Starting over

Back in 2013, which feels like ages ago, I had a strong growing little shop online, on Etsy.
It gave me great joy but it consumed every minute of my time. When I wasn’t creating for it I was thinking about what I would create next. I obsess, it’s my thing.

Having 2 kids and running a home while being a true partner to my lovely husband got difficult, we also moved houses and lost my crafting space, so the store had to be put on hold and I focused on working on more manageable ways, like selling to people in person and by commission, making things to order made it all easy for me.
This didn’t feel like making art though, and I’m probably going to come across as elitist or smug, the thing is, in my opinion, art is something spontaneous and rarely by request or by demand, once you are working on demand then you are chain producing. My clients were mostly people looking for small tokens for parties like weddings and similar events, they were lovely and kind and I worked to meet their needs to the best of my abilities and I’m grateful for the business they provided, my heart was not into it though. Making 300 tiny christening tokens or bachelorette corsages can only be fun for a limited period, 4 years is my limit as it turns out.

Of course, art prints fall into this category of chain producing, but your original piece is the product of creativity and it has artistic value. Most often than not, the artist will try to please themselves and serve their vision and not just appeal to a demographic to get sales.
This self-serving mind-set is what in my experience produces the best pieces, this kind of selfishness, if you will, that it’s not bad or good, it just has to be.

For the creative mind to reach the peak of its potential the creator must be selfish, must gather the wonderful things around and make them theirs and should ignore opinions and advise, for it is an impulse and an almost violent act to release an idea entrapped inside the mind, and it can’t be done with help and it must be done with initial force and then ridden softly to lead it to where it must flow until the momentum fades.

To create is a forceful act. It’s a struggle against the natural state of the materials.

That’s where skills and technique come into play, because to dominate the materials we must first dominate ourselves, we must not only know our medium and tools but our hands, our eyes and minds.
And let me tell you, it sucks. Ha ha!  I’ve been taking it really seriously with my anatomy drawing studies and I think I’ve drawn more hands, feet, torsos and other individual body parts than ever in the sum of my life. It works. I can see the difference from when I started to now, but it really bores me. Not complaining though, I guess I’ll just have to find ways to make my drawing more dynamic so I can find it more fun.

I cope with monotony by drawing random stuff in between serious drawings, exhibit A:

 

Learning after a hiatus of drawing and painting has had its ups and downs, for example; I have now a vision I didn’t have when I was much younger, I can appreciate more easily when my proportions and dimensions are wrong, I can’t always correct them right away but I can spot them. On the other hand, is this ability of correcting my lines where I feel I’m lacking, and I figure it has to do with me stopping drawing for so long. However it is, the important thing is to practice and to improve by it.

I’m starting over, with my studies, with my personal inner life, with my emotional health and with my shop.

It’s all a lot of work, and all so rewarding.

It’s time consuming too and it requires patience, I had somehow forgotten that and for some reason believed it would go much faster, just waiting for the deliveries of some of the materials I need and of my packaging supplies is proving to be a personal test of patience.

At the same time, thinking about the colors, the baker’s twine to wrap some of my things, and the kind of goodies I’m going to design and create to include in my client’s purchases is heartwarming.

That’s not something I say to sound sweet, I’m not a very sweet person, but part of my online selling experience was finding customers that put a smile on my face with their reviews and private messages.

As cliché as it sounds it is nice to make nice things for people.

Starting over, on whatever it is one is starting over, gives us the chance to do things differently and better, thinking this way it is that I am creating my new products and setting my little store.

I feel optimistic of the things I am preparing, I can only hope people will like them as much as I do.
I don’t have yet images of my progress, and this is on purpose, I want to leave everything for the day I open shop.
So in the meantime let me leave you with my doodlings on my sketchbook.
I am not especially happy about how they turned out, but that’s what sketchbooks are for.


The portrait came out of nowhere, I tried using watercolor but my paper was not thick enough and started disintegrating on me so I switched to color pencils. Noob mistake, but I learned from it.

Out with the funk

Maybe is the change of seasons, that lapse of time when your body doesn’t know what’s going on, or maybe it does but your mind just can’t keep up with your natural physical reactions to the weather, but I always get in this weird mood, like I’m in the bottom of a pit and can’t get out and the light just doesn’t reach me. I’m tired mentally of this so I’m forcing my way out of it.
What better way to do it than to keep busy on things that make me happy.

I’m going through supplies and tools, trying to figure out the best way to organize my space. I haven’t mentioned this before so I’ll do it now, my house is small, cozy but very small, so space is an issue.

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My 26 year old Bob Ross canvas bag. It has seen better days.

Currently my art stuff is contained in a big old canvas bag (see above) or inside my easel which is also a sort of suitcase and in a couple of boxes, the goal is to build a bookcase/computer desk with iron pipes and wood, big enough to place all of mine and Esdras’ stuff in order and neatly.
We are one of those annoying couples who sit next to each other at their computers to play together, work or just hang out in silence doing each our own thing. Being alone together, it’s a good feeling.

Since I’ve just recently retaken the painting and drawing habit I don’t have many things fortunately, but with the setting of my online shop, the actual crafting of the products, which is done entirely by me and by hand, the shortage of space and of proper storage are getting more noticeable.

The indoors plants we have are getting a little out of hand in numbers too, which I love, because the smell of fresh herbs and wet earth is lovely but man, do they grow fast! It doesn’t help when we get excited and buy more.

The paper for prints and products got here at the end of last month, so did my blocks of watercolor paper and some inks. I’ve been meaning to start working on those but haven’t yet. I still need to focus on finishing my initial project which was a series of small illustrations about traditional Mexican images, so I can move onto creating some pieces of jewelry I have already designed and planned.

Currently I’m waiting for an octopus style base for the camera because I plan on filming painting time lapses. The delivery guy can’t get here soon enough.
You know when you read or hear a phrase and it registers but not really and it takes a life occurrence for you to go “Ooh, now I got it”? That’s me, I want to do so many things at once that the phrase of Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of The Rings came to mind:

“I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.”

Because it’s not just my things that need to get done, obviously the house can’t attend to itself, there’s cooking, washing, cleaning, shopping for 4 that needs to get done, and if there’s time left, sleeping and showering sound good too. Tee hee.

For now, though, this very moment is mine, to just focus and paint. Testing new toys as well, this bamboo brush with horse hair (no horses were harmed in the making of this brush, I double checked) specifically, it’s meant for calligraphy so I’ll see how this turns out, not complaining, just curious to see it perform.

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Tea, the smell of the fresh herbs near me, some Lucy Rose playing in the background, the sound and smell of rain from outside, my kids and husband playing nearby while summer vacation last, my bare feet on the ceramic floor, paper and paints before me. This is life. This is what polaroids can’t capture. I try to capture it in writing, so I remember and for my kids read it maybe one day and know my thoughts, as boring as they may be.

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Tea, watercolors, paper, and peace of mind.

I have so much to do and it’s so exciting, no time for funk, no time for boring.
Expect to see more from this blog in the days to come, because I’m drawing and painting like there’s no tomorrow and I’ll post about it, of course, because that’s what I do.

If you want quicker updates you can also follow my personal Instagram which is

https://www.instagram.com/marthaidalhi/

Still working as hard as I can on my Etsy shop, dependent on the kindness of strangers over at the post office and delivery services as always. It’s not ideas that I’m lacking, oh no, it’s materials.
You’ll see. I can’t wait to show you!

~Martha Idalhí.

Catching up can be a b*tch…

No, seriously. I realized that just this last week and I’m no spring chicken.

You see, I have this thing where I can’t stay still once an idea has implanted itself inside my head.
This is especially true when it comes to knowing, you know? When you remember something suddenly but not quite, there are missing pieces, some data has gone rogue and it escapes you, so you must know, you must remember, so you dig. You dig deeper and deeper in your memory until you hear that *click* and then all is well, you can go back to being chill, because you know.

Unless what you want to remember was better forgotten, or sometimes that thing you remember leads to go looking for the next thing. This last one is what happened to me this last week.

Rainy days, limited access to internet and that damn need to know.

It all started with a name I had forgotten, the name of an author and his book, someone I knew well once, at least well enough to love him briefly, someone of the few who knew me. I did a search for the book and the name, and instead of just a link to said book and where to buy it, I found an obituary.
It wasn’t a recent obituary, it was back from 2000.
We have a notion of how the world is, a view of which people is in it living their lives, at least of the people we know, the ones that matter even if they weren’t the best people all the time, they matter to a degree to us. We think we know, that they are out there somewhere, doing something. In this case I was wrong.

The world was minus one for 17 years and I just found out.
How do you process a loss that is not yours anymore? How are you supposed to feel when you discover, by chance, that what you thought true isn’t, and hasn’t been for years?
Is there such a thing as delayed mourning?

Is it fair to be sad for someone when we went for years without really thinking of them?
Or is this sadness something else?
A kind of selfishness, a yearning for our own peace of mind, because thinking that this person was still alive and building their own happiness somehow comforted us.

I’m all caught up now, but there was no *click* and there was no chill afterwards.

There’s this hollow tiny place where the story I wrote for him in my mind got ripped.
No loss, no yearning, no mourning.
Just missing pages.

~ Martha Idalhí.

I’m Jack’s sense of impending doom.

When I wake up I put Jack’s life on standby.

Today I woke up and it was there. Talking to me from inside my own ears, whispering like a gossipy little weasel. “But what if it goes wrong? What do we do then?”
It came out of nowhere, like it always does, annoying little shit, making a list of everything that could possibly go wrong.
But today was a good day, I was able to tell it to shut up, got up and continued with my day.

Will I be able to do that tomorrow? Or will it win and my life will be put on hold momentarily? Who knows! Stay tuned for the next exciting episode!
So yeah, art, video, technological self-doubt and ineptitude with video editing programs are the order of the day. Come join me in my journey of self-taught video filming and editing, it will be fun! (Well, not fun, but possibly funny due to all the fail that is certain to happen along the way)

So, as you know, this assuming you’ve read a little bit of this blog, I draw and paint and a lot of other similar things, and I sell my work online, I also study the basics of drawing and arts in general because I never went to art school so at my very tender 30somes I’m tackling on the basics of anatomy drawing and other musings. Exhibit A:

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This is just the tip of the iceberg I have a lot of other drawings already made of several other body parts. That looks weirder typed down than it did in my head.

I’ve been thinking about making time lapses of me drawing and painting some stuff, easy thing to do, I thought to myself, not having a clue of what I was talking about. Now I’m trying to learn video editing and general filmmaking. It’s always like that man, I start with one thing and it leads to another one and then I’m awake at 2 am wondering why I’m googling audio editing tutorials on adobe audition. Fun times. (No, really, that’s my real idea of fun, no sarcasm there).

In the meantime, I’m buying stuff instead of selling it, awesome (all the sarcasm there).

You see, when you start anew in something you find yourself needing new stuff for the stuff you want to start doing, like this little fellow over here, it’s an “octopus” which is weird, it has 3 legs not eight but ok.

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It’s meant to hold my phone camera in place while I point it to film stuff on the go. Now, this will fall on its face holding anything heavier than a phone so now I’m waiting for a bigger “octopus” for the dslr. See? Stuff just piles on, it’s pretty shocking.

On the bright side, I can focus on a few things:

1.-Rain stopped at least for today, so literally it is the bright side for a while, I was starting to think we’d grow gills. Haven’t been able to go outside or do a batch of laundry for a week (washing machine is outside and we are primitive cavemen who hang their clothes to dry in the sun, never got a dryer).

2.-My husband is kickass and did an amazing job on our roof by getting it waterproofed a few months ago so now we are dry, cozy and warm inside our leak free little home. And let me tell you this is good, because it went form 90°F to 58°F in a second, I’m freezing, is not even funny.

3.-I have toxic mushrooms.

Now, wait. I know what you are thinking; “What? How is that a good thing? WTF…”

Well I’m weird, I like fungi, a lot. It fascinates me ever since our third grade teacher taught us about the mineral, animal, vegetal and fungi “kingdoms” (I’m also old, we called them kingdoms back then), I was like “You mean mushrooms are not plants? Wait, are they animals? NO? WHATARETHEY!” Fungi, they are their own freaky thing. I Love them.

I have mushrooms in my habanero baby potted plants. They just spawned there and just noticed them yesterday. I even made an Instagram post, because why not.
They are going to have to go though, we have ferrets and I don’t trust my youngest daughter not to eat them. So, that’s sad. Still thinking of places to relocate them in the backyard since my kids are more indoors oriented, but we’ll see.

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Yeah. I know. Believe me I know what it looks like. We’ll just pretend is not obvious. It’s for the best.

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Tiny and covered in dew. Their scientific name is Leucocoprinus birnbaumii, also known as Lepiota lutea. Flowerpot parasol.

4.- My paper got here. Yes! It is beautiful, it is soft, it is all mine. I’m getting submerged in work for the next few days between the drawing, the painting, the filming and editing. That will take my mind off things. That will silence “it”.

 

Do you fight “it”? Is it cyclic like mine? Do you tell it to shut up and try to carry on with your plans?

Do you know you are not alone? Because you are not. Tell it to shup up. Yell at it if you must.

Just don’t let it have the last word.

It does not deserve the last word.

~ Martha Idalhí.

 

Art, rainy days, and changing plans

I had my week all figured out, made an entry on my July calendar in my journal and everything. Things were getting done orderly and efficiently then life went “Hahaha” on me.
It’s raining, it has been for a few days in a row now, it’s windy and I love it but it’s making me postpone things I really wanted to do.

Painting the kitchen is one of them.
After touring around for a while on Pinterest I found the most beautiful shade of blue-green, deep and strong, like the depths of the ocean (dramatic music), and to accompany it a buttery yellow for the door and a “in your face-screaming” Mexican pink for the wall on the outside of the kitchen that you can see from the inside.
I love them, it’s like a 90’s windbreaker jacket got deconstructed into shades of color.
Don’t judge me. Look at them!

But alas, I can’t do that, I must stay indoors and that means I can’t wash my paint rollers and brush etc. outside, so that will have to wait.

I went shopping instead before the sky decided to pour down more water over this earth, unfortunately everyone else had the same idea. Look at this sad view, it’s like an empty stadium, all those lonely and spread out bananas.

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Lonely bananas, nobody chose you…

I am stalled from painting more because I am patiently (Ha, as if) waiting for my delivery of artist grade paper to arrive. Oh acquarello fabriano artistico, how I miss you.
So I’ve been sketching instead, trying to improve my anatomy skills.

Still a long way to go before I get where I want to be in drawing.

I’ve also started micro-sculpting for our Etsy shop, I have a very clear vision of what I’m creating.
I also have this feeling of satisfaction you can only get from things turning out exactly how you pictured them. Hoping it continues like this.
I love making art, working on it again brings me great joy.

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Rain can keep pouring, wind can keep blowing. I have coffee, I have breakfast, the occasional ray of sunshine, and the ability to adapt!

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Do you adapt easily?
Are you like me and even though you try to take changing your plans in the best possible way, still find yourself going back at wanting to stick to your original ideas?

“With age comes patience” my family says.

I think I have the getting old part figured out, still waiting for the patience.

If you want to look at more of my sketches and finished works, follow me on Instagram on my personal art account https://www.instagram.com/marthaidalhi/

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Reconnecting with yourself.

It goes without saying that life sometimes takes us in a direction we didn’t plan for. When we are younglings it all looks like unknown territory, because it is, we plan, dream and expect, then things either fall into place or they don’t.
Sometimes it works for the best, sometimes it doesn’t, but even when it does work for the best we find ourselves having to adapt quickly, perhaps too quickly and part of us gets “lost” or forgotten.

If we are lucky this oubliette in which we place a fragment of ourselves is merely a temporary stage, and once life allows us we can reconnect with the one we once were.

This is where I am.

As a teen, I spent all my free time reading, dreaming and creating. My creative vein was focused on writing, drawing, painting, everything. If it existed and I could get ahold of it I was on it.

Then I got married. I know, same old story, right? “No time, kids need me” but not entirely. Yes, married life with children leaves you very little time, even as a person working from home or a stay at home fulltime mother, but it wasn’t just it. It was me. I somehow convinced myself that my old me, was not the me I had to be now in that new stage of life.

So, it was out with my paints and brushes, in with the sewing machine to dress my house and family, so long to the long ours of writing at night, hello to reading up on how to raise a healthy child and not screw up in the process. I could have kept a little bit of my old self but I didn’t.

Felt wrong to think of myself at the time because it detracted from thinking of my loved ones.

Then my oldest daughter asked a simple question and something clicked in my head.

“Dad says you painted too. Why did you stop?”

Because I thought I had to.
Not because of her or her sister, not because of house work, not because time is scarce.
I could have doodled and I didn’t, I could have written instead of watching tv late at night and I didn’t.
I don’t want that for my daughters, I want them to not lose themselves. I want them to be whole.

So here I am, trying to be whole again, finding what makes me happy so my kids can learn by example how to be whole and happy themselves.

It is not always easy, I know. Many times I am tired but sometimes, even if it’s just for a few minutes here and there, it is possible.

Treasure that part of yourself that sometimes gets forgotten, if you can. Treasure what you love as much as who you love because those are the bits and pieces that make you be you.