Hello May!

Phew!

April was a whirl-wind adventure. It took a lot of bravery, and a couple leaps of faith, & has consumed my time to show me where I need better boundaries. Since I haven't had time to write blog posts, I shall distill it into a numbered list for your curious connivence.

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1. Berkeley. Oh my goodness. I've wanted to visit the Bay area for years, and in the matter of less-than-two-weeks, I went from trading emails to spending hours with the amazingly daring Mati Rose, filming and brainstorming on her Daring Adventures in Paint workshop. It took a lot of courage to even send that first email, and then to book plane tickets, but it all worked out so amazingly, I'd like to mention the word serendipity. What an amazing work/vacation! 

I stayed at a house via AirBnb in the Berkeley Hills with the most adorable family with young kids. I had a bedroom, sitting room, and bathroom all to myself, with a gorgeous view of the bay at sunset. While I thought I'd spend the evenings relaxing, I ended up walking the area for yummy food, having an adventure after an oh-my-God-it's-a-Blick shopping spree, and met up with two long-time friends for a trip to Japantown (Daiso! Kinokunya!) who I'd never met in person but consider life-long sisters. 

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2. Synchronicity. While there, I discovered a deep joy as I worked, and realized I'd fallen into the thing I want to do most of all. It's one thing to dream up an e-course, but another to figure out how to organize it all, split it, figure out what needs to be filmed and what doesn't....how to shoot you mid-creation. Lighting. Angles. Equipment. You need someone to talk it through, someone who's been a student and teacher, who knows technology and programming, who can take all that footage and put it together into a nice neat video package so you can focus on posting and interaction. 

I want to visit artists in their studios, record their courses, and put the video content together for them

I want to chat on Skype with you when you need someone to help you take a snarled, artistic vision and create a game plan.

I want to help everyone make better videos with simple, easy-to-follow tips.

I don't know what this job is called, or how I can keep up the momentum, or find more clients, but my heart sang when I was in Berkeley in a way it hasn't for a long time and I KNOW I have found my "thing." 

It's an amazing feeling that makes me feel radiant.

3. Shared Knowledge. My students in Digital Adventures & Creative Warriors have started to come out of their shells and create amazing artwork. It's one thing when you put everything together and give it to the world, and another to see those principles picked up and used just how you intended. I have a bit more time to pay attention to each student, and my small class size idea was a GOOD one. I'm so happy I made it! 

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4. Inspired. My article on Being a Creative Warrior is in the current issue of Somerset Studio, and is even mentioned on the cover! You can all now learn more about this movement I'm starting and become one yourself! I was so surprised and touched to get my copy in the mail, and it has a special spot in my studio. 

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5. Go big. I've decided it's time to use more paint and go big. I have a bunch of canvases in various stages of completion, as I want to make more original artwork to adorn your walls rather than focusing on just journal pages. This doesn't mean I'm going to stop, or share less, just that I'm making a commitment to myself to be an artist and dive deep and be brave and dare!

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6. Roben-Marie's Mixed Media Stamps. These are wonderful! Everyone I've shared them with have love them, and I'm usually really picky about stamps. I keep a selection of them with me all the time, and they're so versatile! 

You can see me using them in my latest art journal speed painting video on YouTube!

7. Artspiration Studio. We only have 50 hours left to meet our goal of opening a mixed-media and art journaling studio here in the East Valley of Phoenix! Join Tangie Baxter (a sweet, awesome artist & businesswoman!) in raising funds on Kickstarter to get us there! There are TONS of awesome rewards for each level!

 And here's some recent journal work. It's spinning off in a whole new direction, so I'm wibbly, but....the paint keeps flowing!

And here's some recent journal work. It's spinning off in a whole new direction, so I'm wibbly, but....the paint keeps flowing!

Ready for an Adventure

 

Today: 

Drove out to visit Becca in her new house. It’s beautiful and big and her studio makes me think I’m up in the tower of a castle, except this one is sunny and full of messy hands and paint. I taught her how to use a Gelli Arts gel plate & we made fun printed papers, how to type on a typewriter. We shared our journal pages and things we’re trying. 

Came back to town to meet E for dinner. We’ve known each other for so long, we can pick up after months or years apart, our friendship built on shared history and easy comfort. We have a plan & I have a lot of work to do. 

 

"Ready for an Adventure" 12"x12" mixed-media/collage on wood

Yesterday: 

My FMS made itself known, screaming and kicking and had me diving for my pain medication. I slept through the afternoon, then grabbed my couch box and settled in with the Avengers. I worked in my journal and pulled out a painting I started last month. Took a little break to have my heart broken

I had fun. A bit of joy through paint and shape and color. I thought back to the sensations of having an adventure, of the excitement that jumps up and down in your stomach, the fluttering of your heart in your chest, the way everything is clearer and brighter and interesting because of where you’re going, what you’re doing. That stepping outside yourself, the daily grind, your definition of normal. 

I applied magic — the way butterflies could be on hats and still flutter their wings. A bird perched atop a woman’s head, her animal guide only she could see. A trip bag full of the type of things Mary Poppins would pull out to heal and amuse. What is in there? Could the contents be clues as to where they’re going? Are they flying across the country or around the world? What will they find once they get there? 

How can we, too, capture the thrill of adventure in our daily lives? 

 

(This is a question I have been pondering for awhile. A question easily answered: easily. It simply takes a shift in perception. I’ll tell you later. Tomorrow. This week. I can say this: whenever I forget that, I glance over at this painting and remember. Remember you can always have an adventure, even without leaving the house.)

An Artful Vacation & A Letter to YOU ~~ !

Linda recently wrote: 

Hi Kira:  I check your website everyday and lately I noticed your have not been around and I am wondering if you are alright.  I miss your postings.  Hope things are good with you.

Dear Linda, 

I am fine. Better than fine, actually. Here’s what happened: 

As like when I arrived in Florida, I was hit with a massive FMS flare-up when I arrived home. My equilibrium was off. What was this strange place, so familiar, yet so foreign to these newly-opened eyes? Every normal movement felt off, strange in only the way new perspective can change things. I rested and remembered and pet the painting and pages I’d created with friends. Did you know I met them both online? Roben-Marie and I have been fast friends for years, but I’d only chatted with Carissa via text messages & on Instagram. Yet it worked. I love the universe, sometimes! 

And then I had a good day — a great day! That was one of the things I learned in Florida….that I can have fabulous, wonderful, low-pain days filled with adventure and art and friendship. I can enjoy things and be happy and dance in the rain. I can wander the back alleys of a town and not know where I am and revel in the thought of being completely, utterly lost

I brought a typewriter home with me! On the plane! I bought a big, beautiful vintage suitcase called Jupiter, put the typewriter (in it’s case!) inside, nestled among my clothes, and checked it. Of course the TSA opened my suitcase! But it made it here, my little $8 find at the magical thrift, and I’ve been writing poems on it every day (I’m challenging myself to 30 poems in 30 days as a way to collect the bones and breathe life into that Wild Self deep inside). 

On that good day, I brought it to the typewriter repair shop near my apartment that I learned about on Sunday Morning. Bill was an excited little kid trapped in an older man’s body, and we giggled over the magic and wonder of old typewriters and the grace of their mechanics and profiles.  

And then the good day ended, and I woke up with a migraine. Remember how I started getting migraines? My doctor has told me they’re related to the concussion I suffered in March, and that it can take 12-18 months for the brain to fully recover. OUCH! This migraine had me down and out for 6 days. 6 days! Physical pain I can handle — have handled for so many years. But pain in my head? You can’t dream right, when your head is attacking you. Everything becomes filtered through the pain and you can walk and move but nothing connects

When that passed, I started collecting the bones. 

No, no, not real bones! No, these are deep inside. I’d already started shedding this skin, rather, my old skin, my pre-Florida skin, before I left. I knew I was going through a transformation. It isn’t so much that I’ve changed — okay, yes, I have! — Rather, I’ve become more myself. There are always parts you hide because you’re afraid of how people will react, or if they’ll stop liking you, and I feel like I trapped myself in a corner I couldn’t escape. I wasn’t fully expressing all the wonders of ME for oh-so-long! 

That’s what my vacation taught me. That I CAN be all the ME I am! And people will naturally be drawn to that authentic light shining from deep within.

I feel freer, now. I am connecting with my Wild Self and writing poems about moonlight and wolves and whispering trees. About the Old Self I shed and the New Self I’m still discovering. Remember how you were when you were a child? It can be hard at times because we’re so concerned with being ‘grown-up’ or ‘mature’ that we start to forget the times we would run around catching fireflies long past our bedtimes, or the faerie kingdoms we used to explore. We let those things remain in childhood because we thought they had no place in our lives, now. 

Oh, but they DO! 

That is where I’ve been, Linda. Exploring the wild forest of myself, building up this new skin, clarifying what am I am and who I am and where I want to go. I want to have Everyday Adventures and meet new people and spread joy and tap into my intuitive gifts. 

But now I’m ready to start taking you along for the ride. I do hope you’ll come with me. I may sound different and have a new haircut, new make-up, a twinkle to my eye. But I’m happy. Genuinely, completely joyous, even on the hard days. 

Now, I need to be off to write a poem or two, and play with my typewriter, and make stickers of my art for my supporters and friends and people I haven’t met yet! 

Yours, 

A Big Decision

If this week has taught me anything, it’s that magic is really possible. 

I’ve been thinking about this message from Jenny:

 I would love to be considered as a sponsored student by one of your generous supporters. Mostly because I want to learn, but also because I have always wanted a benefactor. Seriously, how many old novels have you read where the heroine has a benefactor? Wasn't the romantic in you dreaming of a kind and generous benefactor? 

Being or having a benefactor is a romantic idea, and one I’ve pondered myself as I fell deeper and deeper into this groovy flow of art; for the past five or six months, I’ve found creating easy, painting relaxing and a compulsion I need to answer, and my work has been deeper and more personal than ever. I find myself thinking about geisha in Kyoto at the turn of the century and their danna, or sponsors, who paid their rent and bought them new kimono and kept them in lessons. Of painters with mysterious wealthy men who supported them so they could focus on painting. 

In being a self-employed artist, how can you not

But Jenny is right — if you’re in the Art Journal Diary Mini-Class, you have a benefactor, or you are one. 

Think on that. 

You have a benefactor. 

You are a benefactor. 

I’m still reeling over the past week and the amazing people I’ve connected with, have helped, have seen help others. Go watch my thank you video for the full scoop. 

It’s really lead me to make a Big Decision. 

 

For months, I’ve been pondering something, but only put my toes into the water. 

Perhaps you’ve noticed the posts geared towards those with chronic illnesses. Those that talk about couch art kits and micro-movements and this newest mini-class. For me, this is a huge part of who I am, even if I don’t write about it all that much. 

I have decided that is going to change. 

Rather, my focus has shifted to better and authentically reflect who I am. 

I want to be there for you.

I want to write things for those of us who can’t spend hours painting, or stay up until 4am finishing a piece. 

I want to give tips on how to use art to get through those hard, difficult days. 

I want to lift you up when you’re having an amazing day. 

 

What does this mean for everyone else? 

Not all that much, really. I’ll still be posting art. And tutorials, and milestones. Videos and classes. 

They’ll just have a more how-to-do-this-when-everything-is-hard bits in them. More support and loving care. And I bet it’ll make doing art easier for you, too — maybe you’re tired from work, or raising a family, and all you want to do is play in your journal or paint a masterpiece, but think you’ll never be able to do anything good with how little energy you have left. 

 

That’s my Big Decision. 

All of me. 

Here to make you just that much more creative and awesome. 

would you like to go on a picnic with me?

 

I love how possibility's there for the taking if only you open yourself up to it. 

On Saturday, I suddenly wanted to go on an art picnic. I've been having great fun setting up on the floor in my apartment, where I can sit in the sunlight (my studio & bedroom don't get much direct natural light), and wanted to simply go outside. So when Becca texted me that night, I took the oppertunity to see if she'd be up for it. 

And she was! 

We gathered our supplies, a few puppies, a pizza, & headed out to the park, where we spread out on the same yellow checkered blanket I've used for picnics since I was little and played. 

There's Becca working in her Smash Book (we're both a bit behind in our Project 365 Smash Books...we started the year with big intentions!), and there are two of her littles. 

(And aren't we healthy....pizza and organic tea!)

I loved sitting barefoot outside and surrounding myself with all my favorite supplies, a good friend, and fun pups. The breeze was gentle so we were able to stay out there a few hours despite the way the weather's warming (read: becoming bloody hot since this is the desert!). 

I posted on my Instagram feed about how I haven't been taking the time to listen to the trees. As a child, my mother used to put me under them, the swaying leaves a natural mobile, and ever since then, I've felt as though they're whispering out there, so softly, we need to become still in order to hear them. 

Sitting in the park refilled my well, even if I didn't get too much art done. I'm still expanding my boundaries and thoughts on paint on the paper, and see things changing every day, with each thing I apply my brush to. 

I wholeheartedly recommend an art picnic if the oppertunity presents itself. I don't think we take much time for picnics anymore. Or the outdoors. 

Take an afternoon. Reconnect. Listen to the trees. See what happens. 

Grown-Ups Can Have Sleepovers, Too!

 

I spent New Year's Eve and most of the day after at my darling friend Becca's for a night of art, sparklers, and wine. Lots of wine. So much fun was had, I didn't wake until the next afternoon, but most of the time, I was sitting at her kitchen table working in my journal while she worked in hers. We're that kind of people. 

Excuse the grammar, as there's really no other way to say that! 

The next morning, when I crawled out of bed and padded into the kitchen for some much-needed caffeine, Becca told me the first video for Traci's online workshop (via Strathmore Artists' Paper's 2012 series) was up and she'd already watched it. I first questioned how much longer than me she'd been awake, then dashed into her art room to commandeer her laptop and watched the videos over again. 

(It's a free series, so go over and watch; they're fabulous!)

We were so inspired, we grabbed large sheets of paper and started playing, spraying, and painting. It's amazing how much more fun art is when shared with someone else. 

Here's a mini!vlog of lazy to show you all we created. I must really dash, now, as I need to wash out some hair dye!