Thursday, September 30, 2010

"Learning to Love Us More Every Day"

 Collage by Lani, textures by FlyPaper Textures and Kim Klassen.

Why do you do what you do?

Maybe it's just as simple as the inspiration behind everything.  I love the creative process.  While in college I worked at an orphan's home, and I loved how the kids seemed to feel when they were working creatively.  I wanted to understand that process so I went on to study and practice art therapy.  My experience of art therapy was basically using the creative process to ameliorate some rather negative life situations.  One woman I worked with explained it this way, that in the art room she discovered that she could love who she was, that there was something in the creative process that allowed her  to love herself more, love others more, and be less dependent in her relationships.  There was more freedom, confidence, and joy.  Because of that, she was more capable of doing things for herself, which just increased her sense of self worth, a very nice positive loop to get into. 

And I'm thinking maybe life teaches us all things that we all need to rehabilitate from.  There are many paths to create this kind of rehabilitation.  Art is my path.   And the internet provides me with a very spacious art room.  So here I am.  A simple story.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Magic and Art

Collage by Lani, some elements from Paper Whimsy and Texture Layers by FlyPaper Textures.

Did this one for the Fotoshop Fun class but I loved it too much to just leave it there.  She's got the key to a happy life.  Art and magic.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

My Art Has No Rules...

Collage by Lani Texture Layers by FlyPaper Textures.

Over on 14 Secrets we were having the most amazing discussion.  The idea about rules in art and judgments about who brakes the "art rules" popped up.  I created the above art journal page in response to this discussion which popped up around our Journey with The Traveling Artists Guild...  Many of us were getting very exciting by the possibilities for this journey, which will include art dolls, traveling trunks, paper bag books, and little pamphlet books to go inside the paper bag books.  Some of us are nearly done with our preparations and decorations and some of us are struggling with a familiar uncomfortable feelings of comparison and judgment.   Someone mentioned that on a different art forum, there was some discussion about not following the rules, that the art work should follow certain rules.  Since when is rule following a big part of the artist's life?  Actually NOT following the rules, or being creative with the rules is more likely to be a big part of the artist's life, since playing, having fun, and creating are all about bending and altering the rules.  

I love art.  I love how I can play, how my soul can come out and find just the right thought and image and it's all SO much fun.  So here's to having discussions and here's to feeling bad about what we are doing once in a while because it will (if we are open to this) lead us to our own true self, our own true expression, which for me at this moment is all about play and fun and joy and happiness.  Hooray!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

More on resilience...

Playing with textures from Kim Klassen and  FlyPaper Textures.

Thinking more about yesterday's post, I think that it's resilience that interests me.  As I get older and rack up more confrontations with real life, I am more and more fascinated by how real people struggle to overcome real difficulties, or sometimes how we can learn to make peace with what is.  This morning I discovered a link on Daily Good to an amazing amazing collection of videos having to do with seeing yourself in the the nearly 7 billion others on the planet.  You can find whole thoughtful portraits of people answering several simple questions like "What have you learnt from your parents? What do you want to pass on to your children? What difficult circumstances have you been through? What does love mean to you?"  The answers are so touching, so real.  That's what I love about my life "off the carousel," that when we aren't looking at the glitter and brass rings, we can actually talk with one another, share those difficult times, be there, listen...  I don't know, it just seems like such an honor.  You can see the trailer here, but I got lost on the Daily Good site, looking at peoples responses to a variety of topics.  Beautiful.  Such resilience.   I especially loved Bruno!  "Anything can be done with joy!"  Bless you Bruno.

Resilience From Wisdom Commons:

Resilience is the ability to work with adversity in such a way that one comes through it unharmed or even better for the experience. Resilience means facing life’s difficulties with courage and patience – refusing to give up. It is the quality of character that allows a person or group of people rebound from misfortune, hardships and traumas.

Resilience is rooted in a tenacity of spirit—a determination to embrace all that makes life worth living even in the face of overwhelming odds. When we have a clear sense of identity and purpose, we are more resilient, because we can hold fast to our vision of a better future.

Much of our resilience comes from community—from the relationships that allow us to lean on each other for support when we need it.

You desire to know the art of living, my friend? It is contained in one phrase: make use of suffering. -Henri Frederic Amiel, philosopher and writer (1821-1881)

Loss makes artists of us all as we weave new patterns in the fabric of our lives.
-Greta W. Crosby

There is no way to re-enchant our lives in a disenchanted culture except by becoming renegades from that culture and planting the seeds for a new one. -Thomas Moore

Friday, September 17, 2010

Take the journey back to your self...

Collage by Lani, textures by FlyPaper Textures.

This week I was over in my friend Patti's Altered Attic, and I learned about National  Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week.  Patti likens the experience of developing one of these chronic illnesses with being thrown from the merry-go-round of "human doing" where life is glittery, fast moving, and we forever chase the brass ring which is always just out of reach.   And once you are sitting on the ground you are more or less forced to become a human being, since all the glittery doing becomes nearly impossible.   Patti got me thinking about my own experiences with "reality".  The Buddha pointed out a very long time ago, that reality comes to all of us in the form of illness, old age, and death.  There's no one on this planet that hasn't known these three either personally or of a loved one.

Aside from the medical industry's very bad behavior, a very difficult part of all of this is that our culture places such value on doing and almost no value on being.  So while we are on the carousel we are given approval and positive reinforcement for the rather empty experience of chasing the brass ring.  The brass ring is something you can't ever reach.  You can try, you can get a better job, higher salary, but it will never be enough.  I remember this old merry-go-round very well.  I didn't  much care for it, truth be told.

When I was in my thirty's, my husband developed a fatal illness.  I felt as if I'd been thrown from the horse but was still on the carousel.  I looked around at all of the striving and I didn't have the heart for it anymore.  So I decided to step off and sit in the side lines, and consider where I had been and where I actually was.  It seemed to me as I looked around, there was a lot more real life going on in the sidelines, very interesting, real life.  And it's in these sidelines that the greatest art and creativity are happening.   And like Patti commented there's a tremendous amount of community, friendship, and wonderful humanity here in the sidelines, where the pace is slow enough that you can feel it and enjoy it.  For me, the experience of real life, was a heart opening experience.  I suddenly had the time for others, I found that without the cloak of denial, you can actually join the human race.  It may be heart breaking at times, but it is also a place where we can truly love and learn.

This week on the "Love Bomb: It Starts With Us" website, they (we) picked a girl struggling with Lyme disease, who wrote about her experiences with this invisible chronic illness.  The idea was to go visit her blog and leave a "love bomb," a comment that let her know that she was loved.  Very sweet idea!  So far I see 160 comments of a love bomb type.  So if you want to leave Victoria or my friend Patti a comment to let them know they are not alone, that they are human beings deserving of as much love and respect as anyone riding the merry-go-round, and probably more, then please do.  It's easy and it makes all the difference in a person's life!  Really!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Shhh, more top secret doings at 14 Secrets...

Collage by Lani

We are collecting our bags, suitcases, steamer trunks, maps, journals, and needful things for the journey.  Check it out (or just ask Gena) at  (Originally posted on the 14 Secrets blog, but I love the picture and couldn't help myself!)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Flypapers, Layering, and How Handsome is Paul Grand, really?

Here's a little extra Photoshop "tutorial" that I created for the Fotoshop Fun course, because one of the members wanted to know how to use the beautiful FlyPaper Textures and she also wondered if Paul Grand really looked like his facebook avatar.  I'm posting it here, because I had so much fun making it, I can't keep it just for the group, lol.  So this is a little extra post on layering textures, especially  Flypaper Textures, the breathtaking work of Jill Borealnz and Paul Grand, Flickr friends, based in New Zealand and France.

So I will start with this simple example.  This little fairy creature was a digital image from Lisa's Altered Art.  I took the image just as it came, see top figure, and pulled over a texture from the Fly Edges Collection.

So here are  my screen shots, so you can see what I did.  The first one shows the texture layer on the left and the blending modes on the right.  Of course this texture layer is way smaller than it will be, I just wanted you to see the fairy under it.
Now here I've set the blending mode to "multiply" and you can see it's fairly transparent, but not quite transparent enough for my taste.  So I'll play with the opacity.

And now here it is, covering the whole image, opacity set for 76%.  Easy-peasy.

Now the real question is how handsome is Paul Grand, really?  (We know he uses photoshop, LOL!) 
And this just in from Paul: "My avatar? (The top picture)  It was 20 years ago, in 1990.  I dont look so young these days but I still have the long hair...just!"

Monday, September 06, 2010

Links and Inspiration

Morning Pages Digital & Paper Collage by Lani

I've got some fairly wonderful links today, sure to keep people out of mischief for a little while.  It started with this video, which I love.  

In it, Jen Lemen describes how she uses her camera, and how she entered a photo contest where the contestants were professional, prize winning photographers. And the prize was to be $50,000. She started to think what if love is the qualifier, not all the really fancy qualifications, but just simply loving what you are taking pictures of. In the film Jen says, "When we look with our eyes from our hearts through our lens, it's a completely different photo and something really powerful can happen from that place" Needless to say, Jen won the contest! Hooray!

Well, of course I got to thinking about this, and I'm so sure it is true AND I'm sure it's also true for so many things besides photography.  So with that in mind, here are today's links.   So first is Jen's blog, so much there to learn and enjoy.  So much truth, inspiration, and of course love.

Then there's Dirty Footprints Studio with great looking classes like Art Journal Love Letters and BIG; a Fearless Painting Adventure.   Anything that teaches us to love us a little more each day and to be brave with our art making has to be alright!

Then to carry on with this love filled adventure, here's Amanda Oaks and Jenn Gibson's blog Kind Over Matter, where kindness is so important.  So much inspiration and amazing hope filled ideas.  AND links!  Watch out!  But do check out their freebies before you switch channels!

We shouldn't stop yet should we?   So next is You Are Remarkable, a remarkable revolution of goodness and more wonderful links that they call "Visit Love Here"!  Here's their mission statement:


plain and simple, the mission is: to spread big or small bits of love and things that make you smile and laugh, little bits of unexpected happiness and affirmation. we believe in feeling good and spreading it; we want everyone everywhere to know that somebody somewhere loves you. because you are amazing in all your strange and wonderful ways.
Isn't that great?

And finally there's this crazy activity called love bombing.  Wow!  Once a week they get together to drop hundreds of love bombs (in the form of blog comments) for those who need it most.  How kind!  What an awesome idea.  Well, that's all for the moment.  Hope you had fun and felt some of that goodness and love that's out there!

If you need a photoshop coach or a resilience coach, consider taking my eClasses which started this week.  It's all about learning to love us a little more every day!

Morning Pages Digital & Paper Collage by Lani

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Classes starting this week!

Just a reminder here, that both "Fotoshop Fun" and "Resilience, Transformation, and Art" are starting up this week.  The kids are going back to school and so am I.  I love learning and I love teaching, too.  So I think I'll just keep on doing both for as long as I possibly can!

Resilience, Transformation, and Art is my little home art spa course. Have you ever been to a spa that has gentle lighting, sweet natural scents, kind staff, and pleasant, meditative music? All your senses are treated to a restorative experience. That is what the idea behind this course, learning to create a restorative, kind, and creative environment for ourselves and those around us. Does that sound like a good idea? Sign up now, it's never too late for resilience.

Fotoshop Fun is a totally different kind of class.  It's all about learning through fun, for any photo manipulation program including various Adobe programs as well as the share-ware (free) program gimp.   Because it is "learning through fun", my approach may be a bit non-linear.  I don't learn in a linear way, I love experimentation and play, so that is also the way I love to teach.  I have found plenty of good, solid, linear type tutorials to which I'll link you to, when the need arises.  One thing I have noticed in my exploration of various photo manipulation techniques is that if I find images I really like, the learning is much easier for me.  So that is the key to this course.  We will be using the images we love.  My intention with this course is that we get inspired by these images and that our inspiration will lead us to learn more about our various programs with greater ease.  So far, so good.

As part of the course we have a blog, a yahoo group which allows us to discuss our struggles and triumphs in real time, and we also have a flickr group where we can share images easily.  Hope to see you in the course really soon.  If you are interested there's a TOP SECRET discount button for blog readers over on the column to the right.  (This applies for the Resilience Art class too, so you can sign up for two for the price of one or just one for half price!)