Meditation Girl

Meditation Girl was born out of a recent Lifebook 2017 lesson.  I instantly fell in love with this little lady and I just love the way she turned out.  The lesson focused on the gifts in our stories.  What gift do we gain from negative experiences or what have we learned through the years?  MyMeditation Girl includes the Crown Chakra.

This seventh Chakra,  Sahaswara, meditates on our personal enlightenment and spiritual connection.  I’ve chosen to include this symbol in my work because of my reconnection with who I want to be and what I want to do.  Finding the connection to my higher self and always keeping my Creator deeply rooted in my soul, I have been enlightened into a brand new artistic world.

*Meditation Girl was sketched out in graphite pencil.  I used Caran D’Ache watercolors for most of the painting with some Liquitex acrylics to add stronger details.

“The Guardian”

Oh, the far reaches of the earth

past the moon and stars,

The galaxy awaits, home to none.

Oh, the far reaches of the earth

past the wind, hail, and sun,

the galaxy awaits, home to none.

Oh, there she stands,

cloaked in stars and swirling lights,

for all is watched, in a place of dark, where

The galaxy awaits, home to none.

Oh, there she hopes,

though no one knows,

she belongs nowhere,

the galaxy awaits, home to none.

Oh, look up I pray,

though you will not see,

her presence lives in a floating space, where

the galaxy awaits, home to none.

–Tamara Rokicki

Gratitude and Friendship

Hello friends! Today I bring you a short blog, sharing two of my recent works.  I’m not able to focus on one art project at a time.  I need stimulation from different works, jumping from one to the other.

The past two weeks, I’ve completed two of the four projects.  The first one is off the recent Lifebook 2017 workshop, titled “Flowers of Gratitude.”  This work was created mostly with Caran D’Ache watercolors, some cheap watercolor markers, and Liquitex acrylic.  What are flowers of gratitude?  It’s the endless beauty in our life that we are thankful for.  It comes in many forms: home, family, art, work, faith and more.  What are your flowers of gratitude?

The next one comes from Jane Davenport’s current workshop, Over the Rainbow.  I made my own version of Toto, modeled after one of my mini-schnauzers.  Paisley is my sidekick just like Toto was to Dorothy, so it seems fitting that my Wizard of Oz pal takes her form. Toto was a close friend of Dorothy.  From the beginning of the story, they shared a special bond and you could feel the love and friendship between them.  Paisley is my furry best friend and this painting below captures her personality perfectly.

I love creating furry characters because unlike the structure of faces or buildings, painting fur lets you forget about lines.  “My Toto” was done entirely out of Caran D’Ache watercolor crayons, except the golden polka dots, for which I used Liquitex acrylic.

The Two Ladies

I dedicated the past week to  seeing what “fell” from my paintbrush.  This is my favorite kind of art process.  Just seeing where my art takes me, without planning and without worrying.  Two different ladies showed up, each one with a unique story.

“Lady Avalon” by Tamara Rokicki

Lady Avalon is a cross between Victorian and Fantasy.  As I worked on creating her, I felt subtly vibes of feminine strength, gentle love, and bright attraction.  She is poised and relaxed, while perhaps holding on to a secret.

The Amazonian is fierce.  Still retaining that feminine beauty, she challenges the viewer by her boldness.  I loved creating her, the story that popped up showing me how immensely beautiful and yet different women can be.

“The Amazonian” by Tamara Rokicki

Fall In Love With Stick Figures Again

This week was long, tiring, and freakin’ awesome.

I’m so amazed at the changes taking place in my life right now. I wanted to end the week by sharing with you this week’s artistic accomplishment, and also share a little bit about my life changing, soul fulfilling events.

To begin I want you to think about stick figures. Yes, the round headed, lines for body doodle. Remember drawing him in elementary schools or the occasional Hangman game?   Well, take everything you remember about it and throw it out the window. Really, this is going to blow your mind, and possibly get you addicted to drawing stick figures.

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This week’s Lifebook lesson was taught by the amazing Mandy van Goeije, a Dutch illustrator, artist, and teacher. She introduced us to a brand new spin on stick figure drawing. So whether you can draw or not, you will be able to create this simple doodle. The surprising part of doing so is the therapeutic message these little stick figures can add to your life. Mandy encouraged us to add as little detail as possible while creating a small storyboard consisting of two or three frames. In each frame, stick figures would depict our story, message, ideas, anything really. At first I thought “Hmm..really? How can I tell a story with so little detail?” Well, you can, and it turns out that letting stick figures depict your story is much more powerful than filling a whole page with words or painting a masterpiece. Below are some examples of my stick figures.

16195630_10155000430091323_3536615251610619902_nDrawing them made me feel like a five year old again….and for all the right reasons. You see, you NEED to approach art with a child-like innocence to express your true, raw, meaningful stories. When we grow up we have to become “responsible”, “sensible”, “wise”…and we tend to lose our child-like imagination. Art doesn’t work well with stern, methodical approaches. It yearns to be free, simple even, always expecting nothing but your true self.  When I connected with my fellow artists and we exchanged our stick figure stories, we saw how this process unlocked so many emotions.  Some expressed and processed grief in their drawings; others expressed gratitude; everything was simple, raw, and yet incredibly powerful.

I was so inspired by this process that I created a journal where I can add all of my stick figure stories, short frames telling about my feelings, my day, and my dreams.  And yes, even the silly and mundane moments, because they all matter and they add up to this thing we call life.

So why don’t you give these little figures a chance to enter your own life?  But I must warn you…they’re highly addicting.  You may find yourself drawing dozens and dozens of storyboards, stick figures becoming what words can’t express and the neatest companion you ever had.  Please share your stick figure storyboards with me, I would love to see what they have to say 🙂

And finally, I must say I’m so incredibly thankful for the events unfolding in my life right now.  I recently joined Devorah Spilman’s InStory group, where I have a mentorship for my creative visions, purpose in life, and soul calling.  Being mentored and supported by people who get me is an unbelievable feeling.   I have so many projects ahead and for the first time in a long time, I am confident in all of them, knowing that they’ll enrich my life, connections, and soul in so many ways.

And…..to add more sparkle to my life, I have also signed up for Over The Rainbow, Jane Davenport’s newest 8 week long art course, where I’ll be making Emerald City come to life, with all its darling (and some a little evil) characters.  I’m so excited.  Join me on this adventure, connect with me and other artists, and find your tribe.

 

Till next time, love yourself and others, honor the calling, and create like a child. XO

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Emerging From The Mess: The Person I Know Best

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What a week this has been. Throughout the hectic schedules and running around to a million places, I knew I had to complete this week’s Lifebook lesson. Of course, I didn’t have to, but I am at a place where I have to dig deeper within myself and pursue my passion, challenging any excuse or time stealer.

As I followed this week’s lesson, “The Person I Know Best”, taught by the talented Misty Mawn, I knew I was in for some trouble. Her lesson asked to paint a portrait of ourselves, not focusing entirely on depicting us perfectly in every feature, but bringing forth the person we are inside, or the one we want to bring to life. This portrait signifies the connection we have within ourselves, knowing we’re never alone as long as we are in tune with who we are. That itself wasn’t a huge challenge, but a task I welcomed entirely. The problem was the call to work primarily in acrylics.

Now, I love my acrylics, I really do. They are smooth, rich, and full of life…if you know how to master them. Misty worked with them in such an effortless way, merging shades and hues in harmonious connection. After my initial sketch, I selected my colors nervously. An hour into the portrait and I looked down at the paper with horror. My painting was streaky and plastic looking; graphite lines were blending with each color stroke; the entire portrait looked like a mash of shapes and blobs of paint.

IMG_4214.jpgI began resisting the process. How could I be expected to do something so advanced in only week three? I thought of my familiarity with whimsical painting, where your subject needs to look less realistic and there’s more leniency in using different mediums. I sought refuge within my art group, fellow Lifebook participants. I voiced my concerns and frustrations, which many shared as well. But there was also positive encouragement, a reminder that it’s about the process, not the result. I posted a picture of my early picture, showing them just terrible it seemed to me. Should I scrap this? I asked. The answer was a resounding no. A fellow artist told me to push through it, see where the process leads me, and learn from it no matter the outcome. I decided to listen to them, but first I needed to walk away from the project entirely.

I couldn’t stare at her, the girl who was supposed to represent me, without a pang of anxiety. I did want to scrap her; but I was also drawn to her. She looked messy, cracked, and flawed. But so was I, at so many points of my life. She was endearing, asking for help, asking me to see through all that streaky noise, where her true beauty waited. So I left her on the table, thinking of her often and wondering if she’d ever come to life.

The next day I visited my art desk again, where she waited patiently. As the streaky mess had dried into rough patches, she had a different look about her. She was still flawed, but those rough spots showed a resilient, thick skin. Where the paper had peeled and shredded while wet, it was now whole and harder. The shadow lines that lined her features seemed more like layers of years lived. The sad smile, the dull look in her eyes, somehow they seemed to reflect a certain wisdom about her, as if she held the entire meaning of life. She was still there, flawed and cracked, but beautiful nonetheless. So I went back to work.

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The next few days I worked in several layers. Coating after coating, I watched her transform. She was reddish and dark at first; then she turned a mild yellow with shades of brown; her features kept changing, her chin straightening out; her eyes growing a little more vivid with splashes of gold; her smile turning less sour and more peaceful. I watched her evolve and finally it hit me. She wasn’t always beautiful or wholesome or perfect. She kept changing, molding day by day, doing exactly what was asked of me: give life to the person I was, am, and will always be. I realized that just like my portrait, I am this strong, flawed, solitary, ever changing human being with a story to tell. So she isn’t perfect. That’s what makes her beautiful.

I have learned so much during this process. Perseverance through the dark stages of painting—or life—can show you exactly who you are. Embracing the ugly mess, loving every flaw, not giving up at the first challenge, not only makes you a better artist, but a better human being.

I started not knowing who the girl in the painting was. I thought it wasn’t me, it couldn’t be. I didn’t recognize the features or who she was trying to be. By the end of it, she told me exactly what I needed to know. She is, after all, the person I know best.

 

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An Inky Mess: Th(Ink) Positive Cards

 

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This past weekend I tackled a messy, inky, terrific project. The best part of it was that my teenage daughter joined me.

As a bonus Lifebook 2017 lesson hosted by Andrea Gomoll, we created our very own Th(ink)Positive Affirmation Cards. The scope of this assignment was to continue working on our 2017 affirmations, making this year (and hopefully many to come) a catalyst for positive change. So we sat down with pencil and paper, and thought about the way we dialogue with our inner selves. What could we use more of? What do we need to turn from negative to positive?

img_4203For me, it was easy. I am on a journey to renew myself and purse my passion in arts. The stumbling blocks have been self-doubt, fear of failure, and the overwhelming weight of the unknown. I knew that what I needed to hear were words of encouragement, an inner cheerleader telling me that I’m good enough, that I have a bright future ahead, that I should trust my instincts and give my soul what it craves.

Armed with our brand new art supplies, we started our project. We used Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bombay India Inks, something I’d never worked with before. It was a blast….messy, but that was part of the fun. My daughter was surprised at my laid back approach to the chaos, the splatter, and the splotchy ink layering all over us. But that’s what art does. As someone who is continually seeking perfection, needs to have everything in order, and not a crumb can be out of place, I’ve let art take over my life. It is a magical and shocking change, but this artistic outlet has a way to calm down my inner critic, the urge to control everything, and lets me have fun.

fullsizerender-2-copy-2The process of making this card deck was lengthy but well worth it. There’s nothing like creating your very own cards, each message carved by your and only for you. We marveled at our creations, knowing that it’s something we will cherish for the rest of our lives—especially the time we spent together creating these beautiful cards.

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As a final note, I am thrilled to share that I have been taking mixed media art classes by the wonderful Jane Davenport.   She is such an inspiring artist and I hope to learn as much as I can from her.

I am currently working on week 3 of Lifebook, an overwhelming self portrait that is pushing me way past my boundaries. Subscribe to my main website to read about my next art adventure.

Until then…..I wish you lots of love and art messes. XO

The Hummingbird: Positive Affirmations Through Art

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The second week of January comes to an end and as promised I’m journaling my experience with Lifebook. Last week I introduced you to Lifebook, a new journey of mine, a yearlong workshop hosted by Tamara Laporte, that teaches about mixed media and guides you through a self-exploration voyage.

This week was the beginning of a breakthrough for me on so many levels. I began the week diving into the first bonus lesson, “Taking Flight-The Song of the Hummingbird”. The main theme for the week was positive affirmations. The hummingbird flies into 2017 with personal confirmations of love, self-care, belief and determination. Each artist was asked to take some time and think about his or her inner needs, focusing on positive affirmations needed to nourish the soul.

When creating my hummingbird, I chose a bright and pinky color scheme. As many artists do, I pick my colors in a certain way as to relay the emotions and message housed in my work. I’ve always found that pink, turquoise, and purple express a sense of peace and restoration. My hummingbird flies into 2017 with a purpose of renewal, hope, and positive expectations.

The feathers hold a message, a visual reminder of those positive affirmations. As I begin a new year, I’m determined to reconnect with my soul, to draw inspiration from within, to seek the inner peace that will develop into my purpose in life.

As I log onto my Facebook account, my feed has been swamped with other Lifebook participants posting their own artwork, experiences, and emotions as they embark on the same journey. I can’t tell you how touching and inspiring it is to see what others are going through as they create not only art, but their lives around a sense of renewal.

There is also a lot of hurt, the one hidden in deeper levels that you have to poke at to break through. Sometimes in order to renew yourself and rebuild your life in a positive direction, you have to touch on emotions that aren’t pleasant. Some participants have shared their own emotional rollercoaster, an important step in healing. It is through connecting with others, persevering through those tough emotions, and continuing to let art guide our souls that we can heal and grow into who we need to be.

As week two draws to an end, I’ve also been meditating a lot more, on my own and through Soul Driven Summit, a series led by Devorah Spilman. This course is designed to let your soul drive your life’s direction, listening closely to the inner purpose. So far, it resonates with me in many ways. I plan on writing a separate blog on my experience with this course, so subscribe and stay tuned if you’re interested in learning more.

989e5fb46b363fd5677cae430c7bc482It has been an emotional, inspirational, and uplifting week. I will dedicate this weekend to the second bonus lesson given by Lifebook: creating a positive affirmation card deck. My teenage daughter and I are tackling this project together and I can’t wait to share our experience with you.

I ‘ll catch up with you all next week. Until then…love, believe, and create.

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2017: Hopes, Dreams, and Art

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2017 is here and like many of you I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. What did 2016 bring me and what am I happy to leave behind? There hasn’t been an awful lot of chaos in my 2016, but many things came to surface in regards to my health, spiritual, and self care needs. Although some of those factors were incredibly challenging, they also opened a door for healing and improvement.

I’ve never been a fan of new year resolutions. They always added pressure and stress, not to mention a fear of failing even before starting. Instead, I’ve always preferred to leave behind the hurt and the difficulties of the year before, keeping an open mind and a hopeful attitude for the year to come.

This year, I’ve done the same, except I went the extra mile and signed up for something so amazing, so inspiring, and so stinkin’ colorful that I giggle when thinking about it.

LifeBook is something I stumbled on by accident. I’ve always been a fan of mixed media and whimsical art, dabbling with my own versions of it here and there. I happened to watch a video from one of my favorite mixed media artists, Leilani Joy . She shared some exciting news about Lifebook 2017, another year long program starting in 2017. Lifebook’s aim was to heal hurts, grow in may areas of your life, explore and honor yourself, while finding harmony and peace within the world. The program would be hosted by its creator, Tamara Laporte  on Willowing , with a mix of guest instructors, each bringing you different mixed media lessons to enrich your skills and take you on a personal journey.

Because this seemed like a sign from above, I decided to check out Lifebook and realized that this awesome idea has been enriching artists for quite a few years. I signed up immediately and could barely wait for the year to end so I could begin the program. And here we are, on January 4th, and I’ve already completed my first art assignment.

“Star Girl: A Journey with Light”, represents my hopes and dreams for 2017. I have left behind anything from 2016 that doesn’t serve me anymore, yet honoring each and everyone of them, as it taught me something valuable. My star girl is the first attempt at Lifebook, which by the end of the year will be bound in a journal. The process of creating her was extremely therapeutic and endearing. Most lessons are accompanied by a meditation exercise, in which Tamara gently guides you into your subconscious. It is uplifting and insightful to look into myself and wonder what exactly I am looking for this year.

img_4117So here she is, my star girl, leaving behind fears, anxiety, judgment, over thinking, and self doubt. In her basket she carries her hopes and dreams for the year ahead. She wants to create, take care of her self, believe in the magic of living in the moment.

As the year progresses and I continue to embark on an artistic and self discovery journey through Lifebook, I will update you on my progress and discoveries.

I won’t ask you to make a new year resolution, but I do ask you this:

Are you ready to embark on your own journey, aiming to discover your inner worth, the best version of yourself, and the beauty and talent you can offer the world?

What are your hopes and dreams for 2017?

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What Makes People ‘Creative’? A Complex Look Into Creativity

 

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Necessity is the mother of invention.

You’ve heard this proverb before, right?  Basically, when stuck in a situation that requires something to change, the individual will create a new device or method to improve the situation.

But after reading Tim Vernimmen’s article Where Creativity Comes From, published for Scientific American, the proverb gets a new spin. The article focuses on a study done by Carel van Schaik of the University of Zurich, which reports behavioral patterns of orangutans when their food availability becomes insufficient. Instead of getting creative, they fell into energy-saving mode, essentially minimizing their movements and eating whatever unappealing foods they could find.

Fortified by another study by economist Sendhil Mullainathan of Harvard University, we learn that reminding people of their financial struggles does not lead to innovative solutions. The bottom line is that difficulty doesn’t always lead to creativity, but preoccupation with meeting daily needs such as food and paying bills leave little opportunity to create innovative solutions.

“So if you ask me, opportunity is the mother of invention.” ~Carel van Schaik

 Mullainathan’s article highlights an important question: how complex is creativity and how can we pin down what makes an individual ‘creative’?

The creative mind is not primarily prompted by the need to survive. In fact, several studies state that individuals are ‘creative’ thanks to their mental flow. While the left brain is known to be a more analytical, linear, and disciplined thinker—and the right brain is more artistic, visual, and imaginative—the complexity of creativity goes way beyond that.

 

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