Welcome to this week’s edition of Friday Five! Five things that are rocking my poptarts! Good things. Moving things. Things that restore my faith in humanity, or my faith in myself. Artsy things! Nerdy things! ALL THE LOVELY THINGS!* If you’d like to get Friday Five in your inbox, click here. If you’d like to get all my posts in your inbox, click here.

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Thing One

Last Friday, Sarah Trumpp and her Manflesh arrived for a pajama party, and we did it up right. We played board games, swilled liquid bread (beer), talked & talked, and watched a Louis CK special. So. much. laughter. Sarah and i have been friends for a few years now, but I hadn’t yet met her Manflesh in the flesh, so this visit was especially special.

Coffee + Bedhead post PJ Party

Time in meatspace, with the meat tribe, has become so important to me. The burn out I experienced early in April was utterly healed by the following formula: Less time on line + more time with in-the-flesh people – churning out content all day every day + art just for me. The weekend with my people was at least 80% of my recovery. Love these two *fiercely*.

Thing Two

I have eclectic taste when it comes to music, and I tend to select different genres of music depending on what I’m doing. When I’m doing housework, for example, I’m likely to blast Rage Against The Machine. When I’m exploring spiritual subjects in my journal, I’m likely to listen to Anugama or Afro Celt Sound System. When I’m not sure where my art journal wants to take me, I usually just listen to one of my playlists on Spotify – especially “Swoon”, which is my list of songs that slay me. You can find that here.

When I’m painting on canvas, I’m most likely listening to EDM (Electronic Dance Music). There’s something so motivating about this stuff, which is likely why you’ll find it blasting out of the speakers at most gyms. It gets the heart pumping, the body moving.

One of my favourite EDM artists is Paul Oakenfold, who is a master at taking songs I already know and love, and turning them into EDM. “Dreamstate” just dropped into my Spotify today, and I’m *so excited y’all*!! I’m listening as I type, and it’s *so good*.

Music is *everything* to me, you know? It is such an important part of my life. When an artist I love releases something new, it’s like a reunion and a first date all rolled into one.

Thing Three

Art Just For Me is a thing I keep forgetting I need. I do a lot of content creation for my classes & other projects – so much so that it is easy to forget that in order to be the very best I can be in the world, I need to maintain *my practice*. That practice can look different every day, because SQUIRREL, but it *has to include* art in some form, or I start go to wonky. I touched base with that over the last couple of weeks, and this is some of what’s been happening.

An exploration in my Sweet Trash Journal (which is, essentially, a composition notebook that I’ve altered an stuffed with writing, photographs, prints of my art, and paintings done directly in the notebook.

I had to resist the urge to turn on the camera, which is a thing that happens when you’re running a creative business. It is very easy to get into the habit of leveraging every damned thing for your business, but then your *personal practice* becomes work, and burn out ensues.

This piece is about how disembodied I feel in certain relationships – like I’m all head, all thinking, and the rest of me is erased. I spent about four hours with her before calling it a day. There are about fifteen layers underneath what you see now – layers that were explorations of what I’m feeling underneath the surface, layers that represent the river beneath the river that runs through my inner landscape.

She’s waiting for text. For the words “MORE THAN THIS”, and some other scribbles that will finish her up.

And this is what I do when I’m watching crap on tv. Doodles. This was a study in circles and all the ways you can embellish them. It was just for fun, just for the sake of having something to do with my hands while I binge-watched The Blacklist. I will probably pull this into Adobe Illustrator and play with it, as I’m learning to do in Patterncamp with Jessica Swift (thank you again for helping me with tuition for that, by the way!), but I didn’t create it for that purpose.

Doodling is something I always wanted to do well, but I let a few things stop me. I had a retinal detachment about ten years ago that means I have serious eye wonk. My left eye can’t be corrected with lenses without making me cross eyed, so my right eye does most of the work. I also take a pretty strong asthma medication that makes me shake – like, a lot – so perfect, clean lines are just not possible for me. I’ve learned to embrace the wonk, though, and now I doodle like nobodies business. I let the lines be what they are – sketchy, messy, shaky – and I let that be a part of my style.

And, my love affair with watercolors continues. This was pure therapy. I was thinking about boundaries, about how important it is that I say ‘yes’ to what is desire-led, easy, and full of energy for me, and ‘no’ to what is draining, expected of me, or causes resentment. It was also very much about how fuzzy my boundaries can be in the face of other people’s disappointment. This could easily be a painting of my etheric body, of my aura, and how leaky it gets when I’m over-doing or trying to please.

I’m *not* an art therapist, but I do use art therapeutically. I tend to do this kind of thing on my couch with a Podcast or audiobook playing in the background. I don’t think. I just do. And bleeding colours together like this, or playing with symbols while I contemplate stuff that I’m grappling with is incredibly useful.

If I turned the camera on during any of these activities, the wisdom, the pleasure, the relaxed state would have immediately evaporated. I *love* teaching, but it is *work*, and all work and no play make Effy a very burned out, miserable, reactive mess. Doing art just for me reminds me, too, that I exist when no one is watching, and I can do a thing without anyone knowing *and it still matters*. It might even matter more than anything else, because these things we do when we’re alone, when no one is watching, feed our souls.

A canvas I’ve been throwing paint at every day for about two weeks. Soul food.

This blue green over this gold on my palette + this space in my little apartment + that frog + these paints + the time to dance with the canvas. Soul food.

Thing Four

I shut down all my online dating profiles. Like, all of them. And I made a vow to myself that I would be with myself and only myself for awhile. I have embraced the idea of being an art monk (or nun) for the time being. I’ve come to grips with some unraveling I have to do around grief & love & what really makes me happy.

This is who I want to be right now. This is where I want to be. I want to paint. I want to indulge myself in ample navel gazing. I want out of the game, because if I’m being honest, my heart isn’t in it.

I’m embracing my inner Frida.

Thanks to Shana for alerting me to this gorgeous painting that could, frankly, be a mirror to my soul right now.

Also, I just really like saying “I’m Out Of The Game” because this:

Thing Five

This recipe for Cuban Beef Picadillo with Fried Plantains

I’ll see you next week

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