express her fun, frustrations and other adventures she has had since she and her husband moved out here. She writes a blog also, including these delightful drawings to tell of her real-life adventures. They are definitely fun to read. She is a sweet, thoughtful individual that has this amazing artistic side that I am quite envious of. If only I had a drop of her creativity (the ugly green envy monster is rising) …

We were so lucky to have her join our ranks at Open Ground Studios. She is a delightful addition and instills a wonderful work ethic—showing up nearly every weekday to work on one facet or another … from pencil sketches to preparing her “foundation” of old letters that she found at estate sales, adding the sketches, to water colouring the sketches … she is filled with ideas. The newest idea is to create a passport for each of her tiny critters that take flight on leaves, dandelion fluff—ants, crickets, worms (yes, worms) and others. It’s one of those “you just gotta see ‘em to appreciate ‘em” things. I adore her work!

And you can do that at her website: www.katiecrawfordart.com or at her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/katiecrawfordart. At her website and Facebook page, you can peruse all of her art (please remember, it is her work—no copying without her express permission) and I believe she has a link to her store to make any purchases if you are unable to make it to the opening on the 10th or 11th of July.

I hope you can make it—mark your calendar so you won’t forget. It should be a fun event! She will be delighted to meet you—and do let her know where you heard about it. Maybe I’ll see you there, too!

Until next week, may you be filled with blessings to make it a joyful week.





One Down, One To Go…

LOOKING BACK, I HAVE TO LAUGH AT MY POST from Facebook, added when I returned home after my first-ever art exhibition at the Del Mesa Carmel Gallery.  It is mostly tongue-in-cheek comments.

“Things I learned tonight:
1) Don’t wear heels, you idiot!
2) Don’t bring a snack (and *tray*) requiring a fork lift to carry from the car to event — (especially while in heels!) even if it looks really spiffy & you get a ton of compliments in your presentation.
3) If you’re going to go to the trouble of searching for and bringing business cards…use ’em!!
4) You’re no longer a high school wallflower — get off the wall and mingle.
5) Eat before coming, even if you know food will be present … you seldom eat much at these kinds of things and the wine hits you…right?!
6) Don’t be embarrassed to excuse your self to find a chair — any chair — to sit in if needed.
7) Don’t wear a ring on your right hand…you’ll regret it after shaking hands all evening.
Tonight was a definite learning experience. Met some interesting people. Saw some awesome artwork by fellow artists. Glad it was relatively low key for the first event. I’ll definitely know better for next week…”

That really says it all, but I’d like to emphasize the fun I had, despite the aching feet.  Mingling with such wonderful artists was a delight.  Seeing people spend time in front of my art was encouraging, too.

I didn’t have much time to revel in the afterglow of the evening, since the next day I dropped right into working on the next one, which, by the way, happens this weekend — beginning Friday.

This one is special.  Very special.  It’s not just a show-up-and-look-nice event. I am fully vested in this venture.  It is the venue I will use to create, available to me 24/7, whenever my painterly side kicks in and to chill in while editing my upcoming novel.   More than a handful of us have been working to make this an awesome place to work.  Painting, building, tidying; creating a garden area (my niche) from a weedy patch to one filled with colour…the building has become a beautiful place to inspire creations.  A home away from home, filled with amazing works of art — both 2-D and book art, some textiles and miscellaneous other things — makes this place a wonderful spot to call home, where I can play.

For those of you that are locals, please feel free to pop in on Saturday, 25 May, anytime between noon and 6pm to meet and greet the artists, see live demonstrations, and graze on nibbles available for all attendees.  Come to Open Ground Studios for their Grand Opening at 1230 Fremont Blvd, Seaside CA — the old home of Alternative Café.

Art Exhibition

THEY SAY IT’S ALL IN THE DETAILS…how true.  As I plan for this first exhibition of my artwork, I am humbled, overwhelmed, excited…

There is so much to do — and yet, I’m managing to blog?  There is a method to my madness.  I’m not trying to parade my art in front of everyone as much as I’m trying to sell the opening of a wonderful facility, available to our community.  Yes, I’m proud of my work–and getting prouder by the minute.  I’m amazed that fellow artists are liking it.  Artists that, someday, I want to be like — when I grow up…

These creative, more experienced artists are making me look at my artwork through the eyes of other people, rather than through the critical beginner’s-eye of their creator (me).  Denese, the founder of Open Ground Studios, has a saying — well actually, it’s the tagline for the business, that goes something like this:  “…where everyone makes an impression” and it is so true.  No matter your skill level, that you are able to create, makes an impression and it’s the beginning of a long journey of self-improvement.

Open Ground Studios is a gallery; it is an art school; it is a place for artists to come and work on their art, whether it is two-dimensional printmaking, watercolor and oil painting, sketching, or book art (taking paper, thread, fabric and literally weaving it into something to hold), writing (word weaving), and textiles.  OGS is a place to create.  To grow.  To stretch your wings and learn a new craft or hone an old one.

Workshops to master new skills or to enliven old ones, presented by knowledgeable artisans from the Monterey Peninsula and beyond are making their way onto the OGS Calendar, even as I write this.  The first of these is a workshop for teens: A Floor Mural Painting Workshop for Teens on 11 May, 2013 at 10am.

The rotating art exhibits, to be held throughout the year for your enjoyment, begins with a bang with the Grand Opening and Exhibition on 25 May, 2013 from noon to 6pm.  The public is invited to come and partake in munchables as they peruse the artwork, speak with the artists, tour the facility and learn skills from live demonstrations.  The ‘soft’ opening for the exhibition will actually begin on 20 May and run through 20 June, 2013.

I am proud to be connected with Open Ground Studios — though a fledgling business, with it’s spirit of community, it is destined to be a permanent fixture on the Monterey Peninsula.

I’ll be at Open Ground Studios’ Grand Opening on Saturday, 25 May, will you?