I used to make a ton of homemade cards, but I did mostly little watercolor designs. Lately though, I have become obsessed with using craft paper cutouts. So fun to get back to the second grader inside and just use scissors and glue!
I needed to do a card for friends of ours moving away to Cambodia to do some amazing work with the kids there. With some idea help from my brilliant wife, here’s how it turned out.
I decided to try a retro slant on these drawings…. my favourite style of illustration! But I have not done tons of these drawings myself, mostly out of intimidation. I am terrified to put up drawings and not be “good enough”. But I am learning…. learning so much.
Mostly… I am learning to extend the grace to myself that I try to extend to others. I am learning to have respect for the gift I do believe God has given me. And deciding to stop comparing myself to other artists and how much better they are than me… and just do art.
It is making me very happy. I hope it makes others happy too 🙂
This amazing quote from an artist I so respect hit the nail on the head this week. I will read this every morning!!
“I have failed many times in my life. But the secret is, as long as you learn from each mistake that is all that counts so you don’t repeat the mistake again and again. If YOU find yourself struggling as to what direction you wish to pursue in life, I can tell you this…. If you want to do art, you do art. Draw all the time and build up your skills. If you wish to improve your skills, learn from others, “mimicry is the prerequisite to creativity.” In order to find your ideas for creating, I have found the best way to do this is through your own observation as well. This is the most important. What do YOU see when you are at life drawing or at the coffee shop drawing people. Doing this will help you create new ideas. Do not concern yourself with what others are doing, When I say this, it is in reference to knowing that you are not them, learn from them but don’t compare, you will just drive yourself insane.“
– Stephen Silver
Sometimes I forget to extend the kind of grace I do to others, to myself. My beautiful wife always reminds me of this when I get frustrated after doing a drawing that doesn’t meet my own standards. I am really trying to get past that!! Sigh. Being a perfectionist artist comes with its’ struggles. These are by no means perfect drawings, but as in everything, they are a work in progress. I know I must do many bad and mediocre drawings to get to the good ones!
I pass this guy every morning on my walk through Gastown to the studio. He is always so cheerful and greets everyone, even if they don’t return it.
I did a quick memory sketch of him in colerase, then inked it with Pentel brush pen.
Inspired by our walk in the woods today 🙂
I clearly remember sitting in my room at 18, writing in a journal and sobbing. I was the worst of sinners. And no amount of prayer was changing that. How could I be attracted to women? I grew up with all the right people, environment, schooling around me to guide me. I was so involved at church and I loved it. I loved my family fiercely, and now I felt as though they couldn’t love me if I embraced that part of me. Some of them literally said that to me. Hope was surely dwindling.
How incredibly thankful I am for the 12 years that followed that night. It was filled with some of the most severe lows, and intoxicating highs. My faith was truly tested in every possible way. My relationships with family and friends went through extreme ups and downs, and I made some bad choices motivated by hurt and loneliness. But at 30 years old, after coming to the end of my rope, I was faced with a choice. I spent a week alone with God, and through my vulnerable weeping I asked the unthinkable. Can You still love me if I love the gay part of myself? Can you continue to bless me if I take the hand of the one I love, and walk forward in this life with her? Will I ever possibly feel peace?
The answers were not was I was expecting — and they were not what everyone was telling me they would be. I felt deep inside my soul, a resonating YES.
YES, a thousand times over, YES. And more than that – nothing will be wasted.
Now I sit here at 33, married to my soul mate, wholly loving myself in true contentment, and embracing this life I have been given.
There are still people in my life who do not agree. And vehemently so. That is ok. We can disagree. But this is my truth, and I will embrace it proudly. I believe I have been called to share it, to live authentically, and to leave the rest to God.
And some day when I am no longer here, these words might still be. Which is why I wanted to write this down, as much as allowing such vulnerable and raw thoughts online is terrifying. But I feel like this is a good concluding chapter to the one I wrote when I was 18. What I have learned these past years can be summed up below. We hear a lot from the very conservative Christians, and the very liberal gay people…..I think there is room for my voice too.
So here goes. My (gay) agenda.
- Love as much as I possibly can, wherever I am, whoever I am with. UNconditionally. And not only if it is returned.
- Be present with who I am with at that moment. I won’t get another day like today.
- Extend compassion and grace, even when it doesn’t make sense. And when it doesn’t make sense, ask God for more.
- Use the gifts I believe I have been given, to the best of my ability, and to serve others wherever possible.
- Be thankful, for each breath. For each moment. For each walk in the woods and smell of fresh coffee.
- Encourage those around me. You never know how much that one sentence might mean to that person.
- Learn what it means to be truly, completely grateful, in word and deed. And see how that transforms my everyday life, because it does.
- Be authentic. Not arrogant or self-indulgent, but just genuine. People will know the difference.
- Challenge myself to truly get to know people and listen to their story. It is much harder to judge them that way.
- Cherish the beauty and fragility of humanity. “Help people discover that they are more beautiful than they dare believe.” – Jean Vanier
If I spend my days trying to accomplish this list, I think my life just might mean something.
Thanks for reading. 🙂