Listen with Intent – Week 18

A new month comes with a new category of intention. What I wanted to pick for may was to listen actively. I like the idea of being more active, more outside, more engaged in the spring and summer. I think that I have a tendency to be stagnant, especially in the winter, so I love the idea of being more active.

The lettering I used here comes from this pin.

The image here is a ballerina, when I think of being active both physically and mentally, I think a ballerina represents both.

I really dislike how the spacing worked out in this one. Too much space to the right of the legs and the letters are crunched up. I also don’t like how the legs are softly colored and the lettering is bright black. It just seems off.

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

On Comparing Beginnings and Middles

Today’s quote is:

Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. – Jon Acuff

Yesterday, I emailed Judy Wise to tell her how excited I was about her upcoming “painting faces” class which my calendar said was starting today.

She replied pretty much immediately and said that the class had started a month ago and was now over.

I felt my heart sink.

She then said the students were still working on all the material in the FB group and did I want to be added. I said of course and she added me and once I visited the group and saw everyone’s work, my heart sank even more.

The other students’ work was so so amazing that I just wanted to quit before I even started. What’s the point? There’s no chance I will ever be that good. I’ve been working on drawing faces for quite a few years now and I just can’t get good enough at them, how could I even think I’d be good enough to paint.

What was I thinking.

I churned and churned all night.

Then this morning, I saw this quote and decided it was my quote for the day.

It was a reminder that even if I’ve been trying for a while, I am still just at the beginning of my journey. I don’t need to compare myself to anyone. Who knows how much time or effort they’ve already dedicated to it?

And who knows where I am in my journey.

All I do know is that I want to learn how to do this. I know that I love Judy’s work and I am thrilled at the chance to learn from her videos. I know that my journey is mine alone. And not only do I not want to compare my beginning to their middle, I don’t want to compare my journey to theirs at all.

So onward we go.

I can’t wait to dig into the classes even if I showed up a month late.

Maybe they can be my project for May.

The Seemingly Impossible

Today’s quote is:

It always seems impossible until it’s done.  - Nelson Mandela

When I saw this quote today, I laughed out loud. Yesterday, I had one of these at work. I had a situation that seemed impossible. It was driving me mad and I couldn’t figure out how it was ever going to be solved.

When I am in situations like this, I don’t handle it well. In fact, it drives me so mad that I become the worst version of myself. I stop thinking logically and operate in mostly the fight or flight mode. I panic and freak out. And, like most people when they are panicked and not thinking clearly, I do unwise things.

I flail and get others involved. Which makes things even worse.

And then when it’s all over and the prefrontal cortex starts kicking in again, I feel the strong wash of shame.

Which is the worst.

So I thought a lot about this quote today. About how I can remember that it always feels impossible until that one magical moment when it’s fixed. It seems impossible until it isn’t and it’s like a switch. There isn’t much in between impossibility and possibility. It’s not always gradual (though sometimes it is) but most of the time, it feels impossible until one day, one moment you look at it and you see it is indeed possible. And then it gets done. Not a lot in between.

So the question is how will i remember that it will get done. That it will become possible. That it will seem deeply impossible till that one moment. And that I need to have faith. Faith that it will indeed get done.

That’s the hard part for me. To have faith. To stop the panic and let my thinking kick in so it can remind me to have faith. So maybe I should make a bigger version of this sign and put it up on my desk so I can remember.

Walls we Build

today’s quote is:

You are confined only by the walls you built yourself.

I read this quote a while ago and had made an art journal page on it, too.

I was thinking about it again last night when I was trying to pick a quote today. I thought of all the ways i get in my own way. All the ways I create limits for myself. Hurdles I have to jump through, blocks on what I can and cannot do.

I have so many ideas.

So many ways I get in my own way.

I know that we all do this in different ways but I think, like most things, the first step to knocking those walls down is awareness.

Seeing it.

And then Saying it out loud.

Owning it.

I build walls around what i am capable of and what’s possible for me. I feel strong urges to do things (or to stop doing things) and then I talk myself out of each of them. I have a sense of the “responsible path” and I pretty much try to follow it to a T. I create a lot of stories around what responsible means and what it doesn’t mean. In those moments when I look around and I see only walls, I need to remember that they are created by me. They are in my mind, my story, but rarely are they in the real world.

And just like I get to put them up, I also get to take them down.

Listen with Intent – Week 16

For this week, I picked something a bit tougher for me. I know laugh sounds easy but it doesn’t come as easily to me. I even wear a bracelet everyday that says “laugh” on it so I can remember to be lighter and more joyful and laugh more. It’s not that I don’t laugh a lot, it’s that I tend to choose the darker, the more somber. But this week I want to laugh more. I want to listen to the laughter of my kids which is always healing for my soul. Laughter of my friends and loved ones and even the laughter of strangers. There’s nothing as wonderful as hearing people genuinely laugh, is there?

The lettering I used here comes from Calligraphy Alphabets Made Easy.

The image here is three little cakepops of clowns.

Listen with Intent 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.

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.

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.

Listen with Intent – Week 14

For April, I wanted to set a light intention. Something that would remind me to seek the light and look for the joy when listening. I think it’s easier for me to look for the substance, the depth, the “what’s wrong” then it is to be with lightness. I am not sure why. But this month, I want to listen with the intent of finding the joy. Listening with joy and for joy.

The lettering is somewhere in my pinterest board but I couldn’t find it for the life of me. And the image is of blowing bubbles, which gives me joy to do and to watch.

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

Monthly Projects - January - Birds

One of my goals for 2014 was to do Monthly Projects. My intention was to do a daily art practice every day on something I wanted to get better at. In January, I picked birds. I posted one update a long time ago. Even though I never posted more updates, I did do a few more. I didn’t end up with 31 but merely 14. That’s still 14 more than I would have done otherwise.

Here they all are:

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

And here are larger versions of the ones I didn’t post back in January.

So here we are. A whole lot of birds.

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