Prezzies and Products

Yesterday was an exciting snail mail day. I got not one, but TWO parcels. I love receiving parcels in the mail. Prezzies! Okay, so 99.99999% of the time they are purchases I have made, but still, it’s exciting.

The first parcel I opened was my shipment from Redbubble. This is my online gallery site of art prints and what I call my functional art, which is art you get to actually use. I trust Redbubble’s quality utterly and completely, but I still order each new product line as it comes out. I do not believe in putting my name to something without being able to see and touch it.

Redbubble just released studio pouches in two sizes. I ordered the 9″ x 5″ pouch; they also have 12″ x 8″. As I knew it would be, the quality is awesome. I tried it out with one of my whimsical acrylic designs.

Eliza Fayle Studio Pouch

Like the tote bags, the pouch is fully lined and I am super impressed with the heavy duty zipper.

Eliza Fayle Studio Pouch

I get a lot of questions about how print on demand sites like Redbubble work, so I will explain that in a future post.

The next box of goodies was from Amazon. This is where I make most of my online art supply purchases. There are a bazillion good online art supply stores, but Amazon always seems to be on par price wise, and it is one stop shopping, and I am a super impatient shopper. I want to get in, get what I need, and get out.

First out of the box was a six pack of my archival ink pens. I plough through these bad boys with all my doodles, so I loaded up.

Mircon Pens

Next out of the box were ninety-six, yes NINETY-SIX Tombow brush markers. I have more than proven to myself that these are my go to art markers, so it was time to commit to some serious colour. Look at all these colours! SQUUEEEE!

Tombow Brush Markers

They also came with a pen stand. Of course, I am totally fooling myself that I will return the markers to this stand as I use them, but it looks very professional. Oh, and the Studio Siamese was helping … sort of.

Tombow Brush Marker Stand

I then spent several glorious minutes dividing my pens into colour piles. I did ambitiously try and organize them by colour value as well, but got bored with that game. Besides, even if I do manage to put the pens back in the stand each time, the chance of me keeping them ordered by colour is slim to none.

Tombow Brush Markers

And finally my Uni Posca paint markers. I have medium tip ones which work well on my canvas paintings, but are too thick for my doodles. What was a gal to do? Clearly, I had to order fine tip markers as well.

Uni Posca paint markers

Of course, I have already put my new supplies into action. I just need to put the finishing touches on my next Beyond Morning Page creation before sharing it with you.

In fact, I am off to do that right now.

Gracefully yours,

~ Eliza

The Studio Pouch I talked about in this post is my Cultivate Love Design. You can click on this image for more details:

Eliza Fayle Studio Pouch

If you want to try out these yummy art supplies yourself, they are available through my Amazon affiliate account:

Beyond Morning Pages

BeyondMorningPages_1I used to keep a journal faithfully during my thirties. This was a really rough period in my life and I captured my Tarot readings in my journals, as well as stream of consciousness writing. Once I dumped my thoughts out onto paper, however, I never looked at what I had written. I now have copious journals filled with thoughts I likely do not want my children, future grandchildren, nor anyone else for that matter reading.

Note to self: THROW OUT OLD JOURNALS!

This week, given my struggles with rosacea and hives I decided to start journal writing again in the form of morning pages. For those of you not familiar with Julia Cameron and her book The Artist’s Way, this is her recommended technique for journal writing. The first thing you do every morning is three full pages of stream of consciousness writing. I get up at 5 a.m. as it is, so three full pages would take too much time, and my journal is over-sized, so I am going with one full page.

The thing is, I do not want to run into the same problem of having point in time thoughts hanging about for others to read. I decided to turn my morning pages into art journal pages, but I do not want to lose the key words. My solution is to scan what I have written and draw a box around POSITIVE words that leap off the page at me. I keep those words visible and do the artwork around them.

It also occurred to me to compare the words I highlighted at the of each week of writing and see if some words repeat themselves. I would think those words would be most reflective of what is currently going on in my life, and would warrant further pondering.

So, the image in this post is my first Beyond Morning Pages page. The key words are: real, plan, wise, body, enough, child, designed, heal, preparing, something, life, energy, freedom, contentment, value, quiet, wholesome, cozy, yoga, examine, clear, being, realistic, manageable, comfortably. A seemingly random list, but let’s see how this plays out, shall we?

Gracefully yours,

~ Eliza

Materials used to create this Beyond Morning Pages art journal, and book recommendation, available through my Amazon affiliate account:

Art and Healing

Celebrate Me Art Journal PageIn my post Finding My Thing, I stated that art journaling was not for me. Never say never. I now realize that is because I didn’t have anything to art journal about. Turns out now I do.

In yesterday’s post, I talked about having to take myself seriously in terms of my health. A head to toe dose of hives — which I still have — brought me up short, forcing me to take a serious look at my relationship to my body.

For the most part, I have been able to have a nonexistent relationship with my body. I have remained trim and fit with very little effort. Nothing breaks, I have very little aches and pains, and I don’t have a single perimenopause symptom even though I am 52 years old. When my body does rebel with a huge rosacea flare up, I slap on some foundation and pretend there is nothing wrong.

Now I think that taking my body for granted is just as harmful as having a hate relationship with my body. I have let things go too far, and now my body is screaming at me to pay attention.

So, the other day I hauled out my art book and created a mixed media painting to connect to my body. I treated the exercise as a ritual and immersed myself in the process, connecting to the hearts and flowers and the woman. Then I brought in the journal aspect and did something I never do in my paintings. I added words.

Celebrate and honor me inside and out

Surprisingly this did indeed have a healing effect. And yes, I can hear all you avid art journalists snorting and going “Well d’uh!”

I have another art journal exercise in mind I am going to work on. Again, a combination of words and art. I will post it when I am finished.

Given the mess my body is in frantically trying to process a build up of histamine, I clearly need a whole big bag of healing tools. Art journaling being one of them.

Gracefully yours,

~ Eliza

Materials I used on this art journal page available through my Amazon account:

Playing the What If Game

There are two types of What If games. One looks backwards and one looks forward. I think it is safe to say that all of us have played the backwards What If game at least once, if not many times. You know how it goes:

What if I hadn’t married that jerk?

What if I had taken that job?

What if I hadn’t said that stupid thing to my sister?

This What If game is not a very useful one to play. What’s done is done. You never get a do over. Dwelling on this type of What If inevitably leads to feeling anxious and horrible. I used to play this game a lot, but now I have made it a rule to never ever play it, which has greatly contributed to my happiness level.

Now, the forward looking What If game is awesome. I use it a lot in my art, which I will get to in a minute, but also life in general. For example,

What if I take that job? Well, I could really like it, I could really hate it, my pay would increase, it could lead to other opportunities. There is still a negative in there — I could really hate it — but I have control over that risk. If I took the job and found I hated it I could then simply play the next What If game of ‘what if I leave this awful job?’ I have the power of choice, and if something doesn’t turn out how I had hoped, then I simply choose again.

Playing the What If game in my art has led me to some very awesome artwork. I will lead you through an example in a minute. I just want to state a very important point. When you play the forward What If game, you cannot be attached to the desired outcome. In the example above, you have to risk ending up in a job you don’t like. In art, you have to risk that you are going to ruin the painting. It is really a glorious experiment. Sometimes the results are crap, but I find the amazing results far outweigh the crap ones.

For example, playing the forward What If game lead me to my Scribble Critters whom I absolutely adore.

1. What if I painted a whimsical bird? This thought came from watching a Karrie Evenson video on her whimsical birds.

Whimsical Bird

2. This was not the effect I was going for. He looked rather boring. What If I give him some wispy feathers on his head? I tried that and again it did not match the image in my head. Okay, what if I scribble around his entire outline? Well, that looked pretty cool. What if I scribble on the background and inside the bird?

Whimsical Bird

3. Much better, but it felt too controlled, not playful enough. What if I loosen up the style?

Whimsical Robin

4. Oooo, I love it! Okay, what if I played with different combinations of paint mediums?

~ watercolour, paint marker, paint pen ~

~ watercolour, paint marker, paint pen ~

~ paint pen only ~

~ paint pen only ~

 

~ watercolour pencil, paint pen, paint marker ~

~ watercolour pencil, paint pen, paint marker ~

~ alcohol ink, paint pen, paint marker, watercolour pencil ~

~ alcohol ink, paint pen, paint marker, watercolor pencil ~

5. I loved using the alcohol ink, it is really vibrant. One more What If though. What If I don’t paint a background?

Whimsical Birds

Nailed it!

The key, again, was not getting attached to the outcome with each painting. It was pure What If experimentation, until my creative soul filled with joy and screamed “This is it! Love, love love!”

When your ego mind whispers “What if you hadn’t done such and such?” tell it to take a hike, you are not interested. You can only lose that game. When your intuitive mind whispers “What if you try this?” listen up! That is a game you can win.

Gracefully yours,

~ Eliza

Materials I used in these What If games available through my Amazon Affiliate account:

Taking myself seriously

Tomorrow, May 24, I turn 52 years old. I am going into my birthday covered head to toe in hives. Happy birthday to me … NOT!

Happy Birthday to me

Happy Birthday to me

This is not a creativity or art post, but I did promise myself to be faithful to keeping a blog … so this is me, blogging … while ignoring the itchiness on various parts of my body. The Benadryl I am taking every two hours on the dot is having no effect, and I am feeling pretty damn sorry for myself.

Or, at least I was, until I realized that the hives are actually an amazing birthday gift. No, don’t worry, the welts have not invaded my brain. They really are a gift.

I shall explain.

I have rosacea. I have had it for over twenty-five years. Lately, it has gotten worse, worse than its usual bad rashy red lumpy and bumpy state. So much worse that after eight years of being together, my Hubby finally said something and insisted I go to a dermatologist. I resisted.

And therein lies the problem. I resist what I know needs to happen. I need to be disciplined in what I eat. I eat properly, Hubby being a chef, but much of what he prepares is on the rosacea no-no list. I eat whatever I like, and convince myself that I am good to go with a little foundation on my face.

I explain justify my lack of discipline by telling myself that the rosacea does not impact my life, so I can live with ignore it. Pretty damn foolish of me, since rosacea is an autoimmune disease, which means if my outside is inflamed then my insides are raging with inflammation.

Hives I cannot ignore. They are ugly, they hurt, they itch and they massively impact my life. One HUGE impact being I cannot have my hot tub which is where I do my daily mediation. This is completely unacceptable to me!

I did some extensive research (gotta love Google) and have self-diagnosed myself as histamine intolerant. Did you know that unusually strong teeth is one of the symptoms? Who knew! That and I are rarely get colds and sniffles. Of course, there are many other symptoms and I have a great majority of them.

I have purchased the book The Low Histamine Lifestyle 101 by Yasmina Ykelenstam. I am reading it tonight and will start on my low histamine journey tomorrow.

The gift I talked about? The gift is I must now take myself seriously … which is fascinating, because a week ago in meditation a voice said to me loudly and clearly “You have to take yourself seriously”. I had no idea what that meant. Now I do.

Okay, I lied at the beginning of this post. I will add in some art. I have to, art is my life. I did this fun little Scribble Critters painting today to keep myself from wallowing in self pity.

Whimsical bird and worm

Gracefully yours,

~ Eliza

Resources I used for my Scribble Critters available through my Amazon affiliate account:

The Art of Pole Dance

My name is Eliza Fayle, I am 52 years old, and I do pole dance. Okay, technically I am not doing pole dance right now because we are under renovations and I cannot access my pole. I do, however, have a pole in my studio, and when I have access to it I do pole dance.

So what does this have to do with art and creativity?

First, you have to wipe from your mind any and all images of exotic dancers, strippers, g-strings and seedy bars. Now replace those images with incredibly fit women of all shapes and sizes owning their physical and personal power with gravity defying moves and spins tied gracefully together with stunning choreography competing at the professional sports level.

Now you have art and creativity expressed through physicality.

The first time my good friend Kelly Rotar had me attempt a basic spin, I was hooked. Here was a form of fitness that I could see sticking to. I get bored easily, so the myriad of poses and spins and combinations thereof grabbed my attention and held it. It was also something I could express and honour through my paintings. This one in my art book is my first pole dance piece.

I actually painted it in the car … I was the passenger, not the driver … using watercolour pencils and a travelling brush. The brush is brilliant, containing its own water. Perfect for planes, trains and automobiles. My goal was not to capture the female form accurately; rather, it was to capture strength in motion. The grace of a woman becoming one with her body.

Pole Dance Art Journal Page

Still can’t get past the seedy bar image? Completely baffled at why I refer to pole dance as an art and expression of creativity, and why I use the word ‘grace’ when describng it? Check out Kelly’s Master Division Competition video which qualified her for World’s in Rio. All lingering doubts will be wiped clean from your mind.

 

Gracefully yours,

~ Eliza

Resources I used on this art page available through my Amazon affiliate account:

Keep On Trucking

An important lesson in creativity I learned is

Keep on Trucking

Allow the Unexpected

Often when we sit down to create, we have a preconceived notion of what we want to create. However, what we see in our head can be challenging to get down onto paper or canvas. At this point you have a choice. You want walk away from the piece in frustration, or you can keep on trucking and allow the unexpected. This art page is a perfect example of several frustrating events ending up as a stunning piece of art.

Zentangle Inspired Art

The big blue heart was never intended to be a big blue heart. I was working on mixed media paper to create an honest to goodness marketable painting. Layers of acrylic paint later, I still wasn’t getting anywhere. I did abandon the painting, but there was a section I loved. So, I kept on trucking by cutting that section into a heart shape and gluing it into my art book.

From there, I knew I wanted to fill the rest of the piece in with doodles. I grabbed my archival ink pens I use for doodling, only to find the green background was too dark for the fine lines of my pens. ARGH! Now what? Well, I decided to keep on trucking and grabbed a black Sharpie marker. I was convinced the lines would be too thick, but I went for it anyway.

Zentangle Inspired Art

 

Turns out the lines were perfect against the dark background. I still didn’t like the look though. I was hoping to have the doodles flow out organically from the heart, but that wasn’t happening. I had a heart and I had doodles. ARGH! So, I decided to keep on trucking, grabbed my Sharpie and outlined the heart several times, which created awesome depth in the piece. I then added some white dots for pop, and because I love dots, and Bob’s your uncle, I was done.

Zentangle Inspired Art

 

This art book is almost full, and I have to say that this is one of my favourite pieces in it. A piece that could just as easily never come into being if I reacted to my frustrations by abandoning the project.

Keep on Trucking

Allow the Unexpected

In order to keep on trucking and allow the unexpected you have to surrender to the journey and let go of the outcome. Way easier said than done and it has taken damn near a half century of lifetime to be able to do this, not just in my art, in my life as well.

Turns out every time I keep on trucking and allow the unexpected not just in my art, in my life as well, something beautiful emerges.

EVERY.SINGLE.TIME

Gracefully yours,

~ Eliza

Supplies I used in this piece available through my Amazon affiliate account:

Life Snippets

While my attempt to maintain an art journal was an aborted very early on in the game, I do love the idea of carrying around a little art book. I can play with different art techniques, with the added bonus that I always have someplace to write something down.

You know those moments when you think “I need a piece of paper and a pen to write that down” and by the time you have found said paper and pen you have lost what it is you wanted to capture? Or is that just past-the-half-century-mark me? Well, I always have the paper and pen on hand, because my art book and archival ink pen an pretty much an extension of my body.

The variety of information that gets captured on a page in my art book is very evident here:

Art Journal Life Snippets

 

I will break it down for you. Across the top of the page I started to track business revenue. It was more a case of organizing my thoughts; I then moved the process to a spreadsheet. I extended the columns and turned them into Scrabble scores.

Art Journal Life Snippets

 

Before deeming these pages done, I collaged on paper towel I had used to mop up watercolour paint with. Apparently, I did not like a section of my page so I covered it up and stated “This spot bother me”, just in case I forgot why I covered it up. I also state the obvious by writing the word ‘LAYERS’ on one of the collage pieces.

Art Journal Life Snippets

I went back over the page and wrote whatever popped into my head. Like this incredible insight … oh, how wise I am.

Cats love boxes; humans aren’t so inclined to like being boxed in.

Art Journal Life Snippets

And self reflections, like the fact I am completely NUMBER PHOBIC, and self advice like JUST BE ME.

Art Journal Life Snippets

Looking back at this page, I realize I was starting to explore some valuable creativity lessons:

  • creativity does not have to have a purpose, does not have to lead to ‘a product’
  • you can create without getting attached to your efforts; it is okay to layer and cover things up
  • creativity can come purely from your Intuitive Self; just draw, paint and write whatever pops into your head without questioning it
  • you can be happy with something that is not pretty; this page is one hot mess of randomness, yet I still really like it

And very importantly, creativity is served best with a healthy dose of playfulness. I mean seriously, isn’t my cat the cutest thing?

Doodle Cat

Gracefully yours,

~ Eliza

Materials used in creating this page available through my Amazon affiliate account:

The Dancers Les Danseurs

Okay, well having decided to order my posts by art book pages, I am returning to the art book I featured in my post The Beginning. I call these delightful figures Les Danseurs. This is French for The Dancers, but the English just doesn’t capture the joie de vivre energy here. That, and they remind me of my dear francophone friend, Michele G, whose spirit is always dancing even when she is standing still.

I wrote a quote across the top of the page and didn’t write down the author. Thank goodness for Google so I can give credit where credit is due.

Any repair of our fractured world must start with individuals who have the insight and courage to own their own shadow … _ Robert Johnson in Owning Your Own Shadow

Dance with your shadows, my lovelies, dance with your shadows.

These two lovelies showed up on another art book page. They be totally jammin’

Whimsical Dancers

Gracefully yours,

~ Eliza

Materials used for Les Danseurs available through my Amazon affiliate account:

Tackling My Face Fear

In my post Early Signs of Things to Come, I said that I had a very traumatic event in high school art class involving faces. So traumatic, in fact, it was a pivotal point in my creativity where I started to switch from listening to my Creative Self to listening to my Inner Critic. The time has come to tell that story.

First a little background. My dad was an incredible artist. He was also an emotionally distant parent. One way I tried to connect with him was through art. If only I could draw and paint like him, then we would have something to bond over. The challenge was my Creative Self craved whimsy; whereas, my dad painted landscapes and drew portraiture. In my own mind, I could never measure up to his talents.

So, I decided to take art in Grade Nine. Surely I would be given proper instruction in order to paint like my dad. Nope! No instruction, none whatsoever. We were expected to come into that class already knowing how to draw and paint.

I was muddling along okay until our assignment was to paint a face. EEEEKK! Panic started to set in until my Creative Self said “we can do this”. I hauled out my watercolours and I created the most glorious painting. A rainbow filled the sky, a tree spread its branches over a rolling landscape. A princess in a flowing blue gown stood in the tree’s shade, blonde hair cascading down to her waste. Her face radiated peace and contentment. I was in absolute creative heaven.

I got a D+ on the assignment. For a straight A student this was beyond devastating. “Too cartoon like,” was the only feedback I got. “Ha,” roared my Inner Critic, “proof what I have been saying all along. You have zero artistic talent.”

Yep, the beginning of the end.

When I returned to art after I turned fifty, the first thing I did was tackle my fear of faces. I have always gone with the approach that what I fear the most is the one thing I MUST DO. I signed up for Guadalupe Cabal’s Ghost Girls online workshop, and I learned to draw and paint faces. Amazing what you can do with some proper instruction, and Guada walks you through every little step. I fell in love with Guada’s style and infectious creative energy AND I fell in love with painting faces.

Take that Inner Critic! BAM! KAPOW! A big right hook and you are down for the count. HA!

These drawings were done during the early days of Guada’s class. I will be sharing more later, and you will see my face drawing ability evolve. All of these ladies were drawn over Christmas of 2014.

Face drawing fear DEMOLISHED. Woot!

Gracefully yours,

~ Eliza

Workshop recommendation:

Ghost Girls with Guada Cabal

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