My Word for 2015: Courage

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

Many people choose a word at the beginning of the year and use that word to inspire their choices throughout. I prefer to think back on my experiences and find a recurring theme in that year and then pick a word. My word for 2015 is courage.

2015 was a very challenging year and thanks to that I discovered just how much courage I have. What I learned was that I was brave enough to find solutions to problems I had struggled with for years. I was able to accept the help of friends when a fall damaged my hand and my camera. I even gathered enough courage to begin writing my book – a story I feel I need to share. I discovered my calling and the courage to begin taking steps to making it a reality. And, although I’m still working on it, I found the courage to begin to forgive myself for the loss of Mr. Bear – something I have not blogged about because it’s still too painful.

My word for 2015 is courage in part because it surprised me. I didn’t know I would be capable of so much and I’m proud of it. In 2016 I’m working towards making my word legacy. 2015 showed me what my legacy is meant to be and so this year I am taking action to make that a reality.

I have very few traditions, especially when it comes to the holidays. But in 2010 I began taking a photo on the last day of the year. It’s a way to officially end one year and begin the following year’s creative path. Usually I think about what I want to express and plan for one photo. Most of the time the plans don’t turn out the way I would like and I end up taking a different photo. It didn’t happen like that this year because I wanted to stay home. I had been preoccupied with so many things I almost forgot about the photo and when I thought about it I couldn’t come up with any ideas. All I knew was that I really didn’t want to leave home. Staying home has one big disadvantage: the lack of light. So I had to hurry and come up with an idea before I ran out of light. Here it is. My last shot of 2015 which is about something I learned that has helped me when I feel like I’m lacking courage.

These are my drawings and the pens I use to create them. The glasses are a testament to how the passing of time affects my work but I don’t mind them. Okay, I admit, there is one time when I do mind: when I get everything and sit down to draw and I realize my glasses are in the bedroom. 😉 But otherwise I just accept them as part of who I am now.

ink drawingThis style of drawing is often referred to as Zentangle and I first learned about it sometime around March of 2015. I don’t remember exactly how I came across it. It’s like all of a sudden it just appeared in my life. I couldn’t be more grateful for it, though. It’s been very therapeutic and it’s gotten me through some difficult days. When I start drawing the calm repetitiveness of it is very soothing and it takes my mind off everything else. I focus on the lines on the paper; nothing more. When I’m drawing I can just be.

The process of creating them is very organic. I don’t plan much I just start drawing whatever shapes feel right at that particular time. I try not to think about it or draw something specific. I pause, look at what I’ve drawn and see what else might be needed. Eventually I come to a place where I stop and let the design rest for a bit before starting it up again.

Repaired Heart

I have fun plans for these – as part of a line of wearable art – but for now they’re for sale as prints. What do you need to get started creating your own designs? Here are the basics:

Design Originals, The Joy of Zentangle – This book has easy to understand/follow instructions. It also has lots of ideas to expand your designs when you master the basics.

Pens – I recommend this set because it has a variety of pen sizes to experiment with. Once you see which pens work best for you then you can buy just those. I use the 01 pen the most.

Paper – They call these “tiles” but they’re just 6″ square pieces of paper. You don’t need any specific type of paper for this as long as it’s somewhat heavy.

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