love your self

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

black gouache, a big paintbrush & a creamy page from my sketchbook it's bold floral love - Susan Black

Love after love

The time will come 
when, with elation 
you will greet yourself arriving 
at your own door, in your own mirror 
and each will smile at the other's welcome, 

and say, sit here. Eat. 
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart 
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you 

all your life, whom you ignored 
for another, who knows you by heart. 
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, 

the photographs, the desperate notes, 
peel your own image from the mirror. 
Sit. Feast on your life.

Derek Walcott

sigh ... 

I just discovered Derek Walcott

I believe that time is coming, my time - it feels like it's nearly here - but maybe it always feels like it's nearly here, there ... everywhere. Change & growth in my life is happening so fast & furiously it makes me feel dizzy most of the time. Dizzy in that glorious, wonderful, amazed way like you've just rolled down a steep grassy hill and you feel so giddy you can't stand up and very occasionally it's dizzy and dazed  in that sickening shaming, worrying way - that icky, sticky feeling I now know and trust is not ever going to go away, uncomfortable is always going to bang on my door from time to time. I'm learning to invite her in, sit with her awhile and eventually she'll leave again, she'll be on her way - 'til next time.

I've actually had several hours today when I've felt like I was caught up with myself (my goals and action steps) for my current 18 brand new artwork, fabulous, freaky, wonderful, terrifying, just a little bit stressful (insert big wink here) project/opportunity - deadline Nov/08th eek. Caught up enough that I felt I could stop by here to my beloved blog ... say hello and show you one of my new current obsessions. Black & white (or cream in this instance). Check out my B&W pinterest board + neutrals hmmm, oh my I do so love me some ivory, cream & kraft ;-)

leaf swirl tiny daisy pattern - ink - Susan Black

courage, my love

Monday, October 28, 2013

rooting (hopefully) virginia creeper cuttings / and the sky & sea are one / la silhouette de le BleetNess / Samuel in his backyard / gorgeous red berries of the poisonous Deadly Nightshade / little Betty street cat (for now anyway) / from the crescent beach / Tweet another for now street cat / lavender asters / he (Oliver) works so hard / Miss Winnie D by my big swath of cosmos bright lights / fall colour / Miss Betty / more explorations on the crescent beach / Tweet / cosmos bright lights seed head / the dude inspecting the creeper cuttings ;-)

I am never more courageous than when I am 
embracing imperfection, embracing vulnerabilities, 
and setting boundaries with the people in my life.
Brené Brown

I have this one memorized, written on a post note (neon pink of course) and stuck to my big beautiful imac + I would  seriously consider getting it turned into a tattoo in some beautiful script font maybe on the inside of my left arm. Embracing things you formerly considered flaws is not easy, setting boundaries with the people in your life - even harder.
But ultimately it feels right, it feels good. It feels strong ... it feels like me.

Courage is my friend and I am becoming braver all the time.

the quote is from Brené Brown's fabulous book The Gifts of Imperfection

letting go ...

Sunday, October 27, 2013

a spectacular still early morning harbour / hydrangea / seed heads along the crescent beach / virginia creeper berries / itty bitty Betty / Virgil & the geraniums / sunrise clouds / the beautiful fall colour of virginia creeper / my Missy Dee XOXO / low tide on the crescent beach / asters in the back garden / antique piggy bank / mo' Betty / the salt mine wharf 

Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change. 
Brené Brown

It's been a busy week here at the TTD I've almost completed 10 new artworks, 10 of 18 for this new wonderful top secret project (soon to be revealed). I have an end of the monthish deadline, realistically it will likely be more like mid November before the entire project is put to bed. I've been working so fast & so furiously at times, creating new collage pieces, that I can't, I don't have time to critique them - which is probably a really good thing as objectiveness toward my own work is near impossible when I'm in the thick of it.

While I work I listen to TV shows, TED talks, Hay House radio shows, audio books and I've been doing plenty of thinking. Thinking a lot about vulnerability, authenticity and their evil nemesis shame. I've been carrying around some big shame for as long as I can remember. I'm trying to let go of it.

I realize saying trying to let go is kind of the opposite of actually letting go, I don't think your supposed to try and let go. You just let go. Let go. Let go. Ahhhhhhhhhh ...

Let go

paws on

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Oliver (Creative Director at Susan Black Design) dans la messy desktop - fav nyc blog sweet fine day on my imac desktop / autumn awe / still harbour / Virgil on his nubbly orange blanky / we ♡ seed heads / pink petunias & red impatience / seed head silhouette / Missy D & Tweet on the boardwalk at sunrise / itty bitty Betty and her big personality / Oliver and my current Carolyn Gavin ecojot jumbo coil bound journal

I am still learning - Michelangelo

How can I say this in a forwarding way ... uh, um Oliver is ... well, let's just say he's a very paws on boss CD* here at CEQ**

* creative director  ** creative empire headquarters

welcome kindling

Monday, October 21, 2013

bold floral 2 - collage, gouache, ink on cardboard - Susan Black 2013 -  Lilla Roger's course Make Art That Sells Part A

Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity & change. To create is to make something that has never existed before–there's nothing more vulnerable than that. Adaptability to change is all about vulnerability.
Brené Brown*

I am so conscious and aware of my creative world & work life evolving - especially this year 2013, it's not only evolving but expanding in leaps and freakin' bounds. The journey I'm on is amazing, exciting, awful, thrilling, scary, enlightening and constantly changing - morphing all the time into something slightly different than the day before. Change and growth are happening at break neck speed. My emotions are like a roller coaster in a way, with an intensity I don't remember ever feeling before, clickety clackety, clickety clackety up & up & up and then hang on tight ... as I plunge down the other side,  eyes tightly closed, body tensed, down into a pit, a drop often so severe it leaves me wobbly and convinced this ride has finally stopped, dead in it's tracks, broken or maybe there's something wrong with me ... maybe I'm broken.

Things get pretty scary at times & I'll admit I don't handle the fear well - my coping strategies are often desperate, but I realize as we near the end of this big & tres challenging year that I don't ever give myself enough credit. I am getting so much better at recognizing Fear & Anxiety for what they really are–kindling. Kindling for the next fire. I'm realizing, I'm believing ... I'm actually knowing now for the first time ever that after these intense and painful emotions comes the spark of brilliance. The spark that lights the fire. The fire that is me. Ah ha, phew or whew !!! This new knowledge is making those emotions so much easier to deal with. I've noticed, been noticing, for years this roller coaster trend, this cycle repeat itself over and over and over again in my creative life but especially these last few years when that creative life has become MY creative life. Susan Black's creative life. I'm out there now in the world - big time, dancing as fast and as best as I can. It's scary sometimes. I am being Brave. Courage is my best friend but I need Doubt & Insecurity also to push me forward–and they do, reliably. I count on them, just as I know I can count on Fear & Anxiety to remind me of what's important.

uh ... I think we can definitely file this one under Amazing Ah Ha Moments & Big Breakthroughs.

les anthem pour moi ;-)

* I'm taking Oprah/Brené Brown's e-course - The Gifts of Imperfection - it began yesterday & it's going to be fantastic + it's the most perfect timing for me (bonjour Madam Universe), there's still time to sign up the deadline is Oct 23rd - info here

a delicious life

Friday, October 18, 2013

66 square feet - a delicious life - one woman, one terrace, 92 recipes by Marie Viljoen

The act of cooking has satisfied the hedonist in me; it is an act that gives 
me pleasure. But it also provided direction, occupation, and a sense of achievement when my life has been unhappy, method when structure has been needed. It has been a practical form of escapism, masking my tendency to withdraw. It has consummated celebrations in happy times and has always been a reward to look forward to at the end of a day. Cooking now is less about following recipes than about imagination, memory, desire, and inspiration; the latter often grows on the terrace outside, on the roof above my head, or is brought back from the day's market or foraging trip. 
In one dish I try to create a small pocket of perfection, an unassailable space in time when giving and taking pleasure in the present is the only goal. Even if it's just melted cheese on toast.

from the introduction of 66 Square Feet - a delicious life - one woman, one terrace, 92 recipes by Marie Viljoen

A delicious life & a delightful book. Our Marie's book arrived yesterday, I say our Marie because I know many of you that stop by 29 Black Street regularly also visit the (former) Brooklyn address (now Harlem tres exciting) of her long time blog 66 Square Feet. A blog about gardening, a 66 ft square terrace, foraging, nature, life, love, food & one incredible cad cat (Estorbo who has his own hilarious blog & facebook page).

I have been visiting Marie's, Storbie's & Beence's Vince's blogs for as long as I can remember. Like many of the blogs we come to love with a passion we're never quite sure how we ended up visiting them that very first time but we do remember that feeling of kinship, inspiration & delight that has kept us returning day after day after day ... year after year.

Vince, Estorbo & Marie from a Martha Stewart magazine article on bloggers who garden with passion

The writing is beautiful, funny & warm and if you've been reading her blog it's just more, another big fat yummy slice of Marie's unique, delightful & humorous take on life, gardening & food. Many of the gorgeous photos, spreads and cityscapes are taken by Vincent (her husband) a spectacular photographer, the rest mainly food & flora by Marie herself. I knew when I added it to my Indigo/Chapter's wish list ages ago, pre-publication, I would like this book but when it arrived yesterday ... oh my it was pure instantaneous love. The physical book itself is beautiful - it's the perfect size & heft, a well designed layout & concept (a month by month memoir style with a complete menu and cocktail for each month), smooth, luscious paper & gorgeous images.

I love this book. I just want to carry it around hugging it I feel so proud &  so very thrilled for Marie. I feel like we're old friends, she, Estorbo & I,  like often happens when you fall hard for a blogger. I'm relishing in this amazing success. Plus they've just moved 12 miles north to Harlem and to a way bigger terrace - I visit her blog now each day with a kind of crazed, new enthusiasm & anticipation of what's to come next, a new neighbourhood, new stories, new recipes, a new huge terrace, new shops ... I'm gushing I know but this book really is gush worthy ;-)

& Estorbo's blog (her big, black Dominican cad cat) with the very tick, very difficult to understand accent completely cracks me up and makes me snort loudly at my desk I love him as if he were my own cad cat - if you love cads cats and you know I sure do !! be sure to visit Storbie. Thank you Marie !

a gorgeous kitchen ranunculus & daffodil bouquet photo from the inside cover off 66 Square Feet by Marie

a charmed life

Thursday, October 17, 2013

trying (?) to have more of this loose, free, spontaneous style in my new layered Photoshop collage work

With the distance I have now, I can see that it was one small thought among all the other thoughts that drift like dust motes through a cluttered mind. But it was a thoughtI made an object, and held on to and turned over and over in my hand, as if it were an amulet, as if it gave meaning to what had come before: and holding on to it changed everything.

This fantastic first short paragraph of Chapter 5 from my current good bedtime book - The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud really spoke to me. In the same chapter she mentions this first hit from Macy Grey (two of the main female characters are walking outside on a dark winter night singing this song at the top of their lungs - easy I'd think to enjoy doing). I remember I first heard this chart topping song on continuous air play everywhere while I was in Paris in 2004 with best friend Harry, a work trip to the fabulous & fantastic Maison Objet (gift & home decor) show in January of that year. I mentioned in my magic mojo mix post  in that same Cinderella year I went to work in LA for 12 days and then on to Taiwan, Hong Kong & the interior of China (a completely mind blowing, amazing, all expenses paid, 5 star trip - thank you again Jerry Kohl of Brighton). That trip was in April and then in August I spent a week in NYC (at the New York Gift Fair + being a keen touristimo) another favourite place. I lead and have lived a charmed life indeed ... and it continues to become more & more charmed all the time - bumpy sometimes I'll admit but continually tres charmed & charming.

A recent example of my charming life - just yesterday afternoon I received an email opportunity out of the blue, a custom illustration job enquiry, from a big, BIG hip fish company (who'd been cruising Etsy looking for artists) that made me jump up and down and dance madly around the CE headquarters (with Oliver & Miss D) to my current favourite Bruno Mars song - LOVE that song ! of course I can't tell you any more and probably won't be able to mention any details for ages but know that it is a very thrilling opportunity (sung by own personal chorus of angels).

It's the strangest thing about being human: to know so much, to communicate so much, and yet always to fall so drastically short of clarity, 
to be, in the end, so isolate and inadequate. Even when people try to say things, they say them poorly, or obliquely, or they outright lie, sometimes because they're lying to you, but as often because they're lying to themselves. Another killer few sentences from p77 of The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud

ahhhhh .... Macy Grey's first big hit -Try - I'm adding this fantastic song to ma magic mojo mix ;-)