Math Equation for Dreamers

I know what you’re thinking. Math on an art blog? The answer is YES!

This is more of a life equation. I read about it several months ago on Bethany Butzer’s blog and it has stuck with me ever since.

Manifestation = (Intention + Action) – Attachment

What does this mean?  Let’s break it down.

Intention– the deepest desires of your heart; goals; wishes; dreams; what you want in life

Action– the movements you make toward your dream

Attachment– hoping for a specific outcome

For me, intentions are pretty easy.  Actions are harder, especially when I encounter my biggest roadblock–MYSELF.  Letting go of attachment is by far the most challenging.  After all, isn’t that why we are taking all these actions toward our intention?  But just remember, letting go will set you free.  Not only that, but it will open up the doorway to possibilities that you never dreamed of.  So basically, do the work and let the universe take care of the rest.

That’s all for today.  Class dismissed 😉

Advertisements

SCBWI: WWMW Conference 2013

Mixed Media

Howdy partners!  I’m back from the Wild, Wild Midwest conference in Fort Wayne, IN.  One word: inspiring!

Above is the piece that I submitted for the art show.  I consider it an exploration of style, one of my goals for this year.  It’s a combination of my favorite mediums right now: collage, watercolor, and ink.  I really enjoyed the hands-on aspect of it, even as I hoped the glue would hold 😉  And I also got the salt trick to work!

“The Queen of Spades” was inspired by my very own Philodendron.  I promise that no plants were harmed in the making of this piece 😉  My plant did have a few adventures away from its usual tabletop spot in the living room…  I’m just glad it survived!  It’s my only plant.  I credit it to my best friend who gave it to me.  She’s like mother nature when it comes to plants.  I, on the other hand, am known for having a “black thumb.”

In Japanese culture, everything has a spirit, including trees.  Here is my representation of this concept.  In this case, I wanted to capture the spirit of my own plant.  If I were to pitch this piece as a story idea, it would sound something like this:  What would you do if you found out your plant was truly alive?  One illustration concept that art director Laurent Linn mentioned at the conference was the idea that everything in a scene is a character.  I really took his idea literally 😉  He also said that the difference between children’s illustration and other types of art is storytelling and emotion.  You should shape your portfolio around this concept.  Good advice!

Check out other great entries from the Michigan chapter here.

Event photos!

Dinner with illustrators at sushi restaurant: Who could ask for anything more?

One of the best parts about conferences like these are the opportunities to network and socialize with friends 🙂

Jane Yolen and the Naked Mole Rat, unlikely friends: One wild Midwest party brought them together

I’m sure you all know Jane Yolen.  She’s considered ‘The Hans Christian Andersen of America.’  BUT, did you know she teamed up with the Naked Mole Rat, star character of Mo Willems infamous book: Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed?  It just goes to show, friendship develops in unlikely places, including the Wild, Wild Midwest!

All good things must come to an end.  Kathi Appelt, author of Keeper and The Underneath, left us with some great parting thoughts.  She said that all the best words, all the ingredients needed for a great story, start with the letter P.  Brilliant!  Think about it…  Can you guess the final word she mentioned?  POSSIBILITIES!

My friend Katherine Carver challenged me to come up with one word as my theme for the year.  Can you guess what word I came up with?  I mentioned it in a previous post.  Hint: it’s not serendipity, although that is also a great word.

To see how this challenge works, go to her blog.  What will your word for the year be?  Please share!

Serendipity

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon

Here’s the story behind this book.  A good friend recommended it over the summer.  I had trouble interloaning it from the library and forgot about it.  Another friend randomly bought me the book you see here.  What’s the connection?  Serendipity!

I’m calling 2013 the year of possibilities.  I’m also searching for my “style.”  This book has helped put it all in perspective.

Favorite quotes from this book:

“The only art I’ll ever study is stuff that I can steal from.”  –David Bowie

“Start copying what you love.  Copy copy copy copy.  At the end of the copy you will find your self.”  –Yohji Yamamoto

(I love Monet.  See my attempt at copying his style here.  But in the end, is it Monet or is it me?)

“The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.”  –Jessica Hische

“Avoiding work is the way to focus my mind.”  –Maira Kalman

(See the result of my procrastination here.)

If you’re an artist and unsure of yourself or just unsure of how to begin for the day, read this book.  I highly recommend studying the diagram on pg. 83 😉

I will leave you with a quote from author/illustrator Shaun Tan.  He was a keynote speaker at the SCBWI conference in NY this year, which I was unable to attend.  I would have loved to sit in on his session on “Developing A Personal Style.”  Luckily, someone tweeted about it.

“Your deep style is the intersection of all  the other styles you adopt.”  –Shaun Tan

Now it’s your turn.  Tell me about a “happy accident” you had either in art or in life. 

“Friday Evening Experiments”

brush and ink

One of the most intriguing parts in the book I’m reading, Uncertainty by Jonathan Fields, is about frog levitation.  “What?” you say.  You heard right.

Scientist Andre Geim was conducting such experiments.  He and his colleague Konstantin Novoselov conducted all kinds of improbable experiments, which they called “Friday Evening Experiments.”  Did they really hope to make frogs levitate?  Maybe.  But what they were actually pursuing was creative abandon.  The genius that comes from asking a lot of questions and letting go of  preconceived notions and the need for particular outcomes.  Not all of their experiments were successful, in fact some failed wildly, but at least one of the “Friday Evening Experiments” resulted in the two researchers winning the 2010 Nobel Prize.

So here’s your task.  Start a few “Friday Evening Experiments” of your own.  See where they take you.  Don’t be afraid to take chances.  You never know what you might discover about a character, subject, or idea…  And who knows, you might even make a frog levitate.  I know I just did 😉

“Trust the Path”

The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler

One of my writing critique partners recommended this book to me, which I received as a Christmas present.  Somehow I decided to read the last chapter first, and boy am I glad I did.  The author relates a personal story about getting lost at Big Sur while on a journey to find himself.  The story suggests that we need to stop looking for the “right path” and instead trust the path that we are on.  I was just discussing this in my guest post on my friend’s photography blog.

Taking a look at the cover image, a labyrinth, makes me see the idea of the path in a whole new way.  We’re always worried about ending up on the wrong path.  But perhaps there is only one.  If all paths are connected and intertwine, then we don’t have to be concerned with being stuck somewhere we don’t want to be.  We can simply go in a new direction.  Or better yet, we can trust that by moving forward, taking action, and staying in the present moment, that we’ll end up where we need to be regardless of the path we take.

I’m reminded of the fantasy movie “The Labyrinth” with David Bowie.  The main character feels like the path she is on continues forever without leading her anywhere.  She gets a little help from a tiny worm who suggests that things aren’t always what they seem.  Why not walk through walls?  Maybe there’s an opening.  But even when she does, she still has a choice to make: left or right.  The tiny worm sends her in the opposite direction, which, unbeknownst to her, actually leads her away from the castle.  Is she on the wrong path?  OR does she need to make this journey.  The best part for viewers is watching her overcome obstacles while discovering herself.  Making it to the castle is just a reflection of all her hard work and how far she’s come.

So I encourage each of you to TRUST YOUR OWN PATH.  And who knows, perhaps we will see each other along the way.

Walking the labyrinth in Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, CA

Highlighting the Journey

I’m reporting live from the trenches!  Today we focus on action. Today we take a step towards our destiny. We choose a path and our journey begins. Where will your journey take you? I’m not talking about the destination. I’m talking about the places you fell down and first learned about yourself along the way.  Here are some highlights from my journey.  Keep digging!

calligraphy ink on rice paper

calligraphy ink on rice paper

This is the Japanese kanji character for zen.  I took my first Japanese language class last year, and we practiced calligraphy for the final session.  Everyone had to choose a subject.  Most people started out with something simple like “tree.”  My sensei said I chose a complicated one.  Of course!  What better way to learn than by failing from the start.  This is a zen practice, although I’m not sure I was feeling zen at the time.  We only got 3 attempts.  No pressure 😉  I chose to share this one with you because of its overall feeling.  I actually see it as two entities reaching out to each other, trying to grasp something intangible.  The best part of the class was when our sensei told us that the school was donating the calligraphy kits to us.  I got a stone and a stick of ink.  Now all I needed were brushes!

The biggest calligraphy brush ever!

The biggest calligraphy brush ever!

You can see where I’m going with this 😉  The next stop on my journey was to a brush shop at a temple in Japan.  I actually didn’t buy my brushes here, but I did find a brush stand and another unexpected treasure.  Colored inksticks!

Painting of Horses at Senjokaku Shrine

Painting of Horses at Senjokaku Shrine

Painting of Horse at Senjokaku Shrine

Painting of Horse at Senjokaku Shrine

These are photos I took of paintings I saw while visiting The Hall of a Thousand Tatami Mats, which I mentioned in a previous post.  I became really inspired by these horses in particular.  I couldn’t wait to get home and start painting some of my own!  Just remember, you only get this kind of inspiration off the beaten path.  So get going!  See where your journey takes you….

Ringing in 2013!

I just returned from a trip to Japan to visit my in-laws. I feel like this country is my second home, mostly because of the kindness of my husband’s family. One of the new year traditions in Japan is to go to the shrine and ring a very large bell. I don’t usually post photos of myself, but I thought this one would be an appropriate way to highlight my enthusiasm for 2013.

IMG_6955

Ringing in year 2013 at a Japanese shrine!

I had the usual end of year feelings of an artist. Had I accomplished enough? Was it good? Was I truly meant to be an artist? Confirmation came in unexpected places. One of which was having the pleasure of drawing with my 5-year-old nephew. I was the only one he allowed to draw on his cardboard house with him. What an honor! Of course I drew my signature frog for him 😉

I had also brought a small sketch book with me to Japan, promising myself I would draw while there.  Then on one of the final nights we all went to dinner together to surprise my husband’s mother for her birthday.  I ended up sketching a picture of a borzoi, my mother-in-law’s favorite dog, for her as a gift. She was moved to tears by it, which warmed my heart like nothing else.

I realized what my focus must always be: #1 inspiring children #2 sharing my art with others

Thus far my goals for 2013 are this: to find my voice in my writing and to find my style in my art

How do I plan to get inspired? My husband gave me some inktense pencils as a Christmas gift. I also brought home some great new art tools from Japan including calligraphy pens, brush pens, and colored calligraphy ink. I can’t wait to start experimenting with them!

What are your goals for the new year?  What inspires you about 2013?  Please share!

Previous Older Entries