Do you ever find yourself afraid to try something out of fear that you might not be good enough? I’m not talking about the little things that don’t really matter. I mean the big things that have real meaning to you, that pull at your soul and call to you. That “something” that you know deep within you, you must do….but fear stops you from taking that first step?
Well, this blog and this page are first steps for me. For too long, I’ve been afraid to explore my creative side, afraid that I might not measure up. But now, its not about that; there has been a shift. My art, my writing, is an expression of me. An expression of me finding that place within myself that flows freely, believes, is at peace, is joyous, is passionate…and can let go and take that next step, even if she doesn’t know where the path ahead leads.
So, with that, I share this side of me (ordered oldest to newest so you can see how my drawing progresses):
Cradled Butterfly: When I was trying to come up with a “logo” for my blog, I wanted something that symbolized being in the present moment, being connected to the universe, being quiet, being still…just being. When I came across this photo of a butterfly being cradled in open palms, I knew I wanted to try to draw it. This piece was used on the About page.
Love & Connection: I drew this on a birthday card for my husband. The symbolism is pretty obvious (smile). The more I looked at it though, the more I saw in it. It speaks to me not only of love, but of having a connection to myself, to others…and a symbol for gratitude. I found a beautiful quote about gratitude, which I added to it and placed it on my Thank You page.
Quiet Mind, Open Heart: When I was trying to find an image to go with my personal mantra, I saw this amazing photograph. The resulting pencil sketch was used in the blog post Do you have a personal mantra?
Being Still: There is just something about butterflies (and moths) landing on a person, that speaks to me. Out of curiosity, I did a quick search on wikipedia to find out what the was. They varied but the ones I liked the best were: “Some people say that when a butterfly lands on you it means good luck….In some old cultures, butterflies also symbolize rebirth…The ancient Greek word for “butterfly” primarily means “soul” or “mind”….in Japan as the personification of a person’s soul….” For me? I think it’s the implication that one needs to be truly still, for a butterfly to choose to land on us (and what a gift it is when they do!). This sketch was used in the blog post What trips you up?
The Hummingbird’s Gift: I searched for a photograph of a hummingbird being cradled in the palm of two hands but I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for. When I saw this photograph, it brought me back to how it felt to hold a hummingbird: how his claws gripped my palm when he was finally able to stand. I absolutely knew I wanted to draw this to go with the blog post Profound Moments and for The Hummingbird’s Gift.
Baby Gator: This sketch is meaningful to me, for a number of reasons: it is my first attempt at sketching from a photograph; it is one of my favorite photos of our cat (as a kitten, lying on my husband’s hand); and Gator looks amazingly like he does in the photograph (even his slightly squinting eye, squished up on my husban’ds hand). It makes me smile. This sketch was used in the post Pets and the present moment.
Gift of Vulnerability: I saw this in a magazine and I thought it was the perfect image to be paired with my blog post, The gift of vulnerability. Since I wanted the heart to stand out, I decided to explore watercolors. Who would’ve guessed the end result would be something that tests my ability to allow myself to be vulnerable? I can look at it and see the imperfections or I can choose to look at it and see the message it represents to me. I’m choosing the latter.
My Energy, Your Energy: I saw this photograph and immediately associated it with energy: our own energy, the energy of others and the energy that is in everything around us. Although it looks like I might be developing a fascination with drawing hands, it is really not the case – smile. The drawing was used in the blog post of the same name: My energy, your energy…
The Playfulness of a Squirrel: We all have different animals that we associate with play. For me it is a squirrel. So, when I decided to do a post about Reconnecting to Play, I wanted to draw a squirrel. The berry in the squirrel’s mouth did not translate well to a black and white sketch (for me at least – smile) but I was not able to change the face (convincingly) without the berry. Still more to learn there but I love the texture and dimension I was able to capture in the tree.
Growth: I used this drawing for the blog post Window to My Soul. Since it was a departure from the usual post (it was a piece of Riffing poetry), I decided to use this picture because to me it symbolizes growth. I am growing as a writer, artist…and someone who is willing to step out of their comfort zone.
Gator: This drawing means a lot to me. Our beloved cat Gator is twelve years old and his kidneys are failing. I wrote a post called Healing energy: what do you believe? and knew I wanted to use a drawing of Gator. This is one of my favorite photographs, but I was not sure if I would be able to draw it. I am proud of myself for taking up the challenge and am pleased with the result. When I look at the finished sketch, I see Gator, which makes me smile.
Sheltering Hands: Drawing and writing this blog post was an interesting process for me. Usually I do the blog post first, then find a picture or do a sketch that relates. This time, I drew the picture first, without a blog post in mind. When I was finished, I looked at the drawing and allowed myself to write freely. Out of it, came the blog post Embracing ourselves with love, which was a very different stream of thought than I initially had when I first saw the picture. Quite enlightening.
Finding the Quiet: I came across this sketch I did a while ago. I forgot I had even done it. When I looked at it again, I was struck by how peaceful it looked. It inspired the post A Quiet Place. I hope when you gaze into it, you get swept away to a place that brings you peace. Namaste.
Taking Steps: I was drawn to this picture for so many different reasons and I absolutely love how the sketch turned out. I was tempted to post it without writing anything, so the viewer could write their own story (it has that much depth to me). What drew me in was the way the feet were taking such tentative into the water: carefully tip-toeing in. It inspired the blog post is Taking that one itsy-bitsy step…
Entrusted To: When I saw this photograph I was drawn to the roughness of the adult hands compared to the fragility of the tiny baby feet. As I sketched, I thought of the hands we are entrusted to, as we come into this world so vulnerable and dependent. It inspired the blog post What do you see? What do you choose?
The Kitten and the Lion: When I saw this photograph, I was drawn to it for two reasons. The more shallow reason (smile) was that the kitten peering into the mirror reminded me of our little guy, Rudy. The deeper reason, was for what the picture meant to me: being able to look in the mirror and see one’s full worth and potential (so hard to do in a society that bombards us with messages). It inspired the blog post about seeing our own worth, called The lion in the mirror…
Snowy Day: I drew this to go on my Christmas letter this year. While I was drawing, it was snowing outside and it started me thinking about my relationship with winter (a love-hate). After I finished the drawing, I sat down at the computer and was inspired to write the first draft of the post Looking for the sparkle amidst the snow…
Ohm: This classic mediation pose inspired the blog post Keeping your zen during the holidays. It was a simple drawing, but I had a surprisingly difficult time getting the proportions on the right hand (and was disappointed with the all the pencil etch marks left behind). Oh well…
Christmas Puppy: When I saw this photo, I knew I had to try to draw it. But as I was drawing, it struck me how sad and forlorn the puppy’s eyes looked in contrast to the festive Christmas hat. It inspired me to write a blog post about how difficult the holiday season can be for some and how we can all be a flicker of light during the holidays.
Christmas Memories: When I was working on this drawing on the left,
it brought back memories of my Mom’s Christmas baking. When I sat down to write, I started thinking of other memories that are triggered by our senses. It prompted me to write the blog post Christmas memories from all five senses.
Cartwheeling: I was inspired to do this drawing by a picture I found. It reminded me of the carefree abandon that I experienced as a child, playing outside for hours on end. The process of drawing tapped into that creative, carefree side of myself (as art tends to do for me). When I sat down to write, what started out as a fun exercise describing the mechanics of a cartwheel, turned into thoughts about letting go and trusting. The blog post is called Cartwheeling through life…
Journaling: When I saw this photograph, I knew right away I wanted to try to capture it in pencil. I love how the muted tones of pencil give it such a peaceful, self-reflective quality (perfect for the cover of a journal, don’t you think?). Once the piece was done, I also knew right away that I wanted to add that great quote by Cyril Connolly about writing for yourself. The drawing and the quote inspired the blog post Putting yourself out there, then letting go.
Zen Dog: A friend of mine asked me to make her a set of greeting cards for her birthday. I knew exactly what I wanted to use for inspiration: a photo she took of her puppy gazing off into the distance by the lake shore. There was something about the original photo that struck both of us (it quickly earned the nick-name Zen Dog). After completing the drawing, I found the perfect quote to add to the card: “We are most alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” – Thornton Wilder. The drawing also inspired the blog post Zen Dog: Learning from our Four-Legged Friends.
Lantern Lady: Usually what I choose to draw inspires what I write for my blog post. In this case, it was the other way around. After reading the short story , I knew I wanted to write a post about the impact the story had on me (and time it for Bell Lets Talk on January 28, 2014). After much searching, I found this photo to draw. I am constantly amazed how the act of drawing takes my writing to new and often deeper levels. The drawing was used for the blog post Taking a Turn Holding The Lantern.
Hopscotch: After I found out that I do not retain the rights to my drawings (since they are based on photographs of which I do not have derivative rights) I had a bit of a melt-down. Once I settled down, I found this free-for-artists-to-use photo. The fact that my drawing looks dead-on to the photograph is now something I can simply be proud of (all is explained in the blog post Jumping Ahead to a Splat!)
Friends Walking: In my search for photos that I have “Derivative Permission” to draw from (sigh), my nephew gave my access to his photographs. This one reminded me of the long walks (and talks) I have had with friends over the years. When I found the quote by Donna Roberts, the two inspired the post The Words to the Song in Your Heart.
Chalk Writing: This drawing took a while to come together (my eraser came out a lot – smile). It prompted me to write about the process of drawing and how easy it is to give up too soon. It inspired the blog post Life Lessons Learned with a Drawing Pencil.
Arm in Arm: I drew this for a Valentine’s Day card for my hubby, as it brought back memories of the two of us standing arm and arm after many-a home renovation jobs (although hubby no longer has hair like that – lol – and I’ve never been a blond). A few days later, when I looked at the drawing and the quote, it got me thinking about the whole concept of “holding on” to someone. It inspired the post, Two Halves Don’t Make A Whole
Fence Post Illusion: My nephew took the photo that inspired this drawing. As the sketch progressed, I started to wonder if the wire was really holding the fence post up. That thought inspired the blog post Being Held Up Or Being Held Back?
Mr. Slow-and-Steady-Patient-Grounded Snail: This is not one of my favorite drawings by any means. I think it would have looked better if I had drawn the stairs bigger and the snail smaller. Had I not run out of time, I think I would have tucked the drawing away and not posted it on my blog. But, I did learn something about what happens when I try to rush a drawing. It also inspired the blog post Slow As A Snail Ain’t So Bad.
Do You See Me?: When I saw this photo in the free for artists to use , I knew I wanted to draw it. I think it was the draping of the clothes, the way the man’s faced was shadowed in his ball cap. To me, the picture “spoke a thousand words.” After drawing it, I was reminded of an incident where I failed to see the person in the disheveled clothing holding the cardboard sign. It prompted me to write the blog post Do You See Me?
The Child In Us: This is another photo that when I saw it, I knew I wanted to draw it. I love the emotion in it. How it says so much. As for the actual drawing: I love all the shadows and folds in the clothing. So much fun to draw. The photo inspired me so much that a post came to me right away. It was careening around in my mind so much, that I wrote first and drew later (that way I could savor the drawing without the distraction of words bouncing around in my head – smile). It inspired the post The Little Boy in the Drawing.
Frustrated: This is a photo of my nephew that he took several years ago (and gave me permission to draw). I love all the shadows in it and how it conveyed such emotion. Maybe it was my frame of mind at the time (smile), but it screamed frustration to me. Before I started drawing, I had a post in mind. Both the drawing and the writing helped me vent and find my center again. It was used in the post Having An Argh! Moment.
Abandon: A friend took this photograph and allowed me to draw it. Translating it from color to a pencil drawing in black, greys and whites was quite interesting. There is something about drawing in pencil that brings out the emotion in a photo (at least to my eyes). The drawing was used to inspire the post Seeing The Sun Even When It Rains (Or Snows)
Beside You: This drawing was also made from a photograph I found on (free for artists to use). I love drawing the shadows that get caught in the folds of clothes. I also love doing drawings that show only a small portion of a person’s body. I think its because there is more mystery, more of an untold story that the viewer can fill in however they wish. When I paired the finished drawing with a quote I found, it inspired the post It Doesn’t Matter Where You Go.
Easter Memories: This is another photograph I found on (free for artists to use), when I went looking for an Easter related picture. Although I was not sold on the photograph, the slight aerial perspective the photographer chose actually became quite interesting to draw. I had no clue what I was going to write (and I was pressed for time), but once again the process of drawing sparked an idea for a post that ended taking me in a different direction than I first thought. What started as a “quick-get-it-done-post” turned into something that was meaningful for me to ponder. I hope it stirs something in you. It is called Easter Egg Hunts Were So Much Easier.
Training Wheels: Usually I draw first, then use the finished piece to inspire a blog post (since drawing gets my creative muse all loosey-goosey so the writing flows easier). This time though, I was using my writing to process me out of a stuck place. The writing turned into a blog post (after much re-writing), so I searched for a photograph to go with it afterwards. Luckily had one that I was immediately drawn to. The finished piece was used for the blog post Taking Off The Training Wheels.
Beauty Inside Out: This drawing was inspired by a photograph found on page 40 of the Winter 2011 , courtesy of aarp.org. I had found a different photograph (an elderly woman hiding her face) but I hesitated, questioning if it would fit the post that was starting to write itself in my head. I realized I needed a drawing that had the sparkle and vibrancy I saw in the woman who inspired the post, Coconut Cake And The Art of Aging.
A Mother’s Love: I drew this for a Mother’s Day card for my Mom. I found a beautiful quote to go with it ( “Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but in their hearts forever”), but when it came time to write a post, the drawing inspired something different. The message in the post had deep meaning to me and I hope it reaches many. It is called The Non-Mother’s Mother’s Day.
Toe-Dipper: This is a photograph I found a while ago when I was exploring (free for artists to use). I dug it out when I came up with the idea of toe-dippers versus high-divers, when it came to trying new things. The post was half written in my head but the act of drawing the photo cemented a few more of the ideas. I think it was the innocence of the little girl in the drawing that also allowed me to become more forgiving towards myself. The drawing was used in the post No Apologies For Being A Toe-Dipper.
Back Flipping: This is another drawing that I did after I wrote the post. I was looking for a child doing either a happy dance or a back flip, and this is the closest I could find (that was free to use – sigh). Because it was not quite what I was looking for, it took me a while to get into the drawing. It wasn’t until the shadowing that I started to have fun with it. Once I paired it with a quote, I finally liked it. It was used for the blog post Thank You, But Joining Award Free Blogs.
Dandelions: This drawing came about by a three-part process. First, I saw dandelions in an empty lot and remembered a childhood story my Mom told me, which inspired me to write a post called Do you See Flowers or Weeds. After the post was finished, I tried to track down a free-for-artists-to-use photograph related to dandelions. Once the pencil drawing was done, I noticed how the dandelion disappeared in shades of grey. This inspired a third step: the addition of color. A few swipes of bright yellow pencil crayon and voila, the dandelion popped.
Touch: The process for this drawing and blog post took a u-turn part way through. I had a rough idea for a post about touch and tried to find a photo to draw from. When I couldn’t find something that spoke to me, I chose to use one of my own photos of a moment between Gator and my husband (just before Gator died). Drawing it stirred up strong emotions that were different from what I had planned to write about. Running short on time, I forced the original post idea but struggled to bring it together. I have mixed feelings about how the drawing an post meld together, but it is what it is (smile). The post is called The Need for More Touch.
Father’s Day: This photograph called to me to be drawn. There was something about the ages of the feet — adult, child and toddler — that spoke to me. I like drawings that only show bits and pieces of people, so the viewer fills in the blanks to find their own meaning. The story the drawing told me, lead to a Father’s Day post called Understanding A Dad’s Expression of Love.
Headstand: This drawing taught me something. I had already written the post (More Successful Than We Know), but wasn’t thrilled about my choices of photographs to draw from, so I procrastinated. The night before my post was scheduled to be published I started to draw. Not in the most inspired/creative mood to begin with, I got grouchier and grouchier as the grass looked nothing like grass. Since I have been able to draw grass before, it was a lesson in what happens when I rush/force the creative process. My creative muse is a bit like a cat: she does what she wants, on her own time, in her own way.
Superman Nephew: For my nephew’s birthday, I decided to draw one of my favorite childhood photos of him (he’s in his mid-twenties now) for his birthday card. Although the smile isn’t quite right, I think the likeness is there. As I was drawing, I became quite nostalgic (which was also brought on by reading a touching post by Sheila Callaham entitled, ). Before I knew it, I was digging through a box filled with memorabilia. The combination inspired the post Believing We Can Be Anything (Again)…
Remembering Cara: Drawing this was challenging, as I wanted so badly to capture the likeness of my long ago friend. The over-bearing perfectionist in me kept seeing what was not quite right, while another voice (Cara’s?) kept saying “Enough Diane, send it!” (I was making it for a card for her parents). Still unsure, I emailed it to a friend to see if she could recognize Cara in the drawing. She did. Lesson learned: ignore the voice of the perfectionist. The drawing was used for the post Saying It, Not Just Thinking It
Gone Fishing: I’m not into fishing, but there is something idyllic about this photograph that pulled me in. I thought it was the perfect drawing to go with a post letting readers know I’m taking a blogging break (Gone Fishing). The grass was a bit frustrating to draw at first but it was interesting how it transformed as I continued to layer and swipe away with an eraser. Another reminder of the importance of trying until you get it right.
Please come back again. My goal is to add one new drawing each week, to accompany (and inspire – smile) each blog post.