Untitled acrylic painting on cardboard, 06.20.18

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Have been encouraging my mom for so long to go back to creating and today, after one year of me having given her some art supplies, she made something!

When I arrived last Saturday, she was really excited when I gave her a brand new canvas and was already dreaming of what she could paint on it. And, last night, I showed her a Bob Ross video and she was both, blown away & inspired! So, this morning, after neverending chores, she painted something.

It was her first time ever truly painting (something other than the house’s walls and tables haha) with acrylics. She did it on a 180gsm piece of blue paper which could have not ended well, since she was using a little too much water. But, she nailed it!

She was really proud of the results and had loads of fun. Now, she keeps talking about practicing until she gets the hang of it so she can paint on the canvas. I mean, look at her!

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Lots of love for my mom! โค

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I’m flying home in three hours!!!

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I’ve got a He-Man shirt now!

I mean, don’t let the title fool you. I’m taking a plane to Paris and then once I’m there, I have to wait a couple five hours until my eleven-hour flight back home. So, basically, I’ll be home tomorrow morning!

I can hear Brandi Carlile singing in my head right now… Looks like I’m taking the hard way home!

Can’t wait to see everyone again!!

โค

Happy birthday, mama!!

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I love this picture!

I love this picture!

My mother is literally one of the most beautiful and bravest women that I have ever met. And today was her 54th birthday.

Years go by and yet she still remains as beautiful. I am so thankful for all that she is and all that she gives. And I just can’t wait to see her again!

I initially came up with three different ideas in my sketchbook of what I could paint for her. But since I couldn’t make up my mind on which to choose, I decided I would simply paint them all and then pick the best out of them. I had enough time on my hands and of course, I could definitely have used more painting practice!

Last night, at around midnight, I finally completed all three paintings. But, with my tired eyes facing my beautiful creations, I still couldn’t pick one. So I figures, since it is my mom’s present, I will let her pick.

And so, this morning, I call her to wish her the most happiest birthday and I present to her the three 20×20 paintings and tell her that she’s free to choose whichever she prefers. And so, my mom finds it hard as well to choose one and therefore decides that she wants all of them!

Haha So that’s the story behind them, now here’s all of them with some details. It is all flower themed and somehow ended up more like an under water theme…

It was really fun to make! And I really enjoyed working on three at once which allowed me to switch freely from one to the other whenever I felt like I needed a break or while one needed to dry before a next step.

She loved all of them and I am proud of them. So, it’s a perfectly executed job!

I just can’t wait to see her again!!! โค

Positive bullets #5

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Finally back with some P.B.; it’s been a while!

I’m in need for some of those bright vibes, warm reminders, to feel okay tonight. So, let’s shoot that happiness!

  • Peppermint tea!
  • When my host mom makes me tea
  • Bob Seger
  • When the sun hits the trees and they’re so colorful and bright!
  • My mom’s knitted creations!
  • Knowing that I can play the guitar right-handed AND left-handed
  • The vibrations in my body when I sing
  • Caffรจ Nero in town
  • Those chocolate bars that look like butts
  • Hugs
  • The way Esther says my name
  • Button mushrooms & broccoli
  • Soy sauce
  • My kitty slippers
  • Using silly words to censor myself when chatting with the kids
  • My flower-printed bed sheets
  • My yellow shoes
  • When the wind makes my dress sway gently and it feels like I’m flying
  • The way my best friend says “ah la la”, and even better, when we say it at the same time!
  • Jason Bateman he he
  • Cat videos!
  • Will Arnett’s voice
  • That feeling when I understand music theory material
  • When my fingertips hurt from playing the guitar
  • That first stretch in the morning that feels like death and life at once
  • My little pony socks
  • Peanut butter and banana toasts!!!!!

Alrighty! Five minutes out!

I do feel better now. ๐Ÿ™‚

For those of you that have no idea wth this is: It’s a thing I started back in 2016(?) when the storm was going pretty strong. I set a timer for five minutes and I jot down things that make me smile, that make me happy, things I enjoy, etc. It serves as a reminder of the light that surrounds us. And it’s like a little positivity shot!

Sometimes you can feel lost or overwhelmed by the silliest things, so it’s always nice to sit down and remember those little sparks that brighten up your life. It’s comforting. And as you write them down, it tickles those memories in your brain, and you smile as you recall how they make you feel. And you breathe better once you’re done as you remember that there is so much good in your life, no matter the amount of darkness, no matter how worn out life can get you.

Until next post, keep your eyes peeled; the Light is here! โค

Uncage the Night, Chapter XI

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First chapter: here

Previous chapter: here


It was 11:30 in the night. Everyone was asleep; all but one.
Leslie was roaming the house. She had been for the past hour and a half, rummaging through cupboards, drawers and moving furniture around as if she was looking for something. Nicolas came to her, moments before, angrily begging for a peaceful night. But all she did was groan at him. Admitting defeat, he went back to bed, back to his wife, and they resigned themselves to sleeping with earplugs.
She kept pacing up and down until something stopped her in her tracks. Leslie stood still, two feet away from the fireplace, on top of which was a golden picture frame. It was a family portrait; a fresh memory.

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Uncage the Night, Chapter X

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First chapter: here

Previous chapter: here

In this chapter, Sophie and Nicolas are back home and Leslie surprises them with a homecooked dinner.


And that was Bal Masquรฉ by the brilliant–”
Nicolas turned off the radio, never breaking the habit of interrupting people mid-sentence. Sophie looked at him, grinning, while he briefly glanced at her. He focused back on the road and they both smiled, satisfied by the short telepathic exchange they just had. It was a very relaxing ride back home, or so it seemed.
That song kept playing in the back of his head. You lied but kept the mask on your face all along…

“It’s five o’ five.”, Nicolas said. “Nearly there.”
But Sophie didn’t reply. She was still busy flipping through pictures on her phone.
She had started with old ones as they left the hotel; Leslie, the swimming pool, the river, the afternoons spent baking, the family hikes, their paintings, her band and then Mitch, bright little Mitch. And now she was onto the last couple ones, from the night before; Nicolas, her Love, and her, under the moonlight. She sighed.
The ride remained a quiet one for the next thirty minutes. That was, up until they had their first surprise of the night.
“Nick, is that–”
“A police car.”, he interrupted her. Sophie couldn’t help a frown, although all her attention remained on the police car that was merely pulling away from their house. She held her chest, as if to keep her heart inside and squeezed her husband’s right thigh.
They quickly pulled up in the driveway. Leslie was sitting on the porch, her head cupped in her hands with her elbows resting on her knees. She didn’t wave at them. In fact, she wasn’t even looking at them.
Sophie ran to her daughter. “Are you okay, baby girl?”, she asked.
“Yeah.”, Leslie replied.
“Oh, the police! I thought something….”
“Shhh.”, said Leslie as her mom hugged her tighter than ever.
Out of Sophie’s embrace emanated warmth and love. Leslie’s, on the other side, was rather weak and dry. She returned the embrace but only mechanically. It was a physical gesture, devoid of actual emotions.
Nicolas joined in and squeezed the two women together. He left a kiss on Sophie’s head and then on Leslie’s. They remained that way for a short while. And eventually, the mandatory embrace broke up so they could meet up with Mitch inside the house.

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Let the fool love.

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Last Friday, I finally finished making my Christmas presents for this year. And it was about time because I was going crazy with the accumulated (self-imposed) pressure and the lack of actual fun.

Don’t get me wrong, painting is fun and I love it. And I did have fun making my presents. But I made five paintings in under three days. Never touched my guitar. Then went on spending my little free time of the week working on another one. (I’m not complaining at all, just laying out the facts so I can make my point.) I got very little sleep and ingested too much coffee. I did get a few breaks being with the kids the afternoons and spending my Sunday afternoon and evening with Esther making some cool memories! But it was so much work in such short time and I barely allowed myself any actual breaks… It was always on my mind anyways. I couldn’t think of something else since it was set in my brain as top priority. In the end, it squeezed a lot of life out of me although it was still fun to do.

Sure, Xmas isn’t a surprise and I should have gotten down to it wayyyy earlier than I did. And nobody forced me. Nobody but me. Except, it was not forced. Don’t put it like that please. I did put a lot of pressure on myself and forced myself to keep working at it even when I got really tired. But it was never a forced thing. More like an impulse, something I couldn’t help. My love bursting to get out on time for the occasion. I definitely should have been more prepared which would’ve avoided me a lot of unnecessary strain and pressure. But it was not forced. Just brutally natural.

I know I should have started working on them long ago so they wouldn’t have been rushed and messed up a bit(you’ll see what I’m talking about if you click here). But I’ve been very busy ever since I started as an au pair and managing my time and tasks hasn’t been super easy. Realizing that I was running out of time to make a thousand personalized paintings for each special love of my heart before the big day should’ve been enough to trigger the Reason in my brain and make me turn to a wiser choice (like an album photo like my host mom suggested or just buy a simple thing, a card, flowers, a thing), wouldn’t you think? But… The what you said? Reason? Meh. I actually honestly considered it for a bit because I was thinking how hard it would be to get everything done for everyone on time. But I can’t give up on shit. I just fucking can’t give anything up.

And so I sat down with five pages in my sketchbook ready to become ugly drafts of what would later become the love infused (maybe “stuffed” is a wiser word to use here) Christmas paintings and ascended down a slippery path coated with coffee-gone-cold and affection-turning-chore. I know I make it sound super dramatic but it was pretty intense. It’s easy to lose your way sometimes in the midst of brush&rush. I was so stressed out… My little outing with Esther helped release the tension a bit but it was not enough obviously. I was drowning in it.

Buying presents is rarely a thing I do. First of all because this girl has no money. And secondly because I never really find anything that matches my idea of what the person should receive from me that would both materialize our relationship and also bring a little something more into their life. On the rare occasions I will find a thing that will be perfect. Usually has to do with inside jokes tbh. But more often than not, it’ll be a battle lost.

When I make something, I’m sure it’ll have enough pieces of me in there for the person to feel obliged to like it. Just kidding. Ha! I think it just feels more special when it’s been made by you for the person you love. There’s a different warmth to it. And I think that’s important. Especially when I’m sending gifts to my family more than ten thousands kilometers away from me. It needs that warmth and those little sparks that feel like me in it so they can feel it and receive my love with an approximately 96% accurate translation. Handmade feels better to me.

And although I’m “super hard on myself” when it comes to what I make, if you make me something, it doesn’t matter how clumsy it is, how small or how rickety it looks to you, I will love it for what it is, your best effort and a condensation of your love translated through your stupid hands.

Let’s talk about that “too hard on yourself” bullshit now. Which is actually the main reason I started writing this post.

During my relentless rush to bringing my love to life on five canvases before Christmas, I got a few comments on the way I was doing the thing. I should take a break, shouldn’t put so much pressure on myself or simply should stop if it is so stressful. And it’s not the first time I hear it. And, no different than usual, I don’t wanna hear it!

I try my best to remain calm and polite when given those comments because usually, they come from people whom I love and are just trying to look out for me. I know they mean no harm and they’re just trying to save me from the hands of my over-demanding self and her too-high-for-this-life standards. But here’s the thing lads, you’re not helping and you’re wrong.

No, I should not take a break because you feel I’m too tired to work. No, I should not simply give up on my making presents for my family because that’s putting too much on my shoulders. No, I will not slow down because it’s my fourth coffee and it’s a beautiful day to go out and sniff out some flowers or whatever. No, I will not do things differently because it doesn’t match your vision of life and work and love and whatnot. No, I do not have to lower my standards or do anything just because you think I should.

My ways might not be perfect. They might even seem crazy compared to your ideas of what should be and how it should be. But they’re my ways and I don’t think I should have to change them so they fit yours. It doesn’t have to feel right, normal, okay, to you, for it to actually be it. Now, I know most of you are just doing what you think you should be doing, looking out for me or whatever. But, just don’t force your ideas onto people like that. Because it is kinda rude and mostly annoying, especially when I’m in the middle of losing my mind over all that makes me and that I’m making. I could snap, I swear. There’s a fine line between a caring advice and an invasive unsolicited opinion. Just shush, please.

One thing I feel can’t be dissociated with a life filled with love are sacrifices. Whether they be about the tiniest little things like sharing the last cookie in the jar or much bigger ones, they’re part of the deal. There’s a part of selfishness in love but there’s also a part of selflessness in there, and hopefully, a bigger one. I do sacrifice a lot, which I usually realize later because it doesn’t matter when I give it. I give it all. It’s free. Take it. I love you, I give, take all you can, I keep giving on.

Making these paintings took hours from me; hours that could’ve been spent sleeping, playing the guitar, eating chocolate, going for walks, etc. It took precious time but I wouldn’t want it back. I had to give it all I could in such short time, especially since it was for my family so far away from me, whom I might not see before long… I had to compress as much love as I could between the layers of paint, infuse it with parts of me so that they feel my love once they get it. But even to my Irish family and friends that I have barely met I gave my precious time to leave my heart’s footprints in a last minute handmade gift. I just do it like that.

I’m not saying that those that do it differently love less or badly, not at all, just differently. That is my way of loving and I know it’s not the universal way to love, I’ve been around long enough to know now that everybody has their own scales and standards. And things hardly ever mean the same to anyone, even when they do. We might both feel intensely about something, but even then, the intensity might vary because we are different even in being the same.  I’m not saying you’re doing it wrong because you’re not doing it like me. We’re not the same, I accept that; I accept the fact that our truths are not the same although we’re all believers. So stop telling me I’m doing it wrong. Stop telling me my love is too crazy because there’s no such thing. Let my fire burn bright and focus on yours!

For me love is all about that. Dedication. Sharing. Caring. Selfless when you can but still charged with your pieces. You gotta be invested. You can’t love part time. You can’t love half-price. All or nothing. โค