Love Always, Nico: Adventures in Writing letters for no reason in particular by Nico Lund

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There is just something undeniably special about receiving a handwritten letter delivered to your real world mailbox.

I have some good friends who own a paper company. In fact, we first met this lovely husband and wife team 17 years ago when my husband and I were designing our wedding invitations. Kevin and Lori from Of the Earth Handmade Paper create amazing botanical papers.

One day while visiting their shop geeking out on paper products I had an idea! They make these flower-seed paper cards that when planted grows wildflowers. I thought "what if I created unique little pieces of art and then hand-wrote out of-the-blue letters to people?" The idea was to ask the letter recipients to then plant the piece of art/letter in their garden and watch the art grow.

I wanted to challenge myself to writing seven art cards in 7 days. However, that didn't really manifest as I had hoped and it took me a bit longer to complete the project. Perhaps the middle of summer wasn't the best time to make the commitment, but nevertheless, I completed it in exactly 1 month!

The wildflower-seed paper, I have to admit, did not handle my watercolor and colored pencil to well. But I think by the end, I had some pretty good work arounds. It just goes to show that the whole "try try again and you will succeed"  saying has some truth. In the end, I was really happy with how they turned out.

The above image is a sampling of the cards I wrote. I wrote to good friends, Facebook friends that I don't really know that well in person, a prisoner pen-pal at Pelican State Prison , a friend of a friend and my mom.

So, who have you written a letter to lately? Do you even send letters anymore? If it's been a while, give it a try. Try writing a letter to someone out-of-the-blue. Not because it's their birthday, but just because. 

Who knows, we may too open our mailbox someday and find a personal and special letter in the mail addressed to us...it sure would beat the piles of junk coupons and credit card offers that are usually in there.

New Studio, New Inspiration, New Paintings by Nico Lund

 www.nicolund.com©

www.nicolund.com©

After a short hiatus, getting settled into the new house and trying to find my comfort level in my new studio...it's finally happening.

With summer comes my desire to be outside and not descend into the belly of my home to the basement where my home studio is located. So I had an epiphany...set up a temporary studio in the garden house/shed. It's really not been suitable for the damp winter/spring weather, but for summer it's ideal. But now that I'm in there I am determined to make it permanent...just need a certain husband who is handy with the power-tools!

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In the Summer I really feel the need to be apart of the world and going into the basement just goes against my needs. So getting out into the yard is perfect. I moved two of my easels out there and my oil paints, brushes and a few other necessities and tried to clean out the cobwebs and spiders as best as I could. Mostly that means just ignoring that they are there and hope they are smart enough to not creepy crawl across a wet painting. ( if you find a couple of legs in one, I apologize in advance).

So begins a new chapter, a new series and some new intention. I am excited to be taking some old themes and new themes and smashing them together. I am still trying to get some more distance from my habitual narratives while at the same time respecting the power of some of those imageries. Instead of trying to deny them a voice, I am trying to seeing how far I can go to obscure them while still allowing them to arise.

It's tough letting go of habitual expression, but I am trying to motivate myself to grow as a painter. For this series I am trying to let the paint and texture be the overpowering guide and encourage the stories and narratives to stay subtle and subjective.

I am looking forward to this journey. I hope to have your shared presence and perspective along the way. My studio is open to you anytime!

The Work to Keep Working by Nico Lund

I have been asked by friends how I do all the creative things that I do. Truth be told, most of the time I feel like I am not doing enough.

Most creatives that I know have at least three ideas ruminating around in their minds at any given moment.

For me, those ideas arise when I am taking a shower, cuddling with the sleepy kitty on the bed, cooking and cleaning, sitting in the sun or watching a dreary wet day out the window. Just like my anxiety, my creative processes are always running, even when I am not totally tuned into them.

The hard part isn't the daydreaming or the imagining, it's not even in the doing once it's been started. The hard part is the enacting. The hard part is clearing away the debris on the counter and making space for it.

What's even more, just like after a good run or yoga class, I know how good it feels to be involved in a project. Then my daydreaming isn't about what will be cool if I started it, but I daydream about when I can get back to my paper/canvas and pick up my brushes, paints, pencils or pens.

Right now I am in the middle of the dreaming and the doing. It comes in waves of course. I honestly can't do all the things in my head at once. But there comes a time when I can't hold all the things I want do in my head anymore! That's the point I start to get antsy and I have to clear away some space.

The other point to address is that for myself and other artists I know, receiving these creative urges and sparks aren't a choice. It's not like "hmmm, I think I want to have a creative idea today, I wonder what it will be...?". Creativity is more like a compulsion. It tickles the senses and when It's not scratched it it starts to fester.

Sometimes an idea has been festering so long that it seems too overwhelming to tackle. But when I finally tackle it, that scary monster of an idea turns into the sweetest little puppy; loyal, obedient and yearning for my undivided attention.

The work to keep working is about acknowledging the process. That I am working even when there is nothing to show for it.

Creativity doesn't thrive on its ability for show-and-tell, it thrives on it's ability to create.

What are some ways you get around the daydreaming to the doing? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Why It Always Takes Longer than you Think! Memoir of an Art Project by Nico Lund

You know what I am talking about. It's that idea you have for something that you can do in between the spaces of your other commitments. It'll only take a minute. It'll be so cool! It'll be a snap! It's usually for a someone as a gift or for that pop-up art fair you just got invited to or just another one of your midnight inspirations.

It happens.

 Makings of Asana Cards: Art and Design by Nico Lund

Makings of Asana Cards: Art and Design by Nico Lund

This time I felt I had a really valid excuse for getting my watercolors and creativity out of the box in a time when I should of been studying for my Yoga Teacher Training Final exam. I told myself, "what a great way to study the poses, I'll make a deck of Asana Cards". It'll only take a sec, I'll keep it loose, I won't OCD.

Ha.

I've done this before to myself. However, short term memory of photoshop/illustrator pain strikes again! Oh, Scanning is easy! Cropping, a snap. Adding transliterated Sanscrit with correct punctuation...somebody knock my on the side of my head and put me out of my misery--please!

  I learned once again that the Drawing and Painting was the 'easy' part of the project.

 I learned once again that the Drawing and Painting was the 'easy' part of the project.

And then there's the poor little Papillon who's usually endearing vie for attention has become a nuisance beyond bearability. As the clock ticks between drop-off and pick-up of the kid from school, every minute seems to be cut in half every time I look away from the computer screen. The irony of course is I am making Asana Cards...yoga....it would seem appropriate that I be taking a dose of my own medicine and take some stretch breaks, a little meditation, a walk outside! 

Ha.

 An impossibly Sweet one-eyed Distraction Whining for a ball throw ---Not Helping!--

An impossibly Sweet one-eyed Distraction Whining for a ball throw ---Not Helping!--

And so I get to the final stretch, ready to upload to moo.com and send off for printing...think again. Of course I forgot about the 'safe box' and room for the 'bleed' area. Actually, to be truthful, I didn't forget about it, I just told myself I could adjust it easily after and left it at that because I had already started and was -wait for it- Lazy!

Well, that laziness added two to three extra days of modification and a whole other snaffoo caused by faulty file organization! I am sure under my dyed black hair there is a whole new section of silver strands ready to arise!

But alas, I got it done, it's at the printer. Because of the delays I had to pay extra in shipping to get it to arrive when I needed it to. Is there a moral here...yeah, but I don't need to spell it out for you. You know what I am talking about. You've been here before. 

It happens.

Ha.

That Un-Calculated Decision That Almost Wrecks Everything! by Nico Lund

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The Purpose of Our Past, detail  Oil on Canvas 40" x 30" x 2"                                            $950

Be prepared, don’t procrastinate, and NEVER use oil based mediums days before a show is to be hung!
 Mixed Media Pieces $150

Mixed Media Pieces $150

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016: Art Drop off with Ghost Gallery for the Solo Bar Show.

I had just barely enough time to edit the template on Adobe Illustrator for my tags, install the hanging hardware and paint the sides of the unframed canvases black. Why is this happening day of? It seems it's always like this.

No sooner than we moved into our new place, the one where I finally get to have an art studio, I start getting more opportunities to get my paintings up. Of course, I get started in the studio right away....uhhhh....yeah right. 

I was a little delayed. My excuses: getting my homework done for my Yoga Teacher Training program, unpacking, holiday craziness of December and the usual distractions, kids, pets, husband. Once I realized that I couldn't put it off any longer I got to work setting up the studio proper so I could actually get painting. This involved getting the spouse to help me install a vent fan so I could paint without killing brain cells, kinda important.

In the past, I have used some mediums with my oil that I had a pretty good understanding of timing for drying. I have since then switched to a new product by Gamblin that is a solvent free medium. I have two different ones and I have been experimenting with them. Unfortunately, In my haste to get things done, I applied the wrong one onto a couple of my new pieces!!!! I quickly realized my folly, so I had some pretty ingenious set ups to help speed drying time, however, oil dries when it wants to, not when it needs to. OH NO!!!!!! 

What to do! Well, I was desperate to bring these pieces for this show, I really wanted to have new work to exhibit and not just the current pieces I have been carting around town. So, as any Bob Ross follower knows, there are no mistakes, only happy accidents. 

I salvaged my pieces by carefully reducing the coating of the medium I had applied and found that I was actually fine with the result. A little less gloss in those areas, but in a way a better presentation!

So of course, there is a lesson learned. Be prepared, don't procrastinate, and NEVER use oil based mediums days before a show is to be hung!

 

A Sancuary of Strange & Weird by Nico Lund

Where does inspiration come from? Creativity? Passion? Strength? On this day of reflection after the loss of David Bowie, I must pause and revisit these questions. Not for answers, but to acknowledge that finding intention in my life is more important than understanding the why of it.

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David Bowie was bigger than life to myself and many others. He lived his art, breathed his creative passion and endured through sickness with strength, continuing to give to us what we all desperately crave: Pure Love.

I had an uncle that, when I was still in elementary school in the 1980's, introduced me to my love of music. I remember when I got my first Walkman and started taking it to school. I went to a small Montessori school that let me sit alone to do my work and I would listen to tapes over and over again. Some of my best, most focused reading moments at that time were probably when I would take the cassette out and scour the fold out for the lyrics, rewinding and playing songs over and over until I had the whole album memorized. All for the simple pleasure of being able to sing along with the same passion and expression as the musicians.

I'd labor on getting the intonations just right. First I remember doing this with the Police's Synchronicity album. There was also Madness, the Selector and the new bands tossed into fame by the new TV station called MTV. But shining over them all was Bowie. His emergence with his Modern Love album was for me my first introduction to his music, but of course, he'd been at it since before I was in diapers. Even without the help of the Internet, I soon learned I could backtrack into his already amazing career. 

 Clockwise from Left to right: My teenage self at the piano, a place where the sounds of chaotic family life disappeared, myself at 14 at home in Santa Barbara, more recently in Seattle, 2009 in Bellingham. Hear some of my music project  Halfmoon , and  Isle of Horses.

Clockwise from Left to right: My teenage self at the piano, a place where the sounds of chaotic family life disappeared, myself at 14 at home in Santa Barbara, more recently in Seattle, 2009 in Bellingham. Hear some of my music project Halfmoon, and Isle of Horses.

When I was nine years old I didn't really grasp the depth of the lyrics; what was modern love anyways? But I remember feeling the passion even so. Others of my peer group used to say how weird he was. I agreed, but I also felt something inside me that was akin to that strangeness. 

I didn't know or understand the complexities of my home life at that time. I couldn't of foresaw the turmoil that was about to be unleashed on my siblings and I, but I now believe it was through music and the sanctuary of strange and weird that got me through. 

Looking back, I truly believe that through listening to other artists delve into their own dark places, strange diversions and curious perspectives, I was given permission to explore these same avenues in myself. It is there, deep in the universal consciousness of the unknown that inspiration lurks, creativity pulses and passion purrs. They all lie just under the surface of the understanding. Strength comes from letting it all flow through you.

As we loose another illuminated artist from this realm, countless more continue flowing, giving and sharing. What he has left behind for us all to bath in is a beautiful reminder of a life lived well. He was tapped into the pulse of human experience; one only read his lyrics to know that. 

Thank you Mr.Jones for your graciously artful life. You gave so much of yourself through your expression so that we could have the opportunity to see that possibility of expression within ourselves. I imagine your are now absorbing back into the source of it all, feeling pure love, pure light and stepping through the door, floating in a most peculiar way, and the stars look very different today...

 

Clarity Comes in Waves by Nico Lund

Clarity Comes in Waves

 

There's no use looking too closely,

You're looking for it, so,

you know it will appear.

Maybe not today, and not yesterday,

but because you are looking,

it will appear.

 

Everything you imagine,

is happening.

Maybe not here, or to you, or your love,

But, you thought it

and it becomes.

 

Maybe the clouds just arrive

in clumps of endless gauzy skyfulls.

Molecules of ideas, thoughts, and possible tomorrows,

percolated essences of sentient evaporations.

 

Droplets fall into gravity.

You look in the mirror 

for a way to defy the pull.

But clarity comes in waves.

And by counting the waves breaking over the rocks

Instead of finding the pause,

you feel the force of each passing year,

everything happens,

you see it all,

so let go.