I love finding sources of artistic inspiration wherever I happen to be. I can never know what will inspire me, whether it's a design on a pillow or texture in the woods...
I recently went on an adventure in a local park with my hubby. It was spontaneous really, but I also felt it would be the perfect fulfillment of an adventure assignment I wanted to take on with Jani Franck's ecourse, Unearth Your Creative Nature, which was to go on an adventure and see how it changes you.
So, my time in the woods with hubby became just that; I had a wonderful time, with camera in hand, ready to capture anything I was drawn to.
One of the first things I noticed was the TEXTURES of the woods. I absolutely LOVE texture, whether I'm creating it on the page in my art journal, or creating textured detail with my paintbrush using my beloved watercolor.
So when I saw all this delightful texture all around me, I was determined to capture it in image and hope to use it in my artwork, whether overtly or subtly.
I love the spindly look of these first two images, with the thin, pointy type of foliage on the branches of trees and bushes. I love the contrast also of this with the mottled, shadowy background to the right.
I also thought the spindly look of these branches created an interesting contrast against the green-leaved back drop as well as the shadows cast on the ground.
The contrasts of textures and backdrops fascinated me; it showed me the diversity of nature, which makes for a very creative-inspired landscape.
It taught me that it's how we stand out that makes us unique.
The image below right I think is one of my favorites; what an interesting texture and color with was look like swirls of bark on this tree; it reminds me of the swirls on a layered blouse of sorts. It was even more inspiring in person!
I think I especially appreciate the contrast of this bark against the browns and greens of the foliage and branches surrounding it that really caused this tree to stand out to me.
The tree bark in the next photo below left is even a contrast to the one at right; it's a bit more typical of what I see on a tree trunk and yet I was still drawn to its textures and the green and gray sources growing on its surface.
We can be happy with exactly how we look, even if it's not typical to others in our environment.
After I took these photos of tree trunks in all their delightful textures, contrasts and contexts, I saw a left over stump from a tree close to my feet. I had to really squat down close up to get this shot. I liked the randomness of the twigs surrounding it and the naturalness of what was past versus what is present and potential for change.
Even when we see a situation that looks like nothing good can come from it, just a stump of what's left over from a painful experience, if we're patient, honest with ourselves and stay aligned with Who We Are, we are bound to find truth and beauty in ways and places unexpected. We just have to be open to look for them.
Then we'll see the sun, glorious upon our surroundings and in our hearts, bringing hope and healing to the broken places. Restoration to what was lost.
Let your heart sing now and it will come to pass.
Copyright 2014 by Dawn Herring
We often know what to do from the get-go. But we come up with excuses for why we can't. And all of them can sound reasonable, feasible, understandable. Because we want the ideal. Or what we think is ideal. But when we choose to recognize what is already ideal from what we already know what to do, we will gain a fresh perspective. We will be encouraged. Then we can create an authentic intention toward being Who We Really Are. Trust Your Instincts and look at the good in everything around you. You will know-and then follow.
I was writing in my journal recently in the a.m. and asked a question about using my energy to line up with Who I Really Am and what actions I can take toward that end.
Instead of conforming to what I think it might look like, or what I should be doing, or being similar to what others are doing, I need to go with that flow that comes from my core essence.
As I dissected this further, a notation of what types of activities would get me nailing my bulls-eye, I got the instruction: do only what gives you joy.
Wow. This felt like an epiphany to me.
Yes, I know my focus often resides on refreshment and doing things that enliven you, so it really should come as no surprise to me.
But, yet, it really struck me when I saw the word: JOY.
JOY is an indescribable feeling that comes from the core of your being, from within.
You feel it when you are actively engaged in something or with someone that is in true alignment with who you really are.
When the purpose of what you are doing is simply because you want to; not because you have to or feel obligated to.
After I wrote this entry, I went into my art studio and gazed at my current art journal two-page spread and I immediately felt JOY come up. Like I was looking forward to working/playing with it.
So this JOY idea really gave me pause.
I started to think about what really gives me JOY and what doesn't...
Now I realize that we can't practically only choose to do things that bring us joy. There are things we must do to keep living that aren't necessarily fun and joyful; but our attitude can make all the difference in that arena.
But when I think about how I spend my time aside from those other duties, and even the choices I make as a writer, an artist, a host, a social media marketer, or simply as a woman, mom, wife, grandma, friend, then JOY brings a whole new dimension.
JOY can teach me what is really true, authentic, interesting, a natural draw for me.
JOY can show me what life experiences open my heart, such as:
Talking about refreshment, positive change and what truly enlivens you.
Sharing inner wisdom that resonates and gives food for thought.
Watching someone share their vocal abilities when they don’t even know they have it and being told they do. (I get so inspired by the surprise element that comes with such a life experience.)
Recording something I observed about my grandboy’s learning, imagination and personality that is new and spending time talking to him and playing with him…JOY unbounded!
Trying a new technique in my art journal that turns out better than I thought it would and what I immediately learn multi-dimensionally from that hands-on experience. Creative JOY.
Enjoying quality time with hubby where we share from our hearts and laugh a lot because we always have so much fun together….yes, JOY indeed.
Watching my eldest daughter with her son as they play word games together and he responds with great interest and laughs out loud as she gets silly. JOY bubbling up.
Seeing my youngest daughter get excited over something that truly lights her creative fire. JOY resonating.
Yes, there are many sources of JOY in my life; and I love recording every one of them.
And to use JOY as my barometer for decision making and determining my course is an awesome understanding that I will delve into even further in the coming days.
What would you do, how would you choose your course, your activities if JOY was your barometer, your determining factor to your life experience? What would that look like for you?
The actual definition of JOY is a deep emotion of pleasure, gladness and a thing that causes delight.
Who doesn’t want more of that?
I’ve got the joy down in my heart.
How about you?
We outgrow things.
Whether clothing or hair styles, the way we decorate, the music we listen to.
Or, on a deeper level, our ways of expressing and communicating, where one way no longer suits us or works for us.
Sometimes a life circumstance, a work or family situation takes a turn in a direction we least expect, and yet it reveals to us the changes that are occurring at the core level that we may simply be unaware of.
But that doesn't make the situation any easier. In fact, that's what can make life most challenging.
We must reckon with our changing circumstances, discerning why this change has taken place.
Often our first response to these kinds of changes is resistance. Especially when we're dealing with some kind of loss that directly hits our core life experience. These can be the hardest to grapple with.
One thing to always remember when you've outgrown something but didn't know it is to be gentle with yourself in the process of this unexpected life change. Don't beat yourself up over what you didn't know, what you didn't do, or what you wish you didn't do.
As we outgrow, we learn more deeply about who we really are. These revelations can show us things that are essential to know and move with.
Sometimes it doesn't make sense, and it takes time to fully comprehend what has happened. Don't be upset with yourself if you don't understand this new life experience that has thrown you into a tail spin.
Just take a deep breath (or two or three) and see with new eyes what this change now means to you.
Who are you now with this change? How are you different than you were before the change? What have you learned, what valuable lesson do you take from this change? What would you do differently had you known the change was coming?
Now accept the fact that this change has come because it was time. As hard as it is to reckon with that fact, sometimes we have to see the "writing on the wall" when it comes to some things, especially if we've been hanging onto something longer than we should have, than what would have been better for us in the long run.
Yes, our hearts may ache for that change we feel we weren't ready for. But we also must recognize when it's time, when we can now move forward toward who we really are and not who we were that we've outgrown.
When we choose to let go, to release ourselves from hanging on to what no longer serves our greater good, we will find peace, a new center that reflects our authenticity right this moment.
You will know it and feel it; it will sink into your soul. It may be bittersweet, but it will bring you to a richer, more centered place, a Place that has great meaning and significance to you. You may not see what that significance may be exactly for you right now, but it will come.
You will recognize its truth, and it will have great value.
As if you knew all along.
When it's time, it's the right time.
© 2013 By Dawn Herring
Dawn engages in many roles: As Writer/Blogger and Artist/Creative and Founder of Refresh with Dawn Herring: Where Art and JOY Align, She enjoys sharing from her vast experience as award-winning, life-long artist and leader in the field of written journaling, offering encouragement and proven tips to other journal keepers. Dawn's focus is on written journal keeping, artistic expression and finding your Creative Voice, and positive change that leads personal empowerment, encouraging you to leave your authentic and positive mark in the world. Dawn is a Commercial artist, hand letterer/illustrator and writer/blogger and enjoys sharing insights, humor, and encouragement as she shares from her life experiences as a woman, wife, mother of two grown daughters and as a Grandparent to a special needs grandson. She enjoys keeping a journal and reading spiritual texts to help keep the light on. May JOY Align with Your Creative Heart.