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Monday, December 31, 2012

2012- A Recap.

☑ 2012 brought me a new, fabulous word to live by, Bloom. As I wrote in this post, my wish for the nearly finished year was to open up to new things, flourish, stay healthy, express in my life the spiritual qualities of flowers- grace, simplicity, beauty, inspiration. I sincerely sent my wish out into the Universe, and it sent me back all kind of blessings in return. I can say now, looking back, this has been a fantastic word to live by...


☑ I attended (even if not in person) my first Surtex ever!! Can you believe that??? My art (and heart) exibiting in the Big Apple, and looots of new eyes onto it! Oh my :)

via

☑ I signed licensing agreements, had a steep learning curve, enjoyed the growing time so much. I had such a positive feedback on my work, refined it as I painted and painted, challenged myself, fattened my portfolio, managed to cope with "deadlines" and accepted my chronic migraines. Furthermore, I've worked on the concept that I don't necessarily have to accept them as chronic, and it's totally possible they go away. 


☑ After craving for it for years, I finally started (and succesfully managed to keep) an art journal. Actually two. I love to define art journaling as my Pensieve and have no idea how I could live without it before!


☑ I reaffirmed to myself Art heals and saves. It has helped me during the toughest periods of my life and it still does on a daily basis. I painted lots of meaningful and powerful pieces during 2012, and once again felt the urge to share my inspiration and colors with the world.


☑ I have had my nice dose of vintage and antique bliss over the year... and with my finds I've been able to produce lots of images that eventually will find their way to the gift industry. Just in case you're wondering- yes, I am still pinching myself in disbelief! 
I have also felt really blessed to be able to "see", "feel" and "hear", and profoundly realized this is a great gift I've been given.


☑ I have challenged myself to create from scratch journals out of discarded materials, and I have been really happy with the result. I am delighted this journal has become source of inspiration for others too.


☑ I have created a Biz Gratitude Book, and I feel so thankful as I fill in its pages with my job- related small and big joys ...


☑ I have serendipitously found quotes that spoke volumes to me, or as I like to think, they serendipitously found their way to me... Many of them, if not all, I found when I really needed them- isn't this practical magic? :)


☑ I finally understood there's nothing wrong with my being a (happy) introvert, and bravely stepped out of my comfort zone sharing my thoughts on the subject on my blog. In return, I have received several notes from people feeling the very same, sharing their own stories with me. For that I am honored and grateful, as they're going to enrich my experience.


☑ I already knew I was strong, but this year I had the chance to reaffirm that to myself. It's always good to remember.


☑ I have decided to stay open.

Photo by me- Necklace by Liz Lamoreux

☑ I finally launched a brand- new website and my new, main blog. It was emotional for me to finally see all I have been building for years disclosing under my eyes- not the mere site actually, but the wildest of my dreams. A career as licensing artist. A creative job out of my greatest and deepest passions. Something I need like breathing and am very good at. Something that allows me to do what keeps me alive, and something that many people around me thought was not possible at all.

☑ I have wholeheartedly trusted the Abundance and God's plan, and received lots of blessings even when our sweetest, beloved furbaby Kim decided it was time to free herself from her material body and stay with us in a different form. I know in my chest she's very proud of me
What's sure is that she has given me the gift of a steep spiritual growth and a steadfast, powerful inspiration. Each time I look at those eyes, it's like I can kiss her head and hug her in the flesh... 


☑ I had once again proof (and more than once this year) that everything happens for a reason, that our dreams do not come true at our own pace but only when the right time comes. I still have some dreams in my pocket, I know they will eventually come true. 


Farewell 2012! You've been a blooming year I will tenderly remember forever!
Monica x

Sunday, December 23, 2012

My Precious Kim...


... is now free from her material body and running happily once again!
I cannot tell you how much I love her, how much she has loved me. She has blessed my husband and me with years of love, joy, true friendship and inspiration.
Thanks from the heart for all the well wishes, love, prayers you've sent our way. They helped to keep her here with us for 4 intense, abundant months.
You have taught me the ways of the Force, you have been my best friend, my baby. I cannot thank you enough for helping me through those scary times,  for always being there for me and with me, for allowing me to be your best friend and Mom during your physical experience. We will always be together.
Monica x

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

True Home.

I have mentioned here before that recently I have switched to a new idea of home, more spiritual than material. For my new readers, my hubby, Kim and I are still camping among piles of boxes (bare necessities and mainly my growing creative stuff), next month it'll be two years that our belongings have been in storage and among several mishaps, we haven't found four walls + a roof to call our own as of yet. You may easily understand why the theme of a home has been around my mind a lot!
Last month or so I started to become sooo tired of this uncomfortable situation that all I wanted to do was screaming. Until this quote serendipitously found its way to me. What I believe is that it was the right moment for me to receive it- I was ready. A second before, and it would have gotten lost.


The other night, while I was working on something totally different that I had to finish for a client, I happened to put my eyes on a dirty canvas from a discarded work, and I immediately felt the urge to make that new idea of home (still swirling in my mind) visible, as a reminder to myself. A girl's face appeared... the imperfections of the background weren't disturbing anymore.


I painted the girl and wrote the quote, slightly changed in the tense, on her neck, to always remember to stick to the true idea of home. 

"Home isn't a set house, or a single town on a map. It is wherever the people who love you are, whenever you are together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go."


I added three hearts, symbolizing our three hearts- hubby's, Kim's and mine. Our three names are secure between the layers of paint.



Monica x

Saturday, December 8, 2012

And She Found herself in the Enchanted Forest...

It was one of those days when all I want is to soak up the solitude and peacefulness. My heart heavy with anxiety and lots of mixed thoughts swirling in my head, off I went for a solitary walk... and I found myself in the Enchanted Forest.



I wandered along the fall- carpeted paths, sunbeams kissing the golden leaves still on the trees and those adorning the ground, in the sole company of my camera and the rhythm of my heartbeats...


... and only once in a while my path was crossed by another lonely soul and their own heartbeats.

Seeing this now, after some weeks have passed, it was one of those moments in life when you're totally receptive, you just have to open your eyes and look. Open your ears and listen. Pay attention. Keep an open heart and open mind. Surrender. Truth is disclosing to you.


With my eyes wide open, I watched at the familiar landscape differently. Seemed like I had been thrown right into Hogwarts, so I was ready to expect all kind of magic happening all of a sudden. 





And I wasn't disappointed at all. The wood started to come alive, out of the blue I was able to hear the trees speaking and whispering in my ears.



Hearts started appearing everywhere in front of my nose...




I finally perceived the Abundance of the situation I was in, and felt at peace.


"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it."
Roald Dahl
Monica x

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Art Journaling= My "Pensieve".

"What is it?"
"This? It is called a Pensieve. I sometimes find, and I am sure you know the feeling, that I simply have too many thoughts and memories crammed into my mind.""One simply siphons the excess thoughts from one's mind, pours them into the basin, and examines them at one's leisure. It becomes easier to spot patterns and links, you understand, when they are in this form".

from Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling


I consider art journaling like my Pensieve. No need to add further words to Albus Dumbledore's, except that, when paired with art, thoughts become even more clear and powerful.




This is the first time in my entire creative life I keep an art journal. I've kept several written (not visual) ones before, but I find this process is bringing me to a new, wholly different level of self- consciousness. It's illuminating, cathartic, healing and challenging at the same time.


Monica x

Sunday, November 11, 2012

One Year in Licensing!

This month, I celebrate one year in licensing!


Wow it has been quite a busy year (non only job wise, but that's another story!).
I am proud of myself, of the moments in which I had fears and those in which I have bravely overcome them; of how I managed to cope with the times when migraines and exhaustion didn't allow me to do what I had to, but in the end I did it all; of how I listened to my heart (... painting what you want to paint or what clients ask you to? Such an amletic question! While I'm almost always pleased to oblige, as I like to challenge myself, when your heart is rebeling, you definitely have to say a loud no!).
I am happy that my learning curve has soared this year... in this job, there are a considerable number of things to know, and having your own creative biz you have to wear several hats, so to speak.
Really love this growing time!
Now off to celebrate over tea and cake, will you join me?
Monica x

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Open.

I have to remember to keep an open heart. An open mind. Open arms to embrace hope and goodness. I need to stay open to possibility, open to new ideas, open to what is calling me. Open to receive healing when healing comes.
I just have to remember that.

My wonderful necklace by Liz Lamoreux. You can see me wearing it often these days.
Monica x

Saturday, October 6, 2012

About Creative Blocks.


I want to share here on my blog my thoughts and personal experience about this subject. The awesome blogging community gives us the blessing and opportunity to inspire and support each others, even if thousands of miles lie between us!

I’ve recently received emails and comments from creative people hungry for more insights from an artist’s perspective. As I too have found along the way inspiration and uplifting ideas by wonderful artists that helped me tremendously, this is what I'm hoping to do here with you.

I'll start sharing an excerpt from a conversation I had a few months ago with a fellow artist and friend, who mentioned a "creative block" in one of her emails to me.
On the spur of the moment I wrote her: “ "When you sit down and feel like you're blocked, don't let that thought interfere with your creativity that (here is the gentle truth!) is NOT blocked. Try to just let the color flow onto paper or canvas, just play for a while concentrating on positive thoughts of abundance and not lack. Do not think about the result, just have fun fun fun and relax."
I further explained her that I don't believe anymore in 'blocks' (this means once I used to believe they existed). My spiritual journey has guided me towards the understanding that inspiration flows continuously through us and around us in form of beautiful ideas- it's up to us to believe that or not. When we are not inspired to paint (create), we may be inspired to cook, to tidy up our things or decorate home... or maybe it's because our body or mind physiologically need to rest or we are guided to focus our attention on something different. Creative people tend to be way too demanding on themselves, and often forget to rest (which should be something wise to do, instead, that could help produce even better work). If we painted or crafted all day long every single day, we couldn't go for a walk, for example, and see that gorgeous flower, or landscape or notice that fantastic color combination which inspire us fabulous new artworks.

I can tell you from my experience of more than 20 years of work as an artist, that what's best to mantain a really inspired attitude is to just PLAY! I really find I make the best stuff when I let my self-imposed demanding thoughts go, and work freely without thinking about the result... with no thoughts of impossibility, and without letting deadlines, comparisons, all the rest I have to do, etc. interfere with my playing.

If you believe you’re blocked, don't add mental weight to that and swift your thoughts instead to the idea that you're always able to arrange a wonderful bunch of flowers from the garden, mixing and matching the perfect shapes and colors from the borders; cook an inviting, colored meal, tablescape prettily or rearrange things around your home. These are evidence that your creativity is not. blocked. at. all!

Excercise your thoughts. Remember that our own beliefs are our best friends (or worst enemies!). Just take it easy, and simply be. In no time you'll be painting (creating) in the studio with lots of renewed strength and enthusiasm.
The lovely friend with whom I had this conversation was so kind to agree my sharing it here on my blog for your benefit too, and dropped me a note telling me that my words sit with her every time she paints.  I can tell you I’ve witnessed an incredible renewed inspiration and creativity in her work recently. 
Monica x

Friday, September 21, 2012

Newly Sharpened Pencils...

"Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address."



Happy Fall!
Monica x

Monday, September 3, 2012

Tear Up and Paste.

A while back, I mentioned I was happily back to my "old- fashioned" inspiration journals, after I deleted my Pinterest account. I am now even happier, after my copyright has been infringed... Fortunately it was a minor violation and all is solved now, but that once again reinforced my decision- the idea of Pinterest as an online inspiration board is truly great, except that, in my humble opinion, people tend to use others' work too freely.
I have started this journal in July, to help me through a difficult period of recurrent bad migraines. I suffer from chronic migraines, and a dear friend suggested this therapy :) When I was not too bad, but still needed time off work or other activities, I simply sat at my desk in dim light and flipped through magazines, looking for relief. This would have been impossible in front of the monitor, and it's one of the reasons why I love these old-fashioned journals so much!
After a bit of thinking, I decided to massively step out of my comfort zone, and instead of using scissors, I simply teared up the magazines. Something my tidy self was astounded about! :)
Also, I just went for a normal, cheap, even a bit ugly exercise book instead of a more elegant binder. Kraft paper helped me prettify it, and this way I'll have my future journals all cooordinated with this one, no matter which brand I buy. I just love coordinates.


This very journal is a mix of themes, but I keep each page clean and neat by coordinating colors and subjects too. I have a ginormous collection of magazines, all in storage at the moment, and I plan on making journals like these out of them. I may start several at the same time and do one for "Garden", one for "Kitchen", one for "Recipes", another for "Storage, etc. etc. ideas.
I may even add notes on the pages, or complete them with other clippings as I find them.



I love my magazines and I've refrained from cutting them out for a long time! Finally, my practical self won me over!


I'm sure they'll provide lots of happy and relaxing hours this winter ahead, curled up on the sofa with a warm, cozy blanket!



Do you make inspiration journals the old- fashioned way?
Monica x