Saturday, September 29, 2012

a published book from a broken heart...

hi everyone.

(translation of book title: The stars at dawn)

I'll share some art later tonight, but for now,
I want to share this.

This book was written by a beautiful young woman of 17 years old.
The story of her father's battle with cancer -
one that he sadly lost three years ago,
when she was only 14, and her brother was 16.

More than anything, it's a story of courage and love.

Once in a while,
someone or something comes along and we are forever changed.

A separation

an illness

an accident

the death of a loved one.

Deep pain.

Deeper than many of us can imagine.

During such times, it's hard to make sense
of the world as it is.
It's hard to understand that life goes on...
with or without us.

It's also hard to believe
that through such anguish,
through such darkness,
light finds a way in.

There is a Leonard Cohen song with these lyrics:

"there is a crack in everything,
that's how the light gets in".

Writing this book was Renée's crack.

This young woman made sense of her world
by writing about it,
by giving herself the space to grieve,
by giving her father a voice,
and honouring him in the most loving way,
with gentle, honest words on a page.

She is donating all the proceeds
to the cancer society,
to help find a cure.

And the reason i am sharing this story?

Because it is proof, once again,
and they also heal.

Sharing matters.

She chose writing
as a way to express her pain
and her story will not only change her,
but it will touch others.

It will inspire people to look at their own lives differently,
and be more grateful for what they have,
rather than what (or who) they don't have.

Stories like these
promote love
in a world often filled with hatred and loss.

This young lady is giving her father
the highest honour
and showing him the greatest love,
by spreading her wings
and showing him that she can fly.

We all have something to learn
from such stories of courage.

Wishing you all a day
filled with gratitude.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

can art ever be a bad obsession?

hi everyone!

Last night, i didn't know too much what i felt like painting, if at all.

I sat there for a bit, put on some music,
sketched a few little things on paper,
wrote a few words,
looked around,
opened the window,
looked at some books,
made myself a tea...

and then did this (above) with a palette knife,
for a little warmup. ;-) 

Then this came about on a little piece of cardboard,
about 4" x 6",
acrylics and ink and white pen.

Looks like a little alien to me.

It's funny how on some nights,
i stay away from the good stuff -
the good quality paper, or the good paints,
for fear that it'll just be wasted for some reason.

Sometimes you just know it's not gonna be a masterpiece.

Or at least you think you know...

So i grabbed this old leftover piece of shiny bristol board,
made a few marks on it,
and flipped it over, counter clockwise.

I kinda saw a face in there...
(again, we see what we want to see, right?)

added some blue...

a bit more blue and the infamous dots...

And there you have it. 
Definitely no masterpiece, but a painting nonetheless.

Sometimes, when i finish a painting,
i'm really proud.
Whenever i do a painting that i love,
I wake up the next morning,
and the first thing i do is go into my little room
to see the painting again.

Do any of you out there do this,
or am i just full of myself?

Let's just say that i didn't go into my room this morning for this one. 

But despite not loving it,
it was fun to do and as always, very meditative.

Even as i'm painting sometimes
and thinking "what the fuck is this now?!"
I still go with the flow and try not to let myself
get in the way of the painting,
or get too judgmental about it.

I think it's important to get out of our own way sometimes.

So there you have it - 3 very different pieces on the same night,
within the same hour or so...

maybe i do need therapy.

It's an obsession, but it's a good one!

And THIS, my friends... is the work of art of the wonderful Lorinda.
You can find her blog here, at Everyday Endeavours.

I got this postcard in the mail from her this week and love it.

Sharing art with one another is about more than just sharing a painting,
don't you think?

I love this. I see an ocean and the wind and fields of grass and sand... 
THANK YOU Lorinda.

It even looks great this way too...

Yup, it's on my wall.

And this, from the lovely Nora Clemens...
You can find her here.

i love these!
Such beautiful illustrations filled with vibrant colors and TWIRLS!!
Thank you Nora. 2 more for my wall... :-)

i LOVE snail mail...
there's nothing like opening an envelope
and finding these little gems inside...
makes me all tingly.

Wishing you all the kind of day you love.
If not the whole day, at least part of it. :-)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Vincent (by Don McLean)

A song i still love as much as the first time i heard it...

jam packed with goodness and awesomeness

hello people!

A bit of an unplanned mess in my little CREATE every day journal.

I was actually working on something else (illustrations for my book!)
and all of a sudden, i just got the urge to scribble.

Scribbling is fun! 
If you haven't done so in a while, give it a try!

It's quick, it's liberating, it's fun, it releases energy...

it's basically sex on paper. ;-)

I'm struggling a bit with the illustrations for the book.
I can't seem to get on paper
what i see in my head.

For now, i'm writing my stories...
and trusting that eventually, it'll all come together.

I tend to be more comfortable with acrylics,
so i think i may end up doing a few more sketches with acrylics.

i really don't like the look of this watercolor,
but i thought i'd post anyway.

Yes, sadly, the teeter totter story is true.

And on another note...
here's a book i love, by an artist/writer that i love - Maira Kalman.

her stories are always so poignant
and often have me laughing out loud.

Who can't relate to having irritating relatives? ;-)

I love how she writes everything free hand too...
Makes it that much more personal, i think.

( i even love the title)...

And who doesn't love a good deal on such a beautiful hardcover book?

The inside flap on the book...

And here's a little gem from someone else i love.
Andy Miller.
You can find his blog here.

He is an illustrator/artist/designer/writer
and he often reminds me of WHY i still love design
after almost 25 years...

Yes, sometimes, i need a reminder.

I want to share something interesting with all of you

I sometimes check my stats, to see how many people have visited.
I love the idea that i can post something
and it can reach someone from across the world in seconds,
and I am always touched that so many of you take the time to comment.

Especially those of you who speak a different language than english.
(yes, you Roberto - big hugs...)

Yesterday's post got more visitors than any post i've ever written.

More visitors, but less comments. (interesting, isn't it?)

It totally surprised me
that almost 200 people read this post.

I'm not sure how it happened,
and it may be a fluke, but i was shocked.

There are bloggers out there who get a thousand visitors a day,
and i'm giddy because i got 200...
Go figure.

See how easy I am to please?!

Thank you all for allowing me some space
in your generous hearts.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Syd Barrett and the dark side of the moon

So, so you think you can tell
Heaven from Hell
Blue skies from pain
Can you tell a green field
From a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?
- Wish you were here (Pink Floyd)

Syd Barrett was a musician, a singer-songwriter, an artist...

He is best known as the founder of the band Pink Floyd,
one of the most successful bands of all times. (250 million albums worldwide)

Syd was also mentally ill.

He played with Pink Floyd for something like 3 or 4 years,
from 1965 to 1968...

and then the strange behavior became too strange.
They would play a concert and Syd would strum only one cord
during the whole show.

Or he would sit and watch them play, like a spectator.
Then he became violent.

The band eventually let him go.

In 1973, Pink Floyd recorded the album DARK SIDE OF THE MOON,
in reference to Syd's mental illness.

It had nothing to do with astrology
and everything to do with lunacy.

It became their best selling album.

In 1975, they recorded WISH YOU WERE HERE...

again, for Syd.

He showed up at the recording session at the Abbey Road studio,
and they barely recognized him.

He had shaved all his hair and his eyebrows,
had gained weight
and was lost and erratic.

While they recorded, he watched across the room,
while he stood and brushed his teeth.

It fascinates me that the life of ONE person can affect so many others.

Millions of people still love and listen to
DARK SIDE OF THE MOON today (including me).

This music wouldn't exist if it weren't for this man
spiralling into the abyss,
and others (his band members) being sensitive to what he was living
and wanting to give their feelings a voice.

Wanting to give his feelings a voice...

I believe we are more often inspired
by the dark side than we are the light side.

It reminds us that we are all human.

This amazes me,
how one life can touch so many others.

This is Syd, during the WISH YOU WERE HERE
recording sessions at Abbey Road studio...

He died in 2006, aged 60, of complications from diabetes.

For those of you not familiar with the song,
Wish you were here...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

a pink blob and a turquoise face

hi everyone!

Fear not... the mood's a little lighter tonight. :-)

I had a bit of fun last night with this quote...

something light to get my started with the paints -
a half awake pink blob in my wonderful quote book. :-)

And then i was in the mood for something in my journal...

a few colours... i don't know why, but i saw a face here.

a few added lines with black Sharpie...

some sort of a face...or faces. :-)

And you know me - i tried really hard not to add dots,
but the devil made me do it.

Fun and lighthearted...
just what i needed last night after a few days of heaviness...

After my last post, i thought i'd perhaps lose a bunch of you as followers.
But you're still here. 
* sigh *

Thank you all for allowing me into your homes and your hearts.
I am grateful for being surrounded
with such kind souls.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

danger: too much positiveness can cause blindness...

It's not what you look at that matters,
it's what you see. 
Henry David Thoreau

hello people!

A quick little watercolor from this morning.
Sometimes i feel like being precise, sometimes not.

Can you guess what this morning was?! 
hint: NOT. 

It's a rainy day here today.

I love the rain.

It may seem like this little watercolor was inspired by the rain, but it wasn't.

It was inspired by this:
I've discovered lately that i can only take so much positiveness.

Especially the fake, overdone, super fantabulous, shiny sparkly kind.
The kind that makes you feel yucky.
I'm sure you all know what i mean.

I believe it's important to see the whole of life,
not just the good parts.
I also believe life is unfair and that sometimes,
what's possible for one person is absolutely impossible for another.

Denying this reality is denying what life really is.

I've read too many blog posts lately from people
who are living the good life,
raking in the cash, living on some tropical island somewhere,
illness free, debt free, barefoot in the sand,
trying to inspire me to do the same.

Well duh... happiness in such conditions
is not a huge surprise!

For most of us, this is not reality,
and i believe it can be as harmful as helpful if we get too wrapped up 
in someone else's story... someone else's fairy tale.

Anyone can be positive when everything is rainbows and sparkles.
The real character of a person is seen
when the world around them crumbles.
When they lose their house,
or their child,
or their health...

That's when you see the real character of a person.

Most of us have mortgages,
and debt,
and illness,
and dependant children,
and daily challenges that would render many dysfunctional.

What impresses me is the young mother
who is in her 3rd round of chemotherapy
and still faces the day with a smile on her face and courage in her heart.

What impresses me is the man who has lost the love of his life
and is on the verge of losing his house
and still finds it in his heart to volunteer and help others in need.

I hesitate to take the advice of many of these so called
spiritual/financial/life coach gurus...

Real spiritually is free.

I am weary of those who charge a fee for enlightenment -
of those who claim that they will show you the way,
and it'll only cost you five thousand dollars for a 3 day retreat.

I am weary of those who tell others
that anyone can manifest anything at anytime in their lives.

I have a friend who is a quadriplegic.

If he could manifest anything
don't you think he'd be walking?

And if he believed in this crap,
how would he feel about the fact that he is not walking?

I'll tell you how he would feel.
He would feel like a failure.

He would feel like he is doing something wrong...
he is manifesting the wrong thing.
He is not concentrating hard enough,
or trusting or praying hard enough.

We should be careful about what we tell others
they can DO in their lives.

I was skeptical when the book THE SECRET was published.
I realize it may have helped a lot of people,
but my first thought at seeing the book was:

Sugar and spice (and bullshit) in a fancy package.

I want to cry every time i see a televangelist in his shiny suit
and puppy dog eyes,
raking in millions from people who barely have enough to eat.

And yet - these people choose to send in their money...
believing it'll somehow give them a ticket to heaven.

So my little watercolor here is really about being bombarded with 
too much positiveness
and only needing a little bit for myself.

The one little heart is really all i need.

I don't need to be loved by everyone, 
nor do i need (or want) to love everyone.

Some people are assholes.
I don't love those. 

I believe we all do what we can to make our lives better

or easier

or more meaningful

or healthier

or happier...

i just think we all have our own ways of doing this,
and what works for one may not work for the other.

Find you OWN way to make your life meaningful.

You know what your life needs.

Don't let others tell you what you need to "do" to be ok.
Be the boss of you. :-)

You'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

smiles and stories are meant to be shared...

It's been a rough day,
so it's time for a few smiles, kay?

I did these computer illustrations a while ago.

Proper translation: Happy Birthday, you old frog.

My translation: Happy Birthday, Twinkle Toes.
(it just sounds funnier to me...)

poor little lonely cow...

This was a small painting on canvas,
but Mr. Moose wanted to show his pearly whites,
so i thought i'd include him too.

we've all seen this guilty face at one time or another, right?

ain't love grand? ;-)

Whoa... sudden change of mood... ;-)

This watercolour was done for my book.
Beginnings are so exciting, aren't they?

I've been writing little stories...
memories of years passed.
I'm amazed at how quickly they come to me.

Funny how we remember certain things
as if they happened yesterday.

Still playing with mediums...
the first is watercolour,
this one (greenish with the vertical lines) is acrylic.

I think i prefer the watercolour...
how about you?

And here it is in an actual page layout.

This is what my book could look like.

This is the kind of book I want to do.




Painting on the left, writing on the right.

The painting on the left may not be "boxed" either...
i may just have watercolour, undefined edges. 

I just need to make sure i'm not exposing anyone
by sharing these stories.

Including myself. ;-)

And now, let's return to smiling, shall we?

Thank you all for the support you've shown me.

I've even received a few emails personally encouraging me
to carry on with the book.

It warms my heart.

We are all perfect strangers, and yet...

You all restore my faith in humanity.
You do.