Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Week 37: See & CEleBrAtE!

"To see far is one thing, going there is another."  -Constantin Brancusi

I tend to do the same things over and over...it's more comfortable that way..lol. But is comfort what we should be striving for in this one precious life of ours? I don't think so! My WORD this year is MOVE. My very favorite quote that represents where I want to go this year is from The Hobbit and has a permanent home on the side of my blog...

“Go back?" he thought. "No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!" So up he got, and trotted along with his little sword held in front of him and one hand feeling the wall, and his heart all of a patter and a pitter.” -The Hobbit

Girls, when I read this quote I get tears in my eyes...dorky??? Maybe...but it sums up how I want to live my life...not being afraid. Trying new things. Being scared but doing it anyway.

The past 2 years have been a rough one for our family. You can read about it here and here. There were times I didn't think I would make it through...the pain was too much. Financially we were barely squeaking by. We would go weeks at a time not knowing where the money would come from to pay our bills, buy food, etc. It was surreal and I often thought "Is this as good as it gets?"

Looking back I know our family went through this trial so we could be the people we are today. We appreciate everything...I mean everything! We have love and compassion for others like never before and our faith has grown like I never thought possible!  Oh and that little Hobbit quote above?? I have lived that...Throughout our Dark Time (it's what I call those two years) I wanted to GO BACK to our old life...the life where we had money to go to Disney World and buy new cars and clothes and see movies three times a week. A time when I didn't feel worry and stress (or so I thought). I wanted to GO BACK! But like the Hobbit...it wasn't meant to be...the ONLY THING to do was to MOVE forward. And I I was scared...oh so scared. Forward meant I couldn't SEE what was ahead...there were so many variables in MOVING Forward...

These precious souls are what matter to me!!

But I put my Brave Girl pants on and MOVED. With each day that passed by I became stronger and stronger. I prayed so hard at times with tears streaming down my face I thought my heart would explode. But I kept going. I found new ways of doing things. I created my Brave Art. I art journaled. I spent time with my precious family.

I survived.

Girls, last weekend was momentous for our sweet family. You see, all the muck we have been slogging through has nearly dried up. The debt we had hanging over us...is nearly gone. For the first time in over 2 years we are almost healed! We have been able to breathe MUCH easier the past few months with less stress than we've experienced in years...but it was THIS weekend when we could really, really SEE what was in front of us...LIGHT.

To celebrate I took my paycheck and for the first time since this all began and spent it on ME. I know, I know....that may sound selfish...but it was SO MUCH FUN and FELT SO GOOD! And honestly...I have plenty left over for groceries, bills, etc...so I was responsible!!

Here is what I found!!

Paper clay!! I have been so inspired lately by several of my art friends and the beautiful things they create with this. I can't wait to play!! And those wooden keys look like so much fun don't they?? I see hearts in my future....:)

Last year when most art supplies were wishful thinking  I went on Amazon and "Wished" these stencils to my Wish List...last weekend I found them at Hobby Lobby ON SALE!!

Acrylic paint was on sale so I picked up a few of my fave colors, along with spray inks, stamps, glitter (will look so good on those keys!) and something NEW...pearlescent to me water colors.

Can you believe it?? I now own a Dremel!! And my sweet husband bought this tool kit to go with it. This intimidates me a bit but now I can add some 3-D Embellishments to my work...something I can't wait to do!

I used my 40% off coupon for this fun kit!! Gelatos!! I have always wanted to try...now I have this groovy kit from Faber-Castell that shows me a ton of techniques....I can already tell these will be my new favorites!!

I also found brushes on CRAZY SELL, inks and pattern paper!! 

Girls....you may be thinking...where in the heck is Leslie going with this week?!?!....Girls, I think we ALL have problems and hard times and depression and pain and sickness that is so very difficult to get THROUGH. ALL OF US must MOVE Forward in order to progress and grow and LIVE. 

This week I want you to TRY something NEW. I want you to Branch Out. I want you to really SEE how far you've come then CELEBRATE! Buy yourself a new art supply you've been wanting or go to You Tube and watch a new technique and TRY IT! 

I have been HIDING from so many things these past two years...but NO MORE! I am making friends, sharing my heart...really putting myself out there. It's not always easy but I am doing it! And I want to start living this way in my ART! In my journals, on canvas, my blog and other social media sites. 

I am so GRATEFUL for EACH ONE OF YOU! Whether you know it or not...THIS blog and my challenges I share with you...they ALL have kept me going....they have helped put my what's in HEART in perspective. Even though the muck was swirling around...my HEART really was full of love and hope and light.

THANK YOU so much for sharing my journey!! I truly hope and pray that Being Me is helping you to live a better life and be the best YOU!!!

Our Face Book page
What is Being Me?
All 37 Weeks

Thursday, February 20, 2014

What Constitutes ART?

I'll lean on you and you lean on me and we'll be okay. (Dave Matthews Band)

I have something to say...I don't mean to offend anyone...I just have to get this off my chest and I really, really want YOUR opinion on the matter....so please read and comment if you have something to add:)

There are dozens and dozens types of Art.

fantastic realism
mixed media

Every Artist sees the world around them so differently, yet growing up I was led to believe that art wasn't truly art unless you could draw and paint like Michelangelo, Da Vinci or one of my favorites Norman Rockwell. I LOVE his work and how it depicts America with such sweetness and charm. Several years ago I went to the Smithsonian Art Institute and saw most of his paintings...my cheeks hurt from smiling so much!

"Couple in a Rumbleseat"

Then there is Mary Cassatt...

"Child in an Orange Dress"

Again...her work is what I grew up thinking art was supposed to be...realistic looking people in realistic settings.

It wasn't until I was a Senior in high school did I begin to understand that art could be so much more. My Humanities class took a field trip to St. Louis where we got to spend the day at the Art Museum there...oh how I LOVED it!! And I fell in LOVE with abstract art!! In recent years I have studied two of my favorites Georgia O'Keefe and Paul Klee.

"The Lake" by Georgia O'Keefe

"Southern Gardens" by Paul Klee

Another artist that some may say is unconventional is Andy Warhol. Here are two of his paintings from the 1960's.

"Eggs 2"


Honestly I am not a big fan of Warhol's but I can appreciate his work as an artist. I understand that each of us has unique talents and more importantly we each have something very different to say.

"Let each man exercise the art he knows."  -Aristophanes

What is all of this leading up to?? Last Saturday night my in-laws and I went out to dinner. My mother in-law had told me about her artist friend and was anxious for me to see her work. Not only did I get to see her work {it hangs in the restaurant we ate in} but she happened to be there. I told her how much I loved her work {she paints with oils...creating beautiful landscapes...very nice} and then proceeded to tell her about my daughter Emma. I pointed to her and shared how Emma's love of drawing and painting people has inspired her to attend MICA....an art institute in Baltimore. Instead of smiling and supporting my 16 year old daughter her face became dark and she frowned. In an irritated, almost sarcastic tone she said..."Well, that's a stupid thing to do. Waste your time and money going to an art school. She'll never be successful at that!." 

I was shocked and  quickly replied..."I am proud of my daughter and she plans on going into graphic design." I then told her my passion for mixed media and teaching. Again, instead of smiling and showing support she sarcastically said {while walking away} "Good luck with that."

Girls, I was floored. I couldn't even believe it! Would you treat a fellow artist that way? Aren't we supposed to love, encourage and support one another?? I say YES!

Some of us create like Norman Rockwell, some like Henri Matisse and others, like myself, create messy art with a message...

However and WHATEVER we create is our OWN. Our art is US! Art is what's inside...we are putting our hearts on canvas!

The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.
Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC)

Thinking about this woman still bothers me...seriously I can't believe she treated Emma and I this way. I felt like she was "dismissing" us and the ART that we create. The funny thing is...after she left I looked around at her work, hanging on every wall of the restaurant...and all of a sudden all I saw was ugly...I didn't see the beauty anymore...she had ruined that.

Girls, I would LOVE to hear your thoughts and opinions on this post!! Please leave a comment here or on our FB page:)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Weeks 35 & 36: Review & MOVE Forward

"Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life."  -Wayne Dyer

Just so you know, girls...I can't believe how FAST this past week went! Before I knew it it was FRIDAY and I had not posted Week 35. Shame on me, huh??:) So this week I am combining Weeks 35 & 36 and reviewing how far we have come so far with "Being Me". In case this is your first time here be sure and go here to learn all about "Being Me" and here to get all 34 weeks so far. Thanks for being here!!! Remember..."Being Me" is a completely FREE art journaling class for everyone. Enjoy!

Let's take a quick look back at "Being Me"...there is a lot to learn about ourselves don't you think?

In the early weeks of this year long challenge I encouraged you to create your Mission Statement. Do you remember what's in yours?? What is one area you really want to focus on TODAY? For me I want to remember these things..."When I do these things...I KNOW I am the BEST ME I can BE! *eat fresh foods *avoid sugar *workout *spend time outside *spend time alone *date night! *Family time *keep our bedroom clean and organized *go to bed with a CLEAN kitchen...When I do these things I KNOW I will be happy and full of peace.

Another topic we covered this year was the importance of saying Thank You to others. There are soooo  many people that have helped me on my journey and continue to be there for me. Most of them probably don't even know how much their love and guidance have shaped me into the person I am today. I think it's time they knew don't you?  Even if you did this exercise last summer I know there are more people you can Thank!! Take time this week to do that:)

Nobody likes REJECTION so we talked about that during Week 22. Here is a quote from that week...

Rejection is part of the job description for anyone in the arts... one must have a sense of purpose... of where you want to go with your art, and no one decides that but you.Seek relevance instead of approval. (Jackie Knott)

Passion and Fear...the two really do go hand in hand.  Did you answer these questions??

1. Think of a time you wanted something so much that our were willing to do anything to get it. What was the outcome? I have many examples of this throughout my life but the one that comes to mind is my determination to train, run and finish a marathon. I wanted nothing more than that for years...so one day I sat down and made a decision to just do it! I found a group to train with, signed up and focused on getting my body in shape and trained diligently for 9 months. Crossing that finish line was one of the proudest moments of my life.

2.  Do you feel exhilerated by your creative work right now? What ignites you the most about it? If you're not psyched about your current work, what would you rather be doing? At the moment what ignites me most is TEACHING...I LOVE teaching ART to women...LOVE it! Honestly it comes as no surprise as I have always known one of my missions in this life was to uplift and encourage other women to be their very best...I have done that for years with my writing and fitness endeavors and am doing it now with my love of art. I am so excited about my dreams and goals regarding this passion!

3.  What discomfort are you willing to endure to promote and experience your passion? What I need to work on now is just getting down to WORK. I need to be serious and set office hours and studio hours. I need to take time to work on class ideas and handouts as well as studio time for creating and sharing on my blog and other venues. I suppose the discomfort would be to let my housework slide a bit or delegate the work to my family and give up watching so much TV:)

4. What are your specific fears about yourself and your work? That I am not good enough. That my work and ideas will be laughed at. That I won't fit in with others. That people will say things like  "What is she doing teaching?" "She isn't creative enough" etc.

It has been quite a journey the past 34 weeks and we still have nearly 20 weeks left! I hope you are learning and growing and listening:)

 I hope you will take the next two weeks looking back at your projects/journal entries and find areas that need further work...maybe you need to go deeper with some of the weeks. I am going to focus on my Mission Statement and the questions I answered above. I am so ready to MOVE my dreams Forward!!

I also want to share some amazing women I am finding on the Web. There is sooo much inspiration out there!!

Shelley Rydellie
Pam Garrison
61 Daily Paper Prompts
The Documented Life Project
GREAT Postal Art Projects!

Oh and one more thing....in case you want to come and hang out on a BEAUTIFUL Beach with me and some other great girls and make ART...then sign up for THIS...Art Beach Retreat!!!  It's October 9-11th and sure to be TOTALLY relaxing and inspirational! And I would LOVE to meet you:)

Oh and one more thing...lol...join our Face Book group here. Lots of sharing going on:)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Today I Know....

"The openness to begin is all the openness required to have each day. We start today, and tomorrow we start again, and the day after we start again; as we will the day after that. In this way does our journey come to us. We begin. The rest unfolds through us."  -Julia Cameron

Last fall I was so blessed to be able to take Melody Ross's "Soul Comfort" class. This was the fifth class I had taken from her and wasn't disappointed. One of the practices I learned from the class was keeping a "Today I Know" journal.

It is smaller than my other art jounrals {5x7} and much simpler. No acrylic paints or modeling paste, no stencils or fancy stamps...heck not even my favorite...spray inks. No, the goal of our "Today I Know" journal was SIMPLICITY.

A page I created after I joined Curves...one of my faves:)

Melody encouraged us to use crayons, colored pencils, magazine images and other "found" items.

Yes, you will notice I couldn't resist using my beloved Washi tape!!!

Oh there was one other "catch", too....all of our supplies and journal had to fit in a bag...that way we could journal anywhere at a moment's notice. My bag is filled with words, images, a pair of scissors, 2 glue sticks, colored pencils, a box of crayons a few rolls of Washi tape. I keep it near my art desk so I can grab it whenever I need it...I know where everything is...NO STRESS!

I rarely create in this particular journal in my art studio...I prefer to curl up on the couch instead, surrounded by my family and create away:)

Another favorite from my journal.

This simple way of journaling has shown me that really all we need to create are a few supplies and a little bit of time. It has also taught me the practice of creating a little something everyday...{although I haven't worked in here in awhile...which I intend to change tonight!}

LOVE this one!!!

Keeping a journal just plain makes me HAPPY!! Sure I still LOVE sitting at my studio desk surrounded by my paints and embellishments and stencils and inks...but I am so glad to have found this "new" and simpler version of art journaling. I think it compliments the more labor intensive pages very well!!

I want to encourage YOU to start art journaling!! Oh, maybe you already do...and you probably do or you wouldn't be here...but if you have only been thinking about it or thought it was too "artsy" for your abilities or taste...why not try this simpler form of journaling? I just KNOW you will not only love it...but it will begin a practice of creating...and the more we create...the more creative and inspired we become!

Speaking of art journaling...have you started my FREE e-course "Being Me"? If not...go here and check it out:)

I would love for you to join our group of very talented and supportive girls on FB. Mind.Body. Soul.

For journaling ideas...go here.

Thanks for being here!!!

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