stand your ground

what came to me in this piece was determination, courage, setting your own course and standing your ground

I love Saturday mornings, especially when no one else is up yet and the house is quiet. I actually got to enjoy a full cup of hot tea. Typically, I’m rushing around in the mornings, trying to get out the door for work, and I only get a couple of sips before my tea goes completely cold. I opened the windows and let in some fresh air and  spent some time looking at the work of artists I admire – Toni Burt, Tamara LaPorte, Jane Davenport, Kelly Rae Roberts, etc. Their work seems flawless, and I began feeling like I have so much to learn! I’ve been experimenting with acrylics and watercolor lately and am not great at using either, but it’s been fun and interesting exploring how to blend, mix, and add texture. I worked on the piece above for a couple of days after work until the wee hours of the morning – not quite happy with it, but I continue to remind myself that this is about enjoying the process and creating for the sake of creating! I find art incredibly therapeutic, but often approach it like work. I have to get it right and get it done quickly, efficiently. The completely wrong mindset, right? In any case, what came to me in this piece was determination, courage, setting your own course and standing your ground. I generally hate conflict – I want everyone to live and breathe harmony, which unfortunately, is not possible in this world, especially when you work with prideful, inflexible, rigid people.

At work this week, I was faced with a difficult situation that made me feel, for lack of better words, completely yuck. Dealing with difficult clients is not my forte and is such a drain! I knew that I was putting my best foot forward and was determined not to let what was clearly the other party’s issues become an attack on my person and heart. It wasn’t easy, and it will continue to be a tenuous situation, but I believe that I’ll handle it with grace and authenticity, even if the other is blind to it. Well, that’s enough of that. I look forward to making art over the weekend and recharging. There is so much more to life than letting arrogance bring you down. May you have a lovely weekend doing what you enjoy!

Cheers!

be who you are

if I could tell my younger self anything, I’d say be who you are

It’s taken me half my life to feel comfortable in my own skin. If I could tell my younger self anything, I’d say, “be who you are.” I drew and painted this piece in celebration of living your own truth, finding your most authentic self, and doing what makes you happy.

Cheers!

soul care

i’m grateful for this period of creativity in my life

I had never heard of ‘soul care’ until this morning as I was listening in to the Possibilitarian podcast hosted by artist, Kelly Rae Roberts, and Nichole Poinski. A light went off in my head as I contemplated why I feel so tired much of the time. Giving of yourself constantly is draining. I realized that I’m deficient in soul care. I think soul care is making a habit of practicing self-kindnesses, taking time to connect with your heart, and engaging in what feeds your soul and uplifts you. It’s finding ways to refuel and energize emotionally, physically, spiritually, and psychologically. I’m convinced that I’ll never have balance in my life – it’s just not possible. I have a job that’s extremely demanding, and at the end of the day, my light is barely flickering. I’m always just hovering over burnout. During this season of my life, I may not be able to change that, but I can counteract the fatigue by changing little things. I’ve decided that at bedtime, I’m going to identify five things that I did well during the day instead of checking my work emails or thinking through my to-do list for the next day. Maybe I responded with grace to a negative conversation with someone instead of reacted out of defensiveness. Maybe I took a 15 minute walk during my lunch break, which I rarely take away from my desk. I can try harder to practice gratitude instead of looking at all the things that are weighing me down. Tonight, I”m grateful for this period of creativity in my life. I don’t know how long it’ll last, but I’m grateful for the spark. I finished this little piece tonight. It’s interesting to see how something turns out, as it never ends up the way I expect, and I have to silence the self-critic. But I remind myself that art is a process, and l’m growing. And, the inspiration that comes with it is gratifying.

Cheers…

dreaming of taipei

one day I’ll return to Taiwan; until then I can dream.

This is a light sketch I drew this morning. The inspiration behind it is the reunion in Taipei, Taiwan, that I had with my birth family in 2012. Unfortunately, I haven’t been back since. I met my two older biological sisters and their spouses, my older brother, my uncle, and nieces and nephews after nearly three years of searching. My birth parents had both passed away, so I did not have the opportunity to meet them, although my sisters gave me photos of them. Our reunion occurred during the Lunar New Year. I long to go back and visit my family, thus the silhouette of the Taipei skyline sitting in the background. I drew the silhouette from a vector I found on Google. The tall building with the spire on top is Taipei 101, a landmark super tall skyscraper in Xinyi District, Taipei. I believe it’s still the second tallest building in the world (the first one being in Dubai). My sisters took me to this architectural wonder. There were floors and floors of high end shopping and larger than life murals of models advertising Burberry and designer fragrances. It was fantastic fun and good eating.

dreamingI later painted the drawing and didn’t like the way it turned out. I actually like the sketch better because of its simplicity. Oh well, it’s good to keep practicing. One day, I’ll return to Taiwan. Until then, I can dream.

silence between the notes

It is a beautiful, cloudy day in the Pacific Southwest. I’m enjoying a morning cup of Earl Grey with my paints and brushes. I’ve been art journaling almost daily lately and wish that I could spend my days drawing rather than working. Sigh…I was telling my husband that I’d really love my own art studio and to take some classes, but for now, I’m happy dabbling at my dining room table. I’m never completely satisfied with what I create, but it’s fun to experiment, and figure out my own personal style. Hoping to invest soon in more art supplies so that I can explore even more. I love Claude Debussy’s quote, “Music is the silence between the notes.” So it is in life – silence is where I often find inspiration.

mother daughter love

little did I know that she would bring such joy, healing, and singular love

One of the best things that has ever happened to me is having my daughter and being a mom. I lived in an orphanage for the first four months of my life and grew up to be an  extremely shy, introverted kid. I didn’t relate well to my peers and especially to adults. Many kids who grow up in orphanages have insecure attachments and grow up to have attachment difficulties as adults. I was often told that I was aloof and that no one felt that they could connect with me. I felt a deep sense of shame because I was constantly perceived as someone with a “vanilla” personality or a wall flower. When my daughter was born, something changed not only physically but spiritually and emotionally within me. Little did I know that she would bring such joy, healing, and singular love into my life. She is truly my light and taught me so much about life and about myself. Mother daughter love is for her and grew out of something I’ve wanted to create for awhile.  I’m so grateful to be a mom. I often wonder what my birth mom was like and what our relationship would have been like had I ever had the opportunity to meet her. I’ve only seen her in my dreams and can only hope that she is in a better place now.

Cheers…

the warrior

shooting at the walls of heartache, bang bang, I am the warrior

I’ve been inspired lately by the podcast, Possibilitarian, hosted by artist and author, Kelly Rae Roberts, and her Community Care & Engagement Manager, Nichole (I need one of those). I love that the show is so authentic, and honestly, not that well produced – and I mean that in the most uncritical, appreciative way. It’s free-flowing, soul-to-soul dialogue on bravery, tenderness, and achievement. I feel as though I’m sitting in Kelly Rae’s living room having a heart-to-heart conversation with the hosts. In Episode Four, Kelly addresses a question from a listener who dabbles in multiple art forms and feels like she hasn’t yet found her personal style. There were so many things Kelly Rae shared that jumped out at me. Getting into a space of experimentation was the first thing. I don’t like to experiment primarily because I want whatever I create to turn out perfectly. Well, duh…that’s typically not how it goes, especially if you’re a novice like me. I tend to get in my own way. Kelly then spoke about studying the work of an artist(s) that you’re particularly drawn to and living in their style as a starting point. For me, that artist is Kelly Rae. I love her work. The other things that struck me were to keep going; to keep making really bad art until I’m not making bad art anymore, and with experimentation and practice, my style will emerge. To experiment for no other reason than for the pure joy of it. To create for the sake of creating. To silence the noise. That’s a hard one for me because I’m such a little perfectionist – I’m determined to to work on that. My take away is to enjoy the process. Emulate the work of artists who inspire me until my own personal style takes root.

The warrior came as a result of studying Kelly Rae’s art. I was experimenting and wanted to create something that reflected my heritage. Then the song, The Warrior, by Scandal came to mind. I loved that song in the 80’s. I reflected on all the things I’ve processed related to my adoption. Adoptees are warriors. We overcome separation and loss, grief and trauma, racism, identity issues, and other hurts due to not knowing our pasts. I don’t always feel like a warrior, and things don’t always make sense in life. But in art and music, that’s ok.