The Habits We Keep

Success in anything has more to do with habit than luck, talent, skill or having the perfect plan. Not that those things don’t matter but if you make it a habit to follow through on your intentions, goals and dreams until completion, success will come to you much easier than if you have a habit of not following through and sticking to your plans. Everything is essentially about the habits you keeps. What you do regularly, even the way you think, is a habit. So if you are seeking a change in any area of your life you will need to change those habits that affect that area of your life to habits that are more conducive to the change that your want. There is no way around this. There are no short cuts, magical formulas or easy solutions. You simply have to put in the effort to make the change and stick with it until that change becomes a habit. 

…and this works both ways for positive change and negative as well. So be mindful of the habits you keep. 😊

Spring In February

Line drawing for “Magnolia”.

It’s been unseasonably warm this winter for the Mitten state. I’m talking about 60 degrees in February warm. That’s not normal for us. Strange weather always puts me a little on edge. But despite my concern, we’ve been taking advantage of this warm weather and firing up the grill for some winter barbecue…well, minus the winter. In my house we’re always looking for an excuse to light up the pit and burn up some meat…literally. (For years I’ve been telling my husband that ‘burnt’ isn’t a flavor and for years I’ve been losing that battle.)

This absence of snow and biting chill has got me thinking that it’s Spring and I’m anxious to see the flowers bloom, especially on the Magnolia tree in front of our home, which fills the air with its soft fragrance and delights the eyes with its beautiful pink and white bloom. Unfortunately it hasn’t been doing too well over the last year and not being in any way knowledgeable about trees, I am only recently learning that it might be infested with magnolia scale. I’m currently researching more to find out what I can do to help this beauty back to health and keeping my fingers crossed that she’ll recover. So in spirit of the coming Spring and with thoughts of my Magnolia tree, I’m currently working on a piece simply called “Magnolia”. 

The Difference Of Three Years

“Forever” – 2014

“Human” – 2017

Confession: some of my early stuff is a bit embarrassing to me. I like to blame that, at least in part, on living in a society where we’re conditioned to only show the “good”, the “perfect” and the “wonderful” parts of our lives. Anything that hints of “struggle”, “effort”, or “imperfection” is neatly stuffed away in hidden closets that we try to forget about. So while going through a “forgotten” digital account, I came across a snapshot of one of my first of artist card drawings that I had stippled up for Valentines. Honestly I cringed…and I’m still cringing now. But we all have to get a start somewhere, somehow. Surprisingly someone thought it was adorable enough to purchase as a Valentine’s Day gift for that someone special in their life. So it goes to show that you never really know what might be special in someone else’s eyes. So here’s to Valentine’s Day and here’s to growth and progress. ❤💜💙 😊

If There Is No Struggle

​”If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the roar of its mighty waters.

The struggle may be a moral one or it may be a physical one, or it may both be moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has and it never will. Find out just what a people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.” ~ Frederick Douglas

Human

“Human” – original artist card drawing inspired by Sevdaliza.

“I am flesh, 

bones.

I am skin, 

soul.

I am human…

…nothing more than human.

I am sweat, 
flaws.

I am veins, 

scars.

I am human…

…nothing more than human.” ~ Sevdaliza

Mini Art Zine

Have you ever done something and then completely forgotten about it only to come across it later and be like “Oh! I totally forgot I did this.” Here’s a little Friday flashback to a mini art zine collection of afro themed drawings I put together back in 2015 just for fun. Some of these drawings I haven’t shown or put up for purchase in my store, either because it was something I just did for myself or I felt they weren’t good enough to share…but they made into my little zine. Here’s a short clip of what’s inside. 😊

P.S. Personally I think doing zines are a fun and easy way to do your own self publishing. So I just might create some more in the future.

Inking “Human”

We laid my grandfather to rest Monday, next to my grandmother. I’ve shed my tears and said my goodbyes. May their energy live on within me.
I’m back home now and back to inking my current ACEO, “Human”. I’m laying in the first layer of skin tone. Next will be the shadows and the third is what I call “blending”, which is smoothing out any hard line areas that don’t transition nicely from dark to light, otherwise the colors will have a more flat, comic book coloring look rather something more painterly. It takes a bit of build up in dots while trying to avoid “pooling” which can cause a blotchy look to the ink. Tedious work but also very meditative…and much needed after four days of an emotional roller coaster.

Peace

​”The images of peace are ephemeral, the language of peace is subtle. The reasons for peace, the definitions of peace, the very idea of peace have to be invented, and invented again.

Children, everybody, here’s what to do during war: In a time of destruction, create something. A poem. A parade. A community. A school. A vow. A moral principle. One peaceful moment.” ~ Maxine Hong Kingston

The Fifth Book Of Peace

Art and Immortality

“The Abbey In The Oakwood” by Caspar David Friedrich 1810

My grandfather passed away last weekend. He lived to the rip age of 97 and with that many years under his belt, I can’t say that I’m too sad about his passing. He lived a good and prosperous life. He’s gone on to be with my grandmother to whom he was married for 50 years before she left this plane of existence. They both leave behind what could constitute as a small village of children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. It’s a sight of organized chaos when we all get together but we’re the living legacy of two beautiful people that I am proud to be a descendent.

Of all the grandchildren, I am one of the few who doesn’t have children of their own. This was a consciousness decision on my part that I have no regret in making but with my grandfather’s passing it has got me to thinking about my own legacy. While the memories and wisdom of my grandparents will carry on in those of us left behind, what will carry on of me when I am deceased? Initially I thought of art but not of my own but rather that of a few of my favorite painters, such as Casper David Friedrich. Obviously his work isn’t mine to claim a legacy to but I thought of him because he’s paintings have always been a symbol of solemn peace to me. There’s something about his work that makes me just…chill. But this artist, who I know no more about than what’s on Wikipedia and in the one art history book I’ve held on to since college, lived 177 years ago. That’s almost two centuries into the past. Yet he is still leaving impressions on people’s lives today. The thought of that made me realize that the things we create, whether it be paintings, drawings, poetry, stories or pottery, isn’t just our own legacy, it is also our own way of being immortal. Long after we are gone, a piece of us still lives on. It maybe some work that gets lost and then found again, something someone passes down through their family or something that many hold on to from a time now past, we still live on. 

I am fortunate enough to have created something that others have found enough pleasure in to make their own. I can not track the journey of the art I create once it leaves my hands but I find contentment in the thought that somewhere a piece of me will still live on. Somewhere, I am immortal.

Rest in peace grandma and grandpa. 

Human (wip)

Line drawing for “Human”.

“I am flesh, 

bones.

I am skin, 

soul.

I am human

…nothing more than human.” ~ Sevdaliza

Working on my first ACEO drawing of 2017, inspired by musical artist, Sevdaliza, from the song “Human”. 

Gumballs

“Gumballs” by Q. Rumbley

Well it’s been a week and I said I would probably finish this up by now before my creative interest ran out. So here it is, all finished for showing. This was something I did just for fun and practice since I haven’t worked in just black ink for a while. In the process of working on this, it got me a little more interested in still life art and wondering, what is it that appeals to people about still life? Are there particular objects that are more interesting than others? For example I often come across still life art of flowers and produce. Is it in the way that they are done or is it all just really subjective from one viewer to another? I’m interested in reading your thoughts on still life art so please feel free to share them in the comments.

Back In The Day

The more I work on this, the more I want gumballs. I remember how back in the day you could get a long pack of gumballs at the corner candy store. The one at the end of my street was called “Schoaks” but I don’t think that was actually the owner’s name. Rumor had it that it was originally established by an Irish immigrant to the area who later sold it when he left the neighborhood. 

Anyhoo, do corner candy stores even exist anymore? And whatever happened to “penny” candy?

…maybe that was just a ‘hood thing.

A Few Inspirational Gems

I can’t say I’m an avid reader on art. My personal library isn’t filled with magazines and books on artists or art related material. Nor do I keep up on the latest art trends and movements. Personally I have this thought that has burrowed its way deep into my brain and that’s that too much art ruins art. I don’t know where that came from and maybe it’s a bad idea to have stuck in your psyche as an artist but I just feel that being too deeply immersed in the art world may have too much of an influence on the art I create and therefore lead me away for my own authenticity. But every now and then I come across some gems of inspiration or a book that serves as a wellspring of artistic motivation that I just have to have for myself. Two of those gems…well, my only gems, are the books “Art Inc” by Lisa Congdon and “Creative Authenticity: 16 Principles To Clarify and Deepen Your Artistic Vision” by Ian Roberts.

Art Inc is a wonderful gem of practical and inspirational information. It’s filled with short but insightful interviews with artists on how they make a living, tips on the ways in which you can sell your artwork, whether through galleries, online or licensing and it comes complete with a list of resources such as what platforms are available to sell online, printing services, professional organizations and many more useful resources that might be of interest to creatives.

Creative Authenticity is my art bible. Whenever I have doubts, feel unsure about my craft or the direction I want go, this is the one book I reach for. It brings together the spiritual, the philosophical and psychological aspects of being an artist into 16 principles that are easy to digest. I have to admit that it is because of this book I haven’t looked much further or else where for inspiration and solace. It’s full of  rememberable quotes and encouraging words to help keep the creative fires burning when you feel your spirit getting low. I encourage any creative to give these books a look see but if they’re really not your cup of tea here’s a wonderful little article from Creative Boom that list other inspirational gems that as an artist you may be interested in adding to your personal library.  

10 Great Books For Artists and Makers Launching A Creative Business. 

Just Show Up

Some days inspiration will elude you.
Motivation will forsake you.
Passion will desert you,
and vision will seen to have left you.
But the most important thing you can do to keep going is to just show up.
Show up.
That’s all you have to do. And that maybe all you need to do to get the fires going again when all creativity seems to have been lost. And if all you’ve got is ten minutes of dedication, then give that ten minutes all of your devotion on a daily basis and you will have done more than those who spend hours only dreaming.

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” ~ Calvin Coolidge