Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sunday Sketches: Temporary places filled w/love


I've been on the road and in California with my baby brother for about a week now.  Although it's been quite the emotional journey (ups and downs), overall, it's been really good being with my brother, holding him when he needs held, laughing when the time is right and building new memories - all things needed during a very tragic time in his life.  Please continue to lift him up in your thoughts and prayers.

The picture above has been my temporary "art studio" and will be for a few more days.  On Monday, we'll be staying at a new place for a few weeks and looking forward to spending more time with other family and such.  Mr. Toast will be joining us here in about two weeks and I can't wait.  Currently, he is back home taking care of the pups and such.

Mr. Piggie is yet another illustration completed for the Kids Hope USA project.  Isn't he darling?  Makes you want to scoop him up and kiss his nose, yes?  Hee  :)

I'm looking forward to catching up with everyone this week (and from last week!)  Terribly sorry to be so delayed and hoping everyone is doing well.

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday Sketches: helping children learn to read


Last year, Marnie from Kids Hope USA, contacted me about illustrating a list of nursery rhymes for the special reading project that would help children of all races across the world, learn to read. As I sit here in the studio this afternoon gazing at the table filled with about 23 darling illustrations, my heart smiles knowing that they'll soon be available in a book to help those very children they work with every single day.

It's a great feeling inside knowing that I've had the opportunity to be a part of such an amazing project and look forward to hearing how my illustrations have touched the heart of children everywhere. There's no better gift in life than being a part of collaboration that brings hope and life to children.

I'll be in and out over the next few weeks, taking care of things with my younger brother whose wife passed away recently and will visit everyone when able.  

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A renewed heart, love and joy


As the sun begins to makes it's way down behind the mountaintops here, I gaze out the front window with a heart of gratitude and thanks for the love and support that has enveloped my brother and his tragic story.  It will be a brand new journey for him, not just starting life over, but somewhere new and without the love of his life.  For 18 years they stood by each other through everything. My heart is utterly broken but am hopeful his life with us here will bring a new hope and healing to his shattered heart.

With all that's going on, it's been terribly challenging getting back into my work—something that is a must with another deadline looming over the horizon.  One thing I've learned from past circumstances that tend to leave us wounded, is to find the strength to get back up and use them to bring us a renewed heart, love and joy for life.  It's not always easy, let me tell you, but it IS possible!

After a long chat this afternoon with a good friend, I found myself digging back into the illustration projects on my desk—and it felt so good!  It will be a journey over the next few months but I look forward to bonding with my younger brother and seeing what new whimsical creatures come to life in the studio. 
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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sunday Sketches: A lifeboat of hope and love...



I'm terribly sorry but due to things going on and messing up Mr. Linky, Sunday Sketches has been canceled for this week.  Please do come back next week and join me for a round of sketching and what nots.

These darling purple tea cups are on the studio desk and waiting to be completed.  I doodled these earlier, trying to get my creative mojo back on track but so far, it appears to be temporary halted.  This has been a very challenging and sad week as my younger brother who's been struggling with homelessness in San Jose, California, lost his wife of 18 years to heart failure late Wednesday night.  Just the day before, while she was in the hospital, he was robbed of all his belongings as well.  It's been utterly heartbreaking for everyone involved.

This week's Sunday Sketches post is a little different than usual and I hope you understand.  With that said, I've created a Go Fund Me account and called it, "Gary's Life-boat" where others can donate (anonymously or not) to help me bring him home from California to Colorado.  I've shared some of his story and his needs. I'll be heading to Cali in a week or so to be with him for a week or two and then we'll return home with Mr. Toast to help him start his life once again.

Like myself, he's been through an incredible journey of abuse, heartache and loss.  He unfortunately chose drugs and alcohol at the beginning to deal with the pain.  Now, he's completed a rehab program and is drug/alcohol free and needs HOPE - he needs to believe in himself again and know there are still good people out in the world who care.

I'd like to leave you with one of the many songs he has written.  Here he is singing and playing:  "Inside I Fly Away"

All prayers, help and loving thoughts are much needed during this very sad time.

Thank you from the very bottom of my heart!

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Monday, March 09, 2015

Something beautiful is about to happen...


Life can certainly challenge us each day and how we choose to face those bumps in the road will make a difference in how things unfold.  Lord knows, there's been more than enough "challenges" in my life and what I've come to understand is my ability to get through those is in how I respond.  Think of it this way: your attitude is like a magnet — choose bad thoughts and you'll find yourself quickly spiraling down a dark path that often takes days to climb out of.  Make a conscious decision to choose a good attitude and there's only room for good things to blossom and grow.

As my little illustration world has grown over the past six months, the creative spirit soaring within me is learning as well to approach my work with that same perspective.  I'm learning that what I initially see on paper (usually the first few layers of sketching and color) is just the very beginning of something amazing unfolding. That alone leaves me excited at the thought of what's at the end of my creative finish lines!

One of the things I discuss with my students in my "Hello, Courage" e-course, is refusing to allow their creative spirit to give up on what they're doing. Whether you're an artist, photographer, etc. — if it's not coming along as envisioned when first placing concept to paper, keep going!  Learning to be patient with ourselves and allowing the creative process to unfold is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.

While certainly not having it mastered, I'm well on my way to having it right where I need it to be within my creative heart and mind.  Everything that comes to life in my studio seems to say, "something beautiful is about to happen!"
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Sunday, March 08, 2015

Sunday Sketches: The little things in life...

"Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart." Uh huh.  This is so true.  If you follow along my daily creative journey over on my art Facebook page, my little studio buddy (Brendel-Jo), is always making special appearances.  He is truly my artistic inspiration when it comes to developing the heart behind each of my children's book characters. Just take a look at Mr. Hickory the mouse and you can certainly see similarities between the two.  My world would be empty without this little guy.  He's spunky, playful, full of life and often falls asleep at my feet when painting away up in our studio loft. He's utterly precious and knows exactly how to melt your heart -so watch out!  :)

Mr. Hickory is another sketch that's a part of the Kids Hope USA reading project I'm working on.  The deadline for these illustrations are less than a week away, so I'm frantically (but joyfully!) working away. Once these are complete, I'll be transitioning over to two other children's books that are scheduled to finish within the next few months as well.  Between these projects, two more children's books in the Fall and my college studies - this girl is busy - and I LOVE it!

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Sunday, March 01, 2015

Sunday Sketches: Hope for Children


Wonderful things continue to unfold in my creative world as I move from the Peanut Butter and Pumpernickel children's book collaboration to the Nursery Rhyme illustrations I'm developing for the non-profit organization, Kids Hope USA. For this project, I'm designing and painting 27 nursery rhymes with cultural diversity.  This book is scheduled to be available in early Spring of this year.  Above is a snippet of one of the rhymes I recently finished called, "Ten in the Bed".

Once this special project is done, I'll share all of the completed illustrations, displaying my version of each nursery rhyme.  It's been quite exciting adding my own little touch, knowing that in some small way, I'm bringing HOPE to children across the world.  I look forward to sharing the completed images with you.

Time to grab a cup of tea and hot water bottle.  It's been quite cold and snowy here!  Happy SS!

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