2021 is off to an interesting start

I don’t want to jinx it. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush… but so far – 2021 is off to an interesting start. I find myself in a unique position to take a little break from the stresses of my career and give myself a reset. A reset from all that happened in 2020. I don’t want to get into any of the real nitty gritty details right now – but a few highlights include

  • Losing the woman who helped raise me to Covid
  • Divorce
  • My kid “came out” – lots of whirlwind rollercoaster emotions with that one, but the end result has been quite positive.
  • Work stresses from 4 manager changes – and then over the New Years break deciding it was time to move on from that company.

And so much more…. I’ve decided to really look at what I’ve been prioritizing in my life. To really focus on my health and wellbeing – both physical and emotional and mentally. It’s a little bit scary – but it feels right. And I’m doing it holistically – across many avenues and many paths.

I’ve started drawing again…even drawing about the moments from this blog. It’s a comic book or web comic – of this blog…of my life. A modern day ”Cathy” or A modern day ”Calvin and Hobbes” – but about a mom instead of a boy. A grown up female mom with an imagination that rivals the boy. I don’t know if it will amount to anything -but I’m absolutely beyond driven to make it a real thing. It feels so good to draw the moments that helped shape who I am. Poignant Vulnerable Moments. Some of them are even quite funny! It’s been a very positive and very empowering project to get started on – and the more I work on it – the more I see it taking real shape. I can also see where I’ve been influenced as far as other artists in my life. 🙂

I’ve been slowly sharing pages and work in progress on a new instagram account. If any of you are interested – I’d love a like or two on the ones that make you smile or make you think. In truth – I’m still learning – my grandfather was the artist – not me. But it brings me such joy.

http://www.instagram.com/snowfallstudiosart

I think right now, I have 6 followers – and a few came from my kid. 🙂 I don’t mind. In theory – people will slowly find my work and if they like it – they’ll follow me as I go. Even if no one ever finds them… it feels good to put visuals to the story I’m telling about my life.

I just did this piece … it doesn’t fit with the blog – but it’s a bit more relevant for the world we’re in right now. It’s showing what it would be like to go on a vacation in a world where we not only wear masks – but we also have our own personal plastic bubble (PPB). It was fun to draw out to be honest. And I’m not sure my line art does it justice – at some point – I’ll put color to it – but I kind of like what it is right now – as it is.

I’ve also highly enjoyed drawing the kids and my pups – showing those little moments that bring such joy in my life. Even my son has enjoyed helping me plan out different panels and tell a story. How could I NOT want to spend my time doing THAT? 🙂

Well – I better get back to my day – but I wanted to check in. All the love to you in neverland. We’ll catch up again real soon. If you feel up to it – leave me a note in the comment section – how’s your 2021 going so far?

Staycation Part 1

It’s Sunday.  The house is quiet.  I am very obviously not on Orcas Island.  And … I’m completely okay with that.  I have no plans for myself for the next couple of days, and I’ve given myself one rule.  Think about (and accomplish) needs/wants only.  No stress or drama, no grumpiness, no pain.  Meaning:  No thoughts about work, no thoughts about moving, no thoughts that bring about sadness or pain.  Or at least try and remember to turn them off when they do occasionally pop up.

Yesterday was lovely.  I met with a friend for coffee, ran a few errands, and then disappeared into a favorite book store.  I filled my arms with books and hunted down a chair.  There was another woman there, and she was doing the same.  Her arms filled with books on dragons.  She had one I’d considered grabbing, as it covered the techniques of painting scales and certain textures.  I commented to her about it as she plopped into the seat next to mine and we ended up chatting about art and comics.  She’s a local artist.  Very nice woman.  We laughed about wanting to have a coloring party and exchanged numbers.  🙂

I talked to my little brother briefly yesterday.  My real brother, not the “bro” I live with. 🙂  He and I are both wanting some sibling time. He’s planning to come stay a night soon so we can stay up too late gabbing and laughing and sharing.  Then have horrible-for-you-but-oh-so-good breakfast diner food the next morning.  I’ve enjoyed watching him get older and become a young adult.  In my case, being significantly older than a sibling is interesting because you love them, and want to share everything you can with them, but know that age and maturity is a factor in understanding the choices that we make as adults or as parents.  So you don’t share everything.  Sometimes you just stay silent and stand back and watch.  I think he’s on the track to being a very cool man.  It will be interesting to see what he grows and becomes.

I came home and painted.  And painted.  And painted.  I had candles.  I had my entire music collection put into one playlist and set to “random”.  I had a glass of amazing red wine.  Ok, over the course of the night I had 2 glasses.  I was trying a new technique I’d found in a book.  I wanted to see if I could accomplish it.  I used a photo as a guide and went about trying to replicate the picture I’d found in the book.  I did it.  It’s not perfect, I somehow messed up half way through and Photoshop put a 30 px outline on all that was laid down.  So I had to go back and repaint a lot of what I’d already done.  I’m still new to painting on the computer.  It’s awkward for me, but I’m dedicated to figuring it out.  Blending just pisses me off on the computer.  You lose the ability to shade with your hands a lot.  But tablets and technology are giving me the opportunity to paint without the mess, in my living room with my feet up, relaxed.  Not hunched over an easel. I knew 3/4 of the way through that I wanted to finish my painting last night, and I knew it would hurt to do so.  My hands were cramping. 🙂 But I was so excited to see what took shape.

Should I show you all?  Please remember, I am not the original artist.  This is NOT my work… I mean – it is … I painted it.  But from a small photo.  I don’t feel right taking credit.  Shoot I feel even worse that I didn’t think to note down the original artist.  Or the book.  Bad Jen.  But here it is all the same.

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The people you meet and the things you see when you travel

So most of you know, I did a ton of travel last year.  Such amazing experiences.  I haven’t really documented much of it.  So I thought I’d share some of my experiences here.

Melbourne Australia

Melbourne was … amazing.  Never have I found a city that reminded me so much of Seattle.  The people were truly genuine.  So welcoming.  The amount of random conversations I got into with random Aussies about all manner of things.  Culture, the world, religion, life, food, love.

Something I enjoy doing when I travel is getting up early, hunting down a good cup of coffee and then finding a spot to sit and people watch.  You can learn so much about a place when you watch the way their locals wake up.  One morning, as I was fighting jet lag, I watched two vans pull up outside the hotel.  It was dark.  They were pulling trailers behind them.

  ImageThe trailers were hot air balloon baskets.  I watched as they passed out coffee to the sleepy tourists, making jokes and spreading their jovial moods around.  Wandered a bit more around the city.  Then came back to my room.  I opened the curtains, and look what I saw…

ImageThere floating above the waking city, with the sun coming up were those hot air balloons.  So beautiful. So calm and peaceful.  What a breathtaking way to wake up.

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The architecture in Melbourne was just amazing to me.  An odd mix of modern meets vintage.  And street art everywhere.  The creativity of some of the artists was astounding.  I couldn’t get enough pictures, I couldn’t seem to capture enough of it.  I wanted to somehow package it all up in my mind and heart and bring elements home with me.

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And the farmer’s market… OMG.  I think I could have spent DAYS and DAYS there exploring and tasting and talking to people.  Why do we as an American culture not establish and encourage more of this type of thing is beyond me.  Look at the Hawker cultures in asia.  Some of the best food you can eat in Asia is going to come from hawker stands right off the street.

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Hawaii, USA

Can I just say that going through some of my pictures from Hawaii this morning, I’d like nothing more than to blink my eyes and magically appear back on the islands.  I don’t always like hot and humid weather, but for this place, I didn’t mind.  It was just so beautiful.  The fresh fruit, the sea breeze, the salt and sand.  Everyone is more laid back on the islands.  If they feel like closing up shop to go surfing, they do it.  How businesses make consistent money is beyond me, but I can certainly get behind the Work to Live mentality rather than the Live to Work one that we seem to embrace here on the mainland.

Here’s a few of my favorites.  We did a little island hopping.  So you’ll see lush greenery with waterfalls, along with the barren volcano and more. 🙂 Enjoy!

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This year, I hope to do more travel.  I want to see Asia.  I want to see Fiji.  I want to see Mexico, as I haven’t been.

I want to see the world.  See Scotland and Ireland and have a Guinness in a pub.  Watch the sands blow over the pyramids in Egypt and smell the spices that linger in the air in Morocco.  I suppose you could say that I’ve caught the bug.  I think I caught it as a child, when my grandparents took me to spend a month in England visiting family.  I knew then that I wanted to see the world.  That although I love Seattle, and get recharged from being home, that I would never be content to just stay in my own little world and culture and not experience more.  If you could go anywhere this year…where would you go?

Things are looking up..

happyWeek three of the new job and I’m starting to feel a bit less on edge about all that I’m doing.  It’s like the fog is starting to lift and I’m getting a pretty good look at what the big picture is and how I can impact it.  It’s awesome.

Going to be buying a new car soon.   I’m excited by that.  It’s rare that I buy anything for myself.  Especially something like this.  Just hoping my step dad can come with me when I go, or maybe the bro.  They say it’s good to have a guy go with you for that kind of thing.  Never really understood that premise.  Most of the guys I know wouldn’t have HALF the luck as some of the women I know at haggling a price down.

So I have an odd confession.  I’ve had a smile on my face almost constantly for a couple of days.  LOL.  Crazy huh?  I mean – anyone who knows me, would attest to the fact that I’m always smiling.  I’m a naturally optimistic person, but the last couple of days has had me in an extra fine mood.  Love that.  Hope it sticks around…. but even if it doesn’t… I am grateful for the moment.

May have to break out the art supplies tonight.  I feel like doing some painting.  It’s been a while, but I’ve had this idea in my head the last few nights and I want to capture it before it disappears.  I know it’s been too long when just the idea of smelling my art supplies has me itchy to get home.  The charcoal, the paint, even the smell of the canvas.  Hehe, maybe it’s my inner Bob Ross.  Painting happy little clouds and happy little trees. 🙂  Well – no, usually in my case it’s exotic landscapes with fuzzy people or if a person is in detail they tend to be scantily clad…or zombies.  Hmm… maybe I’m channeling a younger, straighter more twisted version of Bob Ross? 😀

Zombies_HumpDay_Comic_Cover_by_JWDesignCenter

Happy Tuesday everyone.  Hope you all are having a fantabulous day!