Monday, January 25, 2010
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Last summer I saw some great drawings done with markers. Not aware that there is a whole cosmic world of markers, I bought a dozen at the craft store to start playing with them. There is a real science to markers. My first results weren't great. I then watched a bunch of YouTube videos and realized I was using paper that soaked up too much ink, plus my markers where cheap and didn't flow well.
I upgraded to expensive crisp, shiny paper and Copic markers that retail at $7/each. Doesn't seem like a lot of money until you realized that there are 337 colors available in these markers. Wow, that got expensive. So I bought 50 markers in strategic colors and started drawing. It's really quite fun.
I've posted a few of the drawing with the cheap markers and will continued to post the Copic maker images as I draw them. I'm assuming that my understanding of the medium will develop and the drawing will continue to improve as I work at it. Warning, I love to draw shoes – so there will be a lot of them posted here.
Friday, January 8, 2010
Lately I’ve been trying to figure out how to get my husband to talk to me more. Not just the day-to-day stuff, but deeper thoughts. We’ve been in this relationship 30 years and it’s important to me that we stay connected. Creating a space in which to talk seemed like a good start.
Years ago at a women’s conference, I heard columnist/writer, Jennifer James speak. She talked about her son going away to college and how she was already missing him before he was actually gone. So she made the decision to just be available to him. Every time he walked into the room, she just sat down. It was casual – not at all obvious, but it created a magnet for potential chatter. He got use to her being available, because after all, she was always just sitting around when he was there and he started spending more time talking to her. She said his last year at home was their best year.
So I’ve started doing this with my husband. It seems to work best in the morning. I get a cup of coffee, feed the dogs and then I just sort of hang out at the kitchen table. Every time he comes into the room, I just smile and act interested in whatever he has to say. He’s talking more and I’m listening.
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Ever been around someone who was contagious; not disease-wise, but vibe-wise? A woman I worked with could alter my mood drastically just by walking into our office. If her face was at peace, I knew the day would flow well. Distraught expression? Oh man, a much harder day.
Since I live in the great northwest and it’s winter time, the sky and people’s moods can be a bit dark. Gray weather brings on depression and the doldrums. Since we can’t always get out of here for sunnier weather, I work at practicing a Buddha smile.
A Buddha smile is just a small, subtle smile I try to wear as often as I can remember. There have actually been studies showing that smiling cues the brain to be happier (releasing endorphins). Well, yeah – but really, think about smiling, not because you are amused but just because you can smile. It affects your mood as well as everyone else around you.
So I’m in the car with my husband a while back. It’s winter, it’s gray, and I’m doing my Buddha smile practice. He doesn’t know I intentionally do this. We are stopped at a traffic light, and cars are turning onto the street we’re on, each moving slow enough that the driver looks at us as he/she turns. Each person turning, smiles at us as they go past. After five or six cars, my husband exclaims, “So what’s happening, everyone is smiling at us?” I just start giggling. See it works. I made myself happier by keeping my attention on a subtle smile and it brightened the drivers who passed us. It’s sort of like passing happiness forward. Smile because you can and others will do the same.
In her book, Eat, Pray, Love, author Elizabeth Gilbert meets a medicine man. He becomes her guru for a while and one of his requests is for her to meditate nightly. “What should I meditate on?” she asks. And he tells her it’s a smile meditation. She is to sit quietly and meditate for an hour with a smile on her face. “You need to be happier Liz,” he tells her. “Just breath and smile.”
So try it. Walk around for a week with a subtle little smile on your face and pay attention to your mood as well as those around you. It’s contagious.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
I get my best ideas in the shower. I’m washing my hair, enjoying the warm water rushing over my head, and all the time I’m working through a design project, creating a new mosaic or building a flower bed. My biggest problem is having too many ideas while I’m wet and by the time I finish up, dry off, squeegee the shower – poof, they’re fuzzy or worse, gone!
I thought everyone experienced this divine intervention in the shower. And then one day I’m talking with a client and I say something to the effect, “…you know, like when you are in the shower and you get a great idea?”
Huh? He just looked at me with a blank face and said, “what do you mean?” I thought to myself, What’d you mean, what do I mean – doesn’t this happen to everyone? When I questioned him, he explained that he’d grown up in a household of seven siblings, two parents and ONE bathroom. He never knew people stood in the shower and pondered life. He was lucky to get hot water; so he was in and out of the shower in three minutes.
This made me wonder; would I have been a different person, chosen a different career, if I hadn’t stood in the shower and developed ideas? Sometimes I take a shower just so I can figure out a solution to a current problem.
Einstein exclaimed: “Why do I get my best ideas in the shower?” Brain research now tells us that this is because showering is an artistic-brain activity.
The Artist’s Way says this: Showering, swimming, scrubbing, shaving, steering a car, washing dishes, running – all of these are regular, repetitive activities that may tip us over from logic-brain into our more creative artist-brain. Solutions to sticky creative problems may bubble up through the dishwater, emerge on the freeway or while walking in the woods.
Years ago I heard that Wyden and Kennedy, an ad agency in Portland, had a basketball court on their bottom floor. When they were stuck on a project, they’d go play basketball until they came up with the solution. It’s also been said that they had computers right there next to the court so when they came up with a great idea, they could go right over to the computer and work on it (Urban tale?).
My biggest problem to this shower thing was losing ideas I conjured up. An underwater, diving white-board attached to the shower wall was the solution. Now when an idea emerges, I write it down. When I’m meditation or walking I carry a palm-sized tape recorder so I can quickly record the idea. It helps. And I also find, especially in meditation, that the moment I get it recorded, I can let it go and continue with the pursuit of enlightenment. So many ideas, so little water!