Wednesday, March 07, 2018

One Little Word

Well, well, well. Here we are - somehow - at the end of February (oh God Lisa, it's actually the first week of March but that's just semantics at this point...). January felt like it would never end, and then February disappeared in a blast of cold and snow.

And here I am, finally doing some long overdue work on my One Little Word 2018 album!

Let's get honest for a minute here. I am getting way better at being accountable when I sign up for a course or whatever. But I can still fool old Lisa here, and skip out on some of the things she wants me to accomplish.

You're not the boss of me!!, yes you are.

So the following video is very important, and relevant, and I make raspberries at the camera and am also very hilarious and "candid". So you should watch it. But I understand if you don't have 9 minutes to spare, or also don't have headphones to wear so your coworkers or beloved family members have to hear me talk in funny voices and make said raspberry noises. That's cool. It's there for you later when you have some privacy.

But in the meantime, take a gander at these fabulous still images!

Oh wow...that's only two actual images of the album I am working on for my OLW 2018! Yikes! See, this is why you need to watch the video. Aside from me being very amusing and "candid", I also explain why my documentation of my word so far this year has been shit and I am very disappointed in myself, etc.

BUT ALSO I explain how I am most definitely NOT going to let stupid 28-day-February get the best of me, and I have grand schemes for March. And to be fair, I guess I have some accountability, because as soon as I finished the video shoot, I was inspired to finish a few more pages in this album. But you'll have to wait for that because I need more fodder for Blogger! He he...rhymes....

Anyhoo, I love love love my Word of 2018. Connect has been and continues to be SO DANG GOOD to me. I've got people coming to my home, and I'm enjoying every second of it, and I can't wait to see what March, April, May and all them there other months have in store for me.


Ali Edward's One Little Word Workshop and write up on OLW
My Connect 2018 Pinterest Board
My friend Nadine's journey with OLW

Honesty 2014 // Simplify 2015 // Time 2016 // Action 2017

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Fear of the Blank Canvas

I think I am ready to start again. Rather, every time I think I am ready to start again, I've got a blank canvas staring back at me and I start to panic. "I have no good ideas, flowers are dumb, I can't mix colours, I can't even PICK colours..." My impostor syndrome kicks in strong when it comes to painting on a canvas. No matter how often I practice on a smaller medium - my art journals for example - the size and scope and potential of a canvas kicks my ass.

Even once I get over that first hiccup, I always hate what I create.

I have no idea what I'm doing.

But after having a chat with BFF (possibly after a few drinks) I realized that I am trying to push myself to try new things too fast. I need to get 100% comfortable with the things I can do now, before I can branch into new stuff. Because it's when I try to move forward too fast that things get messed up.

I have discovered a couple of techniques to help ease me out of my "artist's bloack" and work towards getting paint on a canvas and some ideas swirling.

1) Colour swatches! How did it take me so long to figure this out?! I bet if I took an actual art class...but anyhoo! The simple act of making squares of colour on a piece of paper really helps open my brain, get me warmed up, and give me great ideas for future canvases.

2)  Small work in an art journal. I spent a lot of time as a kid painting with tiny paintbrushes on pretty much any surface I could get my hands on. I enjoy it, and it helps my brain stay fresh working on those small details. It's practice that feels more like play. And I am good at it.

Do YOU have any tips on working through artist block?

All of my blogged ART is located here.
The Jealous Curator always gives me some inspiration to get going again!

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Lisa Reads - February 2018

DOOOOODES how is it already March? What happened? I love all the posts and comments I have been seeing on the webs over the last month about how January seemed to last eleventy billion days, and February was like 12.5. HA!

But seriously, I clearly threw out my goal to limit the amount of reading I'm doing this year because look at February y'all! I doubled my made-up goal, killing 8 books last month. Part of the "problem" are those FIVE audio books!

CONTENT NOTE: I am going to split up my specific trigger warnings as they arise in the books listed below. Torture, child abuse,

Leia Princess of Alderaan // I am on a huge Star Wars kick right now and I am loving it! Leia as a teenager was exactly how I expected - smart, fiesty, diplomatic, loving.

The audio book was excellent. A good book for middle readers and young adults.

The Titan's Curse // Percy Jackson is one of the only ways my kid will read books at his reading level. I mean, it's too bad that Percy is an idiot, but the stories are exciting. And at least we're learning about Greek mythology, right?

Another audio book.

Chomp // This book took a winding turn that I was not expecting, and it veered into slightly more mature territory near the end, but it was a nice change from the standard stuff Lucas & I read/listen to.

Another audio book! Content Note: The protagonist's friend lives with her abusive father, and that storyline becomes important later in the book.

Phasma // Remember that Star Wars kick I mentioned two paragraphs ago? Well, I'm still on it, and this book was worth every second of everything.

The audio was amazing, and highly recommended. Content note for descriptions of torture. I wouldn't recommend this for kids, unless you already know your kid can handle a bit more violence.

River of Teeth //  I think I will be recommending this novella to everyone for a long time. Hippos in the southern US! And a caper! So thrilling and great.

Practical Magic // I was kind of disappointed in this book. I really love the movie, and after reading this book I can tell you that the movie was very loosely based on the book! Also, there wasn't enough witchy stuff in it.

The Great Treehouse War // Another great audio book that Lucas & I really enjoyed. It was funny and fun, but had a nice "lesson" at the end as well. Great for middle readers (8-12).

Dude! That's four audio books in a row this month! We're on fire! And it's so nice to listen to this stuff on the commute or on a run or in the gym instead of music.

Men Explain Things To Me // I have been waiting to read this collection of essays for a long time - it is very popular at the library! Rebecca Solnit is somewhat infamously known as the woman who coined the term "mansplain" (even though she didn't really...). That essay is in here among other discussion on topics such as gun violence and Virginia Woolf.

I am rethinking how I structure my monthly book recap, and I would like your opinion. Would you prefer to read:
- a short synopsis of the book?
- why I liked or disliked it?
- a "if you like blank you should read this..." type of recommendations?
- some combination of the above?

Also, do you like it when I link to the Goodreads page about the book?

Thanks in advance for the feedback!

2018 Lisa Reads Booklist
My Black History Month Recommendations

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Colour Swatch Mini Album

I really need to come up with more creative titles for my art journal mini albums...

Hey Newsletter Subscribers! You might recognize this little guy from that "sneak peek" video attached to the last newsletter.

So...I made this swatch...

This is the photo I used to make the swatch that started this whole thing. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with these junk pages - they are made out of flyers! - but I knew I wanted to keep it simple, and try something new. I had an extra photo left over from my One Little Word 2017 album, and I thought it might be a fun jumping off point. I have never made a swatch based on a photo, or used a colour swatch as inspiration for an album, so this was kind of a big deal in my progression as an artist. I am wanting to branch out, do commissions, get some more things going, and this is a good first step.


Look! It's the same photo again! I feel like a food blogger...

I wasn't a fan of this page for the first many steps, and then I added a word and I kind of love it now.

Coming four...

It's MEEEE! And look at how cute I am, I mean really.

I love painting faces, I really do. Even if they aren't exact, or perfect or whatever. I love it so much. This was a fun exercise, and I think I did my cute face justice. Also, I need more purple in my life. 

To be honest, I forgot to add anything extra to this page, and I am totally okay with it.

Um hello. I like to paint big messy flowers. Definitely a "comfort zone" page for me!

Gemini - The Twins - is an easy constellation for me to spot. I knew I wanted to paint a galaxy on this page, like I have been seeing on the Get Messy IG account. But I also knew that I didn't just want it to be a galaxy. I was thinking of sisters, and twins, and feeling a connection with someone who is completely different from you, and so I got to these conjoined twins. That braid was so fresh in my brain, and I am so proud with how this page turned out. It makes me want to practice my galaxies!

I took inspiration from Dallas LaRose's latest collection for the llama on the left. I have never tried a technique like this before, and it was a challenge let me tell you!

I feel like that eye on the right is Dallas giving me the side eye for using her art! But it's also my inner eye, reminding me that it's good to challenge myself in art, but it's also good to stick with what I know! I am really connected to the imagery of eyes...I think a lot of artists are. I am excited to explore this further.

Oh Leia...

I copied this image from a sticker that my sister gifted me at Christmas. I think Leia is such a unique combination of strength and femininity. We don't often see her associated with her softer side - as a woman and mother - but I think that's a huge and important part of her identity.

This book was about experimenting and trying new things, and connecting to my artist's vision. It can be hard for me, because I put a lot of pressure on myself. But I think that projects like this take some of that pressure off, and just let me play around and re-discover what I love and what I'm good at. And it was so much fun too!

Soooooo...not only is this my favourite binding technique for mini books, it is impossible to describe in a proper how-to. Like, with steps and stuff.

I can tell you that I use embroidery floss and any old needle. And I stitch the pages directly on to the fabric covers. And that's about it! No help at all for replicating it!!

I started writing this post ages ago, and then got knocked flat on my ass thanks to a week-long migraine. I clearly survived, and am now so grateful that I can now share this post with you. It's not all sunshine and roses over here all the time, and I appreciate you sticking around.

PSA: I'm getting a newsletter out next week, so if you want to subscribe, now is the time! You can expect such awesome things as:
- random recipes
- video sneak peeks
- current favourite podcasts...
- and more!

You can subscribe here. Like...literally click here.

If you're interested in listening to the same things I had in my ears when I was building this album, check out this Spotify Playlist!
Please check out Dallas' website here...her stuff is majorly awesome!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Lisa Reads - Black History Month Book Recommendations

In honour of Black History Month, I thought I would put together a list of titles from black authors that I have read over the past few years. Nothing like deciding to do a blog post like this when BHM is already halfway over, and then finally finishing the post on the last weekend of the month. (facepalm). But TBH we should be reading more diverse books all the time, so okay I don't feel bad anymore!

The Broken Earth Series by NK Jemisin // This trilogy blew my damn mind, and is my top fave science fiction series.

Kindred & Lilith's Brood by Octavia E. Butler // Octavia E. Butler is considered a heavyweight in science fiction literature, notwithstanding the fact that she was one of few black woman famous for writing fiction in her time. These two books are completely different in subject matter - time travel back to the antebellum south and future aliens on a devastated Earth - but both show off her flair for writing amazing characters in amazing situations.

Who Fears Death? by Nnedi Okorafor & The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead // These aren't my favourite books on the list, but I think they are important and necessary additions to your reading list if you want to read more diverse books.

Ghost Summer: Stories by Tananarive Due and Devil's Wake Domino Falls by Tananarive Due & Steven Barnes // The only bad thing I have to say about these books is that there aren't more of them! If you like horror, zombies and ghost stories, get on these books! I don't normally read horror, so when I do, it's got to be good. So I am not about to steer you wrong with these books.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi // This book is on so many "best of" lists I don't know what I could say that hasn't already been said. Each chapter follows a new generation descended from half-sisters, one who was sold into slavery and one who continued to live in Africa.

Americanah bv Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie // You probably recognize this name for her TED Talk that was turned into a book "We Should All Be Feminists", but this sweeping novel by Chimamanda is a fascinating exploration of belonging, and love, and race, and is definitely a story of our time. Told from the perspective of a young Nigerian woman, this book definitely offers something for everyone who has ever been in love.

Difficult Women by Roxane Gay // This collection of short stories is a potent masterpiece about women in all of our perfect imperfections.

I'm Judging You, The Do-Better Manual by Luvvia Ajayi // A big part of this book is about race, but a lot of it is also just common sense stuff - well, stuff that should be common sense - that we need to get called out for when guilty. Her humour is definitely unique, and I did appreciate her straightforward approach to talking about big topics.

Year of Yes: How To Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rimes // While I don't watch a lot of TV, I know who Shonda Rimes is, and this is a great memoir/inspirational book. Probably more so if you are a fan!

Life's Work: A Moral Argument for Choice by Dr. Willie Parker // A fresh and unique take on the subject of abortion in America.

March: Book One by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell // If you want to learn more about the beginning of the civil rights movement in America, but don't know where to start, I highly recommend this graphic novel series.

Bound For the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero by Kate Clifford // Harriet Tubman's story reads like fiction, thanks to her unfathomable adventures. Another important figure and time in American history. This book was long, but the material isn't boring and the writing is excellent.

As I - every year - recommit to reading more works by people of colour, I can't wait to watch this list grow and grow.


Women Reading Podcast - Episode 37: Black Women Authors

2018 Lisa Reads Booklist
Katisha Smith (Book Riot) - 18 Toni Morrisson Quotes on Love, Race & Literature