Finding Your Starting Point

The starting point of discovering who you are, your gifts, your talents, your dreams, is being comfortable with yourself. Spend time alone. Write in a journal. Take long walks in the woods.
-Robin S. Sharma
Pointilism Butterfly Wings
Find your starting point today. Who knows where it will lead you!

Renewed

Inside myself is a place where I live all alone and that is where I renew my springs that never dry up.
-Pearl S. Buck
Caterpillar Wings Pointilism
I haven’t posted in so long so I wonder who will read this. Even if no one reads this, I’ve decided to renew my domain name for another year and continue my illustrations on napkins, scrap paper, receipts, newspapers, lunch bags, pizza boxes, and my sketch book. That’s my Chinese New Year’s Resolution. No, I’m not Chinese but since their New Year is Feb. 19th, I figure my resolution is just in time.
Stay warm and pick up a pen instead of your cell phone while you wait today.
Much love,
Mary

Finding Wings

A work in progress
A work in progress.

A New Year and a potential new project.

I decided to research different types of wings and create a sketchbook full of them. I feel like I could go anywhere with this: bat wings, bird wings, angel wings, dragonfly wings! You get the idea. I could eventually invent some sort of Steampunk version of wings. I could go for realism or fantasy. Maybe it will all lead to some metaphorical wings where I could find a way to fly out of the rut in which I have been wallowing.

So, I shall draw some wings for a clock. Maybe it will help time fly so I can move toward a happier upcoming event in my life. I am getting married this summer to a wonderful man. In case you were wondering why there were so many cups and plates at my diner table while I drew on napkins, it is because he was sitting across from me while I did it (in most cases). It’s nice when your creative antics has some support. So, that being said, I’m going to be really corny now and dedicate this napkin drawing blog to him!

And with that, a few more napkins drawn at Megabites in Ft. Greene and Dizzy’s Diner in Park Slope.

Eyes on the Candle Doodle IMG_9545New Year's Doodle 2015

On a side note, Dizzy’s Diner offers patrons a free cup of coffee with their purchase IF you can solve their riddles. The riddles change each day. Fun place! Happy New Year!

2014 in Review: My 1st Year with a Blog!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,700 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Coming to an End

Inspired by Street Artist Kurt Wenner
Inspired by Street Artist Kurt Wenner

Life moves very fast. It rushes from Heaven to Hell in a matter of a second.

-Paulo Coelho

This is not a napkin. I haven’t photographed one of my napkin drawings in a while but I started to work on bristol paper again. I was inspired by Kurt Wenner who created many 3D illusions on pavement using pastels. An old friend gave me his book, Asphalt Renaissance, which documents his journey through Italy as he makes a living from the change he collects for his pastel chalk creations. I’m fascinated by the whole idea of him living his passion, working for himself, and his technique. In fact, I read an excerpt about how one of his creations was viewed by the Pope John Paul II. He made a 75 ft. tall creation of The Last Judgement. Incredibly detailed! On the top of this creation is Heaven and the classical European version of what artist’s believed God must look like. I started to sketch it but discovered that I wanted to make it female. Based on what I learned in Catholic school, God is neither male nor female so I took some artistic license and created this drawing instead.

I have been away from my napkin doodling but I continue to draw. I went to Tom’s Coney Island Diner on the boardwalk not too long ago. The famous amusement park is closed down and the seagulls weave through the tracks of the Cyclone roller coaster. Small bits of snow intermingled with the waves. So many people go fishing off the piers, even in the winter. So, I drew a bit at the Diner and the waitress assumed I was a tattoo artist based on my illustrations. She said her manager did that stuff too. I took it as a compliment and realized that there was a very creative vibe coming from the patrons. There was even a motorcycle gang who met in the back for lunch. All walks of life sat at the front counter to eat hot food and see the football game. There’s something about just sitting near the beach that has a healing effect on people and let’s everyone just relax. It was a good vibe and I really needed it.

It’s the end of 2014. So much has changed. Some of it has been good and others, not so much. It’s hard to quantify it. One thing I know, I think the year of napkin doodling and blogging appears to be coming to an end. I’m proud of this body of work: the illustrations, the reflections, and the photographing of different places around Brooklyn. It’s both strange and gratifying to put my work out there for anyone to read. Thank you so much for letting me share this year with you as I doodled my way through all the tea and coffee in the neighborhood. As my mom would say, go gently!

Enjoy the holidays and have a very happy New Year!

Napkin Doodle Photograph Winner

Good Morning!

Some good news…

About a week ago, I posted a photo of a napkin doodle as I usually do. Usually, I take the photo but I forgot my camera that day. My fiancé who is knee deep into photography decided to take the photo for me (and I should have given him props in my blog for it). Click HERE to see the original blog.

What’s really, REALLY cool is that he won a photography competition through AdoramaPix on Facebook and got $50 in photo lab credit. I’d like to believe it’s all good karma for helping me out with my blog. The competition was to come up with a photo that fits the “Coffee” theme. The judges had nice things to say about different aspects of the photo including that they loved my artwork on the napkin. Made me feel pretty good.

If you have Facebook, you can check his winning photo out HERE!

Um, that’s all. ::curtsy::  …more napkin doodles to come.

Harvesting

There’s nothing in a caterpillar

that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.

-R. Buckminster Fuller a.k.a. Bucky

Drawn at the General Greene over breakfast.
Drawn at the General Greene over breakfast.

My weekend has been full of vineyards, corn mazes, farms, pumpkin patches, Harvest Festivals, and apple pie. Good weekend memories helped me get through a hectic Monday and has me wistfully longing for Columbus Day weekend. Granted, I still need to take allergy medication and load up on Vitamin C. However, the cool air sweater weather has me feel like I’m floating effortlessly down the streets of Brooklyn. I get hopeful whenever I see another tree begin to change color and have cravings for roasted corn.

How are you celebrating Autumn?

I love October

Happy October! Was browsing through my favorite blogs this morning and was really inspired by this holiday project. A Zentangler, which is a person who does a specific type of doodling, decided to doodle all over a plastic black pumpkin. I think I’m going to have to try this. Maybe my doodles need to go beyond the napkin and onto something three dimensional. Oh, the possibilities!

So yeah and check out this site. There’s a link to a Doodler’s Group called For the Love of Doodling.
The Adventures of a Dropstitcher’s blog is a lovely site that has plenty of ideas to inspire.

My Tangled Adventures

It’s my favorite time of year and October has got to be my favorite month.  I just love the color, the weather (for the most part – snow and ice storms not included) and Halloween!  I love to decorate for Halloween…

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This is a plastic craft pumpkin I bought at Michaels…it comes in black, white, orange and I think I saw some in pink.  I really had a lot of fun doing this black pumpkin with white Gelly Roll pen….and you can see my new tangle, Podzles there on the right side.  I have one more I’m working on in a orangy, metalic pen and I’m close to finishing that – it will be done this weekend.

In sheepy news – I’ve three more sketches to ink in and so many more to do…..I was hoping to put together a calender for the holidays, but I’m also getting ready for…

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Blue Forest Folktales

Read the folklore masters. Go to galleries. Walk in the woods. That’s what you need to be an artist or storyteller.

-Terri Windling

An older napkin drawing from a year ago that I never posted.
An older napkin drawing from a year ago that I never posted.

For the past month, I’ve been doing a reading enrichment program with students. I wanted to explore Hispanic Heritage Month with plenty of informational texts on Latin Americans who are responsible for many achievements in America. However, it was the folktales that have captured my imagination.

Without marketing or social media, these folktales have spread and have been retold to countless generations because of some overarching truth being extolled between the lines. The ethos of any culture can really be captured in these folktales. So, I’ve been combining my informational text with folktales from Mexico, Bolivia, Peru, and Guatamala. The lessons, the challenges, and the value systems of each culture are passed through these folktales and into my classroom.

It made me wonder, had politicians taken the time to read the folktales of other cultures, perhaps their emotional intelligence and diplomatic skills would be greatly enhanced. Since my classroom has children from a number of different countries, it’s interesting to hear their input and the conflicting perspectives of any given tale.

I read a Mexican folktale called Ashes for Gold. A man is tricked into trying to sell ashes, something considered relatively worthless, for gold. One Bengali student told me that ashes are actually used in brush one’s teeth in parts of her country. I wasn’t sure if this was true so I looked it up and she was right, according to National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh. Click HERE to see.

So, maybe political figures should sit in a multicultural public school while reading folktales to get a sense of the many ways different cultures may miscommunicate. All I know is that I felt like I had this clarity to see beyond all differences between cultures with these folktales for a minute. They are worth exploring to ignite that creative spark too.

So Happy Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15th-October 15th)! Now go read a folktale and let it inspire you.

Defending Our Rights to Create!

Artists are just children who refuse to put down their crayons.

-Al Hirschfeld

Doodle sent to my sister

Today I started my unofficial art club with the late students after school today. All of it is word of mouth but news spreads fast in the cafeteria. Children will just gravitate to where the drawing is happening and ask for whatever paper and pencils that I might have. We have the quietest table in the cafeteria. It almost seems like it’s a group meditation session where all the kids are lost in the trance of creating.

Sometimes it drives me nuts how schools cut Art programs the second there is an economic crisis. The Arts are just as important to the culture of our country as much as the psychological well-being of those who create it. Happier, well-adjusted people mean fewer crimes.

As a NYC resident, I can’t help but notice how the arts are directly responsible for the tourism industry and the economic growth of any given community. Take The Gates installation in Central Park by Christo and Jeanne-Claude in February 2005. It took several naysaying, short-sighted mayors before one finally approved it’s installation which brought a huge amount of tourism during one of the coldest winters ever in New York. So, how is Art not valuable to this countries’ economic growth? The Arts are just as important as, say, Math. They’d never cut Math from the curriculum! They shouldn’t cut the Arts either.

So, that’s my rant today. I wanted to help fund some of the artistic efforts in economically depressed neighborhoods. I felt inspired to donate to a non-profit organization called Art and Scraps in Detroit that collects materials for children to make found art. Found Art is basically creating sculptural art out of material that is found. Click HERE to check out the fundraising efforts of this organization. I really believe that investing in any of their Art programs will foster some promising talent and help the economy rebuild itself. I mean, look at Barcelona. They had the artist, Antoni Gaudi basically design the city. The result is a booming tourist industry.

If you’re curious about what Found Art looks like, my suggestion would be to check out the artist, Vik Muniz. He has an award winning documentary called The Wasteland that’s pretty moving. He uses garbage, sorry, ahem,  recyclable materials in order to create amazing portraits. He sells the photos of them at auctions. Here’s a look at the trailer…

So find an old pizza box, some old straws, or maybe a napkin and create some art on it today.  Express your creative spirit whenever you can. One day, I believe it will make a difference to someone out there.

Mary