Tuesday, January 10, 2017

art and inspiration and "I feel an e-course coming on!"

The force that through the green fuse
drives the flower...
- Dylan Thomas
We got our first 'real' snowstorm here
just a few days ago (about 25cm)
so yes - winter is here.
Unless we have the kind of winter
where it's constantly snowing for months,
I don't mind winter at all.
As long as the roads are plowed
and I can get out once in a while,
I'm good.
Like most artists out there,
I love the hibernating part of winter. 
There's nothing like a snowstorm
on a Sunday morning,
when nature gives you permission
to stay in your PJs all day.
(of course, who really needs permission for that?!) :)
I also love the slowness of January...

Everyone seems to be in a better mood somehow.

Maybe it's because we're onto something new,
or we feel like it's a chance for a new beginning,
or we've looked at the past year
and realize we're gonna be ok after all.
Something about January feels 
hopeful to me.
And lord knows
we'll take all the hope we can get.
So I have a few things to share with you.
For a while now,
I've been thinking about teaching on-line.
I've taken several e-courses
and I've learned a lot from each one.
So I'm currently doing an e-course
on how to teach e-courses!
Yes, it's a brainteaser :)
I am loving every bit of it so far,
and if all goes well,
I'm hoping to have my own e-course
out in the world by April or May 2017.
I still haven't decided what I'll be teaching,
nor how I'll be teaching it,
but I do know I have something to offer
and I feel that there are people out there
ready to embrace my offerings.
It'll somehow be about art
and connection
and courage
and words
and having fun
and becoming more confident
about who we are
and where we are in life,
and carving small moments in the day
for something that makes us happy.
It'll be about listening
to our own voices
and exploring
and expressing
and discovering
and healing
and accepting
and truth
and there will be NO room
for perfection.
Nope.
Sorry perfection, no room for you at the Inn. ;)
So I'm in the early stages of brainstorming ideas
about what I'd like to share and teach,
and how I'd like to do it in a way
that makes it fun and non threatening
and without the pressure of becoming
a "talented" artist.
So there are many unknowns right now,
but this is all so exciting.
And speaking of unknowns...

the bird painting earlier in this post (the orange and teal one)
was done in about an hour and a half last night.
I painted slowly and filled the circles with white
and took my time with the lines
and added orange and teal here and there.

And in the end, it was just ok.

So with the leftover paint,
(because you know it can't go to waste!)
I opened my small journal
and painted this one in about 5 minutes,
adding a yellow.

I knew it would be abstract
and I knew it would be quick,
because i basically just wanted
to use the leftover paint.

Then I added a few squiggly lines
with oil pastels...(inspired by Tara Leaver - thank you!)

And i loved it!

So the TIME you spend on art
is irrelevant to how you'll feel about it.

It's irrelevant to how it'll "move" you
or someone else.

1.5 hours = meh...
5 minutes = LOVE!!
Lesson of the day:
You don't need huge chunks of time to make art
or huge canvases
or an art studio
or expensive materials.

You just need to sit yourself down
and do something.
Anything.
And who knows?
Maybe it'll make your heart
a little happier than it was
just moments before.
xox



Friday, December 30, 2016

it's almost 2017!! Yikes.

Hello everyone!
I'm squeezing in another post before 2017! 
So Christmas is done for another year.
It was a good one, but as always -
I ate too much. :)
I just love this period
between Christmas and New Year,
don't you?
I know some people who use this time
to "clear out" the old stuff
and make way for the "new stuff"
(physical or mental).
I tend to just be lazy & read a lot. 
And eat Turtles.
And Kisses.
And have wine & cheese for a "snack".
And put on my PJs in the afternoon.

I go for the occasional walk outside,
when i feel like I can't breathe anymore,
but in general - I don't move much.

But after this slow period,
I usually sit myself down 
and write a few thoughts on the new year.
I don't do resolutions
but I do a kind of purging of thoughts, I guess.
I look back at the old year
and write (or draw) certain things that jump out at me,
and then I prepare myself for the new year
by making sure I have sketchbooks on hand,
by putting journals & books in order,
by doing a bit of organizing in my blue room.
Oh, and for a few years now,
I've been using Susannah Conway's
UNRAVEL YOUR YEAR
and it's the only thing that feels right for me.
If you're not familiar with it, check it out.
And don't worry - if you're not a big goal setter -
or you feel like you have no idea
what you wanna be when you grow up - it's ok.
It's a gentle workbook done with compassion,
and it's free!
A few nights before Christmas,
I did this quick painting on paper.
You all know how fond I am
of using the green tape around the painting
to leave a nice white border...
I actually love removing the tape...
 ...and seeing the crisp borders.
Cheap thrills, I know.

A friend of mine saw this
and immediately said she saw
a hand coming down from the sky,
gently holding the tree.

I see it now, but I didn't before she said it.
Funny how everyone sees something different. 
So it's been a rough year for some,
and drawing or painting always help me
face the losses and the fears,
even if they aren't directly my own.
We've lost some important people.
People who led meaningful lives
and tried to spread the love.
People who wrote beautiful music
and beautiful books.

We've gained some not so pleasant people
and we've had to face the reality
that love doesn't always win.
That there are still many people out there
filled with hatred
for no reason other than
"they are different than me
and I don't like it".
Celebrity deaths.
Church shootings.
Wildfires in Alberta that wiped out whole towns.
The war in Syria.
Shootings in gay nightclubs in Orlando.
Refugees.
Trump.
Some of you may feel like
this is all very depressing,
but that's the thing about art - 
it shows us TRUTH.

When I sat myself down to draw this,
I asked myself this question:

What stands out for me about 2016?

And this came out.

I drew Trump first
(no, he's not the most important -
just the most irritating to me)

and then I thought of David Bowie's death.
Then Prince's death,
and before I knew it,
I was drawing the people we lost in 2016,
and some of the things that broke my heart.

Sadness - like joy - is a valid emotion.

But you guys, once these thoughts were on paper -
I kinda liked seeing them all there.
Like they went from my subconscious to the page
and by doing so,
they somehow carried less weight
within me.

I'm sure many of you feel the same
after you paint something
or draw something
or write something.

Tell me I'm not crazy.
:)

HAPPY NEW YEAR to every one of you!!
Thanks for hanging out here with me
for another year.

Here's to 2017!
xx



Sunday, December 18, 2016

Christmas blues

Hello everyone!
I bought myself these gifts a few weeks ago
because I needed something to make me smile
and because I'm special. :)

A Lamy fountain pen and these Stabilo wooden pencils/pastels/wax crayons.
i LOVE all of these!
Hadn't used a fountain pen in a while
and forgot how much I loved them.
Well here we are, a week away from Christmas.
A busy time,
a messy time,
a beautiful time,
a difficult time,
an exciting time 
a happy and sad time.
An emotional time.
If you feel any of these things
over the holidays,
you are not alone.
I feel a little bit of all of these things,
but Christmas is mostly a happy time for me,
because I have so many great memories (thanks mom).
Yes, I'm sad that they are only memories,
but grateful that so many of the people I love
are still here with me.
Mom loved Christmas
and I suppose her spirit lives on in me. :)

She didn't make it a big deal
with overdone decorations
or expensive gifts...
but she always made lots of food & goodies
and there were always house parties
with friends & family.

I have so many good memories
of waking up (early!) with my 2 brothers
on Christmas morning
and being so excited at the sight
of those beautiful gifts under the tree.

And then, as soon as mom & dad would get up with us,
the smell of coffee and "poutines" in the kitchen,
and the sound of Christmas music on the stereo.
And in the afternoon, we'd rush out in the snow
(because in Canada, there's always snow at Christmas)
to play with our Super Slider Snow Skates,
or our mini-skis,
or our Crazy Carpets
and we'd stay out until our cheeks
were the color purple. :)
There was something so laid back about the holidays
and I just grew to love this quiet time of the year.
We have to make it what feels good for us, right?

If we prefer being alone at Christmas,
and going for a nice walk in nature,
or spending time reading,
then we should do that!
(I always find time for these things during the holidays)

The fact that I enjoy Christmas
doesn't mean everyone does
and it certainly doesn't mean
everyone should.
It's a really difficult time for many.

We all have different life experiences,
and what's good for one,
doesn't mean it's good for the other. 
So let's be patient with one another
and respect the fact that we all have our own ways
of dealing with the hoopla of holidays. :)
And for those who feel alone -
I hope you know you are NOT alone. 
On to the art now!

Have you had time for art lately?
I'm trying to squeeze in little bits here & there
but I've done very little over the past weeks.

I did the blue bow painting (above)
one night last week.
When I finished, I had leftover paint
so you know i couldn't let that paint go to waste. ;)
So I did this quick sketch of a face,
and then dropped a blob of black paint
right in the center of the nose!
Tried to cover it with white,
but it didn't work, so I just painted the whole thing red.
Then I sprayed water on the whole thing
to try & get a 'dripping' thing happening
but it was just going from bad to worse.
When things go from bad to worse,
you just try to salvage what you can
and work with the booboos. :)
Not quite what I envisioned 
when I first started the sketch,
but who cares?
I was painting and when I'm painting,
I'm happy.
I did this watercolor this past week too.
Love doing simple, common things
we all have around the house.
It doesn't always need to be a gorgeous landscape,
or a perfect still life.

Sometimes, the simple things
say more about "us" than the ones we "set up"
to look like perfection.

Nothing about my life is perfection
and I want to keep it that way.

Wishing every one of you
a peaceful, comfortable, healthy holiday time.
Do what makes you smile.
And if you feel like crying - cry.
That's ok too.
:)
Merry Christmas everyone
and all the best for 2017!
xx