Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012 in Review

2012 is coming to a close, and the world continues to keep spinning.  
(Take that, Mayans).

I've learned a lot this year.  

I've laughed so much I've cried, and cried so much it hurt.  I've had my share of trials and triumphs.
Sometimes during the tough stuff -- and even the boring, every-day stuff -- I wonder, 
"What is the point in all of this?"  
Then I remember that every day, every moment, every difficult lesson, and every joyous occasion is a gift.   
And gifts are to be cherished and appreciated.

In no particular order, here are 12 of my personal posts from the past year that have made me really happy.  
If I step back, they aren't that spectacular - most of them are pages from my little journals.
But I like them.  I hope you do too.

            1.  Gratitude Journal - My Dad                    2.  Art Tip # 1                         3.  Gratitude Journal - Hope

            4.  1st Gratitude Journal Page               5.  Gratitude - Shelter                                6.   Ella
                7.  Yellow & Blue                               8.   Journal Pages                   9.  Summer Journal Pages    

                10.   Dash                                           11.  Wolf in Charcoal                          12.  Doug

In the year to come, I hope to continue to give the gift of Pet Portraits.  I hope to encourage readers to believe in themselves and their creative outlet, whatever that may be.   And I hope to savor this wonderful gift called life..... and capture the magic of the "ordinary" in my journal pages.

For those that have come and visited this blog, given me opportunities, and shared your friendship  - 
Thank you.  :)  

Cheers to 2013.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Warm Holiday Wishes

Christmas is tomorrow!
I'm finally feeling Christmas-y.
card in watercolor, made last year.

Do you have any special plans for the holiday?

I'll be unplugging from the internet for a few days.

Looking forward to sleeping in,
spending quality time with my family,
and soaking in the special day.

Hope you all have a very merry Christmas.

Blessed is
The season which
Engages the whole 
World in a 
Conspiracy of love.

Hamilton Wright Mabie

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Art Tip No. 7 - Work Hard & Celebrate

My daughter earned her Black Belt earlier this year.

Two nights a week, every week for the past 4 years, I'd take her to class.  I'd sit in the back of the room and watch the little guys sweat their butts off, practicing their roundhouse kicks and punches.

I was in awe of the kids' hard work; I loved seeing what they were capable of accomplishing.

I loved watching the instructor, Miss Judy, too.   A 5th degree black belt, she'd have a stern but tender, effective way of pushing them to greater things.  She taught them to both work hard and enjoy their journey.

Each time the kids promoted to their new belt color ("kyu" in Japanese ranking), she'd always rouse them up and ask,  "What's the first thing we do when we reach a goal??"

The kids, all sweaty and proud of themselves, would shout, "Celebrate!"  

"What's the 2nd thing we do?"

They would reply, "Make new goals!"  

We'd then go out for an ice-cream cone.

I love how she taught that hard-work & celebration go hand-in-hand.

It helped me with my own artwork too.

After pouring hours into a drawing, I used to look at a finished piece and frown.  "Not good enough".
Then I wouldn't draw for months afterwards.  And why would I, if I always felt crummy about my work?

Miss Judy's words started to stick with me.

If I made a goal to spend 15 minutes on a drawing one evening, and I reached that accomplishment, well then, gosh-darnit, I celebrated that.  (Side note:  I think committing any of your time to a cause or an outlet is an accomplishment.)   I started celebrating by feeling good about myself, instead of picking apart my work.  I gave myself a pat on the back.  I treated myself to new pencils, washi-tape,  other fun supplies.  Once I got the celebration thing down, I made more goals.  With every goal that I accomplished, I made a conscious decision to CELEBRATE!   It was a very new and wonderful discovery for me.

So....   that is my most recent Art (and life) Tip to you too:

And make new goals!
Enjoy the journey. 

What cool things have you accomplished recently?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sketchbook Journal - December

Here are my journal pages, prepped for the week.
I thought about doing Christmas colors, and then said, "Nah."
I went with Blues & Oranges instead.  The colors cheer me up....

so does a jar full of Washi-Tape....
And hugs from my loved ones too.  
What cheers you up when you're feeling blue?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Gratitude Journal - God's Goodness

I often get melancholy just before the holidays.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year often feels like the most painful for me.

I get discouraged over bills, frazzled over commitments to be made.
I feel helpless for those less fortunate.

In my quiet time, I ask God, "Is this what you intended Christmas to be?  How can there be peace on earth, when so many people are in pain?  Where are you, God, when evil exists in the world?"

I am certain that I am not the only one with a heavy, questioning heart.  Especially this weekend.

But during a recent trip to a convenient store, I was reminded that beauty does exist in this crazy world:

Tragedies remind me that evil exists.  
But God reminds me that His light always prevails,
even through the painful times.

I am grateful that this world is not all that there is.  

Thursday, December 13, 2012

What Christmas is All About

Hope you all are enjoying your holiday season.
This little clip always does my heart good.  

What's your favorite Christmas movie?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Journal Pages

Thank you so much for your feedback on the last post. 
I'll be sure to keep a nice mix of tips, drawings, and journal pages.  

Here are my pages for the current week, prepped ahead.

I used stickers, stamps, and washi-tape, in happy colors. 
A quick tip: 
I like to decide on a color-scheme before I lay anything down on my pages.  


Mr. Salmon reminds you to make it a great day.  :-)  

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Blog Touch-Ups & Links I Love

If you are a RSS subscriber, 
I recently updated my blog header:
I don't have Photoshop,
so I used Pixlr to cut and paste some images from my journal pages.  
I like that it feels more "me."   :)  

But that got me thinking,
I could use your feedback for this little blog!

What do you like best here?  
What would you like to see more of?
More drawings?  More journal pages?  More art tips? 

Your help would be so appreciated.  

Oh, one more thing!
I mentioned before that I would be "sprinkling" some of favorite blogs here & there:
Here are a few to check out:

. . . 

 Sonja Häusl-Vad 

 Home with the Espinozas

 Afsaneh Tajvidi

. . . 

Hope you enjoy them like I do!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Pet Portrait

Doug, all finished,
just in time for the holidays.
11"x14" in pencil

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Art Inspiration - The Lumineers

I think if my journal pages had a theme song, 
this would be it. :)

 The Lumineers: "Ho Hey"

"I belong with you, 
you belong with me
in my sweet home."  

- xoxox -

Would yours have a theme song?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Red Pages

My journal pages, prepped for this week.  
Stamps, stickers, and a little reminder from a recent fortune cookie. 
After a Chinese dinner, our family always reads out loud our fortunes.  :)  

Hope you all have a great week.

You can "thumb through" more of my journal pages here.  

Sunday, December 2, 2012