Thursday, February 04, 2016

January Promise - Welcome February

Back in 2014, I started writing out 4 goals every month. These "Monthly Goals" were related to my main goals or OLW for the year, and were meant to keep me moving forward (or at least moving), on track, and have a little fun while I was at it! And it was fun! I'm not sure if it did what I wanted it to do, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

I don't think I will bring it back to the blog this year, but I would like to do something on a monthly basis to help me re-focus. January had such promise in those first few days, but how has it stacked up now that the month is done?

So this year as a way to keep me moving forward with my goals, and evaluating my successes as the year moves on, I have written the following on my calendar on the 1st of every month:

This is a simple prompt and reminder for me to pull out my goal sheet, and read it. I don’t want this to become an exercise in “what haven’t I accomplished”, but I do think it will keep me more accountable, keep the goals fresh in my mind, and keep me excited about what I have achieved so far!

This will also give me a chance to evaluate what’s working and what isn’t. Are there goals I am not connecting with anymore? Are there goals that I have already achieved, that can be ramped up to finish the year strong?


(Gosh I love that word spelled out.)

For example, one of my personal goals was to start running twice a week. Looking back through my Runtastic app, I can see that I used it 8 times in January. That works out to be about twice a week! I feel really confident in this goal, and when I look at my results I can see that my hard work is paying off already.

Something that I know I want to focus on more this month are the gratitude and meditation goals. This is something I have addressed in some work-related goals and practices I started building for myself this week, so it will be nice to tie that in with my personal goals.

All in all, I think my year has started out pretty damn fine!


Wednesday, February 03, 2016

When I Don't Know What to Paint, I Paint Giant Pink Flowers

Remember this ugly painting?

Well, not long after I hung it up in my bathroom, I actually had to take it down.

It was making me cranky, and it definitely wasn't inspiring me in any way!

It sat face down in my hallway for at least a week before I was ready to turn it over, and make better use of the canvas. Because I am a re-user.

This is what I paint when I don't know what to paint. Big, messy, pink flowers. The image below is from an early phase of the painting.

I actually packed all of my stencils away when I was cleaning up my bedroom and in order to access them I would have to move many plants and a long shelf. So....I just stuck my fingers through the handle-hole of the box and pulled on the first stencil that I touched. It was small enough to fit through the hole when rolled up (thank goodness for flexible plastic), and that is how I chose the herringbone! Sometimes you have to just work with what you've got!

And now for the final product. A few months ago I bought some water soluble pencils from an art store in town (Colours), and I have really enjoyed using them. They are great for messy outlining, and adding details (lines, hashes, doodles, etc.) when you don't have a skinny paintbrush.

It lives in my bathroom, replacing the ugly, and best forgotten "Time" painting that it gratefully covered.

It may not be a full replacement, as you will have noticed I added no words, no One Little Word reminder to this image, but I think it does a better job of keeping my word and my focus for the year in the forefront of my mind.

It's existence in itself is a reminder that I can and should allow myself to play and learn and grow as an artist. That I am not in a rush, and I can take my time to figure this out.

I know I like to paint big messy flowers. And that's okay. Maybe that's my thing.

This painting and the experience was so inspiring for me, I started on the next one right after.

Big messy blue flowers this time.


Friday, January 29, 2016

#lisareads2016 - Life Changing Book

This book changed something in me. It opened something up in my heart and in my mind.

As soon as I finished this book, I went online to a local bookseller's website and bought it.

And I read some reviews and they are a mixed bag to say the least. And I get that. This book isn't for everyone. I read this book and find myself nodding at every page. Does everyone share my world view? Hell no! And what fun would that be anyway?!

Does this book challenge you to step away from your worldview? I think so.

Is this the "perfect book for everyone"? Definitely not.

I have been looking for books that challenge me, and open me up to new experiences, new authors, and POVs that are different than what I am used to. But I have also been searching for a voice that sounds like me. I want to see myself represented in the books I read (and the movies & TV I watch). And for me, right now, this book fulfills that.

And for that I am grateful.

This book is why I shake my head at people who say art, pop culture, books, movies, media, don't matter. That these things don't effect people, or effect change, or allow people to grow and change and become better humans. People who say that these things don't mean anything more than what they provide for entertainment. That is a lie. And if someone is trying to sell you that line, then please look for their ulterior motives (are they a cis white man whose entire life and worldview has been portrayed as the "default" since time immemorial? And they always get to see themselves represented in media and in the world? And they don't want that privilege challenged or questioned? cause that's usually my first thought...that's a whole other blog post)

This book.

People, this book....

I just got an email from Audrey's Books that my order is ready for pick up! As I read through it again, and make all the notes in the margins I need to make, I will be posting more here. RE: my thoughts, feelings, perspectives, and if they change on further reading.

What book changed your life?
Feels good doesn't it?

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

New Favourite - Graphic Memoirs

I didn't realize that this was a legit and historical genre, until I finished reading a second book that seemed to fit the description. And so it goes that once something hits your radar, you start seeing it pop up in your life more and more. Articles you were reading for some other reason, mention a graphic memoir, or a couple show up on a book list of "recommended titles" from a site you frequent.

And then you Google the damn thing because the snippets and sneaks you have been catching fill your brain and your imagination and you want more!

Here is what my Google search turned up:
Brian & Mary Talbot's Top 10 Graphic Memoirs
13 Graphic Novels every memoir lover should read
TIME Magazine's Top 10

The strange thing is, I hate novel-based memoirs. I think I have muddled through less than 5 in my life. I think they are boring, and full of themselves. But the graphic memoir is a different thing entirely!

If you like memoirs, try reading a graphic memoir.
If you hate memoirs, try reading a graphic memoir.
If you enjoy comics and graphic novels, but not regular novels, try reading a graphic memoir.

The second "graphic memoir" that I read, that clued me into the genre is the one pictured below.

This book really resonated with me. It accounts the author's young life, during which she wanted to be a boy. She dressed "like a boy", played with typical boy toys and boy games, hung out with boys, and was bullied for it. It still stings for me when I remember the lady in the grocery store who asked my younger sister how old her brother was...we didn't have brothers at the time. This wasn't the first or last time I was mistaken for a boy. And as you grow up, this inevitably comes with questions about your sexuality. That is, if you look like a girl trying to look like a boy, people tend to assume you must be a lesbian. She writes about the friends she made over the years and how they helped - and hurt - her sense of self. She discusses the role models she found who helped her figure out why she wanted to be a boy, and eventually helped her discover her passions and how to be cool with who she is.

I think this book would be so amazing for a young adult audience, which is one of the things I love about graphic memoirs. The subject matter can tackle any facet of life - growing up, love, identity, relationships - and be very deep or very funny, and the medium makes it so accessible for any age and any reading level! I loved Liz's doodles of herself and her friends, and I found that they helped me visualize her story and find relatable components in my own life so much easier.

Thanks to my Google search, and a quick visit, I am looking forward to reading the following graphic memoirs!
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. Accounts her life growing up in Iran in the midst of the Islamic Revolution.

Dragonslippers by Rosalind B. Penfold accounts her marriage to an abusive husband.

In Fun Home, Alison Bechdel recounts her struggle with her father's suicide, and the mention of this book in an article I was reading about envy and creative work got me started down the rabbit hole.

Make Me A Woman by Vanessa Davis is about the tiny moments in life that combine to make you whole.


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Fashion Mimic

I am a mimic. I learned through some of my non-fiction reading over the past few years, that a lot of introverted people are mimics. We use this ability to fit into social situations where we don't innately know the rules and are too overwhelmed by all the discomfort we feel in such surroundings. We mimic other people’s behavior, speech, mannerisms, etc. in order to “fit in” and alleviate some of the distress.

I also mimic accents. This becomes awkward when I am having a conversation with someone and I all of sudden break into a Irish brogue or something! I have a “Canadian Accent” so this tends to be quite noticeable. I mean no disrespect, but sometimes I forget to turn it off.

I recently discovered that I am also a fashion mimic.

I couldn’t figure out why all of a sudden I was buying grey trousers, and black pleather leggings. This has not been my normal fashion habit. I tend towards colour.

Then one day I looked at my lady coworkers…and it clicked.

I think Kim has this exact shirt. Nope...her checks are bigger.

I like it so far. Makes getting dressed much easier. Everything matches.

xo The Fashion Mimic