Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Tuesday Adventures: Escaping Drama and Haters.

We all need at least one thing to help us unwind, decompress, escape, de-stress... whatever you want to call it. Art, music, writing, singing, running, cleaning. It can be anything.

I have quite a few of these things. One is of course taking walks and exploring and wandering.

There's this quote that you probably have seen circulating the internet in different variations, but it says something like, "If you have haters, GOOD. It means you have stood up for someone at one point in your life." Remember that quote. And all of its variations. It's so important.

Why do people feel the need to be so mean sometimes? Why can't people just let things be? Why in the world would you go out of your way to say something hurtful to another human being, just for the sake of making yourself feel better? (I can only assume this is why someone would do something like this.) It doesn't matter if they are a friend or a complete stranger.

These past couple of weeks have been filled with more bullshit than I care for, for complete lack of a better term. I don't do bullshit. None of us should do bullshit, but it's sad that a lot of people seem to make it their life. People on the internet hate on people they've never met for no reason (which I knew I would encounter when I first started putting my art out there... but still). People hate on you for trying something different. People hate on you for being different.

This past Tuesday I was insanely busy, but I had to escape. I had to escape the bullshit and hate and life-in-general-crap. We all have moments like that, right? So it was a short Tuesday Adventures, but I organized my day around making sure it happened. Because you have to organize your days around things that help your being.

So I visited Franklin Park Conservatory with the intention of just walking around and smelling the flowers and feeling the sun for a while. Because it was sunny. So. Weird.

Sometimes you just have to walk around and smell the flowers and feel the sun.

It was the most beautiful day. It really made me wonder how people can be so awful, when we all live in such an amazing place.

It was really one of the first nice days in a long time it seemed. The birds and bees and butterflies all seemed to be super active and ecstatic. I felt the same way :)

The ground was covered with little spots of sunshine, where the light was shining through the trees. It seemed oddly metaphorical, but I am far too tired to try to find words for that now.

When I got in my car, I felt like a different person. Find your happy places. Visit them often. Take a walk. Even if it's just around your block. Blast some music and sing along. Grab a notebook and write down the things you are thankful for. Or the things that make you happy. Visit an animal shelter or pet store where you can hold and interact with the animals. Lay in the grass and look up at the clouds. Don't hate. It doesn't cost anything to be kind. :)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Art Journal Pages As of Lately

I get a lot of questions about my art journal/sketchbook. Basically it comes down to this: I don't work with a plan, I map nothing out, I just cut and glue and paint and draw and make a mess. It's always interesting to me how pages turn out. Usually filled with flowers and stars, and often female faces. I guess I don't really know what it all means, but it comes from someplace deep within my mind.

One of the other questions I get it about what kind of sketchbook I use. I used to use a typical hardcover sketchbook, but since my pages are mixed media and consist of multiple layers, it got so thick that it burst from the spine. My current art journal is handmade by the amazing Helen from BadBooks on Etsy. I have one of her larger books; mine measures about 6" x 9." They aren't currently listed in her shop, but she does do custom orders. I also have one of her smaller journals. They are amazing, filled with different types of paper, different sizes, secret pockets, envelopes... I'll never get my sketchbooks anywhere else.

I want to do one of those sped up time lapse videos eventually, but don't quite know how all that works yet. Usually, the first layers consist of either maps or images of galaxies or graph paper. I love adding anything cut out from vintage books. Especially flowers and plants and planets. Faces from magazines. Words. Little doodles. 

It's my favorite way to end the day. It's a very intuitive and therapeutic process, and often a couple of hours will go by before I even realize it. Everyone should have something like this to get lost in, whether it's art or music or writing or even taking a walk. Something to let your mind spill out and organize itself a bit. It's beyond necessary.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Tuesday Adventures: Inniswood Metro Gardens. After A Monsoon.

Sooo once again, broken record, this past Tuesday called for rain. I checked the weather a bit before I planned on leaving for Inniswood Metro Gardens  right outside of Columbus, and saw a giant line of thunderstorms headed for central Ohio. Naturally. At first I was annoyed. This thing was going to hit for sure. Then I got an idea.

After a 20 minute drive under ominous skies, I was there. Knowing my time was limited, I jumped out of the car and began snapping away, never venturing too far from the parking lot.

I watched in a little bit of awe, as the sky started to darken, as families arrived at the park and ventured in with their kids. Do these people not check the weather? Or look at the sky? Because it looked like this:

Aaaaaand anyone with a smart phone with a weather app would have seen a radar that looked similar to this:

Yet in they went, with their children in tow. And fairly quickly, out they came. Running, like they were in Pamplona. Children screaming. Because it had started to do this:

Come on, people. Check the weather before embarking on any outdoor adventure. As I sat cozily in my car blasting music while the wind shook us around a bit, my idea was happening. Everyone was leaving. The storm was moving through quick. It was torrential, but I knew it wouldn't last. There was a man in a red car in the spot two down from me, patiently waiting as well. He knew too. When it was over, the we would have the place to ourselves. It would be quiet and glistening with raindrops, with that after-a-huge-storm calm and magic in the air.

After 30 minutes or so, the rain started to let up.

We got out of our cars, looked around, and gave each other huge smiles, exchanged a few words, and went on our ways.

And it was worth the wait. It was like stepping into another world, where everything was energetic yet peaceful. And every surface glittered with leftover raindrops.

Like little fairy worlds. It was so quiet.

My feet were soaked within minutes, so splashing through the puddles was the next natural decision. Totally never gets old. Have you tried it lately? If not, you're not living. Go do it. You  have to.

This little hole in the bushes reminded me of Alice In Wonderland a bit. Everywhere you turned, it was just gorgeous. And quiet. Have I mentioned the quiet? I love that so many people bring their kids to these places, to show them an appreciation for the outside world. But sometimes it's hard to get all Zen when all you hear are little people shrieking and screaming. It was so refreshing to only hear the sounds of nature, soaking it all in.

Of course I had to walk through the woods. Thankfully the majority of the trail was on a boardwalk because there was like a biblical amount of water rushing around.

This beautiful guy flew RIGHT in front of me. I was so startled, because he (she??) was HUGE. I've never seen an owl in the wild. He just sat up there and watched me as I stood frozen in awe, watching him.

The creek may be a bit high for this time of the year....

A pretty rock garden full of succulents and water features. Very peaceful.

It was very hard to leave this Secret Garden. Feeling like I was the only one there, feeling the sun start to come out again as I wandered along, making the raindrops covering everything glitter even more. 'Twas a great Tuesday Adventure.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Tuesday Adventures: Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

I had to put off my original destination for today due to... this will be shocking... rain! That place involves water, and I was still really wanting to see water, so I picked someplace a little closer to home that still involved water.

Tip of the day! If you are going to be visiting someplace in the summer that involves water and woods, wear bug spray. One would think I'd know this by now. Seems very obvious. This mistake has been made before. Apparently I am out of practice, as I haven't gone on Tuesday Adventures in two years. Today was Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park in Galloway, a suburb that's west of Columbus.

So aside from now being a giant walking mosquito bite (one is on my ear. that is not okay.), and there being a few sprinkles and lots of clouds, today was awesome. Walking in the woods feels like home. This place had a lot more insects than I'm used to. I saw the largest dragonfly I've ever seen in my life. Had it not been absolutely terrifying, it was almost beautiful. Butterflies and beetles, also tons of birds and frogs that would jump away as you walked by. The wind was blowing since it was borderline stormy, so the trees were dancing. The sound of the wind in the leaves is one of my favorite sounds on earth. It was such a beautiful reminder of how alive everything is. It just feels easier to breathe. Your head is clear. You notice tiny little miraculous things. There's magic in the woods.

I'd like to share some of the magic I found with you. These photos are in order of the way that I took them. Sidenote: I've been asked in the past what I use to process my photos. All of these were processed using Adobe Lightroom. It's an amazing program. I like to process my photos because the images that I see on my camera almost never match the things that I see, the things that I remember, the things that I carry in my head. My photos reflect the way that I see, take in, and remember the world.

Let's go for a walk in the woods :)

Few things excite me more than the path ahead in a place I have never been.

First view of Battelle Darby Creek. It's very high for this time of year, so the water was active and rushing. Anyone wanting to visit here, I took the Cobshell Trail to reach the creek quickly.

The woods were pretty dark in some places. Random gray clouds were rolling through, so there was a mixture of occasional sun and totally spooky moments.

Leaves dancing in the wind. Can you hear them?

(this photo was taken amidst a colossal mosquito attack.)

These leaves had raindrops on their edges. Nowhere else but the edges. The photo really doesn't do it justice, but I tried ;)

Traveled through a field filled with little flowers and little insects. And some big insects. Could have done without the big insects.

Everything is so alive. There's moss and plants and things sprouting up everywhere.

An old railroad bridge! Of course two teenage girls who had climbed to the top of it to hang out scared the bejesus out of me by yelling, "Hey boo! Whatchu up to?" They were just sitting up there, way too close to the edge, dangling their feet off the sides. The older I get, it seems that everyone else is super annoyed by teenagers. While I can't argue that some can be annoying in certain situations, they are just trying to figure stuff out. I wonder what those girls were talking about up there.

This was when I started to book it back because thunder was rumbling, I had no clue where I was, and the only logical plan was to walk as fast as I could back the way I came. At least the mosquitoes had a tricky time keeping up.

I almost didn't stop here. This is called the Streamside Classroom. On my way in, it was filled with kids from a preschool or summer camp. It made me smile and remember my summers working with school-age kids at a day camp type thing. I could see the kids were in the creek, shrieking and laughing and talking excitedly. On the way back, it was empty. Although the clouds were looking mighty threatening, I stopped. There was a stairway into the creek. It was so nostalgic somehow. Like childhood summers spent swimming in lakes.

This was the other place you could enter the creek, off to the left of the stairway to heaven. I want to go back, with some type of industrial-grade bug spray. So I can sit, take it all in, and just be.

Why did I ever stop doing Tuesday Adventures? Today was a very good day.