A Song for My Winged Friends

So, I think I may be starting a band? Or… maybe I already have?

I’ve started recording music and songs I write and calling myself A Serious Artist, to poke fun at the idea…

However, I’m really liking the idea!!

Last night a song came to me and I recorded it. It’s possibly still in the demo phase, but I was itching to share it and hear feedback, so I uploaded it and am sharing it now!!

 

Lyrics (work in progress):

dragonfly, where ya goin’
is it some place far away?

i can see you are sad
by the light of the day

don’t be sad just spread your wings and fly
isn’t that what wings are for?

dragonfly don’t be scared there is nothing to fear
i believe in your capabilities, is that all you need to hear?

look up high and rise past those fears
you won’t die, you will overcome

(chorus)
take a breath prepare for lift off
the wind is there to help you overcome
just trust in yourself and you will be rewarded
and soon one day you will reach your home
butterfly you are so pretty but what’s going on inside?
I can tell you’re unsure and you feel like ya gotta hide

But you can’t cuz your always on view
that’s ok, cuz there’s something great, that’s in store for you

Let them laugh, they don’t know you, they’re just a waste of your time
Let them point, they just judge you cuz they know you’re one of a kind

it’s got nothin’ to do with you
fly above and carryyyyyyy on throughhhhhhhh

(chorus)
take a breath prepare for lift off
the wind is there to help you overcome
just trust in yourself and you will be rewarded
and soon one day you will reach your home
buzzin’ bee what’s the rush? where do you have to be? (hah, get it?)
i just heard that you’re the one to beat, and it’s pretty clear to see

don’t you wish you could let go of the anxiety
you don’t have to constantly move around

do you fear the calm and what your mind may think and say to you
are you afraid you’ll fall behind and that there’s someone better than you?

slow it down, smell the roses and have some fun
if you don’t you may miss a ton

“You’re Doing It Wrong”

You're Doing It Wrong

Recently, I decided to enter my first juried art show since college. I’m talkin’, it’s been almost 5 years! Admittedly (understandably?) I’m a bit nervous! I looked through all my work, trying to find the “perfect” entries. Hah. Perfect. What a concept!

I decided to print a photo I took of my most recent photoshoot (so recent I haven’t even shared them yet!). At first I thought I would paint this photo I was printing, perhaps oil paint since it’s been just as long since I used those.

Welp, things changed. Life surprises you.

My printer was running low on ink, and instead of letting me know and refusing to print (how it usually handles the issue) it went on ahead and printed my photo out, sans magenta. I was instantly in love. Who needs magenta anyway??? I scanned the imperfect beauty in. Printer lines, no magenta! Chaos! But it’s like I remembered my old artsy self again. I loved the imperfect! Thanked the imperfect! I, at one point, held a crusade against perfection, because I saw how much it had a grip on people’s lives- including my own…

So yes. This, in being imperfect, is perfect. (mind ‘splosion?) And I’ve decided this is a good move on my part. If it doesn’t make it into the show, Ah well! It was a stepping stone, helping lead me back to the vision I had years ago. I’m all for looking at it that way.

Share Your Spark: Sarah Bennett, the Multi-Passionate Soul

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You could say Sarah Bennett, of Bennett Trails blog, is my tutee (hah! Funny word, right?) Months ago, she asked me to tutor her in graphic design and photography. She has big dreams to start her own Etsy shop and loves the process of learning as much as possible. Honestly though, Sarah has become one of my closest friends here in Erie and I learn so much from her. We’ve taken sewing classes together, gone on photo-adventures, and scoured Salvation Army’s and Goodwills for vintage finds. Meeting with her weekly has been a breath of fresh air. Not only do our mutual interests stop at artistic pursuits- but she’s my soul sister! We encourage each other to follow our hearts, have guts, and to NEVER forget to love! So, in this edition of Share Your Spark, I introduce:

Sarah Bennett, age 31: Multi-Passionate Soul currently living in Erie, PA.

Myself, left, with Sarah Bennett, on right

I was born in California,

grew up in Salem, Oregon

went to college in Spokane, Washington

moved back to Oregon for a few years

then moved out to Vermont for a few years

and have been living in Erie, PA for the past four years now.

I think living so many places has shaped me to be a more flexible/adaptable individual and stronger in knowing who I am and what I value in life. I feel fortunate to have lived (in my opinion) in the prettiest regions in our country. I love New England and I also love the Northwest; both areas feel like home to me. I am drawn to green, 4 seasons, and living an active, creative life. I believe the areas I have lived in made me realize these things mean a lot to me. 

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What activities do you enjoy doing in your free time?

 I enjoy going on hikes or runs with my husband and our dog Odin. I love going on country drives and exploring back roads with some good tunes playing. I really enjoy singing/playing music with my husband, taking it easy in the morning with a cup of coffee, snuggling, and practicing yoga. Above all, I mostly just love getting deep into my creative work with no restrictions or interruptions.

 In what ways are you involved in the community?                                                                            

My situation is a bit different. We are preparing for a big move back to Oregon in the beginning of June so quite honestly I haven’t felt completely invested in the community lately! I did get pretty involved with the Erie Art Museum last year; I took quite a few classes and volunteered to take photos for an event. It was nice getting involved there– I definitely felt like I was around my people, which is good to know for the next place we are moving to! I also feel like I have been involved at Asbury Woods during my time here, just by being such a frequent visitor there. That place is a gem in this community; it has been my go-to for recharging and reconnecting over the past four years. I’m extremely grateful for Asbury Woods!

 Where do you go to find peace in the world?

I go to nature to find peace. I always feel revived and renewed after taking time to get lost in the woods or even just taking a short walk to get fresh air, away from the rat race. Also, a hot bath with a candle lights is my other place to find peace.

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 What inspires you the most?

That’s a hard question… so many things really inspire me, it’s hard to say what most inspires. Music, traveling, interactions, colors, seasons, experiences, reflection… I guess just life in general inspires me most. There is always something that pops up in one way or another that will spark an “Aha!” moment.

Creative women taking risks, following their heart, and doing things their own way are my role models; Women who are wildly successful in their specific path and living their truth, inspire me.

 What challenges have you faced in life?

I have struggled with self-confidence and pretty bad anxiety. I have also struggled with finding my place in this world. It can be hard being a multi-passionate soul because you can see yourself doing many different things and you have lots of ideas and passions. It has been hard to dig deep on that front and get clear. But also, coming to terms with being a multi-passionate and being okay with that has been a struggle. Honestly, when I heard the term “multi-passionate creative” it felt like a diagnosis! When I started hearing that other people like me were out there, I felt a little more at ease with who I am naturally. We all are here for a reason. I like the visual of seeing us all as individual puzzle pieces that are needed to complete the big puzzle-picture. It’s taken a long time for me to see what gifts I have to offer, where my place is, and where I feel most connected and understood­– But man I have come a loooong way.

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 What advice would you give others who are going through similar experiences?

I would say dig deep and be kind to yourself in the process. Find yourself a counselor you connect with and do the work to ask yourself the important questions:

Who am I?

What lights me up?

What are the things that make me nervous?

What can I do to dampen my anxiousness?

Above all, I must stress just be kind to yourself, listen to what YOU need. We’re all uniquely different and we each have our own path. Take the time to get quiet, feel all your feelings and let the healing begin.

 What current obstacles would you like to overcome?

I still struggle with some fear and self-doubt. I think it’s important to have a healthy dose of fear but I’m working on making sure fear only comes up when extremely necessary. I’ve come a long way in overcoming self-doubt and I am still continuing to work on that in life! I’m proud of where I am today and see that all my struggles are actually my biggest successes.

 How do you think you can overcome them?

I think by just continuing to be present, practicing positive self-talk and staying committed to my meditation practice I can overcome future obstacles. My spiritual practice has gone through ups and downs but it is the one thing that keeps me grounded. I devoted a year to a yoga teacher training in Vermont in 2010 and that year was the beginning of my personal spiritual path. I’m so extremely grateful for that program and the time I gave myself to devote to a yoga practice; it was my gateway.

Also, I know this isn’t for everyone– but therapy has proven to be very helpful to me. It’s just nice to have someone who listens to you, who is neutral. Therapy is my time to talk fully about me without feeling like I’m over-stepping any boundaries in the relationship.

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What is the one thing you want people to know about you when they first meet you?

I may come off quiet and reserved at first, but really I’m just taking in my surroundings and listening. I take a while to get to know. My personality has always been: if I open up to you and let you in, you must be pretty special to me. I tend to be more private and more introverted than extroverted. I have always had a few close friends I know would always be there for me rather than a ton of friends that are at a surface level. I take my relationships to heart. I care a lot and put great energy into important connections.

 How do you wish people saw you?

I wish people saw me as a woman who is driven to live a life from her creative heart. I wish people saw me as loving, devoted, and a caring person who just wants to live a light-filled life and exudes light and love!

 What are you most proud of?

I’m proud of the life I have built with my husband. We started dating rather young, at age 21, but marrying him at age 26 was hands down the easiest decision for me. I love living our life together. He has been such a support in my journey; we both support each other’s dreams and are committed to living our dreams together. We truly enjoy each other and it’s been a joy to see us grow both individually and together.

I also am really proud of all my struggles I have gone through personally: The anxiety, the feeling lost, all the jobs I’ve held that left me feeling empty inside. These struggles have made me stronger and made me do the important work I am here to do: to ask myself the big questions and grow in my personhood. I am proud of these struggles because it’s brought me to the woman I am today. I know myself and love myself more and more because of these struggles.

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 Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

We’ll be living in Oregon, my husband will be finishing up residency. I see myself as a Mom to either one or two babies within the next five years. I see myself living my dream; getting paid to do creative work I love­– specifically running an online shop and doing freelance design and photography work– and growing in my creative profession. I see myself working from home in a light-filled office space and enjoying a flexible schedule, loving every moment of this precious life with the people I love.

 What is a quote you wish to live by that motivates you? Why does it impact you so much?

 Ohh geez this is hard! I am a quote fanatic. Quotes are the majority of my pins on Pinterest currently! Here are three of my current favorites that inspire and motivate me. All three motivate and speak to me in a different ways. Mostly, they each motivate me to just be ME, have faith and be grateful. A grateful heart brings abundance; I have experienced this time and time again.

 “The things you are passionate about are not random, they are your calling.” –Fabienne Fredrickson

 

 “When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”– John Lennon

 

 “No matter what the situation is…close your eyes and think of all the things you could be grateful for in your life right now.” -Deepak Chopra

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 How can people connect with you?

I am very active on Instagram, @sariehere. That platform is devoted to my passions for home décor and photography. I also run a blog at bennetttrails.com.!!!

Stay tuned to recent blog posts to come here on Her Art is HEART! Sarah and I took many photos at our last shoot have many exciting images to share!

Share Your Spark: Graffiti Portraits with Sarah of Bennett Trails

I had the great opportunity to photograph my crafty-pal, talented designer, photographer, and multi-passionate grllll: Sarah Bennett. She is the author over at Bennetttrails.com , and always a joy to hang with, taking sewing classes with, or just shootin’ the shit about vintage clothes. She is a sweetie but a BOSS– as I’m sure you’ll be able to see from these photos of her, owning the streets with one of her favorite creative tools!

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Let The Mind Play

Life has been stressful lately.

The new year has brought on a spurt of creative energy and at first I was enthused- motivated! I sewed, I drew, I collaborated! And yet now, weeks after, that energy persists and my mind has grown weary. I have overwhelmed myself with the idea that I “must” be creative, “must” utilize this energy before it leaves me- essentially fear of the future! I am bogged down, crumbling under the weight.

Fearful belief: I can’t possibly generate this much energy and not experience burnout.

But I realized that the burnout I’m now experiencing is an internal burning inside. As soon as I fear this energy it becomes overwhelming. I create my own struggle. As soon as I allow myself to breathe with that energy, allow it VIP access to creative adventures, it becomes my best friend, awakening me.

 

I recently bought a trampoline.

I heard once that revisiting your childhood, and the people+places+things you held dear at that time, can fill you up with vitality now, whilst Adulting. So, to respect that concept, I bought a mini trampoline.

I grew up in my Central PA neighborhood jumping on trampolines. It was such a staple in my life that I once drew a sunny trampoline day with my neighborhood friends for a chalk drawing contest, the theme being “how I want to spend my summer vacation”. Three of the houses in the neighborhood owned giant trampolines, and we were always getting high off of them (as in… jumping high. Duh, Guys, come on now.)

It was fitting I found this mini trampoline when I did. I’m 27, and I was in a store called ‘Once Upon a Child”, socializing with my crafty-gal-pal, Sarah of http://www.bennetttrails.com, and right before the store was closing, right before we were leaving, I saw a mini trampoline by the door.

The sign read, “Gently used”, $18

Some may say I’m impulsive, some may say I am ADHD,

but to me, that sign read:

“Buy me. I’m magnificient and the answer to your prayers. Come be a child again. Come, find happiness.”

I bought it. Couldn’t transport it- but I bought it! I had to phone my boyfriend, who thankfully was nearby, to come help me tie it down in my car, super awkwardly.

“Hey Jake, I bought a trampoline and it won’t fit in my car… can I haz helpful boyfriend?”

I jump on that trampoline every morning and it lifts me up (HAH! See what i did there?) That rush of the wind (however slight) is enough to throw me back in time and remind me of those carefree days.

I don’t need to struggle, I just need a trampoline.

The oil pastels were stage two of this development. Now that I had gotten back in touch with my childlike spirit, it was time to unleash the fury I was holding in me via…

Color.

You know when you are completely, staggeringly overwhelmed with life and you want to slam your head into a wall, scream, stomp, and cry? You need to release that chaotic energy, but your mind is telling you to Adult, and so you obediently Adult. That energy that was created by those thoughts still exists and is now ravaging your body. That’s what happens to me. I Adult too well sometimes. I adult to the point of feeling like I am physically falling apart and tearing at the seams. My heart pounds and crunches in pain, my neck seizes up, I become nauseous. I develop migraines, muscle spasms.

All that pain, held within my body.

I had that pain just last night and this morning. Stressful life, stressful freelance job. For a measly $4 I bought some oil pastels thinking “I love oil paints, but there’s no ventilation in my little apartment- what a perfect solution!” I also remembered a gorgeous oil pastel drawing I had done back in high school. Oil pastels are basically crayons made for adults anyway. Why not indulge?

Recently, I’ve had insomnia. All that creative energy I’ve generated and now become fearful of was keeping me awake, pleading to be vented, used, released. I’ve become mindful of when I was building up all that energy and have tuned into what would help release it. I got out of bed, went into my studio, turned on the light on my desk and saw a clean, white sheet of paper from my new sketchbook, waiting for me.

As if it knew I was coming. It knew before I did that I needed this.

… God I love the universe.

I sat down and unwrapped my new pastels. The color in and of itself was soothing, bright, stimulating. The tactile movements of hand on paper made it even more so. I circled, I scribbled.

“Fuck this shit!” my mind would yell,

“God this is beautiful…” it would sign afterward.

Up and down my emotions waved. I found myself sometimes fearing what line I would draw next. Will it connect? Will this color look good overtop this? My mind told me to quiet down, it was trying to do it’s thing.

Just let it do it’s thing.

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My mind wants to destroy the secret, analyze what these drawings could be. I’ve lovingly named them Heart Attack (top) and Tumor (bottom) and honestly they both get to the matter at hand. Both were made out of stress which could bring on tumors and heart attacks. Stress stinks, color works.

Oh, and trampolines= Lyfe.