Lessons from the Dandelion: How to navigate change

Lessons from the Dandelion: How to navigate change

MINDFUL MININATURE

Lessons from the dandelion: How to navigate change

I have a feeling that conventionally we view ‘change’ as the BIG unknown and ‘acceptance’ as this little thing we eventually have to give into in order to make the change less uncomfortable.⁠

But what if there’s a different way of looking at it?⁠

What if ‘change’ is this really little unknown and ‘acceptance is the BIG known we can reach to every time a possible change of direction arises?⁠

Change is happening all around us on micro levels. Our hair is growing. The plants are blooming. The leaves are going brown. You meet a new person you didn’t know yesterday. You hear a new song that shifts things for you. ⁠

It’s not that change is the divergence from the consistent ‘normal’ routine. It’s that we tend not to notice the little changes, give them that little nod hello.⁠

I made some sense from it by observing and painting this dandelion.

Here’s how you could view Change
many unknowable little things you can’t control like the seeds of a dandelion⁠

Here’s how you could view Acceptance
one consistently available thing you can tap into to smooth your experience of the ride, like the warm breeze all around you⁠

Every time I see a dandelion – I’m reminded of this ability to focus on the warm winds carrying the seeds rather than focusing (and trying to control) where all the little seeds will land. ⁠
.⁠
Puts a whole new perspective on having an ‘Easy Breezy’ nature, hey?⁠

 

“Every time I see a dandelion – I’m reminded of this ability to focus on the warm winds carrying the seeds rather than focusing (and trying to control) where all the little seeds will land.”

Leave me a comment if viewing change this way could help your art process, or other perspectives and thoughts you might have on change.

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Top 8 take-aways from being interviewed by Crush magazine

Top 8 take-aways from being interviewed by Crush magazine

MINDFUL MININATURE

8 creative insights I only uncovered after being interviewed

I recently did an interview with the lovely folks over at Crush magazine (who by the way create drool worthy recipe shoots) about my miniature painting journey, the 365 challenge and what it means to be creative daily.

I was surprised to discover that being interviewed can open up a lot of clarity about your own process. Questions you never ask yourself reveal aspects of the deeper ‘why’ in your journey that were, up until that moment, even hidden from you.

Here are my eight quick take aways from the interview that taught me something I didn’t know I had learnt through the process of painting daily.

 

1. Everything is far richer and more effortless to create and sustain if we cultivate a symbiosis.

2. Your art doesn’t have to please everyone. There are literally different (brush) strokes for different folks.

3. Making it as an artist will be tough but I would rather climb this mountain than sit behind a desk never having even tried. I have to believe that my hiking boots are made of the right stuff to climb my own mountains. If we have innate talents, then we also have the innate strengths to see those into fruition.

Photography by Ashly Newell

4. Nature is it. It’s the beginning and the end of us. She’s our greatest teacher. A silent and all-knowing one at that, who waits for us to find her.

“As they say – no mud no lotus. So even the lows become highs if you’re accepting of what is.

5. Having a sense of momentum and purpose was powerfully focusing. 

6. A self-belief in what you can accomplish if you do it mindfully and  constantly looking for the learning curve – that’s been invaluable.

7. The people in your life who love and care for you, really do want to support you. They get reward out of helping you achieve your thing.

8.  I know the painting is done when it’s looking back at me. It reaches a place when it suddenly has a little life of its own.

Read the full interview and get the context behind all these insights head on over to Crush Magazine.

Big thank you again to Julie Velosa and her team for the feature.

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A key insight from a Hopi Creation Story to inspire you to paint

A key insight from a Hopi Creation Story to inspire you to paint

Insight  from a Hopi Creation Story that will make you want to paint again

Mindful MiniNature

Some Hopi wisdom in tribal stories to get you in a daily creative habit.

Some people learn by example, some learn through teachings. I, and I have a feeling you too, learn through story.  Stories that transcend the fluctuations of societal trends are particularly powerful. Especially when they’re embedded with beautiful imagery and nature’s wisdom.

I came across such a story four years ago, the Hopi Creation Story. It was part of the catalyst for my starting, and more importantly, actually completing a 365 daily painting challenge in 2019. (I’m not a great finisher of things – all the ideas, peter out in the follow through.)

The story is a beautiful story. It’s not long. It’s also not complicated. But it’s powerful.

In a few short lines it helped me understand why doing the daily work of being creative, in my case painting, was the only way I would ever find the nameless fulfilment I was seeking.

 

 

“Doing the daily work of being creative…was the only way I would ever find the nameless fulfilment I was seeking.”

This is the Hopi Creation Story, although some sources say Sioux, . 

Hopi is the shortened form of their full tribal name, Hopituh Shi-nu-mu, which means good in every respect” or “good, peaceable, wise, and knowing.”

 Origin aside, its sentiment offers a universal understanding.

It came to me many moons ago from the pages of one of my favourite magazines, Happinez

CREATION STORY

Creation said:

“I want to hide something from the humans until they are ready for it.

It’s the realisation they create their own reality.”

The eagle said, “Give it to me, I will take it to the moon.”

The Creator said, “No, one day they will go there and find it.”

The salmon said, “I will bury it on the bottom of the ocean.”

The Creator said, “No, they will go there too.”

The buffalo said, “I will bury it on the Great Plains.”

The Creator said, “They will cut into the skin of the earth and find it even there.”

Grandmother who lives in the breast of Mother Earth, and who has no physical eyes but sees with spiritual eyes, said, “Put it inside them.”

 

And the Creator said, “It is done.”

 

 

 

Does it give you goosebumps? My eyes welled up when I first read it. 

These simple, honest words fell like rain into the dried up, dusty parts of my creative self worth. 

Here’s the thing though. I believe we all have that wise Grandmother living inside us.

It was her wisdom that urged the Creator to hide our ‘something special’ deep inside us. It was her wisdom that knew the only way we would ever be able to find the place where ‘it’ – our truths- were hidden  would be through deep digging.

Here’s how I interpreted The Hopi Creation Story

The only way to dig into the soul is to excavate it. We excavate by releasing what is compacted inside. And the way we humans release is through making, through becoming creators.

She knew, grandmother earth, that only the diligent work of seeking by creating daily, could ever lead us to the truth that we are quite literally the makers of our own reality. 

The revealing part of accepting your responsibility as a maker, is understanding that it’s not so important to put emphasis on what you’re making. The outcome while you make daily is of less relevance that what you uncover while you’re making.  

Think of it this way, ‘the making’ is the shovel, the tool you use to dig. What you end up producing, at least in the beginning, is just the clay you’re excavating. Leave it behind you and continue making, continue to unearth.

I had this story hanging above my desk where I painted every day for a year. Even on the days, especially actually on those days, where it was the last thing I wanted to face, I would read this story again and find the will to dig deeper into my own creation. There was reward and insight at the end of every one of those paintings.

Not one left me less.

 

“only the diligent work of seeking by creating daily, could ever lead us to the truth that we are indeed the makers of our own reality”

 

 

Here’s how you can use the power of this story to be more creative

1. Write it out. Paint it out. But make it tangible.

2. Stick it above your creative space or your writing desk, heck above your yoga mat. Where ever you do the one thing you do that helps you get closer to what brings you joy. It doesn’t matter if you now only see it as “just a hobby”.

3. Now do your creative thing. And do it daily. Don’t make it big. Make it do-able. Most importantly, dig daily.

If you don’t have a creative thing yet or you don’t feel creative at all you can try this free 21 day ‘drawing insight challenge’ under resources that I created. It’s super easy and combines simple quick ball point drawing prompts with some writing prompts to help get your intuition flowing. Something will unlock for you. I believe it with my whole heart.

4. Then, it doesn’t matter what creative thing you’re doing, write. Write write write. They don’t have to be essays. They don’t even have to be good. But writing is the only way your own inner wise Grandmother can start sharing her wisdom with you. You will be humbled and blown away by the realisations only applicable to you and only knowable by you that are waiting to be tapped into. I’ve been looking for a long time, and the only way I’ve found to access these realisations is through the daily task of creating and writing. I’m not the first to advocate this by a long shot. If you want more proof of the power of writing pick up ‘The Artist’s Way’ by Julia Cameron.

 

You’ve got to start digging somewhere. It may as well be inward.

 

References:

www.religioustolerance.org
www.reviveyoursoul.co.uk
Womb Wisdom: Awakening the Creative and Forgotten Powers of the Feminine, by Padma Aon Prakasha, Anaiya Aon Prakasha

The Hopi (The History and Culture of Native Americans) by Barry Pritzker (z-lib.org)

If you liked this post, please share it with a friend who could use some creative inspiration. I’d be so grateful and I’m sure, so would your friend. x

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The unusual trick on how to reset your own creative purpose

The unusual trick on how to reset your own creative purpose

The unusual trick on how to reset your own creative purpose

Mindful Creative

This is a personal story from the artist’s studio on a lesson she learnt through trying to ‘do it all’.

Hint: It’s not a 21 day creative lockdown challenge

It took an enforced national lockdown combined with my compulsion for serial productivity to make me realise the true creative restoration lying in a lockdown, and it wasn’t as I thought, being more creative.

This is a little tale about starting things. It’s also about quitting and how in this age of do, make, be — giving up and turning your back on something can sometimes be the best thing for your creative wellbeing.

Something giving up can sometimes be the best thing for your creative wellbeing.”

FIRST, SOME BACKGROUND

I decided the best way to contribute to the collective while being a creative in lockdown was to construct a 21 day drawing challenge. It was for artsy types looking for inspiration and maybe a way to make the most of lockdown life. By guiding folks through daily drawing prompts, my challenge offered to help you tap into your deeper wisdom. The challenge was called ‘Drawing Insight, Inside’. I liked it. It had a nice ring to it.

 

If the 365 tiny landscape painting challenge I completed last year had taught me anything, it’s that small daily pockets of painting opened up an ability to write intuitively far more effortlessly than had I jumped straight to the desire to write, skipping the painting altogether. It was as though one tap opened the other. Except this challenge was accessible to all, not just painters. All you needed was a ball point pen and the everyday objects you would find in your home.

Minimum required input. Possible high-value return.

The other thing a 365 challenge teaches you is a tenacity towards output.

Never. Stop. Making.

“The other thing a 365 challenge teaches you is a tenacity towards output.

Never. Stop. Making.

I built a page for the challenge on my website. Made artsy, little calendar-style tiles, each day with new drawing and writing prompt posts. I even promised to draw along daily and post my drawings and my own insight on Instagram.

On day 11, instead of posting my drawing of ‘earthenware’ I posted a little card that read ‘Oh fuck it’ and stopped drawing. It felt a bit assy. Also sassy.

Sometimes the thing you have to do for you will be a disappointment for someone else.

 I explained my reasoning in the post and continued to post the daily drawing prompts on my website for anyone who had started and wanted to also finish.

For the remainder of phase one of our 21 day lockdown I did nothing creative. I didn’t return to painting. I didn’t do any drawing. No colouring. No journaling. No blog posts.

No more #isolateandcreate.

via GIPHY

I just stopped, totally overcome with compulsion and obligation. What ensued was unintentionally deepening my lockdown. I was now not only on house arrest, but I was on art arrest too. I had put myself in ‘creative lockdown’.

I then experienced the following

#isolateandselfberate
#isolateandnegate
#isolateandvegetate

Also this:

#isolateandmeditate

There was no agenda behind this. It was just the next available clarity towards an unknown horizon of feeling creative again.

Here’s what I discovered in the process of a creative lockdown

When you close the taps to all your creative habits, you might tighten the ones that have been profuse. But you also seal the drippy leaks, those taps that had become outlets of habit. Habitual creative outlets can often transition from a free flow to a trickle without you being fully aware of the change in pressure.

“One calls places where water escapes without truly nourishing the soil, a drain.”

Keep all your well taps trickling and you’ll have only a shallow layer of mucky water fit for breeding mosquitos at your creative disposal.

As the volume of water in your well of artistry — your creative work — begins to dwindle, the pressure reduces and with it the potency.

Instagram was one of those taps, and indeed traps, for me. It was as though there was some sort of creative suction happening. I felt compelled to pour into it.

In order to appease the pull, we begin to pour all kinds of non-relevant-to-your-true-work additives into the well.

One calls places where water escapes without truly nourishing the soil, a drain.

And what I longed to reconnect with was the feeling of creativity pushing from within.

This is the simple mastery of a creative lockdown. Close off everything and the well begins to fill again. Once full, your now abundant creative font will swell from within and pour from the taps it is meant to pour from.

So, if you’re feeling more on the scale of #isolateandcapitulate, my advice is some simple isolate…and separate, isolate and wait.

Like listening to the deep ocean’s churning, you’ll begin to hear the creative pursuits whispered to you from your depths, that strange sentient place, where the likes of whales swim.

I’m heading back into my painting studio, where I keep re-realising, I still belong and where the the deep work ends and begins.

PS: The drawing insight challenge is still something I’m proud to have created and will be available under the resources section of my website should you ever have the desire or capacity to do such a challenge. My unexpected insight on this journey is simply that you don’t have to finish or even start something just because you once did and just because it’s available.

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Tribe Stories: A unique gift for a surfer

Tribe Stories: A unique gift for a surfer

Surfers are a difficult breed to buy gifts for. Once you’ve exhausted every possible gadget, tide chart, board accessory and the brand slinging shreds, you feel like you’re out of options. They’re also pretty simple, minimalist creatures (in my experience) and since they get their biggest, best stoke from the ocean (and you will never be able to provide them with that barrel ride from heaven), it can be hard to give a surfer something that will really make their heart as happy as just riding those waves.

But giving a gift shouldn’t ever just be about giving a “thing”. Gifts should be deeply sentimental, genuine tokens of acknowledgement in exactly who that person is.

Since surfers live for that epic wave in a sweet symbiotic moment with the ocean, why not gift them that memory, recreated in a totally unique, sentimental way?

Here’s why Natasha chose this one-of-a-kindness gift idea for her guy, Liam

Natasha had this to say on finding the perfect gift for a surfer, her surfer.

“I was completely out of ideas on what to get my boyfriend for his birthday. I really wanted to give him something meaningful and personal. Dating a surfer I knew that the only thing his soul yearns for is good swell and perfect waves. So I had a picture of him surfing his first Indonesian barrel painted. Seeing the glint in his eye coming alive when he opened his present was heartwarming and moving for both of us.”

She sent me a photograph of Liam surfing an epic wave in Bali and I painted it as a miniNature.

Original painting reference photo

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Liam Williams (@will_endlesssummer) on

The final commissioned surf painting

 

Both Tasha and Liam were super stoked with the end result of their one-of-a-kindness gift experience. 

Liam travels a great deal for work and he’s abroad for extended periods at a time. His tiny custom surfer painting is a travel-friendly piece of home and goes with him always.

 

How to get your own unique gift for a surfer

  1. Reach out to me to book in your painting commission.
  2. 2. Select the surf photo you wish to paint. It doesn’t have to include the surfer. It can also be of their favourite surf spot. But if it’s of them they’ll be even more stoked with it.You’ll know which photo to use because its the one said surfer shows to all their friends. They also get a goofy blissed-out grin on their faces when they do.
  3. We book your painting into my time schedule, so you know exactly when to expect it.For South African orders, I recommend a minimum of 4 weeks from the time of order to the date you’d like to receive it.
    For international orders, I recommend a minimum of 8 weeks from the time of order to the date you’d like to receive it.
  4. We discuss details like delivery and custom gift note.
  5. You wait while I paint (If you like – I can even send you step shots so you’re part of the process).
  6. Once it’s done I’ll be in touch to discuss shipping options.

By the end of it all, you’ll have a custom miniNature painting for your dear surfer and she or he will feel endlessly grateful for the gift of a memory with the ocean that brought them such joy.

Header Photo by Fezbot2000 on Unsplash

GET IN TOUCH IF YOU'D LIKE TO COMMISSION A TINY PAINTING FOR SOMEONE SPECIAL

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Magic. Thank you.