…just breathe

I am honoured to have been asked to design a tattoo for a friend!  She said she liked my writing, and explained to me the importance of the phrase “…just breathe”.  I was amazingly flattered to be asked, and right away started playing with the lettering to see what came up.  

Now, I will admit, I am not a fan of my handwriting, in particular, I don’t like cursive r’s.  So I was struggling.  And then, this whimsical font came up, inspired by watercolour writing lessons from the class Miss Quoted with Jane Davenport and Joann Sharpe.  And then, it just flowed together!

Lucky for me, she loved it, and took it to a tattoo artist to help add colour to the design.  It’s so beautiful, and I am so honoured to have been a part of the process of making something so personal and special.  And I am grateful for the opportunity to push myself in different directions.

And what a great reminder!  …just breathe!  The “…” Represents the gentle pause taken before taking that cleansing breath.  It’s about going with the flow, and embracing the peace that can be felt when living in the current moment.  So today, when things start to get overwhelming, take a moment, and remember to …just breathe.

For me, this has been a lesson in trust and patience.  It was therapeutic to write this phrase over and over again trying to get it right.  I am so grateful and humbled for this amazing opportunity.  And so very very happy that it is loved and holds so much meaning.

Grow into Your Art

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This is a piece that I have completed as an example of a Mixed Media Mantra Art board with a quote that really means a lot to me.  It’s so easy, in the world that we live in today, to get carried away with comparing ourselves to other people.  But as Brene Brown states, “comparison is the thief of happiness”.  By comparing ourselves and our work to others, we are only feeding our gremlins, and allowing the “not good enough” message to grow out of hand, thus holding us back from what we actually could be accomplishing if it wasn’t for the fear.  And there are so many things to fear…not being accepted, not being wanted, not being good enough…the list goes on.  And it’s unfortunately way to easy for us to generalize that if our work isn’t “good enough”, than neither are we.  All to often we personalize messages about our work, whether it be artistic or not.  I remember thinking this as a child…if I didn’t get an A+, I wasn’t perfect enough and therefore I was less loveable.  Yes, that is what I thought, and still struggle with from time to time…shame.  The difference is that now, I know I am not the only one.

This quote reminds me that every flower is unique and beautiful in it’s own way, and that a flower doesn’t concern itself with comparing to its neighbours.  No, it just blooms!  It becomes it’s brilliant self, embracing it’s flaws and imperfections, and standing tall and proud among its friends.  For every flower is beautiful, and has a gift to give to the world.

And so do we.  Every person has a gift or multiple gifts and talents that are uniquely their own, and similar to their neighbour’s.  But we cannot judge who is “better” or worthy of being shared and experienced by others.  It may be our interpretation or representation of an idea that could speak to someone.  I listened to a podcast recently called Magic Lessons, with Liz Gilbert and Glennon Doyle Melton, and they spoke to the idea that multiple people can say the same thing, but in a different way, and it may be your way of expressing an idea that really hits home and speaks to me.  Everyone’s voice is worthy of being heard.  Just as everyone’s art needs to be created and shared and seen.  It’s just that simple.  Don’t hold back from doing your thing because you don’t feel it’s unique enough…because it comes from you, it is a part of you, and you are a precious and unique human being.

And with that, I am being brave and heading out into the world to teach what I have learned in my art journey, hoping to inspire others to express themselves freely.  At the very least, I want to help people to realize the value of play.  As an adult, we tend to get busy, and the idea of playing gets pushed aside for “more important things”.  But it is crucial that we take the time to take care of ourselves.  So I am offering paint parties, for those people who don’t necessarily want to go to a big busy bar to learn to paint with a bunch of strangers.  It’s ok if you need a quieter, more controlled environment, and to be surrounded with friends and family as you play with paint for possibly the first time.  So find some friends, and send me a message.  I’d be happy to customize a painting to teach you, or a mixed media affirmation/quote for your group to interpret in their own way.  I don’t want this post to sound like a sales pitch, so if you’re interested in my paint party offerings, please check out my page Lizzie Lou Mixed Media – Traveling Paint Parties!!!

Bitter Sweet Return

These two paintings are home!  And it is a bitter sweet return, I must admit.  I still have trouble letting my paintings go, and although I do hope they will make people smile, or feel happy or hopeful, and I do hope someone will love them enough to want them in their own home, the thought of not being able to see these two and remember the experience I had painting them saddens me.  The flowers I painted at Donna Downey’s Studio in North Carolina.  It was my first (and only so far) trip that I have taken by myself for an art workshop.  And how incredible it was!  I learned how to embrace my love of colour, and how to work quickly, and how sometimes art is about getting the idea and emotion across and not spending so much time on the little realistic details.  Because really, from a distance, do we see all of the details?  No, we see colours and shapes.  I LOVED this workshop and the experience far more than I can express, and I will be forever grateful to Donna and Bill Downey for their hospitality.  They have an amazing set up, and if you are ever near Charlotte, NC…look them up and go for a visit.  Their shop coffee is AMAZING.

And for the girl with the apple…Snow or Eve? I called her, for is she a version of Snow White?  Or is she representative of Eve in the Garden of Eden?  Or is there a link between the two?  Either way, she is playing with fire with that apple.  Will she bite it?  Or is she just teasing?  What does she say to you?  This painting I created as an independent assignment from a course by Tamara Laporte called Ever After.  I was most inspired by the lesson lead by Annie Hamman…I LOVE her style of painting, and still wish I could be as freely intuitive and painterly…but I am getting there, and she inspires me.  So I used techniques from her lesson, and this portrait appeared.  And I found myself returning to a lesson from Donna Downey’s teachings, and drew parallels between the way both Donna and Annie begin a painting, despite using different subject matters.  And this beauty emerged.  I had SO much fun with her, and I just love her sass.

Both of these paintings had the honour of being chosen by jury for the Art in the Workplace Exhibit #22 that just closed in the Atrium at McMaster Innovation Park, here in Hamilton.  I was so delighted and honoured with their placement in the Atrium.  And so honoured to have two more paintings chosen for the 23rd Exhibit, opening on Thursday, March 30, 2017.