Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sunday Sketches: A Grateful Heart

It's mid evening here and the snow continues to tumble down as the bitter winds twirl it around like a magical snow-globe.  Magic - it's overflowing from our cozy little home tonight.  As I sit here and reflect upon all of the good things happening around us, my heart is filled with gratitude.  We are definitely blessed!  ❤

A few weeks ago, my step-daughter, Rachel and son-in-law, Jason, cut the ribbon to their brand new home built and provided by Homes For Our Troops.  Jason served in the Afghanistan war and is not only a survivor but a triple-amputee.  Now, they have a beautiful, custom built home to meet both of their needs and Mr. Toast and I are very happy for them!  It's exciting to see their lives being blessed in ways they truly deserve. Rachel is an amazing wife, caregiver and student, and I couldn't be more proud of her.  She juggles a lot, working hard to keep a healthy home/life balance for both the both of them.  Jason is also pursuing his degree in finance and well on his way to having an incredible career in this field.

My illustrative world continues to blossom, growing in ways that blow my creative heart away. I'm beyond grateful for it and am excited to say that I'm fully booked out through the end of this year already!  Peanut Butter and Pumpernickel has been forwarded to the publishers for print and should be available next month for purchase.  Besides the nursery rhyme project I'll be wrapping up in a few weeks for Kids Hope USA, I have 5 other children's books to illustrate.  OOBER excited!  I'll share pieces from each of these books over the next several weeks as well.

Mr. Toast is quite poorly at the moment, so I'm off to pamper him with cookies, hot lemon water and cozy hot water bottles!

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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sunday Sketches: You & Me and our Perfect Tea

This little semi-zentangle illustration came to life as Mr. Toast and I were cozied up at our favorite bakeshop early this morning. We sipped on our tea and nibbled on quiche' while exchanging little gifts of love for Valentine's Day. I couldn't have asked for a better companion, partner, lover, father or husband.  He is everything every girl dreams of...and then some.  So blessed and utterly thankful.

This tea love illustration is a symbol of something we both love and share together every single day.  I couldn't be happier with the final results and look forward to potentially doing a series.  For more of my zentangle work this week, make sure to visit my poppies piece.  I'm certain it will put a smile on your face and even inspire your creative heart.

Have a wonderful weekend and happy Sunday Sketches! :)

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Surrendering to the JOY within my heart

As I sit here on our striped sofa, soaking in the sunshine flowing through our large living window, I reflect back upon my chosen word of the year, surrender.  Like many of you reading this post, my heart is filled with many hopes and dreams for this year. Dreams of being published in an art magazine, finishing the first step in my academic career, watching my very first children's book being published on paper and growing in ways I could never imagine with my illustration work.

Staying focused and on course isn't always easy to do.  Life constantly tosses challenges or obstacles upon the path we walk, attempting to discourage us along the way.  For some of us, teasing us with thoughts to simply quit pursuing our dreams.  I want to encourage you today to keep pushing forward!  Stay focused on the diamonds in the sky and let your heart guide you.  When faced with moments where you want to give up - don't!  I promise you, in the end, you'll be surprised at the beauty and joy greeting you face-to-face in the end.

Take a look at the process above.  As I was painting this beautiful poppy illustration, I was tempted to give up multiple times.  In the beginning, my vision for the finished piece was completely different than what my final results were - and that's OK!  In those moments of feeling the urge to rip my work in half, I stepped away for some fresh air, returning with a renewed determination to keep painting and sketching.  I'm so glad my heart surrendered to my creative spirit and not to the fears of failure.  The end result is more than I could have ever hoped for and will be a significant reminder for me to never...give...up!  ♥

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Sunday Sketches: Little moments with little cups

As Mr. Toast and I venture our way in and out of the local shops, I'm always keeping my eye out for new cups to inspire me in the studio as I sip away on the perfect hot cuppa. These are only a handful of the mugs that fill an entire side of our kitchen cabinet.  In fact, Mr. Toast says I cannot purchase any new ones until I recycle a few old ones!  That's how many we have.  Oh dear me! :)

The last few I've purchased have been a bit more colorful and adorned with birds of some sort.  In fact, the red tea cup above has quite an exotic looking bird on the opposite side! After pondering why I'm drawn to birds, I've come to the conclusion that each one (subconsciously or not) make me feel free within my work.  If you've take my e-course, "Hello, Courage", you'll know that I'm all about allowing the creative soul to soar.  Meaning, forget any and all ideas of being perfect and just be within your work.  I've found over the past few years that putting myself inside a box of perfecting what I do, cramps my creative soul, leaving me feeling empty and often losing my mojo.

With that said, I contribute a lot of who I am and what has unfolded in my life both personally and artistically to two very important people.  My hubby (aka Mr. Toast) and my incredibly talented and beautiful friend, Susan. Both have impacted my life in different ways during different times.  (Sometimes, some of the most incredibly challenging and painful ones!)  Now, they both minister, support and build up my creative heart together - and that makes me an incredibly lucky girl! Uh huh.

(P.S.  Have I ever mentioned that Mr. Toast has a serious peanut butter and toast addiction? He's always leaving crumbs everywhere - especially the front of his sweaters...)

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Wednesday, February 04, 2015

WOYWW: My Little Town of Inspiration

This week is already chocked full of creative projects and homework deadlines.  So, yesterday I thought I would take a break to film a recent doodle inspired by the online class I've been taking via Lisa Congdon.  It was a fabulous 4-week class and I look forward to more from her this year.

You'll see in the first image a little (and brilliant!) contraption in which my step-son built for me as a Christmas pressie.  What is it, you ask?  It's an i-phone holder that allows me to create time-lapse videos, eliminating the shaking motion I was getting previously when creating these.  With that said, enjoy my little time-lapse video of my "Little Town" the music of Simon & Garfunkle's "Our Little Town. :)

For more creative desks of inspiration, make sure to visit the lovely Julia Dunnit. Happy WOYWW!

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Sunday Sketches: More Practice Doodles

It's been a crazy week here as college classes have resumed.  Although I'm still only attending part-time and from home, it's definitely been a little challenging finding a new balance in life between my classes and illo work on my plate.  I'm slowly getting there and doing my best to pace myself.

I've been moving forward with Lisa Congdon's class in pushing myself outside my creative comfort zone, bit by bit. Although I'm not really a fan of the doodle work above, I'm still pleased I completed it as it will plant seeds of growth in my creative soul - and that is something to be celebrate.  Uh huh. :)

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