The Dreaming Child

Boldly colored mixed media with text, photo and George Eliot quote

“Keep learning” is advice mentioned regularly, and good advice it is. From simple things like taking a new route on the way to or from work, cook a new dish, or listen to different music. To more involved ones like learn a new language, take a course, or tackle a new skill. Any one of them can shakes up the cemented pathways in your brain and open up all sorts of new and potentially amazing possibilities. Which then lead to more! The best part is that it is all up to you to take that first step and try something new. It doesn’t have to be grand and expensive, it can be as simple as a daily walk through a different neighborhood and grow from there. Start today, engage a friend or two, write it down and tape that first intention to your mirror. Just give it a go!

Believe in the Garden

Mixed media piece of butterfly on a rose and heavily detailed background

Though it is winter, and the garden is covered in snow, I know things are happening at the root level of all my plants. They are dreaming of spring and bursting forth into the sun. yet even during the winter months the exposed branches give structure to the garden, highlighted by snow and occasional bird. For many January can be a hard month. It is cold, dark, the weather can be unpredictable, the celebrations past, and resolutions sounding hollow already. Plus this year, still, we have the pandemic continuing to throw monkey wrenches into daily life. Both sides of that issue are feeling irritated about that, though some won’t dial it back which only adds to the general annoyances we are all experiencing.

I decided to start my year off with regular trips to the gym to keep both my physical and mental strength up. To get outside in the fresh air when I can. And I decided to take part in Creative Jumpstart 2022 to keep my creativity flowing. I have just finished the first week of lessons and it is a blast. It is providing me with the same sort of benefits as the gym and nature. It’s a trifecta of goodness to ward off any January blahs that might come my way.

The Holly and the Ivy

Christmas themed mixed media with The Holly and the Ivy text

December is underway, the yards and houses are starting to glow with Christmas lights, holiday cards are appearing in the mailbox, and our tree is all decorated. I am at odds with the passage of time this whole year, and likely will find that this month continues the same, strange pattern. I have been slow to finish up the last of the shopping, we all agreed that we needed nearly nothing, so the gifts are practical. It may not be terribly exciting, but there is a joy in listening and seeing what it is someone actually needs and giving it.

Chasing perfection

Cheerful mixed media with Deborah Day quote about being gentle with yourself.

This time of year it can be easy to get overwhelmed with trying to make everything perfect. The perfect tree, meal, gathering, gift, you name it we set up unattainable goals for the holidays. Every ad, movie and store is filled with imagery and stuff perfectly choreographed to make us think it will translate into a Hollywood holiday. Even though we instinctively know it, we can get sucked into the craziness and stress. For many this all starts tomorrow with Thanksgiving.

Here are a few tips to help combat the feelings of overwhelm:

1. Be gentle with yourself and others

2. Dial back expectations

3. Set boundaries that feel right for you

4. Try to avoid buying too much of anything

5. Give yourself permission to do self care

None of these are new, but they are worth keeping in mind. Find what works for you. Hike if you enjoy hiking, make art, knit, do whatever brings you joy and peace of mind.

Tiny wonders

Four 2 inch bright mixed media pieces

When I work small I have to approach the piece differently. Different decisions have to be made from the start in order not to overwhelm the final balance. One thing I enjoy about tiny art is that I get to use up my tiniest scraps, all the bits I have hung onto “just in case”. When I do 1” size the restrictions are even tougher to work within. If you want to try making small scale pieces like these, go ahead and dive in! You will likely enjoy the process and feel encouraged to make more. Start at the 2” size first so you can get used to the scale, and then try some 1” ones.

Four 1” bold mixed media pieces

Here are some 1” pieces, commonly called “inchies”, so you can compare the two sizes. You are working with the littlest scraps you have for this size. But, much like bonsai, it is what you choose to leave that makes it work.

Good vibrations

Layered mixed media with pink, yellow, and black.

The bold colors in this piece lift my spirits, there are a lot of good vibrations going on here bouncing off each other and going out into the world. I have been doing mostly bold colored pieces recently, perhaps because of the lackluster fall color we had in the area. Whatever the reason, I am enjoying the creative time where I get to surround myself with bright, cheerful colors. What are some of your go to colors when you create? Leave a comment, I am always looking to explore new color combinations.