Saturday, February 4, 2017

is it dark in here or is it just me?

Hello loves.
It's been a rough few weeks, hasn't it?
It's been almost a month 
since I last posted something here.

I was at a loss for words (still am).

But I'll share something I wrote
a few days ago,
along with some of the art
I've managed to make
over the past few weeks -
despite the craziness happening
all over the world.
(Much of it BECAUSE of the craziness)

I hope you've all been well
and getting the hugs you need these days.
My heart is sick
and has been for weeks now.
They say:
“don’t let yourself
get carried away
with all the hatred”
and so I try
to surround myself
with joy and peace
and do the things
that make my heart sing,
but then the wave comes
and carries me away again,
when i hear about another
ridiculous executive order
and the muslim ban
and Cheeto demanding
that women should dress like women
and the burning mosques
and the murder of 6 muslims in Canada
or the new laws taking place
in some US States
where a rapist now has the right
to sue his victim 
if she chooses to abort the foetus.

The one that was created in violence.
It is very difficult these days
NOT to care.
(and we should never not care.)

And with social media and TV
and radio and conversations
at the local coffee shop -
it is also very difficult to "tune out".

Oh, but it is SO important that we do so
now and then. For the sake of sanity.

They say:
“but it’s politics!
And it’s happening in the US,
not here in Canada!”
and I want to scream,

The rants and the tweets and the protests
and the families being divided
by a ban that fell on US citizens
like a bomb.

And now, on the rest of the world.
There are those on social media who say:
“I want Facebook to be fun again
with pictures of dancing cats
and funny memes that have
nothing to do with politics”
and I shake my head
at the idea that so many
still choose ignorance.

As if the craziness won't happen
if you don’t know about it.

And yet - I understand the need
to detach.
I understand the need
to run away and hide.
But hiding is not the answer.
It never was.
I am doing what I can
to care for myself 
more than usual these days,
to save myself from living
with an angry heart
the way Donald does.
Hatred breeds hatred,
and if I can keep just a tiny spark
of love alive
during this fucked up chaotic time,
i’ve done well.
I’ve been wanting to hug trees
and take long walks on the beach
and hot baths
and read good books
and make art.

But even these things have been unusually difficult...
My mind goes back to the Holocaust
and Nazi Germany
and how quickly an educated, intelligent nation
crumbled to the ground
when they were taught to hate.

When they were taught to live in fear.

When they were taught to become indifferent
to another persons’ pain.

It is the beginning of the end
when one becomes indifferent.

And yet - there is hope.
There is hope in the protests
and the coming together
of so many people 
who are willing to see their similarities
instead of their differences.
There is hope in people
who have found their voices
during the most tumultuous times
and who are using those voices
to make the world a place of peace
rather than a world of hatred and war.

There is hope in those
who stand with others
who have had their voices
along the way.

There is hope in children.

There is hope in the blade of grass.

There is hope in poetry and in music.

There is hope in words.

There is hope in the stars
and the moon
and the grand possibilities that are
within reach
for those of us who dare
to touch the sky.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

art and inspiration and "I feel an e-course coming on!"

The force that through the green fuse
drives the flower...
- Dylan Thomas
We got our first 'real' snowstorm here
just a few days ago (about 25cm)
so yes - winter is here.
Unless we have the kind of winter
where it's constantly snowing for months,
I don't mind winter at all.
As long as the roads are plowed
and I can get out once in a while,
I'm good.
Like most artists out there,
I love the hibernating part of winter. 
There's nothing like a snowstorm
on a Sunday morning,
when nature gives you permission
to stay in your PJs all day.
(of course, who really needs permission for that?!) :)
I also love the slowness of January...

Everyone seems to be in a better mood somehow.

Maybe it's because we're onto something new,
or we feel like it's a chance for a new beginning,
or we've looked at the past year
and realize we're gonna be ok after all.
Something about January feels 
hopeful to me.
And lord knows
we'll take all the hope we can get.
So I have a few things to share with you.
For a while now,
I've been thinking about teaching on-line.
I've taken several e-courses
and I've learned a lot from each one.
So I'm currently doing an e-course
on how to teach e-courses!
Yes, it's a brainteaser :)
I am loving every bit of it so far,
and if all goes well,
I'm hoping to have my own e-course
out in the world by April or May 2017.
I still haven't decided what I'll be teaching,
nor how I'll be teaching it,
but I do know I have something to offer
and I feel that there are people out there
ready to embrace my offerings.
It'll somehow be about art
and connection
and courage
and words
and having fun
and becoming more confident
about who we are
and where we are in life,
and carving small moments in the day
for something that makes us happy.
It'll be about listening
to our own voices
and exploring
and expressing
and discovering
and healing
and accepting
and truth
and there will be NO room
for perfection.
Sorry perfection, no room for you at the Inn. ;)
So I'm in the early stages of brainstorming ideas
about what I'd like to share and teach,
and how I'd like to do it in a way
that makes it fun and non threatening
and without the pressure of becoming
a "talented" artist.
So there are many unknowns right now,
but this is all so exciting.
And speaking of unknowns...

the bird painting earlier in this post (the orange and teal one)
was done in about an hour and a half last night.
I painted slowly and filled the circles with white
and took my time with the lines
and added orange and teal here and there.

And in the end, it was just ok.

So with the leftover paint,
(because you know it can't go to waste!)
I opened my small journal
and painted this one in about 5 minutes,
adding a yellow.

I knew it would be abstract
and I knew it would be quick,
because i basically just wanted
to use the leftover paint.

Then I added a few squiggly lines
with oil pastels...(inspired by Tara Leaver - thank you!)

And i loved it!

So the TIME you spend on art
is irrelevant to how you'll feel about it.

It's irrelevant to how it'll "move" you
or someone else.

1.5 hours = meh...
5 minutes = LOVE!!
Lesson of the day:
You don't need huge chunks of time to make art
or huge canvases
or an art studio
or expensive materials.

You just need to sit yourself down
and do something.
And who knows?
Maybe it'll make your heart
a little happier than it was
just moments before.

Friday, December 30, 2016

it's almost 2017!! Yikes.

Hello everyone!
I'm squeezing in another post before 2017! 
So Christmas is done for another year.
It was a good one, but as always -
I ate too much. :)
I just love this period
between Christmas and New Year,
don't you?
I know some people who use this time
to "clear out" the old stuff
and make way for the "new stuff"
(physical or mental).
I tend to just be lazy & read a lot. 
And eat Turtles.
And Kisses.
And have wine & cheese for a "snack".
And put on my PJs in the afternoon.

I go for the occasional walk outside,
when i feel like I can't breathe anymore,
but in general - I don't move much.

But after this slow period,
I usually sit myself down 
and write a few thoughts on the new year.
I don't do resolutions
but I do a kind of purging of thoughts, I guess.
I look back at the old year
and write (or draw) certain things that jump out at me,
and then I prepare myself for the new year
by making sure I have sketchbooks on hand,
by putting journals & books in order,
by doing a bit of organizing in my blue room.
Oh, and for a few years now,
I've been using Susannah Conway's
and it's the only thing that feels right for me.
If you're not familiar with it, check it out.
And don't worry - if you're not a big goal setter -
or you feel like you have no idea
what you wanna be when you grow up - it's ok.
It's a gentle workbook done with compassion,
and it's free!
A few nights before Christmas,
I did this quick painting on paper.
You all know how fond I am
of using the green tape around the painting
to leave a nice white border...
I actually love removing the tape...
 ...and seeing the crisp borders.
Cheap thrills, I know.

A friend of mine saw this
and immediately said she saw
a hand coming down from the sky,
gently holding the tree.

I see it now, but I didn't before she said it.
Funny how everyone sees something different. 
So it's been a rough year for some,
and drawing or painting always help me
face the losses and the fears,
even if they aren't directly my own.
We've lost some important people.
People who led meaningful lives
and tried to spread the love.
People who wrote beautiful music
and beautiful books.

We've gained some not so pleasant people
and we've had to face the reality
that love doesn't always win.
That there are still many people out there
filled with hatred
for no reason other than
"they are different than me
and I don't like it".
Celebrity deaths.
Church shootings.
Wildfires in Alberta that wiped out whole towns.
The war in Syria.
Shootings in gay nightclubs in Orlando.
Some of you may feel like
this is all very depressing,
but that's the thing about art - 
it shows us TRUTH.

When I sat myself down to draw this,
I asked myself this question:

What stands out for me about 2016?

And this came out.

I drew Trump first
(no, he's not the most important -
just the most irritating to me)

and then I thought of David Bowie's death.
Then Prince's death,
and before I knew it,
I was drawing the people we lost in 2016,
and some of the things that broke my heart.

Sadness - like joy - is a valid emotion.

But you guys, once these thoughts were on paper -
I kinda liked seeing them all there.
Like they went from my subconscious to the page
and by doing so,
they somehow carried less weight
within me.

I'm sure many of you feel the same
after you paint something
or draw something
or write something.

Tell me I'm not crazy.

HAPPY NEW YEAR to every one of you!!
Thanks for hanging out here with me
for another year.

Here's to 2017!