Monday, November 22, 2010

AEDM Day #22

Today's inspiration comes from a child's holiday drawing. My friend's daughter, Tiana, always draws a holiday themed picture for her mother's cubical wall and they always make us smile. This time of year a "hand turkey" made it's way to our office and we all smiled at it's whimsy. Bright colors, happy clouds, the drawing of a joyful six-year-old little girl. Earlier in the month, another co-worker had mentioned that we never do any fun, group, cube decorating anymore. In the past we've done things such as everyone bringing in a childhood photo and hanging it outside our cubes by our name tags. It served as a reminder that every one of us was once sweet, innocent, and unencumbered by doubts in life.

As I looked at Tiana's drawing I thought about the first time a grade-school teacher showed me the magic of using my own hand to draw a turkey for a Thanksgiving project and how talented I felt with my new tool. It came to me what our new, silly, cubical project should be, everyone make their own hand turkey.

So far no one else has done it and I haven't been so great at promoting the idea but I still have two days to get the ball rolling :-)

Even with such a simple project I still fought the judge of my adult self. Do male and female turkeys have the red gobbler? I started to Google and was instantly disgusted with my need to know for sure. I made my drawing, simple, colorful, and with kissing turkeys. I am a hopeless romantic. What can I say?

If you are so inclined, let your inner child out and indulge in a carefree hand turkey of your own. If you do, I'd love to see it. It doesn't matter if you are a child or an adult. It's almost impossible not to smile in the presence of our four-feathered friends.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

AEDM Day #20

Ok, so my Art Everyday Challenge has turned into Art Every Several Days Challenge but I just splurged on a new laptop so it is my intent to blog more often now that I'm no longer confined to my spare room. So it's Saturday at 1:00pm and I have not created any art as of my last post. I did however venture out to Kaarma Last night for Indian food and to watch my belly dance teacher, Shannon, and the Pepper Lotus Tribal Dance Troupe perform. One word...exquisite.

Dancing is one of my favorite art forms and I have been involved in dance of some form all my life. My mom has always loved to dance and still does. She used to dance with my friends and I in our living room and teach us some of her favorite moves. I started at nine years old taking tap and jazz, later getting involved in ballet, admittedly predominantly for the shoes. I spent fifteen years with the same teacher and during that time, joined her local dance company. I was involved in that for several years and during my last six months in that area, I substitute taught dance to children for her school. It was extremely rewarding. And I suspect it's much easier to teach children who are doing something they love to do.

So when I moved to State College, there was a little bit of a hole in my life where dance used to be. Sure we'd go out and dance but it wasn't quite the same. Three years ago when I was going through a divorce, I decided it was more important than ever to bring dance back into my life. I started taking salsa and tango lessons from the Penn State Ballroom Dance Club and met so many amazing people, from all over the world, who are now my friends. We became a little family for a while. It was an amazing time in my life. We still keep in touch but most have moved on. Which is something that always happens living in a college town. It's very transient. Thank goodness for Facebook so I can keep track of them.

So for three years, salsa has been a staple and I love it. It's energizing, sexy, and just plain great fun. It's simply not possible to be crabby while salsa dancing. I loved tango too but I left that behind for a while. It may make a comeback. But let's bring it back around to my latest dance fascination, belly dancing.

I've been curious about it for some time. I wouldn't say I'm overly girly but I definitely love plenty of girly things. I truly do not mean to oversimplify it's meaning or cultural history, but for me, belly dancing was one of those art forms that had it all, sensuality, beauty, and costumes that jingle and sparkle. I think I was a crow in a former life. I also found that it was a dance form that women often did together and I loved that. In salsa, an opposite-sex partner is pretty much a requirement but in belly dancing, you can be alone or in a group. It's very empowering and great for bonding with other women. I've only had two formal classes in my friend's yoga studio but I've already been bitten by the belly dancing bug. I have to admit, as my friend Jen put it last night, it appears deceptively simple in it's beauty. We purchased finger cymbals (zils) and started to practice. I can walk and use them, but I cannot turn my wrists, walk and use them...yet. Such is life. Sometimes things seem deceptively simple but they require a little more effort than we previously believed. And that is good. It's good for us to be challenged.

So here's a little homework if you so choose, find a new art form that empowers you. Try several in fact. I like to have some that challenge me to practice and gain competency through experience and others I love because I can let my mind wander as shapes and colors pour out of my pencils and paints. Most importantly of course, have fun and let me know what you come up with. Maybe I'll give them a try myself :-)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Art Everyday Challenge-Day 14

Day 14? What happened to the other 13 days?
Yes, I know. I'm getting a little bit of a late start on this. November is Art Everyday Month is hosted by Leah Piken Kolidas and is a way to challenge yourself to be creative, in some way, everyday. My friend Marie had such a great time with it last year and is doing it again this year. With her encouragement, I am getting in on the fun :-)

So I will mostly be blogging about this challenge this month.

I signed up Thursday, Friday I got some strange flu that lasted through Saturday. So here I am Sunday ready to go! The humorous thing was that what I was most inspired to do was draw mandalas using the Reiki symbols that I have learned in training. But because they are sacred symbols, I cannot post them. *sigh*

So I drew a pattern for my intent to have positive forward movement in my life. It was not my favorite but that's ok. The other two were done a couple of weeks ago.

The first one is to inspire love in all areas of life to flow freely to me and the second one was to inspire abundance and prosperity.

I love to draw mandalas, at least that's how I think of them. They are a way to let my mind wander and let the intention guide me to choose the colors and shapes that I put to paper. It is so calming and therapeutic.

Give it a try if you never have and let me know how it felt for you. What came up? What emotions or blocks surfaced, if any? And most importantly, HAVE FUN with it!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Expanding My Creative Comfort Zone

Gosh, I've been busy. Since my last post, I started working on some new, dare I say a little "out there," ideas in my art, started a store (Pandora's Gallery) on Zazzle, and have joined my dear friend Sylvia in co-authoring a book on crystals which will most likely be out by spring of 2012. How exciting! I've really been focusing on actually DOING all the things that I'm drawn to do rather than dismissing them to the, "I'm not good enough to do that," or the "I don't have the time," category. It's really been difficult for me to train my brain to override all of those limiting beliefs and just say, "What's the worst that could happen?"

And yet, oddly, I still feel as though there isn't not enough forward movement in my life. I keep looking for something to create some vastly different lifestyle change, knowing that I would probably panic if it actually happened. It's funny how we try so hard to avoid experiencing change and yet we crave it so desperately. I once heard someone say, "It's not that we hate change, it's that we hate BEING changed." I have to agree. When change happens in a way that causes us to feel out of control, we fear it. The funny thing is that we never know what's around the corner and the only healthy way to handle it is to calmly accept it. Ugh.

I used to be terrified of change. TERRIFIED. Change always meant something bad in my mind. Change meant I was about to experience lack in some way. But as I continue on this path, I've seen so many amazing things happen. Things that I originally labeled as "bad" grew into beautiful opportunities to learn, grow, and gain. It was a magical realization to find that change could mean abundance.

Sure. I am a graphic designer and I do write this blog. But the idea of co-authoring a book or coming up with a strange art idea and putting it out there for the world to see, and ultimately judge, was really stressful for me to wrap my brain around. In July, I took a four-day workshop with Jim Donovan (formerly of Rusted Root) called the Summer Rhythm Renewal (I promise to write a post about this amazing experience). As an affirmation during one of our drumming/chanting sessions, I vowed passionately that I would not be afraid of life anymore. Now realistically, I can't get rid of all fear but I can however be more conscious of what I'm afraid of and why. Can this thing that I'm afraid of really hurt me or is it my ego trying to keep me safe? Meaning of course stuck with the same familiar behaviors that are classic me. A friend of mine posted something on Facebook about learning to move out of your comfort zone. I replied that I'd have to check with the borough, but I was pretty sure I was zoned for comfort. But in truth, I am pushing myself out of my comfy nest little by little. Verrrrry gently.

What little steps have you been taking to move yourself out of your comfort zone?

Baby steps are still steps and so I'm proud of myself for taking a little bit of a plunge here and there. Speaking of getting wet. Why don't I tell you a little bit about my new artwork

I'm really interested to hear your thoughts. Be nice ;-)