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What a Year...right? Musings, Art & a Gift

Saturday, December 26, 2020


Surprises none of us could have predicted
Changes that were, and continue to be, challenging
Division everywhere we turn
A pandemic, so deep and multi-layered, that no one in the world was unaffected
and here ... we... are...

With that as the backdrop, how are you faring? 
Have you discovered any silver linings in this all too disruptive and tumultuous year?
I pray you have.....

My mom was always talking about the silver linings...to the point of annoyance. Yet, I hear her voice, and feel her encouragement, and am so grateful that I, too, have learned to look for silver linings everywhere. And find them!

The moment you accept what 
troubles you've been given, 
the door will open.

My first glimmer of Hope, probably back in March, 
was in viewing the short ad of our Earth with the phrase
something along the order of 
"Taking a much-needed Pause"
That kicked me into an awareness that I, too, could take a gentle pause
A welcome pause....and discover what lies within, under, around, throughout.

The quiet was a respite from the clamor.
You surely know what I am talking about...
The tyranny of the every moment of your life is urgent syndrome.
The going within, the enforced quiet, offered a welcome rest
I switched to Zoom to teach
and after a few awkward weeks, discovered a new and exciting
way to interact, instruct and inspire my students
(though, honestly, they inspire me more....)

Here's what I have been choosing to do this past year amidst this otherwise bleak background... 

Transitioning and LOVING teaching online
Overhauled my studio - I now have THREE art stations, as I call them:
A dedicated Teaching station
a dedicated Sketching station 
and my main Art Desk.

Since I have experienced a renaissance of sketching daily 
(haven't missed a day since July 22 this year - truly has become my lifeline and anchor)
I have been burning through my sketchbooks
So, to save money, and heck, take on another DIY project
I have been honing my bookbinding skills.

and a few sketches within these pages....

I tend to just draw a simple item on each page. 

And above are a couple of crows from my 100 CROWS goal I set for myself after getting bored with figuring out what to sketch each morning. I just googled CROW and put an album together of bunches of them. Some I have repeated, but most every picture I gathered together I drew. Had fun with mixed media, like colored pencils and pastel pencils, inks, fineliners, watercolor, gouache. You name it!

And I even created some journals for my family Christmas presents.  I highly recommend SeaLemon on Youtube for all things bookbinding. She's terrific and her tutorials are very easy to follow. Learned about end pages, and stitching and making covers. These covers are leftovers from a workshop I attended where the presenter demoed Golden paints and mediums. Just kept them around. 

Making my own inks out of natural stuff in the kitchen and found on nature walks. FUN!

Currently sketching with ink and one of my carved drawing sticks - old Hollywood Stars. My older daughter gifted me this fabulous book of Faces years ago. Just pulled it out of my bookshelf.


Teaching again in January - a few seats available. What a great way to bring FOCUS to your life, and explore the depths of your inherent creativity!  More info on my classes here.

I also teach private 90 minute sessions. Every minute spent on what you want to focus on. There's a video that goes along with it.

My Art Goals this year:  (what are yours?)

Giving up expectations! Completely!!!
Just letting myself paint and express my art the way it feels most authentic
NOT doing realism (my skills have improved so that I COULD do if I HAD to) 
but letting my hand glide along in whatever way it wishes
to turn and twist and curve with all delight.
Not worrying about Oh that's in the wrong place,
oh my what to do with that "wayward" line...
Wonky, different, just "my way"
and being at peace and joy with that.
It has yet again revived me out of a Creative Slump. 

And now for that GIFT I mentioned in the subject line:

I have just pulled out a tutorial I created a few years ago from the archive, and added to my youtube channel. Enjoy! https://youtu.be/pdeMhnN7vfU

I have become a Big Believer in Choosing to be Happy. 

This year has put that growing faith into practice. I am deep in gratitude for this lesson.  There is One Who Walks Beside Me/You/Us. We're never Alone. Nope, never. That's what makes it possible.

Merry Christmas, one and all, 
Happy Holidays and Gentle Wishes for a New Year that redeems this past one and finds you in deeper Joy than ever before. 

Be Creative. It's Good for the Soul!
Blessings, Joanie

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Design out of the FlyBird's Box.