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How are your happiness levels?

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How do you feel?

How are your happiness levels? Do you self check on a daily basis to see how you feel? Is there a time, at the end of the day, that you feel you are OK and you had a happy moment that day.

I have this quote pinned to my wall;

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence (…) Happiness depends upon ourselves” – Aristotle

Happiness levels comes from a variety of sources; material goods, helping others, ego gratification when comparing to others and finally, searching for balance of previous three elements.  It is this last piece that seems to be the most distant and unreachable. The ultimate bliss. The sense you get up in the morning and be grateful for those who love you, in your achievements as a human being. Pieces that we can take for granted.

The little moments count the most.

In times such as these, there is a focus upon the micro. The little bits of events that happen that may be spontaneous. These micro moments, by registering them, seem to give a bit of a boost to the happiness levels.

So where does art exist in this happiness levels?

It has been found that art can create happiness levels in the hormonal level etc;

“A study by neurobiologist and University College London professor Semir Zeki found that looking at a work of art can actually have the same psychological effect as the euphoric experience of romantic love.”

So this leaves you with the antidote to sadness! Having art in your home increases your happiness levels. At the very least it may give you a bit of a boost that reminds you of colour, of life, of a moment to escape. A moment that you can register that you have control over.

This is the thing that seems to be important. The ability to control our environment. In a time, when we seem to not be able to, checking into our happiness levels is a piece that we can nurture and register.

It is time to search for the joy;

In the piece highlighted titled Time to Celebrate, this piece is part of a new series that searches for the joy in a moment. A moment of a party; dancing, laughing, and being part of life. Sharing in a moment that reminds us of our humanity and being.

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Hope can set your Free

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How can you be free from today?

Hope can set you free. A simple statement although one that may think is a distant one during these times. How do you keep hope alive? How do you live your life so hope can set you free from the pressures of the daily grind of life.

When looking for “hope” there is list of strategies that can bring light to your day.

Strategies to finding hope

The act of  self-reflection when looking at art or listening music brings you to a place that there is another reality. A reality that celebrates the moment.

Another strategy is the listing of your successes and strengths. You have been in a different place, at a different time when things are riding high. By doing this simple list, there is a goal of looking at the good. Look to what has been positive.

Probably one of the most important pieces is to jump into helping others and be involved with a community. Volunteer, reach out, be accessible to others. Probably most importantly, surround yourself with positive people. By doing so there is a focus on things that will empower you.

How can art remind you of hope?

Of course, these may sound like easy things to do. However, I am left with the question of the role of art in this process.

How does art play a role in this pursuit of hope? How can art bring hope to you? This act of looking at thoughtful pieces of art, the simple act of listening to music, to searching out the beauty of the moment, all contribute to finding a space where Hope can set you free from the darkness. It brings you to other stories, other moments that celebrates life.

In the piece featured, titled Cloud Chasers, this piece brings to reminds you to be free. To release to the moment and let the sun, the wind and the being with others lift you up. To be in the moment and be alive and to remind yourself that art can bring hope to you which can set you free.

To see prints and art that brings hope alive see https://www.memoryartgirl.com

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Look for Light

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Look for light as you go through your day.

“Look for light”, says my mom as I work through the realization that my life is so drastically different. Without art fairs to travel to in the US and events canceled in Canada, there is a coming to terms with the fact that the Covid effect is going deep.

Deeper than I expected.

Part of this realization is the fact that the mindset in dealing with this change is how to manage the stress, the grief and the loss. Of course to look for light is the goal.

To stay on point and be within the art, the creative and the purpose. When doing this there is a sense of “look what the light did now”. There is a sense of accomplishment and moving forward. Moving forward is a way to look for light.

The Fixed vs Growth mindset is the first step to growing.

At the basis of this approach is the fixed vs. growth mindset. The fixed mindset is the static. The place where we try to survive and defend ourselves in the understanding that maintaining a success is where we need to be. A growth mindset works to challenge, to learn, to take in stride our mistakes and grow from this.

Understanding this difference can help you meditate on the success. On the future, on the hope.

As we work our way through this Pandemic, with all of its ramifications there needs to be a discipline of controlling the mind to look to the good. Not to be caught up with the dark.

Look what the light did now

Of course, there is a need to register the loss. To grieve the loss of a job, or a person you know is part of this. However, survival has to be activated by focusing on the positive.

To step into the light, absorb it and use it to be productive,  creative and hopeful. Really is there any other choice?

To have a look at pieces that bring light into your home check out https://www.memoryartgirl.com

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What is your perfect day?

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How to decide on what is a Perfect Day?

What is your perfect day? A day where everything lands just right. Have you gone through the process? From the beginning till the end looking close to the things and actions that make it perfect. Your breakfast, your work, your day to enjoy the outdoors, the perfect dinner. All the things that take you into the world of the perfect.

Is this all there is- making of the perfect day? Are there not pieces in this perfection that speak to trying to achieve goals?

How do achieving goals become part of the “perfection?”

What about your goals? The things that make this perfect day work so well are the things you work towards. The radical goals; like making the world a little bit more meaningful, or making the world a better place to live in, helping others so the world is less bleak and blocked. This last piece seems to be the trend lately. The marching in the streets,  the call to action for change.

The last few months have made many to take pause. To reset and look a bit more closely at their life, goals, the  way time is spent and what their perfect day looks like. There is just so much energy in a day- so learning where to put this energy to achieve the goals is the first place to start. As we stopped, there is an assessment of what is important.  In other words, now is the time to think in the silence and feel what is right, feels good, and helps others.

To work towards a goal is to add to the perfect day.

To find this perfection- this place where we are fulfilled, challenged and working towards a goal of a place of idealism is always about the first step. The first step to change. As this step is taken, then the vision starts to become clearer.

Perhaps this is where things get tricky. What about the “universe” and its power to help you achieve this perfection. I am a believer in serendipity. The blending of the different people and events combine to make goals happen. When you take the first step, a goal is about to be achieved. As a result, perfection begins its journey.

Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho has a theory about why this is the case: “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

How have you pushed towards this better place?

In my small world of making art I have looked closer at the message of my art. The way the story invites the viewer to reflect upon their own life and how it firstly inspires and secondly empowers them. Two ways that keep you moving forward to finding your perfection.

In the painting featured, titled Sassy Girls, there are three cowgirls standing with an attitude and looking straight at the viewer. All of the pieces in this painting bring together the message of strength and making things happen. It is a piece of art that reminds you to be inspired and to not back down. Almost a way that so many of us feel today. Moreover it is time to step forward and take the action to achieve our days of perfection.

To see more art and prints see www.memoryartgirl.com

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Happy Place of Escape

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How to find your Happy Place?

Finding a way to salve your soul, to give you a respite from the tensions of the daily life is a way to survive. A way to make certain that you heal and take care of your mental state.

There are many ways to take care of yourself; get rest, take care of others, exercise, eat well, keep in touch with friends and family- and find a way to enjoy the beauty around you. A garden, blooming lilacs, watching children ride a bike, the sunlight on the lake, the warm wind on the beach. All things that take us into a place where lightness elevates our inner selves.

Finding Happy in art is a perfect way to be.

Of course art is the perfect place to find the Happy Place.  Being aware of how colours and story  can make you feel plays a role in elevating your mood. Finding a happy place puts a moment of lightness in your mind and gives you an escape.

Colours have been found influence us particularly; Blue makes you feel safe and relaxed.Yellow makes you feel happy and spontaneous. Red makes you feel passionate and energized. Pink makes you feel playful and romantic.

Surround yourself with colours so that you are reminded of a another space.  A happy place.

In the piece highlighted, called Dream Lady, the blue brings an inviting place full of life and colours. This is a calm, meditative space that has a playful quality. Flowers and music are embedded and brings a touch of love and romance to the image. A couple kissing, inspired by a vintage comics from the 1950s, brings the story of love to this city. So many pieces which combine to create a Happy Place of escape.

Art is your constant companion.

Use art to make you feel calm. This is an easy solution. As it is not a screen (phone, computer, tv) it is always there. To be seen in a moment, glanced at as you walk into the door, looked at the first thing in the morning. So many ways it can remind you of peace, of story, of another place and time that is full of happy.

 

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Dreaming and Art Can Help

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Dreaming is like Art- it takes you Away

Art can help you escape. It is a way that we can be in a place that is not in the present. For many this time has been challenging, drawn out and challenging our patience. The Great Pause has also placed a pause on the ability to plan.

Looking forward to an event, a place to visit, a family gathering are ways that we look forward. Without this, there is a stillness, a sense that a paralysis has happened and there is no life. So how to combat this? How to step aside from the effect of a Pandemic Nightmare?  In fact there has been research that notes that dreaming enables us to manage crisis situations. That dreaming and sleep enable us the tools to withstand stress.

It’s the Little Things that have to be Marked

However dreaming still doesn’t answer to the need to look forward to something. So how do we deal with this?

Perhaps it is the little things in life that marks a moment. The cup of coffee in the morning, the sitting in the sun, the end of the day and being with your family or partner reviewing the good that happened that day. Little things that reminds you of the positive. It may not be a way to look forward to but it is a way to mark a moment and enjoy.

Dreaming is a way of survival of a time when events cannot be planned. Creating art with these dreams plays a role in this as well. The little bubbles of life, stories, emotion, movement that a piece of art brings a moment of joy. A moment of respite from darkness. A conscious way to be in a place that takes us away from not being able to look forward.

How Art can Help

The painting highlighted is such an example- an image that takes your mind and allows you to escape. To be in a place that takes your imagination to another level. Titled Sun of my Smile, this piece was inspired by an old  postcard of a motel. Doesn’t it take you to a place by the pool hanging out and enjoying a day of being? Of soaking the sun, sharing time with others, and waiting for a Pina Colada? Embedded within the piece are phrases from the poem Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou. Phrases that speak to withstanding adversity. Being able to say to yourself that you can make it through the day.

 

 

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Time to find your joy.

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Your Home is your Place for Delight.

Is it time to find your joy? What delight are you finding in your home? What are the things around you that is bringing you pleasure? A comfortable chair, an old photo of your family, or looking out the window with the greening of the outside from the burst of the spring. These things can have a great impact on your psyche.

The concept that the tangible object- the soft pink blanket that you wrap around yourself to escape the day, the vase of fresh tulips on your dining room table with its call to spring, or the painting you look at everyday are intangible objects that give us a sensation of escape, or enjoyment.

There is a deep desire for a moment of rapture- a glimmer of the lightness and beauty in an item around you. Not necesarily “happiness” which can be defined as how we feel about our work, the people in our lives or the meaning we may embed into our daily life. Joy is more of a moment. A flash of the good. The focus upon a brief second of pleasure.

Register the Sad to find the Joy

Most importantly, recognizing the depth of sadness, frustration and loss in our times of today is part of this. However, by doing so, does not mean that the grasping onto the beauty of a moment is irrelevant. There is a contrast. Understand the feelings of sadness, and take this in stride in order to search for the moment of pleasure.

As the time of The Great Pause continues, there is an avoidance of  reality. A sense of being numb to the news, the avoidance of connecting to reality seems to be happening the longer this continues. However, numbness also denies the celebration of  beauty. As Spring blooms, the birds are chirping, the sun is shining and the air feels warm. Registering this is a form of healing. A place in which our  mind goes into a space of a high. Savouring the beauty, understanding that there are short moments of sadness, and then there are the highs of enjoying the beauty. Both experiences are part of maintaining a balance.

Gratification makes us more Resilient

By understanding this balance we become more resilient. Registering the moments of gratitude, and joy, gives us a deeper engagement and meaning to the events today. By knowing this, we are enabling ourselves, and gives us the permission to enjoy the good that surrounds us.

And of course, to see a way to celebrate the good have a look at my online store on my website!

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Brighten Someone’s Day

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Think Beyond Yourself

How do we brighten someone’s day as we progress through The Great Pause? During this time we are reminded of the essentials of life. Family, friends, safety, kindness and freedom.  We are reminded that we must have the ability to step outside of our own plans and be in the moment. To trust that the future will return.

There is a great sense of loss, on so many levels. For so many,  this loss becomes about ourselves.  Although, the phrase “we are all in it together” has become somewhat trite- yet it speaks to the sense that loss has been shared by everyone. The question becomes how to combat this “woe is me” feeling. To step outside of the personal grieving of loss and empathize that there are others who are struggling as well.

Your Mother helps Your Sanity

The journey to find the end of this dreary time is the challenge. How do we equip ourselves to keep going on a daily basis? How do we get up everyday and step into some time of routine. How do we find the space where we can contribute to the healing and stopping of the Pause?

For me, my lifeline has  been my mother. Her voice at the other end of the phone, or to see her face on the screen, has been a calming influence. She has “brightened someone’s day” by just being a calm voice. Just by asking if I am OK.

As a mother myself, I have taken this sensation of calmness and tried to share it with my son and daughter who are both dealing with the anxiety and uncertainty of today. Just by saying it is going to be ok. We will get through these times. This will pass. Be angry, be sad, but be aware that life will return. Words that must be repeated and understood to keep the journey going.

These little moments of sharing is really what it is about. Step outside of yourself and brighten someone’s day.

The journey has included the making of the home as a place of perfection. Baking cakes, hanging out, are pieces where time is shared and peace seems to prevail. They also brighten someone’s day as there is a moment of distraction. A moment of escape.

Dream and life will Return

As an artist, mother and creator of visual stories, I have seen my contribution as not only one who maintains some kind of stability, in a time of chaos, but also to give people the channel to dream.

To dream of a time of freedom, to dream of escape, of happiness, of being in a place that we share the optimism and light. All pieces that will be pervasive again.

The glimmer of light is there. It just takes a moment to reach out and brighten it. To remind them that life will be good again and the sense of loss will evaporate.

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Creative paralysis of an Artist

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Creative paralysis is a reality.

The darkness that I awaken to everyday makes me want to go back to sleep. The darkness of our reality. The movie is not ending and I have realized that this is going to be a marathon.

Even though I want to sleep to escape, I don’t.  I get up, I go to the studio and I look at the next step. When our world has changed so drastically artists freeze. We cope by waiting for the light. The light of hope, of energy around us, of working like the rest of the world. When that has stopped, we seem to have stopped. At least that is the impression I am getting from many colleagues and other artists. Of course, paralysis is also from the fear of no income. The fear that the jungle floor is all of sudden in our living room. Not able to hustle, to show, to be part of a community of artists and promote our work makes for a time of retreat.

So how to push back at the darkness? How to bring in the light and create. So many are saying, now is the time to make. To make something that we don’t usually have time for as we are getting ready for the next show. Without the show,  there is no pressure.

So it is important, as artists, to make a conscious decision to create. To start, little by little, and bring in the light. Because that is our job. To remind those who love our work that our vision of light, of beauty, gives hope in the face of despair. As many people are working at home, trying to connect, to serve their jobs, connect with their co-workers from a distance, there is sense of doom. A sense that the enemy at the door can touch those who we love and cherish.

So yes, this is a pause. However, it is a pause of forced consent. It is a pause to regroup and look to those whom we love and register the importance. It also is a time to be in the moment and look for the lightness.

So like soldiers who step into battle, artists need to speak to this.  To get over the creative paralysis is to start working and stop thinking. To initiate a bit of creativity.  To let the subconscious be expressed. Our role, as I see it, is to bring relief to those who love our work. To find a way to escape and remind ourselves that there is life. There is lightness after the dark.

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Life is Simple when it’s Normal

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How do we survive the chaos?

There was life before. Then there is life after. Life is simple. Simple when it can be normal. That is not our reality today. As we deal with chaos around us we try to find a place of normalcy. A place where we can talk, touch and be with each other.

Aside from the lack of face to face human connection, there is a real void of culture. The art we see in theatres, concerts, art fairs, galleries, are a direct reflection of ourselves. Without this presence there is just quiet.

What to do during these times? How do we nurture ourselves? How do we make our lives function so that we are reminded of the joy, the happiness, the simplicity of freedom?

Living in the Moment

Living within our homes, quarantined with our families, distant from our friends, our workplace- we are confronted with ourselves. Our own truths and realities. This self examination is not bad. So much of our time is about pushing forward, producing, making it to the next level. As we focus upon ourselves and our surroundings of “home”, there is a recognition of the essence of ourselves. Surviving this is the challenge. Being able to accept, to nurture, to be with our own space is the place we are in.

For the past 10 days, I have been paralyzed. Not able to really do anything but shake my head with this new reality. As the shock dissipates, I start to search for the connection. The connection to what life is. The way we adapt to crisis is different for everyone. I believe that artists tend to absorb the energy of their surroundings. To set a wall against the darkness takes an extra amount of effort. Yet it is our job. Our calling is to create a space of escape. It is a place for you to be in and be alive. To feel the life of love, of beauty, laughter and fun.

Now is the time for Art. More than ever. So even though you can’t go to an art fair, or a concert- Take a moment to look for art online, check out the beauty. Absorb what you can to be in the moment of beauty on the screen.

At the very least tour through www.memoryartgirl.com to see a few images of beauty, love and home.

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