Yosemite Moment: Water

It’s been quite a while since I shared something, but I’m very excited to share a video I made for work. It’s a short video with visuals of Yosemite and water flowing within the park.

Note: if you’re interested in visiting Yosemite, check out YosemitePark.com for info about lodging and activities.

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Doodles of Guys

FriendThese are a few of the doodles that I’ve done over the past few weeks, which all happen to be of men. The first one was originally going to be of my friend, Tony, but I quickly gave up on the idea because he was having a conversation with people and I couldn’t really get a good look at him.

Jim

This second doodle, which I did on the plane ride home from Argentina, is of Jim. I think it’s funny because it looks like Jim, but a sort of alternate universe Jim where he has a longer head.ManThis last one I did during a meeting at work. Perhaps some of my co-workers will recognize it 🙂

Glacier Doodle

Glacier Doodle

During our travels to Buenos Aires and Patagonia, I made several doodles to pass the time. Although this one looks simple, it probably took me about two hours to make it. Jim says it looks like a maze of glaciers. After finishing it, I realized he was right, which is weird because I started it before I’d ever even seen a glacier.

I’m Back

Hello! Sorry it’s been so long since my last post! In case you’re curious why it’s been so long, I’ve got two reasons.

First, I just returned from a two week trip in Argentina (it was amazing!) Below you’ll find some of the “how-many-sleeps-until-my-trip” graphics I made and used as Facebook wall cover photos before I left. The “sleeps” concept is something my boss’ son used to use when he was little and excited about a trip or the like. Always thought it was cute.

My second reason for not posting is a little less legit. I was finding it too difficult/stressful to actually do one big project a week, I guess because I was busy with my job, preparing for my South America trip, and this 21-day cooking challenge that I was doing.

Because I want to keep this blog going, I’m going to go back to posting small projects for now, and then hopefully have some bigger projects interspersed. This will definitely take the pressure off and somehow leave me a lot more room for creativity and inspiration.

Annnnyways, I’ll be posting more from my Argentina trip in the upcoming days. Can’t WAIT to go through all the pictures!

16 Sleeps

10 Sleeps

3 Sleeps

Finding Inspiration: Japanese Wood Block Prints

This week, I’m planning to do one or two pen drawings that somehow mimic the style of Japanese woodblock prints. I’m not exactly sure how I’m going to do this, so it will be a bit experimental.

Below are several of the pieces that I find exceptionally beautiful. You can find additional pieces on the Japanese Woodblock Prints Pinterest board that I recently made.

Sarusawa Pond by Hiroshi Yoshida

Sarusawa Pond by Hiroshi Yoshida

Sparrows in the Sazanka in Snow

Sparrows in the Sazanka in Snow by Ando Hiroshige

I really love Japanese woodblock prints, but to be honest, I don’t know much about them, apart from what I read on Wikipedia tonight. Luckily, I did learn that the type of prints I like are mostly part of the ukiyo-e genre.

The name of the genre, ukiyo, means “floating world” in English and is meant to represent the need to embrace each moment and the fleeting beauty you find in it.

The Wikipedia article mentions a lovely quote from novelist Asai Ryōi that describes the concept of this floating world.

“… Living only for the moment, turning our full attention to the pleasures of the moon, the snow, the cherry blossoms and the maple leaves; singing songs, drinking wine, diverting ourselves in just floating, floating; … refusing to be disheartened, like a gourd floating along with the river current: this is what we call the floating world…”

It’s no wonder I’m drawn to this art form. How wonderful!

Birds and Snow-covered Peonies by Kono Bairei

Birds and Snow-covered Peonies by Kono Bairei

Kawase Hasui

By Kawase Hasui

In a Temple Yard

In a Temple Yard by Hiroshi Yoshida

Lake House Bliss

Rocks on IceThis past weekend seven friends and I journeyed northward for a weekend at a lake house that I imagine to be Wisconsin’s most adorable. With its massive stone fireplace, seriously kitschy kitchen, and yards and yards of wood paneling, how could any cabin be better?

Add to that an extremely comfortable leather couch big enough to seat all eight of us, and you’ve got the perfect place to spend a fun weekend with friends.

And it was fun. I laughed so hard I could barely breathe, several times because of repeated impersonations of the “Cheese Doodles Guy.”

Bird HouseShore

Said Cheese Doodles Guy was on a recent Radio Lab episode about the feeling of bliss. In the episode, Cheese Doodles Guy (his real name is Aleksander Gamme) explains that as part of his preparation for a solo trek across Antarctica, he buried caches of food for himself so that he can avoid carrying all his provisions across the continent.  Later, you get to hear Cheese Doodles Guy experience extreme–and I’m talking extreme–happiness when he locates one of the caches of food after months of trekking alone.

Basically he just screams and screams with joy and then, between many Norwegian words, he says the words “Cheese Doodles.”

It’s an amazing clip and since several of us had heard the same Radio Lab episode, we couldn’t help but impersonate his screams and shout “Cheese Doodles” at the top of our lungs. It was so funny.

You can watch a video of Cheese Doodles Guy’s extreme happiness here.

WaterDead LeafDespite all this tomfoolery about the Cheese Doodles Guy, I spent a lot of time over the weekend thinking about what bliss really is. In the Radio Lab episode, they talk about bliss being this supreme state of happiness, almost like a religious experience, where feelings of joy and peace come together to create some amazing moment.

I think I’ve had moments like this. For me, they often result from being in the water. Perhaps in that warmth you feel when you first put on your clothes after a late night swim or during a sit in a hot spring deep within some ancient forest. During experiences like these, I’ve felt deeply at peace and content.

Our HouseOn Sunday night, after our lovely weekend had come to an end, I started to think more about the fact that most of my blissful experiences have a very physical element because of their connection to water. What I’m trying to say is, I think that getting out of a freezing cold mountain lake or relaxing in the warmth of a beautiful  hot spring results in an actual physical change in my body, perhaps the release of endorphins or  serotonin, that allows me to feel a state of bliss.

Huh. I guess this makes me think that I need to start respecting all of my feelings of happiness equally. I need to stop relying on bodies of water for providing these magical moments and realize that if I’m purely happy, it should be good enough to be considered bliss. I shouldn’t need that physical element. That magic.

And so I return to my friends screaming their heads off and pretending to be Cheese Doodles Guy and to all the other deep belly laughs, basketball games, meandering walks, and long talks that we all shared over the past few days.

These experiences all came together to create an amazing weekend that made me truly happy. It was a weekend that I hope to remember as a time of bliss.

Rock on IceFor anyone reading this, please share your comments! Feel free to respond to any of the following questions:

  • What do you think bliss is?
  • Is there a difference between happiness and bliss? What is it?
  • What have been some of your moments of bliss?

Mask, City, Leg Man

Mask

My project for the first week of 2013 was to make some collages. Because my printer is out of ink, I decided that I was going to have to work only with the fashion magazines I had at home. This made things quite challenging since I had a limited palette of images to work with instead of the entire internet. But I suppose this was good because it forced me to be creative and also made me think about all the things I will probably print out and use in future collages.

CityLeg Man

These collages definitely turned out a little weird, though. Have you made any weird art recently? Feel free to share links.