Tagged tools for the journey

You Gotta Hear This

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A few weeks ago, I had the tremendous privilege of joining Sabrina Ward Harrison and Trent Reynolds on their new podcast called “Room In The Trees”.  

If you haven’t listened to any of their episodes yet, you really gotta.  I highly recommend subscribing!

“Room In The Trees” is a valuable (and fun!) resource for artists – they discuss lots of topics that matter to we creative types.  I’ve enjoyed every episode (but forgive me, I may be partial to the one where I’m the guest.)  

Listen in here y’all!  

And let us know what you think!!

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Still Treasure Seeking

In my 55 years, I’ve held a few jobs and one “career”.   However, my education was in cultural and earth sciences – archaeology and geology.  It didn’t take me long to conclude those jobs wouldn’t pay my bills – not very well at least.  So one thing lead to another and I mysteriously landed in the world of television advertising.  (The “career”.)

Long story short, I eventually married my boss.  Yeah, I did.  We didn’t want to work and live together, so I retired.  My new husband, or the “Dream Maker” as I like to call him, set me free to discover what it is I really loved to do.  Oh God.

Yes, that may sound like a blessing to you (and indeed it was).  But, not until a years-long-tortuous-journey of self discovery . . . I had no idea what I loved!  I only knew working to pay the bills, ya know?

Somehow, my husband survived it all.  Several years later, after much searching and crazy making, I discovered I am an artist.  Which is really weird, since I was raised by a lifelong painter!  (But until this time of wandering about, I had never once picked up a paintbrush.)

These days I may paint, wander with camera in hand, write a bit, teach an art workshop or host an art retreat, but I’m still treasure hunting and documenting my findings.  This is exactly what I did as a young archaeologist.  Now I KNOW, Treasure Seeker is my calling, my vocation, my career!  I was born for this.

Through a commitment to my 7 year long painting practice, I have found my process.  (I tend to paint deep layers of color-filled strata.  Then I begin my real work of uncovering the treasures beneath.  I use a handful of tools I’ve tucked away in my treasure hunter’s knapsack.)

On daily walks and adventures, I focus my lens on the world’s treasures.  I’ll go to any length to capture small moments of wonder and beauty.

In my personal journal and sometimes here on my blog, I document and share my discoveries.  I can’t help myself.

ALWAYS AND FOREVER A TREASURE SEEKER.

ALWAYS AND FOREVER SEEKER OF BEAUTY AND THE EXTRAORDINARY.

ALWAYS THE DREAM DIGGER.

I want to share with you some of my discoveries.

If you’d like to take a look, my photographs can be found heremy “Project Wanderstruck”.

Some of my more recent paintings can be found here.

My only hope in sharing this with you, is that it will in some way inspire you to dig your own dreams . . . Enjoy!

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#everydaywalk100

100 days ago I made a decision to walk every day – for 100 days.

I did it for many reasons – but mostly to get “back in my body”.

Ya see, when I discovered art making 6 years ago, that’s ALL I wanted to do!  Once I began painting, I kept my ritual of writing morning pages with my coffee, but out went the exercise that typically followed.

Until then I’d been a fairly devoted exerciser – running marathons, hitting the weights and enjoying yoga.  Now there was no time for exercise – I had to hit the studio!  I was having so much fun swirling paint on canvas and lounging with my sketchbook, I had become downright sedentary.  Bleh!

Now, I was feeling tight and constricted in my body – and oh yeah – chubby and weak and lethargic!  So in a fateful moment 100 days ago (while actually walking) I decided to change my ways.

I wanted challenging, yet I needed doable!  I needed to feel successful.  Believing walking to be the most “portable”/least-excuse-probable exercise, I committed.  I’d walk for 100 days straight – for a minimum of 30 minutes.  No other rules.  Period.  Just get off my butt!  So I came home from that walk, photo copied a monthly calendar and numbered off 100 days.  I had begun.

I decided to Instagram my daily walk, but within a few short days I had bored myself silly.  That tedium threatened to make me quit walking – so I quit Instagramming and kept the walking instead.  K.I.S.S.  Keep it simple stupid.  Right?  Right.

On the days I saw something exceptionally beautiful, on landmark days or on the days I just felt like it, I posted a blurb and a pic on Instagram.  Otherwise, I kept the time just for me.  It was good.

I worried about lots of things at first.  Things like:

  • I’ll never make it through 100 days without getting sick or injured – surely something will stop me.  It didn’t.
  • I’ll get bored as hell and just stop.  I’m a “scanner”.  I need diversity and a change of scenery at the very least.  So I linked my love of new experiences and discovery and adventure to the goal . . . I sought out new places to walk, changed up routes in my normal haunts and varied my length of walk time.  Mostly I walked alone, but sometimes I went with my hubby or a friend or drug my lazy ass dog along.
  • I’ll “fudge” my time and not always do my minimum of 30 minutes.  I’ll cheat.  Wrong.  I’ve averaged 49 minutes over my 100 days!  It became a kind of game!
  • I worried there would be days I just wouldn’t find the time.  Yeah – that didn’t happen either.  Blew that theory.  Huh.
  • I worried that my plantar fasciitis would get worse with all that dang walking.  Didn’t!  Seems that time spent on my custom orthotics daily has helped me immensely – it’s nearly gone!

Of course, the experts tout the many benefits of consistent exercise.  Sure, I know that to be true logically.  But until you do something every single day, you can’t really  k n o w   –                          u n t i l   y o u   d o ! 

SOME benefits of daily walking I now KNOW:

  • it makes you a happier human!
  • it gives you way more energy than it takes
  • it gives structure to your day – seemingly increasing the time one has (to paint)!  It’s magic.
  • you can lose a bit of weight easily – without making any other changes
  • but it will make you want to make other changes too
  • it’s pretty freakin’ easy – it’s pretty freakin’ fun
  • you’ll reconnect with neighbors and friends
  • you won’t forfeit time with your spouse – you’ll just drag him along with you
  • you’ll solve problems more easily and have lots more brilliant creative ideas while walking!  Take a notebook.  Really.  Do.
  • you’ll discover places you never knew existed!
  • your confidence will soar – cause you are keeping promises to yourself and creating a sense of completion and accomplishment

In my 100 days, I’ve walked at dawn and at dusk.  

I’ve walked on days where my to-do list was longer than my arm and on tired days I wanted to hide under the covers.  

I’ve walked in four states!  

I’ve walked with dogs, old friends and a woman I’d only just met.  

I’ve walked in the rain and in temperatures over 100.  

I’ve rescued a dog from traffic and stumbled onto a homeless encampment I never knew existed.  

On my walks, I’ve laughed till I’ve nearly cried and actually have cried having witnessed the aftermath of domestic violence.  

AND I’ve seen such beauty – dolphins – white pelicans!  

I’ve gathered enough inspiration for a 1000 paintings!

So what now?  True to my scanner personality AND my new found love of self-imposed-challenges, I’m onto a new 100 day program.  I’ll move in some way – any way that feels good – every day for the next 100.  I’ll keep the majority of it (4 days minimum) a cardio based movement – walking, biking, hiking, spin class, whatever.  But now I’m free to do many other things I love – yoga, weights, dance!  I’ll also up my minimum to 35 minutes – just because I can!

I’ve marked off the next 100 days on my calendar!

Let #everydaymove100 begin!

Anyone care to join me?  

You can do this – I KNOW you can.  

(Why do I have a feeling this will become a 365 day thang?)

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Art-On-The-Go “Kits”

I do have some mad organization skills!  That, combined with a lifelong purse obsession, a tendency to hoard art supplies and a desire to tote them everywhere is the “perfect storm”!

It’s manifested in an crazy array of “art to go” kits.  Perfect for jaunts to desert or beach, art journal picnics or attending yet another art retreat.

I thought I’d share them with you today.  I’ll put some links to various supplies in case you’re interested – and BTW the links do NOT earn me affiliate fees.  They are things I really use and love.  Almost everything can be had on Amazon.

This first kit is for “traveling light”.  I use this set up most often – it’s great for road trips or for a sketch date at the beach.

In this hand painted clutch I can fit a travel set of watercolor, a sketchbook or journal, and a zip case full of pens, tape, scissors and glue.  I also love to include my portable photo printer.  It prints pics from my iPhone and even has sticky back paper – perfect for sticking straight into my journal!  

It’s not unusual for me to pack an inspirational book – this one’s about Dan Eldon – the guy who first inspired me to art journal!

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In my world, everything is an art project.  I love to take canvas or cotton totes and alter them with paint.  I use regular acrylic paints and find they do not fade or wash out.  The flowered tote below was originally a gift-with-purchase bag from Victoria Secret – it’s at least 5 years old and hasn’t faded a bit.

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What’s organization without a pen bag?  It holds more than I really can ever use – it’s awesome!  My husband’s bag (the green one) is filled with his cigar accessories and other man gear.  No, I do not smoke cigars lol!

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My second art kit has many more supplies to choose from.  It’s the perfect “portable studio” for longer travels or for an in-person art journaling class.

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The organizer is really cool!  It has a lift out tray for sketching or art journaling in my lap – and of course being plastic, it’s waterproof.  It holds quite a lot.  In it goes tapes, a sharpener, glue, water brushes, a spray bottle of water, standard watercolors, little jars of shimmery water colors and water-soluble markers and pencils.

There’s plenty of room for a sketchbook or two – I may even throw in a guided journal like one from Shiloh Sophia McCloud.  Again, I love to carry a camera for taping in photos.  This one prints self developing mini’s similar to the old polaroid cameras.

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This final kit is full blown!  This amazing box allows me to carry everything needed for a days long painting retreat, except the canvas itself.

In it, I can carry paints, brushes, paint pens, a painting shirt or apron, an art journal (or two), a full size camera and more.  Pretty much anything can find a place.  Well maybe not the humungous inspiration book . . . it’s an incredible collection of art journal images by Peter Beard – another favorite artist of mine.

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I bound the journal to the right of the white camera myself –  it’s soft and mushy which I love.  I ripped the cover to size from one of my own un-stretched paintings on canvas.  I filled it with luscious creamy 140 lb. hot press Fabriano watercolor paper – the best paper ever made in my opinion!!

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They even make the box in other colors and sizes.  I’m seriously lusting over the turquoise one. There’s even a cool fabric one (that I will not admit to owning – uh huh).  I believe this box may have changed my life – well, my creative life – a bit, anyways!  

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Tell me . . . do you HAVE to tote art supplies wherever you go too?  Am I alone in this?  Do you go on sketching dates and art journal picnics and painting retreats?

 

 

 

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White Space

At least once a month, I head east on crowded freeways towards our second home, Palm Springs.  After an hour or two of loud and harried, I reach my favorite exit – a long stretch of road in the shadow of the towering Mount San Jacinto.  It’s flanked by a wide expanse of blinding white sand and craggy mountains.

It’s here, I breathe deeper than I have in days.  The air is clear, the pace is slow, the stillness palpable.   In near reverence, I lower my window, quiet my tunes and let my hand roll in the warm breeze.  It’s my church.

My intense love for the desert southwest is as old as I am.  I figure it’s the closest I’ll ever live to the deserts of my Texas birthplace.

I’m here for over a week and it’s such a gift!  The temperature may soar to 117 degrees by this weekend, but that only means the desert is in it’s quiet annual hibernation.  So, I venture out at dawn for long coolish walks through town.

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The only people out so early in this town are sleepy dog walkers and casino shift workers.  But, I have spotted a familiar braided-Native-American-ranger bumping his truck onto a canyon road.  I so envy his turquoise bracelets!  He shows them off each time he waves my husband and I through to hiking trails during the cool months.

After my walk, a dip in the lukewarm pool is in order.  I float for awhile in the silky water, cloud gazing and day dreaming.  Before it’s too hot, I’ll run my errands.  The rest of the hours will be spent in much too cold air conditioning deep in page, paint and pen.  It’s a working retreat, you see.  I’m so fortunate to have my work feel like play nowadays.

The white space I’ve managed on my calendar is not likely to come again for a year, so I intend to make the most of this time.  How about you?  What are you doing in these last days of summer – are you finding some white space of your own?

 

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