A March Celebration

Today’s post is an update of my art, writing, and life. It’s an echo of my Art-Writing-Life blog, of a time when my art and writing took equal priority. But when I semi-retired from making art, I had more time to write, so my posts reflected the change.

Today’s update reflects another change.

Since my stomach surgery in 2020, I haven’t been able to sit for long. This has decreased the time I can spend writing or creating art. Pre-surgery, I allotted myself six to eight hours to complete a project. I’d sit for three hours before needing to take a break to refuel on food and drink and to exercise. Now I can sit for a half-hour at most before I must break. That’s a lot of breaks. And I think any artist or writer will understand me when I say, “That’s too many interruptions.” Making art and writing takes intense concentration. Interruptions often kill my concentration and take my mind away from the creative process. So, when I return to my work in a state of “out of the zone,” I find ten to fifteen minutes of meditation helps to bring me back to that zone.

Also, this new way of working has altered my creative style. I no longer concentrate on finishing a drawing or painting in one sitting. I simply let ideas form and see what develops while I follow along. I’m sure there’s a label for this way of creating art, but I’ve never been a stickler for labeling things. It’s simply a new and fun way of drawing and painting for me.

Below is a photo of a recent “drawing” of an abandoned country-style building. I was in a “Let’s draw an old, haunted house type building” mood when I started, so I thought of nighttime, stormy sky, European architecture, and isolation while I quickly and loosely sketched with charcoal and graphite. I added black watercolor paint to it during another quick sitting, then some splashes of white paint during another. Finally, I added washes of gray to add depth.

Spooky House sketch

It’s far from finished, but it’s reminiscent of other artwork I’ve done during longer sittings, specifically the barn painting below. The unfinished piece gives me ideas for future endeavors in art AND writing.

Barn Watercolor on paper

Being unable to sit for long has affected my reading schedule, influencing me to choose short stories over novels. I even dug out my old books of cartoons, including Peanuts, (pre-political) Doonesbury, Calvin and Hobbes, and Matt Groening’s Life In Hell series. I spent December and January reading again my four volumes of Mad, delighting in the magazine’s best of the 1950s, 60s, 70s, and 80s. February found me with my collection of cartoons history that had me laughing at plenty of comic strip humor over the ages—some of those old jokes are timeless and relevant today.

This post also marks a well-deserved break from writing Book 3 in the Green Crystal series. The book needs several more tweaks to get the kinks out, but I need to step away from it for a week or two to clear my head. Also, this old house needs some spring cleaning, so I’m preparing for that endeavor when the warmer weather of April and May settles on this neck of the woods. That means less writing and art, and shorter and fewer blogs during those months, but that’s life.

And speaking of life, I’m aiming at getting more physically active when Mother Nature decides to stop dumping snow outside my abode. Two outdoor exercises I’m looking forward to are biking and swimming. And just the idea of sunny days ahead has me smiling a lot.

Life is more than keeping the body fit, so I’m looking forward to browsing bookstores for the kind of literature that will exercise the brain when summer is over and Mother Nature reduces my outdoor activities to ridding snow from my walkways, driveway, and car. When I’m stuck indoors keeping warm and fed, I enjoy reading intelligent literature, which stimulates my creative muscle, which further aids me with developing sound ideas for my art and writing.

So, there you have it: Parts of my 2022 agenda and my pre-celebration of the summer to come.

Thanks for joining me. Peace and love, everybody, especially in these chaotic times.

11 Years Blogging At WordPress

Earlier this week I reached the 11-year mark for my time blogging at WordPress.

It’s hard to believe I’m still blogging considering the many times I thought about deleting my blog and website. But I’ve always stopped myself from leaving. And that’s because of all the Internet places I’ve resided at, I enjoy being at WordPress. WP may not be the best landlords, but some of the people I’ve met here are the best in the world.

So, here’s to another 11 years.

New Ridgewood Map

Keeping abreast of my latest changes to my Ridgewood stories, I remade the territorial map to show the addition of Russell Ridge and Myers Ridge’s move.

Russell Ridge replaces Myers Ridge as the primary location of events. If you’ve read my “A Night of Hellhounds” short story, then you’ll know that Russell Ridge butts against Alice Lake, where Vree Erickson ends up when she falls from the cliffs.

“A Night of Hellhounds” is part of the Luminary Magic series of books. Have you read the book? If so, I’d love to hear what you thought of it. Was it interesting? Exciting? Not that good? Please let me know in the comments section below. Or leave a review where you purchased the book.

Anyway, I moved Myers Ridge to the west of Russell Ridge so that it’s farther from town and more “countrified” than Russell Ridge. My character Nick Corwin (name subject to change) lives there. He’s a featured character in my soon-to-be-released Green Crystal series. This series is a rewriting of my old Ridgewood Chronicles series from long ago and published for a while at Amazon and other major book markets. How many of you own a book or more from that series featuring a possessive green crystal? If so, be ready to be blown away by the new-and-improved green crystal and the problems it causes.

If interested, you can read the old green crystal series in the Books section of this site, specifically The Green Crystal Stories, featuring Vree Erickson, published 2012–2014 section. Here’s a quick link to the Books page: < https://stevenlcampbell.wordpress.com/my-books/ >

Happy reading. I hope to have release dates for the first two or three Green Crystal series books by the end of February, maybe the first of March.

Peace and love!