Dear Heart No. 1 

From our stay at the lovely Hotel La Maison De Lucie in Honfleur, France pre-pandemic

Dear heart - I will get right to the point because it’s late here, and because you have your work to do there. I want you to know that whenever you feel that you “won’t make it” or when you feel you’re “losing traction, or failing to make traction” in what you desire so badly. Take heart. Lay your antlers down and rest. Leave your devices in the other room, and be still as you look out at your world that is all around you.

I wrote those words to myself as a reminder that I don’t have to go full bore. It seems I have a certain amount of mental and physical energy each day, and pushing myself when I’m drained doesn't typically get me very far.

The pushing is coming because of a group show I’ve been invited into, and because I am also painting new ideas, and also recording solo piano music in the cracks. It’s a lot.

So I thought it would be a good reminder that slow and steady wins the race. Consistency is the most important ingredient in your success. Keep showing up, absolutely, just don’t do all the showing up in the first week.

Bises !

Photo: From our stay at the lovely Hotel La Maison De Lucie in Honfleur, France.. pre-pandemic, of course. :)

When You Don't Feel Like Creating, Part 1 


Wouldn't it be nice to be in the mood more often?

Take that however you like. :)

But seriously, being in the mood to make stuff just makes it a lot easier.

Almost all my favorite songs came on fast and hard. There've been times I've had to pull off the road just to get a voice memo into my phone so I can keep track of a melodic idea or lyric. 

I've experienced a similar scenario with making art. Seems my best paintings were made when I was on fire to make them. 

Of course showing up when I don't feel particularly inspired is good for my practice, too. Practicing the craft is important. It builds my technique and keeps me thinking about my work. So, it's all good really.

But what do you do when you're really in a slump and not getting any bursts of inspiration? 

I bring this up because I was in that very place for the last three years. I'm not exaggerating. I essentially quit my art and music both. I had short moments where I'd create, but for the most part I was not pursuing my dreams.

Instead I was wrestling with moving three times in four years. And I took on a major house renovation after having just moved in. We lived in the house while taking on major renovation of the place that lasted close to 2 years.

Living that way with no routine other than, "do we have any workers coming today?" took its toll on me both physically and mentally. My eating went haywire. I'm a pretty healthy eater overall, but I have a sweet tooth. And sweets became a go-to for my stress, and then of course I gained weight. I was so out of balance in my physical body because I couldn't establish routines with workers in and out of the house, and I just wasn't managing my stress in a healthy manner.

That will interrupt an art practice real fast.

I also underestimated the breadth of my stress. Stress doesn't always come right out and tell me, "hey, you're stressed!". It wasn't until we'd finished and sold the house that it started to sink in just how much I had been suffering.

Now fast forward to today. 

I am in a new home. It's peaceful here. The rooms in this house aren't styled like I want yet, but things are relatively in place. And there are no remodels or reno projects are on the horizon. What a relief! And I've been slowly but steadily getting back to creating and working toward my dreams.

Up until about a month ago, though I still had no inspiration.

Where was my mojo?

I was concerned about this because I'd always been able to stir it up. Most of the time it would come when called. I pondered this and remembered the times when I did have mojo--what was different to today? Well.. those times when I'm dancing in the living room by myself were always linked to me feeling great in my physical body.

Ahhh yes.. I still had the extra weight and wasn't eating as clean as I wanted.

So, here's what I'm doing...

I've been going really clean with my diet.

Not a diet diet {those are not permanent imo}. No, I mostly have taken the "adding-in" approach. I've been starting the day with the green goodness, as my sister calls it. hehe I have a green smoothie with lots of spinach and celery and some fruit. Then I go for a salad later in the day with whatever else is on the menu. That makes less room for junk.

I also stopped drinking milk. I'm dairy free two weeks and counting! {okay, I had one slip with a bit of whipped cream, but otherwise clean!}. Let me just say, I'm not trying to be dietarily in vogue by quitting dairy. I quit it because my body is so much happier without it. Again, like stress, I didn’t realize how dairy was affecting me until I stopped having it. Plus, I FINALLY found a milk substitute that I actually like quite a lot, so I can still have a yummy chai latte. 

No question having the extra weight was dragging me down in every way. Now that I'm slowly shedding that, my energy is starting to SOAR! Can you tell? :) And for the past couple of weeks I’ve been creating like crazy. I’m writing music again, which is what I’ve been missing most of all. No doubt there’s an unmistakable correlation between what I eat and what I produce. 

I hope there's a nugget of inspiration in this that you can use. I thank you for reading and for being here. I’m honored by it.

I’m off to shop for Thursday’s meal. Can you believe it’s almost time to binge watch Christmas movies? I’m so excited for that. Lol 

Wishing you lots of mojo and inspo and creative energy! Until next time...

Bises !

 

 

For The Love Of Romantic Spaces 

. . . . . . . .

 

I cannot get enough romance in my life.  

I want it all around me all of the time. Put it in my veins so it rushes through every part of me. 

Oooh I had to get that off my chest..

How about you? Maybe it's not romance exactly that you're after, but do you have that sensation that you want to live in a way that physically matches up with what you feel inside? Another way I've said that is like this.. I want to see my inner landscape reflected back to me in my physical surroundings and spaces. I want to embody inside and out what my dreams are.

When I first started having that longing, well, I felt very far from attaining it. It seemed impossible really. I would say that it's taken me about 5 years to begin to manifest it. Ew, seems kinda long, doesn't it?

It's been something that's important to me, so I've worked on it. And now I'm finally seeing my physical space and world beginning to jive more and more with my inner world. 

You know what I think was the biggest factor in how I gained some traction toward that goal?

It was from styling photoshoots for my art that I wanted to list for sale.

The more I captured photos that I loved, the more I started to see my spaces with a photographer's eye. I started to see that I was actually living it already. I just needed to see it reflected back to me in that medium. Okay, I'll admit, for me there is also an element of my mind filling in the details when I look at my physical surroundings. I add a glossy mental filter if I want. 

Sometimes just the beauty of mid-day light, a candle on the mantel, and all my materials spread out on the floor for a whole day of working will make me feel like I'm living my experience inside and out.

 

I also did this:

I toned down being so critical of my physical spaces.

Taking a moment to feel and embody gratitude for where I am in this world, and for the physical things I have, really helped me appreciate everything, too. Have you ever tried keeping a gratitude list? I kept a list in the notes on my phone for weeks last year as an experiment. I'd heard it could be life-altering. It was. I was in a stressful period of time {more on that here} and taking a couple of minutes to just list off everything I was grateful for really uplifted me and put me into a higher vibrational state. I did that so habitually that although I'm no longer doing the actual list these days, I can drop into a state of gratitude very easily. {In fact, I'm doing a mental list right. now.. I'm sooo grateful that I have this fresh day laid out before me! :)} 

So those are the mental shifts that helped leverage me. Now for some fun material steps:

I started shopping secondhand places.

Lordy, I lose all control, ahem track of time, when I'm in a good antiques market. It's one of the reasons we moved to Kansas City.. This town is soaked in historic houses and architecture. If you like gilded to the max, and ornate, crumbling facades, then find your way to KCMO asap...what we locals affectionately refer to as the Paris Of The Plains.

 

Can you believe this is Kansas City? Sooo French...(well, minus the Honda).

How about these super melted candles? Très romantique.

I get so many ideas from these places around the City. There's a love here for keeping the old, which is ever evident.. especially in the coffeeshops like the one above.

I have found so many unique and wonderfully used pieces for our home by shopping secondhand. I used to just buy everything at Target {which I still love!}. Having pieces that aren't mass produced really can elevate a space and make it interesting. 

The other thing I learned is to be patient.

I became a potent curator and stopped trying to make the room come together all in one day. 

We recently moved to a new house, and it feels like I'm having to start all over again. It truly is starting from scratch because the rooms are all different from our previous house. {well, yeah lol} It seems like it's going to take forever to pull the house together to get the vibe I'm longing for. Right now the rooms seem a little bare and uninspired, and some are just plain in disarray. 

So, yeah.. it just. takes. time.

Thank you for going on this little journey with me. It's something I love spending my free time on. If you love Pinterest I have a lot of boards on home styling. I think we all can get to that place where inner and outer worlds feel more aligned. And it can be kinda fun getting to there, too.

À bientôt !

Rusted Dress, Romance Awaits Collection (2020)

P.S. This is off the top of my head, but would you like to have a day together of painting a dress like this one? I keep toying with the idea of teaching a workshop where we make a painting in a couple of hours live on Zoom. I take a very loose approach to painting, so my intent would be to have a very relaxed, fun class. Let me know in the comments, or email me at karankarlaaron@gmail.com. I'd love to hear your response. <3

All photos @2013-2020 K.K Aron

Living In The In Between 

I am as if in my mother's womb again, rustling around, restless, pushing with my hands and feet at the constraints around me. Wanting out! But wait, I'm not ready, I want to stay in here. It's confining, but it's also warm and cozy and I like the gurgling sounds in my ears. 

So it is with most everything I set my hand or mind to these days. Longing to bust out and break free of tethers that I think are constraining me in some way, holding me back and not letting me be. "Be what?" I ask myself. And 'round I go with this back and forth dance of wills.

I'm not as bothered by it as I used to be. It's a matter of learning to be okay in the in-between parts. Being okay with never really landing or lighting for too long. The moment I think I have come to a place of understanding myself is typically a moment that quickly changes again to the searching for my truest self. And again I re-learn that I probably didn't come bottled that way.

I didn't set out to write about this topic this morning. I was in the midst of what felt like a small epiphany about how I would frame my identity for this website. I wanted to hit the nail on the head. Let the world know this is who I am. Yes, this! "That would be version #8, you mean?" snarked a voice in my head. I'm an artist, I concluded. But wait, there's more to me than just that! And on it goes. Life is such a beautiful mess.

I am getting okay with living in the in-between, making my bed on the unresolved. If I think of it like the ocean tide rushing in and then rushing back out, over and over and over, then I can find some measure of peace in that. The ocean really never rests completely. In and out it goes. Some days quieter than others, but always moving and changing. It really doesn't even have a choice in the matter. It was born that way.

Do you know this sensation of wanting to wrap up the essence of yourself and tie a neat bow on it? 

Karan Karla Aron