Fairytale Art to Guide the Way Out of the Hell of Depression (My Art at Ford Gallery)

During November 2017, I got into a group art show about "Self-Care & De-stigmatizing Depression" (at Ford Gallery).  I had to write a statement about my experience with depression and how my art has helped me take care of myself during it.  My child-like/fairytale-like art is always telling the stories that guide me out of the hell of giving up, dying and self-loathing----or in other words----the hell of depression.  

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Below is my artist statement for the show.  You can view all my paintings closer-up in in detail at this link to my online gallery.

How To Overcome the Darkness of Suicidal Thoughts & Come Out With Gold

I consider myself a recovering suicide addict....not because I have attempt it....but because I’ve been addicted to thoughts and plans of it since I was a teenager. As I’ve come to learn how to take care of myself, I’ve realized all those thoughts were addictions like alcohol, drugs or compulsive behaviors because like those abusive habits I engaged in those thoughts to avoid what I really needed to do to take care of yourself. Suicidal thoughts were my ultimate way to avoid dealing with painful feelings, abusive relationships and self-deprecating behaviors.

As I weaned myself from those thoughts and little by little faced the mess I was in, I came back to my art and created allegories, fables and fairytales for myself that foretold how I could get out of the darkness.

”Out-Running the Hounds of Hell” is about hanging on to hope, just like the little girl holding on to the spring flower, even when you think you can no longer run, there is no escape and your feet are giving out, there is always hope.

”How to Catch Yourself” is about feeling like you’re falling to your death and not knowing what to do, but knowing somehow, someway you’ll find the answers within yourself when you surrender to whatever you were avoiding.

”A House Divided” is about realizing that if you ever want to feel whole, accepted and truly loved, it starts with self-love which means finding self-compassion for that part that you were ashamed of and thought wasn’t good enough for the light of day.

”Armchair Traveling” is about overcoming many treacherous situations....the ones you wanted to avoid..... and gaining treasures after going through them. There is always gold on the other side of your fears.

Who else has felt this way? Who else wants to heal and find their way back home? I’ve created an allegory—fairytale—fable all your own at: www.SecretSocietyOfMagicalCreatures.com

6 Ferocious Sketches That Inspired My Halloween Chalk Drawing

I do a lot of sketches with the intention to do nothing with them.  It's really for my own pleasure.  You know....like dancing alone in your bedroom where you don't worry if anyone is watching or if you have some bad dance moves. Some of my sketches are horrible.  Some of them are alright.  And others seem to want to become something more. 

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Over the past few months, I had been doing these little sketches of girl in ferocious animal masks.  I loved how angry and scary they looked.  I shared them with a friend and we had a fun time talking about them.  I thought there was something to them.  He did too.

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When I got the chance to do a Halloween themed chalk drawing last week at the East Creative Collective (thank you), I thought it was time to take out these angry girls in their ferocious animals masks.  You can see that not all of them made an appearance in the final chalk drawing.  But there's always next year.  Maybe, they'll be popping up next spring or summer somewhere in Portland, Oregon or beyond.

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When Stories Are Hidden, Do They Die An Untimely Death?

Recently I heard about a little girl who liked to tell stories about a mysterious cookie jar.

The cookie jar was shaped like a big Victorian house. It had a turret, winding staircases, and far more balconies than was probably wise.

The house-shaped cookie jar lived in the little girl's kitchen. When her grandfather came to visit in the summers, she would tell him stories about how the house was filled with secret passageways that led to secret rooms where there were secret tea parties. How the windows always shone brightly even in the middle of the night. How you needed to know the secret password in order to be let inside.

After a while, as often happens, the little girl started to grow up. She still told stories now and then, but mostly she scribbled them in notebooks that she hid in boxes that never saw the light of day. She began to wonder if there wasn't something a little strange about loving stories so much.

A few years ago, the little girl (who isn't so little anymore) moved to a magical place where, much to her surprise, she found other people who loved stories as much as she did. They also had boxes of notebooks (or sketchbooks, or photographs, or magical business plans) hidden in their closets. They also cried at movies and read books late into the night.

The little girl realized then that there were so many stories that were hidden, not being shared with the world. Because people were afraid. Because they'd been told their stories didn't matter.

But stories do matter.

I recently sat down with that little girl, whose name is Katy, as part of the Inspired Connections Summit, a free virtual event all about the power of stories and how we can use them to find other magical creatures like ourselves.

Creatures with amazing, inspiring stories that need to be told.

Join us, along with other creative lovers of stories, starting August 2. You can sign up for free here: Inspired Connections Summit.

What If Your Favorite Story Had Never Been Told Because The Author Was Too Afraid to Share It?

We all have stories we tell ourselves.

We're too old. Too young. Too much. Too little.

Too strange.

It can be tempting to keep our most creative selves, our best stories, secret and safe. And while there's something appealing about having a good secret, not sharing our work with the world means other strange beings like ourselves keep hidden as well because they think they're alone. And all those stories never get told.

But there's another story. A better one.

What if there are other magical creatures out there? What if they are just waiting for the right signal that it's safe to come out of hiding and join you on your creative adventure?

Meet Katy Morgan. As a writer, editor, and creative community builder, she knows what it's like to have a creative secret and to wonder if it's safe to put it out into the world. Recently, Katy and I sat down to talk about why stories matter—and how to find that special community of like-minded beings who can't wait to support your work.

Join us, along with other inspirational creative experts, at the upcoming virtual event Inspired Connections Summit: How to Use the Power of Story to Build a Creative Community That Will Support and Inspire Your Most Authentic Work.

My video interview for inspired summit will air between August 2nd - August 12th, 2017.

My video interview for inspired summit will air between August 2nd - August 12th, 2017.

No matter what strange world you're adventuring through—art, writing, music, or something else entirely—there are magical creatures just like you waiting to be your companions on your journey. All you have to do is be willing to reach out and find them.

Join us for the Inspired Connections Summit (click the link), starting August 2. A community of inspired creatives is waiting to welcome you…and your stories.

In 5 Days (November 30th, 2016) the Secret Will Be Revealed

I am on pins and needles.....I just can't wait......in 5 days......November 30th......the waiting will be over....the secrets will finally be revealed!  What secrets?  Well, "The Secret Society of Magical Creatures"!  Do you want to discover the secrets?  Click on the image below to be the first to unveil the secrets!

The Spooky Tale Behind Claire & Dare's Secret Garden Chalk Drawing Part 1

Before I learned that the Pacific Northwest of the United States (where I currently live) was an area full of ghosts, the supernatural and has a long history of serial killers, I often thought this would make a great setting for a horror story or a dark fairy tale.  I mean, the woods which surround this region are thick, dark and full of mist and mystery.  The rain is oppressively grey and the clouds hang suffocatingly low which can last for weeks straight.  There are dark ravines where you could easily trip and fall, be knocked unconscious and leave no trace of where you were.  I'm saying it's creepy and spooky....and well....I love it.  

To say this area was the inspiration for my latest chalk drawing, "Claire and Dare's Secret Garden" could be true, but it's more than that.  When I started learning more about the Pacific Northwest and all its spooky tales, folklore and history, I stumbled across this creepy story about two masked, little girls (I imagined as bunny girls) who were spied skipping through the forest.  

I wanted to know more.....where were they seen?  How long had this been happening?  Did it go back for years?  When were they first spied?  Did anyone ever talk to them?  Were they blithe spirits or did they seem malevolent?  I had to know.  I decided to look into it further and see what I could discover.   

I will tell you what I can uncover, letting you know if I get any answers or if it just leads to more questions.  This is the beginning of my ongoing investigation to solve the mystery.  Stay tuned for more.

Secrets, Magic & Mystery Revealed: My Spooky Drawings at Gallery Nucleus

There are ONLY a few weeks left in the grand opening show, Salut, for Gallery Nucleus in Portland.  I'm telling you this to remind you to get your butt down to SE Hawthorne Boulevard before the end.....you know......if you haven't done it yet.....oh yeah.....and so you can drool over all the amazing art before it's gone, gone, bye, bye for good.  

 That includes my spooky drawings filled with secrets, magic and mystery.   Below is a little peek of them laid out on my art studio table.  As I write this, I'm not sure if they any of them are still available.  The show ends November 8th, 2016 and that may be your last chance to see them all together.

Oh wait....my blog title says I REVEAL them.....ok.....ok....here they are all together in one spooky family.  I was inspired by Edward Gorey, Gothic architecture, Victorian mysteries and the supernatural....well....you know....all things magical and spooky....of course! 

DON'T READ THIS IF YOU DON'T WANT MAGIC, FUN & ADVENTURE

Really, just stop there now.  If you don't want magic, fun & adventure, we aren't going to get along.  That's actually what I wanted when I joined Stella Orange's "SHUT-UP-AND-WRITE-A-THON".  I sure wanted more magic, fun and adventure in my writing for my fantasy adventure art audience (That's you if you got this far).  

I hoped I would learn how to do that from this 10 day writing workshop.  Each day, Stella Orange gave us fun encouraging messages (That was 1 of the fun parts.) to help us write.  She also gave us prompts on what to write which was like an adventure into the unknown.  It tested me.  It made me have to find magic within myself.  Here are 5 magical discoveries that I made during Stella Orange's "SHUT-UP-AND-WRITE-A-THON":

  1. ON THIS ADVENTURE, THERE'S A GOOD WOLF & A MEAN WOLF:  What?  What the hell is that?  Well, Stella told us when we sit down & write for our audience (Yep, that's you again.  You're still with me?  Wow!  Thanks!  That's great!), we either feed the mean wolf or the good wolf.  It's probably more likely we're feeding the mean wolf if we're avoiding writing or we're afraid we suck at it (Yeah, I'm afraid I suck at it).  We feed the good wolf when we just shut up and write and make writing a practice....like continuing on the journey even if we're not sure where the magic is (Yeah, I'm not sure where it is. But did you read that?  There's a freaking good wolf!  That's freaking magical!).                                                              
  2. FAILURE IS PART OF THE JOURNEY TO GET TO THE MAGIC:  Oh what?  It's not going to be perfect?  And that's actually how I make it to my destination?  Yep!  That's what Stella told us.  Just showing up makes it possible for the magic to happen.  It doesn't matter if you fail and make mistakes.  With each mistake, you're one step closer to the magic....that's if you keep showing up and just keep doing it.                                                                                                                                           
  3. ADD WHAT MAKES IT MORE FUN:  Often times, when I sit down and write, I'm in a hurry.  Why?  Because I'd rather be out exploring, having adventures and making magic with friends.  Well, I realized from Stella's writing workshop that I could actually go out & write with a buddy.  Now, that's way more fun and even magical!                                                                                                                        
  4. IF YOU DON'T LIKE YOUR WRITING, YOU CAN BURN IT:  How is that magical, adventurous or fun?  Well, did you read that?  You can burn things!  You can burn things!  I'm a fire lover.  What about you?                                                                      
  5. BITCHING CAN HELP YOU FIGURE OUT WHERE YOU NEED TO GO:  I'm one of those people who is super enthusiastic & positive.  I really don't like to publicly bitch.  But during the write-a-thon, we got permission to do it and I discovered getting that bitching out of the way and out in the open showed me what I had been missing in my writing.  It wasn't fun writing because, I wasn't bringing the fun.  It wasn't adventurous writing because, I wasn't trying anything new or unknown to me.  Well, enough of that!  It's time to change that!  Now, I know how to bring on the magic!  Thank you, Stella Orange!  (And since, you, yes, you, my fantasy adventure art audience, made it to the end of this blog post, you get ready for more magic, fun and adventure in my writing!)

The Secret Formula For Discovering Who You Are As A Magical Creature

Oh, you didn't know there was a formula----let alone a secret formula-----for discovering who you are as a magical creature?  Well, it's true.  There's a formula to uncover the dazzling and dangerous magic in you.  Here it is below.  Just keep it hush, hush----you know---we can't tell everyone about it.  Let's keep it between you and me.  It's only to be shared with those who are true of heart, and courageous in the face of fear.  It's that powerful and that potent!  I know that's you and me too.

  1. First, you must figure out your magical power.  This could be a power that you've always wanted or it could be a power that you actually feel like you possess.
  2. Next, you have to know your favorite animal.  This could be a domestic animal that is a pet like a cat, a forest animal like a deer or even a fantasy animal like a dragon.
  3. Finally, you must know your favorite fictional character.  This could be from a movie, book, or tv show or a comic book.  Make sure you know what they do in the story and what it is you admire about them.  Are they strong, funny, or skilled at something?  How do they dress and act?  Imagine them in your mind. 
  4. Combine all 3 of the above and you'll discover who you are as a magical creature!  You are a_________(your favorite animal + you) who__________ (what your favorite character does or the qualities they possess) by __________ (your magical power). 

 

Are you still not sure how to make the formula work?  Alright, here's an example.  I'll use myself.  

  1. My magical power:  FLYING.  I've always wanted to soar above everything or hoover slightly above the earth.
  2. My favorite animal:  BUNNY RABBIT.  I love that bunny rabbits are so cute, round and cuddly, plus I cannot get over their ears. 
  3. My favorite character:  ALICE IN WONDERLAND. I always wanted to follow a bunny down its rabbit hole, open a door in a tree and have tea with a bunch of nonsensical creatures just like Alice who never wanted to be bored.
  4. Combine all 3 of the above:  I'M A BUNNY GIRL (MY FAVORITE ANIMAL + ME) WHO EXPLORES THE WORLD (WHAT MY FAVORITE CHARACTER DOES) BY NEVER TOUCHING A TOE TO THE EARTH (MY MAGICAL POWER).

Do you have it now?  Yes?  Awesome!  No?  Well, I can always help you.  Write a comment below or send me and email and we'll get this all sorted out.  Believe me, you have a magical creature inside of you.  No worries there.

BTW, Go ahead and share this secret formula with those who you know are trust-worthy.

How I Showed My Dying Uncle What He Meant to Me

My uncle died a few weeks ago.  He was one of the few relatives for whom I truly felt a deep affection.  He had been there when I needed a place to stay (after I moved back to the USA from France).  He tried to teach me Japanese since I am half Japanese and he was full Japanese (I know French much better).  I admired the way he could make anything grow in his backyard or community garden.  I loved how he literally salvaged junk left on the curb and fixed it up to make a treasure that people bought.  He was an inspiration....well....even with him gone...he still is an inspiration.  I think he touched many people's lives, just like mine.  Here is what I created for him before he died to let him know how much he meant to me.  

It had to be something that showed him I loved him, that I looked up to him and that he was truly special to me.  

All my art is usually a metaphor about a feeling or roles we play.  I think you can guess why I chose to depict my Uncle as the tree and me as the little bunny.

But if not, it's because he was so much about nature and building community and giving.

I chose myself to be the bunny because I love to hop and play and because they are my favorite animal.  

When he saw my card, it made him smile and laugh. I'm glad I could express what he meant to me before he died.  

I really loved him.  

If you too would like an inspirational bunny card that will express your love to your family and friends, you can download it for free here.