Tuesday, January 31, 2012

love, socks & books

love doesn't always need to be romantic... :-)

I said i would reward myself with a book, so ta daaaaaa! 
A few books. I can rarely ever buy just one book. 

Uncle Tom's cabin is a classic i've never read - it was published in the 1850's
and written by a woman - already impressive. :-)
I can't wait to read it.

I've always loved Jewish history, so i look forward 
to reading Gertruda's Oath as well.

And of course, how could i pass this up?

First of all, it's about Einstein & children, and secondly, it's $4.99.

It was said that Einstein had a great sense of humour.
When i saw this book cover of him in his fluffy blue slippers, 
it reminded me of an interview I once saw on tv
with Alfred Hitchcock.

He was a British film director mostly known for psychological thrillers
like the Birds, Psycho, etc.

In this tv interview, I was surprised at his sense of humour.
He said he once had a dinner party at his house
and arranged so that all the food was blue! 
The bread, the turkey, the potatoes, everything was blue -
even the drinks!

And of course, Hitchcock himself pretended that everything was normal.

Such a sense of humour coming from a man who made a living
scaring people half to death. 

A great reminder that we often
take ourselves too seriously...

we should all have our own colourful dinner parties,
or own a pair of 
fluffy blue slippers. 


Monday, January 30, 2012

Sketchbook project - DONE!

I did the covers for the sketchbook over the weekend.
This is the front cover. Simple.

...and the back cover.

the last page in the book. 
I had done this a while ago (Sharpie on photographic paper)
and I thought it would be a nice & colourful way to end the book.
(Lori, i hope you get to see the sketchbook in person, but just in case you don't...)  :-)

I used to think I sucked at commitments. 

Now i realize I only suck at things I don't like doing. :-)
When it's something I love, I always get it done on time,
always meet the deadline,
and commitment issues are non existent. 

This sketchbook was a lot of fun to do,
and although i wasn't sure i'd get it done
when i saw all those empty pages at first,
it's DONE and being mailed out today!
Yay for me!

I may just need to celebrate this
by buying myself a book. :-)

I hope you accomplish all that you set out to do this week.
One thing at a time.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

migraine, music & dad...

I spent much of the day yesterday nursing a migraine...


by 8pm last night, i was feeling a little better & thought i would venture into my blue room...

At this point, i knew this one was not meant to be a happy face... :-)

So i just let it go where it wanted to go.

...and in the end, it's not so bad. 
It kinda gives a face to the word MIGRAINE, doesn't it?
I just hope i don't look like this when i get them. :-) 
On another note, I want to share a little story about my father. 
My father was a carpenter. A good one. A respected one. 
He's been officially retired for several years,
although he's kept himself busy with odd jobs here & there. 
Then a year ago, he had a severe heart attack, and needed open heart surgery.
He could no longer do the things he used to do.
He needed to scale down, big time.
It took a while to adjust, but eventually he did, and within months of being back home 
he made this...

A birdhouse / bird feeder.
Dad doesn't do anything half assed.
These little birdhouses reminded me that even when life changes drastically,
and so many things are taken away from you,
the need for creative expression remains.
The need to have purpose. The need to feel useful.
And for a carpenter like my father,
the profound need to do something with his hands. To make something.
I think i understand
where i get my art heart. :-)

Where do you get your art heart? 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

happy time

Only a few days left before i mail in my SKETCHBOOK PROJECT
and lucky for me, only a few pages left. :-) 
I decided on a simple black micron pen illustration,
although i ended up adding a bit of black pencil here & there.
I'll be adding text on the right hand side of the page,
just not sure what i'll be writing yet.

This is Etta James in her younger days.
For those of you who don't know of her,
Etta was a fabulous American jazz & blues singer
who just passed away last Friday. 
If any of you don't know of her,
you must at least listen to this one song of hers called AT LAST.
mmmmmm... i hear it in my head already.  :-) 
My heart melts as soon as the song begins...
And so, i had a wonderful evening
drawing in my little blue room
and then finished off the evening
with a shower & my happy time soap. 
I'm easy to please. :-)
Wishing you all a wonderful week.
Make time for something that makes you smile.

Monday, January 23, 2012

sick boy

Sometimes I see certain things
that burn images in my head
and until i put them to paper, or canvas, or cardboard,
they haunt me. 
Like this one. 
When i was last at the oncology center with my mom for her treatment,
a young boy sat across from us in the waiting area with his mom,
pale, losing his hair, waiting for his turn.
Shattered hearts. 
I thought of a few words that i saw recently -
and I wondered if he was able to stand in his light,
despite everything.
I wondered if it was even possible... 
I hoped that he was able to find
solace, somewhere, somehow. 
So the image of the boy in my heart
is now on paper
and I gave him his own light,
just in case he didn't have the strength
to find it on his own. 
Standing in our light is great,
but sharing our light is greater. :-) 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

hello Saturday...

Finally the weekend.

Lately, I've felt such a need to get my shit together,
mentally & physically.

I just seem to have little bits & pieces everywhere
and a real lack of focus.

I have a few things on the go that I'm really excited about,
like the SPARK KIT by Danielle Laporte,
and great e-courses,
and inspiring books,
and my own writing,
and daily (or almost daily) painting.

And of course, like most people,
i have a few other less exciting things on the go too.

It all feels overwhelming at times.

There are times where i feel like i could climb Mount Everest,
and other times where i feel much less sure of myself.

During these times of doubt,
it's important
not to compare ourselves to others.

We must all define success
on our own terms.

Success for one may mean having a million dollars in the bank,
and for another
it may mean having a $100 and being able to share half of it
with someone in need.

On some days,
success for me means enjoying a few hours to myself in a book shop,
or sharing a great conversation with a friend over Chai Latte.

However it is you define your own success,
i hope you get your fill this weekend.

Friday, January 20, 2012

sketchbook project

Started out with a bit of paint & collage...

I wanted to do a portrait on the right side of the page, and i don't know how it happened,
but here's what i did... 

Smack dab in the middle.
Or at least more in the middle than i wanted it to be.
I guess i misjudged the "right side of the page".

Then I started getting excited with the browns & before i knew it,
i had hidden most of the words on the page. :-( 
You can see a few words peeking out here & there
but this wasn't really what i had in mind.

Sometimes, things don't always work out the way
we envision them. :-)

This is Sylvia Plath. 
She was an American poet & writer,
and the mother of two children.

After years of struggling with depression,
and a breakup with her husband,
at the age of 31, she committed suicide.

She died in 1963 - the year I was born.

I think her writing is beautiful
and her life very sad.

Wishing you all a great weekend!
I know i'm happy it's Friday. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


We've all had our share of people who question what we do, or why we do it.
We've all seen those strange looks
after we tell them we are artists
as if part of the sentence is missing.

I used to think that art was just for fun.
That the only purpose for art was to make things more beautiful.

This may be true,
but I now know that art is so much more.

It is beauty,
and therapy,
and a way to communicate.

It is the telling of stories
and the sharing of cultures
through image and colour
and composition.

It is emotion expressed.
It is a way out of the darkness.
It heals
and cries
and sets fire to the soul.

It is a beacon
for those who are lost
and home
for those who are found.

It is truth
because it is essentially 
from the heart.

So for all of you out there
who yearn to create or write or sing or play...
and feel somehow intimidated
or shamed
or not "good enough"

Go ahead.

Let it go and make art.

Don't let anyone (or anything) stand in your way.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Martin Luther King Jr.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

pink flowers & freedom's children

Sometimes, when i sit myself down to paint, i have no idea what i feel like painting.
Sometimes i work from a photo, sometimes not.
Sometimes certain colours call out to me
and others don't.

Since i'm not a hopeless romantic, and not particularly fond of pink flowers,
this little baby came out of nowhere...
REALLY? Pink flowers on turquoise?!?
(insert rolling eyes here)

After the pink flowers, the night was still young,
and as I glanced at one of the books on my shelf
I knew exactly what i wanted to paint.

I've always loved this book cover.
From a book called "Freedom's children", by Velma Maia Thomas.

There's something so gentle 
and hopeful
and kind
about these two women,
reading together.

I think an image like this one needs little detail.

This is done on a cream 5" x 7" cardboard, normally used for mats.
I may put this in my ETSY shop. We'll see.

I wondered, if i hadn't continued painting my pink flowers,
if i had questioned the pink
and the turquoise,
and trashed it before it was done,
would i have felt inspired to paint this?

Maybe sometimes,
we need to get certain things out of our systems
to make room for new inspiration.

The key is to avoid judgement,
be patient
and trust the process.

Wishing you all new inspiration this week
and a peaceful process. :-)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

sketchbook project + tidbits on life

I started out not really knowing where i was going with this...

before i knew it, i was halfway done & had forgotten to take pics...
I guess art really does laugh in the face of "time".

So I may add a few little things to this, but you get the idea.
She has very thick hair & it's very windy :-)


On another note, i read something this morning
that I want to share with you all.
It was written by a woman who's worked in palliative care 
for most of her life.

She cares for people who only have a few days or weeks left to live.

Here are the 5 most common regrets of the dying:

1. I wish i'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish i didn't work so hard.

3. I wish i'd had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish i had stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish i had let myself be happier.


No one said:

I wish i had made more money.
I wish i had won the argument.
i wish i had travelled less.
I wish i had been more perfect.

Think on these things today,
and live YOUR life. 

(my mom and I)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

starry night

Sometimes, life throws sucker punches. 

Or maybe it just tries to jolt us into becoming more aware of what's really important.

In the past two years, i've lost a good friend to cancer, my own mother was diagnosed and
is currently in chemotherapy, my father had a severe heart attack and
i've had a few health scares myself,
which i now attribute to mentalpause - (menopause my ass...)

More recently, we have close friends who are going through very difficult times...

I know it sounds so cliché, but when you lose your health, you lose everything.
Nothing else matters.

I've always found it hard to distance myself from another person's pain.
I still work hard on that one,
looking for that right balance between being there for support
and not losing myself in the process.

So whenever i begin to feel overwhelmed,
and there are too many stories of children being abused in the news,
and honour killings,
and cancer,
and acid burnings -
I pull myself out,
and find my way to the good things.

To a long walk in the cold winter air,
and a starry night sky,
and the moon,
if only to remind myself that amongst the chaos of all this "badness"
there is still "goodness" as well.

I get what Ralph Waldo Emerson was saying
when he spent so much time alone in his little cabin in the woods.

Nature is indifferent.

Where i am looking at a beautiful full moon,
someone else is drowning somewhere in the world.

Gratitude for what you have,
or where you are,
or who you are is so important.

If you can't be grateful when things are good,
you'll never make it when things get bad.

Be grateful today, ok?
Don't complain over a broken fingernail.
Think of those who have so much less than you do on this day.


Monday, January 9, 2012

the heart of Auschwitz

Like many stories of the Holocaust,
this story is a testament to the human spirit
and the power of love.

It is also a story about dignity, and friendship,
and how, even in face of hell,
there was hope.

At least there was for these young girls in Auschwitz.

Even with the threat of death, this tiny heart was kept by Fania.
She hid it wherever she could,
mostly in her armpit, 
and prayed that it would never be found.

A small reminder for her that under such torturous treatment,
and hellish circumstances,
 she was still human
and still loved.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Red Skelton

Another quick portrait on the music sheets. :-)
Acrylic on paper, for those who are wondering.

This is Red Skelton - an American comedian.
We used to watch him on tv when i was younger & he would crack us up. 
My father thought he was the best comedian in the world. :-)

As you can see, when i do these portraits, i do them rather quickly and usually with a thick brush.
You already all know i never strive for perfection, but rather, for emotion, or for a feeling...
It really takes little detail to convey a certain emotion, doesn't it?

And of course, colour helps. 
In this case, loud bright colours. Like the man himself. 
If you don't know Red Skelton, google him. 
I think he was a genius comedian.

Like another one i watched last night on the comedy channel.

Robin Williams.

I can hear everyone start complaining already about how many times he used the "F" word,
but i couldn't give a rat's ass what words he used -
only that he made me laugh like a lunatic. 
So much that my stomach hurt. :-)

We care far too much about profanity and not enough about
what people are saying, and why they are saying it.

We have religious leaders who look down on profanity,
but don't think twice about sexually abusing children.

Fuck them.
That's what i say. 

So this is what i'm tackling today...

the mess in my little blue room...

Unless of course, winter calls for me to go for a nice long walk on the beach...

Happy day everyone!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

sketchbook project

This is part of a page spread for the 2012 Sketchbook project. It'll be sent out in a few weeks
(end of January) to "tour the world"! and then to its permanent home in NY. 
Part of me thinks "wow!! this is great!! I can share my actual work with so many people around the world!" and then the other (pessimistic) part thinks "oh, come on. There are probably millions of sketchbooks like yours. If 3 people get to leaf through your sketchbook, you'll be lucky". 

But maybe - just maybe... one of those people will relate to something in the sketchbook,
and be inspired to do something themselves?
That in itself is worth it for me.

I'm currently reading a great book by Twyla Tharp called THE CREATIVE HABIT.
A reminder that we are creatively connected in more ways than we think, and that we are all,
in one way or another, like Pavlov's dog. :-)

When i sit myself down in my room, light a candle & turn on some music, there's a switch in my brain that turns itself ON & sends the message to my body that it's time to paint, or write. It's an evening habit for me, but i know people who get up at 5am to honour their creative habits. It's whatever works for you.

Do you have a creative habit? 
Do you tap into your own creativity with rituals or routines?
Are you more creative in certain rooms in your home, or in certain places outside?

Wherever it is you happen to tap into it - go there.
And make the world a more beautiful place,
in your own little way.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Here's to 2012...

Hello everyone! Happy new year... 
When i said i was taking a break from blogging, i was serious. :-)
 i must admit it's good to be back, although i still feel like i'm stuck in slow speed and don't quite know where to start - or when.  
The holidays were great, but like most people, i overdid everything and too much of a good thing is never good, so i'm happy to get back to the routine of moderation. Last night, for the first time in weeks, i went into my blue room (photo above) and took out some paper & coloured pencils & just played for a bit.

Just as we often realize the extent of our love for something (or someone) only after it's gone, i often only realize how much i missed drawing or painting after i sit myself down in my chair... and put on some music, and calm myself enough to hear my own breathing. It felt good to be back.

I don't do resolutions. But with each new year, i take the time to reflect on the year passed,
and to look forward to the year ahead.

Even when that year may include the fucking Kardashians. :-)
We make the best of it, right? The good with the bad. Yin & Yang. 

I took this photo on December 27th, when i was visiting my parents. 
A double winter rainbow... ranks right up there with seeing a unicorn. 

My wish for you all in the new year:
that you ALL take baby steps towards your dreams & live the life that allows you to SHINE!

It's time. I said so.  :-)