Categories
abstract art acrylic acrylic paints art art blog art gallery art ideas art journal art lesson art lessons artist artists artwork bright colors cactus Canson change collaboration collage colorful colors craft crafts crayons crazy creative creative project creativity design design board design envy designs DIY creative diy gift idea DIY Holiday Gift Idea easy easy craft easy craft idea easy crafts floral flowers graphic design happiness happy humor ideas illustration illustrations ink inspiration inspiring inspiring quotes journal journaling life life list lifestyle blog lines lists living lol love lovely lyrics mixed media moleskine murals nature oil pastels opinion original art painting paintings paper goods patterns pen pencil pencil skirt pinterest poetry pop culture print prints questions quotes simple sketch sketchbook smile songs spotlight street art succulent succulents sunshine terrarium To Do tree trees triangles tribal upcycle watercolor watercolors waves wax pastels words

More of my sketchbook pages.

 

 

floral sketchbook page quote

 

The start of a new year means a new sketchbook. I get really excited about starting a new journal- especially at the beginning of a new year. It literally allows me to turn a fresh page in my life and re-organize, reflect and motivate. I’ve been slowly compiling pictures of some of my sketchbook pages from this past year or so and funny, I never realized before just how often my pages center around a quote or lyric that is inspiring me at that time. I think because a big part of the reason I keep a journal is to motivate me and to help me stay positive. Oh, I also apparently am big on bright colors and florals.

 

 

 

 

 

sketchbookpagejessross

also, I’m really interested to know (for any fellow art journalists who stumbles across this page)…what your favorite sketchbook/journal is(Mixed media paper, watercolor paper, bound, spiral, small, large….)? I have over 30 journals and have tried all different types and sizes and I am starting to narrow it down to my favorites but I still feel like my perfect sketchbook is out there somewhere undiscovered and waiting. just really want a large sized sketchbook with pages that don’t bleed through…I like the watercolor moleskine sketchbook but it didn’t have very many pages and was quite expensive.
Here are my go tos:

The Moleskine Art Plus Watercolor Album

(12″ X 8.5″) Professional Folio Series, Hardcover $27.37

click on the picture to view in Amazon

pros: thick, heavyweight, high quality watercolor paper, super absorbent and doesn’t bleed through.

cons: expensive & only has 60 pages while most sketchbooks have at least 100 pages.

 

The Canson 180-Degree Art Book ($13.79)

(8.3′ x 11.7″) 80 sheets 

canson art sketchbook, click picture to view in amazon

Pros:  Lays flat, nice design

Cons: Paper is not high quality, and poor quality paper, rips easily

Strathmore Hardbound 500 Series Mixed Media Art Journal

(11.5″ x 8.5″, 64 Pages)

Strathmore Sketchbook, Click picture to view in Amazon

Pros: Great size and Price

Cons:

 

stormsrootsstitched together quote rjournalpagemixed media sketchbook page lyricsWhat inspires you? Do you have a favorite medium when journaling? What is your go-to when you are sketching or journaling… I always wish I wrote more….  but I never do….abstract ocean blue sketchbook page
journal illustration page

Categories
book binding book cover art book list book reviews books childhood children children literature classics design design board difficult education family favorite favorite books fiction Gabriel Garcia Marquez geeks goodreads humor imagination inspiring inspiring quotes john steinbeck life life list lists literature magical realism mood board opinion original art perks of being a wallflower poetry pop culture project projects questions quotes reading showcase spotlight the waves Uncategorized words world

Six Life Changing Books

llife changing books

Books saved me. For as long as I can remember, I have loved reading. I genuinely cannot remember a time when I was without books. Even Before I learned to read, I made my mom read my favorite children’s books to me, over and over, until I had  memorized all the words. I would stay up with my lamp on, flipping through each page and narrating my version back to myself.

“At one magical instant in your early childhood, the page of a book—that string of confused, alien ciphers—shivered into meaning. Words spoke to you, gave up their secrets; at that moment, whole universes opened. You became, irrevocably, a reader.”

When I learned to read a whole new universe was open to me. I still remember the first book that transported me completely and utterly into it’s world, a world I never wanted to leave: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. I spent months after finishing that book, opening closet doors, shifting through clothes, praying to find a secret passage that would lead me to Narnia.

books

As a child (and still to this day) much of my reading took place late at night. Even as a kid, I had trouble turning my mind off, different anxieties and worries all piling up in my brain and unable to sleep. Books saved me and showed me for the first time, that I wasn’t alone.

Before the wonderful world Goodreads, I compiled a list of every book I read, including the date I finished it and a short review, in notebooks that sat on my night stand. In a separate journal, I still write down quotes and passages that stick out to me, in the books I read (although, Goodreads also has an extensive library of quotes from every book imaginable and allows you to create your own quote list).

A few months ago on Facebook, someone tagged me to come up with Five Books that changed me in some way and that got me thinking……so…. I  came up with a list of six books I’ve read through out the course of my life that have changed me in some way:

1. One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez

 

Up until One Hundred Years of Solitude, the only “classic” novels I had read were the ones assigned to me for classes in high school.  In fact, it was Mrs. Barney, my English Honors teacher and favorite teacher who mentioned in class one day that One Hundred Years of Solitude was one of her favorite books…I checked it out from the school library that night.

One Hundred Years chronicles the epic rise and fall of the mythical South American town of Macondo, while charting the history of the extensively populated Buendia family. It is a rich and brilliant chronicle of life and death, and the tragicomedy of humankind. In the noble, ridiculous, beautiful, and tawdry story of the Buendía family, one sees all of humanity, just as in the history, myths, growth, and decay of Macondo, one sees all of Latin America.” (Goodreads)

One Hundred Years of Solitude is the very first book I read as an adult, in which I became completely engrossed in the magnetic, magical, alluring world Marquez created, a world I never wanted to leave.

I had never encountered a writer like Marquez, a genius storyteller, brilliant writer, with questionable sanity.  It created in me a passion for all Gabriel Garcia’s books and introduced me to my favorite fiction genre: magical realism. Solitude was responsible for deepening and broadening my passion for reading and sparked in me a love of words.  Gabriel Garcia Marquez taught me through One Hundred Years of Solitude how to  to look beyond what you can see in the everyday to peer into the beyond.

2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Chbosky, Stephen [Paperback(1999£©]

.

 Where One Hundred Years of Solitude is vast and wordy,  making your head spin with detail and complexity, Perks of Being a Wallflower is breathtakingly simple and pure.

The main character and narrator, is Charlie, Perks of Being a Wallflower is responsible for introducing me to  is one of my all time favorite literary characters: Charlie, a shy, introspective, socially awkward, but highly intelligent incoming high school freshman, with a unique and refreshing view of the world.

While Perks of Being a Wallflower is no doubt aimed at younger audiences with it’s simplified style and diminutive number of pages, everyone can identify with the ‘coming of age” themes in the book and misfits trying to fit in.

What endeared me so much to Charlie and Perks of Being a Wallflower was his struggle to understand and deal with his fragile mental health. I am probably not the only one who sees themselves in Charlie, as he tries to understand who he is, why he feels so different from everyone else, desperate to find where he fits in, and to make sense out of life. I wish I had read this book while I was in high school, it would have saved me a lot of stress.

 

East of Eden

3. East of Eden by John Steinbeck

East of Eden is undisputedly one of American Literature’s most esteemed masterpieces, Steinbeck’s “magnus opus.”

Out of some strange book stubbornness, I avoided reading East of Eden for many years. Post college, I think I had burnt myself out on trying to only ever read the classics, I was worried East of Eden would let me down, but of course it did not.

But in Steinbeck’s sprawling Eden, some of fiction’s most mesmerizing characters are born. “He expertly explores :explored his most enduring themes: the mystery of identity, the inexplicability of love, and the murderous consequences of love’s absence.”It is a sprawling story of two families and their intertwined destinies.  East of Eden is often referred to as the “classic retelling of Genesis’ story of Cain and Able” through brothers Cal and Aaron. But Steinbeck goes much, much deeper.

Timshel, my friends, timshel.

The Waves by Virginia Woolf

4. The Waves by Virginia Woolf

One of my favorite past times is underlining beautiful passages in the books I read and write them in my journal….While skimming back through my old copy of The Waves, I noticed that almost every page had at least a few lines underlined, while other pages were almost completely underlined.

The Waves is a novel unlike any other. More poetry, than novel, The NY Times calls Woolf’s writing style in The Waves as“poetic brilliance…a symphonic poem” There are six main characters, although Woolf is not concerned in character formation and is written from the perspective of each character’s inner monologue, in which they think and express themselves in a poetic manner. The Waves focuses on the poetic symbols of life. The language is beautiful, sensual, lyrical ,deeply philosophical and life and nature are interconnected.

Geek Love

5. Geek Love by Katherine Dunn

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn is probably the most disturbingly dark and wonderfully strange books  I have ever read (and I’ve read some weird stuff!) Let me explain why:

Geek Love follows the Binewskis, a  traveling, carnival “freak” show family. And by freaks, I mean freaks:  the narrator and heroine, is Olympia, a deformed, albino, humpbacked dwarf, her brother is Arturo, the Aqua-Boy, born with fins for limbs, the Siamese twin sisters, Electra and Ipheginia, and Furtuno, who, in his family’s eyes, is born disappointingly normal. If that isn’t enough, the parents and the owners of the “Binewski’s Fabulon,” are also lacking in genetic flaws, but addicted to meth-amphetamine among other drugs, in hopes of creating more genetically mutated offspring to boost their business and beat out competitors.

Ahabs Wife6. Ahab’s Wife, or, the Star-Gazer by Sena Jeter Naslund

Ahab’s Wife tells the life story of the woman who would marry the sea captain who battles Moby Dick, but she is so much more than that. Ahab’s Wife follows her on her journey to find love and tranquility:

“A magnificent, vast, and enthralling saga, Sena Jeter Naslund’s Ahab’s Wife is a remarkable epic spanning a rich, eventful, and dramatic life. Inspired by a brief passage in Moby Dick, it is the story of Una, exiled as a child to live in a lighthouse, removed from the physical and emotional abuse of a religion-mad father. It is the romantic adventure of a young woman setting sail in a cabin boy’s disguise to encounter darkness, wonder, and catastrophe; the story of a devoted wife who witnesses her husband’s destruction by obsession and madness. Ultimately it is the powerful and moving story of a woman’s triumph over tragedy and loss through her courage, creativity, and intelligence.”

Categories
activities blog books bucket list change collaboration fitness friends health infographics instagram meditation nature organic original peace pinterest positive prozac questions quotes reading relationships relaxing simple smile stars sunshine teaching tips trees website wellness yoga

A Skeptic’s Journey to Falling in Love With Yoga.

As long as I can remember, I’ve always loved being active. I used to follow my dad to the gym and he taught me at about 6 years old how to use the cardio machines.  I’ve gone through many fitness phases throughout the years, but they always centered around a cardio machine like the elliptical or the treadmill.  In my craziest fitness days, I would spend upwards of 2 hours on the elliptical or running on the treadmill- slowly watching my calories burnt. No doubt, I over did it- and with severe lower back and hip pain (and sciatica) from an early age, all of the repetitive pressure I put on my bones, I ended up completely wearing my body out. Friends, family members and my chiropractor all suggested yoga and countless times and in my stubbornness, I refused, also countless times.

This past winter I hit a brick wall physically. I was desperate to go to the gym and sweat out my issues but every time I got on a treadmill, the pain quickly became to much to continue. So, I figured, okay, let’s try this yoga bs every one is talking about. Considering myself “athletic”(I’m about as bendy as a plank of wood) I had no time for the beginner yoga videos, and went straight to intermediate- where I managed within the first 5 minutes to pull a muscle in my back.

It wasn’t until a few months later when one of my best girl friends was visiting from Oregon, that I seriously considered yoga again. When I picked her up from the airport, I immediately noticed how fit and toned she was. She radiated good health and I wanted some of that…she had been practicing yoga religiously for the past few years and it showed.Every night and every morning she practiced and even had me doing a few poses.

After that, I found myself more and more drawn to yoga and I was determined to do it and do it right. (Which was NOT easy).  I bought an informative book of yoga,  Hatha Yoga Illustrated by Kirk, Boon, and DiTuro, with a short history of yoga, the different practices, meditation and a large index of poses with helpful tips. I also joined in on a yoga challenge on instagram with a few friends. I found that the more I practiced, the better I felt. I woke up one morning with no back pain at all- which hasn’t happened in over 20 years. I was also pleasantly surprised at the  sense of peace and calm that I found while practicing. I found that I loved practicing yoga outdoors, at night, staring at the stars and had some wonderfully blissful and content moments (which for me, is very rare).

I honestly think the world would be a much happier place if everyone practiced yoga. Hopefully, you will join me on this yoga journey! You can find me on instagram at: jessbobessyoga (I promise my account will make you feel better about your practice because I am not kidding when I say I am def. a beginner!) And as always, I would love to hear from you about your thoughts on yoga and what you find most difficult and most beneficial. Email me at: thiswildpreciouslifeblog@gmail.com.

Here are 8 tips I compiled to help those like me, who are starting out on their yoga journey!

I hope everyone enjoyed the beautiful super moon! A time for new beginnings!

helpful tips for yoga beginners
helpful tips for yoga beginners
Categories
art artist artwork blog cactus collaboration collage colorful craft creative creative project design diy DIY creative DIY project easy craft idea education elementary esty gallery handmade illustration inspiration inspiring journal journaling nature oil pastels original paintings paper goods people pinterest portraits project projects questions quotes relaxing sketchbook

art journals.

tried my hand at some abstract journaling.
tried my hand at some abstract journaling.

Ever since I had the ability to write (non-sensical scribbles of a four year old count) I have kept a “diary.” I don’t know where the compulsion to keep a list of the daily mundane activities as a child: “Today I had rice crispies for breakfast…” The older i got, the more they developed into a living memory box of my life at that moment in time; and perhaps it started as my first paltry attempt at creating a sense of order from my distracted thoughts and messy brain. I have over 30 completed journals, which is roughly one per year.  The style and format of my journals adapts to the seasons of my life. During college and Graduate school, my journal functioned as my day planner and the keeper of my sanity. During periods in my life where I have been happy, I notice that I do more art and very little journaling. During tough times however, my journals are filled with sad song lyrics, to-do lists and life questions.

Do you like to look back at your journals? If so, do you do it often? Is creating a written record of your life to reflect back on a reason for your journaling? I am very interested to know. I can honestly say that, that is not the case with me, as writing for reflection at a later period of time would require to much forethought and planning for me. My journal has become one of my few necessities which I carry with me at all times in my bag. It is given the impossible responsibility of keeping me sane (emotionally balanced and organized enough to survive) ..so when I complete one journal, I see it as a memento of the craziness which is my life- maybe one day, when I am normal, I will want to look back at my journals to feel sorry for my crazy self.

Here are a few of my own art journal pages:

my art journal page
my art journal page
my colorful cacti
my colorful cacti
one of my favorite quotes
one of my favorite quotes
Frida and Virginia from my journal.
Frida and Virginia from my journal.

Anyways, I love nothing more than seeing pages from other peoples’ journals. I feel like I am getting a naked glimpse at their soul. I am always so amazed and inspired by the creative, beautiful things that people put down onto pages. One of my favorite artists,  Geninne Zlatkis, has the most beautiful and awe inspiring journal pages. I love all of her work and I also LOVE how she adapts her art journal entries into a day planner. Genius!!

Geninne’s Journal Page

from her flickr account
from her flickr account (October Days) 
more of Geninne's beauty
more of Geninne’s beauty

Here is the link to her flickr account for you to check her out more!: https://www.flickr.com/photos/geninne/sets/72157594514015991/

Another one of my favorites is Guilherme Dietrich. I fell in love with the bright, bold colors and vivid pieces. I had to pick my jaw up off the floor after I saw these. Unfortunately, his flickr account is no longer active and the website I found him on, isn’t either. But here are some of his beautiful pages to feast your eyes at (pangs me to know I will never create something this beautiful)

879094f849e6a1dba2595504a41cbf7e

What inspires you? Why do you journal? I would love to see!

Categories
art artist books favorite gallery interview landscape mixed media music nature paintings people photography portraits questions social justice

Artist Spotlight: Photographer Peter Hoffman

This is a VERY long overdue post on my extremely talented friend and all around amazing person, Peter Hoffman. Pete and I go way back (all the way to high school!) and he is inspiration to me, as n artist and a human being. He was able to take his passion, photography, and turn it into a successful profession, while at the same time making a positive impact on society and shedding light on social and cultural issues. And taking some damn beautiful photographs. Thanks Pete for humoring me and answering these questions.

http://peterghoffman.com/index.php/short-works/fox-river-derivatives/

All photos were taken by Peter Hoffman, are his property, and can be found on his website: http://www.peterghoffman.com. 

http://peterghoffman.com/index.php/project/bryan-house-/
Who are you and what do you do?
Not to be contrarian, but I see a question like this as very open to interpretation. My first instinct is to say something like “how the hell can I say who I am? and what I do? I don’t know. I try to make the world hate itself less while trying to make myself love the world more?”
Maybe you should change this to “What is your name and what is your medium?” – unless you would prefer the above answer.

I think what you’re looking for is “My name is Peter Hoffman and usually I make photographs”

http://peterghoffman.com/index.php/editorial/people-and-land-nnfpcenter-for-rural-strategies/
 Describe yourself in five words:
Awake, tired, conflicted, critical optimist

http://peterghoffman.com/index.php/editorial/portraits/
 Do you have a favorite piece of yours?  If so, why is it your favorite?
Not really. I haven’t made a work that I feel is successful yet. On the other hand, if I did then maybe I’d stop trying.

My favorite art that I have own are my photo books – right now I’m into Stephen Gill’s Coexistence, Julian Germain’s For Every Minute You are Angry You Lose Sixty Seconds of Happiness. I am itching to get Lise Sarfati’s and Vivianne Sassen’s recent books too – those ladies are super talented.

http://peterghoffman.com/index.php/project/chch-nz/

 Any tips or inspiring words for other artists?
Make it a point to get outside of your comfort zone, make the work that you NEED to make, and if you are trying to make a career of your art, well, figure out a way not to stress too much about your work once it’s out of your hands. Work your tail off but not at the expense of your important personal relationships – unless artistic success is more important to you than
not being miserable. Also, try not to let yourself get in the way of yourself and make sure you give a shit about something.

http://peterghoffman.com/index.php/editorial/characters-in-a-juvenile-study/

 Can we find you anywhere on the world wide web?

You can find me too many places on the web – it’s a necessary evil I’ve come to terms with because the internet essentially allows me to make my living by making photographs, and this is something I am immensely thankful for. I don’t get hired for commissions if people don’t know my work exists.
You can see me at http://www.peterghoffman.com and http://www.peterghoffman.tumblr.com and twitter @peterghoffman.
I also just had a piece published on CNN Photos so you can see me there: http://cnnphotos.blogs.cnn.com/2013/02/22/aftershocks-of-the-christchurch-earthquake/

http://peterghoffman.com/index.php/editorial/people-and-land-nnfpcenter-for-rural-strategies/
 What is your favorite: I don’t play favorites generally because they change so I will give you current interests

Color? Navy, Grey, Crimson
Animal? I’m just really jealous of anything that can flies so I think that’s backhanded favoritism. Let’s go with the Peregrine Falcon.
Movie? I really enjoyed Beasts of the Southern Wild this year. I have a short memory with films. Visually I thought Pi – Aronofksy’s first film was really great and Enter the Void was also a challenging film though I don’t think I’d watch it again.
Book? I read magazines a lot more. My subscription to Harper’s is valuable. Kafka’s Metamorphosis and Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling are examples of literature that is important to me though. I know it’s sort of cliché but I also loved Zen and the Art of Motorcycle maintenance and think I need to reread it now that I have a bike that will need some soon, if only to get in the right mindset.

http://peterghoffman.com/index.php/project/bryan-house-/
What work do you most enjoy doing?
I like walking in empty places and taking pictures of natural and constructed chaos. I also really enjoy formal portraiture and have gotten to meet some really fascinating people this way.
In general I like the places photography brings me more than the photography itself. I’m naturally introverted so it has been a good medium to challenge my natural ways and has gotten me to live differently, and for that I am very thankful. 

http://peterghoffman.com/index.php/editorial/people-and-land-nnfpcenter-for-rural-strategies/
Name something you love, and why?
Some THING? 
I really like my trail running shoes, my old finicky motorcycle, my snowboard and my surfboard. All are vehicles for getting the wind to blow in my face which is one of my favorite sensations in the world.
If I am not limited to material objects then I love being in new places with wonderful people on a light whisky buzz. I love being outside in the summer with my good friends and family. I love stopping and looking at the trees and running in the woods.
Isn’t love just a substitute word for that which you can’t describe your feeling for? I just love when I feel alive. That can some at the strangest of times and be triggered by the most unexpected things. I love that I can’t explain it. 

http://peterghoffman.com/index.php/editorial/people-and-land-nnfpcenter-for-rural-strategies/

Name something you don’t love, and why?
Honestly, for me this is a dangerous question. I get pretty upset about the world in a myriad of different ways so I could answer this any number of ways depending on what I read in the news.
One of the core reasons I make photographs is to address things that frustrate, concern or sadden me.
And Anne Coulter. Heinous, wretched woman.
 

http://peterghoffman.com/index.php/project/loop/


What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Be yourself.  I think Sesame Street told me. That said, I’m really sorry that Anne Coulter feels free to be herself.

What couldn’t you do without?
Creating, and the wonderful people in my life. And almonds. And at this point probably running and crossfit.

http://peterghoffman.com/index.php/project/loop/

 You’ve been selected to go on an all-expenses paid drinking binge with one famous artist, one famous writer, and one free choice.  Who would you choose?
We’ll go surfing in the Maledives and sip on top shelf whisky around a campfire at night.
I’ll go with Andy Goldsworthy in his prime because I want to see what he builds (he can start with the whisky earlier than the rest of us), St. Augustine because I still want to ask him about “Confessions” and my wildcard would be my girlfriend because I wouldn’t want to have a great experience like that without being able to share it with her.

http://peterghoffman.com/index.php/project/loop/

Would you rather eat a handful of hair or lick three public telephones?
Definitely lick telephones. Joke’s on you – try to find me three public telephones anymore!