Illustrating Timeless Laughter & Dreams

Laughter is timeless,
imagination has no age,
and dreams are forever.

– Walt Disney

I was laughing so hard I could barely catch my breath
and all the dreams I have ever had since before I could remember,
came rushing back into my awareness.

My inner cheerleaders exclaimed, “O thank God! The woe is me drama opera is finally over, let’s get to work.” I had just returned from traveling on the road of comparison and doubt, and inspiration could not find me there. Inspiration can only travel on the road of belief. There it is. I chose to change my mind, turn myself around and with that, inspiration was waiting to greet me. Inspiration doesn’t snicker, but,…I really know that I heard a faint voice say “Interesting choice for a summer vacation ….”.

Sketching in Facial Features

I began to work. This was just an experimental sketching exercise to get going again. I randomly chose a reference image I felt was reflective of a moment of bliss.

Expanding the image with shading and details.

I continued to sketch with line and shading. The face took form and I enjoyed her expression.

Laying in her hair as if a breeze of inspiration came to visit and inspire this moment of bliss.

While sketching her hair I imagined a breeze of inspiration that had come to visit her and inspire this moment to pause, accept and enjoy.

Okay, done with the exercise, move on.

After some time, I thought to myself this exercise was a great start, let’s move on, I can’t use her, she’s a recognizable figure. But then I thought, I was having fun and I loved the moment captured, so I decided to stay with it and expand the image into an illustration.

 

Sometimes we experience brief moments of bliss that have no connection to anything that is outside ourselves, and everything to with the truth and inspiration within, and inherently available to us all. For this, I am truly grateful, and will hopefully never get lost driving down the useless road of doubt and comparisons again. This is my experience while creating the illustration “Laughter & Dreams. – Thank you.

 “Laughter and Dreams.”

Laughter & Dreams

 

Illustrating Mother and Child

Stage 1 – Sketching and base washes

This piece began with listening to an inspired thought. I was going forward with the intuition to let the work create itself.  A new illustration technique arrived in my mind. I think I was vacuuming at the time.

I saw the face, and I saw the kindness and the strength within the eyes simultaneously. I didn’t worry about the challenge, although I wanted to. I wanted to commit to stepping back, and let the work develop itself. I assured myself it was just an experiment in trying. Lets see what happens.

Stage 2 – Sketching Hair, Adding Washes and Detail

We moved on to the hair. This was created by sketching and adding washes. This stage enforces patience. It feels like a thousand strokes, and with the right focus, can also be a meditation. It’s interesting how much I wanted to know the “outcome”, as if commiting to trusting that step by step process depended on if I liked the final work. I found this quite similar to life in many ways. The temptation is not to take a risk that involves your inner knowingness and time, unless you have an advanced guarantee of the outcome you hope for. In this case, I didn’t. And most work can take up to sixty hours.

Painting the Peals (of Wisdom).

I have never worked with pearls in an image, and this was fun.
Pearls represent calmness and centeredness. They also represent faith, loyalty, truth, purity, and personal integrity. Pearls of wisdom. Something was cooking here…..

Stage 4 – Peonies and Butterflies

The next time I sat down to work, the flower arrived in my mind, and the butterflies. Peonies represent riches and honor. Butterflies represent change, hope and transformation.

Then the work became quite. Was it done? Was it finished? I wanted it to be, I wanted to move on, but…I wasn’t sure. I left it up where i could see it. I would peek at it from time to time while I cooked or cleaned. At times I would sit looking at it. Nothing. All was quiet. It wasn’t done and I didn’t know why.

Days passed and I started a new illustration. I checked back, but still, there was no “green light” feeling. I had no inspiration for a next step, still I trusted that it just wasn’t finished.

While working on something else, I saw this illustration in my mind, and the next inspiration arrived. Her baby. And just like babies, we are not exactly sure when inspiration will arrive, but it will.

All that is represented here is about the challenges of trusting ourselves, trusting our inner compass. It’s about approaching each moment with the faith of a child, and caring for our faith as if we were our own children. It requires loyalty, truth, and personal integrity. It also requires patience, perseverance and a great sense of humor.

I think not knowing the outcome was worth the endeavor, and I am pleased. Which also includes the ability to celebrate ourselves. – Thank you.

This is “Mother and Child”

 

Painting Peace on Earth & Learning About Peace Within

It began while I was painting a polar bear, in late September.

It began with a Polar Bear

Filled with inspiration to paint the soulful eyes, and gaze of a beautiful polar bear, I set to it. I worked, and worked, happily creating every hair, and every detail with so much love. After many, many hours, I had almost completed the face, and I began to imagine the next steps, and the story that the image of the bear would tell when it was finished. At last it was time. “So!” I asked the bear, because yes, I do talk to each painting, and the painting tells me what is next, “…what’s next, a baby bear, two baby bears…a day in the snow, the love of a parent?”

Nothing.

The bear just stared at me. I stared at the bear. I had created plans, and conditions, this was going to be a really lovely piece…..right?

Nothing.

As so often in my life, I then willfully forged ahead, and I painted two adorable baby bears. It didn’t work, didn’t fit, it wasn’t the story and it didn’t have any magic. Well, I thought to myself, I will just put this away for now, not a loss, just……a mystery. It is what it is, I will wait, I will check back later.

Bear with Background

One month, and a few other paintings later, I rediscovered a technique I had used with acrylics, and I created a background of an abstract aurora borealis. This was just what the polar bear painting needed, I thought. Yes! And there was the bear, resplendent with the new background, looking good!  

And then……there was nothing more.

I began to doubt, and then I wanted to stamp my foot, …..and after quite some time, I humbly understood this was about grace. Life is about timing, respect, and a compassionate acceptance of all things we may not understand immediately. Pushing an issue,  a person, or a situation to be different, or fit my plans, is not something I would do, then why would I push or make demands of myself, or this painting? I stared at the bear, and bear stared back at me, and I apologized for this offensive behavior. “Let me know when you are ready,” I said to the bear, “I’ll be listening.”

December began, and I was thinking of presents to buy. The polar bear painting came into my mind. I went to the painting and I looked at the bear, and the bear was looking at me.  Respectfully, I patiently waited, and then I began to see an image just starting to appear, and then becoming a little clearer………and there it was, an angelic face.

Plans for the day were set aside, and I painted, and this sweet face became a young girl. And the young girl fit perfectly with the Polar Bear.

This was peace, and I felt peaceful while humbly listening to what the painting wanted.  I had just been taught a great lesson, and I am thankful. Peace on earth begins with peace within, and from within, it will naturally pour out and into the world.

This painting is titled “Peace on Earth”, and it is my Christmas card for this year, as well. This is my Christmas lesson and gift, and now my Christmas story to share. Merry Christmas to all, and may peace be within you.

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