Adult Learning: Identifying Clouds, Nursing and The Freedom to Be Wrong

Clouds-Nature Journal Page ink and watercolor 2020 by Julianna Paradisi

I mentioned in previous posts I’ve taken up nature journaling as a new hobby. I enjoy it for many reasons: It promotes spending time in nature, increases meditative observation, and improves my drawing skills.

An unexpected benefit of nature journaling is that close observation of nature has revealed gaps in my knowledge of natural science. For instance, as a child I learned there were different types of clouds. I remember and can identify by sight cumulus, stratus, and lenticular, but after that, they just become pretty things to look at.

In Oregon, we have LOTS of clouds. I decided I want the ability to identify them. There are 10 major types of clouds, not including subtypes. They are identified not only by shape and color; altitude is also a factor. Altitude is difficult to judge unless there’s a mountain or tall building of known height to use as a reference point.

Despite their ubiquity, the more I research, I discover identifying clouds by type is not as easy as I’d expected.

I became discouraged about achieving my goal, until I remembered my science classes, prerequisites for nursing school. Microbiology required I learn to identify and draw various bacteria viewed on slides under a microscope. And what nurse can forget learning to identify the psoas muscle by sight in anatomy? It’s not easy to differentiate the fine borders and connections distinguishing individual muscles from what initially looks like a solid slab of tissue! At the time, both tasks appeared overwhelming, but I learned to see, receiving A’s in these classes. This memory persuades me I have the capacity to learn the different types of clouds, too.

Which brings me to another benefit of nature journaling: learning that I am not too old to learn new things, including about myself.

Perhaps, as we age, it’s not the ability to learn that is lost, so much as it’s the  fear of being wrong that is developed.

Generally speaking, nurses need to be competent, and competency is sometimes confused with being right. A nurse can be highly competent, but still make a mistake. In our worst fears, the mistake involves the safety of a patient. What saves us then is the level of accountability we bring to our practice. Nurses remain number one in the Gallup poll list of most trusted professions, not because we never make mistakes, but because of the overall accountability, characteristic of our profession. Society trusts nurses.

It appears counterintuitive, to be trusted because of how we handle our mistakes. I’m reminded of the saying,

Integrity is doing the right then even when no one is watching.*

 

I mull over these thoughts while drawing outdoors between rain showers, making ink and watercolor sketches of clouds in the rapidly changing Portland sky. Typical of Oregon weather, to the south is blue sky as the sun breaks through. Looking north, more rainclouds gather, ominously. Shortly thereafter, the heavens open, releasing heavy showers of rain. I gather my supplies, and go inside, where I ponder the names of the clouds I’ve just sketched.

And then I realize, they’re clouds, beautiful in their own right, with or without names. I am grateful for the brief moment outside, the morning’s sun break, the beauty of the day. I’ll look up the cloud names later. For now, I’ll make a cup of tea, and enjoy having the opportunity to learn something new without having to worry about being wrong.

* Various attributions, often to C.S. Lewis, but possibly a paraphrase of a Charles Marshall quote in Shattering the Glass Slipper

Julianna Paradisi (JParadisiRN) Paintings Included in Myth and Magic Juried Art Exhibition

Myth and Magic Exhibition Poster

I’m delighted to have two paintings in Myth and Magic, a juried exhibition of art presented by the Gresham Visual Arts Committee. The show runs through February 6, 2020. The venue is lovely, and I’m honored to show my work alongside so many talented artists.

For more information visit their website: http://www.greshamartcommittee.com

Venue: City of Gresham Visual Arts Gallery

Public Safety & Schools Building

1331 NW Eastman Parkway

Gresham, OR 97030

Gallery Hours: Monday through Friday 8:00 AM

to 5:00 PM / Closed holidays

The show closes February 6, 2020.

Julianna Paradisi with Her Painting at With Bated Breath : Juried Invitational Show at Gallery 114 Opening Reception

 

At Gallery 114 for the opening reception fo With Bated Breath photo credit: David E. Forinash

Many thanks to the members of Gallery 114 for hosting a well-attended opening reception for the juried group exhibition, With Bated Breath. It’s a gorgeously curated show, and it was a pleasure meeting you!

Show runs through February 1, 2020. Gallery hours are Thursday-Sunday, 12 pm – 6 pm.

Julianna Paradisi (JParadisiRN) Painting Included in With Bated Breath Group Show at Gallery 114

Happy New Year!

Waiting For Clarity: Sunbreak Over The Broadway Bridge, mixed media 12″ x 16″ by Julianna Paradisi 2019

The above painting, Waiting For Clarity: Sunbreak Over The Broadway Bridge, is included in the juried invitational group show With Bated Breath, at Gallery 114, opening First Thursday, tomorrow evening, January 2, 2020 6 pm – 9 pm. The show features work by artists from Oregon, California, Washington, Wyoming, Ohio, Arizona, New Mexico, Arkansas, Texas and Montana.

I’m pleased to invite my Portland readers to attend the opening and artist reception at Gallery 114 

Show runs through February 1, 2020.

The Perfect 15th Wedding Anniversary Gift : Glassblowing Workshop in Astoria, Oregon

David and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary last week. The traditional gift is crystal, but the modern one is glass or a watch. So David came up with a truly unique idea. He took me to Astoria, on the Oregon Coast, and treated me to a workshop at a glassblowing studio where I made a glass pumpkin. It was my first experience learning the craft of glassblowing.

We made an appointment at Fernhill Glass Studio where we met Claude and Chris. Claude let me choose the glass colors, and explained the process of making a glass pumpkin from beginning to end. It was a lot of information, but Chris made sure I used the right tool the right way at the right time. It was a lot of fun. At one point, I even used a blow torch half as big as I am tall to heat the glass stem, giving it its mirrored finish. I’d never used a blow torch before. There’s no photo of me with it; I suspect David, who took these photos, ducked for cover and I don’t blame him.

Click on images to enlarge.

I love my new Fall decoration! I had a blast, and can’t wait for our next trip to Astoria and trying my hand at another project.

A Random Encounter: Nurse, Artist, and Tree

The Embrace oil on panel, 8″ x 8″ 2019 by Julianna Paradisi

There’s a tree I walk past often, and on my way home from work one day I decided to take a picture of it. Turning to face the tree, I took my phone out of my coat pocket.

As I did, a young man stopped and asked if I was going to photograph the tree. When I said yes, he asked what it was I saw. I looked at him closely before speaking. His question, his wool jacket, the way he stood told me what I wanted to know.

I asked, Are you a photographer?

He was.

If he’d asked, I would have told him I’m a painter.

The setting winter’s sun outlined the silhouette of the tree. I showed him how its bifurcated trunk created the illusion of an embrace.

At first he couldn’t see it: Show me the nose.

Pointing with my finger, I outlined nose, brow and lips for him.

He looked intently, the way artists and poets do. After a pause, he said, I have a friend. She talks to trees.

I told him once I heard a grove of trees singing. Two weeks later, they were gone, having been cleared for a housing development.

He told me he will never not see the embrace of this tree.

He went on his way. I took the picture of the tree, and from it, several days later, made this painting with its story of a random encounter.

SirenNation Art Show Opening

On the right: Quickened Toward All Celestial Things, by Jparadisirn, 2018 on display through November

Imagine my surprise to find my painting Quickened Toward All Celestial Things has been given a street view exhibition space at Portland 5! Thank you @SirenNation for an awesome opening reception tonight.

On exhibit through November as part of the Siren Nation Visual Art Show Portland 5 Centers for the Arts Antoinette Hatfield Hall, 1111 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97205

Crows have mythological meaning in many cultures. They are messengers from another dimension, shape shifters, and symbols of transformation. The title is adapted from a line Emily Dickinson wrote in a letter to a friend:

“Dear Friend,
…Quickened toward all celestial things by crows I heard this morning-accept a loving caw from a nameless friend.”

 

Quickened Towards All Celestial Things
graphite, acrylic, oil on wood 20″ x 20″ 2018 by Julianna Paradisi

SirenNation Visual Art Show, Portland Oregon, November 2018

Quickened Towards All Celestial Things
graphite, acrylic, oil on wood 20″ x 20″ 2018

Quickened Towards All Celestial Things, graphite, acrylic, oil on wood, 20″ x 20″ by Julianna Paradisi 2018 https://jparadisirn.com/gallery/
On exhibit in November as part of the Siren Nation Visual Art Show Portland 5 Centers for the Arts Antoinette Hatfield Hall, 1111 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97205
Save the Date! Opening Reception: Thursday, November 1, 2018 from 5:00 to 8:00 pm.
Beverages and complimentary snacks available. All ages!

Art & Nursing: New Work

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Letting Go of Your Hassles: New Year 2017

Rose quartz for love, clear quartz for clarity Photo: Julianna Paradisi 2017

Rose quartz for love, clear quartz for clarity Photo: Julianna Paradisi 2017

My friend who teaches Pilates and mindfulness was approached by one of her students after class. The student said, “I really appreciated your words of mindfulness, especially the part about, “Letting go of your assh*les.”

My friend, who I’ve never heard use that particular word in causal conversation, much less during a meditation, was taken aback. She could not recall saying it. She asked the student, “What did I say?”

She repeated herself, “I really appreciated you saying, ‘Let go of your hassles.”

Hassles. Ah yes, that makes much more sense. “Let go of your hassles.”

Since my friend told me the story, I’ve considered the hassles I want to let go of in the New Year 2017.

The usual suspects come readily to mind: Rude comments from others, drivers who take my pedestrian safety into their own hands by running stop signs, miscommunications of various species, the neighbor who parties and plays loud music until 4 am on a Monday morning when I have to go to work. I considered forgoing Twitter to avoid finding out US international policy changes before I’ve had coffee in the morning, but those tweets pop-up in the national news and Facebook immediately, so there’s no point.

While reflecting on hassles, it occurred to me that letting go of mine isn’t enough. It’s a principle of universal attraction that like attracts like. In other words, we attract to ourselves the energy we send out into the world. Simply put, the only way to let go of the hassles, is don’t be a hassle. 

To not be a hassle requires mindfulness. It requires choosing to respond to hassles (especially those manifesting in the form of other people) with care and thoughtfulness. Letting go of hassles requires empathy and compassion. It requires restraining yourself from placing a wireless speaker against the wall between you and your neighbor’s home, and turning up teeny-bopper heart-throb boy band music really loud at 6 am on a Monday morning when you get up to go to work, with the intent of preventing your hung over neighbor from getting to sleep after partying all night, which kept you up when you had to go to work the next morning.

Letting go of the hassles requires not being a hassle.

Letting go of the hassles is an ongoing job, a moment by moment, day by day thing. It requires renewing the commitment to doing what’s right everyday.

It takes practice. I don’t expect to get it right every time.

“But I’m tryin’ real hard to be the Shepherd, Ringo. I’m tryin’.”