Thursday, February 26, 2009

Warmer thoughts

Yesterday morning as I was walking into work I heard birds chirping. That was just a tease of spring as today we were hit hard by a snowstorm. At noon there was nothing happening, weather-wise. A half hour later the snow had started and by the time I headed home at 1:30 it felt like I was driving into a blizzard. At one point I was using the guard rail on my right side to guide me...visibility was that bad. When I got near home, I actually had to back track, because my route was blocked by cars that couldn't make it up a hill. Thanks to 4-wheel drive I made it up a similar hill. It was definitely a white-knuckle sort of drive.

But I know the end of winter is in sight. Unfortunately, it's found at the end of what feels like a very long tunnel. I know spring is coming, because the cold & snowy days are mixed with warmer, almost balmy days (balmy meaning anything near 40's all relative, folks). Best of all, the days are definitely getting longer--there is some daylight still at 6 pm. That feels good.

At this time of year, when winter feels so long and spring still feels so far away, it's hard not giving in to lethargy. Inspiration & motivation seems to be hard to find...even for creative folks. I feel like I am walking a fine line between pushing myself to go to the studio & try to create something and giving myself permission sometimes to just be a slug. Usually I find if I make it to the studio, I feel better by the time I head home.

For me, my environment feels a bit like a prison in the winter. I'm not a winter person and I don't like going out to play in the snow. I am helped through this cold, dreary time by remembering how beautiful my neighborhood is to live in during the warmer months. "Lowertown" (where I live) is a strong artist community located on the on the edge of downtown St. Paul. It definitely has an urban feel, but is still very quiet. The apartment building I live in is a 7-story building that once housed a rubber company. It is a historic building, like many buildings around it. This area was originally shaped by the river and railroad that runs beside it.

Besides the beautiful buildings, it has many charms. The Farmer's Market is literally outside my door. There are many parks with lots of flowers all around. Although Lowertown is just blocks from the downtown business district, it is very much a residential neighborhood.

So, I am trying to remember what my neighborhood will look like in just a few months. This video montage is comprised of photos I took in the summer of 2007. I thought you might enjoy it too.

Oh, and if you have a moment, check out the "spring thaw" treasury I created on Etsy. It features several mixed media artists I have "met". Here's the link:

If you are having trouble viewing the above video on your computer, try clicking on this link:


septembermom said...

It's great to know that the spring will uncover all those points of inspiration surrounding you in your neighborhood. Hooray for all of us who love the sunny days ahead : )

Artistic Accents by Darla said...

Beautiful scenery!! I can't wait for spring/summer & fall.

It's these blasted winters that get to me! haha

Persimmons Gal said...

What a great tour! I too live downtown but in a MUCH smaller town. Your words about spring could have been my own. Being in Wisconsin I know exactly what you mean about the weather and this time of dreary year.

Here's to sunshine and tulips just around the corner!

Phil Yeh said...

Joel suggested your blog to me and I wanted to say that I really enjoyed what I saw.... I have been promoting the arts on this 24 year Cartoonists Across America campaign and it is always refreshing to see all these sites from folks around the world.....

Hope to come up to MN sometime and paint a nice big garden up here in the mountains is coming back to life and I am always excited to plant more flowers and to paint them....

You can see my new paintings on