Lauren Gets Moody/Ink-trospection& other silly things

Lauren Gets Moody/Ink-trospection& other silly things - student project

Lauren Gets Moody/Ink-trospection& other silly things - image 1 - student projectDay 1: Name a feeling

So I tried to follow the process properly but my initial feelings were ones that I don't really want to stew in any longer than necessary because they were fear, anger, frustration and worry.  Not that I am constantly avoiding my feelings, but a lot of it is out of my control at the moment, and thinking all this stuff had me thinking, how would I rather be feeling?  Groovy came to me.  Lately I've been listening to "The Clapping Song" by Shirley Ellis on repeat since I heard it again in a movie I watched over the weekend.  I loved the movie and I love the song, and when I listen to it it's pretty hard to feel anything by happy, dancey, and joyful.  I couldn't settle on anyone of those so I decided to combine them all into groovy. 

I went crazy using all the different kinds of markers and pens I own on this one.  After 2 weeks of editing choices and limiting tools I just went a bit crazy.  I even used some metallic markers that I picked up at 5 below trying to make silver and gold hands (cause dancing feels priceless) but accidentally used copper instead of gold.  Oops, I actually like the copper hands better anyways, the silver metallic ink markers made the hands look a little bit like a weird elephant mutation-note to self for future creative projects-avoid elephant fingers.  

I had wanted to write the word "groovy" over all the other stuff with one of my pretty Ecoline brush pens but the ink got soaked into the cheap metallic marker ink and disappeared so I had to break out my favorite Pigma brush pen again (haha, just kidding, I still hate the thing because it's so hard to use but necessity required that I continue to push myself to use it tonight.)

Oh yeah, favorite part of all this, apparently my groovy heart wears a crown of fire.  She's awesome :)

Lauren Gets Moody/Ink-trospection& other silly things - image 2 - student projectDay 2: A message in one word

I learned about surrender through the lens of the Mahamritunjaya Mantra long ago.  Though I stopped attending in person classes long before COVID 19 hit, this lesson stuck from the way the teacher taught it to us.  I forget all of the finer details of the lesson, because this was like 8 years ago, but what's stuck is that the overall idea behind surrender is not giving up in a negative sense, but letting go of that which weighs you down (I think there's something about a rotten cucumber on a vine in there).  You surrender to the universe rather than carrying all of that weight and fighting against what is most likely inevitable.  

Anyway, I sat down to "tune in" today in a similar way to my morning meditations.  Initially I had a flurry of thoughts and words in and out of my mind and was seriously thinking of making the case for "scatter brained" as a one-word message in 2 words, but after I quieted all the noise in my head I started to breath more naturally and deeply and suddenly the thought of surrendering to gravity and letting my breath pull me down seemed perfectly normal.  As I type this I roll my eyes because it sounds so "woo woo" but there you have it.  But as I clung to the concept of surrender I felt right, like this was exactly the thing I needed to focus on.  So I'm surrendering to the universe, and in art form, I'm trying to capture exactly that.  

I used Koi water colors on a multi media paper which was a poor choice of paper, but I wanted to keep this in the same journal as all of my other spreads for this workshop, so there you have it.  I fan girl all of those cute painting tutorials on Youtube that make painting a watercolor nebula or universe look super easy.  I never get the blending of colors just right and I definitely need to practice my outer space doodles.  Still, the overall concept is here, and I enjoyed the process, and in the end I think that's probably the greatest marker of success in this workshop.  :)

Lauren Gets Moody/Ink-trospection& other silly things - image 3 - student project

Day 3: Respond to your day

So I've had this song lyric stuck in my head all day long and when I sat down to tune in, it kept on repeating itself.  The thing is I kind of feel like that weird person at work who kind of ruins everything for everyone else because I somehow manage not to fit in with the crowd. I tend to stand my ground when pressured to bend or break rules and generally avoid the conversations that take place at work (especially when I know most of them really shouldn't be going on for a variety of reasons). Still, I manage to flutter all over the place, bouncing from one work station to another, sometimes singing and often joking, often feeling scatter brained and flighty, and yet I manage to get everything done that needs to get done. (I work as a job coach for adults with disabilities in a giant cigar warehouse-it's hard to not be scatterbrained in this kind of setting). 

So as I sat with my eyes closed all I could hear was this Taylor Swift lyric and I kept picturing a large purple and black butterfly (that looked WAY more realistic than any of these guys in my actual picture) and thinking of how the butterflies and bees in my garden seem to float between the different kinds of flowers with no particular game plan, yet still get everything done.  

Sadly what I pictured/planned in my head looked much less like a3rd grade art project and more...just more than this, but alas, it's past my bed time and here we are.  

Lauren Gets Moody/Ink-trospection& other silly things - image 4 - student projectDay 4: Address Unkind Thoughts

Loud and clear.  I like this page, but as with my universe/surrender painting, it didn't come out as nicely as it probably would have had I used water color paper instead of mixed media paper.  I'm still learning about color theory and water color blending, but I've seen similar styles of water color blending, where most of the rainbow somehow seamlessly blends together. I'm not quite there yet, but this is a vast improvement from my earlier attempts (back in the summertime) that basically turned into muddy dark brown messes.  

Still, splotches and all, I kind of love how this turned out.  I've been thinking this all day, since I first sat down for meditation, the little voice was quite loud today.  "Fuck this noise" is exactly a mantra I've developed for when I start to question or doubt myself.  Apparently I'm not taking anymore of my own bullshit-no negative self talk or self doubt allowed here folks.  I genuinely hope you all love yourselves fiercely too.  

Lauren Gets Moody/Ink-trospection& other silly things - image 5 - student projectDay 5: Allow your own experience

Hello everyone, my name is Lauren and I'm a recovering teacher's pet/people pleaser.  I have suffered from low self esteem most of my life and have battled many ups and downs throughout my life, many of which were related to how I perceived others perceived me.  Basically I based my opinion of myself based on how I thought other people thought of me.  (Spoiler Alert) Usually I thought people were thinking bad things about me.  I still do go there with my thoughts on default. It's happened as recently as this afternoon at work for me. Still I try to think of this as an old way of thinking for me, the new way is valuing my opinion of myself above other's opinions of me.  

As you might imagine, for someone who always assumes that people giggling off in the distance are most likely laughing at her, any form of positive attention from another person is welcome.  Okay, not just welcome, but sought after again and again and again.  I struggle with approval seeking on a daily basis.  Today I got a jolt of excitement seeing Jessica's kind comment on my work.  My monkey brain went in over drive.  Don't worry, it got taken down a notch when I saw a coworker making fun of me later on (at least I'm pretty sure that's what was happening there), which is what brings this whole thing home for me.  

I had an epiphany a few years ago in (surprise surprise) a yoga class, while the teacher lectured about who knows what I suddenly blurted out, "so I guess the only opinion that matters is my opinion."  Since then I've been trying to remind myself of this whenever I find myself feeling diminished by what I think others are thinking of me.  It's hard to always remember that my opinion of myself is the only one that really matters in the end, so making myself a little art work to remind me of that seemed like the best way to do today's prompt.  I want to continue to create artwork here that is inspiring and creative for my own benefit, if others also enjoy it, well that's just a nice little bonus.  

EDIT: So I don't mean to sound totally self absorbed here, and I'm not sure if that came off right by my message, especially after reading someone else's post about how other people's opinions matter, lol.  Yes, I value the opinions of others, and I really do appreciate all the kind comments and feedback I've received through this community.  It's hard to put yourself out there for all the internet (or at least all of skill share) to see, especially when there are so many talented people out there, and I feel like just the tiny bud of an artist over here. Getting that positive feedback definitely makes it rewarding, I'm just trying to help myself not live only for positive reinforcement from external sources, but instead to find some from within. 

Lauren Gets Moody/Ink-trospection& other silly things - image 6 - student projectDay 6: Active Listening Throughout Your Day

She's been so strong this week, but today my heart just hurt.  Nothing in particular happened other than the same stuff that's been happening to everyone else throughout this crazy year.  Scared about the election outcome, worried about friends and loved ones who might not be doing so well, and just seriously missing real-life hugs.(It's been months, I can't remember my last hug, and as someone who was socially distant before it became cool I'm surprised by how much I miss this physical contact).  

It's Saturday, I tried to listen for an upbeat inner voice message all day long, and though I pulled my usual tricks, (i.e. happy music, calling friends, cheerful television and reading), she just felt a bit down.  I have my ups and downs.  It's part of the human experience.  If everyday was sunshine and unicorn farts would I really be able to appreciate the good stuff all that much?  The dark helps us appreciate the light, so I'm leaning in to this feeling, trying not to over identify with it, but also trying not to just ignore it, cause I'm pretty sure it'll creep back in and catch me off guard if I do.  

I had fun using tube water colors on this, this is only my second time using them and I know this is totally 100% the wrong paper for it, so the blending isn't what I'd envisioned, but still, the effect I was hoping for came through.  BTW, I have been using tiny bits of my weekly budget to beef up my art supply collection when finances allow, and last week I finally sprung for a set of white Posca pens, and they are my new favorite thing!  (I've used them for the lettering in the past 4 posts-not Surrender, I didn't have them then, that was just white gouache).  

Lauren Gets Moody/Ink-trospection& other silly things - image 7 - student projectDay 7: Giving Yourself Permission

I didn't read today's prompt or watch the video on Day 6 and didn't realized I had already sort of done this yesterday, which led to a full day of brainstorming other things I wanted to give myself permission to do.  Some of the things I thought of were pretty silly, like, "You have permission to eat a second piece of cake," some were a little risky like, "You have permission to spend more than you budgeted for this week to make yourself feel good" (which I thought the better of-retail therapy isn't that long lasting and you give more to yourself by being financially responsible, even when you feel crappy). Most of my initial self-granted permissions just seemed kinda shallow, though the process did remind me of just how free and easy I have it.  I gave myself permission to do all sorts of things, none of it was illegal, and I am privileged to have access, time and money for all of it.  

Really I'm still feeling a little emotionally raw from yesterday, so I decided to just go with it, and since I still had a bunch of dark and stormy water color left in the pallet I just went with it.  I love blending paint, so this was a fun way to practice it.  It was my first time mixing gouache with water color tubes to create the white caps on the waves, and it was a fun learning experience to see how the gouache could be layered onto itself to give more dimension to the waves.  I'm still a work in progress-artistically and emotionally, and valued this experience.  My only regret with this was rushing the lettering.  I would have benefited from lightly drawing lines on the paper to follow or more carefully spacing out the lettering, but I think the overall message still comes across just fine.

Lauren Gets Moody/Ink-trospection& other silly things - image 8 - student projectDay 8: Complete this sentence: "It's okay..."

...to not know what's next.  I always try to predict my future, and not with crystal balls per-say, but I do read my horoscope, by listening to financial news and reading books about history, by making wishes, and day dreams that I hope will one day cosmically change the world.  I also try to anticipate the future (not quite the same) by preparing as best I can for whatever may come.  I had the idea to start a 72 hour emergency kit back in January, and boy...who would have thought how reassuring that thing would be now?  

So anyway, I couldn't think of a good ending to, "It's okay..." and then I realized that I simply didn't know what should go there next.  It's funny because the past couple of days it seemed like my previous day's work kind of answered the following days prompt also, so it felt off that I didn't have an immediate response in my head.  When I got frustrated and said to myself, "I don't know what should go next," it hit me lol.  

Anyway, I'm finding the use of gouache and water color much more fun and much less stressful that I had 2 or 3 weeks ago.  This post is a combination of the 2, with the addition of some gel pens, a micron fine liner, and a posca pen.  I kind of love that I've painted almost every day for the past 5 days.  I also find that I have a little bit better control of my shading and light and dark with the paints than I do with my dual brush pens.  And I laughed this evening as I realized that in reality my new favorite art tool is neither pen, marker, or paint, but rather my hair dryer, because I tend to get a little heavy handed when saturating my paints lol.  

 Lauren Gets Moody/Ink-trospection& other silly things - image 9 - student projectDay 9: What would a best friend tell you?

I cheated for this one and phoned a friend to get inspiration.   My friend Cara has always loved the Golden Girls.  I know they've become pretty trendy recently, but Cara was way into the Golden Girls long before that trend picked up.  I remember her making me watch it at our middle school slumber parties back in the mid nineties and we'd always joke that she was Rose.  (As a little girl I always admired Blanche for her outfits, but alas, in my group of friends I have been dubbed Sophia).  

Anyway, after I spoke to Cara this evening I tried to think of what she would say to me that I wouldn't say to myself, I got stumped.  It seems that I'm far more receptive to criticism than to compliments.  So I flipped it around and thought about what I said to her, and basically this is it, "Thank you for being you," and as I thought it the theme song from the Golden Girls played in my head.  I also thought, "wow, I've never actually thought this about myself."  If you think about it, how many times do we just say to ourselves, "thanks for being you, you're awesome."  It's a hard line of thought for me and usually I add on all the ways I should keep on working towards getting better than I currently am.

Technically, this was one of the most challenging paintings I've done.  I had to research the lettering style that I wanted (it's from the opening credits, not from the show logo) and find the best dupe on google docs to use as a guideline for these words.  Then I sketched everything out by hand, I even drew lines since I've been less than thrilled with my writing on the past few posts.  It was full-on dedication ya'll.  I painted the background around the pencil sketches which by far took the longest and required 2 passes of the hair dryer.  I still stink at proper saturation of my paints, so when I painted in the white lettering everything started running and blending together and I had to do more touch ups, more hair dryer time etc.  It was a little frustrating when the final outcome is just white letters on a pink background for the amount of time put in.  Still, it looks mostly like what I'd envisioned, though I'd hoped to have time to add some tropical plants (from the lanai of course).  Oh well, it is what it is for tonight.  

Lauren Gets Moody/Ink-trospection& other silly things - image 10 - student projectDay 10: Reframe with an affirmation

I struggle with self-compliments but I'm always quick with a self put-down.  At this point I can't even remember what I did this morning that made me think, "ugh! I'm so stupid!" And then it hit me, that the best affirmation for me is to tell myself that I am smart.  I'm no genius, but I think I make fairly level headed decisions and managed to get this far in life, so yeah, I guess I'm kinda smart.  The phrase "smart cookie" is something that I started using as a teacher, and as I've transitioned to working with adults with cognitive disabilities, I find it still brightens up the day of whomever I compliment with it.  The thought of calling myself a smart cookie and then illustrating myself, with my glasses, :) as a smart cookie made me smile and it's different for me.

 

I had fun with water colors and gouache on this one and decided after yesterday not to get overly technical with the painting.  I'm still trying to use up the abundance of pink gouache that I made 2 days ago and haven't been able to dry and/or use up after 2 days.  I've become stingy with my tube paints because I'm running out of space on my pallet and I don't want to literally throw paint down the drain.  I did use a set of half pan water colors to paint my cookie, mostly because I was afraid I'd turn the entire pallet brown and then spend the rest of class painting random brown paintings lol.  (I'm thinking everything looking like the poop emoji or something silly like that).  Anyway, pink is fabulous and brown in small doses is quite cute.  Overall I love this one.  I think my smart cookie is a super cute cookie too :)

Lauren Gets Moody/Ink-trospection& other silly things - image 11 - student projectDay 11: Change your tone of voice

So I wasn't sure exactly how to do this one the right way, but basically I went with a thought that I've been avoiding thinking in regards to an important decision I need to make about something work related.  I very much have clung to the concept of protecting myself by avoiding risks, and what I'm thinking of doing could be risky, especially right now, with the possibility of another round of closures in the  not too distant future this winter.  I'm not sure that I really feel safe giving up the security that I have where I'm at though.  It's a tough call.  But anyway, I had basically decided veto-no risky choices until this pandemic has been well squared away-but then somewhere in my head a voice asked "Is being afraid a good reason not to even try?"

 

In my head the lettering would look soooooo much better than it does here, but in reality I had not a lot of energy or concentration left this evening after getting stuck late at work and then painting the walls in my living room on a whim, so here we are.  Luckily I had a little extra time this morning and I was able to paint the background in the way I had sort of envisioned.  As with most of my projects on here, I think I could definitely have done better, still, the overall look is basically what I was going for and I don't think it's so bad (plus I have to award brownie points for not missing the day despite all the craziness today).  

Lauren Gets Moody/Ink-trospection& other silly things - image 12 - student projectDay 12: Cheer yourself on

The text in this says "The world may seem dark & scary but you should keep adding love and light."  I don't think that the second half was what I meant to say.  In my head this morning I thought of something about how tiny acts of kindness can help heal the world.  It wasn't fully thought out, honestly it was just something I thought while driving.  It seemed right at the time because I think I need a little cheering on to keep being positive about the state of the world.  I had just finished listening to an NPR news update and for the 5th time this week I just felt scared and worried and angry at the state of current affairs.  I'd like to see change, and it's scary to think of what the world will be like in 2 weeks, 2 months or 2 years from now.  

 

Anyway, I decided to go over the top with my ambition tonight and combined water color (background) and gouache (the earth).  It was maybe too ambitious for my energy level tonight, which dropped drastically after the background was complete but before I started making my little world there.  I'm tired, it's been a day, and I did not have the time and patience to allow my hair dryer to fully dry all the layers of blue and green before  slapping on the band aids to it.  I also probably should have thought the better of painting on the lettering, but as I stated above, I was just all kinds of overly ambitious tonight.  Still embracing the sloppy side of art :) 

Lauren Gets Moody/Ink-trospection& other silly things - image 13 - student projectDay 13: Use your wounds

This one was both easy and hard at the same time.  I was hit by a car 25 years ago, while I was riding my bike.  I've lived my entire adult (and young adult) life avoiding eye contact and doing whatever I can to avoid being seen.  While in so many ways I realize how lucky I am to have simply survived and in other ways how I think I have benefitted, I do know that I still suffer terribly from low self-esteem.  My physical appearance has always been something that troubles me to some extent.  I have made leaps and bounds with therapy, yoga and meditation in terms of emotional recovery, but the one part that I can't shake is avoiding eye contact with other people. I also generally avoid being seen in photographs and try to avoid the spotlight in public.   

For this assignment I stuck with markers because I lack skill in portraits and didn't think I'd be able to mix my paints just so without the lettering becoming all messy.  I also am really tired and didn't have the patience for several rounds with my hair dryer (though I think I much prefer paint to markers for projects here). I used lettering to express some of the things I think about the scars on my face and about how I wish I felt when face to face with other people instead of trying to do an exact replica of the scars themselves.  

I realize this is a super literal interpretation of the assignment.  These literally are wounds on my face that I wear on a daily basis.  I've adapted but I often question how well I have done so. So I guess there you have it.

Lauren Gets Moody/Ink-trospection& other silly things - image 14 - student projectDay 14: You get to...

I wrote "You get to enjoy this" with an image of a cup of tea.  I'm not sure if it was simply because I didn't want to over-promise myself things that might not come to fruition, or if I had some deeper meaning tied into enjoying the accomplishment of seeing this workshop fully to its end.  In anticipation of the void it most definitely will lead I signed up for 2 other Skill Share workshops, which is way too ambitious because I've become involved in a major home renovation project that's absorbing much of my free time and energy.  Still the time to reflect and create on a daily basis has been so lovely and I think I've grown a little bit creatively as a result.  

For this project I used my favorite pallet of water color paints called "pastel dreams."  I think they have a weird chalky texture that I'm not totally sure I love, but the colors in the pans are so pretty, and they're in all of my favorite things, so I love to use them anyway.  I ventured back to using an ink brush pen for the lettering and detailing to give my posca pens and gouache a rest for the day.  It felt like a nice way to close things off after struggling with the Pigma brush pen for the first 2 weeks.  

Thank you to everyone if you've taken time to view all this here and for all of the love an support through the process here.  I'll miss this for sure! <3

Lauren Goldberg
Budding creator, life-long learner