Inside Out

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It is amazing what a new hair-do can do to a person.  There are so many emotions.  Fear of change and fear of not liking the outcome.  Trusting your appearance to a person you may not know.  Trusting you have made the right decision and expressed your desires to the person whose capable hands your hair is in.  Then there’s the excitement that comes with a “make over”.  The thrill of trying something different, and looking your best, and the comfort and worthiness of being pampered for that hour to two…or 4.  I find that when I let my hair grow out, I feel shaggy and unkept.  I felt sloppy for at least a month before pulling my nerve together to go in for another haircut.  Funny, because I love the tousled, messy look.  But this was different.  Aside from just being in need of a haircut, I felt dull.  I wanted something more fun and exciting to my look, but didn’t want anything too drastic.  I wanted to show my joy and love of colour, the way that I do when I paint.  I wanted to be playful, and get back a little bit of the younger version of me.  My son wants a blue mohawk…so the thought crossed my mind again, for what seems like the millionth time…”why don’t you get some colour?”

Now, I know many people freely colour their hair on a regular basis.  And I have always admired those people.  I love that people can express themselves with their appearance and not be held back by what others may think.  I, on the other hand, have been held back by many voices inside, for many years.  “Your hair is beautiful as it is…don’t change it” was something I can’t even begin to count how many times I have heard, and from so many different people.  And the most common compliment that I receive, and can remember for my whole life, was about how pretty my hair colour was, and how so many people would long for that colour, and how that colour doesn’t come from a bottle, that I’m so very lucky to have it.  So with those messages, it felt as though I were being ungrateful for even wanting to change my hair colour.  I spent years trying to embrace it and love it, and for the most part of my life, I really did like it.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE that I have red hair…but…I always wished it were a bit brighter, and more bold and fun.  Always.  I was envious of my friends with red hair because theirs was more red and more playful than mine.  Some people wouldn’t even call my hair red if they didn’t see me in sunlight.  But, I went on telling myself, “I love my hair, I am blessed to have this colour, I am a lucky girl and I should be happy”.

There’s that word…”should”.  Should’s are not nice things to say to ourselves.  They make us feel unworthy, guilty, and even ashamed.  I was ashamed about wanting to look differently than I did.  And yet I was too afraid of hurting other people’s feelings and having my family judge me for changing what I was given in my genetics.  And since the death of my mother, there is even more guilt and shame for wanting to change my hair colour.  Just for wanting it, not for actually doing it.  I’ve been playing with the idea for years, and telling myself, “oh, but I couldn’t, because what would so in so think?”  Yes, this message was from my mother…but there were also so many more family members than just her.  And I love them all dearly, and don’t wish to hurt anyone’s feelings.

BUT…the time has come…for me to choose me and follow my desire.  To look the way I want to look regardless what people think or say about me.  I finally went out and did it.  More than just highlights…I got my hair coloured!!!  3 different reds…highlights and lowlights, and, can you see it?…PURPLE!!!  It’s so fabulous!  I feel younger, and I smile every time I see myself in the mirror, and every time I see someone’s face that notices the difference.  And it’s not about being accepted for me, or about fitting in or even about others liking it…well, it’s a bit about others liking it, if I’m being totally honest here.  But it’s about people seeing ME.  This is how I want to be, who I want to be.  I want to be the personality inside bright red and purple hair.  I feel it inside of me, but she’s afraid to come out because she won’t be accepted.  Well, the fear is being shushed…quieted down, and I’m going for it.  And I think my mom would be proud of me, for being brave, and for doing my own thing.  She was always proud of me for doing my own thing, I know this with all of my heart.  She would want me to be happy with my appearance.  I remember when she started to colour her hair after she started to turn grey, and how happy it used to make her.  Her face would brighten up and her skin looked fantastic, and she would be happy.  I know she would want this for me, above and beyond holding on to my natural hair colour.  I have had it for 37 years now.

Getting close to my 38th birthday, I can say that I am now living for myself.  It’s amazing how freeing this experience has been for me.  A bit overwhelming with the excitement and anticipation and fear as it was happening.  But the reaction from my youngest son was priceless and heart warming, and I am just thrilled.  Thank you to everyone for your kind words on facebook.  I feel alive and younger and full of energy.  I am super happy, expressing my inside on the outside.

Rainbowitis is Real

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Hello, my name is Liz, and I have rainbowitis.  Jane Davenport coined the term, and defines  Rainbowitis as “the compulsion to collect and use art supplies.  Symptoms of the acute form include arranging said art supplies in rainbow formation.” from her instagram October 28, 2016.

I would like to add to this description…

People affected by rainbowitis have the ability to justify the need for new art supplies as well as the need to have every colour of the supplies they enjoy.  They can be known to disappear for hours or even days in their studios in a state of euphoria, mesmerized by their supplies and the way they dance on the page.  Rainbowitis is often related to joy and giddiness, loss of sleep, being “off in your own magical little world” as you daydream about purchasing, opening and using those gorgeous supplies.  May induce moaning while splattering, dripping, sketching, stamping, collaging, painting, smooshing, and scribbling of delicious colours in delectable layers.  Warning: rainbowitis can be linked to fits of depression or unexplanable frustration when desirable supplies are not available to them immediately, or when life gets in the way of their time to create.  The best treatment for rainbowitis is to be surrounded by your beautiful art supplies, stroke them, and ooh and ahh while using them as often as possible.

I was hit with an acute rainbowitis attack last week.  Jane Davenport’s Mixed Media art supplies began to make their appearance in Michael’s stores across the United States and Canada.  Daily, I watched on facebook, as people in different places posted photos of the glorious display of Jane’s amazing new line, while I checked 4 local Michael’s stores with no luck and no assistance as to when I could even expect them.  So I impatiently waited and stalked the stores, calling multiple times a day, eager to use my 50% off coupon and get as many supplies as I could without breaking the bank.  Slowly, two of the stores started to unload this amazing line of beautiful supplies onto shelves, so I picked up one thing here and waited for what I was really after.  I filled in a survey (to get $5 off the next purchase), and explained how I was disappointed it was taking so long, and how they didn’t have the whole line out yet when I knew other Michaels were selling out of their products.

From that survey, I received a call from my favourite local Michaels, asking what I was looking for specifically, and they’d get it in for me because they don’t want an unsatisfied customer.  Well, that store had received the entire line and had finally put it on shelves for me to find about an hour before I received the call.  I had already been in and out of there twice, each time with a glorious JDMM supply in my hands.  The lady from Michaels asked me what exactly the line included, and I went on to explain how amazing Jane is, and how her art supplies are super high quality and pigment rich…how her art journals are the only hard cover hot pressed water colour journals available…how it’s impossible to find skin tones in any other watercolour, but hers has several neutrals and easy to mix colours for skin tones.  How her acrylic paint is matte so that coloured pencils can be used on top.  How her coloured pencils are a cross between the blending ability of prismas, with a less breakable lead that can be sharpened to a point more like polychromos.  How she has created amazingly easy to travel with and use supplies like her mermaid markers that are very basically liquid watercolours in aquash pens.  Brilliance.  Then entire line is brilliant.  From this discussion, and my excitement, I was offered a job at Michaels!  It’s so tempting!  But thank you, I am employed.  But how totally exciting is that?!

Check out Jane’s website if you’re curious about her supplies.  Each supply has a video that explains what is so magical about it, as well as Jane has FREE tutorials for how to get the most out of her new supplies!  So amazing!  Thank you Jane!  And thank you American Crafts for making this dream a reality, both for Jane, and for her Davenpeeps.  Stay tuned for some art using the new supplies!

#janedavenportmixedmedia #davenpeep #rainbowitis #janedavenport

Charcoal

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This is my FIRST EVER project using charcoal!  And my first attempt at a realistically proportioned face.  And exercise for the first week of the online class Paint Your Heart and Soul 2017, with Olga Furman and a variety of amazingly talented artists.  (If you’re not signed up, I’d recommend checking it out).

This comes after a day of doing a seemingly simple project for Book of Days 2017 (or BOD), with Effy Wild, and struggling with my supplies immensely.  I basically ruined it, (and am no longer a fan of Molotow Paint Markers), and repainted it into something beautiful!  (More on my BOD to come.  😉 )

The message in the first Book of Days lesson was to be gentle to yourself, and to your art.  A very appropriate reminder for me, since I have been becoming increasingly critical with my work, as I fiddle with details and doing things “properly” instead of just playing and experimenting.  So having the piece transform from a mess into something beautiful and meditative was a welcomed treat.  The second message in the class was a prompt with the word “Begin”.  Well, let me tell you how much I NEEDED THAT!!!  I have so many things on the go, art and otherwise, and I’m starting to feel overwhelmed and paralyzed by not being able to make a decision as to which item to do or work on…I can’t even choose which list to create and attend to.  So the prompt, BEGIN, for me meant…just start something, anything, but begin.

Of course, one thing lead to another.  I downloaded the lesson, watched the videos, went shopping for charcoal, and came back and did it.  The fear was gone, because it didn’t matter how it turned out.  I’ve been trying so hard recently to plan my art, and make something that others will like rather than creating for me, for my soul.  Being a student again and just starting something took the pressure off.  This is new, so it won’t be perfect, and it doesn’t have to be.  I love it.  I love her!  She turned out better than I had expected.  She’s not identical to the reference photo, so there IS room for improvement, don’t get me wrong.  But she looks like a real person.  I believe this is the innocent inner child that wants to come out and play when I’m creating.  Something about her, I just want to give her a hug.  And then I think, “I did that, I created her, she fell out of my pencil”, and I feel very proud and blessed.

Thank you for listening!  New year, new classes and new supplies!  Share with me the classes you are starting.  Art or otherwise.  😉  Cheers!

Like of Share Challenge

In 2016 I started a lot of projects, and only finished a small percentage of them.  I signed up for courses such as lifebook, and only kept up with a handful of lessons before I was distracted by another course, which I would start and not finish before something else caught my attention.  I joined a 30 day challenge to draw a face a day and kept up for about a week, maybe two.  

This year, I have a bunch of classes and workshops I am looking forward to.  I need a little help with motivation to stick with them, even when I get behind, and let go of perfectionism and just complete the tasks at hand, one by one.  A “C” project completed is better than an “A” project that never gets done.  I believe Elizabeth Gilbert says this in “Big Magic”, but I have also heard it elsewhere, many times, recently. 

I am great at starting things and playing around.  I am not very successful at calling a piece done, or continuing with it once I like it to a point that it makes sense, but isn’t done.  I struggle with finishing.

In an attempt to create more often AND complete more projects, I vow to finish a piece of art for every like and/or share that this blog post receives.  It could be a simple postcard or swap card, or it could be a page in my art journal or Lifebook (completed, not just the background), or it could be a canvas board.  Anything goes!  And I will share all of my works with you throughout the year!  

Help me make 2017 my most creatively inspired year yet!  Like this blog post!  Share it with your friends!  Let’s see how much art we can put into the world this year!  

Do you have a goal or challenge for the year?  Share it below!