Popcorn and movie night. What a little ham. He always wants his picture taken, and this is the smile he puts on now. Got some snuggles on the couch while watching some Ninja Turtles over Thanksgiving weekend.
Last week was Kindergarten registration week. I can't believe he is going to school next year. He is so excited to go, and I am having mixed feelings.
Went to my first life drawing event on Sunday in Saint Andrews at Sunbury Shores Gallery. I may have turned the model into a mermaid...
I was really excited to try it. When I got there I went through a whole range of emotions. Mostly feeling like I didn't belong there, that I wasn't good enough to even try this-which is ridiculous. Everyone was friendly and at different levels. Some little voice in my head, felt that this is what the professional artists and "good" artists do, shame on you for thinking you could do this. This voice doesn't come out as much anymore when I create, but she was strong on Sunday. The only thing to get her to stop is to keep going. Every time I botched something the voice would come out and ask what was wrong with me, can't even get the lines right. Sigh. Will the critic ever be gone? Probably not, but I hope that her and I can work together.
I really enjoyed the experience, despite my critic. The critic just didn't want me to look foolish. When really it didn't matter. It was a learning experience and helped me a lot with being out of my comfort zone, looking at shapes and lines, and I really focused on hands and the curve of lines on the body.
The session was a couple hours, no instruction, just drawing what you see. Within the hour we did a few 1 minute poses, 5 minute poses, 10 minute poses, and a couple 20/25min poses. It was really interesting to see what I could do in a short time, keeping the lines gestural. My first one minute pose was unidentifiable as anything, but I felt more successful as I went along.
I found that what I used to draw really changed how I percieved my drawing. When I used marker and charcoal and couldn't erase, I was easier on myself and the drawings were more organic feeling-they were what the were. When I used pencil I has harder on myself, maybe because I could erase and had this thought that I should be more precise. Not sure, but I hope to do it again. I have about 20 sketches now in different poses.
Love that when I leave by boys for the afternoon they get messy creative <3
The past couple weeks have been pretty quiet as we get back into routine. Last week Kieran had a really bad allergic reaction to what we think is laundry detergent. He broke out in hives-this is the worst I had seen it his poor hands, feet and eyes were swollen too, It isn't the first time it has happened, but it certainly had never been this bad before. It is almost cleared up now, just a couple little spots left. We have been trying to figure out exactly what it is, I am guessing it is the fragrances they use in certain brands or fabric softeners. We will just have to be careful and keep an eye out for ingredients.
Went for a three hour excursion through the woods last week. I didn't intend to be gone that long, but once I am in there time disappears...until I have 10 minutes to find my way out to pick Kieran up at the sitter.
One of my favourite spots to explore is Rockwood Park from the Entrance by the zoo. It is so quiet there and even though there are cars in the parking lot I rarely see anyone while I am walking. There are so may trails and sights to see. My dad lives near by, so I have many memories going there-to fish, canoe, explore, test the water with my little kid eco-kit, find fossils, streams and listen to underground water falls. Any forest, but this one in particular holds a lot of magic for me.
On Friday, armed with my sketchbook, and pencil, I set off into the woods. I took the side trail around Owen lake, and was struck by the silence when I stepped out into the opening by the water. I didn't realize how quiet it really was until I thought I could here breathing-turns out it was just the wings of a raven flying way above me.
While I am out I like to sketch and take notes of what I see, feel, or what thoughts pop into my head. What struck me again and again was that even though I love the forest and the silence-it was also an uneasy feeling. Any noise I heard would usually startle me-usually just birds hoping through the leaves on the ground, or the feeling that something was always there. My thought was that it is because I am not accustomed to the constant eyes that are probably watching me form birds, squirrels to even the presence of the trees, I am also not use to absolute silence-no vehicles, fans, voices, nothing, just the occasional buzz of a dragonfly, or bird flying and hopping about.
It may sound odd, but often when I am out with my sketch book I try and think of the personality of what I am drawing, or what perspective they might have. I few years ago I studied and became certified in Celtic Reiki (which I absolutely adore), and one of the things I do quite often is check in with what is around me and try to be aware, and witness what is going on; from wind in the trees to patterns of growth. I try to approach everything with curiosity. One of my favourite things in the woods is the way light trickles in between the leaves, or the way it highlights different areas of the forest, or sparkles of a stream.
I love birch trees. I really enjoyed painting the one above. The thought that came to mind as I was sketching it was wisdom shedding, or shedding of stories and experiences, releasing them into the wind.
What do you feel when you are out in the woods, or by the water? What do you notice when you are there? Where is your favourite outdoor place to be? What is it about there that brings you back? What inspires you about the outdoors?
My explorer! He loves to be outdoors.
Here are some conversations from the past week:
Me: Did you have a good day?
Kieran: No it was a bad day. (Then he explained the moment that made it not a great day)
Me: Well, tomorrow might be a good day.
Kieran: Yeah, but it might not
...guess I can't argue that...
Kieran: Mommy look a heart! (He points to a heart marshmallow in his cereal)
Me; Wow, that is special.
Kieran: Yeah, Mommy it is your heart....and I am inside it.
I didn't post very many Mommy Mondays this summer, but we had lots of adventures. Above is a little collage of our time. PEI twice, Ottawa, Toronto, camping and glamping, as well as little adventures around the neighbourhood.
Kieran had his first, plane, train, and bus rides this summer...not to mention a horse!!
He had so much fun, but there is nothing like coming home. I don't know why I was surprised, but anywhere we went there was always a moment or two of "Mommy can we go home now, I miss Rocky and Bobo (aka Baron)". Just so sweet.
This was also the summer of rainbows! both times we went to PEI (once for glamping the other for camping) we saw full double rainbows! Then there was another rainbow in Ottawa. Kieran is going to think these things happen all the time!
While camping in PEI, Kieran was very interested in what people were doing in the other stalls, which lead to quotes like "Who made that toot?" and "why is there a band-aid on her toe", which was then followed by me silently wrestling him to stop him from looking underneath.
Kieran was so excited for the plane to Ottawa. When the plane arrived in Saint John, Kieran was running for his bag and pushing Peter and I to the gate; he couldn't wait to get on. We first had to fly to Halifax which was a tiny plane, so Kieran got to talk to the pilot before take off and got to see the controls the whole flight from his seat. He was also pretty excited for the train to Toronto.
While in Ottawa, Uncle Jon took us to the Natural History Museum. It was amazing. I could not get a single picture of Kieran that wasn't blurry because he was looking and running around so much. So much to see and do there: dinosaurs, bugs, birds, mammals...loved it!
In Toronto we did the zoo from 11:00-3:30 and still didn't see it all. Kieran's favourite was the giraffes and the pandas.
Last week our side yard had some construction done and Kieran was very excited to see some of the trucks. In fact he caught me working on my video and wanted to make one too. So Kieran has his first vlog-which is adorable. We also during the vlog discovered a hornets nest... You can see the video below.
Even though this summer went by too fast, and I am back at work, we made some great family memories.
Above is a painting I completed of a sand dollar while in Saint Andrews a couple weeks ago. Those that have been following me for a while know that usually my art work has a deeper message for me than just the image. While I worked on this, there are layers of journaling and meditating on value, self-worth, and abundance. After I finish I piece I often write a letter to myself from the perspective of the painting. They don't always flow perfectly or make sense at the time, often sound very "woo-ey", and I typically don't edit them-they are what they are. Here is the letter/message from this painting:
"Abundance-tighter you hold it the faster it turns ti sand and slips through your fingers.
Be free, be generous, but be smart. Have a goal and plan but don't make yourself sick trying to follow it. All will be well, money is in our head, society has built this construct and really it holds us back. Creating scarcity and a need to have enough rather than be enough.
Time is valuable, you are valuable, your knowledge is valuable. Share it in exchange.
Worry serves no purpose here, except to create illness.
Be free. Lay on the beach, let the water wash away and carry your worry. Sand dollars are beautiful, life is beautiful. Radiate beauty and plenty (but not wasteful) rather than lack.
Replace lack with beauty, bounty, You will get through this.
Abundance grows and stretches. Feel into it, live it. Abundance of possibility, experiences, love...support each other, lean on each other, hold each other."
I am currently struggling with value, self-worth and abundance, as I am sure many of us do. What I am working on right now is what is the value of the work I want to put forward in the world. Sharing my creations and coaching others to tap into their creative expression. I want to keep things accessible to all, but at the same time I want to be able to support myself and family with this.
I always have placed my work lower than others because I feel I am not good enough or ready to charge more, or if I charged more people would not accept my work or come to my creativity classes. This is basically how I run in day to day life to when it comes to how I present myself. I appear very quiet and reserved because I feel that what I have to say and my experiences are not worth sharing, or maybe could be seen as boasting. I am slowly beginning to step out of this belief but it is a struggle. This feeling of lacking is not very nice.
That being said I have been researching pricing originals, and creating prints of my art work and what strategies other artists use to price their work. To price my work too low would be a disservice to myself, you, and other artists who aim to make a living from their work. Art work should appreciate over time. A lot of time, thought, and materials goes into creating and that all needs to be taken into account.
So what I have decided to try is opening up a Society 6 store with a range of prints and accessories that can make my work accessible to different price points and raise the value of my originals to match the work that goes into them.
I feel silly writing this post, but it is my way of figuring out what it is that I am doing, exploring my worth and declaring it, as well as giving some insight to you about me. My hope is to share my journey with you as true as I can be and this is part of it.
If you are curious to see what prints are available here is the link to my Society 6 store
I would love to here your thoughts on self-worth and abundance. (in the comments or on facebook)
Had a wonderful, but busy weekend. Kieran had 2 birthday parties to attend on Saturday, and we went for a beautiful boat ride on Saturday, couldn't have asked for more beautiful weather. I don't know about him but I am exhausted!
He got his first nose bleed at the second party, a little rowdy in the bouncy castle, but he was okay. Wasn't long before he was back and running around.
He loved the boat, He tricked me though, when we stopped for a swim he told me he would get in the water if I did, but he didn't....little stinker.
That smile gets me every time!
Well summer has arrived here, and Kieran and I have been having a blast (most of the time). We have played in the mud, slept over night with friends in a cottage in Bouctouche, went Kennebecasis Island to visit with friends and their family-Kieran, Peter and I were both excited by the little ferry that takes you there!
Canada Day was pretty damp, but a lot of fun shared with great company. Kieran got to hang out with his best friends and so did Peter and I. We were up in Bouctouche and visited the dune in the rain, the kids got really sandy, while the dads chased them around and the moms sat under the board walk. Lots of jelly fish in the water. The boys got to do sparklers and a pinata-Kieran always had to do a huge run, to a huge build up, before a gentle tap on the pinata :)
Last week I found a peony that had bloomed in a garden that I planted 5 years ago, that I have let go to the weeds! First time I have had one bloom, that the deer didn't eat. So we had to play with it and enjoy it a little.
Back to reality-a shopping trip (I don't like shopping to begin with), which should have taken 1 hour tops-took Kieran and I 4 hours to do! It was a pleasant enough trip and filled our day but still 4 hours! We only went to 4 stores. Although one was the new toy store over east called Mastermind Toys-amazing store-so we spent a lot of time there.
I am a week into vacation and loving it.
Can't help but post a few more photo favourites.
One more week of work left, and then it is Kieran and I for the summer! Hoping to spend a lot of time outside. We already have a few camping trips planned. So excited to take family trips with my boys.
In this photo, Kieran is playing the on the go version of Hungry Hippos. He loves it, we will have to find the real one for him to play. He is growing up so fast-as you can see from his size 13 shoes.
The other night Peter and I were putting him to bed, laying on either side of him, he grabbed my arm and pulled it over to cuddle him and then grabbed peters hand to join mine, then he snuggled in with a contented look on his face. Too sweet. He also noticed my wedding ring the other night and asked why I don't take it off. When I explained it to him, he was very upset that he too didn't have a ring. He is picking up on everything!
Visit my Society 6 Shop for prints and accessories
Social Media Feed
Jennifer Russell was born and raised in New Brunswick, Canada.She is an Intentional artist who focuses on creating meaning full connections to her work for herself and others. Nothing is more satisfying to her than hearing that her work has inspired someone in their own life.