Metamorphosis

metamorphosis

I am a simple person…an artist with many layers…but simple at heart. My life has been forged through a series of challenges that make me want few things in life: Peace, Freedom, Healing. Mindfulness has beckoned me in recent months. I have been on somewhat of a sabbatical, mainly due to health issues, but also because of mental blocks that paralyzed my inspiration. I suppose this is bound to happen from time to time for many artists.

I feel I have finally broken free, due to a new perspective that has awakened.

See, I am not driven by success or motivated by others ambitions. I’m not keen on competition and for me this journey is more about the experience…not the destination. My creative vision is to embrace compassion. Opening myself to the moment and creating something from nothing…forming life into a project that once never existed. Giving love to myself, my work, and ultimately to others.

I found out yesterday that my schizophrenic sister is back in the psych ward of her local hospital. And for a moment I felt the same as I always have when I experience this news. I felt sad, confused, lost, numb. I’m not surprised or dumbfounded…this has happened plenty of times throughout her life, and as much as I wish she was well, we all know it’s only a matter of time before a trigger sets her off. But it’s hard not to feel that rush of unstable emotions come flooding back – the same I felt as a child watching…witnessing…experiencing her violent episodes. I still remember the smell of my bedroom closet – the safe place I would borrow myself to shut myself out from her fits. When she lived with us, insanity seemed to linger through every room…drifting along the hallways like a fog that never lifts. Lost. I felt so lost as a child and I remember so vividly as I could usually sense when an episode was coming on. The monsters from the darkest places of her mind would emerge tormenting her with fury. It’s not her fault. I know that now. But something felt so deep is never forgotten.

I made a deal with myself several years ago that I will no longer bury my pain in the secrecy that shrouded my childhood. I am an adult. So I have been in active pursuit to free the negative suppression that binds my mind so regularly. Freedom. Peace. Healing. Yes, for me they are found from within. I have felt the sweet embrace that Spirit offers and I know now that my life has purpose. The artist bursting within me knows she is here for a reason. My gifts that originally evolved in the secret depths of pain and instability are finding their wings to soar.

I listen intently to my intuition and I know it’s not about me. The journey is not about the urgency to succeed or get ahead. No. My purpose reaches far deeper. My journey is my path to freedom, peace, and healing and to help others find freedom, peace, and healing.

As I reflect, I know I am not that same person I was as a child. And even though those momentous emotions tend to creep back, they are truly not how I feel today. That fear is but a former remnant. Those emotions do not define me. They are whispers from my past, buried in the grave of my adolescence.

It has taken many years, but my metamorphosis is awakening.

I am free.

And that freedom allows me to live, if only for a moment, in peace.

 

Thanks for reading,

Belinda

 

The Secret of Change

Change is eminent, unpredictable and challenging. Sometimes change chooses us, but what if we choose change? What if we come to a point in our lives when we need change? What if everything inside of us that we have kept bottled up for so long is screaming to be unleashed. Would you listen to your intuition? What if it was time to finally let that “thing” go and just move forward? Would you do it?

My oldest daughter recently finished 1st grade. With much anticipation of the summer, she and I decided to sit down and concoct a list of things we are going to do this summer to occupy her time. She’s a rather crafty/artistic little girl, so we decided on a few things she would like to do and places she would like to go.

And then we decided on chores she will be doing. Yes, chores…the stuff I like her to do. Now, she is currently still getting used to this change of being the “picker up’er” and not the “mess maker”…and, yes, it’s definitely a process. But we are getting there.

It’s a small change, but as she is getting older she realizes things will change. In fact, she anticipates it. She knows she will be in 2nd grade next year and she is excited to be learning new things. She learned how to read this past year and it has opened up a whole new world for her. Change is all around her. It’s expected.

She’s six.

I wonder if adults had this same perspective…to expect change, to have a desire to learn and move forward…would we stay in our comfort zones?

I know many adults who are stuck, who have been stuck for years in the same place.

I’ve been there myself. I understand the whole comfort zone thing. But ya know what? I’ve discovered that putting myself outside that comfort zone is exhilarating. A comfort zone can become an invisible trap that you don’t even realize you are in. Life is so much bigger on the outside.

True freedom does exist.

I recently left a strict, conservative religious sect that I had known my whole life. This was a decision that I made over several years. It was no longer suiting  my lifestyle, it was a burden to my spiritual growth, and it was creating a flawed perspective in my oldest daughter. We finally got out of it last month. I cannot express how liberating it is to be out from underneath that weight of suppression. It’s a whole new freedom and I’m loving every day. I didn’t even realize how much it was holding me down until I left.

This change brought on a whole new meaning to freedom.

I painted a painting I’m calling “The Owl of Freedom.”

owl

 

I’m going to hang this up in my studio to commemorate my new direction. There is a whole new life out there waiting for me.

What is the secret of change?

“THE SECRET OF CHANGE IS TO FOCUS ALL OF YOUR ENERGY , NOT ON FIGHTING THE OLD, BUT ON BUILDING THE NEW.” ~Socrates

I’m trying every day to make those small steps toward the person I eventually want to become.

One of the best decisions I made this year was to sign up for the e-course, Do What You Love (http://dowhatyouloveforlife.com/course/do-what-you-love). I discovered it at such a key point in my life and I’m grateful from what I gained through the exercises.  I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to move forward toward doing what they love.

Small change or big change…every change (good or bad) in our lives has purpose. Are you ready to embrace it and move forward?

It might just be the best thing that ever happens to you.

 

Regards,

Belinda

Color me Spring

purple flowers 2

Guess what?

The flowers in our yard are FINALLY blooming!

The week before last it rained and poured…for days. Well, it seemed like that any way. After about the 3rd day of rain, I started to miss the sun, but I was forgetting something…rain brings GREEN and blooms and lovely little buds all over the trees. Spring has sprung.

It’s here, and I’m loving it!

There’s a beautiful tree in our backyard that I had completely forgotten about, too, until I peaked out our back window and saw this:

flower tree

And I was so happy!

What is wonderfully ironic about this, we are also studying color in the design Module 1 at The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design this week. I was as giddy as a school girl as I grabbed my camera and told my girls we were going to play in the backyard. My 6yr old, still in her school uniform from that day, was thrilled since we hadn’t been out there yet due to the cold and wet. And well, my 11 month old didn’t have much of a choice, but she loved being outside so it was a win win for all of us. Fresh spring air, fresh blooms, fresh green grass, fresh COLOR…it was a little bit of heaven.

Grace and Flower

I couldn’t help but capture her little feet with a bloom. Her little toes get me every time. She’s growing up way too fast.

Anyway.

Back to color.

We’ve had several color exercises in class this week, all of which have been so fun and inspiring. I know I’ve posted in the past about how much I love color and how I’m addicted to my color theory books, but some of the things in the course this week has made it even more of a personal passion. We’ve studied how color can affect how we feel and how we can use it to in our designs to set a mood. How we can use it to meditate…loved that! We’ve played around with color palettes and learned how to create our own palettes with our own pictures.

blossom 1

But my all time favorite project of the week was creating a mood board. And since I’m really into my blooming tree right now (obviously), I thought I’d use that as a starting point and go with those colors. I’ll admit, this took a little bit of time to put together, but the process was so liberating. It was so fun to clip pictures out of magazines and gather little tidbits to add here and there…to touch the textures of objects and envision how I could capture the essence of certain items. Like the glisten of sequins (which I haven’t figure out yet), but wow it was so inspiring! I definitely understand how a mood board can set the entire tone for a design.

Here is mine:

mood board 1

What’s interesting, I’ve seen this done many times before and always wanted to give it a try. I have several books by artists and textile designers who share their own methods of creating mood boards and I’m always fascinated by how they built their boards, what they used, and what design/designs came out of it. And I get it now. I’m so inspired by what I created and I’m looking forward to honing into this mood board and developing my own sketches…I have a vision for multiple coordinating patterns here. Hoping I will be able to focus on this and make it a reality.

Color truly is all around us. I hope you are able to get out and enjoy some color today.

Thanks for reading,

Belinda

 

 

I think I can

When I was a little girl, my Dad used to read the story of The Little Engine That Could. And although I didn’t fully grasp the potential of the concept when I was small, I grew to love this book and I still remember the animated voices my Dad used when he read it to me. It was mesmerizing to think that a little blue train – not the biggest, strongest or the most qualified train – but a little train with heart, determination, and optimism could make a big impression and complete it’s journey over the mountain.

It thought it could, so it did.

This past week I’ve been thinking a lot of when I first started painting. Ten years ago when I started playing around with the idea of doing art, I picked up a few art instructional books by Walter Foster. I poured myself into them not knowing if I was doing things correctly, but I was enjoying the process. I’ve always been drawn to art, but when I first started doing it “for reals”, I was teaching myself everything from these books. And I was so insecure in myself that I thought everything I was teaching myself was the incorrect way. Nobody even knew I tinkering in art…I kept it all to myself. I felt I needed guidance for someone to tell me how to do specific techniques, or to confirm if I was doing it right. It wasn’t until a couple years later that I took a watercolor class locally. It was an elderly art teacher and she had been doing a variety of different mediums a very long time. She was so laid back and gentle in her approach and for the first time I realized that art wasn’t necessarily about doing things a certain way, it was about expression, where you were at that time, what you were drawn to, and what inspired you. Art had more to do with conveying expression through color and texture than it had to do with literal art “rules.” And this opened my eyes.

I was hooked.

Little did I know the journey I was on.

I just enjoyed it, so I continued. I was eager to learn and challenge myself. I didn’t think I was necessarily headed in any particular direction; it was a therapeutic hobby. I didn’t even know that my art was defining itself over time. It just seemed to happen. Then one day (recently) I looked back at my original sketches that I did when I had first started “formally” sketching and it was all there…my style. It’s always been inside of me. Yes my work has matured, and I have learned many more techniques since then, but the same vibe is there.

I still consider myself a student, and I feel I have so much more to learn. But I think I can do it. I think I can get to where I want to go.

Like the little blue engine that could.

For several years now I’ve had a passion about pattern design, albeit it was a closet dream of mine and I honestly didn’t have a clue how my art would tie into it. Then for some odd reason, everything at once just clicked. And I discovered Rachel Taylor’s “The Art and Business of Pattern Design” school; and I thought, “Wow, this is where I need to be.” I showed it to my hubby and he studied it (as he does everything…I think that’s a military thing), and that evening he came up to me and said, “You need to do this. This is in line with exactly what you’ve been talking about for the last few years.” And I cried…because I love how much he gets me.

So I signed up, and then they had a scholarship competition and I applied. I didn’t know at the time that over 300 people from 39 different countries were also applying for the scholarship. Had I known, I probably would not have submitted anything because I would have thought I didn’t have much of a chance (ya know, with all the talented people out there). Because as much as I try to stay positive, I am my biggest enemy.

But I applied for the scholarship. This was my entry:

Circus Carnival WM

And I ended up being in the top 10. I won the first class of the series, Module 1.

I was shocked.

Lil’ ole me. I’m not the strongest artist, not the most qualified, not well-known…and all that really isn’t important to me.

I still don’t know where this journey will take me, but I’m open to the possibilities. I started class this week and I’m excited to be on a path. I feel like everything has lead up to this point, and I’m ready for it.

I think I can do this.

CC Sketches

original sketches

To the Hope of Spring

Flora Hope

Learn from yesterday, Live for today, Hope for tomorrow. ~ Albert Einstein

The snow finally melted with the rains that came through this week, and I have one thing on the mind – Spring. It actually warmed up to the 50s in Southern Illinois, and I was eager to get outside and feel this new found warmth. I stepped into our backyard garden and the fresh damp air surrounded me. Earthy. It smelled earthy and lovely. And I was reminded of the flowers that will be blooming soon, hopefully.

Flowers planted not by my own hands, but by the previous owners of our home. They were two elderly women whose hobby was gardening…and they planted a very extensive flower garden in our limited back yard. So extensive in fact, that we had to call in the help of a local nursery to help us know how to maintain it. The nursery guy examined our lot and we were surprised to discover that many of the plants had been special ordered…exotic flowers, cacti, and things I honestly never saw in my life. There were over 50 different varieties of plants. It was an eclectic mix of flowers and foliage, and in the end we had to purge through it since it was too much for us to maintain. It was kind a of sad in a way. I felt bad going through it all and deciding what we were going to keep and what had to go. But it had to be done. We kept the rose bushes, lilies, daffodils, tulips, cherry blossom tree, magnolia tree, and a beautiful violet flower bush that blooms in July. But my favorite in our yard is the tulips.

Flora Survive 1

I remember as a girl waiting for the tulips to bloom. And finally, FINALLY they would poke through the soil…it was a sign that summer would soon be here and school would be out.

This year I feel that same anticipation (except for the school part). I can’t wait to see those little buds poking through. Beautiful tiger stripped lilies and tulips will bloom; and I will be happy as a lark sipping my lemonade, and watching the hummingbirds zip through our yard as I sit on my patio chair.

So here’s to the hope of Spring.

May it come quickly.

Flora Survive 2

 

*Original Art by Belle Ann Art.

With Brave Wings She Flies

WBW 2

There is this moment in that pivotal point of the morning when the chill of the night has not yet been greeted by the warmth of the sun. And as the sun fights it’s way upon the horizon and those first beams of light shoot through my window, I hear the whispers of a new day. In this quiet moment, before the sound of children stirring and before responsibilities are calling, life stands still and I feel as though time is mine to own. I cling to the warmth of my comforter as I contemplate whether or not the cold floor is worthy of my warm toes. So I lie here zoned in thought. The possibilities of what could be achieved in the coming hours are but an illusion. Reality is that my day will be spent chasing after a curious crawler, and answering the questions of an intuitive 6 year old.

I love my girls.

But these still, quiet moments of a potential day are treasured. I need them to regain focus and strength. I need them to reinforce my prospective. I need them to reprieve insight and direction.

There is so much in me right now that is bursting. There is so much I want to do. And although I am somewhat limited as to what is accomplished due to my priorities of family, I am not giving up. Every day new ideas are propelling out and I find myself hunched over my sketch book eagerly trying to convey the concepts. I have filled 2 full sketchbooks within the last month. And as I feel compelled to release these creative burst, I feel a shift in my artistic direction…I want to do more. It’s extremely exciting because I feel as if I am pressing forward toward my dreams. And it’s all incredibly scary at the same time.

I have challenges ahead. I know this. But who I am…this whole creative person who came from the tormented thinking of “I’m not good enough” to the realization that my art is real and yes, it does have potential. This journey…my journey…has been a miracle of Faith and the result of persistence. Everything inside of me is pushing me forward.

It’s time to be brave.

WBW 3

This is a canvas journal I painted this week. It is going to be my new inspirational journal. I’ve been on Pinterest a lot lately and as much as I love it, I wanted something substantial to hold in my hands…something I created. I imagine clippings of magazine pictures, snipits of ribbon, and tidbits of tiny treasures. It’s going to be lovely.

I really enjoyed creating the texture on this cover:

WBW 1

What keeps you motivated and moving toward your dreams? Do you have a favorite inspirational quote? Would love to hear it!

Thanks for letting me share,

Bindy

Embrace New Beginnings

Free as a Bird Illustration

I’ve procrastinated.

It’s easy to do.

But today. TODAY. I’m dusting off my blog and sharing with you some of my art from the last year.

Oh Happy Day!

Life has changed since the baby arrived last May. I love my family life…I love my 2 girls. My oldest daughter made a statement a couple months ago about how our family now feels complete. And it does. And although the new change has had it’s share of challenges, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. So many ups and downs come and go, but the thing that remains in our family is that we are there for each other. And I can tell our new daughter, Grace, now 9 months, can already sense that.

Here is a painting I made for her nursery:

Embrace New Beginnings

Embrace new beginnings, for it is the gift of hope that enlightens our hearts. – Belinda S (that’s me) 🙂

So when I was making this piece, which is rather large, I couldn’t find a quote that I loved. So I had to come up with one myself. New beginnings. I love the idea of a new beginning. Every day is a new beginning. But there are moments in life when you are forced to analyze your life and make critical decision that will change your course…in those moments new beginnings emerge. It’s not easy to embrace the change, but it’s necessary to grow.

Close up of the words:

Embrace New Beginnings close up

I finally feel that my art has defined itself over time. This is huge progress for me. Sketches flow much easier then I started, and I see trends in my art. One trend that keeps popping up (unintentionally) is birds. I love to incorporate them and I find myself playing around with different styles. Here are some quirky birds I made when taking Life Book last year:

quirky birds

Did you notice my watermark? 🙂 I officially have a name for my art. (Whoohoo!) I’m playing around with this. Not for sure if this is my final design, but I like it for now.

I’ve started converting my art into vector, as well. Teaching myself (with the help of online tutorials) how to color my images in Illustrator and convert them into patterns. I’ve played around with patterns for years drawing within Illustrator, but incorporating my pencil sketches has given me a new sense of passion and direction.

I’m sure you noticed the initial graphic on this post, but here is the pencil sketch I did last year:

Free as a Bird sketch

From that to this:

Free as a Bird Illustration

It’s so fun coming up with different ways of modifying my art. I love sketching, I love mixed media, and I love graphic design, and I’m enjoying the process of those things merging together these days. And really, isn’t that what it’s all about? Doing what you love. 🙂

Do what you love, love what you do, and enjoy the journey it takes you.

Thanks for letting me share. xo

Bindy