Early last year, when I embarked on a brand new project with my new friend, I felt like one long, lost soul. Life was chaotic and crazy for me, a mom of three young, hysterical, energetic, strong-willed ladies (read: stubborn, hard-headed, doggedly determined). I was trying with all my might to home school them, run my house, and a fledgling small business all at the same time. Oh, and also treat myself like a human being (as opposed to my self-martyring mom role I sometimes can play when I’m overwhelmed). Oh, and be a good wife! And friend! The time for me seemed nowhere to be found, and I was slowly folding inward with my introverted self wishing for more ways to express myself, my darkness. I was feeling trapped, claustrophobic, like I was keeping a part of myself locked up. “How can I get out of here?!?” I thought. The restlessness of my brain was just too much, and I just had no idea how to calm the beast. Do you ever feel that?
Anyhow, as most lost souls are found, I just kept walking the path of life, doing my best to navigate with the life skills that I had, and adding more in as I learned them. Thanks to said friend, I stumbled across some books by Brene Brown (if you haven’t read them, DO), and wow did she add to my skill set! I learned so much about vulnerability and courage and bravery and honesty, and I also learned painfully honest truths about my worthiness and self-esteem. After a great deal of reading and discussing with my esteemed friend, and several vulnerable interviews into our project, I was finally inspired to try a different form of creativity from my photography. I knew it had been brewing inside me. I knew I wasn’t doing enough, creating enough. I heart photography, believe me I do, but I also love to create in other ways; physical, hands covered in paint and glue and glitter that you can’t get off kind of creating, and I was missing out on that. Like my soul was craving it. My darkness wanted to be unleashed! Explored! It wanted me! We interviewed this watercolor and illustration artist, Jenna, from Mon Voir, and my mind was blown. (That’s her messy watercolor pallet up at the top.) I so much appreciated her vulnerability and courage to be so honest with us about the process of art and what it means to her. That the process of art, and what you learn about yourself during the process is what matters, not the outcome. She was incredible and inspiring. Thank you, Jenna! From there I dove in, and haven’t looked back.
After some research and getting involved in the creative community more, I found this really great community online called Get Messy Art Journal, and it’s been just incredible. The support of the creativity, and the process, and everything that goes on in between beginning a project to the final product, being an artist can feel like a lonely road sometimes, and they make it so much more fun. They also encourage you to art journal every day, or as often as you can manage. Which sounds impossible, and has been for me so far. It’s been really hard to fit it into my schedule, and I’ve really learned a lot about carving out art time for myself. Especially in this latest season of prompts they came out with, the Season of Lists! If you know me, you know that I am a lover of lists. I will spend my downtime making lists. It’s relaxing and fun for me. It helps me to feel prepared and organized and in the know. So when I found out that they were doing a season of lists, 30 Days of Lists over 6 weeks, I was so stoked! I was in for the challenge. And it was super difficult for me to keep up. I didn’t get to art journal every day, I would do a bunch of a week’s worth of work in one or two days after spending the week writing out the lists. But I gave myself grace, and tried my best to keep up, and get the most out of the process as possible. And it was wonderful, and I’m so proud of myself for finishing. And really, only a few days after the season has ended, so I wasn’t so behind after all! The process of making my beautiful, messy, tiny art journal was as freeing and cathartic as I thought it could be, and my darkness is pleased to be expressed in the process, not the outcome.
In the spirit of lists, and because I just got off of 6 weeks of writing the best lists ever, I thought I’d share my pearls of wisdom that I learned during the Season of Lists…in a list! Here it is:
I can create art purely for myself, without care of external input.
Creating something every day helps me to feel more human.
If I don’t create every day, I feel like I am missing a part of myself.
The world needs me to create my art. No one can create my art but ME.
I am unique.
My voice matters.
I will never be perfect, I will just be me.
I enjoy spending time exploring my darkness while creating.
Grace is very important to have for yourself so that you can give it to others.
Healthy self talk leads to better results than negative self talk.
Being a part of a community of people who also feel the need to create every day is inspiring and life altering.
When I create, I am a better person.
Without further ado, here is a Flip-a-gram of my little, mini-messy art journal for the Season of Lists…
Happy New Year, world!! Take a deep breath. Can you smell it?? Can you smell that new year smell? That smell of new beginnings, new opportunities, new projects, new adventures?!? It’s here!!
I’m a lover a new beginnings. I’m one of those people who will wait until a Monday to start something new, like a habit or a diet or a new schedule, because it’s the beginning of a new week. So you can imagine what the beginning of a new year feels like. Complete BLISS! I’ve spent the last 2 weeks hibernating in my house, preparing for and organizing for the tornado of life that will be coming at me again starting this week. Lists and schedules and menus, oh my! Even now, the new year has started. It’s January 4th, 2016. BUT, since today is Monday, this is the official “start” to my new year. I’m so excited I can barely stand it. Happy first Monday of the year! I encourage you all to be kind and loving to yourselves!
As a lover of new beginnings, and a despiser of endings, I’m not always fond of that “looking back” part of the end of the year. I’m usually day dreaming and planning the next year. But this last year, 2015, it’s had a particular glow to it for me. And I found myself fondly reminiscing on the ups and the downs of the year, and all of the things I learned about myself and my life and my relationships. It was truly an incredibly year for me as a woman. And that’s something I have to stop and appreciate, and then daydream about how I can make next year even more incredible.
It’s hard to put my finger on what made 2015 so incredible for me. I’m already blessed with a loving husband, 3 charming girls that keep me on my toes, and a small but supportive family and group of friends. What can you really ask for outside of that? I am so grateful. But I had some extreme internal growth this year that has been undeniable. I know the catalyst of this change for me was the incredible books written by Brene Brown. If you haven’t checked her out before, and you’re not afraid to talk about vulnerability and shame, I would highly suggest putting hers on your book list this year! You will not regret it.
I was also incredibly blessed to happen upon a friend in the past year and a half that has been a catalyst for change in my life. Sometimes I say she’s the friend I needed when I was a kid in school, we probably would have been besties! But there’s a reason I wasn’t allowed to meet her until now. I think we feel equally as lucky to have found each other in this journey of life. At this phase of life. And now we are working on a project together that has led us on a fantastic journey I’ll never forget. We began I Heart Costa Mesa at the beginning of the year, tooling around Costa Mesa, interviewing all sorts of people and businesses. What you learn about life from embarking on a project like that with someone else is innumerable. We’ve met so many people who have some piece in the growth I have experienced this year. People who have opened their hearts and shared with us vulnerably and honestly. And let me shoot them in the same way. I am forever grateful.
We started a new part of the project just in the past few months. Hearts of Costa Mesa. Our first interviewee gave us a quote that I won’t ever let myself forget. Here he is, as a reminder for 2016, as well as some of our other shoots from this phenomenal year. Here’s to another life learning year on this journey called life! Thanks for following along with me. Happy New Year, all!
“I love that you guys are doing this project. The very act of stopping and paying attention to someone – choosing to photograph them in their best, most human light and to just let them tell their story – well, I would say that’s a holy act. It’s a life-affirming and loving act.
“It’s not that the hatred and the judgement don’t still exist in the world, but you are purposely choosing to focus on the love and mercy.
“It’s like when you watch The Sopranos and people say,’That glorifies the mafia, that glorifies violence.’ Well, no. It just humanizes a person who happens to be doing really awful things; so you end up loving him on some level even if you also really hate him. You’ve been privileged into seeing the humanity of the person, and all of a sudden you find it really, really hard to hate someone when you see their humanity. It’s just difficult.
“How do I hate someone who is human just like me? Through my eyes, it’s impossible.”
Wow, what a year we have had! We are even missing a few since those articles haven’t published yet. 2016 is slated to be pretty rockin’, so stay tuned, read up, and follow along! And thank you to everyone who helped me learn my lessons of 2015. I am forever grateful.
Just a little black and white love for you to enjoy. Kaylan enjoying herself a cup of coffee (so my child, I started drinking coffee at a young age with someone who meant a lot to me), and Kaylan and Jordi letting their carefree spirits soar while they puddle stomped and rode big wheels in the rain. These tug at my mommy heart strings. I love being a mom.
If you would like your life captured in photos, contact me today!
One of my most fun things to shoot in January has been this concert. I was onstage photographing a tribute band to Rage Against the Machine, called Slaves Against the Machine. It. Was. Awesome. I felt all old and decrepit, showing up at a show at 8:30pm at night, when I’m usually on the way to lala land on my couch. Wondered how I was going to make it through such a late evening of shooting. The hubs and I (he loves RATM, so he came with me to check them out) pulled up to the Santa Fe Swap Meet, and we were shocked. I had no idea there were swap meets like this open until the late hours of the night! How neat! We followed the loud booms of the music to the middle of the swap meet, and feasted our eyes upon these studs rockin’ the night away. You can check out their website to see where they are playing next, if you, too, want to follow the RAGE! They were pretty awesome, even hubby, the music critic, agreed. So awesome that we stayed through the rest of the concert, old, decrepit body and all. The singer of Slaves sounds exactly like Zack de la Roca!
Why, yes, that IS steam coming off of his head! He’s too hot to handle!
Love, love, love this picture of my uncle. Just livin’ and lovin’ what he’s doin’. Love you, Uncle!
These guys love their fans.
The crazy awesome dudes were so much fun to be on stage with and photograph. I’m pretty sure I’m going to be doing this again. It was seriously just too much fun not to! Do you have a band I’d be stoked to take photos of? Contact me and let’s get them done at your next show!