Stranger Things are Strange Indeed

This weekend was so brilliant! The Stranger Things 2 Fan Art Show took place on Saturday at Outlet Coworking in Sacramento. I have patiently waited to see how my newfound interest in fan art would come to be accepted. Seeing as I’ve kind of made a stylistic decision to pursue and keep building on my abstract art-making, this was a personal challenge I assigned to myself to test my abilities. It’s been y e a r s since I painted a portrait of anyone, and I’m glad to say I never lost the magic. 🙂

We dressed up for the Stranger Things costume event–guess who we decided to be?

Check out these pics from the event!

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Man. The Menagerie team did a fantastic job decorating both the indoor and outdoor event. Everything was carefully thought of, from incorporating the Missing: “Mews” posters all over the walls, the Sno-Ball dance decor outdoors, the stringed holiday lights, to oh, the scribbled crayon drawings that Will Byers created to share what the Demogorgon was up to. My friends and I were so blown away by it all, and definitely impressed with the local and national artists that were represented in the show. Some favorites of mine were the two digital artworks to my right and left, the Eleven anime portrait, the mechanical Demogorgon, and the black and white mirrored image digital portraits of Eleven with the numbers “11” aesthetically placed near her nostril to resemble nosebleeds. See here for more event photos.

So happy to have been a part of this big successful art show! It truly warmed my heart to see so many enthusiastic art patrons and attendees, from youngins to young at heart. As for my prints? I think they were completely sold out of the 4″x6″ prints before we left for the evening! Wow! I can’t believe it!

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Sad you missed out on this dope event? Don’t be! Because I’ve got five of those 8.5″x11″ limited edition signed prints left! Check them out on my website if you want one for your collection. The original is up for grabs too.

Best of all, I truly enjoyed working on this art piece and would love to add to it as a new line of work called Strong as Hell.

What is that, you say?

Inspired by your favorite sci-fi shows, the Strong As Hell collection is a tribute to all pop culture characters (of binary or non-binary gender) who embody unwavering emotional strength and resilience.

This is a growing, work-in-progress wing of my artist brand line so I keep checking back in the coming few months for new characters and ideas. If you’ve got a request for a specific pop culture character that you would love for me to paint next, hit me up or comment below! I take requests and am happy to make them a reality!

…And in the small chance that you have yet to watch the Stranger Things show, you should definitely get on it. 😉 I heard Season 3 will be even better!

-Danessa

 

 

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Buddha Nature

Join me for the Mindfulness and Meditation Summit online! It is a FREE global 10-day event beginning 1/22 until 1/31. Looking forward to hearing from all the amazing list of keynote speakers for the event. If there ever was a mindfulness retreat equivalent to Coachella or Burning Man, this is probably what it would look like for me! 😛 I’m particularly keen on hearing Thich Nhat Hanh speak. I’ve grown fond of all his videos, writings, and audio teachings on mindfulness and meditation, and I’m aware that he’s been battling some health problems over the past few years. Leo Babauta was also someone I came across early in my early days of learning about mindfulness and zen living with his ZenHabits online guide to living a more simple and carefree life. One closer step to Buddha nature.

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See, that’s what I love about the teachings of mindfulness and meditation. Like the Buddha, we are taught that we can access this level of enlightenment or growth. The Dalai Lama once said,

” Every sentient being—even insects—have Buddha nature. The seed of Buddha means consciousness, the cognitive power—the seed of enlightenment. That’s from Buddha’s viewpoint. All these destructive things can be removed from the mind, so therefore there’s no reason to believe some sentient beings cannot become Buddha. So every sentient being has that seed.”

To accompany you on this glorious event, here are some of my all-time favorite and highly recommended books on mindfulness and meditation:

  1. Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn
  2. The Art of Happiness, 10th Anniversary Edition: A Handbook for Living by The Dalai Lama
  3. Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
  4. NO MUD, NO LOTUS: The Art of Transforming Suffering by Thich Nhat Hanh

Check them out on Amazon and get your own copy to fill your 2018 Goodreads bookshelf!

If you prefer the audiobook versions, be sure to check out Audible for the best!

❤️

-Danessa

Boba Painting Party!

Hi there! This long weekend, my friends and I decided to have a fun, chill afternoon. We spent time at home hanging out, painting, catching up on each others’ lives, eating yummy Taiwanese snacks and drinking homemade boba!

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Setup all ready, we decided to do a little early celebration of the upcoming Lunar New Year and paint some cute dogs for the 2018 Chinese Zodiac Year of the Dog! We picked a Pomeranian-Husky (aka POMSKY), Wire Fox Terrier, Pomeranian (or Jigglypuff :P), Shiba Inu, and a Pembroke Welsh Corgi!

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This was my first time leading a group of people how to paint (who are not children lol) and it was so much fun! It was good to improve upon my teaching skills and explain instructions to others while painting. I would say that it went easy, and this may be because it was with my close friends and they are super patient with me. Overall, it was a lot of great fun, I learned a lot about how to conduct myself in front of a group of people. Also, I think my friends and I discovered some hidden talents from some unsuspecting few members of the group! Most of all, it was gratifying to see them get lost in what they were doing; they kept painting and working on their portraits without realizing that almost 4 hours had gone by and it was almost dinnertime!

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Here’s the finishing touches to our works, along with some shots of our yummy snacks,  black milk tea, and matcha green milk tea (thanks Chef Andy!) 😀

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Check out our final pieces! What a great feeling of accomplishment with our first attempt at group painting. So happy to hear that some of these are going to be in our friends’ nursery room! Glad with the color palette we ended up choosing for the color gradient in background! 🙂 Also, peep my corgi with the missing butt. LOl. They said I should finish his body because it is so disturbing distracting that he has no booty. What do you think?

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Hangout sesh was a great success! Can’t wait for the next one! 🙂 Maybe you should join us?


Artists Supporting New Artists!

Enjoyed this post or my art? Click below to support me and my art-making adventure. 

If you are an artist or an artist-in-the-making, it truly helps me when you use any of my links to get your art materials and other goodies. I’ve personally selected my favorite places to shop for the best quality & affordable art materials and want to share them with you. That’s why I always shop at Blick Art Materials and Amazon for my art supply needs.

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The Boat

My yoga instructor shared a thoughtful poem with us during our Yin yoga session the other night, and I thought it would be wonderful to share it with you all:

Missing the Boat


It is not so much that the boat passed
and you failed to notice it.
It is more like the boat stopping
directly outside your bedroom window,
the captain blowing the signal-horn,
the band playing a rousing march.
The boat shouted, waving bright flags,
its silver hull blinding in the sunlight.
But you had this idea you were going by train.
You kept checking the time-table,
digging for tracks.
And the boat got tired of you,
so tired it pulled up the anchor
and raised the ramp.
The boat bobbed into the distance,
shrinking like a toy—
at which point you probably realized
you had always loved the sea.

-Naomi Shihab-Nye

Naomi Shihab-Nye. Wow. Something about her poem spoke to me inside and made me think back to all the times I felt stubborn about “the right things.” How I envisioned my future career, partner, and other life plans. I had it all mapped out and set to go. Nothing was going to deter me from my plans. The way life unfolds, though, is usually without your grand plans in mind. I’ve been particularly reminded of how much tiresome it was to fight against myself on what I thought was the only marker of success. It was to either get this prestigious job or be a failure. It was the promise that if I followed through on my step-by-step 5-point plan, I can finally ease up and give myself the deserving acknowledgment I worked hard for.

Then I faltered. I stumbled. I fell. I saw that nothing was holding me down but myself. I grew too impatient and tunnel-visioned that I lost sight of other things that meanwhile kept growing in vivid color all around me. How I found my recent and growing art patrons and budding art career a “lucky streak” or “too easy, it must not be good.” How I used to complain so much about how difficult it was to meet new friends as an adult that I took for granted the new faces that I’ve gotten to know at work, in my art studios, and friends of friends that I’ve connected with. And that I have found an emotional connection with a partner that is able to intimately share multi-faceted feelings and thoughts about the world that we all live in, which I forgot was the deal-breaking thing that was lacking my previous relationship.

 

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Sometimes things don’t work out no matter how hard we try. Sometimes it’s just not in the stars. But I hope to always have the ability to be able to step back and see life for what it is and not miss the little things that make the big picture grand.

💌

-Danessa


Artists Supporting New Artists!

Enjoyed this post or my art? Click below to support me and my art-making adventure. 

If you are an artist or an artist-in-the-making, it truly helps me when you use any of my links to get your art materials and other goodies. I’ve personally selected my favorite places to shop for the best quality & affordable art materials and want to share them with you. That’s why I always shop at Blick Art Materials and Amazon for my art supply needs.

Find more of Naomi Shihab-Nye’s mellifluous poetry here:

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Book Review: Real Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins

Oh. My. God. I stumbled across this book accidentally while waiting for my Lyft ride at a FedEx in San Diego, California. It’s called Real Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins. The title was very catchy and it definitely caught my attention. I didn’t end up getting it on loan at the library until a few months later but it was definitely worth the wait.

From the moment the audiobook started playing in the introduction section, it made me shiver with delight and excitement. I wanted to learn more about what Jeff Goins had to say. His initial story about Michelangelo and debunking the myth of the romanticized view of the starving artist had my full attention. I was only listening to a few paragraphs of the introduction and then had the itching desire to just BUY the book and keep it in my arsenal of business and art marketing tools. Yep, the hook was that good.

While I don’t want to give it all away, I wanted to share with you some of the highlights that made me keen on reading this entire book. In Real Artists Don’t Starve, Goins discussed the 12 Rules of the New Rennaissance, which is what ultimately got me to listen in a little closer than other books I have come across on how to make it as an artist in our contemporary world. And yes, I am ecstatic to go through some of my favorites with you today! Here’s a preview of the list:

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1. The Starving Artist believes you must be born an artist. The Thriving Artist knows you must become one.

I must admit that I have fallen into the trap of the former mindset. This idea we have about gifts or talents can be initially comforting, but at the same time, a very common pitfall. Too often, I’ve thought, well, art is in my blood and DNA, maybe that’s why I’m good? Most days, that is enough, but when there are times when I struggle with self-doubt and criticism with my artwork, I become crippled and stuck. Practice makes us better, and it ultimately leads to our self-discovery and new ideas. Now, I don’t wait for inspiration to strike me before creating a painting. Instead, I now just pick up a brush as scheduled on my daily calendar and paint away.

2. The Starving Artist strives to be original. The Thriving Artist steals from his influences.

I remember an art instructor in college telling me and my classmates that in art, everything has already been done and nothing is completely new. Everything. I was completely mortified! How was I going to stand apart from my peers, and better yet, my predecessors in the art world? Do you actually mean to say that ideas I have about painting with only one brushstroke and calling it art have already been done??? (*edit: I looked this up and yes, it has. See James Nares) Hearing this statement by Goins was thought-provoking and also very freeing. I don’t have to feel pressured to create something entirely unheard of to be recognized as an esteemed artist worthy of attention. I can turn to my inspirations and influences to create something multi-faceted, intriguing, and meaningful. I love this!

10. The Starving Artist sells out too soon. The Thriving Artist owns his work.

Yes, yes, a thousand times Y – E – S! Reading this statement gave me so much validation on my stance about selling my original paintings. Friends and patrons have constantly asked me if I am selling my original artworks, and yes, to a certain degree I am. However, I tend to keep most of my originals (at this time) because I am creating a body of work that will be important to make a collection. I’m not simply hoarding my works to myself because I can’t let go of them. I am preparing for a future endeavor that will be greater than my wildest dreams imaginable. When I set goals, I go big, but with the SMART acronym in mind–specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. And looking back at my track record and notebooks filled with yearly goals since 2013, I’ve been pretty good at keeping myself in check and following through! And finding the right patron who appreciates my work and my background as an artist/doctor has always been worth the wait.

11. The Starving Artist masters one craft. The Thriving Artist masters many.

So much this–this is me in a nutshell! I don’t believe I have ADHD, but sometimes, I do wonder whenever my creative brain just wants to do all the things all at once. Then I realize, nope, it’s just my anxiety. 😛 All that aside, I do enjoy learning for life and that goes along with art-making as well. I love picking up new art materials from the art store and figuring out how to incorporate them into my current art process. For instance, I recently learned woodburning, making digital illustrations, and creating custom templates/webpages/business cards as a freelance artist! I not only enjoy learning about how to do them, but also make an effort to learn how to do them well. Thanks to my endless blogging, tinkering on-and-off with websites and Adobe Creative Suite addiction, I can easily explore these other paths of art-making and creative processes and relate them back to my work.

12. The Starving Artist despises the need for money. The Thriving Artist makes money to make art.

Alright, as a recovering starving graduate student in the past 6 years, I have been programmed to scrimp and save for tomorrow like I’ll always be in student debt or there’s not gonna be any jobs forever. Since I became a part of the real world and working class, my idea of money has somewhat stayed the same. But you know what? Goins has a darn good point and his view on how money fits into the thriving artist’s life has changed my views on this dramatically. So much so that I have decided that this is my new mantra for 2018 and on–make money to make more art. I am fortunate to be employed and receiving a steady income while I fulfill my artistic goals on the side. This allows me the stability and ease of mind to freely make artwork without the nagging pressure of selling or producing work in order to eat, afford gas for my car, or pay my mortgage. I now see the value in seeing money, not as an endgame and ultimate reason to make art, but as a tool or resource that allows me to keep making art. By thinking about money as a means to create more art, it not only fuels your work but allows you to think bigger and better each time around. Money is ephemeral, much as we’d like it not to be so, and since it comes and goes, we should stop chasing it like those waterfalls. Instead, chase ideas, new techniques, color palettes, learn from new influences and let the creativity flow. Humans are social beings by nature, and the more you exude a deep, sincere interest in your art-making and share it with the world, the more you gain others’ interest (and also hopefully their greenbacks).

 

Overall, I appreciated all the examples of contemporary artists/entrepreneurs Goins provided throughout the book, such as Jay Z, Dr. Dre, Michael Jackson, and so on. The material was very approachable and an easy read. Each chapter was more motivating than the last, and I found myself taking notes and asking myself some questions about how each thought applied to my art-making and business plan. So, if you are at all interested in Goins’ book Real Artists Don’t Starve and his take on how to make it as a thriving artist in today’s world, this is definitely the book for you!

 


Artists Supporting New Artists!

Enjoyed this post or my art? Click below to support me and my art-making adventure. 

If you are an artist or an artist-in-the-making, it truly helps me when you use any of my links to get your art materials and other goodies. I’ve personally selected my favorite places to shop for the best quality & affordable art materials and want to share them with you. That’s why I always shop at Blick Art Materials and Amazon for my art supply needs.


Brand NEW

Happy new year, everyone! 2018 is off to a nice, easy start for me, and I hope that it is the same for you, too.

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I am in awe of how incredibly eventful the past year has been for me. It’s been a wild hayride getting to start my own art business and straight up getting to the finish line with my licensure for clinical psychology. I am ready for what is due to me, from all the years of hard work, troubles, tears, and growth. I’ve got lots of mini side projects to come, so be sure to subscribe to my blog and my mailing list for the latest updates.

I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing today if it weren’t for the unwavering support of some outstanding human beings. If you have ever supported an artist and bought their work, you are a rock star.

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To celebrate these individuals, I decided to send my art patrons some holiday goodies in the mail. The response has been a giant wave of hugs! I am so full of love from you guys! Thank you, thank you! I just want to create more for all of you and make this world a brighter place filled with mindful art.

If you haven’t already gotten yours, head on over to my website and subscribe to get a FREE art calendar each month. That’s right, EACH MONTH! Print it big, small, as many times as you please. I think the best things in life are free, why not create more to love?

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Artists Supporting New Artists!

Enjoyed this post or my art? Click below to support me and my art-making adventure.

If you are an an artist or an artist-in-the-making, it truly helps me when you use any of my links to buy your art materials and other goodies. I’ve personally selected my favorite places to shop for the best quality & affordable art materials and want to share them with you. That’s why I always shop at Blick Art Materials and Amazon for my art supply needs.


Get 20% off Blick orders of $79 or more, plus $35 free shipping! Use code CELM. Offer expires midnight (CST), Saturday, January 6th, 2018. Exclusions apply.

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Art Commissions Explained

The holidays are just around the corner! What are you getting your loved ones? Are you all maxed out on new ideas and things to get someone who already seems to have everything and anything their heart desires? If only we can give the people we love aspirational hopes and wishes, such as peace, unity, and hope. Well, I’m not saying that I can actually deliver on those things…(I’m not Santa, last time I checked? And does Santa even fulfill these sorts of wishes??) but I’ve got something close to it!

Instead of buying nifty sale goods that will be used maybe once, or purchasing the next great mobile phone and only to be replaced by another the following season, why not give your loved ones something that is unique, from the heart, and something they will cherish for years to come?

And that’s where I can help! Art commissions are by far my favorite part of being a creative artist! 🙂 It gives me the wonderful opportunity to work alongside YOU and help you create a one-of-a-kind artwork that is timeless and meaningful that will NEVER go out of style. As an abstract painter and a licensed clinical psychologist, I specialize in painting about feelings, fond memories, and personal life experiences–things that are difficult to express in words alone or any ready-made object. The good, the bad, the ugly–I’ve seen and heard it all! I’m here to listen and ready to put your vision on canvas.

Interested in an art commission but too shy to ask? To shed some light on my process, this is what I need from you:

  1. Price range for art commission
  2. Proposed size
  3. Material (e.g., acrylic on canvas; watercolor on paper; etc.)
  4. Theme or idea for painting
And that’s basically it! I’d love to collaborate with you on your ideal artwork.  Get in touch with me and reserve a spot on my waitlist! Looking forward to working with you soon!