Illustration Friday Challenge: Wisdom (a Book Made Me Do It)

Sometimes a book inspires me to action
bookworm fishing illustration coleen patrick

Wisdom as prompted by Illustration Friday‘s weekly art challenge.

This challenge got me thinking about those books that I read

that inspired me to fill my fridge with enough produce to make a five-pound bowl of parsley salad. Or buy running shoes. Or a tent. Or art supplies. Or the sequel to the book. Or follow the author or illustrator on every social media platform (it’s not stalking if they put the icons on their website).

All in an effort to stay in the zone

of inspiration

and

discovery

(which a lot of times is pretty cool and rewarding)

but occasionally means

gaining the wisdom to know that I will never be a champion of parsley salad.

 

What are you reading? What book inspired you to take action?

Right now I’m reading Running Like a Girl, but Alexandra Heminsley. I have no plans to sign up for a marathon, but I may have researched running gear. Just a tad.

xo

Finding the Big and Tiny on the Avenue of the Giants

Since we got home from our Pacific Northwest vacation last month, I’ve basically been busy in a “middle place”.

There’s been some pulling books out of the brain writing.

Books mind writing - Allocation of Memory Landis art

Saw this artwork – Allocation of Memory by Malia Landis – in a Eureka, California bookstore.

But there’s been more working at the library and house stuff. Did I mention we’ve started the process to downsize from the big house we’ve lived in for 20 years to a smaller one? #emptynestchanges

Northern California road

Yup, another winding, somewhat foggy journey.

But like the road above, the journey has got some cool stuff to discover.

California Redwoods panoramic perspective

Avenue of the Giants, California

Ever since we visited the Redwoods, the idea of big vs. small has been on my mind.

Especially because lately there’s been so much living in the in between space. There’s the daily work  that has to happen–and even the stuff that perhaps doesn’t (the part where I become one with my TV).

shelter cove California crab

A crab at Shelter Cove beach in California (Sometimes I’m crabby and like to hide too). 

The middle, at least for me, is not really the place where I do creative stuff. But sometimes I really like when I have work that makes me feel mindless. Where I can take a break from thinking, I suppose.

Drive thru tree Redwoods California

Drive thru tree. Do not try this at home.

But then there’s that big and small thing. I love when I discover and enjoy those really small things. Maybe it’s a great cup of coffee. A new book. Or maybe, you happen upon a quirky realtor at an open house, who drives a mini Cooper (complete with British flags covering the side mirrors) and tells you a funny story (in an accent of course) and just makes you laugh.

tiny snail avenue of the Giants California

Or you find a TINY snail on a leaf in the middle of all those giant Redwoods.

Then there’s the big. For me the Big Picture is made up of the dreams and hopes and awesomeness (read: whatever is your personal fairy dust)  that honestly make me feel like ME.

California redwood

When I first walked through the forest of gigantic trees, I thought, It’s nice to be tiny. I could breathe (and it wasn’t just the woodsy freshness). In that moment, I wasn’t in charge. And honestly, I felt relief.

I can just be.

But then lately, as I step away from the middle place and participate in my BIG: write, doodle, find the story in a photo.

Create.

I feel relief too. And I need to make the time for my big stuff–as well as note all the good in the tiny joys

snail California Redwoods

Another Redwoods snail

–because then, not only can I just be,

I can just be me. 🙂

Note: The Avenue of the Giants has a picnic spot and Los Bagels in Eureka, California is a great spot to grab a gluten-free lunch before driving down.

gluten free man hole cover cookie Los Bagels California

They have giant gluten-free cookies too!

What tiny joys make you smile? Have you experienced the Redwoods? 

Happy Monday!

xo

 

Attitude and Success (at the Zoo and Beyond)

According to a recent article at Time.com, the number one thing that holds people back from success is…

*half-hearted drumroll*

ATTITUDE.

giraffe richmond zoo

*sigh*

I SO get this.

There are days I know I need to rally. I want to rally.

But then you know, you’re tired.

exhausted baby

Anyone else up for being carried around?

Or distracted. Somewhere else.

distracted or somewhere else

I’m sure you’ve seen this before.

Or felt this:

frustrated baby

You’re frustrated. You’ve lost your focus.

surprise butterfly

You need an attitude metamorphosis.

penguin richmond zoo

So get ready. 

Here’s some baby attitude to get you started.

A little (baby) Attitude

It’s go time.

**Thank you to the lovely creatures at the Richmond Metro Zoo, Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, and the ones I’m related to (note: not the giraffe, I don’t have that graceful of a neck) for their camera ready looks.

Happy Thursday!

Any of you lovelies have a tried and true method for regaining your spunky attitudes?? 

xo

 

 

Warning: Photos May Cause Dizziness

I like to play with photo prompts on Instagram

and this week one of those prompts was upside down.

Upside down birds Fountain Lake

 Birds at Fountain Lake here in Richmond.

So I flipped this photo

and something about the birds flying into the bottom corner made my brain buzz

(and maybe made me feel a tad dizzy.)

Richmond pipeline walk upside down

Pipeline walk in downtown Richmond. 

As much as I get a certain routine comfort in knowing I can plant myself on the couch in front of the TV at night,

eat the same salad,

make the same gluten-free chocolate chip cookie dough (oh the burden),

or walk the same pipeline,

crackling synapses can be pretty cool.

Virginia Beach pier upside down

Virginia Beach Pier

And oh how I crackled (and snapped and popped) at the feedback I got from the story I’m working on now.

Let’s just say I had to remove a couple of “pier legs”.

But the structure is way better.

Thanks to a new perspective.

Pickett's Charge Gettysburg upside down

Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg National Military Park

dandelion wishes upside down

Wishing you a Happy Tuesday! 

And Happy National Odometer Day (thinking about this holiday oughta keep your brain fires stoked).

 

What’s got your brain firing and crackling? 

xo

The Joy of Discovery (Chocolate Included)

I love how even the tiniest of discoveries can uplift

tiny turtle close up

Tiny turtle power. 

We discovered this little guy on the Greensprings trail in Williamsburg, VA.

And just last weekend I left the house and saw this:

cherry blossom tree

The cherry blossom trees are blooming!

It seemed like they bloomed overnight.

(Much like my kids.)

river scream

We also found Edvard Munch’s Scream in the James River. Can you see it?

Oh and he’s in this doodle too.

bird doodle sketch

Just kidding.

Here’s some chocolate.

chocolate filled strawberry

Did you know that you can put the chocolate on the inside of the strawberry?!

Oh the freedom,right?

dictionary doodle

Hey, look at me doodling on the definition of writing. 😉

Although,

I have to say I could’ve done without this discovery when I walked in the door at work last week:

dummy at work

Dummy at work.

Note: Mannequins are not a typical sight in a library office.

Hey, after this surprise, who needs coffee?

But back to a slightly lower level of adrenaline,

I got the proofs of the illustrated covers that I designed for my Chasing Normal series

illustrated covers chasing normal series

and I discovered I’m pretty excited with the way they’re turning out!

 

What have you discovered lately?

 

Happy Monday!!

xo

Photo Essay: Something to Make You Smile

 

 Sending out a little “Instahappy” from my Instagram account.

bouncy house basketball_opt

Cousins playing bouncy house basketball

 

summer rain macro_opt

Summer raindrops

 family love donuts_opt

Donuts! 

By the way, my hub’s t-shirt says, I know the muffin man. You know, the one who lives on Drury Lane?

 

Farmer's market tomatoes_opt

 Farmer’s Market tomatoes (for after donut cleansing)

 yellow wooly caterpillar_opt

Something cuddly.

Actually, I don’t know what kind of caterpillar this is, so I probably wouldn’t suggest getting too close. 

 blue heron james river_opt

Blue heron waiting patiently for dinner at the James River.

I was surprised at how close she (he?) let me get.

Guess I’ve got street cred now.

 duck dive_opt

Duck snack rush at Byrd Park. 

Getting eats in the animal world sure doesn’t look as easy as walking up to the donut truck.

 drawing colored pencils_opt

Drawing time.

I’d totally get excited over a colored pencil/Sharpie truck!

 world earth love doodle_opt

 

 Sending love and hugs.

 

What makes you smile? And is it something that can be sold in a truck?

Wishing you a peaceful weekend.

Spinning Time into Gold or Carpe Snowman

J.M. Barrie quote

 

How to spin time into gold

 

You will need:

your time

snow

a baby carrot

chopped dates

a few Tic Tacs

and whatever else your heart may desire

 

1. Dig fingers into snow and let the fun begin!

2. Toss aside any pine needles, brown leaves, and the voice in your head questioning why you are spending precious time making a snowman on a weekday morning

 smiling snowman

 

 3. Give your snowman a minty Tic Tac grin. 

 

snowman smile

 

4. Be sure to grin back

 

melted snowman

 

4. When snowman melts, ignore the I told you so voice smirking in your head because

the time passed anyway

and yet you found a way to keep it with you.

 

 

What time are you spinning into gold this week? 

Happy Monday!

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Photos from Christmas Past: The Gifts of the Season

Wishing you a renewed sense of wonder

 

 

christmas ironing

and hoping you enjoy the fruits of your labor

 

Keep those you love close

May your days be spent with those you love

 

holiday excitement

and may those days be merry

 

the joy of the holiday season

and all that you dreamed 

 

 

especially if all that you dreamed includes your teeth

 

gifts of christmas past

and may your memories be good

 

 

Wishing you and yours joy and peace this holiday season!

Happy Monday!

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Finding the Opportunity to Smile Awhile

wrinkles go where smiles have been quote_opt

Last week I participated in the local JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) walk to cure, walking with family as Team Dan the Man  in memory of my brother who died in 2006 due to complications of type 1/juvenile diabetes.

It was a beautiful day where we raised money for a great cause, but when the bagpipes began to play at the start of the walk, I started to cry.

All around me were cheerleaders, balloons, and a whole lot of festivity, and for just a moment that atmosphere clashed with missing my brother. Suddenly I felt out of place, on the flip side, as if my loss and sadness didn’t belong.

JDRF walk to cure Richmond_opt

 

Of course that wasn’t true. I’d lost not only my smile, but my perspective. So, I looked again at the cheerleaders, the balloons, and at the kids running around…and I remembered what powered that festivity: hope.

I was a part of creating hope for other families.

And…I found my purpose, my optimism, my smile again.

So it took some effort, some perspective. Yeah, as much as I love to smile and laugh, sometimes I have to work at it.

 coleen laughs resize_opt

 

And then other times, smiling can be oh so easy.

 Like getting an email from one of the associate producers from The Ellen Show to let me know they would be using a couple of my YouTube videos for their Smile Awhile challenge.

Smiles powered by giddiness!

Or, something as simple as ducks.
Once they realized I had a bag of bread, these ducks managed to find me at every turn around the lake.

It’s awesome when you get to smile for a while.

Tell me, what’s making you smile this week?

Happy Monday!

Coleen xo

 

 

 

 

 

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