Learning the Beauty in Less being More: Musing Moment

I am truly learning and embracing the joy of ‘less is more.’ As I intentionally take the time to build the life that I imagine for myself, I am living the truth that I can create without hustle. I can be a success without embracing the lie that I need to be stressed to do it. I don’t have to do ‘it’ the way everyone has shouted that ‘it’ needs to be done.

The wisdom is to perform for an audience of ONE (Yeshua Jesus) and to learn how to be better than the person you were the day before.

I have no need to keep up with the Jones…I don’t even know who the Jones are, which makes it all the better. My life is unique and designed by Christ. It is my honor and privilege to discover that path and walk it in faith in His hands.

My hands and knees may get messy along the way since the path is cleared by each step I take. There is grace in this way, hope, peace, and the fullness of joy.

Our lives are a blessing and a gift to be treasured. What we each have to give individually strengthens the whole.

Less striving to be like everyone else allows more of me to shine through.

Less is more!

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

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Leo and Diane Dillon: Art Heroes of Mine

Last year-when I started this blog-I spent the better part of it really warming up or getting myself re-acclimated to the climate of creativity.

Before that, before my 10 artistic soul revival in London and Ireland, I had been trapped in somewhat of a creative prison. Perfection had held me hostage, so much so that I would purchase new art supplies but I would never use them out of fear of “messing them up.”

Illustration by Leo and Diane Dillon
Illustration by Leo and Diane Dillon

Praise Yeshua Jesus I am far beyond that place even though there are times that I am tempted to take on that old mind set.

So last year I stole away 15 minutes or so whenever I could to do a sketch or write a few words. Out of these exercise came the birth of new novel ideas as well as artistic collections.

In our attempts to find “self”, we must look to those who inspire us the most. ~Candice Coates

Illustration done by Leo and Diane Dillon
Illustration done by Leo and Diane Dillon

This year I want to take things to the next step. I would like to try my hand at spring-boarding from the expressions of artist who I admire the most. I feel like the 15 minute studies have transformed into warm-ups for something better. In light of that notion I have been looking at artist who absolutely inspire me with perfect humility and awe.

We all learn from someone, and who we are comes out of a result of following our leaders. I feel like I am ready to follow.

I don’t know if I will make a series of blogs like this, but for the sake of “maybe,” my first artistic heroes are Leo (1933-2012) and Diane Dillon. (To see my Pinterest page that I have dedicated to them, click HERE. I will continue to add to the page as more of their images are made available.)

Leo and Diane Dillon are known for their stellar achievements in illustration. Many of their vibrant works are the very images that many children, now adults, grew up viewing in primary school. From books such as “Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears,”  “The Chronicles of Narnia,” “The People Could Fly,” “A Wrinkle in Time,” to later publications such as “Sabriel,” by Garth Nix, the Dillon’s have offered their talents as a blessing and a feast for our eyes and imaginations.

"The Magician's Nephew" by C. S. Lewis. Illustration by Leo and Diane Dillon. This is also my favorite book in the Chronicles of Narnia Series
“The Magician’s Nephew” by C. S. Lewis. Illustration by Leo and Diane Dillon. This is also my favorite book in the Chronicles of Narnia Series

What I love most about the Dillon’s is that they shared such a harmony in their collaboration. Not only were they husband and wife, but they were partners in creation.

What draws me most to their pieces is their expression and movement. The images seem to come alive and take root in the imagination in a way supremely their own. The colors are vibrant, the textures are captivating and the flow from one dimensional plains into that of two dimensional and even three dimensional is seamless. (For more of their art, follow this LINK)

They dashed the notion of “not judging a book by its cover,” in that they made me WANT to read certain books because of the cover art they had created.

I also appreciate the way in which they portrayed not only humanity with reverence and respect, but Black people; showing us in a light that is regal, smart, intelligent, strong and yet soft and vulnerable. In times where negative portrayals and stereo types about Black people are still alive and well, the artwork and illustrations of Leo and Diane Dillon stand as beacons that shout, “We are more! We are beautiful! We matter! There is magic and wonder in our eyes!”

"Mansa Musa" By Khephra Burns. Illustration done by Leo and Diane Dillon
“Mansa Musa” By Khephra Burns. Illustration done by Leo and Diane Dillon

These two inspire me more than any other artists I have had the blessing to learn about. My desire this year is to explore their technique of illustration. I would like to see how their technique translates through my imagination and my hands.

There are several other artist who inspire me much like they do. It would be amazing to see what a marriage of all of their styles, brought together through my own uniqueness and expression will look like.

 

I plan to spend the rest of this year finding that out.

Cheers!

Image from "Miriam's Well" By Alice Bach and Cheryl Exum.  Illustration by Leo and Diane Dillon
Image from “Miriam’s Well” By Alice Bach and Cheryl Exum. Illustration by Leo and Diane Dillon

I came for the soup.dpp widgets

I think I am on to something: A continuation of thought from last year

If you have taken the time at all to read through the posts found under “About” on this blog, then you are aware that I created this blog in order to do one thing, and that is grow as a creative voice.

I have taken the time to break down how I would like to grow, where I would like to grow, and what kindled this desire. I am not going to go into that right now, but you are free to take a read through (just click the word “about” and also hover over “about” to read other things) whenever you have the time.

ON GROWTH AS A VISUAL ARTIST:

As I leaf through my sketchbook the images that draw me the most are the ones that I have done using colored pencil. I fell like, and this may not necessarily be a GREAT thing but it sure ain’t bad either, that the instant gratification that I get from doing a drawing in colored pencil is far more satisfying than any other medium that I have used over the past year. colored pencils

Not only that, but more ideas jump into my mind about how versatile colored pencils are. Mixed media work is something that I love to toy with and lately I have been wanting to do some illustration involving oil washes, acrylic, and colored pencil.

As it comes to available time, colored pencil are perfect because I can get the mental result and clarity in an hour with them, whereas with just straight oil painting it could take days, weeks, months, and depending on the painting…years.

Ink, especial medium size ball point pen, is nice too, but its not archival. 1367526801v08km

So with that in mind, I am heavily considering focusing my future works on colored pencil, while also throwing in some other mediums. Recently I found out about Winsor & Newtons Watercolor markers, and my goodness how I would love to use those. I shall as soon as I purchase them.

ON GROWTH AS A WRITER:

You guessed it. I have more to say about Ascension Graveyard.

I have a confession of my own error with this book.  Here it is; SOME OF MY CHAPTERS ARE WAAAAAAAAAY TO LOOOOOOOOOOOOONG! I mean, 4,000 words to a chapter, really?!

Having that many words in ONE chapter is acceptable, maybe even three, but I think I have done it 6 times and that is just too much. So of course I will be fixing that during revisions.

I think the cause of my long winded chapters has to do with the inclusion of Etta’s journal entries. What I realize is that I can totally have two or three chapters under the same journal entry. They don’t have to embody one chapter alone.

Heck! I could even go as far as three chapters per one journal entry if that is necessary. So I intend to fix that during revisions as well.

Yes, that will change the flow and tone of the story, but that is to be expected. After all, this is a free flowing first draft born out of a NaNoWriMo experience from the month of June 2014.

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE?:

Possibly. I really just want to flow with more purpose and order. Be more consistent. Let’s face it, we all have busy lives. We all have other people, tasks, family happenings that draw on our precious time, but we still need to stay in the game. We created our blogs for a reason and that was to be a blogger.

I kind of feel like if I get a proper drafting/art table I will be more purposeful with my art as well.

We shall see.

I do have a question for all of you superheros out there, how do you manage to keep to your craft and balance the other duties in your lives?

And before I forget, here is a video I found on youtube about the watercolor markers, should you care to try them yourselves.

Cheers!

I came for the soup.dpp widgets

Ask, Because You Just Might Get It!

Have you ever really considered the phrase, “Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.”? In light of my recent creativity explosion, this phrase has been on my mind. Honestly, I have to say I do  not ascribe to its “truth” and or warning.

On the contrary, I encourage you to take CARE in what you ask for, be specific, and expect to get it. I have always believed that even with the smallest situations in life, we ought to pray and ask God for direction, intervention, provision, whatever it may be, with purpose and care.

In the Gospel of Luke 11:9, Messiah Yeshua tells us that if we ask we SHALL receive. In verse 13 He goes on to say that if we,  “…being evil know how to give good things unto our children, then how much more does the Father in heaven?” What’s the point? The point is don’t be so preoccupied with the negative results but ask and seek good results.

I’m on the hunt for who I’ve not yet become. But I’d settle for a little equilibrium.” ~Sara Bareilles

My prayers for creative breakthrough have been answered in a massive way. I asked for light and He, Messiah Yeshua, has given me that. I asked for freedom in thought, and the mental confines that I had subconsciously put on, have certainly fallen off and crumbled to dust. Now the struggle I face is organizing and taming the wild hairs of my creative fro, if that makes sense.

There is this great song by Sara Bareilles called “Hercules.” It really speaks about my journey. Its almost as if the woman has taken the words straight from my mind.  Below is the video with the lyrics.

What am I getting at with this blog? Glad you asked.

I simply want us all, as speaking spirits seeking direction, writers and artists wooing our muses, to believe and have faith in our process of growth, and to be bold enough to ask our heavenly Father to helps us when we feel like we are going in circles. ASK, MAN! and ask expecting good.  Stop being afraid of what lies ahead. He made us creative beings and His blessings are certainly without sorrow (Proverbs 10:22)

Sometimes we get stuck in our process and we need help out. Think of it this way, Dad gives daughter a new car. Its a great blessing but she needs to be taught how to drive it. Having all that metal is a gift but it takes direction to know how to handle it properly. She asked for a car and now she’s got one. Yes, there is a new level of responsibility but also freedom.

I got help out and now I am at a place where I definitely need His help getting all my ponies to walk in community with each other. I only have two hands, I can’t paint and write and read and design and…(you get the picture) all at the same time. I need direction in not burning myself out.

So here is what we (Yeshua and I) came up with:

  • I will make it a point to blog 3 days out of the week. This way I can work on my manuscripts as well as share my growth with free writes,  sketches, revelations of the spirit, and other things like lettering and calligraphy.
  • To get you all involved (I would sure love that.) I will try to create a weekly or bi-weekly writing or art exercise for you to try on your own. I will create a new tab for this in the Menu.
  • I will write down ideas in a journal for new prospective projects as not to allow my mind to get so cluttered with all this new creative flow we have going on.
  • I will just keep having fun with this and not take myself too seriously 🙂

My journey in this continues on. I am getting closer to refining my view towards the kind of expression with visual arts that I would like to go. I have still not quite captured the full depth of things, but I am still praying about it, I am confidant and most hopeful that the outcome will be satisfying (Hebrews 11:1).  It is all working out.

 

 

Matters of the Heart

Greeting Soup Seekers!

It has indeed been some what of a long, unintended, hiatus from blogging this week, and I hope that such a long period of time will not pass like this again.

As mentioned in my very first blog that I ever posted here, I made it clear that this blog is about my journey. Thus far I have taken very great steps, in my own estimation into further discovering my creative writing and visual arts. But I also mentioned that this journey of mine, that I have invited you along on, is also about my spiritual growth and understanding. Who am I in the heart of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ) and Who is He in my heart? file000138289502

Novaturient: Desiring or seeking powerful change in one’s life, behavior or situation.”

I want not to take up too much time here as I am still in the healing process from tumbling through some rough spiritual terrain of necessary change. Just a bit of background about my walk in faith. I gave my life to Yeshua when I was 11 years old. I remember talking to Him long before then, when I was 3 even, and this was during the time I had know knowledge at all of Christianity let alone Messianic Judaism (Paternal Judaism). The very first time I heard a Gospel song, I was 4 years old. My eldest sister brought hope a cassette tap of Commissioned. The song she played was “I’m going on in the Name of the Lord.” That was the VERY first gospel song I heard and I still sing the words to this day. Some 20 years now I have had an intimate relationship with Messiah Yeshua, but the thing about intimacy is that intimacy is an action verb, it is continuance. It has greater depths than anyone can fathom.  I love getting to know more of Yeshua and Who He is, but recently He has been digging in my heart so that I can know who I am.

The painful part of this is having to look at who you are currently and looking at the things that caused you to become this way. Some of our ways are not the most healthy nor helpful and the roots of these things have to be exposed and pulled out. This is where the pain comes in…necessary pain if you will. These “weeds” are not who we are and while they are inside of us they influence our character. They indirectly cause us to believe untruths about ourselves and Messiah Yeshua. When these lies are exposed and the heart of the pain with them, a certain type of arrest happens. For me its like spiritual cardiac arrest.  I have been having bouts with this for the greater part of a week (actually since my 31st birthday…no, a few years before that.)

“You’re gonna cry yourself sleep. ‘Cause for the moment all that you can see. Is what is lost, lost–Why me? But in the midst of the most exquisite pain. You’re drawn into a peace that you cannot explain. And the praises you sing of a Sovereign God. Reach the girl who’s last hope is gone. She never thought there was purpose in anything here. Now the seed has been planted and it’s taking root there. You didn’t know. You’re gonna cry yourself to sleep. A thousand miracles you’ll have to wait and see.” ~Christa Wells “A Thousand Things”

God is gracious. He does not practice medicine, He is healing itself. He is the surgeon and in His love He shows us things that need to be treated in us. The thing about surgery is its painful and messy and takes time to recover from. Healing can be more excruciating than the old unhealed pain at times. But when you are living with dull pain your personality is affected.

I don’t know about you but I have been scheduled for several rounds of intrusive spiritual surgery, getting the “spiritual cancers” out. Before, a few years ago when this all began He told me that He had to break my heart to get out of it things that would keep me from being who He created me to be, and going where He intended for me to go. He said a vessel without an opening has to be broken. It hurts and lately He has been going back to that same scar and cutting out more and more. It is a physical pain.

Now this blog is not meant to make you, the reader sad. Actually I want to encourage you.

The spiritual surgeries began to intensify when I happened upon two books; “God Knows My Name” by Beth Redman and “Becoming Myself” by Stasi Eldredge. Both of this books had me massaging my temple and curling in on myself because even in their gentleness and truth, I was made to look at things I had hidden away deep within me, things that were festering and not healed. (I want to add “Captivating” by Stasi Eldredged, the Revised and Expanded Edition to this as well.)

The most scary part of this was that  as I healed, the more I changed, the more I changed, the less familiar with myself I was.  I even told Yeshua that I was afraid that when this was all said and done I would not recognize myself. I would be a stranger to myself. He said to me that I would be the woman He had created me to be in the first place, the real me.  It reminds me of the verse where Paul says Philippians 3:1-11, that he counts that which was gain as loss for Messiah. In other words, who he used to be is worthless compared to who he has become in Christ.

Retrouvaille: The Joy of meeting or finding someone again after a long separation; rediscovery.”

In this spiritual journey some hidden fears (unreasonable hidden fears) have been drawn out of me, exposed to His light and eradicated. The process and pain of it is maddening…really I feel like (and sometimes behave like) I am going bananas!

This past week Messiah Yeshua exposed a trust issue that I have with Him that made me run the other direction as if a pack of angry wolves was chasing me and I was bloody and on the verge of death. I found myself rebelling and acting out of character, trying to do anything to get Him to leave ME and to leave that WEED in me alone. We forget that in our fear, where sin abounds (Romans 5:20-21), His grace super abounds, that His blood is greater than our sin (Hebrews 10) and that nothing can separate us from Him (Romans 8: 25-39). The more I ran, the closer He drew (draws…we still have a way to go here).  He actually showed me my “rebellion” was an act of desperation to get Him to cease from working this ugly thing out in me, as if that tool would be stronger than His love and desire to make me whole….it is not.

There is also the fact that we tire out way faster than He does and He is very patient 😉

Anyhow, I am healing. I like who I am becoming…I don’t always like the process (reference there go those blasted stairs, again. Truth is I don’t always understand the process, but I do know that God is not arbitrary in the things He does, even still, my chest aches from the work in me.

God is not arbitrary.”

Like the song, there are a thousand things happening in my single moment.  My pain is for my good, and this pain is a result of wounds someone else caused. Yeshua is healing it. He can heal you. He loves you and He loves me even though in my craziness I have said, “if you love me then stop all this.” People with cancer never respond to the Chemotherapist that way. Why should I respond to the God Who bled and died for me in such?

Fellow Soup Seekers, these are my words for the day…maybe even the week. I don’t know. But I do know, better is ahead and this journey is worth it even if I have to see it through blurry eyes and tears. Miracles and laughter are certainly on my horizon.

Cheers!

Creating…Plucking through the Creative Process

Creating anything can be such an exciting and rewarding thing. But when you have taken up a “mantel” to Write or produce Art, after a while you may find yourself feeling a bit jaded. Sometimes you find yourself completely submerged in a well of mechanical-ism that has stripped your art of all its soul. Sure, your audience may think you have created a masterpiece, your clients may be beyond pleased with the end result of whatever it is that you have made for them, but you somehow are far from satisfied.

View from the Steps
View from the Steps

So what do you do? For me, I sought different mediums to use in expressing my art. The problem was, I was so used to just sitting and creating, being good at my craft that when I was faced with ignorance I became frustrated. (Let me also so that I had somehow developed this unreasonable fear of ruining my art supply which didn’t help at all. ) I was partly willing to “learn” something new, but I wasn’t committed to the “process” of learning how to use my new mediums. It seemed as such a valuable waste of time.

I found that working through the process in any thing, be it creating or growing and maturing in my faith walk, was something that I was not keen on. I wanted the instant gratification. Robotically, I felt time could be much better used apart from…learning :/I was like “Lord, if you say I am patient, them just make me patient! don’t surround me with people that grate the very last half of my nerves.” It all made sense to me. The God who said, “Light, be!” and it was, surely didn’t have to make me go through some steps in maturing. He could just speak and it be done. Thing is, I am not a robot. Who knew?

The key thing that I was missing is that the “process” is what births not only appreciation, but it gives strength, and with that

view of steps
view of steps

strength comes greater creativity. Its a cycle.

When it all came down to it, me shirking off the need to face process was me breaking my own rules. When it comes to art, I am all about people using mediums and expressing with them in whatever form they choose, that is if they have learned how to “properly” use the medium in question. In other words, you have to know the rules before you can break them, and to know the rules means you have to live through the process.

The other enemy that caused me to begrudge process was the feeling of being rushed for time. If Messiah Yeshua, who has ordered my footsteps says, take time and learn the process, who am I to tell Him, “We don’t have time for this!” The reality is there is no White Rabbit screaming at me about being late. There is no rabbit hole for me to tumble down, not really. What is however is a journey filled with many steps, each holding a treasure of its own.

When my friend and I went to the Cliffs of Moher, in Ireland, part of the beauty was walking up those long steps and looking over the side on our way to the top. The top was our main destination but the beauty seen from the steps made getting to the top all the more glorious. It was a process, it took time, and it was worth it.

steps up on the Cliffs of Moher
steps up on the Cliffs of Moher

So in closing, I just want to encourage you, in whatever you are doing, growing in art or growing in faith, to take your time, learn something new, dedicate yourself to the process and enjoy the view…rhyme not intended.