Drawn2Life

Discovering my life Beautiful…one drawing at a time!


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Eclection Days

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I’ve begun toting a big Aquabee sketchbook to the Friday morning drawing session at Eclection here in our town. This sketchbook measures a whopping 14″ x 17″, and the above is the first in this book.  I’ve loved this sketchbook in its 9″x9″ format so I knew I’d love the big size.

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(photo courtesy of Amanda:)

Election is the coolest place to draw!! I love it so much as they have such a variety of things to choose from for subject matter and I absolutely adore hanging out with the artists who join me.

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Above is a recent drawing of “the wall” at Eclection, which is ever-changing with the holidays and seasons. I’ve drawn it here before.

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And this is a recent drawing of a Valentine’s display under the front window. SO MUCH FUN!!! Chris and Amanda (the owner of Eclection and her amazing assistant) have asked us to offer some cards of our drawings of Eclection to sell in the shop. AND…sometime in April they are going to host a gallery opening for us! We are so excited about this! If you live anywhere near Kernersville, NC you should drop by and see all of our card selections! And while you’re at it, you just have to browse all the artisan’s booths…such creative and fun stuff, perfect for your home or for gifts.

Then come by on Friday mornings from 10-noon to draw with us! You’re guaranteed a good time and plenty of great stuff to draw!


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Stemming the Tide? or Riding the Wave?

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The above drawing illustrates how I’m experiencing my days lately. The reasons for this are many and varied, not the least of which is just trying to get back up to speed with normal everyday living in the aftermath of major surgery. Life as a pastor’s wife, a mother of three incredibly talented musical kids, and my own enjoyable work as an artist and knit & crochet teacher makes for a lot of variety, but also a very full plate. Oldest daughter is a junior in college, middle son will be graduating from high school in three months and then going off to college, while youngest daughter is in middle school. There are times I’m not sure I’m even stemming the tide, but rather staring blankly at the wall of water coming at me, looming on the horizon. I keep reaching for my knitting needles and my sketchbook. Perhaps they are a life raft, or an anchor, offering some stability in the onslaught of living.

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This (above) is probably a more realistic view of my life right now. Drawing in my sketchbook, knitting as I go, actually allows me to ride the wave of life without drowning. Sure, I may be holding the sketchbook up above the water as it encroaches up my shoulders, but still…these are the things I can hang onto as wave after wave of “Life” hits. Reframing how my life “looks” is helpful, if not crucial, to enduring the current days. Drawing affords us the ability to re-draw, re-make what our feelings may be screaming at us, and allows us to see the bigger picture, rather than succumb to the momentary drama. Knitting reminds us that it is in the stitch by stitch of everyday living that something beautiful is made. I came across this quote by Vincent Van Gogh on a knitting pattern I recently purchased!! How cool is that?

“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.”

Vincent Van Gogh

I’ll keep on riding the wave, surfboarding on my sketchbook, and paddling with my knitting needles and hook. Might not get me very far, but will assuredly keep me afloat. That’s all I need.:)


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Where I Sit…

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From where I sit, here in my studio sunroom, an amaryllis blooms above me. It sits on the piano grinning broadly at me while I knit, draw, write. It has been there a while, maybe a month or more. For the longest time, an inch of green shoot sat nestled in the loam. I watched impatiently, expecting the little green shoot to sprout up immediately upon watering. It took forever, it seemed, for the stalk and four leaves to reach its current two-foot height, unfurl the three red flags and drape them over so gracefully over the tippy top, to smile at me for days on end.

But now, the cadmium red flags are flagging, folding up their withered smiles one by one. Only a single face remains open, sharing its beauty with me.  If this amaryllis could speak of what it’s seen in the relatively short span of its life, it would tell you of page after page of writing, numerous drawings (many of amaryllis herself) and countless stitches in various colors and forms. It has enjoyed beautiful music by my son’s piano hands, sweet conversations with my husband and daughters, sunshine and snow falling all around the windowed room.

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Amaryllis has witnessed the ever-changing world of an artist and a family, just as I have witnessed the phases of its life. I recently watched Shall We Dance in which Susan Sarandon’s character says,

”We need a witness to our lives. There’s a billion people on the planet, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things, all of it, all of the time, every day. You’re saying ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go unwitnessed because I will be your witness’.”

It struck me as a profound statement of not just marriage, but of friendship and parenting too. In our various communities, whether it be through church, school, work, or a yarn shop, we get to bear witness to others that we see them, acknowledge that they exist, encourage and support the beauty we see blooming in them.

Every word on the page bears witness to all we have seen and heard…this here is worth remembering.

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Every stitch loops around a moment in time, gathering in the days as a permanent testament to the stitcher having seen, heard, lived the duration of that particular project.

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Every line drawn records all that we experience around us as a witness to the beauty of every day details…the who, what, when, where, why of the phases of a life.

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And so I draw Amaryllis, and knit with its colors, and write of all I’ve witnessed through the phases of its brief life. This is artful living:  to declare in all our creating, “Your life (whether it be a flower, a place, a person) will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness.”

I am grateful for this Artful Life. (*there is an entire category of this subject, Artful Life, if you care to read more on the subject. Look for the category in the right hand margin.The most recent  posts are listed first, so scroll down to read earlier ones.)

**I’ve been camping out over on my Knitterly Arts blog…drawing yes, but doing lots of looping around the moments! Join me there too if you like!


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Sunrise

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“The world…is full of resurrections… Every night that folds us up in darkness is a death; and those of you that have been out early, and have seen the first of the dawn, will know it – the day rises out of the night like a being that has burst its tomb and escaped into life.”

― George MacDonald, The Seaboard Parish


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2015 :: Delight!

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Happy New Year to All!

The third and final thing I’m keeping in the forefront of my mind for this new year is perhaps the main bit underlying and undergirding the previous two.

**How will I determine what to major in, focus on, emphasize?

Delight!

**How will I follow through on the less than glamorous parts of what is needed to complete a task?

Delight!

**How can I bring my mental, emotional and creative faculties to less than desirable, but needful tasks?

Delight!

**How will I rest at the end of a day, month, year that doesn’t feel like I’ve accomplished all that I’d hoped?

Delight!

“Delight” is my word for 2015. I don’t typically write here about my word for the year. They are often very personal and I enjoy holding these words close and private, letting them unfold throughout a year. It is startling to see how the word I choose at the beginning of a year, becomes so powerful and rich as the year unfolds.

But I’m sharing it with you today, this first day of 2015…a year in which I do not have, at this point, surgery on the horizon! Woo! Hoo! A year in which my husband and I both turn 50 years old. A year in which my second child graduates from high school and goes off to college. A year in which my youngest joins the ranks of teenagers, turning 13 in just a few days.

This word is “delightful” as both a verb and a noun. It’s verb form is what I want each day to be marked by– delighting in the life I’ve been granted. Finding delight in the mundane activities as well as the exciting ones. Carving out space to delight in something each and every day, creative and otherwise.

I’ve been thinking about these words from Isaiah 55:2:

“Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.”

I’ll be spending more time “delighting” over on my Knitterly Arts blog, starting today. Please come visit me there! Of course, I’ll be delighting in my life by drawing it and sharing it with you here. So much to delight in, so little time. :)

Won’t you join me in Delighting in 2015!?


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Follow Through


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Close on the heels of Majoring In One Thing At A Time, is the need to follow through with what you’ve determined to major on for that day, or series of days. I am the queen of creative ADD, an expert “waffler”, starting one thing and then switching to another mid-stream. Once the excitement of a “new project” wears off, I’m dreaming of other projects to begin. “Start-itis” can be a real issue.

In 2015 I’m wanting to continue to explore ways to follow through on creative projects, especially the ones that require a long term commitment…such as writing a knitting pattern or illustrating a children’s book. One of the projects I’m going to major on is the next Genevieve book! I’m really excited about it now! But I know, from experience, that many sketches and drawings into the developing of illustrations will find me looking for other projects to begin. Here’s how I plan on tackling that issue. It has helped me enormously in the past and I plan on employing it in the New Year as well:

1. Break down the long term project into bite sized pieces.

2. Designate small amounts of time daily to the project, allowing for time to be spent on other projects as well.

Approaching a larger creative endeavor in this manner has been hugely helpful in getting me to the finish line. Working this way, I hardly even realize how much I am actually accomplishing. One baby step at a time adds up to a finished project, sometimes sooner than I had expected. When I think of following through on the project as a whole, I can be tired before I’ve even begun! But facing just 30 minutes a day to work on said project, seems so do-able and exciting. Many times I find myself going past the 30 minutes, happily working for longer. But I do cut myself off, so that the freshness and excitement remains for the next day.

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The crazy thing is that I have several long-term projects I’d like to tackle. So I do have to limit myself. Be reasonable, for goodness sakes Jennifer!!

**Tomorrow, New Year’s Day, I’ll share with you the third and final way I want to move through 2015. I hope you all have a fun time ringing in the New Year!

See you in 2015!

***Please feel free to share ways you’ve found to follow through on your creative endeavors in the comments! We can all benefit from each other!

FYI:

My first children’s book, Genevieve and the Kite,

is available on Amazon and my Etsy shop for a signed copy.;)

A set of 6 cards with two images from the book

is available in my Etsy Shop too!


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Major On One Thing At A Time

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I often learn about living life from the process of drawing. That sentence sounds a bit odd. But it never ceases to amaze me how the act of drawing informs life, just as living informs drawing. For those who have followed me here for some time, this is not news to you. Here and here are just a couple of posts about discovering help for life from the activity of making a drawing.

As I think about the New Year coming up, I want to live it in like manner to how I draw. When I set about to make a drawing of what’s in front of me, I often begin with a bold line marker. Whether it’s an 08 Fine Liner Pen or a thick Sharpie, I follow the contours of the main bit I want to highlight in my drawing. I settle in to concentrate only on that bit, being present to see all the shapes and connections of lines in that one area. Once I feel I’ve put down as many lines as I deem necessary for that main area, I choose a slightly, or greatly, thinner pen to render background areas. These areas receive no less attention while drawing them, but are rendered lightly so as to highlight and support the main bit, instead of taking it over. I may even choose a much paler marker for even “lesser” background areas, as I did above in the drawing of our front yard.

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I enjoy doing the same thing with color. Color can be added all over one’s drawing or just in specific places–not only highlighting the bits that receive color but also allowing the structure of lines to remain in view, solid and intact.

In 2015, I want to continue learning to live my life in this manner. I do best when I am purposeful about what each day holds. As a wife, mom and working artist, there are many things that vie for my attention. Being purposeful about what gets highlighted and emboldened each day helps provide focus for my days. Carving out time for what needs to have my attention allows me to fill in around it with all the other stuff…IF there is time.

Sometimes I sit down to draw and life interrupts. Of course! But if I’ve begun with the main bit, then I’ve at least gotten something down and the rest can either be left to another day or simply left out entirely.

So what am I saying in all this?

**On any given day, week, or month, MAJOR on one thing. Minor in everything else, or let some things go altogether. Being purposeful to do my work as an artist in designated time segments, allows me to fill in domestic work and other commitments around it. Indeed, sometimes I need to designate the majority of a day to the domestic stuff–cleaning, cooking, laundry, etc. Or a day might be majoring in family or friends. some days need to be “just-be” days, allowing whatever to bubble up and enjoy.

This isn’t about being rigidly segmented with one’s life. It actually allows a flow to my life with a lessened amount of mental static and confusion. Thinking in terms of “one thing to major in”, allows the structure of my life to remain in view, solid and intact. I feel less flighty, less like taffy-being-pulled-in-a-bazillion-directions,  more focused, less scattered. Note that I say “less”…nothing is ever seamless and perfect. It is merely one way to hold my dreams and hopes lovingly together with the demands of my everyday life.

Tomorrow I’ll share a second, though closely related way of approaching the New Year. Please return for a visit and if you feel so moved, leave any thoughts in the comment section for all of us to benefit from. Thank you for being here today!

 

 

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