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Today I Know – Week 15

This week’s inspiration comes from this pin. I have no idea why I thought I could tackle this amazing piece of art.

I drew this page and then colored it using Montana paint markers. For the first time, I didn’t draw with pencils first, I just drew right with the marker and hoped for the best. I then added a bit more layers with watercolor pencils. For the background, I originally did purple and hated it so very much that I decided to gesso and paint over it. I don’t like how matte the paint is but i still like it better than the purple.

prompt says: today i know that i am not willing to give up

I wrote about working at home and about taking time to myself.

Today I Know is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

Regenerating Creativity

Today’s quote is:

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. -Maya Angelou

I have found this to be very true for me and it’s the exact reason I do these month-long exercises. I find that the practice of creating art every single day only fuels more creativity more. It gives me more ideas. It stretches me more.

So if you’re from the camp of “what if i run out” I highly urge you to use up all you have. Sit and do art. Again and again. Don’t hesitate, don’t postpone, don’t be afraid.

You will get more.

So much more.

So, sit and create.

ps: alas i don’t like the spacing and lettering on this one. but i keep trying. that’s the goal after all.

The Price

The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.  -Thoreau

How true eh?

Yet another one that’s been on my mind a lot lately. What am I willing to exchange my life for?

To me, this shows up significantly in two different ways. One is how much of my soul (my core beliefs, desires, identity) am I exchanging for it? Is this going against some deep sense of self I have and what will be the cost to giving that up? Am I willing to pay that price? Is this worth more to me than what I am giving up?

Some of these questions are subtle and hard to answer.

But they are important, too.

This is one of the reasons, many years ago, I walked away from my Wall Street job. I wanted to make sure that if I was working 100 hours a week, it was for a cause I really believed in. That wasn’t the case with the job I had then. I felt like I couldn’t look my future kids in the eye and tell them I had to work when I was doing that kind of work. I respect other people’s choices, but it wasn’t a right fit for me. (I left that job to do Teach For America, I felt that, there, I was serving a much more needed and important role. That didn’t pan out for other reasons but I still don’t regret my choice at all. I still believe there’s a cost to doing something that’s really not aligned with who you are and what matters to you.)

The second way this quote speaks to me is more easy to visualize and define: The time you spend on doing activity X is time taken away from being able to do Y. It’s always like that. More than money, time is the one resource that runs out no matter what. We all get the same amount of it each day and none of us gets to save any of the minutes up. So we get it, and we use it. One way or another.

I feel like a lot of my choices would be better served if I kept asking myself, what am i exchanging for this? For this hour of TV I watch, for the trip I am taking, for learning lettering, for listening to a book. Even for the activities I like doing, they still mean that I can’t do something else. My self-induced todo list can sometimes get in the way, too. And it’s important to always ask what I am exchanging.

We often think about “what am I getting?” but not as often about “What am I giving up?”

In coaching, one of the exercises I do with my clients is “what are you saying no to?” So when you say Yes to watching TV, what are you saying No to? (like getting more sleep, reading a book, talking with hubby, etc.) When we’re clearer about what we’re exchanging, we can make better informed choices.

Remember This – Week 15

One of the assignments for week three of The Walk was about creating art piece around your guide on your journey.

As I mentioned in my previous art, when I did this a while ago, what came to me was a little kid who gave me a box that represented the light within myself and told me that when I let it shine inside myself, it would guide me.

So I decided to draw me sitting down and then the girl sitting next to me, on a rock, and handing me the box with the light coming out of it.

then I added my journaling on the light rays a micron 0.005 pen.

On the bottom, it says “thank you for helping me.” and the journaling is all the things I choose for myself even if they are hard, uncomfortable, etc.

This is one of those pages I will come back again and again. It’s good to remember that I have choice and what it means to make these choices every day.

Remember This is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

Change of Self

Today’s quote is:

“Very often a change of self is needed more than a change of scene.” ~Arthur Christopher Benson

I remember as a little girl, I kept thinking how I would come over to America and get a fresh start. I wouldn’t be the weird girl anymore, I would fit in. I would belong. As if all the things that made me weird would magically disappear.

Alas, not so.

I took a class a few years ago and one of the quotes they say there is: Who’s always around when you’re complaining?

Let me give you a hint: you.

So I’ve learned that you can’t run away from who you are. Who you are is who you are and it follows you around wherever you go. Hence if you want something to go differently, what you want is a change of self.

(there are exceptions of course.)

I think of this often when I am unhappy with how things are and daydream that if only I had so and so, life would be so much better. If only I lived in this place or had that job or had this body, blah blah.

A shift in perspective, a change of self, can go such a long way in these situations.

I do this with my clients often. What’s the perspective you’re holding and are other ones possible.

And, like most things we tell others, I need to hear it myself often, too.

Listen with Intent – Week 15

When choosing to walk in the direction of joy, the first step that jumps out at me is to celebrate. Celebrate small things, all things, regularly. I want to listen for things to celebrate. The sweet, good, wonderful things that are happening to each of us every day that we just gloss over. I want to listen for them, make sure to notice them and then celebrate!

The lettering I used here comes from this pin.

The image is a cupcake.

Listen with Intent is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

Today I Know – Week 14

This week’s inspiration also comes from this pin. I started drawing this while I was on the plane and so it’s a bit wobbly but so be it.

I drew this page and then colored it using Faber Castell qrt pencils and some watercolor pencils and peerless watercolors. Then I went over it with my pitt pen to make it darker. I colored the background with watercolor pencils.

prompt says: today i know that i am hungry for

I wrote about how i am hungry for knowing what i makes me come alive.

Today I Know is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

What Lies Within

Today’s quote is:

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

I like that this is not as much about the present moment as it is about being you. I like the idea of thinking about what lies within me. And also what lies within the people I love. It makes me curious about what lies within each of us. I wish we talked about that more.

When we’re kids this question comes up all the time. What do you want to be? What do you like to do? What makes you happy? But as we get older, it’s as if these questions are no longer relevant.

Maybe we just assume that the career/path we picked must be the one we wanted. Or maybe others assume that. Either way, I don’t see this question come up in conversations. I can’t remember the last time anyone asked me any of these. Nor can I remember asking an adult myself.

So maybe this is a good time as any. I’ll start and maybe you can share, too.

  • I don’t know what I want to be anymore. I am a bit confused and lost.
  • I feel inspired by art more than anything else at the moment but I am not sure I have any deep desire to be an artist for a living. However I know I don’t want to stop doing art or learning art.
  • I also love learning in general. I’ve been on duolingo a lot with David for Spanish and also practicing my Italian. I love it and feel excited when I do it.
  • I love reading and listening to books. They make me happy.
  • Teaching my kids, explaining something i know, seeing someone else “get it” makes me happy.
  • Nature makes me happy. 
  • Volunteering makes me happy
  • What lies within me is a deep desire to make people’s lives better, to be of use, and to fully come into my own.

And there we go. This is my short list as of this moment. I wish we regularly asked people around us:

What lies within you?

Monthly Projects – March – Fashion Figures

After completely skipping February, for March, I decided to draw a fashion figure every day for my Monthly Drawing Projects. I discovered this awesome blog called paper fashion and fell completely in love. I then obsessively pinned and drew all month. I ended up with thirty women.

For the last set, I started using actual watercolor paper. I like these so much more.

None of these are original to me. All of the figures come from artists in this pinterest board.

I will now post every single one so you can see them larger. Feel free to skip since it’s 30 of them.

There we are. I was very tempted to continue with this for April, too, but I think I will take a break and I have an idea for April, so we’ll see how that goes. I will most likely do another month of these figures later this year.

You can read more about my monthly projects in 2014 here.

The Way Out

And today’s quote:

The best way out is always through. -Robert Frost

Robert Frost has always been one of my favorite poets. I’ve written his Nothing Gold Can Stay on many diaries in my childhood. When I saw this it spoke to me and I started thinking about where I am in my life, how I feel, what I would like “out” of and what “through” might mean for those situations.

I am not sure I know the answer.

I think the point of this quote is that there are no shortcuts, no work arounds. You have to do the hard work it takes to move out of a situation that’s not working. And when you do, that’s when the reward comes. None of us come out the same on the other side. We’ve grown, learned, conquered and made it through.

I don’t even think through has to mean hard. It just means we didn’t take a shortcut. Or that’s what I am making it mean. (what do you think?)

And looking at my situation(s) with that lens, I am trying to put together what through would mean. How do I find my way out? What would out even look like?

I don’t know the answers but sometimes the first step starts with more questions.

Changing the World

So today’s quote is:

You must be the change you want to see in the world. – Mahatma Gandhi

In 2003, when I had my Teach For America training, on the very last night they had a celebration and they blasted Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson. Which is one of my favorites of his. I remember going back to my dorm room that night and calling Jake and telling him that this work was so important and worthwhile that I didn’t know why more people wouldn’t want to do it.

I learned the answer to that over the next year but that’s another conversation for another time.

I’ve been thinking about what this means for where I am today in my life and what I want. I am a firm believer that the only person we can fundamentally change is ourselves. And that if we want others to do/behave/feel differently, we have to start with ourselves. This is the same as role modeling for your children. It’s easy to tell them no to lie but much harder to never lie ourselves.

If we want to see a kind world, we can start by being kinder ourselves. If we want to see more people helping others, we can help others ourselves. This applies to everything I can think of.

Which makes me think, well what do I want?

I want to be kind. I want others to be kind. Open, accepting. I want to be present and I want all of us to be more present. I think our attention span is not what it was. I think it’s easy to work/surf 24/7 now and I want to be present. I want to be with others who are present. I want to take care of nature because it gives me so much peace to be in nature. I want to eat well and move away from processed food. I want all of us to eat more naturally. I want us to be willing to be vulnerable with each other and work together. I want everyone to shine their own light. Step into who they are and embrace that wholeheartedly.

And it needs to start with me.

And you. What do you want?

Remember This - Week 14

Week seven’s Life Book assignment was by the amazing Jane Davenport and it was to pick three of your positive qualities and create a pop-up.

The first thing I did was to pick my three qualities and draw three girls that symbolized them. I used the amazing Willow Tree statues as my examples and drew one girl reading, one girl holding a heart, and one girl with a bird. I first did rough sketches with pencil leaving a half of an inch in the bottom to fold over:

then I went over each of them with a micron 0.005 pen.

I then used watercolors to color my girls:

The next thing I did was to use the same paper in the same size (4×6 in this case) and create three flaps. I then painted the flaps and adhered them to my blank page:

here they are open:

Now it was time to make my page. I took all the 3×4 and 4×6 cards from the Record It! line from My Mind’s Eye and pulled out a bunch of them that spoke to me at that moment. I layered them all over my page without thinking too hard about it. I regularly reminded myself not to think too hard. Here’s what I had by that point:

I then took them all off and covered the page with Mod Podge and adhered them all down. At this point, I moved stuff around mostly because I couldn’t remember where I had originally put them. I also cut some of the cards. For example, I cut out the love circle and the words out of some of the cards and the see through white heart, etc. I added a few bits and pieces of washi tape and layer one was done. The next task was to cut out the flaps I’d adhered. I used an exacto knife to find the seams and cut them. It wasn’t super-easy but it also wasn’t super-hard. At this point, it looked like this:

Here’s a side view so you can see the flaps:

The next thing I did was to glue my girls inside the flaps. At this point, I realized I hadn’t thought this through really well and I needed the bottoms of the girls to be longer, so I adhered some more paper to them and painted it black. I journaled all over the background of each flap on why this quality was important to me. Then I added some paint to the cover page and I was pretty much done. Here is a look with the girls in there:

and a look at each girl popped up. Authentic, holding the bird:

Curious, holding the book:

Kind, holding a heart:

and here’s a look with the journaling when the girl is laying down:

And a final look at the page closed.

And that’s it. The girls aren’t popping up as smoothly as I’d like but I still loved this assignment. It challenged me and I was able to sketch, watercolor, acrylic paint, and collage all in one page!

Remember This is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.