Friday, February 24, 2012

I'm a Doodley Doodler

Oh my gosh! I love to doodle. I do it all the time. It goes back a long way. My notebooks where covered in doodles when I was a kid. My notes in college...doodled. I can't sit and not doodle. I've even been known to doodle in spilled water on the table. Weird I know.

I doodle as I watch TV, while I listen to audios, waiting for appointments and just sitting down for a moment. If you ever call me on the phone just know I'm doodling while we talk. Your words will probably end up in my doodles too. I can't help it. It's too fun.

Do you doodle? (ha ha, say that fast)


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Brave Intuitive You

I am currently taking Flora Bowley's online class called Brave Intuitive You. I got it as a Christmas gift from my family. I guess it's their way of keeping me from galloping around the country taking classes ;o)

Step one of painting one

I find it so interesting how similar her techniques are to Jesse Reno (if you want to read about my workshop with him last year you can check it out here). I've heard people say that she is a female version of Jesse. I'm not sure I would word it just like that but I think there is something to be said for the comparison.

Step two of painting one

I can tell that Flora has given a lot of thought and detail to the process of teaching so that she is able to guide us in a process that can be hard to articulate.

Step three of painting one

There are also some interesting interviews that help us get to know her better and to get a little more in depth.

Step two of painting two

Of course we are in the very beginning stages of the process so there is a lot of trust involved and letting go of expectations.

Step 3 of painting 3

I am having the most fun playing on the canvas and just moving the paint around. I'm dancing up a storm and dancing on my canvas. Typically I step back and let out a gasp at the chaos I am creating and then I let it go and go back to trusting and playing.

I really love the bits and pieces of the overall canvas that make me say ooooh and aaaahhh.


It's really all just an experiment. Experimenting with the paint, the tools and experimenting with letting go.

Because these paintings are experiments I've decided that I'm not going to worry about how they turn out. I'm not expecting a masterpiece but I'm also not expecting a train wreck either.

I just think that when I let go of the pressure of "creating art" it is easier to get into that flow.

Of course when I can get into that flow, things emerge and the process is that much easier and successful.

There are times when I notice my negative voices pop up and I tell them  "Shut up and sit down! I'm busy painting right now."

There are plenty more steps to go and I can't even imagine how these are going to turn out which I think is totally cool!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Redefining Responsiblity

I decided to add a page to my Smash Journal about my word for the year. There isn't much on it just yet as we are only in the second month of the year but I am intending on adding to it throughout the year.

I wrote: Taking ownership of your life. Getting done necessary things so you have time to enjoy life. Balance. Letting others be responsible for their lives.

The truth about this choice of words is that I need to redefine what the word means to me. I think I have some skewed ideas about responsibility that include negative beliefs on both ends of the spectrum.

On one hand I shirk responsibility because it is boring and confining...who wants to be a slave to responsibility? Additionally there seems to be this idea that if I am not responsible, nothing can be my fault...I am at the whim of others and live my life in reactionary mode. It is a bit of victim mentality that can only hold me back.

On the other hand I think there has become a murky line between responsibility and control for me. This really applies to my relationship with my children. If I'm "responsible" I am in control and if I am in control, everything is my responsibility. It's funny because this end of the spectrum is also tied to the whole victim thing. Poor me, I have to be responsible for EVERYTHING!

It is amazing to me how I can have beliefs that are so completely in opposition to each other and yet are so perfectly tied together. Our subconscious is an amazing thing don't ya think?

I love how things unfold when you focus on a word of the year. You never know what you're going to learn or how it will be revealed. I look forward to filling this page with all kinds of wonderful insights.

How are things going with your word of the year?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Follow the Juice

Have you seen this video by Ken Robert?

Connie over at Dirty Footprints Studio shared it a while back and it's been on my mind. I think it is amazing to see his abilities change and grow over the three years.

 I used to love to draw and attempt to improve my technique but like a lot of things, when you don't do it for a while (or like 20 years) you lose your touch. Of course in my mind that always seems to doubt my abilities at just about everything, I think I'm not able to draw anymore or I've lost my touch.

What this video showed me is that it is a lie! I can draw, I just haven't done much of it so I am out of practice. How many times have I talked to my kids about the importance of practice? I need to practice what I preach.

So when I was in Florida I sat down at the pool and decided to sketch the pool house. While I was doing it there was really no juice in it for me.  I was rushing through it and just wanted to get it done. I wasn't happy with it of course because it was as if I could have cared less about it. I had to question this. Do I really want to sketch? It didn't seem like it. I let it go and just played and had fun in my sketchbook for the rest of the time.

The other night I sat down to watch Oprah's Master Class. She had Laird Hamilton on and he was talking about some pretty deep and spiritual things. His words and his attitude were inspiring me so I got out my Smash Journal to write them down.

I also decided to sketch him which wasn't that easy since I didn't stop the show from playing and only sketched him while he was currently on the screen. I was totally jazzed by this. I loved every minute of it. The juice was definitely there!

This morning I was leafing through the March issue of the O Magazine (hmmm, I'm seeing an Oprah theme here) and I was struck by this picture of an African woman and knew immediately that I wanted to do a quick sketch. I had some small index cards at hand so I started to do a couple quick sketches.

Again, I loved it. It only took a short time to do and while they are far from perfect they were amazing to help me see the lines in the face and to help me simplify the forms.

What I learned most of all with this is that we need to follow the juice! We need to be inspired and do the things that get us into the flow and uplift us. If that means that we smear colors all over the canvas, so be it. If that means we draw buildings in excruciating detail, excellent. If it means we doodle on a sheet of notebook paper, rock on!

Follow the juice today and do what inspires you even if it's for 5 minutes!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Smashing Business

I am the queen of ideas. If anything comes easy to me it is coming up with ideas. I am also the queen of spiral notebooks. I buy them in bulk at the beginning of the school year and I always have one, two, OK, probably 3 or 4 of them lying around my house, my car, in my purse. I use them for everything from writing lists, recording ideas, doodling, making name it and it's in there.

There are many problems with this I must admit. Number one is that I lose them. I misplace them and can't find them or the precious material that is in them. Also, I never know which one has which thought in them and I am forever leafing through notebooks looking for lost tidbits of information. It really is most frustrating.

While I was on vacation I watched a video of a woman who was talking about the exact same problem except she uses Moleskines. You will have to forgive me, I wanted to share the video with you but I can't find it. I've searched my history and I've gone back to try to find out where I ran across it but I can't for the life of me find it.

My new red Smash Book!

Her solution to this problem was to purchase a Smash Journal to use for all her blog and business ideas to keep them in one place. Genius! I rushed right out and got myself a pretty new smash journal. It comes with a pen that attaches to the journal and has a glue stick on one side so you can glue things in or "smash" them in.

Recording my notes from my spiral

There are decorative pages in the book and little doodles and fun things that make it easy to make it look nice. It is spiral bound so it is easy to work in and really, it's just plain fun.

So many ideas

I just happened to have one of my spiral notebooks with me in Florida (imagine that) so I decided that I was going to transfer some of the notes I had in there to my new journal. I got busy on the airplane and worked furiously for 2 1/2 hours straight. I was so excited.

It was wonderful looking back at all the great stuff I had in that spiral that I hadn't seen in a while. I was shocked at all the good stuff I had in there.

I love my new Smash Journal so much that I catch myself looking at it and petting the pages. It's so me. It's simple and not too decorated but it feels so nice to look at.

So far it's helping me record ideas that I might have even lost before and it's helping me organize my thoughts for the blog too.

I even have a page started for inspiration. I write down quotes and kind words shared through my blog, email and Facebook. All you sweet people who have something uplifting to say about my work will have a place to live right here in my Smash Journal. I love that!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Lessons at the Art Festival

A beautiful painting displayed at the Fort Myers Art Fest

For years I shut down my creative side. I decided to be a mom and to put my kids first and do everything for them and be everything for them. As I'm sure you know, I have 5 boys and a husband who all play sports. They have pretty much tried them all. When they aren't playing sports we are talking about sports or watching sports. It's a big sports household.

There never seemed to be enough room for my interests...OK, that's wrong...I never made it a priority so therefore there wasn't enough time for it. For the most part my kids didn't even know how much I loved art. It's really strange the things we do.

When I decided to go back to the thing I loved I began sharing it with my kids and I was pleasantly surprised that they were open to it. They enjoyed looking at art, talking about it and creating it. My youngest son Aidan really jumped on board. He decided that he was an artist and started drawing like crazy.

Exploring the techniques used in the paintings was great fun with the kids.

So this year when we went on our vacation I noticed that there was an art show going on and I decided that I wanted to go and I wanted to bring the kids too. This may seem like the obvious thing to do as a family but you have to understand that in the past my husband may have come along with me and we would have left the kids home thinking they would be bored and uninterested. In fact, I had to tell my husband twice that yes, I wanted the kids to come.

It was a BIG show. There were tents as far as the eye could see and then there were more around the corner. My dad and step mom joined us too. It was hot and holy cow was it crowded. I immediately got uptight. My internal voice started going off, "Oh my gosh, they are going to hate this. They are going to get bored. It's going to take too long. I'm the only one who likes this and I'm going to make everyone suffer."

This is something I do to myself so even when people are doing things for me I have so much inner chatter that I don't allow myself to enjoy it. I rush through, I think about everyone but myself and I leave feeling very unfulfilled. Well not this time!

Professional chalk painters creating works of art on the street

I caught myself and I said, "NO! Not today! I am going to enjoy this for me!" I set off and my sons were right there with me. We stopped in all the booths that drew our attention. We looked at the brush strokes, the techniques, the use of color and the innovative creations these artists were sharing with us.

I was surprised at how into it my son Aidan was. He wanted to stop at every booth and look through the bins of prints. He spent more time in some of them then even I wanted to. I watched as his brow crinkled while he was in serious thought analyzing the art. I watched him take pictures of the things that inspired him and I introduced him to some of the artists so he could learn how they made their creations.

The funniest thing was having him look at the prices. There was no real sticker shock for him. He saw a small glass paperweight that cost $40 and he said, "$40? That's not very much for this." Ha, here I was thinking $40? Too much! I love the innocence and love he brought to art fest.

A beautiful work of art that will be gone in a few hours.

I am proud of the fact that I have embraced who I truly am and shared that with my children because I think it is making them better. They are being exposed to parts of the world that can make them richer, more whole people. It is giving them the opportunity to know all the parts of who they are and uncover talents they may not have known they have.

It's funny, my son came home from school one day and said he stood up and shared that his favorite thing to do was to draw. He said one of the little girls said he couldn't be an artist because he was a wrestler. I explained to him that a lot of people have beliefs that if you are smart you can't be athletic or if you are athletic you can't be artistic. I told him that it's all a lie. That he can be anything he wants to be and that the cool thing is he is good at all of it so he could be any combination he wanted.

Having a little fun decorating piggy banks

Do you think he would have had the opportunity to learn this lesson if his mom was hiding away, afraid to be who she is? Do you think he would know anything about the arts or the joy he experiences if his mom hadn't shared her passion and encouraged him to explore? Maybe, but more likely not.

It's sad to say that my older children didn't get that mom. They got the mom who didn't know who she was, who didn't embrace her passion, and didn't share her love and dreams with them. Are they wonderful? Yes! Might they have turned out differently? Definitely! But I take solace in the fact that they are getting to watch me bloom now with adult eyes and I feel like they are still able to learn lessons from it.

I was watching Anerican Idol last night and there was a woman who made it to Hollywood and she asked Jennifer Lopez for advice because for years people were telling her that she couldn't do it because she had kids. Jennifer told her in no uncertain terms that she could do it and she could always make it work and that her kids would be better for it.


To all you moms out there, let that sink in. Following your dreams and passions does not make you a selfish mom. It makes you a mom that is an inspiration to her kids. It makes your children learn how to believe in their dreams and follow their passions and isn't that what we want most of all for our children?

Dream on my friends!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Vacation Journaling

Started playing on the airplane
 I decided to bring a small art kit with me on vacation this year. I haven't been doing much in the way of creating lately. The holidays are such a busy time for me and having my son leave for the Air Force in January has kept me away from my artistic expression and I thought vacation might be the perfect time to get back in the groove.

 I really wanted to keep it light and fun. Nothing tight or constrained.  I often struggle with this. I've always wanted to have that loose, messy style but it never comes across that way. In the above journal page I really tried to let loose and be messy. It was fun.

Hanging out at the pool with my journal
 One thing that happens to me every time I go on vacation is that I get a little whiny. I don't ever want to go home. I love every place I ever visit more than my boring town in the Midwest. I took some time to journal it out this year. I whined in my journal and then I flipped it and switched the energy. It was great because I got it out and I felt so much better and was able to move on and enjoy my vacation so much more.

Covering up an old Christmas list
At one point I came upon a page that I had written a Christmas list all over in scribbly, yucky handwriting. I was a little bummed because I hated the idea of all my fun and colorful pages being interrupted by this ugly page.

I showed it to my hubby and he said, "Why don't you cover it up?" I explained to him that watercolors wouldn't cover it up. But I became obsessed with the idea and decided that maybe, just maybe my gel pens would cover it and I set out to see.

It was a fun experiment and ended up liking the way it turned out.

Exploring the book, Life is a Verb
Have you heard about the year long project that Effy has called the Book of Days? I've been following her videos and while I am not really creating a book of days I am really enjoying what she is doing. While I was on vacation she started to incorporate the book Life is a Verb into her Book of Days. I had actually just purchased the book without knowing she was working with it. How funny is that?!

I created the above page to write my innermost thoughts about the questions Effy posted. I was happy with the way it turned out but I was a little shocked when I turned the page and saw that the sharpie marker I used to outline the  outer edges had seeped through. I showed my 14 year old Devin and laughed, "I guess I will be skipping a page huh?" He replied, "Well why don't you just put another face on that page?" Duh! What a great idea! Why didn't I think of that?!

So that is what I did. I used the same outline and created a second girl. When I was working on her I made a big boo boo. The paint was wet and I went in with blue and it spread like wildfire. Ugh! I decided to just go with it and embrace it. I put blue all over her eyes and the funny thing is it worked perfectly with the writing I had done.

I was really exploring my story and my relationship with taking ownership of my life. I ended up writing around her head, "She cried so much that even her tears got sick of her, dried up and ran away." It was a perfect expression of how I was living my story and playing my life as a victim. It just goes to show you that it really is true...there are no accidents.

I will leave you with this ugly page I created. I had decided to step outside my box and do something a little different from the stuff I normally do. Early on I knew it was bad...knew it was ugly. I could have given up and did something else but I decided to make it even uglier. I picked the ugliest colors I could and just kept going.

When I finished I decided to journal a little about it and this is what I ended up with.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Back from Vacation!

My boys exploring the mangroves
 Hi everyone,
I am back from a week in Florida with my family. It was so hard not being able to post while I was gone because it seemed like everyday I had something new I wanted to share with you!

I think there is something amazing that happens to our brains when we are on vacation. They relax and open up and man the ideas flow, the words come effortlessly.

I always love to do a little photography expedition and look for different things to take pictures of. Some of these are a mystery. I have no idea what they are but they looked cool so I took a snapshot.

My boys at Manatee Park (yes, we actually say some manatees!)

We have been going down to Florida at least once a year for about...I don't know...14 years. My dad bought a place down there and is officially a snow bird so for about 8 years we've been hanging around his place.
The grounds at my dad's home
In the beginning we used to go sightseeing and explore the area but for the last few years it seems like all the kids want to do is hang out by the pool and to be honest, I enjoy the down time so I haven't balked much.

This year was a little different. We decided to do a few more things. We explored a nature trail, headed off to see the manatees at manatee park, saw an exhibition game for our home soccer team the Fire,  saw a local hockey game, and I even got to spend time at a huge art fare they had down there! Woo hoo!

There was till plenty of time for relaxation, playing cards and of course watching the Superbowl!

I spent an hour or so in the mornings sitting out on the lanai before everyone woke up. I listened to the birds as they called out to each other, breathed in the fresh, humid air and felt the breeze cool me as I basked in the warmth of the sun. I would journal, watch art videos and write my daily gratitude emails. It was a great way to start the day.

We even got to see our very first wild alligator, something my husband has been wanting to see for...oh I don't know...14 years! ;o)