Friday, 19 December 2014

What the Seagulls Taught Me

Hello beautifuls!
OMG, what a month I have had! As some peeps have noticed I haven't been around online the last couple of weeks. Thank you to those of you who have even slightly wondered where I've gone or asked if I'm okay, I've had what you may call a hum-dinger of a month! I won't make this an incredibly long (well long-er) post by going into details but an example would be the tummy bug I caught earlier this week, not nice, not pretty and how crappy I felt kinda summed up the whole of my beginning to December but guess what?? Last night this happened:
First colour of the month!!!!!!!!!!!
I must have my mojo back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I kid you not!
I have discovered that when I'm good my nails are good, when I'm bad my nails are bad. And it's true, after this colour was on I got back to creating a project that has had to be left on hold the past couple of weeks, which I'm neeeeearly ready to let loose and am so excited about!! Squeak **while bouncing**!!

Since I am not yet ready to reveal the project itself I'm being called to tell you a story about it, as it taught me a very crucial lesson, and today some seagulls brought home the teachings even more. Yeah, seagulls.

....no not these kind, the real kind

So start of this month I was planning on having this project wrapped up and posted in no time. Actually I wanted it done yesterday, as it had had so much work already (and I had loved every moment) but I kept getting distracted my shiny new projects, like the 7 Day Art Journaling Challenge for example. Now I know shiny object syndrome is made out to be a bad thing, and in many cases it can be, but listening my gut on any creative project (I think) is never among them. Not for me anyway. I firmly believe in following your own 'creative instinct' as I often refer to it, as it leads to the best places. 
It allows you to create with ease
in a total state of flow and exhilaration
...and what is the point of creating if not to do it when feeling this drive, this eagerness, this fun? 
So yes I often drop projects in favour of other projects that are calling me, but obviously in doing so it puts my other project/s behind, so I became de.ter.min.ed! It should have been beyond finished probably earlier in the year but certainly by November, with all the time that had been dedicated to it. So I set myself a deadline and was super focused on achieving it while I was feeling the creative instinct, the flow, to get it done and move onto other things. The time was right, nothing would stand in my way...and then...
and then...
everything stood in my way!
This circumstance happened, then that circumstance , and all the time I'm pushing against saying 'no I will get this done', next circumstance 'no I will, I will, I will', and then the next...you see the pattern. 
I was feeling disheartened, 
I was feeling out of control, 
and then, I got sick.

And then...I gave it all up.

I let go.
Or I was forced to.
It was not going to happen if I accepted it or not.
I had no choice but to let it go.
And it was the most freeing thing ever.

Eventually I reset my deadline, taking into account things like recovery time, and shopping time, and family time etc etc and without worry about it changing, without the need to feel I had to push it into place. This was the lesson I learnt;
That, no matter what, we cannot control. 

We can plan, yes. We can expect, yes. We can try, yes. We can move the earth to try to make something happen, yes.
But we cannot control. 

Perhaps it's a lesson many learn before the age of 30, but we are all on our different paths and we learnt different things from those paths at different points in our lives. My path showed me this right now. Previously I've had the mindset that if you just work hard enough, if you just push yourself that little bit more, if you just...if you just... But it showed me that really, you can't even control yourself - for example my body getting sick and doing things I didn't want it to. The only thing you can ever really control is your reactions, how you cope with things, and even then at the core of the entire human race we are emotional beings [enter crimes of passion over other crime stats here], and so cannot even have control there in certain situations. 

We certainly do not have control over any external circumstances, at all. And really why do we ever think it is our business to? All we can really do is accept what is, and ingratiate it into any planning, but with understanding that the playing field may change on you again. I've often heard it said that near enough all we worry about, all of us as a collective, are things that actually never happen. We worry about things that never come to be. Well now I understand that a whole lot better. I think we probably worry like this because we can feel that, at the root of it, we don't have control. But after this month's experience I find that so freeing. Isn't it nice to know that it isn't in our control? That it isn't our job to control that event, or that person, or that timeline?

As I've said above we have enough of a battle if we just try and control ourselves, our bodies will let us down on that point - it has it's own stuff to deal with and do. Our brains often let us down, not being able to remember that famous persons name on the telly 'ooooh what have they been in? what have they been in? I know the face....I just can't place it...', or coming up with a great point an hour after an argument has ended, when you can't implement it. Our emotions often let us down, how many apologies have each of us made in our lifetimes for saying something we didn't mean in the heat of the moment or 'god damnit why am I crying right now? That's the last thing I want to do. Grrrr'. And of course by 'let down' I don't mean that it's a let down at all, I just mean that I've learned disappointment can only follow if you choose to control anything rather than just ALLOW!

That's the point of this whole post I suppose, to ALLOW, 
and then go from there.

You wondering about the seagulls yet?

Well as I've only just got back to working on my project, or doing any creative work, I decided to open the outdoor studio tonight. 


I got in there just before it turned dark.
And all the sky was grey. Gloomy, but in it's own way beautiful.
The sun was low as it was beginning to set, giving the place that 'winter sunlight' that reflects so brightly off of the snow (when it's around)
And then suddenly there was a hundred seagulls
At least
Bouncing around like floating lightbulbs
Their white bellies being lit up by the low sun, against the cloudy grey backdrop
Making them look like fairy lights in the dark.

And every one,
Every single one
Was just riding the wind
Bobbing
Flowing
Drifting
Twisting and turning at the current's will.

They were all allowing.

Every one
Every single one
Riding the wind
Not flapping, not flying, not caring if they were separated from the flock, not controling.
The sky was FULL of seagulls. In every direction.

Little bright lights filling the sky through their roaming

I wish I had caught it on camera
But I was too busy watching and understanding what it was meaning to me:
It meant a sharp contrast between animal, and human, behaviour. It meant a lesson in remembering to live from instinct and intuition, rather than restriction and control.

It meant I forevermore have a visual in my mind to remind me just to let go
(you can't control it anyway), 
and allow.




Friday, 28 November 2014

My Daily Journaling Practice...n Stuff

Hi guys
How's everyone enjoying Black Friday? The mania has hit the UK this year too, I think thanks to Amazon - when they rolled out their daily deals what other store then stood a chance without a reduction bonanzoo? So this year they've learnt and everywhere is crazipops. Here's my Black Friday purchases:

New microphone for all art-related vids and webcam for improving the quality of my Monthly Challenge video offerings =) 

I'm not gadgety but aren't they just the little cutest things? Speaking of cute, this was my boy as I was opening the boxes:

oooooooh so cute and smushable (which he did get, several in fact)

What did you get?? Anything juicy n arty??
I've not done much arting this week, as after our 7 day challenge I needed a bit of a breather - here is the first of the 7 Day Videos if you haven't seen them and want to take up the challenge:



But what I have been doing is keeping up with my daily journaling practice, which includes arting:
what my practice looks like

(I shared it briefly on the 'Day 8' Video I posted privately on the Page on Journal Workshops for the Bonus Challenge, so you can check it out here if you'd like: 
I know, Day 8 for a 7 Day Challenge ??? but hey I'm loony it's allowed!)

specially made daily journaling set up

I'm really proud of myself for sticking to this, regardless of what else is going on I have done it, everyday, for quite a while now.
*Pat on the back to meeeeeee*

So I guess that's all for now, this weekend I shall be filming the new Monthly Challenge video ready for the 1st, with my new gadgety get up (wish me luck getting it all connected n working lol!) 
Happy weekend,  much love

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Tell All Tuesday ~ Featured Artist: Tracey Lee

Hi guys
last tuesday of November HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?? lol
but it is tuesday so here's a fab artist interview for you - check out these bears, I'm in love!!

Tell us a little bit about yourself & what kind of artist you are.
I have always found it hard to put into words what kind of artist I am. I love all mediums and I like to try everything. I never follow patterns or rules, I just see an image in my head and go for it. I have had no formal training. Like most kids I learnt how to knit and sew before starting school. After mum had done all her chores she would pull out a box of wool and bits and pieces and we would play. Before I knew it I had created something for my dolls to use. I have never known restrictions on creating. So I guess I’m a free form artist. I love spinning fibres into beautiful wearable art and I never repeat the same thing twice. I love that there is only one of it’s kind out there. At the moment I’m very much into making books, journals with secret compartments and different handmade papers inside for people to add to and make it their own. I like to create art that people can interact with and add their own flavour too. Art that keeps on giving.



What is the biggest challenge you personally face as an artist and how do you overcome it?
My biggest challenge is getting started. Especially when all my ideas come to me at night when it’s too late to start anything. At times I do. My husband and I will be chilling watching a movie and then I jump up turn all the lights on and start pulling everything out of my stash, spreading beads, threads, wool and paper all over the dining table and just going for it. If I don’t and the notion passes and its lost forever. My husband is quite used to it now lol.


Do you ever lose your mojo, and if so, how do you get it back?
Yes, I do lose my mojo and it’s a horrible feeling! I hate! When I do, I like to surround myself with other creative people. Even if it’s just chatting about their last creation. Their passion on what they do normally rubs off. Or I will get on line and see what the rest of the world is up to, but nothing beats it more than going into a fantastic book store and running my fingers through the books in the Arts and Crafts section getting inspiration from endless possibilities.


What advice would you offer to any perspective new artist?
I would have to say don’t be afraid to just start creating. Don’t put yourself into an “ Artist" category, get rid of the labels until you know who and what you are. Be and do what comes natural to you. Don’t worry if your friends and family don’t get it (as its them that’s missing out) for there will always be someone who loves what you do. It took me many years to overcome this, so don’t be hard on yourself and just enjoy the creative journey. 


Tell us where can we find out more about you & your art?
You can find me at 
www.traceylee.com.au I have face book and a blog. I’m a bit naughty not keeping my blog updated, but I’m hoping to get better.

Thanks so much for sharing your art and work Tracey, as I said at the intro, I am in LOVE with your bears! Doll making is so on my creative to do list, but like all of us there is a bunch of other stuff on there I want to do & art journaling and journal making is always my first love so it gets sidetracked but seeing those gorgeous creations gets me inspired for it again - even if all I do is sketch a couple of ideas in my ideas journal so thank you so much for that =)

Do you want to see your work here?
To be featured email me or find all the details here =)

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Tell All Tuesday ~ Featured Artist: Lisa & Yolanda

Hi Guys
Welcome to todays TAT post, but before we get into it it's CONFESSION TIME! I have had these ladies (yep today you get two lovely artists!) TAT interview for a shamefully long time, due to placing it in a wrong email folder (see technology isn't all that, filing issues still happen when we go paper-free!), so I want to publicly apologise to these ladies who I first met on online what feels like aggggeeees ago now & who are lovely not to mention talented. Sorry, sorry, sorry, with puppy dog eyes & trembling lip on top!
Please enjoy their interview =)

Tell us a little bit about yourself & what kind of artist you are.
Our names are Lisa and Yolanda, and we are lionpaw55 on YouTube. We are a married lesbian couple who love to create art using different multidisciplinary approaches. It is a common sight to see us crafting together in our scrap room as we enjoy challenging ourselves with the different colors, papers, techniques, and themes. That being said, "who are we as artists?" Lisa is a multimedia artist. She is also a bookbinder and paper crafter. Her art style is Impressionism, and she loves to draw buildings and villages.  As for me, Yolanda, I am multimedia artist too. I enjoy creating multimedia on canvas, encaustic wax painting, 3D animation skits/plays, and some bookbinding. My style is influenced by a mish mosh of various art movements.

Mixed Media Canvas by Yolanda

What is the biggest challenge you personally face as an artist and how do you overcome it?

The biggest challenge Lisa faces is not to put everything on a project. When she begins a piece, she doesn't even want to stop crafting until she is finished. It is also hard for her to stop thinking about future ideas while she is working on a current one. I really don't know if I have one as I look at everything I do as a learning experience. When I begin a project it is difficult for me to choose which idea I should try to do. I decide upon my direction, generally, when it feels right to me. 

Bookbinding by Lisa

Do you ever lose your mojo, and if so, how do you get it back?
No, Lisa doesn't lose it at all. She feels that she doesn't have enough time to create and craft because she already has the next project or two planned out. Do I ever lose my mojo? No, I don't. At best, I am usually very distracted by a new art technique or mediums that I want to incorporate into my artwork.

3D Art by Yolanda

What other issues to you overcome to accomplish your art?
Other issues Lisa overcomes to accomplish her art is broadening her spectrum of colors that she enjoys using in her projects.

What is the best thing that art has brought into my life?
Lisa discovering and sharing her enjoyment of creating mixed media with me.

Mixed Media Tags by Lisa

Tell us where can we find out more about you & your art?
You can find my art on our YouTube Channel: lionpaw55
We would like to thank Jennibellie for giving us her support, and a chance to introduce ourselves and artwork. Until then, we hope that some of you will stop by and say "hello" on our YouTube channel: lionpaw55.

Thank you so much ladies, and again I'm so sorry for misplacing your interview I feel so awful, but thankful I didn't actually delete it lol thank you for sharing and you know what? I think you guys are one of the first ever to say you don't lose your mojo, and for both of you to say it it made me think that you guys probably have a huuuuuge advantage by having your partner interested in the same hobbies as you...or at least even if you are working in completely different mediums at times, it's still similar enough so that both of you are interested in what the other is creating. Completely awesomesauce thanks guys =)


Do you want to be TATed?
Email me or click the link to find all the details here =)


P.S We're now into day 3 of my 7 Day Art Journaling Challenge
(http://journalworkshops.ning.com/group/monthly-challenge/forum/topics/november-2014-bonus)
 which I haven't mentioned on here except to announce it so here's the video of where were currently at - come join us anytime =)

Friday, 14 November 2014

Ready, Set, Go!

Okay, I've only got one thing to post about for this week's ramble, and I might as well explain in via this video:



So I shall see you tomorrow
Woohoo!

To join the Monthly Challenge Group:
1. Sign Up to Journal Workshops if you haven't already - http://journalworkshops.ning.com/
2. Once approved (I try to be quick creating your account) you just need to hit the 'Join Monthly Challenge' Button that is at the the top when you click into the Monthly Challenge Group (http://journalworkshops.ning.com/group/monthly-challenge) & you'll get to see all the fabulous stuff that's in there immediately =)

Much love





Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Tell All Tuesday ~ Featured Artist: Penny A. Bragg

Hi guys
Welcome to todays Tell All Tuesday Artist Interview, whoop!
It's Remembrance Day and today always make me feel like it's a day to be thankful. Of course for those people of past that we perhaps never even knew, but who may have had a great impact on our lives as we know them today, but also to be thankful for today, and everything in it. I am grateful for you guys, for artists who want to share their stories here and for other artists who want to listen. I am grateful for artists, for people, who get me, and for people who just get each other who may not (or even need to) meet.
Everyday I am feeling this appreciation grow & grow, stronger & stronger, I am thankful for you. 
Thank you for being you.

Tell us a little about yourself and what kind of artist you are.
I was born and raised in northern California, but now reside in Florida. While I have always had my hands and feet in creative endeavors, it was a recent tragedy in my life that somehow unearthed my work as a mixed-media artist. After battling mental illness for years, my younger brother took his own life in December, 2011. As a way of grieving and healing, I picked up my brushes, pencils, and pens and began to work through my pain and loss.


What is the biggest challenge you personally face as an artist and how do you overcome it?
My greatest challenge as an artist is rooted in experiences from my past...when I was told, in so many words, that my art (and my writing) wasn't “good enough”...and that no one would ever really want what I created. It has taken me a long time to forge ahead and believe otherwise. The encouragement of friends and fellow artists have been key. This year I have also participated in LifeBook 2014 and that has greatly encouraged me. I also had to learn to fight off old feelings with prayer and verses from the Bible that encourage me.

What is your greatest personal achievement either in your art, or because of it?
I feel that an essential achievement has been learning to grieve and heal from the pain of losing my brother so traumatically. It takes a lot of hard, intentional work to find peace and hope. One specific thing I have almost completed is the writing and publishing of a grief response journal entitled, "For Those Who Weep," which contains my art and writing. In addition, through my local hospice and the non-profit organization my husband and I started, I now facilitate free art classes for people who are grieving traumatic loss from either suicide, murder, or accidental death. All the proceeds from my Etsy prints and cards are used to fund these free classes.


What do you most wish your art to achieve?
Through my art I long to offer hope to those who, like me, have lost a loved one. I want to help those whose hearts are broken to find healing and strength and to honor my brother's life. I also want to bring glory to God and to make scripture come alive on the canvas.


Tell us where we can find out more about you and your art?
I created a blog in my brother's memory at www.ForThoseWhoWeep.com
My Etsy Shop: (all proceeds are donated to fund free art classes)

Thank you Penny for opening your heart to us and sharing your art and your love, which I think is very evident in the route you have taken since your loss. You have created something wonderful from something devastating, and I hope you manage to bring much healing to many people through your free classes. I am again thankful that there are people like you in the world.


Do you want to join the fabulous 
list of Tell All Tuesday interviewees??
To be featured email me or find all the details here =)

Friday, 7 November 2014

Ramble in Pictures

Hi guys
Thought I'd do Weekly Ramble in pictures this week, as I am falling asleep at the keyboard! Soooooooo my arty week has looked like this:

Return to the 'Wall Project'
(new walls were cleaned and cleared so I reappeared to cover them up again):

Sneaky Peek at the next fabulous Challenge
as hinted at in the Monthly Challenge Group:

Rearranging of my indoor art space:

And last snuggles of the year in my outdoor art space
(nooooo winter go awwwwwwayyyyyy!):

TTFN, off for a loooooong chillax before I really do fall asleep at the computer and delete this post lol, but you'll see me before next week on here, as I'll be releasing arty goodness that is the mid-month challenge I've been working on, whoop! =) laters

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Tell All Tuesday ~ Featured Artist: Denise Cassano

Hi guys
Happy Tuesday =) tuesday here means TAT day but I'm not gonna lie to you, I feel really funky junky funk today! Not sure what's going on, tried numerous ways to get out of it/shift it/ignore it completely and just enjoy myself. Nada! I'm honestly telling you this TAT interview has been the best thing I've come across to lift my junky mood a lil and get me motivated! 
Serendipitous you may say.
I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did =) 

Tell us a little bit about yourself & what kind of artist you are.
I am an illustrator & art teacher in New York and mommy to two adopted dogs. I am personally interested in narrative art- telling a story through pictures and words, details, textures and mood. I lean towards dark, ambiguous images that may be interpreted in different ways. I primarily work in oil, but have had success with graphite and watercolor. Working with children for the past 20 years, I see how they intuitively intertwine words and images, which lead me to investigating transmediation. It means seamlessly moving between symbol systems, i.e. images and words. Coincidentally, that’s what you do with your beautiful journals! More recently I have been working on painting dog sculptures. I have two rescue dogs and I volunteer at a shelter, so dogs are very important to me. My new series will include dogs and Art Deco motifs. Maybe that’s the influence Downton Abbey is having on me, who knows!


What is the biggest challenge you personally face as an artist and how do you overcome it?
Producing a body of work that is cohesive and that I am proud of. Most people want to sell, as I do, but what is much more important to me is that I have produced many pieces I can stand behind. This is probably the challenge most artists have, regardless of the medium or style. I remember an art professor I had in Venice, he said, “We all have 24 hours in the day: 8 hours for work, 8 hours for sleep, you have to decide how to spend the other 8.” I think that is the point. If you live with purpose and are aware of how you spend your time, you will make time for making art. My wake up call was this spring realizing that it was many months from the last time I finished a painting. I made the decision to work every day. What does that mean? For at least one hour every day I work on my blog, paint, clean my studio, try new materials, draw in my sketchbook, etc. Something creative. In my opinion it is much more important to have small but steady incremental steps than to have fits and starts, with no direction. But that doesn’t happen unless you intentionally make a commitment to make art. Until I can make art full time I have to be careful how I make my schedule. That means I may have to say no to other things, and that’s ok. Think about it, in your final days, what will you regret: Not having spent more time on Facebook, or not having made more art? I have never regretted a minute I spent creating. It’s like anything else- you have to make the time.


Do you think you have achieved a uniquely recognizable style as an artist, or do you find it a struggle to find your own style?
Yes, I think this is common problem. You can see from my art that there is a range. One reason is that there are too many materials, options, new ideas, and techniques that pop up all the time. It’s the Shiny Penny Syndrome- you are focused on thing, and then get distracted by some other ‘shiny’ object. The problem? Nothing gets done. It is easy to be distracted. I don’t think you can ever be prolific at anything unless you narrow down what you are doing. That doesn’t mean to close yourself off to other artists or ideas or materials- but if you keep changing your mind as to what you want to do, you’ll never be at the highest level you can. In a nutshell, I’ve realized I need to focus on less things, but do them better than anyone else. I need to see it through. The other reason I think it is difficult to narrow down a style is as soon as something is difficult, or does not turn out the way you intended, our tendency is to shift gears, give up and go in another direction. Maybe that is the exact time we should push through and see what happens. I made an analogy to a musician friend of mine. I said, “ Do you think you have to write a lot of bad music before getting to the really good stuff?” He laughed and said, “Yeah I do, tons, but you just have to get through it.” Bottom line, art is a work of love, but work none-the-less. So I have to tell myself what I tell my students, “Less talking, more working.”


What inhibits you most from being the artist you want to be?
I call it ‘negative speak”, you know, the voice in your head that needs to get a life. I have an artist friend of mine who went back to art school at the age of 42, after working in banking (ugh!). She is a little insecure about her ability. I said to her, “Look, when you see an amazing piece of art, remember that the artist was once a beginner and it took years to get to that point- you didn’t see the 500 bad versions he made.” I think about that when the voice calls. I have a quote posted in my studio, “What one man can do, another can do.” Immerse yourself with positive, creative people. That’s why I like Tim Gunn so much. All of us can learn from him- don’t be intimidated by others, be inspired!


Tell us where can we find out more about you & your art?
My Facebook 

Thank you so much Denise, as I said at the beginning you really motivated me with your interview. I'm so glad that I now of one more encouraging art teacher on this planet (I was not blessed with one myself), you've inspired me enough to put in a lil time arting this eve (when I might have just buried myself in chocolate instead) so I'm off like speedy-gonzales, thank you xx

Do you want to see your work here?
To be featured email me or find all the details here =)
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