Friday, September 18, 2009

Pursing Happiness... by way of a slap on the forehead.

This morning I was mentally running through my exceptionally long to-do list. It was scary. I was thinking about how I really need to get myself onto a schedule with more discipline into my routine so I can accomplish more every day. We already know I'm overcommitted... I've given up on magically being granted more hours in the day. Oh yeah, and I was looking at the dust bunnies in the corner and thinking (only thinking) "I need to sweep..."

All of a sudden two sayings came into my head. Sayings that reminded me that there's more to life than meeting deadlines and living in a constant state of craziness. Talk about your V-8 moment... I felt that slap on my forehead - that slap came from my wise grandparents, who have been gone for many years, but still influence my life.

Years ago I got an autograph book and began collecting autographs. I think it was the summer before 7th grade - about 1971... I gathered them joyfully, all sorts of notes written in various colors of ink from friends and family... I had one of those "cool" pens that had about 12 colors of ink with those little sliders all the way around the top to choose the color. Two of those pages contained advice along with the signature - words of wisdom that stuck with me - that I think of fondly from time to time. Today those words hit me like a ton of bricks. "Listen up" they said to me.

The first saying I was reminded of came from my grandfather - he didn't originate it, but he wrote it down in my book. "Take time to smell the roses." Yep. Stop spinning in circles. Stick your nose in a flower. Appreciate what's around you. SLOW DOWN. Got it Grandpa T.

The the second one was from my grandmother. It was a Chinese proverb. "If you have two loaves, sell one and buy a lily." Who needs two loaves? One is enough. If your belly is full, you should feed your soul. Enjoy something beautiful. It also implies (to me anyway) "slow down." You could also take "live for today" from that one. Actually, I see many ways to analyze it... (and I won't go down the "stimulating the economy" road). My grandmother was among those responsible for encouraging my artistic side. Thanks Nona M.

So, today I'm taking a deep breath. Now all I have to do is inform the people whose deadlines I'll be delaying that I'm busy smelling roses and looking at lilies. Piece of cake. Well, I'll do it with a smile - that'll help ;-)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Where did THAT come from? The more unusual sources of inspiration...

Maybe this post should really be titled "Creative or Crazy?" or "Aliens Live in My Rug... " (I bet that got your attention). I've been busy with a million things - I still promise that Enamel PDF, but life is full of distractions (who, me?)... plus, it's taken more time than I expected to complete it.

I'm overcommitted for one thing. Many of them are artistic commitments, which is good. Inspiration for them (or something entirely new and different) can strike at any time and from anywhere. It struck this morning... and so I was inspired to share an example of that experience (which also illustrates how inspiration can function as a distraction).

One of those commitments is participating in a group that's doing creative exercises with jewelry making. We've had an assignment a week for the past 7 weeks (1 week to go). It's a cool concept... but I'm behind. This morning, I was taking a shower, thinking about assignment 6 (which should have been finished the day before yesterday), when suddenly....

[Ok, this is where the "Creative or Crazy" part comes in. Assignment 6 was to get inspiration from a children's book. So I'mthinking about this, and how I love Dr. Seuss, and how he inspired me as an illustrator and how I might interpret one of his books for this assignment. I love his drawings, his take on "beings" and buildings, and his overall attitude and philosophy. Over the years I've done many different types of illustration, even drawn cartoons–and I love to doodle...]

So I'm letting my mind wander about the assignment and looking out past the curtain at my bathroom rug. The rug is rather plush - but very worn, so there are lots of lines formed by the way the pile lies down... and I start seeing faces. Of course, I'm not wearing my glasses in the shower, which softens the details that say "rug" and only helps increase the plush-pile "line" effect. The
faces/figures ("aliens") I see are just simple lines connecting that create expressions, shapes, etc., we've all seen them in tree branches, clouds and such....

As soon as I was finished, I had to capture some of the many images on paper, then head to the computer to draw them into the very cool program Scribbler (thanks Gail Lannum* for sharing this), and voila! Crazy fun faces... but that's not the end...

This brings us back to the "one thing leads to another concept... or everything happens for a reason..." and reminds us to trust the process - it will lead us somewhere...

I got so lost on scribbler that I dusted off
my USB tablet device and was inspired to draw some other fun stuff that I'll be using in the future. And I don't want you to think I'm not serious about art or inspiration... I am totally serious. I'm just willing to go with the flow and not afraid to admit that sometimes the craziest things get you to that inspired place. The aliens in my rug probably won't lead me anywhere (wink), except onto the next inspiration... Now, about that assignment...

PS.... Gail, I know you did some cool cats in scribbler... but I swear this kitty was there in my rug :)