Life Drawing… Therapy?

life-drawing-coverEvery second Friday for the past couple of months, Achim has been rushing home early so that I can go meet 6 random strangers in a small, sunlit room to drink tea and work through issues relating to the body.

Group therapy? Well, no. Not technically. But as it turns out… Sort of.

I’ve been going to a life drawing group. Meeting with a little collection of people to draw live nude models. It’s run by a shyly smiling older artist, out of his quiet, sunny nook of a studio, nestled deep in a pre-war cake of a house. Aged, paint-splattered wooden floors, hot tea and an eccentric little garden with a koi pond, inexplicably a 5-minute walk from our place… Honestly, it feels almost bizarre, like a figment of my imagination magically made real. I had been looking for something regular, fun and relaxing to do away from home for a while, and it’s weirdly perfect. Exactly what my over-mommed brain needs to recharge, but actually, that’s only half the story. Continue Reading

100 Days of How Things Are

howthingsare-blog1Hey Guys! So, I can’t believe it, but it’s that time of year again. The 100 Day Project is on! I feel like I just finished the last one. This time last year I was the pregnant mama to one curious toddler, now my little baby is a whopping (she really is whopping, cheeks for miiiiles) 9 months old and my long legged, climbing, rhyming first baby is about to turn 4!! Ol’ father time is one weird, moody, warped dude. Sigh.

In case you are new to it, the 100 Day Project is this big, worldwide, 100 day creativity love fest, shared through social media and spearheaded by artist/author/tech superstar/general dreamer and do-all-gooder Elle Luna. The idea is this: You choose some creative action and do it every day for 100 days and share it on Instagram with the hashtag #The100DayProject, plus your own individual hashtag so that people can see all your work in one place. Or as Elle explains…
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Current Fave Art Supplies

Art Supplies Cover image_1

Hey guys! So I just hit Day 100 in my 2016 daily drawing project and to celebrate, I thought I would do a kinda “what’s in my bag” post, on art supplies. It’s one of those things people tend to ask about, and even though I definitely think I’m more of a magpie than a connoisseur, I don’t need much of a push to geek out over art supplies.

Becauuuuse… I love them. I love the smell of them, love meandering the aisles of art stores, love trying out new things, love surveying my big pax wardrobe of possibility on the blue moon when it’s tidy… ahh. I like cheap kids’ materials and literal garbage – discarded packaging, weathered scraps torn off old billboards – as much as the fancy stuff. I remember the MFA student who taught my first painting class in undergrad commenting on how nice all of the newbies’ paintbrushes were, and how he used crap from the dollar store. It stuck with me. It’s definitely a trap to think you need the best materials to make art. I’ll use almost anything.

But of course, I do have a few faves. I’m going to do my best to give you the low down (with images) on the things I’m using the most often these days, with some decent product links. Also, just an FYI, no one (not even Staedtler!) is paying me anything for this post.
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What’s an Introvert, Really?

reader_web_2Woah guys, woah. I just had a major Aha.

I’ve just learned what an introvert really is – I thought I knew! But I didn’t. I always thought is was about how you feel energized, whether it’s with people or through solitude. Sort of, but not exactly.

I am viscerally excited by this new information, which as I will explain, is related to the fact that I am somewhat of an introvert. And it’s not just because it’s about introverts. It’s the information itself, giving me a nice little dopamine high. Aw yeah…

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Creativity tip: Tiny toolkits

striped-pouchA while back, I wrote about my grand plan to put out more frequent, shorter, simpler posts. For example, I thought I would share tiny great ideas. So far I’ve done it exactly once. Ha! Typical Elena. Brevity is not my thing.

But today I have a little tip for you, if you’re trying to weasel in time for a creative life. It’s such a simple thing really and practical and has been so helpful for me on a daily basis that I wanted to tell you about it!
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Running.

runners-butterfliesIt’s Saturday morning. 9 am. We’re sitting on the floor. I’m washing down a piece of cold pizza, still on the table from last night, with the end of my coffee. I scored the last of the cream. Alida’s nose is a slippery waterfall but it’s been the best night we’ve had in a week or so, with only 3 wake-ups, thanks to that blessed, blasted Nose Frida (which in my midnight stupor, I’d decided was much like reverse egg-blowing). Inexplicably, Jonah slept until 8:30am, and he’s in a great mood. The apartment is mess, but not deeply so. I had the forethought to pick up vacuum bags yesterday (win!). The sky is a bright, beautiful, cloudless blue. All things considered, it’s a good morning. And I have a thought. An unusual thought… one I haven’t had in well over a year. “You know what…” I say to Achim, before trailing off as I immediately change my mind. But then, it’s too late. I’ve let it out.

“I might go for a run this morning.”
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Goal Setting Guide Revisited

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At last! I’ve wanted to revamp the goal guide pretty well since I first posted it. A few people mentioned that the long, scrolling format was kinda hard to follow and frankly, I agree. The new year seemed like a good time to clean it up and give it a run.

I’ve made it into sensible distinct pages, spaced things out, upped the text or illustration size here and there for emphasis and clarity. Now you’ve got the slide show below, or you can even download this printable version. I had a lot of interest from teachers last year, and I thought an easy peasy pdf may be appreciated.
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Happy Birthday, Little Blog!

happybirthdayOn January 14th this blog officially turned 1 year old! I am the shyly proud creator of 50 individual posts. My goal was to keep it up at least a year and then see, and although my upkeep has been a little spotty, I am pleased to report that my interest has surprisingly not been. I’ll be changing a few things, but continuing for sure. It can be hard to find space to create, physically, emotionally, and psychologically in the beautiful mess of everyday life, and this place has been sort of a “room of one’s own” for me.
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Love Story: The Last Page

LOVE-STORY-P-17Epilogue

To us, it feels like a new story starts here. It’s not that it wasn’t still confusing or messy at times, it really was. I mean, it still is! But it wasn’t a question of if there was an “us” anymore. That much was clear.

We still didn’t go to Spain together. I spent two tortilla and café con leche fuelled months lugging backpacks with my friend Shannon, basking in a blur of art galleries, mossy castles and winding, white sunbaked streets; running my fingers over miles of intricate tile work, and sleeping in filthy little beds. He picked me up from the Frankfurt airport and I stayed for two cozy weeks, just before Christmas. As I remember it, we mostly just lay around by the fireplace. Flipped through old photo albums and VHS tapes. Went for drives.

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Love Story: Page 16

Love-Story-Page-16.2Page 16

September 2006 – The Universe

There I lay. By myself, in the dark, in his bed. Still, spent and a little shaky from the emotional upheaval of the day. As I stared at the ceiling, the events of the day, the month, the year – the years – seemed to vanish, a torrent of quiet, sparkling dust swept up and scattered, imperceptibly across the expanse. I suddenly felt very alone. So alone, but not lonely. Rather, it was an aloneness that gave me the profound feeling of inhabiting myself, a total presence of mind. I’d say it was an out of body experience, except that it was quite the opposite. There I was, lying alone, with so little control in the world, but… I was okay. It was probably one of the most meaningful moments of my life – a complete calm and clarity overtook me and I had the strongest, most distinct feeling of safety. It was as though in my aloneness, I realized that I, Elena, this impossible ball of chaos, was not alone. Rather, I was profoundly surrounded by love, wholly taken care of.

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