Rise and Shine

It rained yesterday morning, a welcome cleanse from an ever-present tense, palpable heaviness.

A couple of my friends joined me at my place for ladies’ brunch and an afternoon spent painting.

I decided to recreate a drawing I made a few years ago while looking out my window. This drawing, originally left simple—intentionally barren—came to life in this updated version.

Rise and Shine

art imitating life imitating art

Today after work, I decided to combine two of my favorite hobbies—gardening and painting. I’d been growing a pineapple top since late last year, and it’s sprouted more than double the leaves it started with. To celebrate, I gave its planter a new look.

I present… meta piña:

A pineapple in a pineapple.

This was a fun, low stress project and a perfect way to close out a number of stressful weeks.

Dream of Flight

What does it mean for you to fly?

I was speaking to my partner about a painting I recently finished, which I titled, “Dream of Flight:”

Dream of Flight, acrylic on canvas

I spend so much of my time day dreaming. My head constantly in the clouds, an eternal optimist, for better or for worse. I often laugh with my partner, who is the pragmatist out of the two of us, that I spend so much time in my thoughts that the line between earth and sky becomes a blur.

In the times when I’m much more invested in my inward world, I ask myself if I’m trying to escape something. Truthfully? Yes.

A play on power, passion, peace, and balance

I’m experimenting with a series of paintings. I finished the first of these today as a gift for my best friend, whose birthday was earlier this month.

Happy birthday, S!

Planning a peaceful afternoon of painting, I finished this piece after responding to my ex, who recently reached out to me for my birthday, which just passed this long weekend. I said that we should cut contact. I was in tears.

While contemplating this piece, I channeled power and passion. Today as I wrap up, I seek peace and balance.

Capturing bursts of gold

I haven’t painted in a while, and I’ve taken a total pause on my pet portraits. I’ve been dreaming up some ideas that I’d like to get on canvas, and this weekend is the first in a while that I can devote to just makin’ stuff.

I whipped out my sketchbook to rough plan and try to capture those amalgamations of hazy images in my mind. More structure? Less structure? I’m teeter tottering between something definite and defined while allowing enough space and wiggle to produce something spontaneous and abstract.

I flipped through some of my sketches to jog some flow back into my wrists. Though I add dates to every sketch, I tend to jump around, with sections of book covering some dark days over varied time frames, others doodles of strangers or landscapes, and others covering mutations of my favorite shapes.

In flipping these pages, I’m looking for bursts of gold. You know, those little nuggets that are buried in sand but glimmer just enough that with the light angled just right, reflect a ping of something novel?

The last thing I drew was a tree. I always struggle drawing and painting trees, and I feel like mine always feel so forced.

A fantasy bonsai from Hell

There is something wild about trees that I have not been able to capture. How does one capture something so wild?

Signed, sealed, (and soon to be) delivered

I just finished sealing my latest pet painting! Here’s a photo of Ponyo’s portrait:

I’m planning to deliver it next week.

If you’re curious about her name, this corgi was named after Brunhilde, daughter of the sea wizard Fujimoto, in the Ghibli animated film Ponyo. Early in the film, she declares her preference to be called Ponyo, and we follow her reclamation of her identity and sense of purpose throughout the film. I’m not doing this film any justice at all by how I’ve described it, but I won’t say more so I don’t spoil it. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for something to watch that’s got a mix of tenderness, adventure, and sprinkles of magic and mysticism.

Personally, I think Ponyo rolls off the tongue much easier than Brunhilde. What do you think?

Keeping things fresh

It’s almost the end of the year, and it’s easy to feel like 2020 was both the longest and swiftest year of my life. Nationwide cases of COVID-19 are surging, as we brace ourselves for winter and a holiday season that brings a greater sense of isolation and financial instability for many this time around. I work in public and mental health, and the question around the work we are all asking is how do we manage physical distancing and sheltering in place when addressing mental health is critical for longevity?

Frequently working from home, it’s also easy to feel a sense of monotony throughout the days, weeks, months, and soon-to-be year. (To be fair, I am deeply grateful to be able to work from home.) I’ve been rotating various hobbies to keep things fresh and moving, and one of the hobbies back in rotation is painting. I am far from having any formal training in this craft, but I’ve always loved creating anything by hand and have painted for years. Recently, I started off painting a derpy portrait of my cat, but now painting pet portraits has become a side project, and I’ve managed to get a queue of portraits together.

I’m only on my third portrait, but I’ve got three more in the queue!

It all started with my muse George.
I painted Rue for a couple of my best friends in the Bay Area.
I’m working on a third portrait and mixed a sweet coral to match this pup’s namesake and color vibe for the background.

I try to get to know these pets’ personalities so I can capture unique quirks. It’s honestly the best part, and I often find myself laughing as I paint these silly facial expressions.

Painting has also been great with relieving stress, which also helps when I have technological issues and want to throw my laptop across the room!

If you’re reading this and feel apprehensive about starting anything crafty, just try it! No one starts off a master at anything anyway, and the most important part is whether you find joy in what you’re doing. If cost is an issue, try repurposing things you’ve already got at home. I’ve also painted old planters that have otherwise been collecting dust. I’ve used my glue gun to put several odd objects together, including repairing my toilet seat. (It’s easier than bugging my landlord and way more cost-effective for me.) Happy crafting!