Flowers and Bee – Wordless Wednesday 18

Flowers and Bee
Flowers and Bee Sharpie Art

I just finished this Sharpie marker image yesterday!  I’ve been working on it for the better part of two weeks, but I’m happy!

It’s just in time for Wordless Wednesday (though I’m always word-y).  For more information on this piece, click over to my new website, The Sharpie Artist.

Have a great Wednesday and…

THIS IS A LINK UP!

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Wordless Wednesday

Feel the spirit
Let your spirit loose!

This is actually a photo I took of myself last summer.  I was experimenting a bit with self-portraiture.

Alas, I was never that comfortable with it.  Somehow painting a self portrait was a lot easier than taking photos of myself.

I always felt so vain…even though I always was looking for an artistic composition and it was never about taking photos of me per se, but getting practice with different types of photography.

Then, I got the bright idea to abstract this particular photo, add some funky filters and borders and some text that inspired me.

And that’s what you see here.

I hope you all have a Wonderful Wordless-Wordy Wednesday.

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Please link up and hop along!


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Earth Day: Mother Earth Art, Violets and More

Do you do anything for Earth Day?

It’s one of my favorite days of the year.

Sometimes I do a “campus clean up,” or participate in a Billion Acts of Green.

But this year, I’ve made a few things AND I’m eating a few things.

Check out the video to see some ways in which I’m celebrating Earth Day.

Of course, you know art and drawing are involved, right?

Here’s a better look at the Sharpie drawing I shared.  It’s called “Earth Mother.”

 

Sharpie Art
Earth Mother Sharpie Art

Last year, I made a shirt with an earth flower on it, and I still have the drawing.  In honor of Earth Day, I’m sharing here:

earthflowercomp

And yes, I made violet syrup.  Around where I live, the violet flowers bloom in the month of April.

I collected a LOT of flowers.  You don’t need that many to make syrup, though.  Here’s what I did:

Violet Syrup:

Violets to make syrup
I collected all these violets to make 4 jars of violet syrup.
  • 3 oz. violet flowers
  • 1 – 1.5 cups of boiled water
  • a glass jar
  • 20 oz. of organic sugar or confectioner’s sugar
  • lemon juice

Instructions:

  1. Rinse violet flowers and place in glass jar.
  2. Pour 1-1.5 cups of hot, boiled water over the flowers.  Allow to steep for 24 hours.
  3. Strain the liquid and compost the flowers.
  4. Pour the liquid into a large saucepan and add the sugar.
  5. Heat over medium-high heat until the mixture starts to bubble.
  6. Reduce heat so that the mixture still simmers but doesn’t stop boiling completely and stir constantly for 10 minutes.
  7. While stirring, add a bit of lemon juice (1-2 tsp.).
  8. Pour into jar.  Let cool and then cover and refrigerate for up to 6 months.

Use it in tea, drizzle over ice cream or fruit, mix with butter, pour over pancakes, substitute a little in your cake or dessert recipes, and anywhere else you want to add a little sweetness.

And the final thing I’m doing for Earth Day?

Watching the Lyrid Meteor Shower.

What do you plan on doing for Earth Day?

 

Finding Happiness in Tough Times

The events of the past week in the US – the Boston Marathon, the bombings, the lockdown, all of it – have left me pondering.

Pondering the regularity of such events.

If they don’t happen on US soil, they happen elsewhere.

It’s all too easy to focus on what’s wrong.

After all, the squeaky wheel gets the oil and the attention, right?

However, I felt compelled to reflect on this week and despite everything, I still strive to find happiness in my life.

Despite life’s ups and downs, it is possible to come to a certain peace with life in general.

I’m not discounting the fact that life’s struggles can leave us sullen and sinister.

I understand that: I’ve been there myself.

It’s not always so rosy.

But how does a person find it in him or herself to persevere?

I’ve tried to do just that in my own life.

I made a video outlining my thoughts.  I hope you enjoy and find it inspiring.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=Fk7LCC913zU 

In any case, one of the things I talked about in the video was taking time to create.

Can I tell you just how much I love doing that?

Here are some drawings and other artwork I’ve completed in the past year:

A purple fractal
A purple fractal – it’s a digital, mathematically rendered image that forms into natural designs. And before you ask, NO, I did not sit there and work out the formulas to do them. I happily let my computer do that for me. 🙂
I always felt like the colors in this particular fractal looked like "Egyptian lace" so I name it as such.
I always felt like the colors in this particular fractal looked like “Egyptian lace” so I name it as such.

 

Turtle - done in Sharpie
Turtle – done in Sharpie

I have always loved drawing with marker and for an article I wrote last year, I drew this image of a turtle.

I have such a soft spot for turtles.  They symbolize long life and they are a power symbol with many Native American Indian tribes.

An old ghost town in Colorado.
An old ghost town in Colorado.

As you know, I’m addicted to photography, too.  I shot this image on one of my trips out to Colorado to visit my family.  This is an old ghost town, edited using the free website BeFunky.com.

I even took to painting windows:

Painted flowers on old window
Painted flowers on old window

Yes, I must create, among other things.  Even if I never sell my work, or do much with it, the meditative effect is enough to contribute to the happiness I feel in my life.

Have you found the things that make you happy?

Wordless Wednesday and a Vlog on Success

I don’t usually do vlogs, but I want to incorporate them.  This is one of the first-ever videos I’ve done of myself.

When and if I do this again, I hope to include more of my photography and art – used as tools in an “inspiration” series.  Enjoy!

As for Wordless or Wordy Wednesday, there are no rules.  Feel free to link up, I would love it if you shared this post, but really, just have fun!

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A New Blogging Direction and Why I Took Some Time Away

Maybe the Picto Project is dead.

Maybe not.

I don’t know.

black sharpie line

It all started on Friday, April 5.

I woke up to find that over 30 (at least that’s where I stopped counting) of the articles I write for HubPages were copied and put on other websites.

I spent the next 5 hours telling Google about it in the form of DMCA complaints: my husband cooked me breakfast and the art project I was working on was on hold…for an undetermined length of time.

Then I learned that the DMCA’s didn’t work because they didn’t have “ads” on the sites and that I had to contact the site owners.

This was after rogue sites had “mirrored” HubPages and another site bombed one of my hubs with thousands upon thousands of views in which case it’s entirely possible someone will think that I paid someone to do that, when in reality, I had no idea what was going on.  At least it happened to a few other people at the same time as me, so I knew it was an outside attack and I wasn’t alone.

Add to that the peppering of DMCA complaints I’ve filed over the last year and a half and…

BAM.

It hit me.  How would I ever rank well with Google if someone’s always copying my work?

I spent the first half of that Friday upset that, yet again, some twitty looney had stolen my content.  I spent the latter half of the day in tears at the realization that I felt taken advantage of, and my vision of being an online writer was….altered.  Not shattered, but altered.

I started thinking about Google, too, how they can arbitrarily yank your AdSense account if they even think you might be fraudulent.  I had two friends have their accounts yanked recently, plus another two people in the last year that I know.  It’s more common than you think and all it takes is some unknown person somewhere who’s a little too click-happy to undo it all for you.

It seemed like everything was out of my control, and that I’d been making everyone else a lot of money via ads, commissions, and my time.

Even through Zazzle.  They take HUGE commissions out of every product you make, so a $50 item might earn you $4.

Ouch.

I needed to think.

And I was tired.

Tired of spending 12 hours a day at the computer.  Tired of everyone else stealing my work or making a lot of money off of me and my hard work.

So I took some time off.

black sharpie line

I still worked.  A lot.

In fact, I turned my attention to the Sharpie art I like to make.  I resolved to not let the lame side of the internet get me down and pressed on.

I created three sharpie drawings

Something unexpected.  Sharpie on paper. 18"x24" April 2013.
Something unexpected. Sharpie on paper.
18″x24″
April 2013.

 

A Study in Geometry Sharpie on Paper 18"x24" April 2013
A Study in Geometry
Sharpie on Paper
18″x24″
April 2013

 

Lines and Shapes Sharpie on Paper 18"x24" April 2013
Lines and Shapes
Sharpie on Paper
18″x24″
April 2013

And I created a new website: The Sharpie Artist, where I finished a commissioned Sharpie window for The Real Housewife.  I do hope she likes it – it’s due to ship on Monday.  I anxiously await her review.  (Yes, these are for sale; go to the website for more information, if you’d like.)

Something else happened: I began to look at all those HubPages copy-cat sites as a blessing in disguise.  That one event was the impetus I needed to move on and begin a better path for myself.

I have been thinking for awhile that yes, I enjoy writing and I enjoy blogging, but that I was stuck at the computer way too much.

In the week I took off from blogging, I still commented and visited my favorite blogs.

But I wanted to get outside.

I began going to a greenway in Asheville before I went to teach school and enjoyed it and centered myself.

I’m going to keep doing that.

As I type this, I have four jars of violets waiting to become syrup.  I was out in my front yard picking some young violet leaves for salad and some flowers to make the syrup that will go over pancakes, mix with butter for a delicious toast, go over ice cream and be a substitute in cakes and scones.

And it felt so good.

I have missed being outside and connecting with nature.

It’s what I do – integral to who I am.

Take time to smell the violets.
Take time to smell the violets.  Feel free to PIN this.

 

am a teacher and I’m feeling like that is integral to who I am, too.

I hadn’t realized it until recently, but I’ve done some form of teaching since I was 12 years old.

It started with church (when I used to participate in more organized religion): I taught Sunday school and vacation bible school and Confirmation classes.

I went on to become a ski instructor and substitute teacher and then went back to school to get my teaching license.

Since then, I’ve taught in public school, community college and now, private school.

I do believe it’s in my DNA to teach.

But it’s also in my DNA to create, as well.  I must create.

This last week, with teaching and creating so much, and getting out into nature, I finally felt a real sense of balance that I hadn’t felt in a long while – perhaps since last fall.

And then, like a bag of pebbles hitting my head repeatedly, the following entered my mind:

I cannot call myself an artist.  I cannot call myself a writer.  I cannot call myself a photographer.  I cannot call myself a naturalist – not as stand-alone phrases.  I am all of those things at once.

I am not separate entities.  I am one being with a calling to use all of these things as tools for something greater in my life.

Do I know exactly what that looks like?

No.  I’m still working on it, as I’m sure many people are finding ways to use their gifts in the best way possible.  I’m sure many people are finding ways to become their highest selves.

I just know that in order to feel balanced, in order to flourish and blossom with my life, I have to acknowledge everything that makes me tick as a person and integrate them into my work.

That’s why it’s always seemed like I didn’t necessarily have a clear direction with this blog.

I didn’t.

I’d try to focus on one area, like photography and shift to another, like writing.  I brought art into the mix and I’ve talked about spirituality.  But when I focused on one thing too much, I’d freak out and “look for direction,” over and over again.

But the whole “copy” experience, so not fun as it was, actually helped me to embrace all that I am and what I’m called to do.

In the upcoming weeks, you’ll definitely see a change in what I post: and in those posts I hope that you find tidbits of wisdom that inspire you, information that teaches you, words that empower you, images that move you and that you feel love.

Yes, love.

I hope you'll feel the love
I hope you’ll feel the love