trust (ing)

Monday, September 30, 2013

lilliput zinnia love / BleetNess / green & early morning light / oh my girl! with asters from this morning's walk / somebody's gotta new hobby / the blue of the harbour / crow with elm & pine / Gussie on his new fleecy orange windowsill pillow / a few leaves beginning to change colour / studio work table, zinnias & le Dude, Oliver / barnacles & periwinkles / allium seeds / the view from Oliver's office with more zinnias

Sometimes the hard thing 
and the right thing are the same thing
Gabrielle Bernstein - from Spirit Junkie

I'm a bit of a Gabby B groupie at the moment. I've watched every interview/lecture/motivational video of hers that I can find online (like this one that really resonates with me at this moment). I have her new book May Cause Miracles: A 40-Day Guidebook of Subtle Shifts For Radical Change and Unlimited Happiness - a book based on the teachings and philosophies of the book A Course in Miracles. I've read her book Spirit Junkie and have ordered Add More -Ing to Your Life (ing being inner guidance)  from the library.  She's been teaching me how to meditate, how to forgive (especially myself), how to try and be gentle and loving first & always (not easy I confess), how to forgive my fear(s) & to let go, to surrender & to pray ... which makes me feel so much better. A kind of 12 step version of prayer, praying to whomever you choose to pray to. I've realized that prayer opens you up and opens you up in a really wonderful way and it makes me feel safe and comforted. I spent this past Friday night watching her give a live webinar talk Live in the Know from a church in NYC - the video of this fantastic lecture will be soon available on her website. There was so much incredible goodness in it I couldn't keep up with my note taking and can't wait to be able to watch it again ... and again.

As I mentioned in my last blog post I have been fighting the battle of standing up for & protecting my own authentic self, trying to trust and believe in my own intuition and fighting that battle intensely (not good) - in fact I feel as if my emotions were dragged by a team of horses up & down a rutty long and winding dusty road most of last week. I feel hung over & head achey from struggling to convince & show who I am and to try and do that with grace & kindness (tres challenging and I can say with honesty that I'm pretty convinced I've failed at that last part).

I will always tell the truth. My truth. I will be authentic. 
I will be brave, thoughtful, & assertive. I will set my boundaries with care, kindness & grace whenever possible. I will choose discomfort over resentment.

I am so thrilled that's it's a new week & that tomorrow is a new month because I'm itching for a wee clean slate. The thing about hard things is the hard things are the things that teach us the biggest lessons. Hard things sometimes happen because we're ready to grow in a big way. As hard as this last while has been I do know that it's been good for me - and has reminded me that I need to trust in myself always & more ... with strength, depth & truth. I do know & I know that I know ;-)

trust your own opinion, live in the know
Gabby Bernstein

I will be brave

Thursday, September 26, 2013

early morning dew in the park / nasturtiums / my girl Winnie D / brilliant green along the crescent beach / beautiful bark / oh my, the sea, the sea / itty bitty Betty in the park / a sure sign of fall lavender asters / seaweed & barnacles / my dude-alicious guy Oliver in his pillow topped windowsill office / me and my shadow out for a post Winnie power walk / impatience still blooming madly / little lichen worlds

When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated. This is why we sometimes attack who they are, which is far more hurtful than addressing a behaviour or a choice.

Brené Brown

It's funny how, well actually it's not at all funny - it's sad, how as women we feel afraid to set our boundaries. We feel worried about speaking our truth and asking for what we need and want especially when we know what we need & want isn't jiving with someone else's expectations of us. I know I personally feel intensely upset when I feel I have to continually draw my line in the sand, that same line I've drawn already several times. It begins to feel like confrontation when I have to reiterate the same requests & the same desires ... my needs & wants over and over again. I end up feeling like the bad guy for being assertive, for being confident and speaking my mind articulately, carefully & with as much kindness as I can muster. 

Anybody who doesn't hear the word no is trying to control you

I can remember this quote from an Oprah interview with Gavin de Becker which one can apply to many situations in life. Big control, little control, the my way or the highway control and lots & lots of smaller subconscious control. I would also add "when someone doesn't hear your word no - it feels like they are not really listening to you". When someone continually "seems" like they're not listening to you two things happen - you feel pissed off & disrespected and you begin to shut down the desire to maintain a relationship with that person. 

I've always been a pretty assertive woman, especially when it comes to my (25+ years) creative career, it's probably the area of my life, by far, I'm the least insecure about. I think about most everything, certainly all the important things, in my life with intense care, scrutiny & balance - if anything I could be said to over think most things so by the time it comes around to making choices & decisions it's rare that I would ever feel iffy about something. I am sure or I wouldn't be speaking out loud. But sadly sometimes when it comes to speaking those views it feels hard, it somehow feels mean disagreeing with someone, assertiveness especially when you're a woman is often interpreted as aggressiveness, over confidence ... even bitchyness.

Choose discomfort over resentment - Brené Brown

My promise to myself is that as difficult as it feels at times. I will always tell the truth. My truth. I will be authentic. I will be brave, thoughtful, & assertive. I will set my boundaries with care & I will continue to always choose discomfort over resentment.

and an aha moment - my horoscope for today @ fav place for horoscopes
Today’s quarter moon in Cancer brings an important moment for inner reflection. Are you living true to your purpose or are you stuck in someone else’s reality, trying to play a role better suited for them than for yourself? As Shakespeare wrote, “To thine own self be true.” It’s better to risk conflict and face the music of people’s dismay than to compromise your path any longer. While you don’t have to overturn your entire life today, start making adjustments to your course.

oh boy, oh oh + cats

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Virgil (Gussie) & Olive / Miss Betty on the boardwalk / brothers / Bleet the black velvet chicelet / someones brainstorming & conceptualizing with me (notice Miss D's shaggy lil' legs under the desk in her bed) / Itty Bitty Betty in the park / handsome, handsome / tres paws on Creative Director of Susan Black Design hovering ... micro managing (sigh) as usual

Fear is trusting in your own power

Love that quote & I believe it ! Maybe I'll get a lovely scripty tattoo of that so I can be reminded forever what fear actually is.

I can't decide if it's a thrill, a big ol' oh ! boy !! or if it's more of an oh ! oh ! situation but I have just discovered that I can watch our Netflix subscription on my lovely large imac while I work, draw, cut, paste, clip, glue, erase, redraw ... It's not that I didn't know that that was likely possible & fairly easy to rig up - I'd just never tried and up until yesterday I'd been happy to fill my days at my desk watching or listening to a real mish mash of stuff. I do find listening to something helps not only get me in the groove but keep me there for hours on end - which is a very good thing. I watch/listen to a ton of inspirational & aspirational mostly youtube videos TED talks, Jonathan Fields, Oprah's Super Soul Sunday etc...) many of them over & over again - attempting to drive their motivational message home, or listening to select CBC radio favourite shows, listening to audio CD's from the library* or watching regular channel  tv (mostly trash or guilty pleasure) on my computer - Dr. Phil (uh huh - sad face), Celebrity Apprentice (another sad face), America's Next Top Model, Master Chef (love the show + i've gotta huge crush on Joe Bastianich) & long time favourite soap opera (key dramatic music) The Bold & the Beautiful.

Yesterday while trying to copy the netflix homepage link to email to a family member Netflix kindly logged me in, how sweet of it. It asked me to tell it my 5 favourites from a long and fantastic list of great TV series and movies so that it might recommend things to me ... why Merci Netflix ! the rest is now history. Bonjour Netflix. & oh my Netflix ... you are somethin' else, you are stunning, you are vast, I'm truly amazed at the incredible selection for my viewing/listening pleasure. I'm both thrilled & worried (just a little) that the having to watch or glance up make take up to much of "make & do" time. We'll see. Began last night with Episode 1, Season 1 of Homeland.

ps - need ? want ? more terrific cat pics do you know about our favourite all things cat love blog kitteh kats

* current audio books from the library Neil Gaiman's new book, the new David Sedaris (warning to self be careful not to snort too much while trying to paint fine lines) & Yan Martels' - The Life of Pi

restraint & constraint(s)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Bold Floral collage, ink & paint on kraft board - Susan Black - giclee prints available here

Sometimes I ask creatives to tell me about projects that were especially difficult to execute. While the outcomes may vary, the beginnings of these nightmare projects share a common theme: the person felt especially free.

It turns out constraints – whether they are deadlines, budgets or highly specific creative briefs – help us manage our energy and execute ideas. While our creative side intuitively seeks freedom and openness – blue sky projects – our productivity desperately requires restrictions.

Scott Belsky - from his book Making Ideas Happen

So the new project I'm working on falls under the umbrella title of "art-full" the customer coined that term and I love it. The collection of work is to be artful, inspirational & aspirational. Shut Up !! I couldn't be more thrilled with the "idea"(note the word idea in quotations means still way up there in that unconstrained big, blue, creative sky). This new work is based in feeling & style on my previous botanical collage work (which incidentally is work that I created for myself, for fun and as I mentioned in my Land of Trust post came together really by accident - as if I somehow drank some creative meditative potion and madly began cutting little pieces of paper, glueing lots of bits and then drawing only to awake from my spell to see the final piece not having any clear memory of how I actually arrived at the end – or at least that's how it feels to me. Now that I've been given the task of recreating similar work on purpose ... well, yikes !! to say the least.

I've had weeks to think about this new project, to sketch and make notes. The customer & I have had 2 fantastic conference calls and we've managed to narrow the scope and add the constraints  necessary for me to be able to try and land myself back on earth and out of the clouds and that vast big blue sky.

so ... constraints √

All spring & summer I've been busy doing other projects which I feel have had a much more commercial, less artful style. Work I also love - typographic, inspirational & also aspirational, I hope, but a little less artful than my botanical collages & a lot more premeditated than that body of work (it actually is a body by now of near 20 pieces) that I've created with that botanical/collage theme. All these past months while plugging away at the other projects and long before I knew this big fabulous, dream project would land on my desk I've been thinking about what my knew incarnation of botanical collages (or just collages & drawing) would look like, be like ... & the one thing I kept coming up with - is wanting to show some restraint. To leave negative space, I wondered how could I intentionally simplify my work, have it be spare, bare even in areas. I'm never sure how the work (like the piece above) gets so busy & full & loud & crazy & bold -because I never mean for them to end up that way. It's the work of that darn old potion I've been drinking. I need to concoct a new creative potion. I want a new potion - a potion labeled restraint.

so ... restraint (in composition, palette & execution) is my new creative goal & I'm still workin' on that one ;-)

a new print

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Black & White Vase No. 1 - mixed media on birch canvas panel - Susan Black - 8x10 giclee prints available here

Miss D continues to be tres spry & much improved, clicking down the stairs with ease and most often by herself + we've been walking much farther on our strolls each morning. We begin her daily dose of Metacam today - a strong non-steroid anti-inflammatory drug (for inflammation & arthritic pain). My girl over the years has torn both knee ligaments (years apart) and didn't have surgery either time - my vet's decision as the surgery really at best has a 50/50 success rate + Winnie D, the vet felt, would be too traumatized by the whole affair (which she would). So it's not much wonder her much older, prey chasin' little shaggalicious legs, are causing her the occasional difficulty. We will try the Metacam for 2 weeks to see if it makes a difference (apparently sometimes it doesn't).

& I have a new cheapo Staedtler mechanical pencil which is thrilling me way more than a pencil should ;-)

the land of trust

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Zinnia 1 - collage/mixed media - Susan Black // giclee prints available here

there is no try
only make and do

I'm trying (with all my might) to not try

The most exciting creative work I've made over the last few years I've made I'll admit, kind of by accident. Lately I've been creating my new work both for myself and for customers, I'm working in a creative collaboration which is nothing new for someone who spent the first many, many years of her creative career as a graphic designer (I continue to prefer the title/label designer over artist still). With this new (exciting, tremendous & fabulous) project I've begun working on I've been catching myself trying to recreate that kind of by accident atmosphere, head space, environment, attitude & process that I was in when I created many of the pieces of mine that when I look at them now I'm completely in awe of them - I have a hard time imagining that I ever did make them. What was my darn secret ? I look at pieces like the one above and think hmmmm I wonder where I even began ? eek. Eeek, eek !

There's an innocence and a wonderful unaffected energy to artwork that's created in that magical place of not trying too hard. That magical place is the land of Trust.

I'm finally at the make & do phase of this new (secret for now) exciting, tremendous & fabulous project. It's time to take the project out of my head (where of course it can remain nothing but exciting, tremendous & fabulous) and turn it into actual art pieces (6-8 of them). I am trying with all my might to not try, to not spend endless wasted hours trying to recreate some imaginary place I once was at when I created other artwork I'm happy with. I'm trying to not wander aimlessly the halls & boards of my 3,804 Pinterest pins. I know in my heart I don't need to be inspired anymore.

I need now to make, create, do (with my brain turned to the standby position)... that is the (only) place where the magic will/can happen.

Winnie Dixon update -  she is so much better, her back legs stronger (hooray !) & she can even go down the stairs without my assistance although she happily began to enjoy the routine of me coming up with her leash and walking step by step down with me. Mama overreacted yet again & fell head first into the sticky pessimism pit - it's so difficult not to when your dog is nearing her 15th birthday. Many thanks for all her well wishes xoxo Miss D

just heard on Q radio 1 - Canada's own Rufus Wainright, such a beautiful song from 2007

a pack of two

Friday, September 13, 2013

Miss D on the boardwalk / herself, Madam Betty extraordinary street cat / fading mini pink roses / the harbour / shaggalicious legs + puddle / ahhh geranium / starlings flocking / coreopsis maybe / raven / a sure sign falls near / great blue heron / mini tomato harvest / oh my sweet girl Miss Winnie Dixon

Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can 
grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. 


I love Rumi ! so many wise words ... words to inspire, comfort & sometimes cling to

Hello, hello ! I am still here, plugging away at project after project, one lovely big creative job melding into the next with a big extra special hum dinger beginning (officially) on Monday.

Winnie's had a slower few weeks, a very hard time going down the stairs and still getting used to the idea of my assisting her with that activity. Her appetite is good, our walks, our strolls are brief, slow and meditative. She stops often pausing to sniff the morning the air, looking off into the distance and I swear she's thinking, like I am, of our wonderful adventures & life together. She & I, oh my the places we've been - to beaches & meadows, forests and the wonderful golf course in winter - crab tolling, fox chasing, muskrat hunting (her fav), an attempted tangle with a seal at low tide & far too many near porcupine misses. Oh my Miss D you are a terrier mix girl, you loved the hunt, the chase and sadly occasionally also the kill (muskrats - boom, a grab, a shake they didn't know what hit them). Everyday, often twice a day, off we'd all go, my glorious 3 dog life, jammed into a little blue Mazda 323 my very first car ever and our adventure-mobile, two retrievers (one red - Jake & one yellow Em*), Miss D & me. When she landed here at 29 Black Street nearly 14 years ago (she'd just turned 1) she knew she'd landed in heaven that very first day & so we thought so too ;-)

* plus the story of how Miss D came to live with us