Life as a Pilgrim

Life is full of many ups and downs, some controllable and others not. We have to accept the good with the bad. After all, does one without the other even mean anything?

The word bliss keeps been popping into my head a lot lately, so I’ve been exploring what this actually means to me. Bliss is a magnified state of joy, and happiness.  Being an artist I’m following my dreams and my passion and this gives me extreme happiness, is this bliss? I have an amazing family and husband that support my ventures, is this bliss? I wake up every day, happy and ready for another day (well almost! No one’s perfect! Come on!). Is this bliss?

All these things ARE amazing, and they all add to my happiness. They are important contributions to what I need as a human being. (Surprisingly we need more than our phones to survive! Gosh!) I’m not blissful because I have money or a nice house (Although I am thankful for the roof that shelters me from this dreadful snow and cold!). Bliss comes from connections we make, with ourselves, in relationships, and through our achievements. Living a blissful life is a journey.

A couple years ago I went on a journey, a solo adventure. Time; just for me. (Selfish?) I was gone for a few weeks and I walked the entire ‘El Camino de Santiago’ in Spain. (I’m not sure why some people think walking 800km is crazy?!) While this is an old pilgrimage, I walked with my own spiritual beliefs. If you’ve never heard of it, firstly, let me say how amazing and beautiful it is.  Secondly I believe everyone needs to do something like this walk. It took me 34 for days to walk 800km. Walking was the only constant each day. The days also brought challenges, rewards and surprises.(Oh and achy muscles, and blisters…lots of blisters!!! But also wine, lots and lots of wine! It’s all about balance right?)

I learned so much about myself and other people. (And not just that I love wine, well I already new this!) I started to learn what we, as human beings need in life. I say ‘started’ as there is so much to learn still. It’s difficult, and not every day it’s possible, but most days I live with positivity and enjoyment. There is something good to be taken from most days; we just have to have our eyes open to see it. This lesson and many others, I learned on ‘El Camino’ (The Way) and they stand with me today.

After my days of walking I would journal my experiences, emotions and learning’s, and below I have written something that reflects my adventure. I haven’t shared much of my journal with anyone, until now, I hope you enjoy.

 

Life as a Pilgrim

The journey was long, and my body aches; sickness, exhaustion.

The tears from the sky soak through to my bones.

I made a mistake, what am I doing?

Self-doubt, worry and confusion

There’s no one to lean on, just myself.

My strength feels dry, has every drop left me?

Guilt smoothers me for the loved ones I left at home.

I’m moving; my legs are taking me somewhere.

Each step is heavy with unknown, uncertainty.

The weight of gravity pulls on my heart.

Thoughts unbearable, I can’t do this.

My breath has stopped, I’ve forgotten how.

Hope! The sun breaks through, and the panic starts to fade.

Emotions flood my existence, excitement, sadness, nervousness

I need to disconnect; from last year; from my own thoughts; from life.

Pain sets in, fatigued muscles and worn out feet.

I’m climbing, mentally, physically… mentally.

My body is strong and is learning to push through.

Every struggle is rewarded, self-worth, self-love, self-trust

The connection is forcible, minute by minute.

Listen to your body and listen to your heart.

Every moment presents opportunity.

With eyes wide open, The Way shows me what I need.

I mimic a snail, slow, steady, just my home on my back.

I feel liberated, vitalized, exhilarated.

Everything is a state of mind.

Our choices need to come without expectations.

Happiness happens from living my dreams.

Let’s leave judgment at the door, and allow a path of poppies to guide my way.

Always chasing my shadow, and never able to catch it

Control is difficult; take a step of acceptance towards tranquility.

The sun shines behind me, lighting my way.

Tears flow uncontrollably, but differently from earlier.

My life is like a jigsaw puzzle, now I’m enjoying putting together.

The universe guides me piece by piece.

Look, listen and learn.

Contemplation wonders if society flows as one river down a mountain,

Fast, together, without thought.

Surviving is not living

With simplicity comes calm, and with challenges comes rewards.

Each is their own sense of bliss.

Stay connected.

Peace arrives and I’m at one with the path.

Occasionally we need to leave something behind to find something new.

Perspective can change depending on the circumstances.

Trust, participate, discover.

I arrive at my destination, leaving confusion behind and gaining perspective.

Understanding

Only this chapter is written, not the book.

A blank page is waiting to mark my new steps.

The road doesn’t end in Santiago.

 

Click on the photo to enlarge

RAW: Natural Born Artist

I’m going to be a little naughty and post earlier than planned. But! I can, it’s my blog! Ha! Plus, it’s a snowy Saturday afternoon and I have nothing else to do.

 

 

 

I know there’s not many of you that are reading my tantalizing thoughts right now, but a girl can imagine that she’s talking to the world, can’t she? I’m hoping that one day there will be a whole whack load more of you to read the craziness of my mind. Uh oh, maybe I shouldn’t be inviting you into this sometimes  “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” brain. Too late now I guess, so, welcome!

 

 

 

Listen up my wonderful 9 followers! I have been accepted into a really cool indie show. There’s not much time to prepare, but I’m always ready for a challenge. Ask my husband, he hates the fact that I love hills, well in particular, I love walking UP the hills. Is that a little odd? Maybe, but that burn in the calf muscles and the struggle for your breath as your heart rate increases is just exhilarating to me! Haha!

 

 

 

Anyway, back to the topic in hand! I’m really excited that my submission was accepted and that I was selected by RAW: Natural Born Artists to showcase in one of their fabulous events. It’s coming up on 23rd March, and I hope those of you that are local, are able to make it!

 

 

 

This is an international company that supports emerging artists of all artistic fields; photography, visual art, fashion design, music, and much more all come together in one fantastic evening of EVERYTHING ART!!! How awesome is that??!! Maybe I’m biased being a painter and loving all things art, but I think it’s going to be such a fun evening and I couldn’t feel more lucky or happy to be a part of it.

 

 

 

The RAW project started back in 2009 and has been growing ever since in the USA, Canada, Australia, and the UK. Their mission is to help emerging artists gain exposure in the early part of their careers, and provides a platform in which all mediums and expressions of creativity come together on one great evening, helping them to be seen, heard and hopefully loved!

 

 

 

What an awesome thing to be a part of, and the only thing they ask of me is to sell a few tickets to help pay for overhead costs. I hope you’ll find it in your hearts to purchase a ticket and come support all these proactive local artists. Tickets are just $20, and can be purchased through the link below. (It would also help me in my sales for my contribution for the show)

 

 

 

www.rawartists.org/tickets/purchase/2181/314050

 

 

 

There will be everything from film screenings, to fashion shows, a pop up art gallery and other performance art. I can hardly wait to post an update at the end of March of my experiences. So, stay tuned you faithful followers you!

 

 

 

There’s more than you see to the painting….

The Painting…

I’m going to share a bit of a secret…
A lot of people believe artists just ‘are’, but that’s not really the whole truth. Sure, artists have a natural desire to create, but what we create isn’t always amazing. For some artists it does come more naturally, (lucky buggers!) but most of us aren’t automatically brilliant at rendering the ‘most photographic eye you’ve ever seen’, or at photographing the mountains in all its beauty with one shot, or to pick up a guitar one day and be able to make enchanting melodies. Even Jimmy Page learned the difference between D cord and an Em, before he played as well as he’s renowned for!

 

All artists start somewhere. They start with the unknown of how to play that guitar or put pencil to paper. We learn, we study, and we ask others that already have the knowledge. Then we practice, play, practice, and discover…. did I mention we practice? It takes many hours, days, and even years of repetition before we become proficient in our skills, and usually the end result of these many hours is the only thing that you, the audience sees. If only I could bottle and show you all the blood sweat and tears that goes into each painting! Actually, there isn’t a jar big enough!

 

One thing that is certain with all artists and that we have in common is the creative gene. The more we use it the more it grows and the more it grows the more we create, and the more we create the more it grows and …well, I think you get the picture! It’s addicting!!! I admit, I’m an art addict.

 

 

My playing around pieces.

 

 

We love what we do, partly for the reactions we receive from the audience, but mostly because we get to express ourselves. We find a sense of achievement in what we do, and feel lucky to share that with others. At least that’s how I feel. I am thankful for every buyer or viewer that admires and appreciates what I produce. A part of me lives in each piece I create. (And I’m not meaning the actual blood sweat and tears, just my passion for what I do 😉

Although, as artists we love what we do, not everything we create is a masterpiece. (Hard to believe I know! Ha!) I have days when I get frustrated, days when nothing seems to go right, and days when I can’t translate what’s in my head to my canvas; but these days are important and are part of the process and the journey.

The journey with my last painting was a little bit of a frustrating one. It saw its challenges and at one point I just couldn’t see how I was going to finish it. I’d started the painting knowing I was going away and wouldn’t be able to complete it. When I returned it was difficult to get back the connection with the painting, and I made mistake after mistake that I constantly had to ‘erase’. (I should add I also had to redo the background each time too. Grrrrr) so rather than to mess it up for another time I begrudgingly stepped away from the painting for a week, so I could refuel my creative juices. How do I refuel you ask! Well I played with my paints with no result in mind and I attended a workshop, where I could play some more with someone else’s guidance. It helped! It opened my eyes to a new direction and I was able redesign the painting a little. My 5th attempt at finishing this painting was a success! (Yes! 5 times I had tried to finish it.)

 

The Final Painting

 

 

 

So when you see the price on a painting, and you’re looking and admiring the workmanship, also wonder of their process and many hours were previously spent to get it there. Quite often the price doesn’t reflect the total number of hours it’s taken to paint it.

Is It Me?

I tend to not tell everyone everything I do, not because I embarrassed by it, and not because it’s a big secret, but mainly because I don’t enjoy repeating myself. Does that sound strange? Quite often I will have told one person, but then to tell more seems a little self-obsessed and indulgent, even though I realise the only person hearing it twice or more most of the time is me. Yet, when I’m asked directly about something, I’ll share everything with you, I’m just not very good at starting conversations that start with ‘Me, me me, let’s talk about me’. I know, I realise, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, it’s more like ‘Well, I’m amazing, and only what I am doing is important’. Haha. Seriously though, it’s something I struggle with. So, below is me stepping out of my comfort zone a little and sharing something that only a couple others know about.

When I opened the door recently to becoming an artist fulltime, I felt it was important to explore all creative sides of myself. After all, they are ALL so often linked anyway. The deeper meaning behind the painting or the experimentation of new materials that actually results in a piece of art that everyone loves and would pay money for. I’m still finding my footing as an artist, or at least this is what I am telling myself. Maybe ‘finding my footing’ is a life long journey as an artist of constant self-discovery and learning.

As a working artist, unfortunately, not all my time is spent with a brush in my hand (or rag in my case) in front of a canvas; part of my time is taken up with researching, and discovering new ways to showcase my work. Upon my surfing of the web, I discovered an art magazine ArtAscent, which supports emerging artists. This magazine publishes painters, photographers, sculptors and even writers. You’re probably assuming I entered the painter competition, aren’t you?! Well, you’d be right, lol, but more than that, I also entered the writer competition. My writing isn’t the best, but if I’m serious about this blogging, I should probably get better at it! Haha. So, what better way to practice! Below is what I entered.

Is It Me?

I lay here feeling lost

Overwhelmed by this life,

These thoughts are unpredictable and intimidating.

I need to remember my lessons learned, 

Don’t think, just move.

One step,

Then another.

 

It’s challenging to find my way,

Sometimes I’m lost in the darkness of own thoughts,

As I open my eyes I let the light shine through.

My eyes aren’t just open, I’ve awoken.

I see the yellow arrow and I follow. 

 

Now, here I stand, and I see myself,

I see who I am.

I know who I am, mostly.

And the parts I don’t know yet, I’m excited to discover.

 

Even with the rewards that each day offers, 

I can lose the arrow, and my path.

Impulse makes me pick up a paint brush, 

This is my path, I trust in my journey.

I stand staring at a canvas so white,

Waiting and ready to be a part of my journey.

Colour drips from my brush, starting its story.

I see a face, I feel like I know her.

I hear a whisper, she’s telling me her secrets.

Emotions express with every mark,

The lips of formed. Pursed and ready to share the joke.

The nose is wrinkled as the smile grows

Slight lines form in the brow, 

Then come the eyes, with laugh lines in the corners.

The whisper is louder so I look closer, 

This person is happy,

They’re smiling and its radiating,

The energy is flowing from the canvas.  

Wait, did I become my painting?

The painting and I are morphed into one.

I didn’t place anywhere in the competition, but I’m proud of myself for entering. I explored another side of my personality. I’ve always loved words and feel they have as much power as a painting to evoke an emotional response. These words are from the heart, and a part of my journey. Writing this poem was more than just entering a competition for me, it helped me in my path of discovering myself, reminding me; I can do this.

Inktober

INKTOBER!!! A reflection on perseverance and how practice makes perfect!

It’s good to challenge ourselves, and to be honest it’s easy to do things we do well and to have people compliment us for it. But where is the fun in that! Criticism is good for us, it helps us grow, by learning our strengths and weaknesses.

So for the month of October I challenged myself. Each day I used pen and ink to sketch something. Now, I can’t take credit for the idea. Inktober started in 2009 by Jake Parker, when he decided he wanted to improve his “inking skills and develop positive drawing habits.” It has since, become bigger than that, and many artists around the world join in, and post on their social media their daily (or weekly) achievements in pen and ink. So cool! What a great way to challenge myself connect with many artists globally.

I decided to extend the challenge a little more for myself, and I encouraged my followers to make their suggestions as to what I should draw next. AND! I have to tell you…some of them were not anything I would have ever drawn before, or thought to have drawn before. A bonsai tree, a scorpion, or the Eiffel Tower…who’d have thought! (Way too detailed and  boyish lol) All the suggestions were great, and although I wasn’t able to get through them all, I had fun (and sometimes not so much fun! haha) attempting them all. Thank you to everyones suggestions.

I posted all of them to my instagram, regardless of how good they were. I think its important to have a balance in this world, especially in the social media world, of the good and bad. Not everything I paint, sketch or create is perfect, but it’s part of my process. I want to share this message. I hope to inspire others to just try. We only get good with practice and perseverance.

You’ll find more than 31 sketches for the month of October, as I was having too much fun to stop! How great is that?! I am still sketching! (Some I played around with on my IPad adding colour)

Inktober was a great challenge that created a habit of me frequently picking up my sketchbook and pen. During the month of October I was also laid up with a really bad back. No position was comfortable, and I was in a lot of pain, but art got me through it. Some days it actually took me all day to do one 45 minute sketch. I’d only be able to do a little at a time, but perseverance pushed through. (oh and maybe a little stubborness too, but we won’t dwell on that!) Sketching and having  a project kept me sane when all I could do was lay on the floor.

You could say, Inktober became more theraputic-tober, or perseverance-tober or or or practice-tober!!!…. no? ok ok, I’ll stop now! :0)

Challenge yourself and see what you discover. I’d love to hear of others experiences!

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1st Market!

I’m putting myself out there! As an artist I feel it’s important to try all avenues that interest us. So when it comes to selling art I ready to try all avenues. Even as an artist I do this, try, experiment, learn and be inspired from as many sources and experimentations as possible.

I’m on a journey right now and I’m learning and discovering what works for me, and what doesn’t. Where to sell my art, and where to get it seen. It’s a journey I am enjoying. Life is all about discovery.

When I signed up for the market I wasn’t sure it would be up my street. It’s scary to be in front of people…or so I thought. BUT!!!!…… I LOVED it! And I plan to try more markets in the future. Feeling pretty lucky and thankful right now.

 

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Commission Mural Painting

I was recently asked by a close friend of mine to paint a tree in her baby room. They’re expecting their first and I felt very honoured to be able to paint this for them and their new addition.

I’ve never painted a mural before, and was excited to try it. I enjoyed every minute of it, probably because I don’t get to paint so big very often, and its something I’d love to do again! …maybe a new part of my future?

There was obviously some requests, and guidelines, but my personal goal was to create something more whimsical…hopefully you’ll think I achieved it!

 

 

Sketchbook Project: El Camino de Santiago

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A little project to work with images I took during a walk I made last year. It is a 800km hike across Northern Spain called El Camino de Santiago. It was amazing!!! and i took so many pictures, I started putting future painting ideas together in this sketchbook of work. Loved re-living my walk as I created each of them; trying to incorporate the feeling and spirit that captured the image.