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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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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Author Update

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I’ve meant to write an update blog for a while now. My absence from blogging has developed a nagging voice telling me ‘This is not good. You’re a writer. How can you call yourself a serious writer if you’re not slamming out a blog a week?’

Usually this type of guilt stricken thought would turn me frantic, my gears rearing up again in hopes to make up for lost time. That’s what it comes down to, after all. Whether you’re a writer or anyone trying to find their path in life, time is the one thing that will steal your joy. It tells you that in order to succeed you have to work harder, utilize every minute, and maximize your exposure at any given moment of the day. I agreed with this theory for a long time but for me things are different now. Maybe it’s the way life has been throwing me curve balls, or how certain dreams are coming to an end, but my perspective has changed.

My writing journey has mutated into a life journey. I used to think that finding my way as a writer meant fulfilling my life. Now I realize that finding my way in life means fulfilling my writing journey. 

 Although writing has been and always will be an essential part of who I am, I’m still growing. This process shapes and molds my writing into what it needs to be, and not the other way around. I’ve taken the past year to find myself, to heal parts of my life that need desperate attention. I’ve decided to take head on those pesky thieves that steal my joy, that determine what type of woman I am, that build up walls around me so that I can be contained. To find yourself starts with healing first. I am in the process and although hard and heartbreaking, and sometimes an overwhelmingly slow progression, I am thankful for the trial and tribulations. They thicken my skin, grant me experience, and finally begin to break down those walls.  [Read More Here…]

Danielle Rose in “The Age of Bold: Women Gathering Courage, Wisdom and Strength.”

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As I brainstormed ideas for “The Age of Bold: Women Gathering Courage, Wisdom and Strength”, it was no surprise that Danielle Rose came to mind. A writer, herbalist, and intuitive reader—not to mention a mother with a journalism career, she is able to do it all. As someone close to me for many years, I’ve been privileged to see her growth, not only as a writer and artist, but also as a woman. Danielle has been through her share of challenges and obstacles, but managed to retain a very magical, abstract, and beautifully grounded outlook in life. This energetic attitude enabled her to write her novel, Chimera, and to create an online business and community of artists, educators and healers.

This is her story in her own words:

Instinct and magic is always a transitional process.  We all have it, but it’s a matter of recognizing and understanding it—even those with extraordinary abilities undergo this process.  However, that’s not to say that there aren’t moments that act as milestones.  Sometimes it’s difficult to notice them right away.  

Travel has always been important to me. For many of the obvious reasons—experiencing different cultures and traditions, learning new things, seeing the world—but also because I think it represented a freedom which, coming from a sheltered and abusive childhood, I never had.  

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My dream was to backpack Europe upon graduating high school. However, I was deeply discouraged from this adventure by my mother and guidance counselor, and encouraged to go to college first (I had planned on going after). They convinced me I would be able to travel in college and in my 20s. However, during my first year of college I was forced to live on my own, and needed to work to support myself and my education. After college, I had a full time job, was still in an apartment, and was determined to save diligently to buy a home and get out of the rent-rut.  After purchasing my home, I became engaged, was married, had children… you get the idea.  I did travel at points with my husband, but due to work and financial restrictions the amazing adventure I had always wanted, and which would have offered invaluable life lessons, never truly materialized.

My point here is that no time is ever the right time.  As the years passed I realized in my gut that […READ MORE]

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For her feature guest blog, she talks about being in touch with her instincts, how she’s learned to recognized her own strength, and what her life journey has been about.

This is her story in her own words:

Amy Oestreicher in “The Age of Bold: Women Gathering Courage, Wisdom and Strength.”

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For the first installment of The Age of Bold: Women Gathering Courage, Wisdom and Strength”, I’ve selected someone with an incredible life story. I first learned about Amy Oestreicher when I wrote The Connection Between Art and WritingAmy is very familiar with the power of art, as her own life journey has been healed and inspired by it. Amy’s story is extraordinary. Having gone through twenty-seven surgeries, a coma, sexual abuse and a decade of medical trauma, she has been able to persevere through it all. On her personal website, Amy says, “Every twist and turn has made me who I am today—a bold, resilient woman with a deeper purpose.”  […READ MORE]

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