Wednesday, September 10, 2014

"Walking Among the Dandelion Wisps," "J & J's Wedding Tree," and an Update on my Health and Life

ATTENTION: DUE TO MAJOR HEALTH ISSUES I'VE BEEN GONE FOR QUITE SOME TIME, AND I APOLOGIZE FOR NOT LETTING YOU KNOW SOONER.  I HOPE YOU CAN UNDERSTAND THAT THE ONLY REASON I DIDN'T POST THIS SOONER WAS LITERALLY OUT OF SHEER PAIN, WEAKNESS, AND EXHAUSTION. I SOOO WANT TO TRY TO GET BACK INTO THE DISCIPLINE OF PAINTING AND CREATING DAILY, THOUGH I DOUBT I'LL BE ABLE TO DO IT EVERY DAY, BUT PERHAPS WITH SOME LUCK AND AN INSANE AMOUNT OF DISCIPLINE I MIGHT BE ABLE TO GET BACK TO POSTING MORE REGULARLY, DESPITE MY SILLY PAIN.

"Walking Among the Dandelion Wisps"     3.5" x 5"     Oil Pastel on Paper
Hi there, if there is anyone out there who still might possibly follow my blog anymore or check it from time to time. I am so sorry for my straight up abandonment of my little artistic oasis here - I can't even begin to tell you how horribly sick I've been this year, nor do I want to bore you with all my complaining. So if you're interested in reading an update on what's going on with my health - a TON has changed unfortunately - then read on through to the bottom of the post. If not, I'm just going to post my paintings up top for those more interested in the art and not so much an expose on my health.

I've gone through such feelings of loss, and then feelings of guilt because I think of those people out there who have things worse off than I do. But I still can't shake that feeling. I'm not really making art anymore - it takes so much effort to do so - it just hurts way too much most of the time, though I have had some blissful moments to create. Plus, when I feel even a tiny bit good, I want to try to love on my kids and family, because I miss them sooo! But like I said, I have had some chances to create, and so here are some of the things I did this year, but up until now I just didn't quite feel up to posting them by the time I was done.

PROJECT #1

"Walking Among the Dandelion Wisps" in my Awesome Mini Art Journal - I LOVE that thing!!!
So I'm not quite finished with this one yet - and honestly, it really was just supposed to be a simple sketch to see if I wanted to make a painting of it and OH YES, I DO!!! There's something about the combination of the colors that is soothing and riveting for me - I'm not at all trying to toot my own horn, trust me - I've been feeling like a terrible artist lately, but for some reason this piece really speaks to me, even though I made it. I always feel a little guilty when I'm proud of my own work - any other artists out there struggle with that? 

By the way, this idea for this pastel painting was taken from one of my sister's beautiful picture's that she had taken while up in the mountains. So thank you sis for letting me use that!!!  

PROJECT #2

This is a Wedding Tree, done in collaboration with the mother of the groom, Paula, and the groom himself, Jeremy, who wanted a very specific layout being an artist himself as well. The space that was left blank on the left side was done so on purpose so that they could put the bride and groom's thumbprints there standing up together, in paint, and make them into little love birds, adding a veil and sparkling diamond to the bride and a hat and bow-tie to the groom. Isn't that sweet?


"J & J's Cherry Blossom Wedding Tree"     11" x 14"     Acrylic on Belgium Linen Hardboard (which was like absolutely to work with!)
I'm not sure if you can see it anywhere on the tree above, but I hide my signature leaf insignia and a heart in the branches as well. Also, there's a few Dandelions (can you find them all?), a Snail, and Two Mushrooms. I added the Dandelion with floating wisps to signify the dreams they have that they are sharing with each other as they start this new journey together. The two Mushrooms, one big, one small, was to represent the groom shielding her from the storms that will rage ahead, as he is her protector now, and you can see the little one moving in, seeking that protection, cuddling close to her love. As for the Snail, well, he's just kinda gonna be my trademark. I think you'll be seeing him and little Inch-Worm a lot more often in my paintings from here on out... =0)

Detail with Branches



I'm not sure why the photo above is so pink - I kept trying to change the color balance and hue on it but it just wouldn't give, so you'll just have to imagine it like the picture below. The background was completely white with a little bit of texture so that there would be texture in the people's thumbprints as they were using paint.
Close-Up Detail of the Bottom of the Tree

FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN AN UPDATE ON MY HEALTH:

This last year has been quite a doozy, let me tell ya!

So over this year my symptoms have been widening and my pain has been worsening and unrelenting, meaning I haven't had a break this entire year for more than 5-6 days tops, whereas last year I would get my pain down to a tolerable level (say in the 3-5 range or the 5-7 range) for weeks and months, but this year it's been a steady 8-10, and if I'm lucky I get the 6-7 range instead for a bit. But that's not all - my Myofascial Pain, Fibro, and other disorders have made a new and very perplexing friend.

At first I swore it was MS (Multiple Sclerosis), because I would wake up completely paralyzed for hours, unable to speak beyond the tiniest whisper. Then I started having spells where I would fall asleep or pass out in the middle of doing things - whether talking to someone, walking across the room, instantly after sitting down - it was terrifying! Even this week I walked into the middle of the room, stopped and just stood there. I heard Ty talking to me and saw the room but he said my head was down and my eyes were shut - I fell asleep standing in the middle of the room at 8pm - and I'm a night owl!!! It was kinda creepy! He guided me to the couch, laid me down and I woke up the next morning - so weird!!! Anyways, so we got the testing done, saw a Neurologist, did multiple sleep studies and MRI's (in fact, I still have one more sleep study coming up - the 24 hour one inside a monitored room - that's gonna be interesting!) and I was happy to find out that at least I don't have MS!

And of course, as all things go, the Neurologist asked if during the sleep spells I had ever fallen - I had said, "Nope, not yet." Then, of course, as Murphy's Law would have it, the next night after seeing him I had my first fall and it would have been even worse if we hadn't already been scheduled for acupuncture the following morning (Praise the LORD for that!!!). I hit my shoulder blade hard againt the tub, as well as my hip and my head, screamed in agony, then screamed repeatedly for Ty who was asleep in the attached room, but couldn't wake him in the end and ended up passing out again from the sheer pain of it all. I woke up about 5 hours later in screaming pain as the sun was peaking it's sleepy head over the horizon. From then on I've fallen quite a few more times (it's quite terrifying) - and even though Ty is super quick to spot me when I look like I'm going to pass out now, we still miss a few and I white out and end up passed out in strange places. As you can see, it's been straight-up crazy over here!

So this year's been quite a drastic and scary shift from last year for me and my family, and frankly I'm having a hard time trying not to be terrified about this coming fall and winter since they are always sooo much harder than the rest of the year, but I know deep down in my heart that I should just have faith in Jesus and know that He is in control no matter what, because it's true. However, sometimes those truths, though comforting at times and at other times the pure air that you breathe, well, sometimes they can also feel so foreign and underwhelming - even though you want them to give you comfort and rest and ease, for some odd reason, it can feel like reading a book where all the words are out of order and nothing makes sense. These last 4 years have most definitely challenged my faith - but I am grateful to say that I will ALWAYS hold fast to my creator, my counselor, my almighty King, my Joy, my Life, and my Lord, JESUS CHRIST. Without Him, there is no way on earth I would be here this day with all of you. But I would love some prayer that I would be passionate in my walk with Him each day, and that I would fully trust in this Word:

"Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, 
I am he who will sustain you.
 I have made you and I will carry you;
 I will sustain you and I will rescue you."
Isaiah 46:4

It's hard to believe at times that God will sustain me and carry me and rescue me when honestly for most of my life I've felt abandoned. It's one thing to say that you believe and you trust and it's a whole different thing to live in pain every single day (pschological, emotional, physical) and try to believe that the upcoming hard months are going to be easier, and then despite that TO CHOSE TO BELIEVE THAT because you KNOW GOD IS LOVE. For I know that God is pushing me to learn to truly trust in Him with all my heart, pushing me to grow, to change, to become more like him, to polish off all the rough edges (boy are there a lot of those!). But I need to trust Him to sustain me, carry me, and most of all RESCUE ME with ALL OF MY HEART. May God's will be done and not my own.

I pray God blesses you today/tonight - that he carries you when you are weary, that he sustains you when you feel broken and when you feel like you can't possibly go on , that He would provide for you in your times of need in amazing and miraculous ways, and that if YOU need to be rescued, that HE WOULD RESCUE YOU! All you have to do is ask. The Lord says, "Come near to [Me]* and [I]* will come near to you." James 4:8a NIV  (*Me was substituted for God and *I was substituted for He in the brackets within the verse). That's seriously one of my favorite verses of all time. And there's so much weight to it. No matter what you've done, or how far away you feel from God, all you have to do is draw closer to Him, pray, get out your Bible, dust it off and flip open the cover and read - perhaps the Psalms, or Matthew or Philippians, and start a conversation with God. That verse has helped me soooo many times when I felt my soul running dry. I pray it helps you too. So I hope your day/night is going well and I truly hope to see you more often now. Man, I sure miss this place (if you can't tell be the ridiculously long posts - don't worry - the posts will be WAAAYYY shorter here on out! And I most of all I miss all my internet friends and buddies!!! May God bless you and keep you. HAPPY CREATING EVERYONE!!!!!!!!

Monday, April 28, 2014

My Sister Kirsten - Portrait Photography



***Oh, and by the way, I did these all off the size of an image that at 300 pixels/inch was only 3.2" x 1.8", just so you know why the image isn't super duper high-def in certain areas. =)

I don't know what came over me tonight, but I saw this beautiful picture of my sister that she posted last night on Facebook(which I did NOT take by the way) and I just HAD to play around with it! I hope you don't mind sis, but you are absolutely gorgeous, and not to mention you look like you're still in your teens even though you're three years older than me - no fair! Lol! =D

But  I hope you like what I did with these Kirsten, and anyone else who cared to venture out here to my blog today. Here's the original one that she had posted earlier yesterday, pre-edit (By the way, I totally did NOT take the original picture, remember, I only edited the picture below):


So my sister and I had the most amazing relationship as little ones. Like the stuff dreams are made of, because she had such an amazing imagination and I was so lucky to be blessed with a sister like her who made everyday play feel more real than the real world did at times. We'd spend hours playing dinosaurs - she had named every single one, I helped of course on a minimal basis with silly names, but she went so far as to make up little cards for each one that spoke of each dinosaurs favorite foods, hobbies, occupations and more. It was amazing! When we played, the dinosaurs weren't just little toys on the ground, they stomped and towered above us, with deafening roars and the excitement gripped us as if we were on the edge of our seats - it was thrilling to play with her, and the memories I have with her will never die - they are some of my most treasured memories of my entire life!!!

As we grew, like most kids, we grew apart as she grew into adolescense while I was left behind wanting so desperately for her to still just play with me. I found out only a few years ago that it hurt her just as much as it hurt me that she no longer wanted to play dinosaurs or barbies anymore - but that time had passed for her, and she just couldn't force it, she was growing up, and I just didn't understand. It took years and years for our relationship to heal - mostly due to lots of dysfunction and abuse in the home that sent us all reeling for years, that still has me reeling in fact - that pain runs deep and doesn't die easily.

But as we both became Christians again, and yes, I mean again, because we both fully walked away and then fully recommitted our hearts to God after some very painful years later - my story of childhood and adolescence is riddled with deep, searing pain, it's hard to even want to talk about it on here, honestly - but when we both recommitted our lives, we were able to reconnect and grow close once again, with little hiccups here and there as all relationships seem to have that are worth having.  She is one of my best friends, someone I highly respect not only for the way she raises her girls as a Godly woman and how she tirelessly homeschools all three of them, one who's in elementary school, one who's in middle school, and one who just started high school - it's crazy!!! But she is such a blessing to our family and I love her so much! I love you sis, and I hope you like what I did with your picture - I just couldn't help myself - I've been on bedrest all week with this wretched flare and this totally made my night to play around with (and hope you don't mind that I did this either...!)! =0)

So yeah, sorry I haven't been around much everybody! I guess you can tell why now - I got slammed on Easter with another wretched (and boy do I ever mean wretched!) flair because of the impending weather change. I sobbed my way to church because it was so hard to get myself to go because I felt so miserable, and normally I'd just stay home, but I like to try to at least make the holiday services if I can. But oh man, my body has been literally freaking out for an entire week before the storms hit, so I guess I can tell there's a storm coming a whole entire week before one comes - it's insane!!! So we've been miserable over here and could totally use some prayer, as usual. What's the saying...? Happy wife, happy life? I'm pretty sure that's about as accurate as it gets, and I'm downright miserable! Super weak, super uncomfortable, been on bedrest for almost a whole week, sleeping like crazy because the pain and weakness is so intense - it's just ALL BAD! Oh well, we need the rain, so I'll just have to suck it up and get over it. I hope you all are having better weeks out there than me. Hey, at least the Easter Bunny brought me a very yummy Dove Chocolate Bunny - Oh Yum-Yum!!! =D

Well, I hope you all have a wonderful day today and that God blesses your day! Take care! =)

Friday, April 4, 2014

"The Pear-fect Pair" - A Still Life Painting of Pears

"The Pear-fect Pair"     4" x 5"     Acrylic on Canvas with Paint Wrapped Edges
 $50 - Email Me To Purchase This "Pear-fect" Painting! =0)

I'm sooo energized this week by the upcoming show on Saturday!!! I wish I had been feeling better for weeks beforehand - oh how I could have had an awesome amount of stock to sell! But it is what it is and I'm trying to do the best I can with what I got - and so here is one more painting that I did just this week in hopes of selling it at the show. =0) I hope you like it - I'm really diggin' painting pears - they're quite a fun subject to paint! I hope you're having a great day and if you end up wanting to buy this pretty little painting today and snatching it up before the show, that's fine by me - just email me and let me know! =D Have a great day my friends and God bless!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

"Owl Only Have Eyes For You" and "Too Cold to Give a Hoot" - Two Miniature Owl Paintings

"Owl Only Have Eyes For You"     2" x 2"     Acrylic on Canvas

 I can't believe I finally got the chance to paint this week!!!  =D I started on Tuesday, on this sweet little painting of an owl up close, on a 2 inch square canvas. I mostly got to paint in little bits and pieces here and there, intertwined with loves, cuddles, and random spurts of playtime with my boys that were full of awesomeness (and of course Nanny "Mommo" was there – which is what the boys lovingly call Miss Bri – or I wouldn't have even had the chance to paint at all, but I have the Big Spring Boutique on Saturday and I thought I better get my little bootie back in shape and knock out a few small paintings or I won't have much to sell at all so Tuesday ended up being a work day for me). But man oh man, it was so totally amazing!  =0) And boy, can I ever tell you it's been WAY, WAY,   WAAAAYYY TOO LONG! I missed it exceedingly more than ever even realized I would, which rather a shock to my system, and I noticed that after spending forever painting a 2" x 2" I'm still not sure if the reason it took so long was because of the sheer amount of detail or because I made quite a few little rookie mistakes and had to go back and fix them. Still, it was so worth it! 

"Too Cold to Give a Hoot"     2" x 2"     Acrylic on Canvas

 Plus, I got to go back and FINALLY finish up this sweet little winter gem, and given all these crazy storms the last few weeks, it just felt fitting, even if we only ever get rain and no snow in our area. But for those of you in colder climates, I'm sure this feels like home to you right now! I guess I just was in a total owl mood. I really DO like other animals, trust me, I do! My other favorites are Octopus, Frogs, Snails, Inch Worms, Sea Cucumbers, Jellyfish, Frogs, and Moose. I could keep going - I kinda just want to add any animal that lives in the Ocean or the Woodlands, but that kinda defeats the purpose of picking "favorites" I suppose. Ohhhh, I dooo so LOVE Sea Dragons, Black and White Spotted Eagle Rays, and Spotted Bamboo Sharks and Spotted Wobbegong Sharks (also known as Carpet Sharks). Those last few one's are pretty cool - you should look them up if you're bored. 

Anyways, if you live in the area and want to come on down to the Boutique and find some AMAZING handmade, handcrafted goods by many of my good friends and local artisans, especially with Mother's Day and Easter right around the corner, come on down. It's on this SATURDAY the 5th from 9am - 5pm on Atherton Boulevard in Brentwood - trust me, you won't miss it - it will be VERY WELL MARKED!!! So come on down, support some local "starving artists" (hahaha, I'm just joking on that part!), but seriously, come on down and you will have an absolute blast! I'll post the link later for the Boutique so you can see some of the other things people are selling, but for now I have to run. Have an awesome day, my friends, and God bless!!!

Monday, March 10, 2014

"The Hunt is On..." – Tangle #05

"The Hunt is On..." – Tangle #05     4" x 4"      Ink & Graphite on Pulp Board Coaster

I was just asked to join in on the Spring Boutique, the Spring version of what my friends throw in the Fall which is an amazing gathering of all my very talented artistic friends who get together for good times but most of all to sell their crafts! It's a time of merriment, laughter, and good cheer, and I wouldn't miss out on it for the world, and even last time, in the midst of a flare, with the help of the sweetest woman ever, she helped me in my wheelchair to set up and tear down my little table full of artistic goodies. It was awesome!

So you can imagine that this time around I'm super stoked to go back, and now that I know what to expect (I was SUPER disorganized last time just because of the sheer lack of experience at running a booth like that - I'm used to doing henna or facepainting, not selling art, so it was really different for me!) but yeah, now that I know what to expect I imagine that I can plan ahead much better and therefore have things run MUCH more smoothly in my booth. For instance, I was stuffing prints and taping them to their backings the whole time, which I could have done at home the entire week or month before, so I can avoid that at the next event and be able to focus more on my customers this time around and not feel so hectic or embarrased by my disorderliness. I'm sure everyone has their own stories of things they weren't quite ready for, and this was one of those, but I'm so excited to be able to go back and do it again with a fresh eye and some experience under my belt - and RECEIPTS too, even if just for my own records!

But in all the thoughts of this, it's really gotten me in the feeling of spring and Easter already, and I'm already starting to decorate eggs apparently. I made another similar drawing along with this one that I can't wait to share - but I love spacing them out so I have more posts, can ya blame me? =0)  Anyways, this one was a total blast and seriously is making me get the itch for illustration... I'm thinking of taking out a large clayboard and start a bigger work on there, but I don't know – if I did I'll have to share each different section I worked on with you as I go along each day, which could be really fun. And I could do one that's realistic-ish like this, or rather playful like I suppose, and one that's more pattern, texture, and henna in styling. Oooh, I think I just came up with a new project!!!

Whelp, first it's off to bed and then hopefully I'll be seeing you soon! Take care my friends! I love you and God bless! =D

Friday, March 7, 2014

"Night Owl" - Tangle #4 and a Whole New Series in the Works!!! =0)

"Night Owl" - Tangle #04    2.5" x 3.5"      Graphite, Colored Pencil and Ink on Acrylic Paper (ACEO)
$25 - Email me if Interested

This little Owl stole my heart as soon as he made his appearance. And I knew that I immediately wanted to make a series of woodland creatures in this style, so as of now I am currently working on work #02 in the series, a playful little bear cub, who's trying so hard to climb over a tree that's a mite bit taller than he is. As for this Owl though, he's got a wild side - a little bit of mischeviousness to him that I just adore. It's as if as soon as the sun sets his playful side comes out and little mousies beware!

I hope you are having fun being your own little playful selves as well! And oh how I'm loving this newfound LOVE for pen and ink - I think it rather suits me, especially when color is involved. =0) I'd love to know what you think or what woodland animals you would like to see from me next. And thanks for not giving up on me - you have no idea what that means to this weary soul - it's like the elixir of LOVE and LIFE and JOY all mixed up into one sweet tonic, and I thank you heartily for that. Have a wonderful day, my friends, and stay inspired! You have no idea how much you have helped keep me inspired yourselves!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

"Metamorphosis" - Tangles #03 And a MAJOR CHANGE of HEART

"Metamorphosis" - Tangle #03     2.75" x 2.75"     Ink and Graphite on Illustration Board
Lately, God has been making some MAJOR changes in my heart and in my life. I didn't realize how incredibly selfish I had become in my PAIN because of my fibromyalgia and myofascial pain conditions and more. I had adopted these terrible habits and ways of thinking over these last two years, more so like an attitude of "I'm in pain, and I'm dealing with more than you can possibly even imagine, so you need to figure out all the rest and just DEAL WITH IT" kind of thing with my husband and my mom, and just about everyone else I love, without even seeing how disgusting that sounds. It's easy looking at it now to see how gross it is, I mean, HOW SELFISH OF ME!!! But at the time, I had no idea what it looked like from the outside. I was so consumed by pain, I dare say I didn't even care how it looked at the time, which is just awful!

I had no idea how much of a toll an attitude like that would have on my marriage, my friendships, my family, and every relationship I had - I was horrified once it was brought to my attention that a change had taken place in my heart and that this once happy go lucky girl was consumed by bitterness and anger, by pain and hurt, and I immediately knew that what I just said above was what was at the heart of the matter. Anger, bitterness, and pain in my soul over all I had lost in my life, after having had such a difficult childhood, everything just seemed so unfair. Life seemed so unfair. It's like every time Tyler and I turned our backs and got through one difficulty, like having a Preemie, and then our second pregnancy being more painful and difficult than the first, and each thing carrying with it a 95% chance of ending in divorce, and each new challenge with the same statistics being dropped in our laps - I just couldn't handle it anymore - and clearly didn't handle it in a Godly way. I'm sure you could read it in the tone of my posts, and for that I apologize greatly! I truly, sincerely do!

The good news is that God has taken hold of me, given me a good shake up, and gotten my attention once again to start working on the tender spots and dark places in me once again. After all, we're never a finished work of art - the potter is never quite finished working on us for we are always works in progress until the day we die. And as for me, I just needed some good SOLID direction for me to start working on the right parts of me to get this metamorphosis of the heart to really get started. And I praise God He's set my feet back on solid ground; back on the right track, though the journey is a LONG one and I'm going to fall flat on my face plenty of times along the way and have to pick myself back up again, wipe myself off, and get started all over again. But praise God that He is a merciful and forgiving God, because I know that so long as I draw near to Him during this arduous journey, this journey that is going to be full of pain, and heartache, and where I'm going to find out things about myself that I don't want to see, at least I know that if I draw near to HIM, HE will ALWAYS draw near to ME too. Praise God for that!!! And let the Metamorphosis begin!
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