Blog Archives

A Busy Summer Morning

One of my favorite things to do in the summer is to go to the Ogden Farmer’s Market with my family when I go to visit. It’s one of the busiest farmer’s markets I’ve ever been to, but Ogden is an artsy place surrounded by lots of farming communities, so there’s lots of food, animals, crafts, and art. Local restaurants like to set up booths full of amazing pastries and tamales too. The whole place smells amazing.

The market opened last week, so the whole place was jumpin’. I ate so many pastries. I had a good time taking photos. Half the time, I’ll go somewhere cool and forget to take pictures at all because I’m too busy looking, but I didn’t forget this time!

Piglets are so cute! I also got to see/pet lambs, calves, and the giant fluffy cow below. Yeah, that’s when I forgot to take pictures. Petting baby animals tends to make me forget things like that…

My little sister laughed at me because I walked straight up to the herb stands and immediately smelled the basil. Just bent right over and sniffed. Have you ever heard of cinnamon basil? Me neither, but it was there! I don’t even know what you’d do with that, but if you know, tell me!

Historic 25th Street in Ogden is full of these horses painted by local artists. I hadn’t seen this one before for some reason, but it’s probably my favorite.

I even ran into my jr. high art teacher, Ms. Green! I was so excited to tell her I was an artist now, and she didn’t act surprised at all. I took every art class she taught and spend extra time before and after school in her room working on art.

After a few hours in the sun eating pastries, sniffing basil, petting farm animals, and shopping for handmade jewelry, we cut through one of my favorite stores in Ogden: The Queen Bee. They sell games, books, art, and…fine chocolate! When I discovered this store, I thought “Oh my goodness, did someone look inside my brain and make a store just for me?!” Mom and I tried the ginger lemongrass truffle, which was amazing, and another truffle that I don’t remember the name of, but Rios was in the name.  It’s a “single origin” chocolate, which means that all the cocoa beans used to make the chocolate came from the exact same place instead of from a giant mix of beans from all over the world. This let’s the unique flavor of that location really pop out. I don’t remember where this one came from, but it was the most incredible piece of chocolate I’ve ever tried, including the amazing Aztec Gold truffle I tried last time, which was my previous favorite. It tasted almost…licorice-y, by Mom says that’s not it. I loved it.

I also found these fun little guys:

I almost bought it, but I have PLENTY of art supplies, believe me. It’s a nice little reminder though. It’s something to think about every once in awhile.

Finally, this is what an exhausted, wired, way over-stimulated shitzu looks like with a free bow from one of the vendors:

Maya usually loves the farmer’s markets, but this one was a little busy. All the farm animals, other dogs, heat, and explosions going off in the street for some reason really overwhelmed her, and she slept for the rest of the day. This is also my gorgeous 13-year-old sister, Erianne. I only have one sister, and I got to spend a lot of time with her that day.

Also, I’m going to be off having tons of fun in Lake Powell next week, so no blog posts or Facebook updates. I have lots of cool things planned for when I get back!

So I have to ask, what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

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Sunflower Inspiration

If I were a flower, I think I’d be a sunflower. They’re my favorite because they look so happy and they’re a symbol of joy and summer to me.

I saw a bunch of sunflowers down by the road near the Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork, Utah when I went there for the annual Llama fest this weekend. Yes, Llama fest. Lots of fun. It’s like a big fancy dog show, but for llamas, and there are lots of crafts and good food, and the Krishna Temple is just a wonderful place to be because it smells like beautiful incense, everyone is happy, and it’s up on a hill with an incredible view of Utah Valley.

Anyways, Sam picked me a sunflower and I had a mini photoshoot.

I’m planning on using these in a mixed-media painting very soon!

Ok, I know. You guys want to see some llama pictures. Here you go:

And some more pictures, just for fun.

Thank you all for being such wonderful friends and readers. Have a fabulous day!

Changes

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So, dear readers, if you’re still around, you may have noticed some technical difficulties going on around here. During my creative funk and unplanned vacation from blogging, my domain name expired and is now being used by another site. This sucks quite a bit, because my readers seem to be having a hard time finding me. For now, we’ll be back to handprintsoul.wordpress.com.

However, this is one of many events that have prompted me to make some changes. I’ve been writing Handprint Soul for almost two years now, but I’m finding that this blog and Etsy might not be what I need to support my artwork, so I’m working on getting a new site. I’ll let you know when that happens, and I hope you’ll join me there!

This isn’t a goodbye! I still plan to write here at Handprintsoul (.wordpress.com) although I may transfer to a blog on the new site when it goes up. I really love writing here and connects with my readers all around the world!

Sometimes, life pushes us to change. I’ve been struggling with several big decisions involving my career lately, and it seems like my own mistakes and insecurities are answer them for me. I consider this blog a first step and a starting point for many things I plan to do with my art and writing, so I hope you’ll continue to enjoy my work as it develops, moves, and progresses.

Thank you for being such wonderful readers!

Wise Words: Impossible

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What to do when you don’t know what to do

We’ve all been there, and a lot of us never seem to leave. Life seems overwhelming, scary, or confusing, or maybe all of the above.

This isn’t a gloomy post. Feeling like this sometimes is just part of life and it usually means we’re on the verge of something important. The longer we stay stuck here though, the longer it takes to get that shiny prize at the end of the tunnel.

So when my head is spinning and I have no idea what to do or which path to take, here’s what I do:

  1. Cling to truth: When you’re confused, nothing feels better than to anchor yourself with things that you know to be true. List them. They can be as simple as “My husband loves me” or “I am a good person”. Confusion is to not know, but having truth is to know. Once you have a grip on that, you can figure the rest out.
  2. Realize that everything is ok: I tend to get caught up in my own little maelstrom of emotion, but sometimes I need to step back and notice that the sun is shining, the cat is sleeping, the world is still turning, and nothing is really wrong. Not in the grand scheme of things. The drama is all inside me. I don’t have to listen to it.
  3. Do a tiny thing that scares you: If you’ve been cleaning the house with a Q-tip to avoid working on your novel, sit down and write a page. Set a timer. If you’ve been putting something off, do a tiny bit of it. Bribe yourself. Set a timer. Whatever gets you going, do it.

I actually did all three of these things today, and I feel a million times better. If you feel confused or overwhelmed at all, I highly recommend it.

Have a great week!

Bein’ Green

If you were to look at my art and try to guess my favorite color, you’d probably go with yellow. My favorite color is actually green, but it doesn’t seem to show up in my art very often.

Anyway, I thought I’d give my favorite color some attention and show you some green things I love.

Of course you saw this coming!

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(Visit my friend Rachael‘s Etsy shops!)

Ok, sharing time. What’s your favorite color? Is there anything fun that you associate with that color?

3 Secrets to Creativity

People often tell me that they’re not “the creative type”.  A lot of those same people tell me how creative I am, as if it were some rare trait that only a few gifted people possess.

Compliments are nice, but I’m here to tell you that creativity is not something you’re born with. There’s no “creative type”. There are people who tend to gravitate towards things like art, dance, theater, writing, and basketweaving. Some people are naturally unafraid to express themselves, while others are more timid. Some people are more visual and emotional and tend to think more creatively without really trying. This really isn’t any different from people who are naturally good at math, or who think analytically, or highly useful people like my husband who can look at any broken do-dad and know how to fix it (I, however, am much better breaking things. Match made in heaven, right?).

We all have a creative streak whether we use it or not. We may not all be inclined to paint or write novels, but everyone is moved by some form of creative expression, and I firmly believe that everyone can become adept at some sort of creative pursuit whether it’s writing operas or creating flower arrangements.

After years of listening to people lament about their perceived lack of creativity and my observations of “creative types”, here are some of the differences I’ve noticed:

  1. Don’t be afraid to screw up. People who are truly in tune with their creativity aren’t afraid of making lousy stuff. If you’re too afraid of messing up, you’ll never start, and nothing will get made.
  2. Let your ideas change and evolve as you create. I was talking to my friend the other day, and he told me that he doesn’t like to make art because it never ends up looking the way he pictured it in his head. This is a common complaint. I’ll tell you a secret: I make a lot of art, and it NEVER comes out the way I’d originally imagined it, but sometimes it’s even better. Creativity is not the ability to reach into your brain and pull out your intended creation intact; it’s more about discovering as you create and allowing your work to take on a life of its own. It’s spontaneity.
  3. Spend some time in La-La land. Though I was a good student, I used to get in trouble for daydreaming a lot in school. I even wrote a poem about it. If you don’t let your imagination wander, you won’t get idea; and if you don’t get ideas, how will you create anything? On the same note, it’s important to let those ideas marinate for awhile before you try to make them real. Yes, some ideas just burst for fully-formed, but that usually only happens in the movies. I recently re-learned this when I got the sudden urge to start working on my novel again. I’d been stalled for month even though I still thought about the story a lot. As the words flowed out during my writing session today, I realized that I hadn’t gotten to know my characters well enough, so no wonder the story wasn’t working! After letting them run wild in my head for a little while, I found out who they were and they were able to take on lives of their own.

I’ve had plenty of creative blocks before, and I’ve found that in each case I wasn’t doing at least one of these things. When I do all three, I find that my creativity flows like a fire hose. Try applying them to your own life. See what happens.

So, do you consider yourself a “creative type”? Do you run into creative snags?

Shifting Creative Gears

Ok, I’m going to keep this quick because I’m in a mood that I haven’t experienced in quite awhile.

The writing mood.

This happens to me sometimes. I’ll be working on one creative project and then wake up one morning feeling like doing something completely different. This happens with my art and writing. Thought I’m both an artist and a writer, I can’t seem to do both at the same time; I’m always both feet in either one or the other. I’ve made more art in the past couple months than I have in years, but I haven’t touched the novel I’ve been working on off and on for three years. Most of my readers probably have no idea that I’ve even had that project on the back burner. Two weeks ago though, I went to bed with all kinds of art ideas and a plan for the next day’s painting session and woke up with a hankering to work on my book.

That’s what I’ve been doing ever since, nearly every minute that I’m not at work. I’ve been living off watermelon and pb&j because I don’t have the patience to make anything else.

Some creative people have a single, burning patient to which to devote their time. Others, like me, have more than one. Sometimes it’s possible to split their daily activities to include both, but I don’t work that way. I’ve had to learn to go where my creative urge takes me. If I feel like painting, I paint. If I feel like writing, I write.

It’s kind of an unpredictable cycle and it makes it hard to set any long-term goals, like a goal date for finishing the first edit of my manuscript or introducing a new item to my shop or a new series of paintings this summer. I have to ride the waves though, because if I do anything else, the work won’t be as good.

I’m a writer at the moment, but I’m still an artist too. Who knows when the winds will change again. Don’t worry, I’ve still got plenty of art in me!

Trust the urge to create, no matter what that may be.

Let Your Passions Feed You

I’ve wanted to be a lot of things in my life. I’m interested in a lot of things. Even though I’ve always planned on being an artist and a writer, I’ve also seriously considered going into theatrical set design, archaeology, teaching, horse breeding, nutritional counseling, and  art therapy.

The other day, Sam and I were sitting at an outdoor table sharing wings and mozzarella sticks, and we started talking about talents and abilities that we each had. It actually started by comparing his super-sensitive taste buds to my ears. Sam can taste things that I can’t, and I have some crazy-sensitive ears. For me, any sort of squeaky, scraping sound practically causes seizures, but I can also hear things in music that Sam can’t. He likes to play songs I’ve never heard to see if I can guess the band (if I’ve heard of the band, I can usually tell). I can’t remember the words of most songs, but I can remember obscure little beats and entire guitar solos. I hear music in a very visual way, if that makes sense. I could probably sculpt or draw the sounds. One of my favorite things to do in junior high was to listen to a song over and over and draw it.

I’ve taken voice and piano lessons and I’ve played with composing, but I’ve never really done much with music. As we ate our lunch that day, Sam asked “Why aren’t you in the music industry?”

I just shrugged. I love music, but I don’t know what I’d do with it. I also love animals and could happily be with them every day, but I don’t know what I’d do with that either.

Sam’s kind of the same way. He’s a man of many talents and he likes to experiment, but like me, he’s has a hard time settling on one career. He’s also dabbled in set design and engineering, but he’s also a web designer and he’s going to school for 3-D animation. He’s draws and he loves film, and he  loves creating props for haunted houses. Someday he might open a creature shop and make puppetry-assisted animatronics for haunted houses and movies.

It’s hard to juggle so many interests. One things that I love about art and writing though, is that I can use them to cover all my other interests. I can write about anything, paint anything, learn about anything and let it show up in my creative. Everything I do, see, love, and dream about feeds my art and writing. Even though I’ve checked out plenty of different paths, I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. Though someday I’d love to go back to music lessons, I’d love to spend more time with animals, and I still think there’s plenty to be explored in my other interests. Those interests are there for a reason. I used to get frustrated that there’s only one of me and that I couldn’t do everything I want to do, but it doesn’t bother me much anymore.

I watch Sam juggle his different interests and ambitions, and I noticed that he doesn’t stress out about it. He doesn’t seem to worry that there isn’t enough time or that he’s doing the wrong thing. He just has a good time with it.

I guess that’s the best thing to do when you feel like your choices and passions are overwhelming. Just have fun with it. Let it feed you.

New Mini Painting: Mixing it Up

I’m having so much fun with these little paintings. I just added this to the shop last night:

Mini painting and easel-Collage and acrylic tree with suns on canvas

Mini Mixed Media Painting with Easel-$21

This little painting is about 2×2 and features a black tree with three yellow suns on a background of collaged book pages from Gulliver’s Travels, one of my favorites. It comes with the little black easel. These mini paintings are great decorations for small rooms, work desks, and anywhere else we may need a little art in our lives.

Available here.

Have a lovely day!