making space

matcha green tea wafflesHappy Friday! I’m thoroughly enjoying the beginning of a three-day weekend due to the Easter holiday. It couldn’t have come at a better time. I truly live for the weekends and recharging.

Today, I visited a new coffee shop, Roots Cafe Co., and tried their Matcha Green Tea Waffle. It was pretty yummy.  So glad I had the opportunity to make a visit today! Afterwards, I worked on an art piece that I drew last year. I’m feeling more comfortable painting these days and fuss less over mistakes. I used acrylics and watercolors primarily. One day, I’d like to have more time to experiment using some of the art journaling techniques I see on Tamara Laporte’s site, Willowing Arts. I love her work! I just don’t have the time to experiment with gel mediums and collaging, and all the fun stuff like fancy brushes, paints, inks, etc. add up!

I still have a long way to go in becoming more skilled at drawing and painting, but I really enjoy making space for creativity and exploration. And sure, it’s also self-care. Wishing you all a lovely Easter weekend!

Cheers…

melancholy

I haven’t had much time to draw over the past month, as work has really been keeping me busy. In fact, this has been the busiest season yet since moving to California in 2016. Last weekend, I really needed a creative break from reality. I’m experiencing not only how fun it is to draw and paint, but how much it relieves stress and anxiety in my own life. I struggle with social and performance anxiety, which is so ironic given the profession that I chose to work in. I’m surrounded by people all day long, working with clients, families, youth, co-workers, treatment teams, etc.  I put on a smile and very often, “fake it until I make it.” At the end of the day, I crave solitude. Just give me Netflix or Prime and a brownie-a-la-mode (or anything chocolate-y), and I’m good (totally obsessed with “Hanna” and “The Killing” on Prime).

Art can be not only a solitary activity, but used powerfully in group settings for self-exploration, to explore feelings, emotions or to simply let off some much needed steam. When I began the piece above, I was tired, feeling a bit melancholy, and just couldn’t put anymore into my brain. I set out to create something different, and the piece turned out to be one of my favorites. I’m continually struck by the fact that every once in awhile, I actually create something that I truly like. Most of the time, I’m pretty critical towards my own work and don’t like how a piece turns out. But this one I liked, despite the proportions not being exactly right, maybe a little off center. I think that explains my life to a tee right now. There are seasons where you feel that life is a grind, or you’re “killing time” to get to an end goal. These seasons come and go. What I try to hang on to during these rough patches is that ultimately, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. All of the bumps and curves along the way that were perhaps unexpected lead to a lot of growth.

What season are you experiencing right now? May you find something this day that brightens your inner being and brings you peace, even if it’s something as seemingly insignificant as a brownie.

Cheers…

Saturday Wait

Lately, I’ve been really digging Phoebe Bridger’s cover of Friday I’m in Love by The Cure. I love Indie-rock singer/songwriter, Phoebe Bridgers, who joined forces with two of Indie-rock’s other new songwriters, Lucy Dacas and Julien Baker to make the album, boygenius. Phoebe also teamed up recently with Conor Oberst to form Better Oblivion Community Center and record a new folk-rock album. The duo is currently on tour and performed at two sold out shows in Los Angeles.

The chorus of Friday I’m in Love goes like this:

Saturday wait

And Sunday always comes too late

But Sunday never hesitate…

You have to listen to the whole song, which I’ve linked below. It’s a happy little song about being in love. Bridgers does something very cool to the song, stripping it down to an acoustic tune built around a pedal point on G major, which is played softly on keyboard/piano. It has a quiet, lyrical feel to it. I sketched the piece above yesterday, Saturday, with this song in mind and inspired by Phoebe Bridgers. I don’t know her, of course, but I admire her talent, independent spirit and music. I’m sure that there is much more to come from this talented young artist. Have a listen below to Phoebe Bridger’s, Friday I’m in Love.

Cheers!

safe

A good friend once told me that I invite challenge and risk into my life. I was kinda surprised and had never thought that about myself. After letting her words sink in, though, I realized that there was some truth in what she said. I was grateful for her insight. I often leap into things or tasks, especially when inspired. I may or may not know all the facts or understand the depth of what I’m getting myself into, e.g., how much work it will require of me to accomplish said “thing.” Interestingly, someone else recently shared, it’s sometimes the amping up of starting something new that is most appealing, not necessarily the task or thing itself. I had to  unpack that, too. It made so much sense. Kicking off something new is like an adrenaline rush. I can’t even count the times I’ve taken on some new task only to ask myself later, “What was I thinking?!” I get carried away with inspiration.

I guess art is like that in a way. I’ve started this new journey, sketching and painting something new every weekend, but I realize that to get better, I need to take on a certain amount of risk.  I need to continually give myself increased permission to experiment without judgment. So hard! I’ve been keeping it safe. I feel like the piece above is just that. So, I’m going to purchase a couple of different sketchbooks, one for practice and experimentation, and the other for more refined work. I really do enjoy drawing so much and never get tired of learning. I know that there are oceans more to explore creatively, and I can’t wait to discover what more I can do. May you also take some risks in whatever fuels your passion(s)! Happy learning and creating!

Cheers…

picking grapes or sorting laundry

We have arrived at the first quarter moon! I only know this because the yoga teacher I follow posted a new yoga video called First Quarter Moon Practice: Aligning with the First Quarter Moon. I highly recommend visiting her website, Roaming Yogi, and checking out her wonderful yoga videos on YouTube.

Pencil sketch

One of the intentions I set at the new moon was to increase creativity and self-confidence, especially in my professional career as a social worker and therapist. As I worked on the piece above, I noticed that I carried less tension as I drew. I wasn’t nearly worried about making the piece perfect. And, as I began to paint, I didn’t rush, but gave myself permission to experiment a little with the acrylics without judgment and actually liked how it turned out. Typically, I prefer pencil sketching over painting, as I feel that the paint changes the sketch so much. I’m trying to be kinder to myself as I continue to explore my own creativity and grow as an artist.

The piece above was inspired by the following quote by B.E. White,

We should all do what in the long run gives us joy, even if it is only picking grapes or sorting the laundry.

I’m finding that as I focus on what brings me joy, I open myself up to increased creativity and new ideas, whether in my personal or professional life. Though I have not yet reached “the long run,” I’m slowing getting there everyday. What brings you joy and where are you in your journey towards the long run?? I hope that you are getting closer and closer if not already there!

Cheers!

full moon

I hope you’re enjoying the first full moon of 2019! I was driving along the freeway this evening and caught a glimpse of the supermoon just over the horizon. According to yoga teacher, Natalie Perez of Roaming Yogi, every single full moon gives us the chance to embrace changes and to let go. Since we’re experiencing the first full moon of the year, it’s the perfect time to reflect on our new year’s intentions. My intention was to bring more balance and strength into my life; however, during my morning yoga practice, I felt that I needed more courage, as this year, I’m stepping into a new role that I’m both excited and nervous about. It will require more time and energy I’m sure than I anticipated.

So, this morning, I began sketching and eventually tore up the sketch because it was just awful. What I wanted to draw just wasn’t happening. I started another sketch, which morphed into the work above, a kind of selfie. Nothing was flowing today, and I felt stuck, blocked. I think I’ve been afraid of experimenting for fear of messing things up. I remember an artist I follow said you have to make a lot of bad art before discovering your personal style. And of course, practicing and refining your skills requires time and patience. I get frustrated with my lack of improvement, but then remind myself to chill and just enjoy the process. As Henri Matisse quoted, “creativity takes courage.” Letting go and making bad art is part of the process in order to get to the good stuff, and that takes courage. It takes courage to try new things and to step outside of your comfort zone, to fail, but keep going.

So, my plan is to keep working on this piece, experiment, let go of perfection, judgment and self-doubt. To just flow with it. I hope to further bring courage into my new role. I start my first parent training group on February 1st. It will be a challenging, yet I hope, rewarding position. May you also find flow and courage to explore your creativity with abandon. Oh, and enjoy the full moon!

Cheers…

balance & power

May your 2019 be your happiest, healthiest and most peaceful year yet.

Hello and Happy New Year! It’s been a beautiful morning thus far. I started my morning with a hot cup of coffee and finished my first pencil sketch of 2019. It’s still a little rough, but I like how she’s turning out.

I’m thrilled to let go of 2018 and to usher in a brand new year. I don’t typically set New Year’s resolutions, but I have set an intention for 2019, as the title of this post alludes to: Balance and Power. Last year was one of professional discovery and growth; however, I did a very poor job taking care of myself physically, emotionally and spiritually. It was a challenging year, yet that is how growth occurs, through the bumps, scrapes and bruises. I have a much greater sense of who I am and where I’m going in 2019.

Personally, I did not make enough time for good health, nutritionally or physically, primarily because I was so tired! My work/life balance was seriously out of whack, and once that happens, it becomes a vicious cycle. I’m making self-care and self-compassion a top priority this year. My intention is to create a more balanced life, daily, and to increase power within by recognizing/accepting my strengths, gifts and talents, not allowing my weaknesses to limit me. I feel that the piece above inspires me to face what may come with strength, balance and grace, one day at a time.

May your 2019 be your happiest, healthiest and most peaceful year yet!

Cheers…