Davis and I spend many evenings moon and star gazing as well as watching the magnificent sunsets here in the desert southwest. The Tucson skies rarely disappoint in providing endless photo-ops that I then turn to for collage inspiration.
This summer a brief sunset during a rainstorm caught my eye and emerged on paper as this:
And last night I finally finished laying down stars in a desert night sky that features a storied inhabitant of the Sonoran Desert, the magnificent saguaro.
I am so grateful for the Tucson skies and surrounding desert for all of the beauty and inspiration they provide me.
In the midst of the the love notes I created for Davis while he was in preschool, a poem emerged. The image above was the first in a series that became the text for If You Listen, a picture book about the wisdom in Nature.
After realizing that the shells that Davis and I gathered on a day of beach combing all had their own stories, we pondered the tides of the ocean and what they could tell us.
From the sea we moved on to watching the night sky and talking about the cycles of the moon, a subject that inspires infinite discussions.
After the moon the owl appeared, emerging out of a discussion about nocturnal creatures.
Then we spent a day in the garden, planting seeds and talking about how plants grow. This led to a fascinating discussion about how plants grow, always a good one with the preschool set. From this sprouted the seed and its tale.
This was the last love note I did for Davis in this series, but many more later appeared as illustrations to If You Listen. In the next blog post I will begin going through the book, page-by-page. All of the illustrations for If You Listen are paper collage since my drawing skills only go so far and I have a deep love of decorative paper! And some of those illustrations are currently available as greeting cards at www.everdaybeautifulhuman.com.
In September of this year I will be launching a Kickstarter campaign to fund the publication of If You Listen. Check back soon for more information or sign up for our mailing list for updates!
Sometimes when I am collaging or drawing, my son, Davis, will want to create art side-by-side with me. I often collage while sitting on the floor of my home studio/office so there is plenty of room for Davis to join me. My deep love of decorative and handmade papers means there is always an abundance of collage materials and I keep a good stock of non-toxic adhesives on hand. Add in a couple of pairs of scissors and we are ready to create some art! Sometimes Davis will collage based on the same theme I am working on such as when we created side-by-side pieces inspired by the summer rainstorms here in Tucson. Below you can see the piece Davis made (I have this one hanging next to my desk).
And the one I created.
At other times Davis launches himself into intricate drawings of irrigation systems or diagrams of how storm water drains here in the desert, subjects I have never thought to tackle! Our styles are very different and I love to watch him create and express himself through art.
I think about the human body a lot. I was a massage therapist for over 20 years and once you become intimate with human anatomy you never really lose that awareness. Being trained as a massage therapist changed the way I interact with my own body. From applying lotion to taking care of myself when I'm sick to giving birth to my son, everything is different.
Lately I've been exploring the idea of human connection on a cellar and anatomical level and how that relates to connection on a personal level. Connection is a basic need, occurring billions of times a day on a cellular level. And without connection on a human, personal level we can no longer thrive. There are many ways to conenct with other people. Sending a greeting card is about making connection, from a simple, sweet hello to an intimate message of love, gratitude, or sympathy.
Connection starts on a cellular level. Connection is how our bodies form and develop.
Connection can have an amazingly positive effect on us.
And continued connection within ourselves is critical to being alive and being present.
So take the time to connect with yourself and to connect with others. Connection is what keeps us alive and thriving!
When I choose a love note to transform into a greeting card there are two main things I look for. First, I want a message that can reach a wider audience than my now six-year old son. (He's a wonderful audience, but an audience of one nonetheless!) Second, I want an image that will easily work in the traditional card format. For me that size is 4.5"x 6.25".
The first evolution I'm spotlighting on the blog is the Light Up Card.
The original love note looked like this, a quick sketch of Davis's snap circuit set and a sweet note. When I created this note we had just been learning how to build functioning circuits.
and the greeting card looks like this
Of course there are a number of differences between the original love note and the finished greeting card (I didn't think the greeting card should have the "love Mama and Papa" signature!), but the original concept is present. The fact that the connecting a simple electric circuit makes a bulb light up is true whether you are a curious preschooler, a busy college student, a tired parent, or a 60-year-old business man or woman. And like basic electrical circuitry, human connection is the same whatever our age. So take the time today to connect with someone you love and light up!
Welcome to the beginning of the Everyday Beautiful Human blog! And where better to begin than with the story about the start of Everyday Beautiful Human.
Everything began with my son, Davis, and when he started preschool at St. Mark's Preschool and Kindergarten in January, 2013. In each classroom there was a mailbox and the teachers told us that parents were supposed to write a daily love note to their children so the kids could receive mail at school. At first I dashed off a quick note right at drop off, but this evolved into waking up early in the morning to sketch more and more intricate notes. And with the sketches came little poems, more elaborate drawings, block prints, and collages, all bringing me back to my old love of creating art.
At the end of Davis's stint in preschool a collection of hundreds of love notes had been created, and from that collection emerged Everyday Beautiful Human. We hope you enjoy it!