I was playing in my sketchbook with a sharpie pen.
The cool thing about drawing with a sharpie pen is that you can't erase, so you just go with the flow and see what happens.
Often when you're trying too hard to get something perfect, it comes out stiff and has no character. This is true with drawing and painting, and, come to think of it, with life itself.
Anyway, I was drawing and, as usual, I started drawing a face. I can't help but be drawn to faces. Even when I was young I always sketched faces.
I was originally drawing the woman in the middle and before I knew it she had a friend beside her, then another friend.
Without knowing why, I drew the middle woman with a knit cap.
I didn't know why I would do that, then I realized I must subconciously be thinking of my daughter, who often wears a knit cap.
I think women who can and do wear hats look really cool.
I've never worn hats because I don't think I look good in them. Who knows. Maybe I would look good but have just never let myself. Anyway, I like the way my daughter looks in hers so maybe that's why I did it.
After drawing the picture, for some reason, the title "Three Wise Women" came about. Why I thought about that, I don't know either. Then, again, deep down, I probably got the idea because lately the idea of being a wise woman has been working deep down inside me.
I am thinking, ITS ABOUT TIME after all these years. I am way past the age of deciding to finally become wise.
But I have been working on it. Actually, having become committed to it.
Maybe I thought working on being wise would make me more restricted and repressed than I have already lived my entire life, and that is the last thing I need!
But on the contrary, it is becoming one of the wildest, most freeing rides of my life!
Anyway, it is funny how when something is telling you that a particular area is what you need to be working on in your life, there are signs and teachers everywhere.
Another is the fact that my daughter, featured in the top photo, got this t-shirt that has a photo of an owl saying "Wise Up." Below it is Proverbs 4:7 that, paraphrased says, "in all your getting, get wisdom."
My daughter has surpassed me in many things, one in being a Wise Woman. She has been working hard being a wonderful blessing and influence in this world, as an intern, a mentor, and many other things. She is the Joy of my heart.
It was not until after I had painted the above sketch of "Three Wise Women" and I had thought of writing this post that I asked her to take a picture of herself wearing her "Wise Up" t-shirt and knit cap.
Now, understand that when I drew the picture I was not originally drawing the woman with her in mind, and yet, this morning when she emailed the picture she took of herself, I was shocked. She always takes pictures staring straight into the camera with a big smile and yet this time, she had taken her picture looking sideways with a slightly uplifted smile just like in my sketch!
I was pretty amazed, as well as absolutely delighted.
So after several days of writing short posts I have gone back to writing a long one again, but that's ok. I enjoyed it.
Hoped you liked the photos and the post.
And remember, if you are ready to kick up your life, then
But if you're a mother out there with younger children still at home and you're working hard and the days seem endless and all your hard work often comes with no thanks, and you still don't have that beautiful dream home and it seems like you never will, you might think all your hard work is for nothing.
Believe me, I know.
But as someone who made it all the way over to this side (as in many years down the road) I can say don't despair.
All your hard work is not for nothing.
All these years later I still don't have the beautiful house I would like to have (but I haven't given up!)
But I can tell you that if you have built your home with love, it is not in vain.
And don't worry if you see all your mistakes and you think your love is not good enough.
However much we stumble with our love, love never fails.
To have a beautiful home is a perfectly wonderful goal, but if you put the material beauty above love, you build your house in vain.
Then the beautiful home.
So if you look around and you see the worn rug and the furniture that has seen better days, don't despair.
When your child hands you that picture they drew of you, holding their hand, standing in front of that crooked house with hearts all around, you will know you already have a beautiful home.
It's just that it was filled with so many feelings.
Last Wednesday was my birthday and even though everyone made me feel wonderful, it did not feel wonderful to know I was getting older.
At one point, when we were having lunch with my son and his girlfriend, my husband said, "This is great! We'll have to do it again on your next birthday!"
"Yuk!" I said. "I don't want another birthday."
"I don't want to have any more birthdays. I don't want to get older."
"You have to," he said.
"No I don't," I said.
And then I realized what I was saying.
If I didn't have another birthday and I didn't get any older, that meant I would be dead.
On second thought...
As simple as that was, I realized that, although I am not crazy about getting older in the sense that you look older and your body starts to not work as good as it used to, still, day after day that you are here means that you are still alive, as opposed to being dead.
I am watching "Deadliest Catch," a reality show about the deadliest occupation there is, which is crab fishing. It's a great show, but the main event that people have been watching the past few weeks, and especially last Tuesday and tomorrow night is the death of one of the most popular captains, Phil Harris. It is heartbreaking, but one of the most heartbreaking things to watch was Phil on last Tuesday night's episode. It showed this super tough, gruff fisherman in his hospital bed, weak and disabled, with this look on his face where you can tell that he now knows he is going to die. It is almost a look of panic as he desperately tries to interact with his son, trying to touch him and tell him how much he loves him.
And I realized that yes, Carol, you are getting older, with all that is involved with getting older, but look what it would mean to not get older.
Captain Phil had just turned 53 years old. To a young person that might seem old, but believe me, it is not. It is way too young to die.
I know that we cannot tell when our last day will be. But I will try to no longer bemoan getting older.
I am sure Captain Phil would have given anything to have another birthday.
I had my birthday.
And to tell you the truth, I hope I am blessed with many more.
And so here is the final image from that painting I showed you in my last post (you can compare by scrolling down).
Isn't it gorgeous?
I thought so. (If you click on the image you can enlarge it and see it even closer).
The only bummer is that I painted this in my sketchbook. Now I wished I had painted it on canvas!
I originally thought this was just going to be a practice painting, something where I would be playing with different techniques, and wouldn't you know it turned out good!
There is that matter of trust again.
Trusting that I can take out a canvas and work without fear and judgement and believe in myself enough to know that what comes out of me will be beautiful.
And knowing that if it doesn't, there's always gesso!
I was also really happy because I have not had much success with scanning my work, so I just photograph it, which means the image is not going to come out as good as if you scanned it. I don't know why my scanner never works properly. I don't know if it's me or the scanner. I really didn't think this was going to come out but I decided to give it a try. I didn't do anything differently than I usually do and this time it worked, just like that. Maybe because I moved my printer/scanner to a different, less cluttered room and it felt happier! ;p
Who knows. I'm just happy it worked.
Well, tomorrow is my birthday, and no, I'm not going to tell you how old I will be! :D
Tonight my son and his girlfriend are making me dinner! YeeHaw! We'll just be a small little group, my hubby and my kids, hanging out. We've found out that we have a much better time doing that than going to a restaurant like we used to. In a restaurant it's more formal and if you're not sitting next to someone you might not get to talk with them the whole time, so it's not as intimate. Not to mention that, of course, it's more expensive eating out. So not only does this save money, but we truly have a more wonderful time of sharing. If my husband or I take pictures, I'll try to post them.
So this is the last time I post at this age, so next time I'll be older. Ha Ha! Actually, I have a lot to say on this aspect and how the one great thing about the age thing is that I'm finally getting it into my head about the absolute necessity of self respect and self love, and how that is creating a turning point in my life.
Later on that.
For now, hope you have a great day and I'll save you some cake and ice cream!
(I won't really, but I thought it would be nice to say!)
Sometimes I wonder if I am the only one who has to keep tweaking my life, over and over, 'til I get it right.
I am sure this is not true, and yet I wonder if the powers that be are looking at their watches and saying, "ARE YOU THERE YET?"
I started a painting in my sketchbook a while back and then, later, coming back to it, I thought, this isn't so great after all.
So I decided to do what I would never do back in the day, and that is paint over it.
It was a wonderful thing to get to that point. Another hesitancy I got over.
I wish I had taken a picture of that painting, and how I painted over it, and all the layers of paint I did. That is my next thing I am learning, to keep my camera in my studio and take pictures of my work as I go. After all, if I really don't want to use them, I can just delete. I need to keep telling myself this until I remember.
So I painted over this painting and I did several layers, and I even went out of my comfort zone by using colors I don't usually use. I have been wanting to do that because I have found myself in a rut, not venturing out of my color zone, so I did and I really liked the results.
Then I got a Sharpie marker and quickly sketched out a face, because that's what I like to do.
Here's more of a close up. You can see all the multi-layers of colors underneath.
Then I put a foundation of color for the face.
And started to put in a little shading.
A little color to the lips (a girl's gotta have some juicy lipstick!) and the hair.
Finished filling in the hair.
I'm still going to play around with it some more.
Yes after all these layers, it's still not finished so I'm going to tweak it some more.
And yes, that's ok.
So I am thinking how that is one of the most wonderful things about art.
If art is where your heart is, then it most certainly speaks to you and gives you the messages you need, in so many ways.
And that is, after all the layers and layers of my life, all the times I have started over and wiped out things and started again, is that ok?
Can I keep working on it?
Will I one day have something I love?
And then I can start again.
And that's ok.
It's called Living Life.
Do the Colors of your Life continue to change?
Is it difficult because you fight it?
Or are you one of those people who can go with the flow?
My lower back had been out for quite a few days. I had been OD 'ing on ibuprofen but it still wasn't going away. I was getting that panicked feeling of "what if this never goes away?" A scary feeling.
Finally, I brought out my yoga CD that I have that is specifically for the back.
This is Rodney Yee, and it is the BEST CD ever.
My husband and I got it a few years ago when I was having a real problem. After aspirin and ibuprofen and my husband giving me massages that usually work, nothing was working. I got this CD and it worked miracles.
Usually just doing it one time does the trick, although this time I did it on Monday, felt some relief, stayed on my feet too long yesterday, and all the pain was back. I did the tape again this morning and bingo, I am fine again. I am just making sure that today I take it easy and treat myself with tender, loving care, which I found really does make a difference as opposed to being too hard on yourself. The mind really does take things out on your body.
Besides being the best CD ever for healing your back pain, Rodney Yee is one cutie patootie to look at!
The backdrop is the beautiful beaches of Maui which makes the CD an overall pleasure.
I don't know if you can find this at any store nowadays. If anything, try Amazon, but I do highly recommend this CD if you have back problems.
And if you have never done yoga or if you have done yoga and found it sorta weird, don't worry about this CD. It is not weird at all. I have bought other yoga CDs and some of them are really weird and out there. Not this one. It is very beautiful and he does the stretches very slowly so that you don't further irritate your back.
But the most healing medicine I took for myself was a big batch of these!
Yes, they are my famous chocolate chip cookies! And are they ever delish! Not that they do much good for my hips and thighs, but they do wonders to put a smile on my face!
On one of my last posts I talked about how my daughter had this journal and she wanted me to decorate it with my art.
I wish I had taken a "before" picture but I forgot. Actually, I think the reason is because in the back of my mind I was a little nervous and I was wondering if I would actually do this, so I didn't bother to take a picture. This must stop!We must be confident of our work! I know. Easier said than done (I'm working on it!).
Just picture a journal made of plain, brown cardboard bound with a sort of black tape. That's the best way I can describe it.
I was thinking of various designs, and one came to mind, but I wanted something more personal. Then I remembered this picture I had of my daughter. Someone took it of her when she was at the Monterey Aquarium, up San Francisco way. This is it:
Isn't it awesome? I thought it was fantastic. I saw it on her Facebook, so I swiped it and put it with my pictures. I knew it was just perfect for what I had in mind. The journal itself is for something she is doing at her church where she is studying passages of the Bible and then writing her thoughts on them everyday. When I thought of this picture, it had that heavenly spiritual kind of look.
I loved the whole picture, but I knew I had to cut it down to this:
I knew I was going to paste it on the front, but then what was I going to do? Would I leave it alone? Would I paint over it like a collaged art journal?
I got another piece of cardboard I had hanging around and experimented with another photo. I decided to just paint over it a bit with a roller, then had fun painting around it.
On the back, I knew I wanted to paint a heart (because I love my BB!) and I was going to be incorporating Proverbs 3:6 where it says "Acknowledge Him in all your ways and He shall direct thy paths." I love that scripture, and to me it had to do with the purpose of that journal. I wanted to tear out the scripture from the Bible and put a real page on the heart, but I didn't have a Bible I felt I could cut up. I had wanted to get a Bible from the used book store that I did not have an attachment to so I wouldn't feel so bad cutting it up, but I hadn't got one yet. Then I remembered this little Bible I had first gotten when I was around 16. I used to carry it around everywhere and read it back then. It was very special to me, but I knew I hadn't used it in forever. Did I dare cut it up? At first I hesitated, but then I thought, why not? It would make it all the more special.
So I did and I pasted it on the heart with my daughter's name, so that it said, "Dionna..." and then it had the whole passage of Proverbs 3 from around one to ten, so it looked like it was talking to her personally. It looks like this:
On the front of the journal I incorporated the verse from Proverbs 3:6 so it looks like this:
Even though I was originally nervous about doing this project, I have to say I was so pleased with it! I rock, boy! ;p
I really enjoyed taking an actual photo and playing with it to get another effect. I'll have to try it more often!
Now, if you want to see an expert do this, take a look at Maria-Therese's beautiful work at afiori.Her work is gorgeous! And she is having this great give-away that you have to take a look at. Just look up the posting for Saturday, June 26, 2010. I wish I had posted this sooner because the give-away ends tomorrow morning, but since I took a while at getting this post up, you'll have to hurry up and get on over there. You late-night people should be fine.
She does beautiful photographic work. You need to get over there. You won't regret it!
Here is a picture of the messy table in my art studio, but that's ok because it means I've been working!
My daughter gave me a journal with a blank cover and asked if I'd put a design on it. If I had thought of it, I would have taken a "before" photo but I forgot. I'd like to show you the "after" photo but I can't because my daughter hasn't seen it yet.
But what impressed me today was The Process. You know, that scary "Process" where you are working on something and you think it could be good but you're not sure and you're doing this as a particular assignment for someone so it has to be good but that just makes "The Process" all the more scarier.
I was sure I had a good idea for a design and I even practiced the design on another background and I got more excited and more sure that it was going to be good.
the more I worked the design on the actual journal the more scared I got. After all, I couldn't make a mistake on this, and what if the idea I had didn't work after all? Or it didn't look as good as I thought? Or I made this HORRIBLE, UNFIXABLE mistake?
So this is where I started finally practicing this thing that I have been thinking about lately and that is
BELIEVING IN MY WORK.
BELIEVING IN MYSELF.
TRUSTING THE PROCESS.
As much as I have wanted to do this, as much as I have read about it, as many self-help books as I have, actually DOING it is very foreign to me. But I have realized that some things are not going to magically fall upon you, like fairy dust. There are some things you have to grab a hold of and not let go until you see things through.
So that's what I did.
And you know what?
Usually when those Evil Voices of Fear start whispering in my ear ("You're not good enough. Who do you think you are? You might as well forget it"), I shudder and quake in my shoes and then I quit.
But then I thought, what power do those voices actually have, other than the power I give them? They're not like a character in The Godfather with a gun to your head, insinuating you have to do what they say because they're making an offer you can't refuse.
There's nobody there.
They can't really touch you.
THEY HAVE NO REAL POWER.
All their power is FAKE. It's only what you give them.
And then I thought, yeah, but what do I do about those voices? If I try to fight them, I'll just get worn down and end up giving up. If I cry or plead, they'll just see my weakness and pounce all the more.
And then I remembered.
Hey, Carol, you're a Mom. My kids are adults now, but I remember when my son was young and he used to do what that little character does on "Family Guy." I used to be washing dishes with this little TV on a shelf in front of me that I had on to distract me from the pain of washing the dishes so my mind was already concentrating on several things at once and my son would come up to my side and say "Mom. Mama. Mommy. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mama...."
You get the picture.
And because he did this a million times a day I learned to tune him out.
Not all the time, so don't look at me that way.
So I decided to do that with The Evil Voices, saying "Ok, yeah, whatever, later," as I kept working.
And they went away.
And I finished the journal, much more quickly than I thought, and yes, I think it's beautiful!
But what I'm even more excited about is what happens when you tune out the chatter and learn to Trust.
My daughter works with this young woman who is said to offer thought provoking questions to the people around her, just to get them thinking.
Last week, my daughter asked me the latest question that her coworker had asked, which was, "If you had a thousand dollars, and you had to spend it all at once, and you couldn't use it to pay bills, what would you spend it on?"
Seems simple enough and yet, to our surprise, many of us have had a difficult time answering that question.
I realized that I desperately wanted to use this money to pay off some bills, and yet that was not allowed. I thought it would be easy to think of something else, and yet I couldn't.
"Are you sure I can't use it to pay some bills?" I asked my daughter, as if the money were real.
I couldn't think of what else I would possibly spend it on, which I believe, in itself, is supposed to tell you something about yourself. At least, I began wondering what it was telling me about myself.
It wasn't until this week that I really thought about what simple thing within my reach that I was not reaching for could make me happy.
And then I got it.
Of all the things that I could whine and complain about that I do not have and that I wish I had, I have been trying to make a more concentrated effort on being grateful for what I do have. I am doing this because I have found that it is far too easy for me to say "I have nothing!" when in reality, despite what I don't have, I have really been blessed with so much.
I realized that, despite the way things have been and the stories you hear about people losing everything, today I do have my own home. I do have a roof over my head, and as much as I complain that my backyard is ugly and bare, that is of my own doing, because, unlike many people who look out their back window and have no backyard, I do have a backyard.
I don't have a green thumb and so sometimes I plant some flowers and they die. Then again, I mostly buy the flowers and then they hang around in the plastic pots they came in until they die. Even then I'll start crying about how I watered them so how come they died? Until my mom and dad, who have a beautiful backyard, told me that you have to take them out of the plastic pots or they'll die.
Anyway, I said all that to say that one of the things I have always longed for was a beautiful, wild type of backyard garden, and that if I had that I would be so happy.
So, back to the thousand dollars, I realized that if I had a thousand dollars I would use it to pay someone to create for me as much of the garden of my dreams as I could create for a thousand dollars.
Of course, that thousand dollars was not real, but it made me think, if having that garden would honestly make you that happy, why not just make it happen?
It doesn't cost that much to buy some plants, even if I only buy them one or two at a time. Then get down on my knees and take the few minutes to put them in the ground and water them and before I know it, little by little, I can have that beautiful backyard garden I have always dreamed of.
So really, how hard is that? I mean, compared to complaining about what I don't have?
So that is what I am going to do, even if it is one plant at a time.
I'm writing it here so I can be accountable.
Meanwhile, I had fun painting this canvas of pretty flowers! Until I get to the Garden section of Target, this is a wonderful start!
How I missed it! I went into my studio and pulled out some paint and brushes.
Then I unrolled a large sheet of butcher paper, taped it to my worktable, and went at it.
I randomly brushed on some color, then outlined in black paint whatever design came into my head, which usually ends up being flowers, leaves, and hearts, which I really love.
I slashed on more color, just listening to the music playing on my CD player, as well as in my heart,
just having fun.
Later I scribbled in some Caran d'Ache water-soluble pastels, which are sooo nice to work with.
For now, I'm finished, but I just might decide to add some other touches later.
There is a precious thing about art, in whichever form you choose; and that is that after you have finished running around, stressed out from life, the joy of Creativity is always there, waiting for you.
Isn't this the most amazing graduation picture you've ever seen?
It shows the ultimate joy and exhilaration of a long and difficult job well done.
I know that is the way I felt after I graduated from Cal State Long Beach 11 years ago.
This is a picture of Angela, my daughter's friend, who just graduated last Thursday. She also graduated from Cal State Long Beach, as did my daughter two years earlier.
The funny thing is that I graduated on Thursday, May 27 (11 years ago) and Angela graduated on Thursday, May 27. My daughter told Angela that she and I now share a special bond for sharing this special day.
When I graduated, it was a day long overdue. It was a difficult journey, what with being a single mom, having been divorced just a few years earlier. There were many lonely times when I was studying, hour after hour, wishing I could forget the whole thing. But when I marched down the aisle and up to that podium, Pomp and Circumstance marking my every step, it was the proudest moment of my life, one I will never forget.
So to all the Graduates of 2010, I say CONGRATULATIONS!! Blessings to you all for a job well done!
And in case you're wondering, the picture I posted was taken in the fountain of Cal State Long Beach. The young woman in the graduation gown in the front is Angela, and the lovely young woman on the left, with the long dark hair and purple print dress is my daughter, Dionna.
Of course, no one is really supposed to be in that fountain.
So if any officials are looking at this pic, then never mind. I don't really know the names of those people in that fountain.
Despite what goes on in the news, back and forth, this person's opinion and that person's opinion, I would like to say to those in the military, as well as their families, past and present, that there are those of us that remember and care.
We care about the fact that you have sacrificed so much to defend us so that we could be free.
Despite whatever garbage goes on in politics, whether or not there are really ulterior motives for this war or that, whether or not we should be fighting or should not, the fact is that these men and women in the military, along with their families, are sacrificing everything for us while those of us back here choose to intellectualize the debate or kick back and watch TV.
The simple fact is that they are out there,
we are not.
The families are waiting anxiously, or mourning in the deepest sorrow that we cannot know unless we have also had the misfortune of that experience.
My heart goes out to the parents who have lost their children,
the men and women who have lost their spouses,
the children who have lost their parents,
the siblings who have lost their brother or sister,
all those who have lost that person they so love.
Blessings to you.
I know it is not enough to say thank you, but thank you.
Thank you all for your sacrifice.
To those men and women that are back home, may your future be bright.
To those still out there, may you safely come back home.
I can write this because my husband never reads this blog, which is good, because I would like to write this, not only for myself, but for my kids.
Today, thirty three years ago, I got married.
Mind you, this was to my ex-husband.
But this is not about him. It is about a young, twenty one year old woman (was I ever twenty one??), having planned her wedding, and getting ready to embark on that journey that a young woman dreams about.
By this time, at 7:00 am, I was somewhere in the process of getting ready.
The time I do remember is about 9:30 am when I looked at the clock as I sat down to eat breakfast.
I remember sitting in front of the mirror above my dresser, as I looked at the finishing touches on my makeup.
I remember when my mom told my dad to come look at me, all dressed up in my wedding gown and veil. He came out of his bedroom and looked at me standing at my bedroom door.
"Oh, mija, you look so nice," he said, and hugged me.
And then he broke down in tears and ran back into his room.
I remember sitting in the car, riding to the church.
I remember standing on the brick steps in front of the church, while my cousin, my maiden of honor, straightened my veil.
I remember standing in the church foyer, in front of the doors to the sanctuary, the music playing, announcing that I was about to walk in.
And from that time on, I began a new life.
Time goes on and some things are good and some not so good.
There can be lots of anger, bitterness, and regret.
But despite it all, there are these pivotal moments in a young person's life when you begin a new journey, full of hopes and dreams.
Those dreams might be shattered, and you can go down an ugly road.
But even that time passes, and another pivotal moment comes when you choose to lay aside the past and begin life anew, remembering where you came from, remembering good intentions, choosing the best, and moving on.
And so, for my children, as well as myself, I choose to lay aside the past, so that I can fully enjoy that which was, and has always been, the best,
I just love the colors! The beads remind me of a beautiful spring day.
I am not showing it full length because when I take pictures like that it doesn't come out as clear, but it measures about 19 1/2 inches, including clasp.
What I now need is a model that can wear my jewelry while I photograph. But my son's girlfriend Janine is not here all the time, and my daughter is here even less, and I think my son and my husband would make horrible models, so forget that!
I'll figure something out.
Meanwhile, til I open my Etsy shop again, if you are interested in something give me a holla! You can write me at CarolBDesigns@gmail.com. I intend for my prices to be very reasonable.