Saturday, May 24, 2014

Sketchbook Skool is over... WAAAAAAAH!

Not much to say tonight,
so i'll just share a bit of what i did this week...
a quick detailed sketch of my messy table
 Not so bad when i add colour...
 Photo taken in the daylight
The little angel in the glass bubble (in front of the wooden pencil holder)
belonged to my mother.
She always watches me as I paint. :-)
The plastic bottle was fun to do.
So many reflections in there...
Then a quick charcoal sketch
to warm up for my Tommy Kane portrait...

Tommy made the incredible proposal
to Sketchbook Skool participants
that he was going to publish a book
of his portraits.
So we all went mad
painting his portrait...
Totally generous, totally inspirational,
and just such a refreshing human being.
ALL of the teachers were wonderful.
So here we go...
acrylic on paper
 And those of you who know a bit about Tommy
know how much he loves his tiara.
I swear I tried it without, Tommy
and it just wasn't working.

For those who aren't familiar with his work,
here's a little video of the genius
struttin' his stuff...

Sunday, May 18, 2014

jumping without a parachute, but with wings

Hello everyone!
I have so much to share
that it almost feels overwhelming to even begin...
but here goes.
I just finished a fabulous 6 weeks
of Sketchbook Skool
an on-line klass filled with assignments from 6 incredible artists
and one of the most supportive communities ever.
So many good hearts out there.
For the past 6 months or so,
i've spent my time working at an office job.
My contract ended last week,
and since that time,
i've been slowly replenishing myself
with things that are closest to my heart again,
things that feel like ME...
like art
and writing
and reading
and connecting with the art community again,
with people like you,
who get where i'm coming from.
I have felt so lost and disconnected and fake
during the past 6 months in an office job,
that it has made me rethink everything about my life.
Why I keep taking on work that has no value for me...
why i keep calling myself a graphic designer,
when I no longer have the passion to pursue this profession...
why i still lack trust in spreading my own wings,
trust in my own words,
trust that everything will be ok.
I love this quote by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche:
The bad news is you're falling through the air,
nothing to hang on to, no parachute.
The good news is there's no ground.
 This is how I am feeling lately...
like I am ready to jump without the parachute
and trust that my wings will take me where i need to go.
I've watched others do it,
and have felt envious.
I've read about those
who have changed their lives
in a way that allows them to live closer to their dreams,
and wished i could find the courage to do the same.
 ...and yet, i feel closer than ever before.
Thanks to beautiful souls like Susannah,
gently reminding me that you need not be 
a super hero nor a super god
to live a life that feels like YOURS.
thank you Susannah, 
for a book filled with so much beauty & meaning.
so for now,
my days are filled with writing and sketching...
and sketching...
and reading wonderful books...
and surrounding myself with beautiful inspiration...
and reminding myself that there are others out there
who have gone where i want to go,
and who have felt the same fear and doubt as I feel -
but went anyway
and oh, 
what a sad world it would be
if they hadn't dared to trust and jump.

thanks for being here with me.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

hello everyone!
Is there a better way to start the day
than with coffee, pen and paper?
I am slowly decompressing and want to share just a few things
before i take a walk outside
and then get down & dirty with paint.
I love writing.
Always have.
When i was younger, i had pen pals
around the world
and looked for any reason
to write to anyone
I wrote to my grandmother and my family
when we moved to Western Canada,
and when we moved back East,
I wrote to my friends in the West.
I wrote to priests and nuns
and inmates
and missionaries,
doing their life's work in third world countries.
Then in my late teens,
i began to write poetry.
When life began teaching me some hard lessons,
I began to write serious poetry.
I am in awe whenever I think of the beginnings of writing...
how we got from clay tablets & stylus wooden pegs,
to where we are today.
How our reasons for writing have changed.
Even here, in the image above - etched in stone,
someone wanted to leave their mark.
They were here.
Many of us do the same today,
in different ways but most likely
for the same reasons.
We do the same with art.
We make art, not only because it feels good,
but because we have something to say.
Something to share.
Something to learn.
Something to teach.
Something to heal.

I sat to write yesterday
and felt blank.
No focus on any one thing.
A mishmash of ideas and thoughts
and memories and stories
but nothing that slowed down long enough
for me to write a cohesive sentence.
Then I remembered a writing class I had taken
and this one question we were asked:

What do you NOT want to write about?

...and the floodgates opened.

If you want to write,
and you don't know what to write about
or how to find your voice,
try this.

It worked for me.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Art teaches nothing,
except the significance of life.
- Henry Miller
hello everyone!
it's so good to be back.
I am finally done my office job
and my days are open once again
to be filled with art
and quiet coffee
and good music
and space for breathing.
I have been reminded these past few months
of something rather important in my life:
I value freedom far more than i value money.
I value time far more than i value things.
I am not a material girl. 
I have little patience with routine and boredom.
I am willing to sacrifice new shoes
new clothes,
or dining out in restaurants
for more freedom in my day
to paint & play.
I crave creativity daily,
and when i don't get it,
life is no fun for me.
So these past weeks/months have been a whirlwind,
and working in an office was my choice (temporarily!)
but thankfully - it has all ended and i am gently falling back
into my comfort zone...
my natural strengths...
my happy place,
my heart of art.
Exactly where i belong.
I watch people go sometimes
and think to myself "surely - they have gone completely mad"...
running from work to running errands to going to the gym
to taking kids to endless practices and games
to rushing for groceries and appointments and shopping
and doing more and having more
and buying and buying and buying more.
it makes my own head spin.
It's so easy to get caught up in that race.
One really has to pull back now and then
and ask the question :
Is this what i want?
Is this MY race, or someone else's?
There is very little that is essential
for a good life, really. 
At least for me.
A hot bath.
An afternoon in a used book store.
An evening walk with a good friend.

An afternoon of painting.
$5 in my pocket for a good coffee.
Good music.
A soft place to fall.
Soft pyjamas.
or no pyjamas at all!
 There is just so much in the world that is free
and beautiful
and at our fingertips
but we miss much of it
because we're cooped up in brick buildings
with fluorescent lighting and grey walls
exchanging time for money.
When we are old & grey,
i doubt that any of us will wish
we spent more time at work,
but i can almost guarantee
that most of us will wish
we had spent more time noticing the sunrise,
or the crickets,
or the moon & stars at night,
or spent more time with family and friends,
giving and getting more hugs
putting our toes in the sand...
(my family, a few years ago, when we were still all here...)
Making good memories...
And because it's mother's day tomorrow -
Mom, at her last Relay for Life,
smiling through it all,
with her matching pink & yellow flower hat. :-)
She taught me to live life to the fullest.
Thanks mom. xx
and this one,
because I adore it so much...
mom, family & friends, when she was a young girl.
Mom is in the front, with the white dress and crooked legs
and the tube around her neck! 
Classic mom!
I love the innocence in this photo
and the obvious great time, despite the poverty.
And since it's mother's day tomorrow...
this young man right here,
makes me who i am today.
My son - graduating from high school this year.
So proud of him...

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.
Thanks for being here with me.