creative practice one: summer edition

Take me back.

This week, I have been thinking about my running friends. In 2014 and 2015, we ran a 200+ mile race between the twelve of us, relay-style in California from San Francisco to Napa Valley. For most of us the best part of the trip wasn’t the race itself, it was the brewery and inn we stayed at afterward in Calistoga. 2015 was extra memorable for many reasons and I will never forget that trip and all of the people that I made connections with. I’ll never regret having a beer and cheese tasting for dinner or staying up late drinking wine from tasting in Napa with good chocolate in the beer gardens after they were closed.

It is memories like this that bring a smile to my face and lend me the fuel to create something to remember my trip by. For my creative practice this week, I painted a wooden beverage coaster.

Before:

After:

This was rather simple and I had all supplies already on-hand.

I took an unfinished wooden coaster and painted it with a pointillism technique using Q-tips. After that dried, I went over it with a fine tip art pen. I will be slapping on sealer when it’s totally dry and enjoying a cold beer on a hot summer day here in SoCal while I think back fondly on my Napa trips with my friends.

Thanks for stopping by,

Mandy

 

arts & compassion: week six

. . . c r e a t i v e  p r a c t i c e . . .

Holiday greetings! In the midst of cleaning up Thanksgiving dinner, I was thinking of what I would create this week and what kind of music I would listen to while engaged in my art focus. Most days when I’m completing coursework, I turn on the same playlist that I’ve labeled homework jams. For my creative practice this week, I wanted something different. Something more upbeat from my favorite childhood movie, Matilda. Matilda was a little girl who could do magic and make something out of close to nothing. She made her own life better by her own free will and was very independent. Growing up, I probably watched that movie several hundred times. My favorite song from the movie is Send Me On My Way by Rusted Root. This is a song that brings me back to a time of less worries, less responsibility, and allows me to gather inspiration for more whimsical creations. I figured it was fitting for my desire to create art during the holiday season, without listening to Christmas music.

After much time and thought, I realized I was really stumped on what to do this week. Finally, I decided to just start filming myself digging through my art supplies in my Mobile Art Lab (MAL) and came up with the idea to make something out of paper.

Please enjoy my short film below to find out what I created this week…

Thanks for stopping by,

Mandy

arts & compassion: week five

. . . c r e a t i v e  p r a c t i c e . . .

     A topic I am not familiar with but am interested in learning more about is Judaism. Being that I have many Jewish friends, I feel as though I should know more about the foundation and simple structure of a faith that I know very little about. This week, we learned about compassion and how it relates to spiritual practices. One aspect of this week’s material that really stuck with me was Rabbi Shai Held’s contribution to the topic of compassion. Rabbi Shai Held said that, “Judaism’s ideal in any case remains clear at all times- the full integration of my heart and my hand, of caring and acting in this world tangibly and concretely to help people in pain” (Held, 2014). Held spoke about how the basis of Judaism is kindness and compassion. “To take Judaism seriously is to grow in compassion; to refuse compassion is to refuse Judaism” (Held, 2014). Hearing this, I am thinking about how I can integrate my heart and my hand in an effort to be more compassionate and kind to others in all aspects of my life. With my compassion project in the works, I took photos this week of heart shaped crayon in the palm of a small child’s hand. The photo below is my creative practice contribution for the week, as photography is one of my favorite art mediums. Another quote from Rabbi Shai Held that I will keep with me is, “In order to grow in love, we have to embrace our vulnerability, rather than seeking a bypass around it” (Held, 2014). How true this is for all relationships in life. This is what my idea of compassion looks like:

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Camera: Canon Rebel EX

Lens: Canon EF 70-200 f/4L USM

Editing: stock iPhoto editing software

Thanks for stopping by,

Mandy

 

References:

Held, S. (2014). Compassion and the heart of Jewish spirituality. ELI Talks. Retrieved November 19, 2016 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6WWQkEzWZk

 

 

 

 

arts & compassion : week four

. . . c r e a t i v e  p r a c t i c e . . .

For this week’s creative practice, we were to use the well-known idea behind Humans of New York as inspiration for an interview and photo of a human subject.

I chose Elisabeth, a family member of mine; a cousin. Our dads are brothers.

After hosting her four day visit in sunny San Diego this week,

I decided she would be the perfect focus for this creative practice.

. . . . .

Elisabeth is a graduate of the architecture program at the University of Florida.

I have known her her entire life and consider her one of my best friends that I’m fortunate enough to share blood with.

Although we grew up together, there is a lot about her that still remains unknown to me. This includes what her beliefs are on the topic of compassion.

Being that she works for an architecture firm in New York City and recently received her certification for green building. I asked her about her ideas behind her motivations and passions about green building and what that means in regards to having compassion for a present problem in the housing design industry.

This is Elisabeth:

img_3074This is what she had to say:

“Six years ago, I moved to New York. Today, I’m running late for work because I just flew in from my ten-day trip around the US. From New York City to Portland, Portland to Los Angeles, driving to San Diego, San Diego to West Palm Beach, West Palm Beach to New York City, I scouted potential locations that I could one day possibly call home. Although I am not ready to leave this fast-paced, in-your-face go-getter town of NYC, I am looking for areas that will better fit my passion of architecture and green building. As a career-driven single woman, I have ample time to decide where and when I will eventually relocate. I’d say most days I love this city; but other days, I seem to feel as though I’m stuck between a rock and an underdeveloped, but potential green space.

My definition of compassion is placing yourself in someone else’s shoes and trying to understand life from their perspective – it is showing in your actions and your words that you care for and support the life around you.

I have always been interested in the environment, both the natural and built, and how they could co-exist in harmony. I very much believe that we are responsible for the health of our planet and it pains me to see it treated poorly. A lot of current development is driven by financial profit as opposed to environmental or societal profit and but I also can see a shift in this trend as the green movement grows.
I think that green building relates to compassion because you are showing respect for your environment and the ecosystems that exist.”

 

Thanks for stopping by,

Mandy

arts & compassion: week three

. . . c r e a t i v e  p r a c t i c e . . .

         This week, we read in Karen Armstrong’s book, Twelve Steps to A Compassionate Life. What I took to heart the most were her words on self-compassion. As this is an idea that I had never thought of before, I was intrigued and began to think of ways that I could offer myself more opportunities for self-compassion. One area that came to mind was that I need to be kinder to myself. Not only with my own thoughts, but also when admitting my faults to others and the way I would describe myself to a stranger. In previous weeks, we learned that our ideas of compassion can be different as well as our actual acts of compassion. The idea that onlookers ten to avoid eye-contact with homeless individuals holding a sign for help allowed me to admit that I am guilty of avoidance in an area where there could have been an opportunity to show compassion. Sitting in church this past Sunday morning, our pastor spoke about compassion. Ironically, he held up two cardboard signs and brought up the idea that most people resist making eye-contact with those individuals holding signs that ask for help in order to avoid the natural feelings of compassion that humans have. He spoke about how we may want to help someone, but then go into a thought process that invites fear into the considered compassionate gesture and we may not always follow through with our intrinsic intentions. This week, he challenged the congregation to take ten dollars and find some way to perform a compassionate gesture. Upon closing the message, the pastor held up a cardboard sign that read, “do you see me?” Sparking my thoughts, I immediately searched my memory files of any homeless or sign- holding people I actually have made eye-contact with- not enough.

Thinking about compassion for others made me think about our ideas on love and grace. When offering either of the two, we must first offer them to ourselves to yield the best results for all involved. Perhaps this is the same for self-compassion. As we all have unique lives with our own struggles, we must walk our own paths, be kinder to ourselves, and offer a little more self-compassion. For this week’s prompt, I created a drawing of a daily occurrence in my life- talking to my mom on the phone. The drawing depicts an idea of my mom and me looking myself in the mirror with her and telling her what I see, while she is thinking something totally different. She then reminds me that my feelings about myself are allowed and a reminder to be kinder to myself, offer more grace to myself, and to look at the good that I have to offer. The compassionate gesture is my mom recognizing that I was having a difficult time, empathizing with me, and then offering helpful words to bring me back to reality. Perhaps if I could learn to be more self-compassionate, the rest of the world around me would be seen differently through my lens as well.

 Here is a photo of the pastor holding up the cardboard sign that reads, “do you see me?” img_2970

Below is the self-compassion focused drawing.

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Thanks for stopping by,

Mandy