Moves come in different forms and contexts.

Moves include not only our physical bodies, our locations and objects around us  – but also our mental strategies and attitudes.

Whenever a move is made, it creates a change.  When I was in grad school, studying organizations, we learned every change made to any part of a system impacted the entire system, and the same holds true for moves in other areas of our lives. Moves are the catalyst to change. 

Expect Good Things - Michelle Andres
For me, moves in art make a painting not only possible, but the creation of it more interesting. The time spent, and act of creating, offers a space to solve problems, explore possibilities and overcome fears.  I like to expect good things yet, sometimes, we’re afraid to make a move. We don’t want to lose what we have – and this is true not only for painting, but for life. Could the painting be BETTER? Could our lives be BETTER? If you make that move, you take a risk.  

Recently, we moved homes. It was a long process. We bought our new house before we sold our old house – a move I don’t recommend unless you have a compelling reason to do so, or thrive on crazy, unbridled stress!!!  Most of our belongings were left in the old house for “staging” purposes. We camped at the new place for over 5 months with a fold up table and chairs and a bed, slowly dragging back small items of comfort… kind of like Steve Martin in The Jerk. It was home-seller’s purgatory. During this time, my studio space changed, shrinking to a 5thof its previous size. I couldn’t find materials – everything had changed. Everything had MOVED!!!

So, when I ran across this quote, I was more than a little intrigued:

Moves create possibilities

It’s from Dr. Nancy Hillis. She’s an artist, author and existential psychologist. Her new , best-selling book, The Artist’s Journey, Bold Strokes to Spark Creativity offers support for creatives, helping  them work through the fear and doubt that many artists wear like a career accessory. I’d like the bracelet of doubt and the necklace of shame, please. Uh, no thank you. I work best unadorned.

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Mary Oliver died…and I wept.

I did not know her, but acutely knew her words and lyrical poetry. Her story was well known – growing up in a dysfunctional family and finding solace in the outdoors, writing and exploring. I knew about some parts of her life…but I only knew her through the poems.

My grief was ignited by the realization there would be no more words from Mary Oliver. My thoughts rolled over the tremendous gift she was and that often the words were taken for granted, like they sprang from an overflowing well. But, she was a treasure and had a limited engagement with us…as do so many.

For me, poets live closest to the soul. I wrote poetry as a child and younger person, but found I had to scrape so close to the core it burned me raw and I didn’t want to live there.

Oliver’s poetry inspired me on many occasions. Particularly, when I was working in corporate America, desperately searching for my true self – I discovered this one: Continue reading »

Fog, life, river
Some of us aren’t content with a simple, lovely life. We riot to live on the margins. 

Some of us can’t help but let life beat right through us, dancing in joy, writhing in disappointment , sticking its stiletto heels into our very souls.

A friend wrote, “ I realize how lucky I am, to feel everything so hard. It’s why I am an artist and it’s who I am.”

It took me a lifetime to appreciate living on the margins. In my younger days, it felt like mood swings, hormones run amok. My parents had no idea how to handle the intensity and I had no idea how to control it.  So, as any obedient young person would do, I stuffed a lid on it and became one of the soldiers; the soldiers who slay their nature and pledge allegiance to duty. I marched on, one in a million – bringing my best to whatever post called me while routinely trudging across the heart of my muse.

Until one day I didn’t. Continue reading »

The Unknown forces you bear down on the Now.  Days and moments become more precious and important to daily living, as you focus on what’s in front of you.

It may sound like a good remedy for the chaotic wails of the modern world, but that’s only if you’re fearless.


Sometimes, the Unknown holds the hand of its cousin, Fear.  Fear has a way of keeping you awake at night and stopping you in your daily tracks. Fear demands you flee, hide or kick its butt. I don’t know about you, but I’m not as bad-ass as I’d like to believe. I’m reminded of this when Fear tags along. I’d like to add, “uninvited,” but we all know that’s untrue. Continue reading »

I’m A Work In Progress

I’m a work in progress.

It’s taking longer than I thought. Both the unfolding of me and our life transition.

I grasp at lovely things, as if they were branches that will keep me from going under. Until this household move, I had little idea that I thrive on aesthetics, taking in beauty as if it were air.Grab a branch

Since our old home is on the market, loaded with charm and sacred, secret spaces, it needs daily care. I’m constantly, gardening, cleaning, giving it love. But, I’ve given all my love. 

 

Artist Supplies

I don’t paint anymore. I haven’t worked in the studio for weeks, and weeks. I had no idea this transition would totally take out my practice. Everything is out of place. This isn’t good for an artist. We get irascible when we don’t work….no one wants the business end of a stalled artist.  With the exception of Tuesday mornings with my dear teacher, painting does not happen. I’ve started daily ink drawings for Inktober. It’s something.

So, as I often do in times of uncertainty, I look for the lesson. Am I learning patience? Am I learning faith? Is it both….or more? Yes, I’ve considered it’s me. It always is, you know? Not always me, always us…you. We get in our own ways. Continue reading »

Hello Fall!!!

Hello Fall!!!

A season of transition, of quieting, of reflection…moving inward.

Hello new home. A place of peace and beauty, lost toothbrushes, rock piles and weeds…lots of weeds.

In this contract we make with life, we’re obligated take it all. We tease apart the wheat from the chafe. Ferreting out the moments, the glimpses, the wins – and treasure them. Like seasoning in a dish, those moments make life delicious or, at times, at least palatable. It’s these small, blessings that nourish our lives, our bodies, and our hearts.

I’ve started this new project – Notes From The Nest on this first, glorious day of autumn. It’s mostly a photo journal chronicling our journey from a home we lived and created in for 18 years to a mid-century modern place that needs a little love. There are so many facets to such an adventurous transition – I’ll explore them with you and you’ll probably have your own to share.  I’m ever so grateful to our friend for selling us her family home. It has so much of who she is in it.  But, we need to leave our mark, too. The history will always remain. So settle in for a long ride – I’m going to.

I haven’t written for a long time, but it seems appropriate now, as my voice has softened, my eye has sharpened and I just know there is charm to be found – no matter where you are . Charm is my rocket-fuel. (click to Tweet). As an artist, the  beauty around me feeds my soul and fuels my muse. My hope is you also find nourishment here. A place to take sweet sips, rest, reflect and discover your own “moments.”

I hope you’ll join me by following, Notes From The Nest. It will be nestled as its own page on the “Art of The Well Lived Life” site, so you can join the list there – or here at the bottom of the page.

Our new place is named Nido De Rio, because everyplace should have a name.

Happy Fall, Friends. May your transitions be gentle and your blessings plentiful.

www.michelleandresart.com/2017/08/pissy

I cannot deal with your anger.

And, I don’t necessarily disagree with you.

Either you manufactured your outrage, or you have mastered the art of unskilled communication – but the daily outbursts are not convincing me to empathize with you; even though I may agree with you.

The world is noisy enough, people. We have real challenges and conflicts. When did some folks decide the louder they scream the more likely they will be heard? It doesn’t work that way.

Yes, I’m pissed, and I’m exhausted. I’ve been exhausted and in retreat for some time, now. My pleas to put down taking up sides and shine your light seem to have fallen on deaf ears, as we continue to slip deeper into this unholy mess. I haven’t published a post since last April. This is unusual, because this blog was conceived when I realized I wasn’t embracing my calling and I made a leap to create a better, happier, more authentically Well-Lived Life. It was a thrilling time and I wanted to share the formula, spread the word. So, I did, every Friday for over 4 years. But, somewhere around 2016, I found myself repeating the same theme:

Behave – you’re contributing to the problem!

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