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31 July 2009

Yellow


One of the things that I love about myself is my natural tendency to notice the small things.

I often study the way leaves blow in the wind, the little things people do when waiting in line, bees happily buzzing in flowers (see first photo!), the way light hits a ceiling or a wall. I still look at clouds and see what shapes they might make. Yesterday I actually did stop to smell some roses!

Noticing the ordinary things in life that often become invisible to adults is an amazing gift that children possess, and it seems that we lose that wonder as we grow older. As we hurry about our lives, we miss the little things that make life so precious!

This weekend, see if you can slow down, be still, and observe. Notice how a candle flickers, really see what a paintbrush or a flower looks like, or watch the way your child's hair falls in her face. See how the sunlight dances across your desk.

We are surrounded by the little things and yet so often forget to notice them! Pay attention, for a lot more goes on in those small quiet moments than you might think.

Life is such a beautiful thing!

29 July 2009

On a Lifelong Mission

We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be. ~Jane Austen

"Who am I? For what do I stand, and in what do I believe? What gifts do I have to give to the world?"

These, I believe, are questions that each and every single one of us struggles to answer throughout our lifetimes. The answers are not simple; no, they are infuriatingly complex, a deeply intertwined and un-understandable combination of what we are raised to think; what we learn about ourselves from others (true or otherwise); how we interact with the world and what we receive back from it; our experiences; and what we know to be true deep in our hearts.

It takes enormous courage and strength of will - as well as many a still, quiet moment - to not only listen to your heart, whispering softly of your deepest dreams and hopes -- but to follow unapologetically what we know is the right path for ourselves.


So. Who am I?

I am an artist, a dreamer, a philosopher, an explorer, a lover of humanity, and a child of nature. I am a lioness, a wild woman, a bohemian beauty! and I am full of possibility, dreams, hopes, ideas, and love.

I am perfection in my flaws and I am deeply, deeply loved by the Universe.

I am fighting for my Self and for my heart's dreams - a long, exhausting battle that will last a lifetime. But I am prepared and willing, and I will win!

Will you stand by my side and fight with me; fight for your Self and for your dreams?

28 July 2009

L'inKspiration Day #2

I have been listening to quite a number of podcasts recently, and have only just discovered such inspirational ones as CraftyPod and CraftSanity. Wow, have I been missing out! The downside of both of these is that when I listen to them at work, I want to leave immediately and go make things.

Many, many ideas have suddenly begun fluttering around in my head. As I am away from home for the summer, I will have to wait until I am back with all my art supplies to begin. For now, I've started a list so as not to forget all the crafts I hope to experiment with when I return:
  • Make a zine
  • I'd love to get into sewing. I have a big bust doesn't fit well into store-bought clothes, and would love to make some dresses, shirts, and skirts. I only have this pattern so far, but I'd love find more and also learn how to make my own patterns. Any thoughts or tips?
  • Make earrings from sculpy clay, like these
  • Find a peace knitting group or make something and send it to someone in need
  • Next November, 'National Book Writing Month', I want to write a novel with NaNoWriMo. Though I'm sure I'd do well to start, I'm not sure I'd ever finish - but it's worth a shot, right? If I don't manage well, I can always wait until April to try my hand at writing a script!
  • Make prayer beads
  • Make paper dolls (sort of like this one) and an art muse fabric doll

The CraftSanity interview with Violette Clark has really touched me. I have listened to it twice already. Violette is a 50-something year old woman who has broken free of all societal expectations, and is fully living her life on her own terms: filled with colour, happiness, art, and imagination. I have for a long time struggled with who I am and greatly admire anyone who can stand up bravely and declare, "This is me! And I am not ashamed!" I will continue to think about this and perhaps will write a post on the topic a bit later.

I do encourage you in the meantime to listen to this episode with the woman who painted her house purple, chartreuse, and fuchsia and whose car is also purple and glittery. It will make you laugh if nothing else!

After I left you with the last post, I felt a bit guilty that I hadn't provided more links to ATCs than I did. I searched today and found a few more sources and information on ATCs if you are interested in making them:
  • CraftyPod episode on ATCs with Judy Corona
  • Find swaps here or here, though you have to sign up on both websites to participate. You can find many more swapping groups on Yahoo or Google.
  • This book, by Patricia Boldon, looks incredibly interesting and inspirational. I haven't read it yet, but it's on my wish list!
And that's all for today, my lovelies. If you find anything interesting in your internet wanderings, please let me know!

Smile, twirl, and be radiant you,

26 July 2009

Catching Up on Daily Art Cards



Last year I was (as always) inspired by iHanna to commit to 365 days' worth of art cards. I like this idea of committing to something, even something very small, for an entire year; as I have a terrible habit of not finishing things, I thought this might be a good project to exercise follow-through.



Up until the beginning of June I had been doing very well, forgetting only once or twice, and for two weeks not doing any when I had a guest from overseas. But.. over the past two months I have been falling very far behind. Being in a different place for the summer - and leaving most of my art supplies behind - has been difficult and my cards have been sadly neglected.

Today, I finally took the time to catch up. Yes, I cheated a bit: instead of creating each card individually, I did an entire page and then cut it up the cards. This can also be done for ATCs. Take a look:


1. Decide what size you want your cards to be (ATCs are always 2.5" x 3.5"), and measure and divide your paper with a pencil and something straight. I use watercolour paper for my cards; it holds up to whatever I end up doing to it! I also marked several papers at once; then, once I was in painting mode, I didn't have to stop every time to measure and so on.



2. Flip the paper over. (I made the mistake of painting on the marked size, and couldn't find where to cut after I was finished!) Now you can do whatever you want to it! I started by painting a base with red and yellow, then gessoed over it when it was partially dry.




3. Doodle, glue, write, collage, draw, paint, stamp, and/or add stickers or stencils.









4. Paint some more! Add layers, scrape away paint... Play and play and play until you are happy with the result. Then, put the paper aside to dry, and start on the next one!






5. When the papers are dry, flip the paper back over and cut along the marks you made in step 1. I write the date on the back of each of mine - because I was making up for several months' worth of cards, I wrote a different date on each of them for the days I had missed.




If you need more inspiration, you can find loads of things on flickr. Check out this page for starters. There are also lots of sites for trading your cards - I hope one day to participate in swaps with other artists around the world.


And now... go create something!

25 July 2009

Saturday Challenge, the Twelfth

Well, whadya know.. It's Saturday again!

The weeks are flying by, and I just realised today how little I have appreciated this summer so far. Even with my early posts shouting cheers of happiness for the coming warmth and sunshine, I have somehow become so caught up with the tasks of everyday life that I seem to have forgotten to enjoy where I am, right now. The summer is already half over! The year is already half over! What have you accomplished so far?

Today, I made lunch - tofu stir-fry over rice. It ended up being way too salty, but I was happy to fill my belly with good food again. I have been indulging far too much in sweet, boxed, or take-out foods, and I can feel my body becoming unhappy with my choices. I am going to make an effort to be more conscious of the things I feed myself.

(For a really interesting dialogue on food and our relationship to it, check this episode of NPR's Science Friday out.)

Another thing I'm going to try to put into practise is saying what I think clearly and plainly - no sugarcoating, no beating-around-the-bush, no hoping that others will guess. I am going to state my opinions without apology and ask for what I need. This week, I challenge you to do the same.

(Of course, I don't intend to be rude or offensive with these new 'rules' of mine. I am merely validating my own thoughts and feelings and ideas, respecting myself and my own mind. I certainly deserve that.)

Have a lovely weekend, dear ones.
Sing, dance, play, and enjoy this lovely sunny weather!

24 July 2009

And Just for the Record...

My dear ones,
I love you all - each and every single one of you. (Even you - the one reading this, who doesn't really truly believe that I mean you! You are so important, my Lovely.)

Whether you read regularly, or you've just stumbled upon this page; whether you are on top of the world or finding your way through sadness; whether you are settled or are a wanderer, a dreamer or a do-er, bold and brazen, or quiet and shy: No matter your place in life, I love you - I believe in you - I would be honoured if you considered me your friend.

You are special, you are unique and talented and have so much to give the world, even if you haven't discovered it yet. You amaze me.

Shine on, you brilliant, beautiful Soul!

Who Are You?


Yesterday I listened to a podcast on Buddhism by Gil Fronsdal. In this episode, the Self is the subject - what it is, why it is important, and how to find out exactly what our Self is. I have been thinking about this quite a lot recently.

Naturally, I ask questions: Who am I? What am I meant to bring to my life, and others' lives? What am I holding back, and why?

I look at others' blogs and I wonder if I am truly expressing myself, or if I am trying to reflect the things (photos, interesting subjects, sweetness or boldness or wildness) that I like in those blogs. Am I being true to myself, or am I depending hugely on others to form my own concept of myself?

Positivity, positivity, positivity - that's what I continue to remind myself. That no matter how hard I try, I can't be someone else; that I don't need to be someone else. I am perfect, and interesting, and beautiful in my very own way - and that it does not matter what others think. And I just have to keep my chin up, keep pushing on and looking up, and leave negative thinking behind. I need to trust that everything is how is should be, and that I am in the right place.


One thing that I really love about my camera is that I am able to show others how I view the world - every photo I take is a part of me, and part of the expression of myself! It is the same with creating anything: it is bringing your own voice and perspective to the world, and it is completely unique and absolutely your own, and no one can ever take that from you!

What do these photos say about me?
What does your art say about you?

22 July 2009

Introducing..

Me and my new camera!

I received my Nikon d50 today - two days before I expected it to arrive. Though I took one photography class once upon a time, I have everything to learn about how to use this camera. I did do my best and took close to thirty photos of the garden. I think they turned out very well.

Take a peek:





21 July 2009

Thoughts on Human Nature

Humans are very complicated. But, perhaps, in the end, two of the biggest things we desire are love and a path to follow.

Every single one of us desires to be appreciated, respected, and loved for who we are. We want to be accepted as an individual, a one-of-a-kind person with a unique gift to the world. We also wish for a path to follow, one on which we can share our gift and develop it to the best of our ability and a path on which we can live our lives most fully.

With the support of others to find this path and give the world what only we can give, we find happiness and fulfillment; if we lack the love of those close to us, or do not recognise our gift or cannot find a way to share it, we become lost and wander sadly until these two needs and desires can be filled.

Have you lost your way, or do you know exactly where you stand?

Though I myself do not know exactly where I am, I will love and nurture and support you -- wonderful, wonderful you -- and the search for your gift and your path, for it is only with the support of one another that we can blossom and become all that we were born to be.

19 July 2009

Six Things

Last night, I bought a Nikon d50 camera (mine was a much-cheaper eBay buy!). I can't wait to get it and start taking photos to share with you!

In the meantime, however, here are six things to do today:

1. Read this article and 'lust after life'.
2. Discover '10 Ways to Be a Happy Person'
3. View beautiful bold, vibrant, colourful journal spreads here.
4. Find prompts/questions to think about here or here, try an art prompt generator, or follow prompts on twitter for daily inspiration.
5. Be inspired by more beautiful art.
6. Give yourself lots of love and remind yourself just how wonderful you are, grab some lemonade, and spend time outside in the sunshine with all your creative thoughts. (And be sure to have a lovely, lovely afternoon!)

18 July 2009

Saturday Challenge, the Eleventh

It is hot today. Hot and muggy. Awfully hot and muggy. One of those days when sweat drips slowly down your back and you want to take a shower every five minutes. A gross, sweaty, sticky, hot, and muggy day. Oh, summer! How I love you!

This weekend, I challenge you to spend an entire day outdoors. Bring lots of sunscreen, a picnic, a frisbee, a guitar, a book or two or three, and friends or family. Play, laugh, sing, dance, be silly, and most importantly, have fun.

That's what summer is all about right? That and the gross sweaty stickiness, of course.
Have a wonderful weekend, my lovelies!

16 July 2009

Messy, Colourful, Creative Bliss

Recently I have been so busy that for weeks I haven't had the time or the energy to pick up a paintbrush. I have begun to feel that deep need again, the need to create and to share my voice with the world. This is when I begin to soak up others' artistic vibes, celebrating life and colour and passion with them, becoming full of imagination and joy, until it all overflows and I must put it on paper.

Creating is something very spiritual. It calms and soothes, and is something that is completely one's own. Check out these pieces for some inspiration:




My favourite thing about 'art-ing' is .. well, what is it? The movement of the paint, the colours - bold, bright, and happily dancing together on a page; messy fingers and art supplies everywhere; choosing images and words to arrange and paste and play with; the letting go and simply letting my heart do what it loves best.

11 July 2009

Saturday Challenge, the Tenth

Unable are the loved to die. For love is immortality. ~Emily Dickinson

On Wednesday of last week, a friend of mine was killed in an auto accident. My heart aches terribly. Among causing pain, sadness, and confusion, in his passing I have become intensively more aware of my own mortality and of the fragility and complexities of life.

I challenge - encourage, ask, beg - each of you this week to embrace life. Express your love to friends and to family this week, and never hesitate to appreciate that with which you have been blessed.

Never fail to realise that Death is not so very far away, and that the only time to live is right now. These seconds, these minutes, are all we will ever have, and should we not fill them with joy and purpose of living in each moment, years will pass in the blink of an eye and will be sadly built of un-lived days.

Start right this very second.

07 July 2009

Mysteries of Life: Part 2

Isn't it odd how many thousands - millions - billions of people we cross paths with in our lifetimes? It's quite a huge number, really. Often when I pass a car on the road, sit next to a person on the bus, or ask someone in another city for directions, I think to myself, "This will be the first and last time I will ever see or talk to this person."

Of course, often the encounter is forgotten and never dwelt on it again. But, when I think about how all of us living in this world are weaving a weird web of connection, how we are all joined together merely by a few words or a single glance - I suspect that there is something more to it than simply a fleeting moment forever lost.

It is a beautiful, mysterious, completely intangible thing - an important thing - that we cannot fully comprehend.

How lucky we are that, even for that fraction of a second, we have a chance to have a small peek and maybe even a bit of influence into an entire life. Do you play a positive or negative; friendly or unkind; smiling or impatient part, however infinitesimally small, in that moment? How do strangers find your first - and only - impression?

06 July 2009

Peace & Love

Peace Sign, made & taken by me, July 09
*Can you find the heart-shaped rock?*

Saturday Challenge, the Ninth.. on a Monday

Please forgive me for not being prompt with my regular Saturday posting; I have been running on full speed through endless busyness, and when I have a moment to breathe, I feel exhaustion seep into every limb. This past Sunday I did .. nothing. I snacked and vegged out on TV shows - a break I desperately needed. It felt so good!

And now -
Without further delay,

This rather belated Saturday Challenge, #9. This week, I challenge you to exercise self-control.

It is important to know our strengths and weaknesses, and to continue to improve ourselves. It is often difficult, yes - but proving to oneself that you are in control is a wonderful feeling!

Personally, I am going to go without something this week which does no good for my body: sugar. Cakes, chocolate, cookies, candy - I have a terrible sweet tooth that I find insatiable, and I have for a long time wished to control it. This week, I begin!

How will you strengthen your willpower?

I wish you a marvelous day, you beautiful Souls. You are special - you are loved - and the Universe is good. What a wonderful world you live in, and how lucky we all are to share this life with you!

With love,

05 July 2009

The World Keeps Spinning

This was the weekend of extremes: Saturday was busy, busy, busy; Sunday was filled with laziness and much-needed rest.

Saturday Challenge and more to come [very] soon!
In the meantime, check out your fellow humans' secrets or watch a unique television show with a philosophical twist.

Have a beautiful day!

01 July 2009

Lazy Days and Sweet Summer Nights

July has begun!

This month brings hot, lazy days filled with sunshine, pool-side visits, road trips, iced lemonade, and twinkling fireflies for much of the country. July Fourth brings celebration in just a few days - fireworks, backyard suppers, family, and friends abound, all helping to celebrate our country's birth into independence.

The Milky Way, if you look, will on clear nights astound you with its vastness, its beauty, its mysteries and its closeness - if you stretch out your fingers, perhaps wisps of stars and galaxies will dance their way down to earth, kissing your fingertips and telling you that all is well in the world!

Another month also is the start of a new Word of the Month. Through all the excitement of sunshine and holidays and togetherness, perhaps it is also a time to look into our hearts and see what is being quietly whispered to us.

With the word introspection I hope that each will take a moment of time every now and again amidst the laughter and the play to reconnect with ourselves - have a conversation with ourselves - and be reminded of those things with which we have been greatly blessed. Find a few still minutes between it all to lie on a hammock with a cold drink, watch the clouds, and find peace in your heart!

Now - go outside and celebrate sweet smells, crickets' chirps, and the full days and nights of deep summer!

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