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Contemplating Monuments, New Work Monday!

Contemplating Monuments

“Go outside…amidst the simple beauty of nature…and know that as long as places like this exist, there will be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be.”  Anne Frank

My life has been a whirlwind of teaching, traveling, and art-business these last few weeks.  But I have finally found my way back to the easel.  Not nearly enough hours with paintbrush in hand, YET!  But space, time, and contemplation are a part of the painting journey.

What is a MONUMENT?!

 

Photo Credit to Blair Speed

 

I often need Webster’s help to dig up a simple definition…this one was illuminating for me.  Watching the sunset on these amazing sand structures has a mightiness that takes your breath away.  You can’t help but feel connected to both the land and the beautiful calmness that occurs when you’re in the presence of something bigger than you…something absolutly magical.  Peace through nature.  Everything is relative.  Get Outside! 🙂

A monument can be built by man, or nature.  Either way, it is a reflection of the past.  Both a gravestone and a powerful site like Monument Valley (that took nature 300 million years to create) highlight the steps it took to exist in a present moment of celebration.

Celebrating the lives that are no longer with us, and the ultimate power of nature over time.

In our culture of instant gratification, we oftentimes forget to give space to the slow and methodical.  Some things simply take TIME.  The importance of the slow and continuous work of sand, erosion, water, and weather is literally what MADE these amazing Monuments.

Paintings take time

Decisions take time

Grief takes time

Change takes time

Rivers take time

Healing takes time

Goals take time

 

May we all remember to give ourselves more time, more patience, more recovery while knowing that the beautiful Monument is on the other side.

ANYTHING is possible.  One step at a time.

Contemplating great people among the Monuments.

“Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone, and as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson

I am inspired by the entirety of life, therefore so are my paintings.  People, places, time, weather, movement, music; there is glowing inspiration in everyone and in everything.

Sit in the quiet and find your own way to shine.  Shine in a way that only you can.

Cheers to whatever that means for you!

For me, I’m off to paint (and to continue to contemplate MONUMENTS)!!

If you want a little more information about the formation of Monuments like those at Monument Valley, click here for a short video. 

Shine on,

A

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Running and Art…and Fear

The ART of Growth

Being Comfortably Uncomfortable

This Monday I’m going to switch the blog up a little bit.  One, because last week was filled with amazing teaching experiences and extremely little time at the easel.  So this week’s “new work Monday” will invite you to join me in a section of my life that parallels my art world.  

In addition to my adoration for color and paintbrushes…I also love physical movement and growth.  Outside of my studio I am a CrossFit Trainer, Eat to Perform Nutrition Coach, and a lover of adventures.  Including, but not limited to running, biking, swimming, hiking, skiing…you get the idea.

 Movement=FUN!

I love to paint my impressions of the places I go.  You’ll see mountain ranges you recognize as well as colorful abstractions that reflect my inner self.

This week, I wanted to share an article that I recently wrote for the amazing gym I am a part of in Bozeman, MT  (Altitude Athletics/Coldsmoke CrossFit).  It is absolutly connected to my art musings, but it is specific to my recent race, the Monument Valley 50k trail race.

Enjoy, comment, share!

Next week, you’ll find some artwork that reflects these feelings as well.

 

Training for an Ultra.

By Allison McGree

“Replace fear of the unknown with curiosity.”

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

Believe in the possibilities you can’t yet see.”

“Starve your distractions, FEED your focus.”

“Breathe, trust, let go…and see what happens.”
“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.”

 

These are words I wrote in my journal BEFORE I ran a 50k.

…because running a 50k terrified me in such an all-encompassing way-

 I had to do it.

Other entries from this past winter training…

“Shit.  Those were some snowy dark miles.”

“Below zero, I can barely get air in under all of my layers and my hands are freezing.”

And my continual battle with recovery…“Just got coach’s orders, to rest… ugh, resting sucks.”

The miles were dark and long but they taught me a lot about delayed gratification, dedication to something big, and the importance of recovery.  Recovery.  Recovery.  Recovery.  (I’m still learning).

I can laugh now.  Because now it feels so simple (and wild that I was terrified to some degree every moment before I started running the race).  But that’s the journey I guess; finding something that scares you to your core, wondering why…and doing it anyways.  Or, doing it because being scared means you’re growing, changing, evolving; a little bit of fear is great for the soul.

Looking back, it’s pretty overwhelmingly awesome and (again) so damn simple.  Just do the work and, “Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and the thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see greatness within you, even when you don’t see it in yourself.”

Literally HOW did I run a 50k (my furthest race to this point being a half marathon) I asked for help, from giants.  Then, I put in the miles and recovered hard in between.

“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of GIANTS.”  Isaac Newton

Two points to this quote, my PHENOMENAL (zero exaggeration) running Coach, Blair Speed, knows how to train the mental and physical…and she coaches both…because both are equally important if not the mental being more so.   I was asked to contemplate my giant (to help me get through potential dark places that can come up in running 7 plus hours).  In doing so, I realized one important fact above all else.  Not one damn person is a super hero alllllll of the time.  They/we are human.  Human giants are who we stand on, who we learn from, who we lean on…and who we are friends with; they coach us, challenge us, make us grow.  Cheers to the “Jane Doe” of Giants in us all.

Point dos (two).  Human giants are freaking phenomenal.  They have a gift, an eye, and a heart.  If you were to ask me the two main factors of how I actually was able to (happily and pain-free) run 32 miles.  Blair Speed and Shelli McClung.

  • Speed was born to be a running coach, it’s literally her name. Coach Speed held me back when it was necessary (and horribly painful for me); she coached ME in a way that was amazingly ALWAYS exactly what I needed.  It’s hard to describe in words; Blair has a gift.  She can read people, push people, hold them back, empathetically understand them…and she can see greatness and potential in others that they can’t yet see themselves.  She has an open-ended belief in the brilliance and limitless of the human potential.  Her spirit is the same reason the four minute mile was broken, or why Ultra running ever started.  We all have so much more in our wheelhouse that we think we do.  She is a giant, and luckily, a great friend as well.
  • Mater PT Shelli McClung freaking saved my body.  If you have an ache or a pain or ANYTHING that comes up…she too has a gift.  Without all of those damn mobilizing PT workouts to complete and her amazing eye helping me every step of the way (believing in me was key too, not once did she tell me not to run or that it was bad for me).  She is a freaking PT giant and she helped my body move fluidly for the entire race.

I could tell you many, many stories about the funny mind games that I played counting up miles and down miles like I count down reps in CrossFit.  Getting to a place where the work is a game and my mind was alert running a series of “mini” races was a blast.  The odd elation I felt around 23 miles when I only had two more “mini” races to run was the same way I feel when I get to round 3 of 5 in a horribly amazing metcon.  The biggest difference for me during the Ultra was focusing on enjoying the present moment.  The beautiful scenery, the rhythm of my feet against sand, the views, the breeze, all of the amazing souls on the same journey; these things were my focus.  Enjoyment over pushing my limits of power and speed helped me be part of the entire adventure.  That is, until I saw Speed at the top of the last hill before the finish line…at that moment, I ran as fast as I could with every bit of energy I had left. ☺

To sum it up, my Ultra experience reminded me to be comfortable being uncomfortable, to believe, to focus on forward movement…no matter how slow it seems to be going.  It also reminds me how important having an awesome community of support is.  To everyone that I took with me on this wild run, I thank you for all of the amazing positive energy that propelled me every step of the way.  Yes, it was just a race, but somehow it’s so much more than that too…

To quote Coach Speed- #thereligionofthelongrun

It’s legit.

Now, let’s all start finding reasons how to do things instead of excuses as to why we can’t. ☺

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New Work Monday!

Monday Morning!

New Week, New Artwork is evolving!

This past week I returned from the amazing beaches of Hawaii to a beautiful, albeit chillier Montana Spring.

Back to the studio and my “Dear Universe” series of paintings…

My first markings on this painting, “Dear Universe, THANK YOU…”  There is so much to be thankful for and it is so nice to pause to do so.

This BLUE inspired ocean scene filled with gratitude is starting to come together.

I’m dreaming of the ocean waves and the warm, salty waters of Kauai where I was sitting at this moment one week ago!

Thankful for time to enjoy the powerful impact of the ocean.

“Going with the flow” seems to be a more fierce a statement while watching the ocean tides and roaring waves compared to sitting near a cool, calm stream.

Nevertheless, smoothly inspired  persistence and patience seems to be reigning at the top of my current life’s ponderings.

Cheers to another week filled with flow friends.  Crashing waves or spring melt…may we all find a pace that gets us where we’re going.  🙂

-A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ENJOY the Ease of Day… New Work Monday!

 

 

  • Ease of Day
  • Oil on Canvas
  • 36x24x1.5 gallery wrap
  • $1500
  • Prints available as well.

 

It is gift to be alive.  To experience in the present moment all of the rich colors the world has to offer for our one trip through this life.

Too often we look to something outside of ourselves for our spark…but I think it could be within us all along.

Dream

Hope

Find Peace where you can…

Hold onto your destiny, it is in fact YOURS.

xo

A