Beth Meadows


Not Now, While I'm Lying Here, Wide Awake

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I'm terrible at quoting books and movies, but I'll butcher it anyway to get the gist across...

I think it was in Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. She is talking about the creative process. And she's telling the story of a writer who would get inspired at the most inopportune moments. She'd be outside, working in the garden, and the creative inspiration would roll in like a mighty wind, and she'd have to run inside to catch it all on paper.

I don't remember who she was talking about, but I love and hate this story.

I think it was also Tom Waits who would get inspired while his hands were on the wheel, and he'd grunt, "Not while I'm driving!"

I've been waking up at 2, 3, 4am. For years. I don't want to do anything at this hour. Nuuuuu-thiiiiing. 

But I'll lie in bed and think about writing, or about a painting that hasn't been born yet. Or let fantastical anxieties dance through my mind.

I've gotten up the past two days. Yesterday at 4am. Today at 2:45am. It's 4:14am right now. I wrote yesterday, and developed the idea for a new painting, one that I have asked to patiently wait for its turn. it told me it's not going to wait.

I all ready drew this morning, something I started last night. And now I'm writing, which is something I daydream about constantly but never do.

There is something deep within me that won't let me rest. Sometimes I believe it's God. Or God's hand on me, the person he made me to be- full of pesky inspiration. Whatever it is, it won't let me rest. There is something it wants from me that I've been neglecting, at my own expense. It's hard to want to go deeper, into pain, or grief, or ideas. I believe it won't let me rest until I've processed it through my hands, to process the beauty, too. 

You'd think it would be easy to recognize this deep prodding and follow it, but it's not. I'm sleepy right now, and I may be sleepy the rest of the day while at work. And I hate feeling sleepy. I also don't want to - no, I do want, but- it's hard to make this work that I have asked to wait. I don't feel ready for what it's going to take. And I'm fearful of making work that isn't readily available to share and show. It could take years to create. 

Or not.

I think this is why I moved my studio home. I knew my brushes needed to be closer to my bed. Getting to them by car at 2am would never work. 

You have to play to win

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I'm on a tight budget these days, so the thing I rarely ever do, that I love to do, is go to concerts. Seeing music live is one of the most inspiring things to me. It's really valuable to me.

Last weekend, Old City Java was doing a Giveaway on their Instagram account for Kurt Vile tickets at the Mill and Mine. I entered on a whim and won. 

One of my favorite genres of music is 90s alternative, and I've been listening to it a lot in my studio lately. Kurt Vile puts a fresh spin on that sound, which I love. 

It was a gift, an experience I forgot I needed.


Wooden Ladies

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I watched Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette again last week, and it got me thinking about a piece of artwork I made in 2015:

Wooden Lady, reclaimed wood in salvaged window, 2015

Wooden Lady, reclaimed wood in salvaged window, 2015

Inspired by this:

I was working at The Salvage Shop then, and as usual, coming up with ways to re-use all the wood we had on hand, a mission that inspired the hundreds of mason jars I printed and painted on salvaged wood during my years there. 

Her face is tongue and groove flooring, her headdress is wood that was all ready painted white and I added gold accents, her blouse painted and carved wood. The frame is an old window from some house in East Tennessee that probably has vinyl windows now.

The carved blouse was inspired by a box I bought in Haiti that summer. Something about the painted wood, then carved, gets to me deeply, so much so I daydream about living in a different country, making colorful jewelry and carved and painted wooden boxes by the ocean...


The same year I made the wooden lady, I also made this:

Dolce & Gabbana, food packaging on paper, 11 x 14"

Dolce & Gabbana, food packaging on paper, 11 x 14"

Inspired by this:

Karlie Kloss in Dolce & Gabbana

Karlie Kloss in Dolce & Gabbana

And it seemed to be a favorite of the Good Packaging series, I think because of the floral headdress and striking stare. Also probably the lace dress. It's a solid image all around. 

I always wanted to make more wooden women. "Wooden Ladies" has been on my To Do list for two years, and I'm excited because I'm ready to make more. 

So I've been searching the internet and saving images on Instagram. My goal is to make three by the end of the month. My inclination is to make them wildly intricate, but they will be a little different than the first one I made.

While we wait for them, here are some of the images I found for inspiration, the last one an added bonus because it's ridiculous.