Over the weekend I held my camera for the first time since diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. We went to a local park to walk and take some photographs, and it wasn’t just the first time I used the camera but also the first I was outside for any decent length of time since pretty much January. Granted, I had to sit down at nearly every bench around the path, and we didn’t walk a long distance before we had to turn around, but I still managed to be outside for 45 minutes. It felt great! This year I’ve focused on my small victories, but this one was a huge victory for me. Just a few weeks ago I couldn’t even roll over in bed without excruciating pain, and now I’m taking pictures again. Of course, I’m not without my limits (and I still have a lot of them), but this is so much better than where I was. Hopefully I stay on this path to healing.
Here is my favorite photograph from the day. It was a beautiful garden of white and maroon colored tulips, and I love the delicate and romantic quality to the image.
Prints are available here if you’re interested.
I’ve had another set back in my life. In my last post I mentioned that my dad died in January, which is obviously life changing. Soon after his death I started to have major health problems; severe joint pain, stiffness and swelling that started in my hands and moved around my body. At the time of writing this I have bad joint pain in both feet, both ankles, both knees, both hands, right hand fingers, and my lower back. When I say I have joint pain, I don’t mean a little bit of pain kind of like when you work out too hard. I mean pain that has disabled me. I’ve mostly lost my ability to walk other than hobbling around my house (and even that is limited/I use a cane). I also struggle to do normal things like getting dressed, showering, holding a fork, opening doors, etc. I can’t bend the fingers on my right hand. I haven’t left my house for two weeks other than to go to the doctor. I could go on and on, but I’m sure you get the picture. I feel like I’ve aged 50 years overnight.
I was referred to a rheumatologist, and was told I likely have psoriatic arthritis. They did blood work and x-rays just to rule out anything else, and I go back in two weeks to go over the results of the lab work. Hopefully at that point I’ll start treatment. I still have a while to go before I get this managed and can be back to a somewhat normal state, but I’m so ready to have my life back. I am grateful that I’m at least on the right track.
I don’t know what this means for my art and photography, but I’m not giving up completely. I plan to continue to show my photography here, and I hope to practice some drawing this week if my hand will cooperate. If I get any sketches worth showing, I’ll share them here. I’ll also share my journey dealing with this arthritis. Maybe sharing my experience will help someone else.
This post is a difficult one to write. My dad passed away in January. I won’t get too personal since this site is for my art and photography, but I would like to share just a few thoughts on how this is effecting me as an artist.
My dad was one of my first art customers. I had an etsy shop at the time, and received a message that I made a sale. I saw that my dad, Tim Medors, bought a print from my shop. He even signed up for my email list. I was beaming. That was the first of many little things he did that encouraged me and built my confidence. Every time I uploaded a new image I always knew that I’d eventually see a Like, Favorite or Comment from him. He was my biggest fan, and I had his support until the very end. As a matter of fact, one of the very last things he said to me was, “you’re a good artist.”
He died January 17th, and I haven’t been able to draw since. I just can’t bring myself to do it. I know that my heart will break once I share that new image and know he’ll never see it. For a moment I even entertained the thought of quitting, which I know is a silly thought. I’ll have to start again eventually, but for now I can’t face it.
This is the print my dad bought.
I’m a little late in sharing this, but as the title says I won! I reached just a little over 50,000 words at about 10:30 pm on November 30th. That was cutting it close, but that’s okay. I’m really proud of the win this year because I had to work hard to reach that goal. For almost the first two weeks of the month I struggled to write, had no desire to do so, and had no creativity. I had to dig deep and make myself believe that failure wasn’t an option, and ultimately I pushed forward to the win.
So, now what? Well, I plan to keep writing but at a much slower pace, and maybe I’ll do some illustrations. Will I keep doing NaNoWrimo? I have no idea. I’d like to say yes because each year I feel like I get so much out of it, but I guess I’ll just have to wait and see. For now I’ll enjoy this year’s win.
I thought I’d give an update on how I’m doing for NaNoWrimo so far this month. Let’s just say that during this last week of the challenge I’ll be writing A LOT! I’m behind just like I was last year, but just like last year I feel very determined to reach the goal. I’m definitely not giving up. I won’t give my word count at the moment, but I’ll say that I’m not so far behind to make this seem impossible, but I’m far enough behind that I’ll have to stay very committed to writing this week to reach 50,000 words.
One of the problems I’ve faced this year is that I wasn’t really happy with my writing in the first two and a half weeks. I wasn’t feeling connected to it. I realized this and re-focused and was able to get back on track, but it definitely put me behind. The good news is that I’m enjoying my story again, and enjoy the writing process, and it’s making the words come much faster. If I can keep this pace, I should have no problem hitting 50,000. I’ll update again at the end of the week. Hopefully I’ll be able to say that I’m a Nanowrimo winner!
It’s November which means NaNoWrimo is back, and I’m going to participate again this year. This will be the third year in a row I’ve done it, and I’m pretty excited for it this year. I’m going to do things a little differently this time. I plan to work on my main story, but I’m also going to possibly work on a few short story ideas as well as write some posts for this blog. I’m not really a writer, but it does help get my creativity flowing, and I really need that right now. Hopefully this will be a great way to get some ideas down on paper.
For those that aren’t sure what NaNoWrimo is, it is writing challenge to write 50,000 words in the month of November. That comes to about 1667 words a day. It’s not as hard as it seems, especially when you focus on the smaller daily goal, but it can be a challenge. For me it has always sparked my creativity, and as an artist it helps generate ideas for illustrations. If you have any interest in writing, I recommend giving it a try. You’ll push your creativity further than you realize it can go.
I’ve been sick for what seems to be most of spring. I’ve been dealing with bronchitis now for about a month, and I’ve been exhausted. But, I’m finally starting to feel a little better, and even had a chance to get out and do some photography. I have lots of new work to share! But, before I get to that, I wanted to show off some pictures of my pets. My cat, Ripley, and my snake, Hissi, both recently turned 1 year old and I love to see how much they have changed in their first year.
I hope everyone had a good holiday season. To be honest, I didn’t but I was still very blessed overall and was very happy to be with family. I was going to write about some of the hardships that came my way in December but I’ve decided to go a different route. It’s a new year so no need to dwell on what didn’t go so well for me last month. The reality is that 2018 might actually prove to be a more difficult year for me, but I’m not going to focus on that tonight. Instead, I’m going to concentrate on small goals that I can control.
Of course New Year’s Day is naturally a good time to reflect on goals, and I think one thing I’d like to do differently this year is actually make more specific goals. Not something so broad that it becomes meaningless For example, I want to build my portfolio. But what does that even really mean? That goal is too broad and I’ll likely not get anywhere with it. What will it take to reach that goal? How many pictures? In what style? What theme? I’ve realized I don’t always give my goals the structure they need for me to attain them. So, tonight I think I’ll sit by myself think through some of these goals, write them down, and be prepared for a new year.
In other news, here is a landscape painting I did for my dad and step-mom. It is the first landscape I’ve painted, at least from what I can remember. I used one of my husband’s photographs as reference.
This doesn’t have anything to do with art or photography, but I wanted to share that I’m a NanoWrimo winner! Woo hoo! For those that have never heard of NanoWrimo, it is a writing contest with the goal of writing 50,000 words in the month of November.
My word count ended last night at 50,182 (roughly about 100 word document pages), and it feels so good to reach that goal. I struggled this month. The second week of November I got very bad news about the health of a loved one, and I just couldn’t concentrate on anything other than the shock of hearing that news. I didn’t write for about a week. I’m not totally sure how I managed to finish, but the hard worked paid off and I reached the goal.
I do NanoWrimo because of the creative challenge. And now that it is over, I do want to continue to work on finishing my story and editing, and of course illustrations.