Thursday, April 30, 2015

WOYWW: Studio hopes and dreams

This week on the studio table, I'm wrapping up custom charms for my sweet friend Allie (awesome photographer!) and one of the four children's books I'm currently illustrating, "No Matter How Small" (written by Sharon Gibbs). I'm utterly excited to see creativity blossoming all around me, even with life being a little chaotic at the moment. I'm saddled up and galloping forward to my dreams and goals for this year.

Along with these projects, the second round of the e-course I wrote, Hello, Courage, is soaring high and getting great feedback. I have a brand new e-course launching in June, Blog Girl - Ignite Your Inner Heart, where several successful bloggers (e.g. Tracey Fletcher King, Shirley Ng-Benitez, Hannah Marks and more!) will be sharing their stories with me. It's going to be an incredible creative journey with each them, inspiring others to follow their dreams!

For more WOYWW, take a spin over to Julia's cosy home.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sunday Sketches: Renewing the heart


Some of you might remember this illustration from a few years ago when I first started exploring watercolors. As I was sorting through old illustrations, I stumbled upon it and decided to give it a fresh look. As I reflect upon the final results, in which I'm quite pleased with, it has me thinking about a few things tonight.

Recently, I lost the balance of things in my life. So much, that I was wrestling with anger inside towards myself and in the end, it became a magnet to other negative things. When that happened, I started to realize those negative feelings needed addressing before it all went spiraling out of control. I wish I could say that I've mastered life, its ups and downs, bouncing back from temporary setbacks, etc. Most of the time, I do well.  Occasionally, like this weekend, I don't.  I knew it was time to step back and find a way to deal with those feelings as it was beginning to impact those I love around me.

Earlier this evening, I put on my jacket and and went on a walk with the pups, intending to get my head and heart in check once again - and that is certainly what I did. Doing so has lifted this huge weight off my mind and shoulders, leaving me in a place of peace and where my heart is beginning to feel renewed.

Know that I share such struggles with the hope of encouraging all of us on days where life feels incredibly challenging. We all struggle at times, especially when life feels out of control. For me, I had to realize and understand (once again) that there are just some things in life I cannot control - and that's OK! The important part of all of this is that I'm taking care of me an what I can control - those things that I thank my lucky stars for every single day - my life and my family. Period. It is then and only then where the pieces fall back into place and the renewing of the heart can begin.

Grab the Sunday Sketches button HERE.

Submit your artwork by signing up below with a link to your website/blog.  PLEASE make sure to visit each other! One of the biggest reasons for this co-op is to encourage and lift others up in their creative endeavors as well.  Thank you!


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Little Mushroom Magic...

I'm taking a short break this morning from the children's illustration work I've been buried in to start a new series of my own; one that I've had a lot of peeps request - a mushroom series! Thus far, I'm really liking the results. Although, to be fully "honest" with you, I fought the urge to rip the first one in to a million pieces! (Who? This lovely lady?) Uh huh! However, the one thing I discuss and emphasize often to those participating in my "Hello Courage" e-course echoed in my mind - "Don't give up! Keep going!"

My creative theory once again proved me right and that's to never ever throw away a piece you're not happy with! If you're feeling creatively frustrated (like I was!), put it aside and come back to it later on in the day or even a few days later.  I chose to sleep on it and awoke this morning to add just a few final details and am now quite happy with it. The second piece is still on the table, so to speak, as I'm currently deciding whether to leave as is or add some very fine, minimal lines. I'd love to hear your thoughts and what you envision.

For now, I'm off to enjoy my morning cuppa and visit everyone else over at Julia's WOYWW.  Come join the creative fun!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Whole Lot of Good Things Going On

There's been a whole lot of good things happening around here lately thus keeping us busy every single day! Besides the  children's book projects currently on my desk, I have a brand new e-course, "Blog, Girl", launching in just about 6 weeks that will feature several surprise (and quite successful) bloggers, sharing their story and tips right along beside muwah! Uh huh. Along with these lovely events, I'll be having a "Peanut Butter & Pumpernickel" book reading/signing at Barnes & Noble the first weekend in June, followed by an Artist Reception for being their June Artist of the Month.  Exciting!

With that said, my baby brother is starting his very own blog! It's exciting to see him slowly diving into the two things he really enjoys - music and photography. It's been wonderful hearing the various melodies from his guitar making their way up the stairs, gracing us in the evenings as we're cozied up on the sofa with a cup of tea in hand, chatting and what not. He's had some difficult emotional days but such an incredible trooper, getting up and pushing through each day.

In this world of ups and downs, it's not always easy to find the strength to rise above. Choosing to find one tiny thing to bring us hope now and/or in the future is the best thing anyone can do when trudging through life's challenges.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sunday Sketches: Good Things To Come

 Remember this little gal from a few weeks ago? She's a part of one of the many children's books I'm currently illustrating, "Chopper & T". I've been working incredibly hard in the studio the past few days to catch up with the projects currently on the studio table. I'm very close to wrapping up two children's books and beginning two new ones - including a special Christmas children's book!  Yeah!

It's been a little challenging though, as I'm also prepping for my graduation in 3 weeks. I'll be graduating with honors and awarded my special stole by a college professor of my choice, giving a speech in my honor. It's quite exciting as it's been a long time coming. I was scheduled to graduate last year until the unfortunate, horrible car accident I was in, delaying things. I'm looking forward to summer where there will be more time for weekend trips and holidays with family.

Grab the Sunday Sketches button HERE.

Submit your artwork by signing up below with a link to your website/blog.  PLEASE make sure to visit each other! One of the biggest reasons for this co-op is to encourage and lift others up in their creative endeavors as well.  Thank you!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sunday Sketches: Setting Sail Again...

This week has felt a little more normal with getting back into the routine of a few things. Although I'm still needing to find a little bit more balance with the changes of life recently, my creative soul was pleased to start painting again. Life often throws us curve balls and sometimes, it feels as if we'll never get back to the place we were before things began. In reality, we usually don't return to the exact same place we were prior to the circumstance(s) that temporarily stopped or slowed us down. Each circumstance, hopefully, helps us grow in life and when we finally set sail again we're taking a few new nuggets of wisdom along with us. Uh huh.

In fact, as I sit and look a little longer at this particular watercolor painting created earlier today, I see growth within it.  There's more fluidity and color blending within, meaning, I've discovered a bit more confidence in my artwork. This certainly calls for a celebration of sorts!  (For anyone who knows me, I'm all about celebrating!)

Wishing everyone a lovely Sunday Sketches.  Remember, be brave and SOAR to your creative dreams! ♥

Grab the Sunday Sketches button HERE.

Submit your artwork by signing up below with a link to your website/blog.  PLEASE make sure to visit each other! One of the biggest reasons for this co-op is to encourage and lift others up in their creative endeavors as well.  Thank you!


Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Little girls and special journeys

As the days move forward, the illustration work begins to come alive again within the studio.  With some major life changes going on, I've had to work through schedule changes and find a new balance for my creative world.  It's reminded me of the core message of my Hello, Courage e-course - finding creative joy during challenging times.  It's not always easy but finding JOY in the simplest of things always brings hope and healing to the creative heart/soul.

The darling illustration above is for one of the three brand new children's book projects on the studio table.  Titled, "Chopper & T", this story is about a little girl with special needs and her little doggie. I can't wait for you to see the completed results, so keep an eye out for more about this precious story. I'll be sharing more upcoming illustration projects as the weeks unfold.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Sunday Sketches: Wishing Upon A Star

It's been a long few days but I'm starting to slowly get back into the swing of things around the house, with my college work and illustration projects.  My baby brother is also beginning to find a bit of routine in his life as he moves forward in an entirely different place he's known for so many years. It's been wonderful hearing him strum his guitar, humming songs - something he said he would never do again! :)

The illustration above is another one of the 24+ illustrations I completed for Kids Hope USA.  This project has ended but as promised, I'll continue to share the collection of illos a few more weeks.  I'm looking forward to seeing this book in print and am already working on three brand new children's books as we speak. Yeah!

Wishing everyone a wonderful Sunday Sketches!  I'll visit peeps as quickly as I can.

Grab the Sunday Sketches button HERE.

Submit your contributions by signing up below.  PLEASE make sure to visit each other! One of the biggest reasons for this co-op is to encourage and lift other up in their creative endeavors as well.  Thank you!


Thursday, April 02, 2015

A New Life: This Time I as I and Not As We...

As I listened to this song on the bus ride home from Cali, tears tumbled down my face.  This seems so fitting for my baby brother and starting all over again.  My heart has the biggest ache for him, wishing I could wave my hand in the sky and erase every heartache and bad thing done to him.  I realize we all make mistakes in life and sometimes our choices bring consequences but there’s a point in life when enough is enough and I think to myself how can the world break a person anymore than what it already has?

Chorus to the above song:
Day one day one
Start over again
Step one step one
I'm barely making sense

For now I'm faking it
'til I'm pseudo making it
From scratch begin again

But this time I as I
And not as we

It’s been a gentle, slow journey this past week of reconnecting with my younger brother.  He’s making small steps in finding his way back to the top of the water after falling into an ocean of indescribable loss and heartache. Some days are good.  Some days are challenging but I am so proud of him. Each day he wakes up with the deepest heartache one could imagine after losing someone of 18 years and finds the smallest thing to force him to move forward. We both recognize it will be a journey of rediscovering life and the reason to live without his wife, but he’s doing it. The first few days were filled with uncontrollable tears and shakes, asking every ‘why God’ in the world, saying he’ll never do anything he loves again. Now, he’s taking baby steps to begin finishing his computer certification degree when he settles, to playing music again – all good things! 

The next few months will bring healing in many different ways and I’m thankful to not only be married to the most incredible husband in the world but to have wonderful step-children – each one ready to embrace my brother despite his past and love him to a new beginning in life.  I could not ask for more.
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