Finding inspiration.

Finding inspiration can be one of the toughest parts of being an artist.

Sitting down at a blank piece of paper or stark, white canvas can feel intimidating. What do I draw? What do I paint? Where do I start?

I took a very inspiring online course presented by Alisa Burke (check out her blog here) which helped me to realize and remember I can find inspiration all around me.

Yesterday Andy and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary. He surprised me with a very pretty little flower arrangement he carried carefully in his backpack while riding the train and then hopping on his bike to finally make it home. He pulled the flowers from his backpack like a magician pulls a rabbit from a hat, and was met with a look of awe and surprise as he handed them to me.

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I love flowers.

I love that he carried them in his backpack for me.

I love that they took me by surprise.

I love him.

So, today I dedicate a page in my sketchbook to him and those sweet, surprising flowers.

45 minute sketch

Mechanical pencil, Koi watercolor, .05 Micron pen

I started off with a quick pencil sketch, trying to capture the shape and texture of the flowers without worrying too much about perfection.

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Then I added a bit of watercolor, exaggerating some of the actual colors found in the arrangement.

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And when I was through with all the color, I thought it could use a bit more definition. So, I outlined the original pencil drawing with one of my Micron pens.

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A happy 45 minutes spent in my sketchbook this morning reflecting on a sweet gesture from my love.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Love,
Janine

Journey.

No this isn’t about the band…

This is about the journey I’m on. The one we are all on, I suppose.

Navigating life here on earth.

I have given myself a lot of titles and labels and been given several of them as well throughout the years. And I’m sure you’ve experienced this, too.

Here are a few of mine:

Wife. Mom. Artist. Christian. Friend. Baker. Singer. Musician….

As I watch my life unfold day by day, moving to the beat of the soundtrack in my mind, I see times where I have deeply embraced these titles, and other times where I have neglected some or a few.

This is part of the journey.

As long as I can remember I’ve been making “stuff”. Doodling with paint and crayons, constructing miniature scenes from cookie cutters. Altering clothing, sewing patches, painting on buttons and shoes and canvases. And this has always brought me joy.

I even spent four years of college spending endless hours in dark rooms, standing at printing presses, holding torches and pneumatic hammers, and most of all building, stretching, and painting enormous canvases.

But now, it seems other things have taken priority of these joys. Jobs, laundry, walking the dog, being a wife, mom, and friend…

So, I’ve been on the endless cycle of figuring out how to balance everything. Until I finally realized… that life isn’t about the ability to balance it all. It’s simply about the choices we make each day.

So, I’m making the choice to do something creative every day. (And chronicling it for you, here!)

Even if it’s 5 minutes in the sketchbook or two hours at a canvas when Lucy decides to take a really great nap. I have a feeling there will be a lot of days where it’s just 5 minutes in the sketchbook, but that’s ok!

So, this is part of my journey today.

30 minutes in the sketchbook.

Koi watercolors, Prismacolor colored pencils, and a couple of Sharpies:

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Loving two.

When Andy and I talked about having another baby, I wasn’t prepared for the emotions and worries I would feel once we got the wonderful news that we would, in fact, be welcoming a new baby into our home.

The old worries of my first pregnancy — feeling like I wasn’t going to know what to do, being scared of the impending labor, worrying that I wouldn’t have all the “things” in our house that we needed to take care of the baby — those worries have come and gone.

A new list of thoughts and worries have taken their place.

Will Lucy be upset that I can’t focus only on her any longer?
Will I actually have to figure out how to deal with a jealous toddler?
Will I be mad at myself and feel guilty for dividing my attention?
How will I ever maintain the sweet, sweet relationship I have with Lucy and still make room in my heart for another baby?
Is there even room in my heart to love another?
Will the new baby be quiet, happy, and laid back like Lucy?
Will the new baby be dramatically different?
Will I be able to handle life with a newborn and a toddler?

The list goes on…
Sigh. 

 

As I was praying through my worries (Psalm 55:22), laying them at the feet of the Lord, (1 Peter 5:7)… I was prompted to Google.

Maybe that sounds really crazy to you, but for those of you who know me, I Google everything. And… God has always had some really interesting ways of communicating things to me. (Ask me about the time I was in the middle of singing at church and had visions of the animated movie Feivel Goes West.)

So I Googled, and came across the following poem that beautifully walked me through my emotions and safely brought me out on the other side. With tear-stained cheeks of course.

 

Loving Two

I walk along holding your 2-year-old hand, basking in the glow of our magical relationship.

Suddenly I feel a kick from within, as if to remind me that our time alone is limited. And I wonder, how could I love another child as I love you?

Then she is born, and I watch you. I watch as the pain you feel at having to share me as you have never shared me before.

I hear you telling me in your own way, “Please love only me” and I hear myself telling you in mine “I can’t”. Knowing in fact that I never can again. You cry, I cry with you.

I almost see our baby as an intruder on the precious relationship we once shared. A relationship we can never have again.

But then, barely noticing, I find myself attached to that new being, and feeling almost guilty. I’m afraid to let you see me enjoying her — as though I am betraying you.

But then I notice your resentment change, first to curiosity, then to protectiveness, finally to genuine affection. More days pass, and we are settling into a new routine.

The memory of days with just the two of us is fading fast. But something is replacing those wonderful times we shared, just us two. There are new times — only now we are three.

I watch the love between you grow, the way you look at each other, touch each other.

I watch how she adores you, as I have for so long. I see how excited you are by each of her new accomplishments.

I begin to realize that I haven’t taken something from you, I’ve given something to you.

I notice that I am no longer afraid to share my love openly with both of you.

I find that my love for each of you is as different as you are, but equally strong. And my question is finally answered to my amazement.

Yes, I can love another child as much as I love you, only differently.

And although I realize that you may have to share my time, I know you’ll never share my love.

There’s enough of that for both of you — you each have your own supply.

I love you both and I thank you both for blessing my life.

—Author Unknown

My heart is still heavy sometimes at the thought of sharing my love, but I know there are many  mothers who have gone before me who have realized that indeed a mother’s love for each child can be equally strong, but just as different as her children are.

My prayer is that I will be at peace knowing I will have enough love for both of my babies.

They will each have their own supply.

Love,
Janine