This summer I have spent more time back in my hula hoop. I had just started to learn about hula hoop dance when my husband went into the hospital in Arizona, and I spent many hours that year practicing outside the hospital and at the park with my new friends in the flow arts and circus prop communities.
It was one of the only healthy reprieves that brought peace and laughter that year. I would often dance with my hoop in hospital gardens or outside the emergency room while waiting for the nurses to let me visit. After a few sessions, I realized that nurses and family members of patients would watch for a bit while waiting (there’s a lot of waiting in hospitals!) also, and it brought a smile to their tired faces too. Since learning the hula hoop, I have branched out to practicing with fire fans, poi, and staffs, and I am eager to learn some contact juggling. It is a perfect combination for me of dance and concentration that melts my stress and allows me to feel a sense of progression and achievement every time I nail a new trick.
So, when I discovered this morning that something had gone wrong with my WordPress template, I knew I had to update with my latest finished painting, Fairy Flow. This is based on the peaceful feeling I get holding my hoop after dancing for my life!
After painting Fairy Flow, I decided the flow arts were the area I am most pulled to concentrate on right now, and I immediately started this painting, which I am tinkering with on the daily right now:
I hope to launch the web store my friends have been asking for with this collection, as well as a coloring book for kids featuring hula hooping animals coming out next week on Amazon!
I’ve also added an email subscription form to update everyone on my art activities and give away freebies without having to use another service. So please sign up – I’ll be emailing a free coloring page version of the Flow Fairy painting to all my new subscribers!
A recent loss had me under the covers over the weekend, but I channeled some of my feels into art. Mostly used the dry ink brush here in Procreate. I have been wanting to work on a coloring book, so I decided to do a line art version, and I used some of Flo’s brushes (a YouTube Procreate teacher I adore!) and some Procreate texture brushes on the blankets to give it lots of little bits to color in.
Feel free to download and color in the jpeg below, at some point I’ll have a nice little coloring book on Amazon, but I’m going easy on myself with that right now. I have lots of healing to do and lots of creative projects going, so I will be sharing some happier posts and work soon as I paint the late Spring flowers bursting forth around me.
One of the saddest things I hear creative people say, usually with a soft regretful sigh, “Oh, I wish I could learn to draw!”
My friends, you absolutely can and should!
Here is a brief slew of reasons to draw: it helps you relax, improves memory and concentration, induces a ‘flow state’, improves manual and visual dexterity, can help you communicate across language barriers, helps you understand the world around you, and keeps a person out of trouble!
I challenge you to re-think your assumption that drawing requires much innate talent. It is not so different than writing, a skill most of us continue to be taught to be at least proficient at throughout our entire eduction. For whatever reason, our educational system abandons the importance of art skills in order to focus on other stuff and many people who enjoyed drawing simply stop because they were never encouraged how to get beyond the skill level they had around 9 or 10 years old.
Now that I have offered you my thinking challenge: I dare you to draw! I find daring someone so much more powerful than offering a suggestion, it could be my own mental health issues but perhaps you share them too?
While there are many ways to learn, my absolute favorite is the book
There ya go, I dare you! I know you can do it, if you just do the exercises. You even have my permission to skip some of the science-y/theoretical stuff… some of it feels a bit dated (though fascinating), but the meat is in doing the exercises.
It’s been a couple weeks already since I attended the gallery opening and birthday event for my friend and teacher, Eugene abstract artist and funky musician Art4Truth (Will Paradis)!
It was funny because it was only a couple weeks prior I visited the Alluvium for another event outdoors and upon finding a set to enjoy my shave ice, looked up and saw Art4Truth performing on guitar. That day I never actually wandered inside the event space, so when I heard Will was having a gallery show opening AND it was on his birthday, I was thrilled to celebrate and get to learn more about the Alluvium.
In addition to wall-to-wall paintings, Will did a Q&A, there was a lovely spread of tasty snacks including the decadent tiramisu from Sweet Life, my personal kryptonite! With an interesting space and a wide variety of spiritual, artistic, and community support events, I look forward to many more visits to Alluvium. They also host figure drawing sessions on Tuesday nights, so hopefully I can get over my fear of drawing in public and attend a few!
I’ve lost some loved ones, some jobs, some mobility, and some dreams. I’ve started to focus on recovery, poking into the traumas of my life and examining my reactions. Facing the long, lonely days of COVID quarantine, I purchased an iPad pro and Procreate and resumed a daily drawing practice that had waned years ago. It was nice, healing, and I learned to enjoy painting again, but I needed more.
Though I relish living alone and consider myself an introvert, I missed people. I crave community. I want to get my art off the dining room table and into the world. The more I’ve prodded into my own mental health, the more I’ve seen these themes come up in my work. I’ve been creating a happy place in my work, where color and texture reign, and I focus on topics and themes that encourage the skills I’m building: mindfulness, tenacity, curiosity, and embracing joy.
My aim in this blog to reflect and share how art helps heal our hearts, to be part of the supportive and thoughtful community of artists online, and having a place that’s all my own (I’m looking at you Zuckerburg!) to share my work and ideas.
Please join me on this healing journey! I’d love to connect on social media and I hope to start a monthly email newsletter soon. I’m so excited to connect with other artists, people in recovery, art lovers, and shoot I’ll even take some haters! It is the internet after all!