Archive for the ‘positive reinforcement’ Category

“The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche.

I missed the mark with a speech at Toastmasters this week. With a topic I knew well: writing, and raising children. I flubbed a few lines, got some words mixed up and forgot a key point, and felt it was an overall disappointment.

It was another one of those notches in the belt of life’s defeats, which turn into teachable moments only in hindsight.

I knew I hadn’t hit the mark even at the time I was speaking. I could feel the audience’s attention slipping. I didn’t have them in the palm of my hand, the way I do when I’m in the zone.

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After the meeting, instead of shaking my hand warmly, there was some avoidance. I came home and watched the video back. I saw that I started the speech with a sigh, which is never a good thing. I used the wrong word in a couple of places without realizing, and that had changed the message. I waffled on at the end. It was a disaster. No wonder people avoided me afterwards.

I felt disappointed. “You picked the wrong word,” I said to myself, watching the footage. “If only you’d stopped and taken a silent breath.”

I berated myself on and off for about half a day. After that, it wasn’t that I felt bad, I felt nothing. I was blank.

Which brings me to the point, how useful are the things we say to ourselves? What effect are they having on our lives?

In my case, I went to that giant therapist in the sky, Facebook, and shared via status update.

Normally, my posts about stuff on Facebook might garner six or so “likes.” When I went back online the next day, I saw that my post had 22 “likes” and there were comments: beautiful, heart-felt encouragement.

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Friends had taken the time to remind me of the steps forward I have taken. The words melted my heart. I sat there and wept into my keyboard like a baby, until my tea went cold.

Later, I dried my face, made a fresh cup of tea, and I could feel the difference within. The veil had lifted. The blankness was gone. I could feel again, I could smile again. I was free. Wow. What a revelation about the power of the right words and a good cry. Thank you again to all my beloved friends.

By sharing with others, by caring about others, and by practising the mindfulness of saying loving words to ourselves and those around us, all manner of ills in this world can be healed.

The right words at the right time can be good medicine.

I remember back in the day, about twenty-five years ago, I read a small, life-changing book called “Creative Visualization” by Australian author, Shakti Gawain. https://www.amazon.com/Creative-Visualization-Meditations-Imagination-Create/dp/1511326948

That was when I became introduced to this idea of the manifestational juju of the words we say to ourselves. I learned we can radically alter the experience we have by changing our inner dialogue. Gawain taught about the benefits of saying positive statements to ourselves, which she called daily affirmations.

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In essence: we can aid and sustain ourselves by saying the right words.

Here’s a good example. About the FB post on the “failure” of my recent speech, friend Sharon Hinckley said wisely, “Could you lose those ‘high expectations’ and just go out there and have fun?” She altered my perception and let in the light by using the right words.

The right phrase can alter the atmosphere of our lives and elevate the tone.

The truth is, our inner dialogue is always going on anyway, and so we might as well use it to our advantage. The first step is to come up with some phrases which work for us. The next step is to remember to say them to ourselves a few times daily. *Tip: try making it part of the daily routine so they end up becoming automatic. *Tip Two: try thinking of three things each day you are grateful for.

To return to the question I started with: how useful are the things we say to ourselves? They’re potentially life-changing, if we use the right words. What we say matters.

Have you ever tried doing affirmations? Do share…

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Talk to you later.

Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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“To transform your life, you must find a way of being grateful for what you have now.” ~ Rhonda Byrne

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You just have to accept that it takes a phenomenal amount of perseverance. —J. K. Rowling

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*Feel Resistance

Back in 2015, I projected I’d have the second book in my Chronicles of Aden Weaver series, out by Christmas, 2016.

By mid-September of this year, I began to worry. ‘The Sasori Empire’ would not be ready for Christmas. I knew I hadn’t sweated over the story enough, yet. It hadn’t caused me to lose a few pounds in sheer, gruelling, nose-to-the-grindstone, all-hours-of-the-day-and-night hardship, yet.

The story still had a long way to go.

‘The Sasori Empire’ needed to continue to battle through the torture chamber of editing at my kitchen table, and to undergo at least one or two more journeys through “the grinder” of critique.

At first, I felt intense resistance to the thought of admitting defeat, if I delayed publication. Essentially, it meant I’d have to admit I was wrong. The ego resists being diminished like the dickens.

*Step Back, Breathe

Looking back, I realize, my head must have gotten a bit swelled over self-publishing my first book, ‘The Or’in of Tane Mahuta.’ After thirty years of writing fiction and ten years creating this series, it’s not so surprising. In my enthusiasm at becoming a published writer, I imagined my pace of production would somehow magically increase. I’d be pumping out the novels at the rate of one a year, like the greats. But, no.

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http://amzn.com/B015K1KF0I

 I had to eat a dose of humble pie and admit that the sequel would not be out in time for Christmas. Using the initial artwork supplied by my nephew, Si, I made up a poster to announce the delayed date for publication, on social media.

*The Theory of Randomness

Recently, a friend drew my attention to quotes from The Drunkard’s Walk, a book by Leonard Mlodinow. The wonderful quotes reminded me to look at the bigger picture.

‘There exists a vast gulf of randomness and uncertainty between the creation of a great novel and the presence of huge stacks of that novel at the front of thousands of retail outlets (paraphrased). A lot of what happens to us – success in our careers, in our investments, and in our life decisions both major and minor – is as much the result of random factors as the result of skill, preparedness, and hard work.’

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https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/2278900

This theory reminded me that there is no need to rush anywhere with my writing and my stories. Hard work alone, will not influence the outcome. I should savour the scenery along the way. It helped me to take the foot off the accelerator.

*Release

Once I decided to let go of this year’s publication date, I felt better. It was like a weight lifted off my shoulders. I knew that in terms of well-being, it was the best thing I could have done. I was ‘back on track’ with my own timing again. Whew.

I settled back into more reasonable writing hours. I began to sleep better. I was “nice mama” again, and able to be pleasant to other shoppers at the supermarket.

It was as simple as giving myself permission to quit pursuing an unrealistic goal. Despite my initial resistance, I embraced a new goal. I can do the work that needs to be done, on my own terms, in my own timing, while enjoying life along the way. Imagine that!

cover artist, Simon Kingi

(Me, with cover artist, SK)

*The “Mission Statement”

One of my writing mentors, Jill Mitchell, is a big fan of “mission statements” for staying on track with our goals.

This is mine:

I always strive to create story in some form. I flow with life as much as possible – therefore, I can change, my goals can change. However, I’m essentially always moving forward with my evolution, learning my craft, becoming a better writer, delivering a better story experience, and as long as I stay true to the creative muse flowing through my fingertips, I’m on track. I am successful.

*Persist!

My goal of putting out the second book in the series will happen, when the time is right. The goal is still there, it’s just farther in the distance. That’s okay.

Leonard Mlodinow posits that random factors act in our lives. ‘That’s why successful people are almost universally members of a certain set – the set of people who don’t give up.’

This adds weight to the wisdom in the idea of persistence.

I persist. What a great mantra – I’m adding that to the list.

When your goal’s a moving target, the best thing you can do is stay the course! 

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Talk to you later.

Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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To write simply is as difficult as to be good. – W. Somerset Maugham

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‘Your armor is preventing you from growing into your gifts. There are unexplored adventures ahead of you. You can’t live the rest of your life worried about what other people think.’ ~ Brené Brown

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A year ago, I lived with a debilitating fear of public speaking. In other words, I was paralyzed by the fear ‘of what other people think.’

Yet, two weeks ago, I delivered my ninth speech, ‘The Phoenix,’ at Toastmasters. I achieved something I thought impossible, through the help of my local Toastmasters club. I thought, yes, I’m doing so great. I can memorize a whole ten minute speech. I can get up on stage without falling flat. Yes! I’ve made it. Uh, no. You haven’t. Why? Because there’s always more to learn.

Part of the Toastmasters leadership program is the “CRC” system, or “Commend, Recommend, Commend,” by way of oral and written evaluation. My evaluator’s “recommendation” after watching, ‘The Phoenix,’ was that I looked like I’d rehearsed to a mirror and had simply written and learnt a speech by rote. I needed to learn how to connect with the audience.

5 Speeches Award, 2016

I’d never thought about it that way before.

My sister sent me a bunch of links for incredible talks on the TED channel. I could see the difference and began to understand what the next level of speaking could look like. My evaluator was absolutely right.

I realized I had bumped up against another of my own self-made limitations.

At our club’s 20th anniversary celebration the other day, founding member, Bruce Powell, gave a speech about the formation of the club. He told us stories, like the one about the girl who, upon hearing the “recommendations” of her evaluator, burst into tears and ran out of the room, never to return. Or the one, about the aspiring politician who joined our club, he later became elected to parliament.

Swearing in on the committee

It’s true. Even on a good day, the “recommendation” part of the process can be hard to stomach. I had worked so hard on my speech, and when I got my evaluation it felt as if he burst my balloon. Yet, sometimes, a bit of balloon-popping is just what we need. You can either run from it and stay the same, or you embrace it and grow.

It’s good to prune the ego sometimes, to go, ‘hey, I’m not always right.’ That’s a stable, balanced way to go through life.

It’s wise to cultivate within ourselves, the ability to say we’re wrong. Not to just to pay lip service to a nice idea, but to really then put in the work as well, to make change.

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At the moment, I’m taking a free writing class, Story Fundamentals, with Daniel Jose Older. The brief for our writing assignment was given during the video presentation, and then, we were to post our efforts in the online classroom. There, our beloved, sweated-over prose would hang out in the public forum, waiting for “likes” and/or “comments.”

The assignment was to write a short story. My least favourite form of fiction. My taste lends itself to the epic form, I like to sink my teeth into a meaty book or writing project. I’d also traditionally shied away from writing short story, believing I wouldn’t do it justice.

But, sometimes, I think when we have an instant, “no, I can’t do that” reaction, this can be a pointer, a sign-post to a hidden limitation we’ve held about ourselves.

My dear friend, writer and artist, Steve Attkisson, said, ‘Someone told me that the stuff you try to avoid makes for the most powerful literature.’

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I decided to go boldly forth and tackle this assignment, regardless of whether I wanted to or not. I sweated over my short story, ‘Birdma, she Taniwha’ for two days and posted it. I’ve returned and edited the story every day this week. Still no likes, no comments. Sigh! Yet, despite the lack of response, I still feel good. Victorious, even. Because this story represents yet another hurdle I’ve overcome. Another thing I said I couldn’t do.

These personal milestones are what we live for. Or they should be. Because, it’s in proving to ourselves first that we are worthy that we disengage from that old fear of ‘what other people think.’

It starts to become more important what we think of ourselves.

Fear is a Gift

Some of our self-made armour comes off with each limitation we overcome. Is it frightening? Yes. L. Frank Baum once said, ‘The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid.’ Even a single display of bravery towards oneself carries rewards, and brings more courage. We grow incrementally. We start to build our first real foundations of self-confidence. Know thyself. Healer, heal thyself.

If you think of the opening statement, by Brené Brown, that our armour was keeping us from really living into our gifts, then we’d imagine that by releasing some, and putting ourselves out there, we start to achieve things. We can connect with an audience. We can write a short story.We can get elected to parliament. We gain the forward positive momentum we want in our lives.

Just think of all the unexplored adventures ahead! What do you want to achieve?

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See you in the funny papers!

YC

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Only those who can leave behind everything they have ever believed in can hope to escape.  ~ William S. Burroughs

The hero’s redemption (and ultimate victory) hinges on their transcending their self-concern. ~ PJ Reece

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What is it about wanting to win father’s approval that never leaves us?

I have been dwelling on this thought this week. Primarily because I gave a speech at Toastmasters, and the no-nonsense evaluation set me back on my heels for a minute – taking me straight back to childhood and getting criticism from dad.

papa bear and me

My fellow Toastmaster gave a fair critique, a good critique aimed at pushing me to the next level of speaking. He spoke the truth even though it was difficult. I admire him for that.

Yet, what no one knew was that inside I crumbled out of all proportion. I knew I was being pathetic, so I hid it well until after I got home that day, until after I’d put the kids to bed. Then, I sat and ate chocolate and moped like a proper baby. I felt so sorry for myself. It felt like wounding, pain inside.

I felt devastated over a single evaluation? I took a minute and examined my reaction. I asked myself questions, why do you feel this way? Why?

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Finally, it came down to this; I realized that I’d internalized my father’s demands for perfection in my work. In an earlier post, The Influence of Fathers, I related how my childhood strivings to get approval from my father had shaped in me the exact traits I needed as a writer:

‘The last project I did at junior school, before I moved on, and past the need to show my father everything I produced, was a book review. I produced, ‘A Commune on the Pearl River Delta,’ in a round format, with tissue paper glued in between each page. There were in all a dozen round pages with words and images, carefully nestled between tissue paper, crafted in dense colour pencil and pen. The review begins with the “tour guide,” Mr. John Know-it-all, introducing himself to the reader, and then, John leads the way through the book and the region it depicts.

The Pearl River DeltaThe Pearl River Delta1

It was a work of art. A triumph. The first time I ever got A++ What did my father say when I presented it to him? “China is spelt with a capital C.”

It makes sense to think that by utilising what we’ve been given in each of our unique circumstances, we’re uniquely prepared to move forward to better things. My ability for perseverance came from my childhood strivings. Stick-ability, patience and focus are the very assets a writer needs.’

At the same time, there is a legacy to this situation I still have to deal with. A little bit of emotional fall-out.

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I realized, through this somewhat discomfiting experience, this week, that yes, I had internalized my father’s demands for perfection in my work. When I write a speech, it is like presenting my project to father all over again, will he give me a thumbs-up this time, or will he point out the date is wrong?

When my friend at Toastmasters gave me the somewhat harsh evaluation, I reverted to that kid who showed her prized work to her father, only to have her mistakes pointed out. I didn’t care whether he was right or not, I just wanted a pat on the head.

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The great thing was, as soon as I saw that this was the case, and I was repeating that old childhood pattern, it felt different. I was already one step removed from it. I think I read about this technique of asking yourself ‘why?’ in a magazine somewhere, and for some reason, the idea stuck. I’ve used it ever since, and it’s an effective way for figuring the motivations behind why we do things.

It is a good thing to build one’s repertoire of understanding oneself. As was said in times of old, ‘Know thyself.’

Where the need for father’s approval is concerned, I forgive myself for repeating a pattern from childhood. Okay, maybe I’ve used my father’s drive for perfection, and the need to prove myself to him, to overdo things a bit, thus far. I forgive myself. It’s okay. I’m human. I can do better tomorrow, and the next day. That, too, is human.

I find myself intrigued by the depth of this question all over again, What is it about wanting to win father’s approval that never leaves us? Is your father a powerful figure in your life?

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Talk to you later.

Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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I believe now from my own experience, that motherhood and fatherhood and birth and children are actually as valid a path to enlightenment as any other, and in my opinion at least, far superior to most.  ~ Hellena Post

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Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me! As a child, I totally believed in the protective powers of this chant.

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As an adult, I realize how ridiculous this notion is, because of course words can hurt you!

As an author, I respect the power of words.

Any fellow scribe or teacher will tell you the same. As Chuck Wendig said, ‘Writers know the power of words. Words change the world. Words have always been more effective than bullets when it comes to changing both the present and the future.’

Dr. Andrew Newberg, a neuroscientist at Thomas Jefferson University, and Mark Robert Waldman, a communications expert, collaborated on the book, “Words Can Change Your Brain.” In it, they write,a single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress.

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At our Toastmasters meeting this week, one of the speakers ran a brainstorming session, about life purpose. He asked the question, what stops us from fulfilling our life purpose? I said, ‘Negative thoughts.’ It’s my belief there is nothing more damaging to our evolution than stinky thinking or speaking.

The science backs it up. The scientific research done by Dr. Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman on this topic is fascinating. “By holding a positive and optimistic [word] in your mind, you stimulate frontal lobe activity. This area includes specific language centers that connect directly to the motor cortex responsible for moving you into action. And as our research has shown, the longer you concentrate on positive words, the more you begin to affect other areas of the brain.

Functions in the parietal lobe start to change, which changes your perception of yourself and the people you interact with. A positive view of yourself will bias you toward seeing the good in others, whereas a negative self-image will include you toward suspicion and doubt. Over time the structure of your thalamus will also change in response to your conscious words, thoughts, and feelings, and we believe that the thalamic changes affect the way in which you perceive reality.”

Michelle Buchanan

At the beginning of this year, Michelle Buchanan, Numerologist for the Women’s Day magazine, did a numerology reading for me.

With regards fulfilling one’s life purpose, Michelle said, ‘It’s not just about trying to manifest the goal that you have, it’s about keeping your overall life force energy at a high vibration, which comes from what you think and believe about everything, from everything you think about your neighbours and your mother-in-law, to worrying about your waistline and cancer. Because all these things contribute to your overall life force energy, that is determining what you will attract and what you won’t attract. And it’s not just about that goal that you have, it’s everything.’

It’s the idea of using the right words to ‘keep one’s overall life force energy high,’ as Michelle put it, to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress, as the scientist and communication expert put it. In this way, by utilising such a simple thing as word choice, we can alter our reality.

Our word choice wields the power to influence either our good health or our state of stress.

This means we can literally control our own stress levels, by deliberately choosing the words we use, by turning the negatives into positives. How cool!

As part of my New Year’s resolutions, I set out this year to apply the rule of positive thinking with regards my every word, inner or outer. I’m here to report; I immediately experienced a lighter frame of mind right away that has been enduring.

Yvette Carol 2

In my life generally, I have noticed changes. An opportunity came up at Toastmasters last week, to represent my club at a public “Open Mic” event and it was another good step forward for me, in terms of personal development. Things like this seem to happen more often.

I feel more strongly than ever convinced that if we want to experience changes of any kind in our lives, we need to start first and foremost with our words. All our words, the things we say to others, the things we say to ourselves.

With this in mind, how’s this for a new playground chant: Words and thoughts may build my life but sticks and stones can never touch that!

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Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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“Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen” – Goethe

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Teresa Robeson

After rashly deciding to join in with writing pals, Teresa Robeson, and Catherine Johnson, on the Selfie Art Day challenge a few months ago, I now find myself part of a regular artistic quest to capture one’s own features. An elusive, multi-fold quest.

So far, my attempts at Selfie Art have stimulated all sorts of self-discovery. I’ve felt confronted by my own sense of self image, and self worth. The process has also brought me up against my own need to control things, a.k.a. perfectionism.

The first month I participated, I blogged an in-depth pencil sketch. I didn’t like it.

Selfie Art Day

The second time, I submitted a pencil outline of my face. I didn’t like it.

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My attempt at a self-portrait for May’s #SelfieArt Day is in triumphant #doodlewash for the first time! That’s the good news.

The bad news is that it doesn’t look a bit like me.

Except maybe for the hair. I did notice I hadn’t quite captured my likeness when I started, however, I assumed it’d come right in the end. Only it didn’t! It was too late to go back; I’d already committed the time slot allowed. Here again, I met face-to-face with my perfectionist streak which made me just want to toss the portrait in the bin.

Thankfully, I did not throw my portrait away. I made myself stick with it.

I decided to like it anyway.

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I had to say to myself in no uncertain terms, “It may not be perfect but I accept this portrait.”

This then became a sort of personal mantra, “I accept my imperfections.”

With that in mind, I decided to carry on and finish my “imperfect” portrait as it was, and see it through to the end. Thus, the transformative process of Selfie Art unerringly continued.

These are the pics I took documenting my progress:

I began with a pencil outline of my face.

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I added the first layer of flesh-tinted wash.

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Then I darkened the lines with an ink pen.

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I added shading to the face with warm flesh tones, and a wash for the shirt with Rose Pink gouache paint.

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I used black watercolour for the hair.

While my resulting portrait does not look like me, it does look like a gal who might be fairly interesting!

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If you decide to join in on the challenge, make sure you swing by Teresa Robeson’s wordpress blog and tell her about it. She’ll include your links on her regularly updated list.

Include the hashtags on your post: #SelfieDay and #Doodleawash Day! Have fun.

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Talk to you later.

Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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If your world doesn’t allow you to dream, move to one where you can. ~ Billy Idol

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‘Paul Klee once described an artist as being like a tree, drawing the minerals of experience from its roots – things known, observed, read, intuited, and felt – and slowly processing them into new leaves.’  ~ Shaun Tan

This concept still resonates. I love the idea of this organic process, of transforming the “stuff” of our lives into beauty, whether that be art or prose or song.

This week, on her excellent blog, One Good Thing, Author and illustrator, Teresa Robeson, put out this resounding challenge. Anyone else up for Selfie Art Day on the 25th?

Teresa Robeson

Normally, every time my creative friends have put out these sorts of calls to action on the art front, my first thought has been, no. I’m a writer. I have to focus on the words. This time, I thought, why not?

I don’t know whether it’s menopause or turning fifty, but I seem to find myself saying “Why not?” more often in the last couple of years than I ever have done before in my life.

That being said, selfie art has always intimidated me. There, I’ve told you! This is the problem with being a perfectionist. With selfie art, I want the image to look like me. I feel if it doesn’t resemble me then it’s rubbish.

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I decided to throw caution to the wind and apply myself. I started with getting the basic features and shape of the face and line of the neck with HB pencil.

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Then, I started on shading in the dark areas with 8B pencil.

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I built up the layering with 4B pencil as well, feathering the edges of the shading. I purposefully added more than I needed, thinking I wanted substance.

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Then I used an eraser to rub away the areas where the light strikes the ‘high points’ of the face.

The eyes were not quite straight and I did my best to straighten them, yet, in the end, I had to say, ‘you know what, they’re not perfect. That’s okay.’ Again, one could meditate on that for days!

At that point, I used some watercolour paint. I added white highlights to the cheekbones, chin, nose, and hair. I used black to deepen the shading.

I cannot tell you how many times I nearly threw this sketch away. I had to get over my negative thinking. The transformative journey of creating art is multi-fold; it entails looking outward and inward, and it acts as a mirror for how we feel about ourselves. Despite the part of myself that yammered in the background, it doesn’t look like you, I continued with my piece of art for Selfie Art Day!

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I love the Klee quote about turning experiences into new leaves. I feel it is true for me, not just with my small attempts at sketching or painting, but with my writing, my speech giving, and also with raising my children. All the things I produce in my life are the new leaves. And the better I feel about myself as I grow and develop personally, the more unique and expressive the art.

What new leaves are you producing? Did you participate in Selfie Art Day? If so, leave your URL and I’ll tweet your posts.

Look! New leaves!

Selfie Art Day

My Selfie Art. Ta da!

#SelfieArtDay

Yvette K. Carol

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“Be not afraid of going slowly. Be afraid only of standing still.” — Chinese proverb

“If you can see yourself as an artist, and you can see that your life is your own creation, then why not create the most beautiful story for yourself?”― Miguel Ruiz

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Have you heard of the Art of Positive Reinforcement? Rewarding the behaviour you want in children with your attention, in order to encourage more of the good behaviour. According to aish.com, ‘Warm fuzzies, also known in the 1960s as “positive strokes,” is something that parents who want to raise emotionally healthy children cannot do without.’

I’m here to report: warm fuzzies make adults feel good and ‘emotionally healthy’ too. 

We can give warm fuzzies to others by being generous with supporting others, and we can give them to ourselves through practising self-appreciation.

This week, a dear friend, author and illustrator, Teresa Robeson posted a terrific piece on her blog called Decades of Progress.

‘Kim Zarins shared a post on Facebook of a well-known illustrator’s art as a child versus a piece he did recently, contrasting the improvements in his craft. I thought that was a fun thing to do.’

Me, too. I like the whole concept behind this post idea and it seems to me that this could be a good way of giving ourselves as artists, warm fuzzy material. First, we get the positive reinforcement from other people, our friends and peers who see the post.

Through the images on her blog, Teresa demonstrated how her artwork had evolved over the years. We all said, wow, your artwork is awesome.

Then, Teresa also got to bear witness to her own growth.

So, second, there is the fuzzy warmth inside of saying to ourselves, ‘Wow, your art has changed and improved.’

Teresa Robeson

A visual retrospective is a nice way to chart our progress. It creates positive reinforcement of ourselves. Warm Self Fuzzies.

This morning, I went back through the archives and scanned my artwork, which I’ve faithfully kept from the age of five. This is about taking stock.

So with this is mind, here are a few examples to show the evolution of my art…

Family portrait, age 5

Family portrait, Age 5

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Character portrait, Age 8

I loved drawing pictures at school. As a lot of writers do when they’re little, I made my own books. The above drawing of Roma is from my book, The Spring Fairies.

The Wateow, from 'The Colour Secret,' late teens

Character Study, colour pencil, late teens.

This picture is from ‘The Colour Secret.’ ‘The WaTEOW,” or Woman-at-the-end-of-the-world. It marked my first attempt at an early chapter book series, The Great Adventures of Splat the Wonder Dog.

MaryThought, pencil sketch, age 27

Teddy bear portrait, pencil sketch, age 20

I enjoyed art and I continued to sketch in pencil as a hobby after I left school.

 

Self-portrait, pencil sketch, age 25

Self-portrait, pencil, age 25

In my spare time, side-by-side with writing, and raising boys, I always did some sort of drawing and art.

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Character Portrait, ‘Free Wally!” age 29

When I was in my twenties, I started writing and illustrating picture books, experimenting with painting using gouache on simple watercolour washes. I took one of my picture book manuscripts, ‘Free Wally!’ to show a friend, Liz Sutherland, an artist and art teacher. Liz said, “They’re good. But you should learn oil portraiture, because you need to learn how to be bold.”

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Oil portrait, of my youngest son, Nathaniel, age 40

I studied oil painting with Liz for the next three or four years, through two pregnancies, when I could hardly reach the easel for my enormous stomach. By the time I finished my last oil portrait class, I had learned how to be BOLD!

Nice one. Retrospective done. Warm fuzzies abound!

How do you give yourself and others warm fuzzies? How have you kept a record of your creative evolution?

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Keep Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” ~ Henry Miller

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