2019: A Mindful Refresh

Hey-O!

My goodness. I’ve been away from writing for so long! I kinda miss the days when I carved out special time for self-reflection. Just to recap, for those of you who haven’t been following along on my art journey in other social media sites (FB/IG), the rest of 2018 from April to December was focused on my goal of stability, entrepreneurship, and serendipity. I think that as the months rolled by, it got easier to navigate the waters of self-sufficiency. I chose to prioritize setting up my private practice and placed my art business on the side, but still steadily holding the course.

This new year, I intend to shift my focus into the organization and foundation setup of my two small businesses. This busy bee keeps on buzzin’!

So I guess that leads me to begin with my art store and products.

I’ve slowly been freshening up the website with lots of new items, sprucing up the logo, and the visuals that initially greet my wonderful art lovers. I am hopeful that you are all able to come along with me on this continued journey towards self-development, learning, and change.

After some soul-searching, and inspiration drawn from my recent travel to Waco, Texas to stop by Chip & Joanna Gaines’s Magnolia market, I have decided to follow the path of serendipity to where my art was naturally moving towards. At first, I found myself highly resistant to the notion that my paintings could be transformed or adapted into other goods, such as home and work accessories. In all honesty, it initially pained me at times to think of my work as something that could be seen elsewhere aside from its original medium. It felt…like I was moving away from my goals of being a “real” artist. Whatever that means. And I hated the feeling. I began thinking that to expand my work into other products would begin to cheapen its value. And gosh, I hated admitting that to myself. I felt bad. I felt like I wasn’t a “good enough” artist that I had to get my work out there in different formats because it just didn’t reach the caliber of fame that I wanted it to. Man. That’s hard to write out.

But slowly, I let the idea simmer in my mind. And the best thing I could have ever done was to be open and share my worries with others around me. Fellow artists and business owners gave me new perspective that this new switchback down the road was not a bad thing. In fact, this was the beginnings of my business evolving into the next level. For my creative work to continue to grow, it has to change. For me to continue to sustain and engage current and new art lovers around the world, I have to look forward and innovate. I have to embrace change and what it means for my work. I have to continue to be comfortable with moving towards the unknown.

I thought at this age and time in my life, I wouldn’t have any more growing to do. But I guess we never cease to have the capacity to learn new things. And I think I’m okay with that. 🙂

Here are some of my latest additions to my new Mindful Desk collection:

What do you think? I’m happy with the new line of goods so far. These days, I am practicing more mindful art-making and production. I am also making it a point to more thoughtfully identify ways that I can help solve everyday problems or challenges that people have by creating more functional art. And that’s where I first came up with the idea of helping others tackle the challenges of being more organized! I know I definitely benefit from these products myself (notepads, sticky notes, pencils, calendars, etc.), and I use them at my office and home, too! I guess that’s a good sign, since I can personally attest to how my products provide functional value in my own life. 😀

I hope you check out my new art store and see for yourself! Let me know what other goodies you would like to see me add into my new Mindful Desk collection! Til the next art update! 🙂

❤ Danessa

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Light and Bubbly

Started some new paintings recently and had the inescapable craving to splash on a light and bubbly colorful palette for a change.

 

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Maybe it was inspired by my recent art hangout with friends when we made some cute Year of the Dog paintings, or my recent trip to the Museum of Ice Cream, or maybe it’s the recent surge of friends who are on the path to parenthood at the moment (this does not include me lol). OR Maybe it was ALL of it. I am currently inspired and touched by the amazing journey ahead into this weird life phase we now are in. Straight up adulting, guys! From all this happening around me, I wanted to help welcome such new and exciting times by creating new babes of my own (yet still an art reference!). 😛

Check out this time-lapse vid of me getting my mindful art on!

 

Here I am using my calligraphy brush to whisk on some beautiful light strokes of Windsor & Newton and M. Graham watercolor paints on the good ol’ trustworthy Arches watercolor paper. Super fun! What you didn’t see was my new art-making ritual process of doing a brief but grounding mindfulness practice right beforehand, and then an ease towards making the painting.

My goal is to make each into a triptych set. I don’t really make triptych paintings often, but I think this idea lends well to it. Something about the fleeting movement of the puffy, cotton-candy colors that make me want to keep creating and re-creating it, to evoke the feeling of breathing in and out deeply, resembling when I engage in deep breathing during mindfulness meditation.

Inhale,

and breathe in

a big colorful bubble of light.

Exhale,

and breathe out

an airy,

fluffy cloud

that bobs slowly

up,

up,

and away.

Themes of playfulness, sweet, and carefree. Distant memories of childhood not yet tarnished by the realities of adult life. Curiosity and cheerful giggles that radiate a whole room.

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Still a work in progress, I must say. Stay tuned for updates!

Oh HEY! Have you grabbed your copy of my latest FREE art calendar? Get it here and share /print it as much as you want!

An elegant flower lily of delicate hues and a white leaf bumigi for writing lies on a light pink background.

-Danessa

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

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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