Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year - 2017

It's 2017. In this year of new beginnings and renewal, remember to be thankful, live life, and relax. It is what it is. Find your happiness wherever life takes you and let God be your guide.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

What Inspires Me?

Snowman on a snowy hill. Painted with watercolors.

Every day is different. Some days I may be inspired by patterns I see in nature like the veins of a leaf, or the crackling in the road, or the formations of the clouds. Some days, it may be a song I heard, some food I ate, or something more inward that I felt. Other days, it may be the way a person smiled, or a gleam in someone's eyes, or the way their hair framed their face. Each day, my experiences, emotions, and activities motivate a different image in my mind that is incorporated into my creative process. The process may begin immediately and last for a short time or it may be years in the making. But I take each moment, each breathe I draw, as an opportunity to be inspired.

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This page was colored with crayons by a 10-year-old.

An adult woman began coloring this with a combination of coloring pencils and gel pens.

An adult man with a brain injury colored this page with gel pens.

An adult woman colored this using wood-less coloring pencils.

The following photos were taken at a book signing at WPA Bakery in Richmond, Virginia. Coloring sheets from one of the pages of the book and coloring pencils were provided for customers of the bakery to enjoy stress-relieving coloring.

The following photos were taken at a celebration and book signing at Thirty-first Street Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia. Coloring sheets from one of the pages of the book, coloring pencils, cupcakes and cookies were provided for people to enjoy.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Feel Like a Kid Again

"I haven't done this since I was a kid!" "This reminds me of when I used to do art in grade school." "This takes me back to my childhood." As an art specialist, I often hear these phrases during arts and crafts sessions with patients at the hospital. And nine times out of 10, they are said with happiness in their voices.

When I meet people, they are usually at their most vulnerable. Whether they are dealing with cancer, sickle cell, diabetes, heart disease or any number of illnesses; what most people want is to be comforted. I tell people that doing a craft isn't about creating some masterpiece or being perfect. It's about the journey from start to finish - much like life.  What we do while painting, drawing, sculpting, and creating is more important than what they take home after I've left the room. And majority of the time, they end up proud of their project and what they could accomplish with just a little guidance.

But the real magic and gift are the laughter that was shared, the pleasant memories that came up, and the comfort that was provided.

Why does this happen? Most of our adulthood is spent worrying and stressing over life. We forget our inner child and loose the innocence of childhood. When we let him or her out to play - whether it's doing arts and crafts, playing games, doing cartwheels or just acting silly - we allow our minds to relax, and our souls to be rejuvenated. It just feels good.

So during this stressful holiday season, take a moment to be a kid again. In fact, find some kids - your own counts - and do it with them. Bake cookies, play with dolls, pop popcorn and string it into garland (while eating it of course), watch holiday cartoon classics, sing silly made up songs, make up stories, color in a coloring book, make snow angels, and give plenty of hugs, laughter and kisses. Give the best gift you can give - wonderful memories.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Angel ornaments made by participants in an arts and craft session.
Don't forget, you can purchase my adult coloring book "Coloring Curls: An Adult Coloring Book Celebrating Natural Hair" on CreateSpace or on Amazon.