As I enter my mid-twenties, tons of milestones are happening all around me. Not to me, but around me. Co-workers, acquaintances, random people on the street and friends are getting engaged, married, pregnant, dream career promotions and buying houses. While I am chugging along at turtle speed. Summer is almost upon us, seasonally and is here socially for my mid-twenty year olds out there. I feel like I am spending all my time “working” on me, meditating and being open to revelations, and reading the tea leaves in the mug that is my life.
While the past year has brought me much growth and awareness, I am still striving for the inner peace. I still feel gut pangs and ego bruises with every other milestone happening to people around me. Maybe this is the plight of the self involved product of my generation. My one consolation is that I am not jealous or envious. I am truly happy for the recipients of these grand events. They are embarking on a new exciting adventure. I am just puzzled as to WHY I am not on the adventure train too! I know I will get there, but I just want to know the time, date, year and place as to when.
I remember being younger and hearing older people say “your twenties will be the time of your life”. And now most twenty year olds I know, myself included, can’t wait for it to be over. The wandering, the thinking, and the stride making towards the (future) life you want to have. Then again I am a part of an interesting sect of young people who are plagued with notions of forward thinking. In my mind I need to figure out who I am now and fast. I don’t want to be 35 and then just realizing, holy sh**t, my life currently sucks! But in the words of Bikram Choudhury “ You’re never too old, too late, and never to sick, to start from scratch once again“
The sun is shining, I’m enjoying the warmth, The weight in my soul, Is really light. It’s an unusual day. The dark clouds have scattered, The gloom dispersed, Children and laughter, Radiant, pastel colored, earth. Smiling faces, Ice cream cones, Hues of happiness, Fun, the tone. I’m trying to stay grumpy, But these colors are infectious, I am sick to the heart, With joyous intentions, I blame these bright colors, For a smile it continues to pry, Little hope bubbles, Dancing in the sky. Just this one time, I’ll keep it secret from others, I’ll have lots & lots of fun, With all these bright colors.
Thanks to Photo Pin and Allen Hsu for the accompanying photo.
“I haven’t a clue how my story will end, but that’s all right. When you set out on a journey and night covers the road, that’s when you discover the stars.” ~ Nancy Willard (born 1936); Children’s Author, Poet, and Novelist
As an anthropology major, it thrills me to no end to introduce the artist for this week. From Australia, to New Zealand, to Ireland, and back again, Jane Stradwick has had the world for inspiration. As an archaeologist, Jane spent many years working on digs in Ireland. The attention to detail that is present in her archaeological technical drawings is amazing and she brings that same focus to her work as a portrait illustrator; effectively capturing the essence of her subjects in her work. Below, Jane speaks to us in her own words about her life and inspirations. To learn more about Jane’s work visit: janestradwick.com; https://www.etsy.com/shop/LittleOnePortraits; http://instagram.com/p/kp6UGEAJmx/
Most of the technical drawings were from my time working as an archaeologist in Ireland. These were typically done with Rotring Rapidograph ink pens on Mylar sheets. I work in a lot of mediums. One of my favourites is acrylic on stretched cotton – it’s fast drying but gives a lovely matte finish. The portraits I have been doing lately have mainly consisted of prismacolor pencils on toned paper.
4) Links to/Examples of your work:
5) Brief Biography:
Originally from Australia, I spent most of my early life in Wellington and Auckland, NZ. I graduated from Whitecliffe College of Art and Design in 1994 and went on to have jobs in different creative industries – costume design and make up artistry to name a few. I traveled a lot in my late 20’s and my early 30’s while I was working as an archaeologist in Ireland. I moved to Melbourne 6 years ago and now I live with my wonderful three and a half son Oscar.
1) What does wholehearted and mindful living mean to you?
Being fully present in my life.
2) How do you practice wholehearted and mindful living?
I aim to be present in every experience and (try) not to judge myself for whatever I feel. I try to surround myself with images and music that are my version of beauty and A LOT of plants.
3) What or who inspires you?
I am inspired by people that are unafraid to be their truest selves.
4) Answer this quote: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one, wild, and precious life?” ~Mary Oliver
Be kind and try to keep your focus on the things you do want.
5) What words of wisdom would you offer to your younger self?
So many things but I guess to start with saying that being yourself is the most important thing you can do – for yourself and others. Sometimes you have to stand up for that right because people will try to shape you into an image that pleases or suits them – no one is worth losing yourself for.
1) You feature many archaeological sketches on your site http://janestradwick.com/index.html and your Kickstarter project aims to capture fleeting moments of childhood. What is the importance of
time, history, and memory in your work?
I grew up when you had to drop off your photos and pick them up. Digital photography has changed a lot about how we see and shape our history. When you only had 24 frames, with no preview, you captured a relatively objective second in time. For most things there was no going back and changing what that lasting image was going to be. Now we take a million photos, delete all but the ones that represent how we would like to remember something.
I think painting/ drawing has always been the latter, even expressionism, because we call a piece finished when it suits what we want to see. I guess with my art I take that one step further and try and extract the most beauty I can with every piece, and with colour pencils, you can layer the shades so there is a wonderful depth and opportunity to create a gorgeous colour palette.
2) How has becoming a mother influenced your work and journey as an artist?
Well, for a start I became quite familiar with how light falls on a young face because I think over my son’s three and a half years I must have stared at his face for two of those! I took so many photos and wanted to draw and paint him and really capture the essence of who he was to me. That’s what got me thinking about drawing portraits of other parents loved little ones.
3) What meaning do you hope people get out of your work?
I am constantly getting surprised reactions of how much my portraits capture the subject. That is what I want. I want people to relate to the portrait like they would the subject.
4) What do you hope is the impact of your work?
I hope that over time my portraits become something special to the families that receive them. A little bit of history and beauty.
5) What projects do you have on the horizon?
I am currently in the process of completing three portraits with seven in the queue after that. I am working with my brother who is a game designer (http://www.monstrumgames.com/) illustrating stills for the game interface. I am also working on another project, I have been trying to hone my craft before I release it – exciting times!!
My sister has officially announced (on Facebook, of course) that she is going to be a mother come August. Already, the congratulations have started pouring in, and I’m sure her feed is popping with notifications. My family was told in December, and it came with exactly what I expected (my mother’s tears, my father’s denial of his tears, and my sisters already fighting about what to name the cashew).
I’m going to be a tía come August and I’m slightly terrified at the prospect.
I’m not trying to devalue my sister and her husband, because I’m sure they are also terrified and rightly so. Somehow, this cashew is going to transform into a fully fledged human being that they are responsible for; it’s mind-boggling to think about. But, as a tía, I have some of my own responsibilities when it comes to Pistachio.
1. Expose them to as much literature as possible. I’ll read Harry Potter and The Giver and The Ordinary Princess over Skype until we have our own secret language, until they can sort us into our proper houses and dream of running away to live with dragons. We’ll discuss the themes of Brave New World and why Romeo and Juliet should never be someone’s ideal love story.
2. Provide them with what they want. I don’t mean to spoil them (though I probably will, because I don’t have to take the little walnut home), but if my nephew wants a fairy princess crown, I’ll totally buy him a fairy princess crown. If my niece wants to visit the reptile house at the zoo and scoffs at the zebras and marmosets, we’ll have an intense discussion on if we prefer anacondas to crocodiles. If they want to listen to The Clash and question God, I’ll put on London Calling and listen to their doubts without ever questioning them.
3. Become a sanctuary. If they’re too freaked out to talk to their parents about sex, I will be happy to sit them down and lay out the facts, condoms and all. When they become mired in self-doubt and self-loathing, I’ll roll up my sleeves to show the tattooed semi colon on my wrist, the inked representation of my own struggle with suicide, where a sentence could have ended but didn’t.
4. Open their eyes. Show them how the world is messy and bitter and ugly, but also wondrous and beautiful and inspiring. Take them to volunteer at homeless shelters, help them write letters to their congressmen, support them when they start the first GSA at their school. Allow them their tears and arm them with knowledge; remind them that courage cannot exist without fear.
I still have six months to prepare, to wonder about what to do with a baby (can they fist bump?), and sort out my own weird emotions that a cashew will someday become a child that will someday become an adult. All I can hope is that I can keep my eyes wide, my mind open, and my hand ready to take theirs in mine.
The average American works 40 hours a week, roughly 8 hours a day. This is more time than we spend at home or with our families; the majority of our day, the majority of our adult lives are spent working. Working plays a key role in our lives, it can provide us with a sense of purpose and routine, it can build important social networks, and it can establish our place in the larger order of society.
For the past five years I have struggled to find permanent employment. I have gone from internships, AmeriCorps, internships again, and finally back to school hoping that a second degree would secure me a spot in the modern-day workforce. Nothing worked. In the last three years it has only gotten worse. It has been a struggle, that I am sure many understand, to find a place and a sense of security. Within the last few years I have been able to secure only temporary part-time work, any little bit helps, but after a while the insecurity takes a toll on the ego. There are days that I just give up. Where I walk around in a haze, a dense fog, not knowing if I am coming or going. I have applied to so many jobs with no success that I doubt my capabilities. Now when I go to apply for job, I think “what’s the point? I won’t get it.”
You see, since childhood we’ve been fed this dream. Graduate college, get a great job, get a promotion, meet a good man, marry, maybe get a Masters, have some kids, get an even better job. Or some combination of this. Point being, that after college you were to take your place in society. You were to become a functioning member of your community. Well that’s difficult when you don’t have a job and can’t seem to get one. Soon, things begin to pass you by and friendships fall away. Your fellow graduates move on to careers, marriages, and a few into parenthood. And you’re left alone, in a dark place, staring at your yearbook picture asking yourself where did I go wrong and why do I look pregnant?
It’s been a struggle, and one is still struggling but I am grateful for one thing, this little site. In between jobs this little site keeps me going. I wake up in the morning with something to think about and a project to work on. When I am at my worse, I am still committed to something, to this. Yeah, I might not have gotten a great job after college, I might not be engaged, pregnant, or up for a promotion. I might have completely failed at the role of productive citizen and functioning member of society. I may have missed the boat when it came to finding my place in the traditional way, but I got the opportunity to make my own home instead.
Jimmy Fallon is an expert magic maker; in my humble opinion this is because at heart he is a big kid (by the way I think this is going to make him a great Dad). In this wonderful clip Fallon, The Roots, and some of the cast from Sesame Street gather together to jam; their chosen song is of course the classic theme song from none other than “Sesame Street.” I hope this clip brings out the kid in you and adds a little Magic to your Monday. Enjoy and Many Blessings.
This had me crying, it had LeBron James crying…just a heartfelt, warm, and touching experience. Words cannot express the magnitude of this video, it must only be felt. May this video stir your heart, your soul, and may it build a bridge for greater compassion and tenderness.