Things I Love

Things I Love: Week One

I have a wide range of interests and things that I love, so I thought I would start posting each week about what I’m loving at the moment. (Please note: These do not include affiliate links these are just the things that are bringing joy to my life this week.)

Patreon – I love supporting other artists and authors each month, and I especially love the special treats I receive as a patron. Here are some wonderful artists/writers you can check out: Lucy Chen, Cristin Chambers, Sarah Trumpp (Wonderstrumpet), Effy Wild, and Gwenda Bond.

Yo Soy Candle – These are by far my favorite candles. This company is a one-woman-owned, small business, and the candles are made from earth conscious materials. My favorite part besides the luscious scents? You can reuse the jars to store items (even art supplies!) and have encouraging “I AM” statements throughout your home. My favorite right now is the new coffee bean scent and the equally inspiring jar of “I AM” matches. Check out Leslie’sMother’s Day gift sets and her subscription club.

The Aqua Notebook – This is the newest poetry collection from one of my favorite authors, Tasha Cotter. I love the way this collection is structured by specific moments in time, and how the language of each poem denotes the passing of time in subtle but beautiful ways.

Here are a few of my favorite lines so far (shared with permission from the author):

  • “…she wrote extensively; in her diaries, sorting her soul away; from the experience of living.”
  • “The past branches off, ends in green; bud – as if that end was what was meant to happen all along.”
  • “I do my job and get rinsed free; of feeling. The messiness that is in me; still hides underneath. Sitting at my desk; I know something’s missing.”
  • “We sat there, in silence, sensing; a disaster, both not wanting to admit it; and give the moment that kind of power.”
  • “And when I tell others I don’t; care, there’s a part of me; that breaks off from the whole; damaged.”
  • “There is fury to this love, a good madness; in the strong will of a woman.”

A Discovery of Witches – the book and the show – I binge-watched the new show on Sundance Now and loved it. The book had been on my reading list for quite some time, and I loved the show so much, I decided to buy it. I’m about 100 pages in, and I love the book as much as I love the show. The descriptions are incredible, and I really like to have the images of the characters and place in my mind as I read.

Sketchbook Revival – I took part in this last year, and it was incredible. I learned that a creative practice can be made up of just about anything, and that it didn’t have to result in a pristine, finished product. I love learning all the different ways to bring more creativity into my life through these sessions. Though I’ve been very busy with novel revisions, I’ve been dipping into the sessions to free up my mind and bring some joy into my day. Sketchbook Revival is the creative genius of artist Karen Abend and is free and still going on for the next few days. You can sign up here.

I hope you liked these suggestions. I’m looking forward to sharing more things that I love with you each week.

And now for a novel update. Right now, I’m working through a third revision of the novel, and my goal is to have it completed by the end of next week. Then, I will be sending it off to the beta readers. Yikes!

Art, Ever After 2018

Kuan Yin: Final

Today I was feeling more energetic and focused. I finished editing a chapter of a friend’s novel, and then finished up my #KuanYin #oilpastel painting from Lucy Chen’s #EverAfter2018 lesson.

It’s interesting how creative energy ebbs and flows. Through this daily creative practice, I’m learning to create despite the energetic highs and lows. Sometimes, just the act of sitting down and starting will jumpstart the flow. Other times, I am aggravated throughout the process, and I am learning to be aware of when it is time to stop and come back to it another day. My intention with this daily practice is to create something. It does not have to be good, nor does it have to be complete.

I’ve never worked with oil pastels, and I’m amazed how they seem to transform themselves on the page. Pure magic. I adore this #KuanYin painting. She is one of my favorites so far. It helps that she came at the perfect time when I was very much in need of compassion.

 

Art, Ever After 2018

Kuan Yin: Day Three

For my creative practice, I completed step one and step two of adding color to my #KuanYin oil pastel from Lucy Chen’s #EverAfter2018 lesson.

Today I proved to myself that if I just sit down and start at any time, I will get something accomplished. I did not want to create anything today. I was very, very resistant. So, much later than usual, I decided to just sit down and start the video. Two hours later, I had made quite a bit of progress. I also learned that I love working with oil pastels a lot, and the ones that I am using are just the Pentel Arts brand that I bought for about $6.00!

Art, Ever After 2018

Kuan Yin: Day Two

I’ve had quite a frustrating time with my creative practice today. I continued with the Lucy Chen’s #KuanYin #EverAfter2018 lesson. I actually got angry with myself as I attempted to sketch the second hand over and over again for several hours and just could not get it right. I decided to just leave it and move on to sketching other aspects of the painting. Though my intention was to start adding color today, I recognized that I needed to walk away and come back to it another day when I’m not feeling so frustrated. I remember Marielle Stolp saying in her style development lessons not to trust what we see. That it is best sometimes to set something aside and come back to it later. When we come back to it later on, we will often have a different perspective.

Art, Ever After 2018

Kuan Yin: Day One

I have made the decision to continue with a daily creative practice in August. My intention for the month is to participate in some form of creative activity every day and to post about it here on my blog.

I like posting what I create in stages not only so that I can see my own progress, but also so other beginning artists can see the process of another beginning artist. When I was an MFA student, we had a guest writer come in and give us copies of a first draft of one of his chapters from his published memoir. It was incredible to see the difference between his first draft and what was published. I carry that experience with me and draw from it any time I start to get to caught up in perfectionist first drafts both in my writing and art. I wish more people would share the stages of what they create – especially in writing – so that we could all see real examples of what Anne Lamott calls “Shitty First Drafts.” Maybe then we wouldn’t be so afraid of our own.

For today’s creative practice, I began Lucy Chen’s Kuan Yin lesson from Tamara Laporte’s Ever After 2018 course. This sketch took much longer than I anticipated, but I like how it’s going so far.