I see our little planet as our very own precious floating terrarium. It’s too easy sometimes to forget how we are indeed floating.
This one is hand-painted using gouache on cold-press watercolor paper. I can’t remember when it was done so it may have been some years. 2 or more? Time flies especially when making something with our hands. Each mark is a recorded moment in time. Preserved. Saying, “this is how I spent that day” and it was wonderful.
A lucky few have been gifted with effortless talent for their chosen craft or field. There rest of us have had to work tirelessly for decades and that is perfectly beautiful too.
I have been drawing and making pictures since I discovered that pulling a pencil or paintbrush across a surface was calming and kept me out of trouble as a kid. I simply never stopped.
I was terrible at it, making ugly whole-hearted little paintings. I have grown after years of devoted practice not talent and call myself an artist because I see it as a lifestyle. A commitment to live a creative life which in turn becomes a fuller life full of wonder, play, and intellectual curiosity.
Today, I think I am a confident painter rather than a skillful one. Time spent creating something of our own gives confidence to those of us who need it most regardless of what the final piece looks, sounds, or reads like it is never time wasted. It is time spent learning about all the potential burning inside. Or in the least it keeps us out of trouble by engaging restless energy in all of us.
Before he was Rubin the Mango Spirit. He was Rubin, a little one.
Jotting a story down sometimes with pictures first, sometimes with words first. It’s always a different process with each story revealing itself in a different form. Just jot it down, scribble it down, make stick figures, whatever it takes so you don’t let it run away with whatever moments you have. Stories are impatient and temperamental they want to keep moving.
Drawing comes easier to me than writing. Yet I love words because they challenge, teach, inspire and trigger. So to work around my own limitations with writing I have been combining drawing with words. Strengthening a weak muscle with a little help from something I already have confidence in due to years of practice.
Our list of limitations are long but maybe they can be embraced and re-shaped into a new way of doing something we fear. An unexpected new road to walk on.
Art is prayer. The voice of the spirit unveiling the heart. Sometimes prayer is graceful painted with gentle strokes of light. Other days the prayer comes out broken with a sorrow tinted voice; or no prayer comes to mind at all. Each color in the palette plays the murmur of a greater symphony waiting to be heard.
Our Garden Ship is a mysterious miracle. Here we are floating and rotating day after day. The grounds are dressed with more plants than we have explored and studied. When I was a kid nature was my play house. Without tv, books, radio or any other modern technology all I had for entertainment was the trees, the hills and the river.
Botany as a science is intriguing to me and more so because I grew up watching my mom grow 50 foot trees from a tiny seed. It is magic to me. Tending to a garden or simply a couple of plants can be soothing. Plants are living beings healing the very air we breathe. Isn’t that amazing?
I have found that to stay motivated I have to press pause and go somewhere outdoors amongst trees, dirt and bees. However, every time I have lived in a medium to large city the great outdoors were fairly inaccessible.
A car is necessary to drive far distances to reach the nearest park or preserve. A wild piece of land with nature growing freely beyond fences, landlords and fees is hard to come by near a city.
Did you know there are hardly any sidewalks in the city of Nashville, TN? Pedestrians have to walk next to the edge of the road, and walk past benches with advertisements cautioning drivers to look out for pedestrians.
Downtown has plenty of sidewalks, and some upperclass neighborhoods get some sidewalks but not the whole city. Since when is providing a safe stretch of land to go out for a walk only for some and not for everyone?
The pressure to be constantly interacting online and to self-promote daily as a freelancer gives me anxiety. I was a late bloomer when I discovered Instagram many years after it launched. I have been interacting for years now and although I love supporting the community, I can’t shake the feeling that it is a shiny distraction hindering my long-term growth.
So I am testing my theory for the next 7 months by removing myself from the Instagram realm to see what I experience because during the time when I didn’t know of it’s existence I created the largest body of work. Science and research are fascinating to me so I made myself the test subject.
My mind needs time to process everything I throw at it every second of the day. Time to reflect on what is a true priority. What goals do I want to devote my laser focus towards this year?
It has almost been a month since I uninstalled the social App and it does feel strange to not be constantly connected. I am surprised by how much more time there is to play with, it almost feels like going backwards in time. This freed up time is different, it is like walking into an empty room both silent and vulnerable. What I make in that time is invisible to everyone else which highlights three questions:
Why am I making this? why does it matter? Is this the best use of my limited time?
In this month’s time I have created two new paintings and in the process I used the extra pockets of time to experiment with new techniques for the sake of curiosity. In addition, I write more every day to improve my skills so I can tell clearer stories. In fact, this is the longest article I have ever written on my blog. A blog I actually started to pressure myself into practicing the art of writing.
Some of the new designs and paper products I developed in 2019
Nashville, Tennessee is my new home base, I relocated from my hometown in Florida. The hilly roads were intimidating at first considering the tallest structures in Florida are usually buildings not roads.
The change has opened my eyes to new landscapes, new people, new accents, the experience of fall, snow falling, frosty grass, and bone chilling breezes. I welcome all of these. New adventures are what life is all about, is a life truly being lived if we only live to roll out of bed with a frown, drag ourselves to work, eat the same boring meal, and repeat it all over again day after day? I don’t think so. Life is a true gift, the best gift we will ever receive in our lifetime. I am grateful for the chance to experience something new and am excited for the new year and see what 2020 has in store.
Let’s experience something new. Eat interesting foods. Say thank you for being alive everyday. Stay lighthearted.