Happy Monday friends! Here are some illustrations from my “Making Faces” project. It has been really fun to play around with the different elements of the human face – I’m always amazed when looking at other peoples’ illustrations at just how many ways one can render a face; it’s what makes this exploration so much fun.
I’ve been experimenting with some new materials and styles lately, trying to push beyond my default color palette (an ongoing battle). I thought I’d share the beginnings of a series of paintings I started earlier this winter. These are india ink and gouache on paper. Gouache and I are still developing a relationship with each other, but it’s been fun! Really though, oil paint has been calling my name these days.
This winter has been a particularly rough one, at least mentally. All these grey days have really sucked the motivation out of me, but I’m pushing through it as best as I can. Winter has never been my favorite, but I’ve been challenging myself to see every grey day in a new light through my photography and art. The other day on a particularly frigid morning walk, I happened to look over and see two swan lawn ornaments popping their heads out of the snow. These are my favorite moments: the little unassuming ones, the ones that remind you of the light at the end of the tunnel. This snow won’t last forever, the temperatures will start climbing soon, the damp Spring air is just around the corner. It was just the reminder I needed to get me through these last few weeks of winter.
Photos from my instagram feed. You can follow along @highfivesforeveryone.
A year ago yesterday, I walked out the doors of my day job for the last time and jumped into my dreams of a full time freelance life. I can hardly believe all that has transpired in that time: I’ve learned countless new skills, taught some classes, and even got to work with one of my dream clients. This past year has been all at once terrifying, exhausting, exciting and just all around crazy. It has also been the most exhilarating. There were a lot (a LOT) of times I wondered if I’m capable of handling it all, if I have what it takes, if I really want to do this for the rest of my life. Then I remember that beyond the haze of doubt and confusion, I have total ownership of my life. Every single triumph and every single failure, they are mine. More than anything, at the end of the day I feel accomplished and proud, and that’s worth all those moments that test your spirit.
The theme of the last 4 years of my life has been “pursuit” and now it’s starting to be “achieve”. I always kind of imagined I’d be stuck in the pursuit, so it all feels a little surreal that some of my dreams are coming to fruition. All the things I’ve done, all the things I perceived to be failures or setbacks helped me to get to this place right now, which is the place I’ve been dreaming about for a long time. It feels pretty awesome, and just makes me believe more than ever that you’re always where you’re supposed to be, even when it seems like you’re not – the key is to keep the eyes on the prize because eventually that big break will come through. It won’t come without a lot of questions and self doubt and frustration and, yes, failure.
I can hardly believe all that I’ve accomplished, professionally and personally. The hurdles of self-doubt and the floods of questions have only served to make me a better business owner, a more intentional and skilled artist. I am certainly still learning the ropes, I still have so many skills to improve and goals that are waiting to be accomplished. I am still learning the seasons of the business, and the seasons of my creativity, how to make them live in harmony. This journey has been all at once exciting, liberating and empowering. There were more scary moments than I was prepared to handle. And despite the many times I’ve asked myself “Can I really handle this? Am I totally insane for doing this?” I have never once regretted my decision to pursue life as a freelancer. I still have many moments of discomfort with the uncertainty about the future, but I cannot help but feel one thing: I am so ready to take on year two. Ultimately, this year has given me a strong sense of accomplishment, a deeper clarity on my goals for the future, a stronger focus on where I want to direct my business in the future, all of which I could never have predicted a year ago.
In the year to come, I hope to dedicate more time to teaching (something I discovered I really enjoy), to push my work and skills to higher levels, to travel more, to connect and collaborate with other creatives, to open a new online shop, to write and reflect more often, and to continue going after those dream clients/projects. Cheers to year two. Let’s do this!
One of the reasons I adore Instagram so much is because – as a photographer – it allows me to see on an overall scale what I’m subconsciously attracted to when I’m not on a specific assignment. Photography has always been a way for me to find the extraordinary in the everyday, in the little details that often go overlooked. That is always the challenge (and the blessing), to find something beautiful and exciting every single day; whether it’s the way the light hits a scene, or a beautiful combination of colors or, if you’re exceptionally lucky, a moment where everything lines up just how you’d hoped. As I try to reconnect with photography, one of the things I’ve been focusing on is finding ways to see my surroundings in a new light, rather than waiting for rare extraordinary moments; I can only hope I find more ways to make that happen! There is always something exhilarating about that moment of recognition.
Of course I still find myself obsessed with the sky, especially while flying, but I’ve also managed to find those happy moments just outside my bedroom window (like in the first photo above).
Looking at these photos, I realize how wonderful the last few weeks have been, celebrating unexpected moments – and golden light, which I can never resist. Cheers to building a new vision!
If you’re on Instagram, you can follow me @highfivesforeveryone. What’s inspiring you lately?
This year, I’m challenging myself to do a 365 project, creating a different face for every day of 2014. You can follow along with the project on Instagram with the hashtag #makingfaces – I’ll also post a handful of them on here every now and then.
I am a firm believer that experimentation leads to great things, particularly when it comes to creative endeavors. This year, among other things, I plan on getting back into collage – the endless potential in found images is exciting. I love the idea of creating new connections from completely unrelated media. When I look at others’ collage work, it is always so fascinating to see what wild images people create. The possibility for new worlds, characters, landscapes, they can transport us into gorgeous unfamiliarity.
Happy New Year friends! Although I think that every day is an opportunity to make changes in life, I still love the feeling of starting fresh in a new year. 2013 threw a lot of crazy things my way, but ultimately I’m walking into this new year feeling ready to take on whatever this crazy world offers me. I’ve never felt more like myself, or more sure of the direction I’m headed. No resolutions in particular this year, just hopes of exciting creative challenges, lots of adventures, collaborations, new clients, a deeper yoga practice, more reading and quiet moments, more teaching, less time on my phone and most importantly, less time worrying.
May your year be full of the highs and lows that make us all human. New friendships and a closer familiarity and love for yourself. Deeper connection. May it be full of mistakes, experiments, and of course happy accidents. Delicious new recipes and timeless classics. And most importantly, I hope it is filled with the energy needed to pursue your wildest fancies!
Gratitude has played a large role in my day-to-day life as I grow older. Finding any small reason to feel thankful every day has undoubtedly gotten me through one of the toughest years of my life.
The list of things I am thankful for is pretty endless, but in no particular order here are just a few noteworthy things that make my life just a bit brighter.
Cheers to travel and adventure, no matter the distance. To cheese. Lots and lots of cheese. And wine. New recipes. A family that never ceases to be supportive. Friends that are hilarious and brilliant. Sunlight bursting through white curtains. The scent of garlic cooking, and sharing meals with friends. I’m even thankful for the dark, sad, shitty days – because they’ve helped me grow and evolve in ways I never could have otherwise. The ability to keep in touch with friends living halfway around the world. Those elusive moments of stillness. Warm blankets and cat snuggles. A career that challenges and fulfills me and allows me to dream big.
I hope you dream big, too.
And Happy Thanksgiving, wherever you may be in life, it is all beautiful.