Tag Archives: Art

Why hello, Summer.

One more day of work, but yesterday felt like summer’s return. Sure the temperature dropped a startling (and welcomed) thirty-plus degrees, more reminiscent of early fall than early summer, but we still gathered around the big outdoor table to celebrate my stepsister’s 25th birthday with our beloved oak tree and retreating sun to awe us with their nightly slow dance.

Specialty cocktails a la Pinterest, a communal canvas, and happy dogs helped to set the mood for summer, my nephew inviting each of us to take a turn alongside him in the hammock.

Sweet, sweet summer, you always leave us too fast. I know you’ve just arrived, but we’re going to hold on extra tight this year…

Black Berry & Meyer Lemon Gin & Tonic w/ a splash of mermaid

Black Berry & Meyer Lemon Gin & Tonic w/ a splash of mermaid = Perfection.

Blackberry & Meyer Lemon Gin & Tonic recipe, in case you need some inspiration for a summer beverage...

Blackberry & Meyer Lemon Gin & Tonic recipe, in case you need some inspiration for a summer beverage…

Fun party idea-- everyone has to add to the painting... Everyone.

Everyone had to add to the painting… Everyone.

Joey & Odin

Joey & Odin

I <3 summer sunsets.

Heaven.

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Peace Through Art

The May Blogger’s for Peace challenge is to post some form of art and connect it to how it creates peace in your life. For some reason, I really dragged my feet on this one. I’m a very in my head kind of person. Peace for me is usually not a highly visual experience, which is why when I typed peace into Pinterest, I was so excited to see this:

Inner peace.

Inner peace.

It reminded me of how in moments of chaos I retreat to peaceful places in my mind– the thought of Hawaiian beaches over summer break has calmed me for two years in a row during teaching’s most frustrating moments. Crashing waves, my wedding day, the warm sun, are all experiences I conjure in my mind when I need peace.

Where do you go? Do you visit with eyes open or eyes closed?

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All Women Have A Three-Dimensional Beauty That Moves

Tonight I found myself sitting in Naked Lounge, a coffee shop in Midtown Sacramento, with my teenage sister and her friend.  They have a summer routine of drawing in coffee shops, creating little pieces of artwork they leave behind on the bulletin boards, their creative mark left scattered throughout Sacramento for all to see.  As they sat working on their artwork, I took pictures.

While this in itself was enough to keep me amused, sitting, observing their routine, I noticed something else, something deeper as I photographed.  Like most girls and women I know, they were very picky about the pictures I took, even if they were beautiful to an outside eye.  It reminded me of how I felt about pictures when I was younger and how I look back at those same pictures today and think wow, what was I complaining about?

But, that’s the great irony of female existence.  The photographs I see of me today leave me convinced I’m past my prime, which is pretty ridiculous given I’m only 28.  Still, I see my face changing, lines forming, angles becoming more pronounced.  As much as I rolled my eyes at my sister and her friend, I do the exact same thing and always have.  Truth be told, if my hair is not blown dry and make-up is not on my face, I do not feel like I’m in any state to have a picture taken.

This left me thinking, what is wrong with us?  Is our self-worth really that dependent on idealized outer beauty?  Why can’t we see the true beauty that is right in front of us?  A friend and fellow blogger, Neurotic Nancy, wrote today about how good it felt to regain her confidence.  She went out and felt good about herself.  Imagine that, a woman comfortable in her own skin, proud of who she is, inside and out!  Why aren’t we raising girls like this, that see their whole selves in pictures instead of just the tiniest imperfections?

About six months ago, another friend in LA was hosting weekly public art installations of “ugly faces,” as an open rebellion against a societal obsession with vanity in a town that is built on it.  I was so intrigued by this concept that I submitted my own “ugly” shots, some of which are still buried somewhere on that page.  The funny thing is that it was genuinely difficult to take those pictures, like I was fighting against decades of social conditioning.

I guess the point of all of this is that it made me hyper-reflective to hear these girls be critical of themselves.  Beauty should be something we are proud of, something that emanates from the inside out.  I want my self-worth to be strong enough to see past the tiny imperfections of a moment trapped in time.  Ani DiFranco describes her beauty as a beauty that moves, that cannot be captured in a photograph.  I like this idea because it implies there is more to us than what we see in two dimensions.  All women have a three-dimensional beauty that moves, a beauty that should make us so proud that mere pictures never creep under our skin to undermine our self worth.  I have met a couple of women like this, whose smiles light up pictures, rooms, lives.  I do not know their secret, but I’m determined to figure it out.

Tenaya carries around this old tattered book she bought in Germany filled with her own artwork in the margins.

Kaitlyn busy drawing her contribution to the coffee shop bulletin board.

Still at work, and beautiful, no matter what she says.

Tenaya’s super awesome pencil box.

Pretty Tenaya.

And me.  Despite my messy, wavy hair, lack of make-up, and desire not to have my picture taken, I’m posting anyway.  No more letting pictures define me.

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Through 16-year-old Eyes

Sixteen was magic, that first year where everything started to come together.  Tastes of freedom, independence.  A momentary eternity, I once wrote.

My little sister is now there, or almost.  Only a couple weeks to go.  Thirteen years apart, the gap between us is slowly closing.  She was the baby, the reason I could not watch R-rated movies.  Now, she is a source of depth, wisdom, and laughter.  Although, I guess she was always a source of laughter, possessing humor beyond her years.  My little sister is the glue that bound us all together.  She makes us one gloriously happy, rambunctious family.

The other night I caught a glimpse into her soul, listening to her recite poetry.  She is an artist, not only with words, but with pastels, watercolors, you name it.

I picked this one to share because it reminds me of me, thirteen years ago.  Life at sixteen is full of angst and wonder.

These are her words, not mine:

We used to dance through the field like feral butterflies.
Our wings grew and our cat feet lifted off the grass,
wind blew us side to side and kissed our bare cheeks.
Our mouths opened wide and we could see everything
as we let our laughter fill the dry air, making music with the birds.
The sky tasted strong and sweet,
like being held in Grandma Jo’s soft arms and under her warm gaze
in the frigid air conditioning of our Mckinney house.
You and I strutted through those halls,
because we were the coolest people we knew.
But we weren’t really cool at all.
But, still, we grew up
to do a new kind of dance
in the poorly lit, poorly ventilated hall
full of unknowns and familiars
all pulsing and numbing to the elegant drops of Dubstep.
Because they were lost, they knew exactly what to do.
Because they were blind, now they could see
the red hot sweat of rage and passion
filling their lungs and coating their eardrums.
We were the abstract hand prints painted on young, wet skin,
lit up only when the lights went out.
And with daylight we walk, undead,
with crusty eyes through walls and over buildings
and drown in coffee just to get by.

Kat knew, she had seen it all
and what she hadn’t seen would soon be her reality.
She was led down paths and to her fate
on candy leashes and with designer treats.
She had to lose herself to know who she never was.
Todo va a estar bien.
Porque eventually the skies would go back to business as usual
and the sun would lean down and brush tears from her eyes.
And lay us both back down in the neon grasses
in a bed of feral butterflies.

Looking at the world through her eyes…

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A Little Creative Inspiration…

I deeply admire and am inspired by the creative people in my life.  Looking through a friend’s fashion illustrations this evening, I was struck by the same old message from the universe that hard work fuels success, not luck.  I know that my friend will be wildly successful, not because she is lucky, but because she is talented, works hard, and does not give up.  Check out her work on Pinterest or at her blog, Drawn to Style.

Thanks for the inspiration, Tanya!

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