30 day sketch challenge!

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Join the challenge!





Hi friends!

As we embark on a new year, one of my favorite things to do is start out with a fresh sketchbook. Something about closing out an old sketchbook and starting something new excites me about what lies ahead!

As I’m sure come of you can relate, some of ,y biggest struggles as an artist are being inconsistent in practice, not making time to create, not knowing what to create when I open up my sketchbook (fully intimidated by that blank page), and wishing I had community and support with friends creating by my side.

So, to overcome some of my own struggles, and start out 2016 on the right foot, I’ve challenged myself to get in my brand new sketch book every single day in the month of January. I’ve been setting up a series of prompts ahead of time so I can’t say to myself (and my sketchbook) “I don’t know what to draw, so I just won’t do anything today.” and would LOVE it if you’d join me so we can create together and cheer one another on!

Each day at 7am (PST) you’ll receive an email from me with your prompt for the day. Once you’ve completed your drawing, pat yourself on the back, and then post it on Instagram with the rest of the crew under the hashtag #MakeWithMe.

One of the best things about doing this together is the encouragement of community, but also the accountability to continue creating and the joy of practicing. (And even getting better!)

Absolutely no drawing experience is necessary! Just start where you are and challenge yourself to grow.

I hope you’ll jump in and join us!

Love,
Janine

We learned the hard way

that my trigger is when he leaves.

It happens 5 mornings a week, I’m left to care for the kids on my own while he goes to work. And while I view it a privilege to stay home with my children, to spend my days with them, playing, correcting, feeding them. While I see it as a blessing to our family and a righteous call on my life during this season — the trigger remains.

We learned the hard way that anxiety can cripple a person. That it can steal your breath and your mind, cause your heart to race and your days to melt into one after the other impossible to discern one from the next.

We learned the hard way that his leaving is a thin thread that weaves its way deep into a messy pile somewhere inside me, where everything is tangled up in a wadded ball and the more you pull to untangle it, the tighter it winds its way around itself. Where being left wasn’t just a simple act of my husband needing to go to work each day to provide for our family, but rather the painful recall of abandonment I endured years ago now being thrust upon an undeserving source.

And he learned the hard way that getting out the door in the mornings may be a monumental task at times. Because sometimes it means he has to sit down on the floor with me as I’m crying — in the place where I’m desperately trying to pull myself together so he can leave, but I remain stuck in the tornadoed overwhelm of the impending day’s tasks and the emotions of my feeling aloneness.

And he does.

He sits with me. Hand resting on my knee, ready to make eye contact when the tears finally clear my eyes and I can see him again and not just feel his presence. Reassuring me that I’m not in this alone, I don’t have to do it all, I am enough even in my brokenness.

And slowly the thread unravels. Loosens up ever so much, and freedom begins to creep in. I’m able to catch my breath.

I am grateful that God uses people in our lives to draw us to Himself. And I am forever grateful that one person He has chosen to place in my life as a consistent showing of His hands and feet and voice to me is the man who stood at the altar with me five years ago and promised to love me. And he loves me well. In sickness and in health.

So, I say we learned the hard way, but maybe we are simply learning the only way and it just feels hard because this part isn’t easy…

Love,
Janine

One step at a time.

pc: Penny Hayward

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“BUT I DON’T WANT TO!”

My darling two year old daughter is turning three next month… and if I didn’t know better, I’d think she was turning fourteen. The sassiness is unending as she tries to declare herself independent — a “big girl”, and I can feel myself coming undone not only at the thought of her actually growing up (there’s nothing I can do to stop that, right?) but each time she pushes back at my gentle (and #truestory sometimes not so gentle…) guidance.

And just when I think I can’t handle one more blatant opposition to my asking her to put her shoes on so we can leave or go to the potty so she doesn’t have an accident she says it one. more. time.

“BUT I DON’T WANT TO!” 

What the heck, kid!? Seriously. Haven’t you learned by now that I’m your mom and I love you and I’m only here to help you learn and grow and not pee yourself? I feed you and love you and hug you and we laugh together and cry together and play together. You depend on me for EV. RY. THING. and yet you still oppose me on the simplest of instructions.

I know with my daughter that this is simply a milestone. One where she’s learning her independence and asserting herself. Learning boundaries, pushing them, pressing beyond them, and swinging back to center. Competencies, as a parent, I hope to both foster and help hone in her as she grows. Beautiful, wonderful, vital skills that will be used her whole life long.

And then it hit me like a ton of bricks. That’s how God operates with me these days — hitting me over the head with bricks. That’s really the only way to get my attention right now since I’m constantly being pulled in approximately fourteen different directions by two small children, head spinning, mind racing, having to make decisions in a snap all day long to keep us all from physically and emotionally perishing. I know some of you feel me on that.

The brick came and fell fast and hard:

I don’t want to, either.

I don’t want to do what you’re asking me to do, God. I don’t want to.

I don’t want to be a writer, I don’t want to put myself out there. I don’t want to be vulnerable and share my words and be exposed — naked for the whole world to see and judge. I just don’t want it. It doesn’t feel safe.

Recently, God placed a new calling in my hands. One that feels uncomfortable and strange. It doesn’t feel like it quite fits me yet. It’s not something I wanted to do or asked to do or prayed for, but something I’m being trained up to do by obediently walking with Him. One step at a time.

He asked me to write. He gave me a gift and told me to use it and is opening doors and giving me space to do so. I don’t know what this is supposed to look like, but He continues to promise me that He will give me the words to say if only I will do my part by sticking by His side and putting pen to paper… or fingers to keyboard.

So, here goes, my friends. Here goes…

Love,
Janine

An interview with Alisa.

Alisa and I met back in junior high and have recently reconnected through the wonderful worldwide web! She is a self-taught painter, creator, and lover of art and is currently working as a painting instructor sharing her love of creating with others.
Like her Facebook page and check out her Etsy shop to stay up to date on what she’s been working on!

Tell me a little bit about your background and how you got started creating:
Creation has always been a huge part of my life. As a child, imagination was my biggest tool no matter what I was doing. I would create make-believe stories and games to occupy my time and I think this was the root of my love of creating. Imagination is endless and was such a powerful influence on me and still is today. I don’t think it was until my early college years that people starting referring to my products of imagination as “Art” and ever since I have just embraced that term and went with it.

Do you consider yourself an artist? (Why or why not) And how does it make you feel to think of yourself as one?
I think ever since I changed majors in college to focus on art I have been chasing down the title of “Artist” to be it and to fully understand it. I would work on pieces and always have that question in the back of my head, “Am I a real artist yet?” I felt I was always trying to qualify for this vague but crème de la crème status. It was just the way we were trained to think about art in school I think. It seemed the title “Artist”  was put on a pedestal and became this elite, almost unobtainable thing by certain definitions and it couldn’t apply to you unless what you did was the best, the most controversial, the most unique. While I still think those elements can play a big role in how people see your work, they don’t play a role in how I define myself anymore. Yes, I am an Artist. I have always been one; anyone can be if they use their imagination and passion.  If you create anything, you are an artist in my mind.

What are you currently working on and how do you find inspiration for your pieces?
Although I graduated with an Art degree, I never actually did any painting in school and that has become my primary focus as of late. I’m teaching myself to paint! I am a painting instructor now as my full time job, but everything I have learned I have taught myself through trial and error and some awesome Bob Ross videos. Right now I work mostly in acrylics and I am just now embarking on discovering watercolors which is becoming my new favorite thing. I am currently working on writing and illustrating my own children’s book in my spare time and I am also working on a series of nature inspired portraits incorporating animal and plant elements. I’m really inspired by the magical realm of nature and anything fantastical so I try to make that visible in some way in a lot of the things I’m working on.
Sister Bear

You recently had the opportunity to show your paintings at RAW:natural born artists in Columbus, Ohio. Tell me about your experience showing your work and preparing for the show: 
RAW was a great experience for me. Being out in the real world, with a real job, and real responsibilities it is really hard to keep your creative flow going and keep making your art. RAW was awesome because it got me motivated to really focus on my art and pump out a good body of work to show. This being one of my first “real” shows I was very nervous about how I would compare to other, probably more trained and experienced artists, but I found this wasn’t a factor at all. It was amazing to network with all the other artists and create new contacts and resources with them. RAW showcases every kind of art from visual to performing to hair and makeup artists…It was really cool to play a part in this collaborative artistic effort.

Do you enjoy any creating with any other artistic mediums? If so, what are they?
You name it, I’ll try it. I love making and I don’t even care what it is, I would like to at least attempt it once. I absolutely love photography and do that on the side as well when given the time.

What has been your biggest struggle as an artist?
My biggest struggle has been getting over the expectations of what an artist is supposed to be and if I was good enough to claim that title. Changing the way I thought of myself in this sense was a process, but now I have a different outlook on it. I create for myself now and not others and it is made me so much happier along with really improving the quality of my art. I feel another main struggle is just simply finding the time to be creative; it is definitely something you have to fight to include in your busy everyday life.

What do you consider to be your greatest victory or success?
Every time I finish a new piece, it is my greatest victory. I learn something new on every piece I work on and the next project is always the next greatest victory. The feeling of finishing something you have poured yourself into is unreal. I think it is the reason I start a new project in the first place, I love to finish it and relish that satisfaction of hard work realized.

paper clouds

Do you have any parting words of wisdom or advice for other creatives?
Don’t listen to the inner critic…Shut them up and do it. Enjoy the process, and finally, the fruits of your labor. Most importantly just keep making. We have to find the time, but when we do it is time well spent. Creation really does nourish the soul and keeps our insides happy :)

Perspective.

IMG_5968.JPGOne morning, about a week ago, Andy and I were standing in the backyard drinking our coffee as we watched the kids play in the mid-morning light.

Mornings are sacred times to me. The quietness before our day of work begins — savoring moments together as a family and sipping coffee while Andy and I share little words with one another.

Our backyard is one of my most favorite places to savor these morning-times. It’s a safe place for me — for us — fully surrounded by a tall, wooden privacy fence that turns our tiny, ever-green and usually blooming backyard into a bit of a secluded wonderland. It is the closest thing we have to feeling like we have our own little space in this world, given that we live packed tightly into a cute little neighborhood with tiny houses and tiny yards surrounded by lots of neighbors.

As Andy and I were standing outside on the deck, he glanced over his shoulder toward our neighbor’s house and noticed a tree branch bobbing about. He drew my attention to the shivering limb exclaiming there was a cat in the tree! A cat?

I looked and looked and looked, but I couldn’t see it! I could see the tree swaying in a way that told me it was more than just the early breeze causing movement, but I certainly could NOT see a cat anywhere!

Andy continued to describe the precise placement of the cat to me to help me discover it’s location — that it was right by the bird feeder hanging in the tree if I would just look then I would see it.

I felt myself beginning to grow frustrated and then increasingly moreso as I continued to look directly AT the bird feeder and still there was absolutely NO cat in sight! I knew the cat had to be there, I trusted Andy, and I could see the tree moving, I just couldn’t see the cat anywhere at all. What was I missing?

As it turns out his 8 inches-taller-than-me height made a huge difference.

Andy was able to see over the fence to a lower-hanging bird feeder that was completely out of my view. All I could see from my physical standing point was a second one that was positioned on a limb higher up… one that should have had a cat perched next to it.

As Andy and I were having this discussion about the elusive cat, it reminded me of a million times that I stubbornly refused to hop up onto a chair to fully see things from his perspective. How many times have I been the fool who “takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” Prov. 18:2? And how often have I been quick to speak and become frustrated or angry before truly taking the time to listen as we are encouraged to do in James 1:19?

My answer: more times than I’d like to admit. (Andy, this is my public and semi-formal apology to you! Thank you for being patient with me!)

And then I thought about God. (Because let’s just continue to be real here while I’m exposing my shortcomings: my first thoughts aren’t always about God…)

How many times have I prayed and spouted off my opinion about life? Been displeased with my circumstances, my physical body, my gifts… and how many times have I missed the point because I refused to see things from HIS perspective?

God tells us we are:

-Valuable to Him. Luke 12:7
-His masterpiece. Ephesians 2:10
-Loved and Chosen by Him. 1 Thessalonians 1:4

So what happens if we will commit to stop what we are doing (anyone else out there complaining and being stubborn like I am?) and climb up on a chair to see things from God’s perspective — to drop to our knees and humble ourselves to see what He is doing in our lives and how He loves us? To make space to truly hear from Him.

I believe that our lives could be transformed…

 

The Prayer of St. Francis:

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Amen.

Love,
Janine