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Arrive at Thanksgiving Season with a Heart Full of Gratitude and Grace!

November usually marks the time when everyone on Social Media starts sharing their daily gratitude. Some make it through the month, some don’t. I don’t. As much as I am all for expressing gratitude, this doesn’t work for me. I do not get invested enough. I do not feel the benefits, at all.

What I do feel though is the overwhelm of meeting everyone’s expectations as the holiday season arrives. Friends post essays of thankfulness as their Facebook status. Then they post their shopping. How beautiful their pumpkin collection on the porch is. How many presents they were able to fit into the room. I’m sure you get it. To-do lists and to-get lists get longer, days get shorter, tempers get shorter while coffee is the only thing that keeps me afloat…

making a payment with a smartphone
Photo by Jack Sparrow on Pexels.com

A few years back I had an idea of combining my drawing attempts with a journal format. 

 This is how I started my first ever gratitude art journal. This was when I felt tremendous relief from stress and overwhelm. Then I invited a couple of people to join me and that’s how Gratia Partum was born.

Gratia Partum is Latin for Creative Grace. In this community we support each other’s intention to have a consistent gratitude practice through art. We share, support and encourage each other to use our creative spark daily. To focus on the things we can be grateful for, allow ourselves to grow and learn.

Consistent practice of gratitude, through art in particular,  has proved to improve people’s lives in so many areas! 

Jilda says,

“The gratitude art challenge gave me a whole new outlook at art expression. Joining up with a group of like-minded people really opened up my mind to being grateful for simple things and art.”

Tammy says,

“Experiencing the intricacies and depth of gratitude since joining the group has been incredible. I have such gratitude for gaining assurance in myself (with nearly no art experience) to fully participate in a group with no fear of judgment, but rather with acceptance and encouragement.”

Other members of the group share improvements in:

  • Stress relief
  • Improved mental health
  • Peace found in every day
  • Deeper and more relaxed breathing
  • Inner calm
  • So much needed me time
  • Have more mental energy
  • Understanding and dealing with overwhelm

Sadly, self care often gets pushed to the back burner. It seems easy to start, but hard to stay consistent. Lack of accountability and support of the community  allows us to fall through way too easy and way too soon. This is especially true when it comes to our mental self-care and growth. It is something that can ALWAYS be done later. Or can it?

Here is what other members of the group say:

Lee Ann:

“I felt that sometimes life gets overwhelming and doing the Gratitude challenge in the next class made me feel that even though life gets hard the times get tough you can always look in your heart and find people still have gratitude and good thoughts and almost everything.”

Nancy:

“Such a wonderful learning experience.

At 70 years young, I am learning more than I ever imagined. Different kinds of media art. Finally learning to draw. Finally, keeping an art journal (gratitude) is the most amazing thing.

Enjoying like minded people. And learning types of paint and ways to use them. The opportunity to grow here is endless. So so grateful.”

In the Gratia Partum community I will be teaching and supporting you every step of the way. I will share cute bite size tutorials you can apply in your journaling right away as well as I will share my own private gratitude journal to help you get inspired and get out of the fun of a “blank page scare.” – I get those too! 

We will share a gratitude art journaling session twice a week. Those sessions will be broadcasted Live into the Facebook group and will be available for replay. Those sessions usually spark deep conversations which is why they will not be shared anywhere else outside the private Facebook group.

Read what Katherine said:

“Life seems overwhelming at times but channeling my art through a journal has helped bring me closer to understanding why I have felt overwhelmed. Art is love to know and love yourself.”

And Diane,

“I LOVE these sessions! I’ve found and embraced art/creativity as the missing link in journaling about grief. Thank you Luba!”

I am so grateful to have created this community where everyone is welcome and everyone can find what they seek.

Sherri Lynn says,

“Art Therapy is a method of rehabilitation since I had major brain surgery in 2021. I’ve been working on Art with Luba doing pieces (although I tend to be very slow) since later the same year. When I saw the Art Gratitude Challenge come up I thought it would be another great avenue for my rehabilitation. What I’ve found though is it’s therapeutic. A safe space to share my art and my journey. An avenue to explore other mediums and see how I do with them. For me it’s more than a challenge…it has become a part of my life.”

Gratia Partum Community is open for the 2022 session! Starting August 25 we will spend 3 months immersing ourselves into the art of gratitude and creative grace. In this three months program you will learn how to keep an art journal, get exposed to multiple mix media techniques, become a part of a like minded community and, most of all, create a habitual practice of gratitude. And when Thanksgiving and Christmas arrive, we’ll be ready!

To join the community, click here…

Artist Block or Lack of Balance

I just can’t do anything creative nowadays. I stare at the blank page and feel nothing but frustration. Even when I manage to pull out something I end up feeling drained and empty for days afterwards.

Does this sound familiar to you? 

I hadn’t had this problem until the first week of school here. 

Our family has been homeschooling for seven years now. When the pandemic hit, we were all set for schooling from home. We had to adjust to not having our regular activities just as the rest of the world but we managed. 

This year, though, my oldest started middle school and my youngest is in the 3rd grade. These are very demanding academically and my help is required all the time. If I could assign the page and switch to something else for a bit last year, I’m required to be hands on all the time now. 

I am tired. I find it hard to do anything creative on the scale I used to before this school year. By the end of the day, I just want to shut the door and be left alone. Yet, I still have this nudge deep inside that says, no, get back to your desk. Paint something. Make something. Connect with your people. Guilt creeps in. 

As overwhelming as this can be, I find myself falling back to my planning and organizational skills from ways back. I take a deep breath and start looking for the pockets of time (and energy.)

One of my favorite pockets is weekend mornings. I discussed it with my husband and he has my back. Weekend mornings are for catching up on everything business and creativity related! 

Have you seen this diagram that represents life balance? It’s in the shape of a triangle and the angles are happy kids, perfect home, and career. It says you can only have two. Ha! In my case, I work with my kiddos most of the time and then I work on my art and business. I have a couple tiny pockets when I get groceries, cook dinners, and clean up. BUT, my home is far from perfect and I’m ok with it. 

Did you notice how this triangle has nothing to do with my mental health? Yes, I noticed it too! 

As creatives we need to have outlets for the juices to flow! Otherwise we become stagnant and nothing good comes out of us. One of my biggest energy flow outlets is belly dance. Yes, you read that right. I practice belly dancing. I take a class weekly and I rent dance studio space to have an hour of self-guided dance practice. And, you know what’s funny? That time that I have carved out just for myself helps me stay grounded, have patience for my family, and have creative energy to put even more out on weekend mornings. 

I think it is wrong trying to put balance into a triangle. I think it should be a circle. And in the middle of that circle is HEALTH. Mental, spiritual and physical. 

Then, it’s the filter that everything in our lives goes through. What goes in, goes out. What we watch, what we eat, who we listen to, who we follow, and who is in our immediate circle influences both our Trinity of Health and what we do in the world.

The outer circle may look different for you. You may need more or fewer sections, but do make sure self-care takes up a third of them. Why? – it’s only to make sure you don’t give more than you have. Draining yourself dry only does one thing. It damages our Trinity of Health and then our bodies can’t be productive and/or creative.

So yes, look at your daily life. Look for pockets of time that you can give to yourself unapologetically and regularly. Help the juices flow, check and clean your filters regularly. Man! We take better care of our coffee makers than ourselves, sometimes!

Once you start this consistent flow, you will start to notice creativity to shine through your day. I know it because this is how I do it.

Thanks for reading this article! I have a new pocket of time in my schedule and hope to write more in my blog now. Yay to drop-off children’s activities! What would you ask me if we sat down for a coffee one day? 

Thrifty Art Thursday: Cook Book Stand

Thrifty Art Thursday:

Cook Book Stand

As I was watching my friend’s Tara video where she revamped a picture into something new this idea was born. I broadcast Live video to my Facebook page, YouTube channel and Twitch.tv from my home and take on a new project every Thursday at 2pm Central time.

My debut was about redoing this cook book stand, or, at least, that’s what I think it is.

there was nothing wrong with it, but the colors…

2 coats of gesso

So I got to work and applied two coats of white gesso. Completely unnecessary as I realized later.

I applied a nice coat of Mod Podge and added the torn sheet with quotes on top. You are welcome to download the free printable here.

Then, another coat of mod podge and more pieces from the same sheet.

Choosing colors can be a chore, so I went into my Pinterest Color Collection and printed out this one. I feel awful for not tagging where this color palette is from, I promise I’ll do better next time. If you know who this image belongs to, please, let me know and I’ll give them proper credit.

matching colors and paints!

I painted the stand making sure the mod podge was completely dry.

I added doodle designs with my gold Posca pen.

then, some glitter and let it dry.

The last few steps were far in between since it’s cold and spray paint took forever to dry.

and, the final product!

Fancy Number Sign for a Camper

I was very excited to hear from L.A. who was looking to add a number to the spot where her camper was resting.

She needed that number in order to have the deliveries know where to leave her packages.

I started with a little digital mock up.

Then, I used carbon transfer paper to transfer the image onto two wooden blocks.

I first worked on the numbers. They were to be turquoise. I use a hand rolled cone filled with paint to make sure the numbers were filled in nicely. I used DecoArt Americana in Sea Breeze. Such beautiful color!

the numbers took about a week to dry. They were dry to the touch, but acrylic paints need about 2 weeks to fully cure. I gave it a week and then started to work on flourishes.

I used Arteza Pearl Copper Gold A129 to create lacy swirls. Again, I did this with a hand rolled cone filled with paint. This is artist quality paint and it is much thicker than your regular craft paints. It was a bit harder to squeeze out of the cone. This part went much slower!

When the work was complete, I allowed it to dry for another week or so. Then, I sprayed two coats of clear polyurethane, letting it to dry thoroughly in between the coats.

And, of course, I had to add the image I sent L.A. after the signs were complete!

Kindness Rocks: How to Make them Last

Kindness rocks are becoming a more and more popular way for people to express their creativity while supporting others. One can find a kindness rock almost anywhere: left on a shelf of a grocery store, on a bench in a park, somewhere along a walking trail.

Some kindness rocks feature pretty pictures, other have funny faces doodled on them, some have positive affirmations while others will quote the Bible.

No matter what the kindness rock represents, it is about uplifting others.

When I started to create my carepebbles, I’ve learned quite a few very interesting things!

Acrylics take much longer then overnight to cure fully!

If you don’t want your acrylics to peel right off, give them at least a week to dry and set. It’s even better to give them full three weeks, but who’s got patience for that?

Your kindness rock needs to be sealed!

Very sad, but true, when exposed to the elements, your pretty art work will peel and chip! Oh, no! Not only it ruins your kindness rock and the purpose of it, it also puts the paint trash out in the nature. We don’t want that! We need to seal that paint!

Three ways to seal your rock!

Way number one. Use epoxy/resin. Mix a small amount, cover the top of the rock (after you allowed the paint to dry and cure, remember?), let dry completely. After 24 hours, if there are any run offs, use sanding paper on them. Next, flip you rock upside down and cover the other part. Give it another 24 hours to dry and take care of the imperfections.

Way number two. Also epoxy/resin. This is how I do it. Mix a small amount of resin. While wearing gloves (please, exercise safety and follow manufacturer’s guidelines), put a little bit of resin in your hand (with the gloves on). Pick up your rock and work the resin all the way around the rock. It’s much like getting soap to leather, accept for foam would be bad in this case. Let it dry for 24 hours (or as long as the resin package tells you). Use sandpaper to take care of the run off and such.

Way number three. And the Easiest Way. Do this outside. Follow manufacturer’s directions for temperature and humidity. Grab an old cookie sheet. Line it up with wax paper. Set your rocks on the wax paper. Spray with Polyurethane. Not too much, though! Allow 24 hours to dry. Replace the wax paper, set up your rock, this time upside down and stray again ensuring full coverage. Allow another 24 hours to dry. I usually allow my carepebbles another week to sit and cure before I’d put them out somewhere.

Do you make kindness rocks? How do you protect yours?

Do You Like to Color?

My art journey started with my very first attempts with adult coloring books.

A few years ago I really needed to find a way to have some “me time” while being a stay-at-home of two young boys. I picked up a couple of coloring books from Amazon, ordered some not-so-fancy gel pens and got to work.

Funny thing, I found out the coloring pages drove me even more stressed than I was before. Just an idea of matching or choosing the right colors was so intimidating! I was completely out of my comfort zone.

I also noticed how the lines on those sheets kept me “in line” and didn’t allow me to do my own thing.

Fast forward a few years. I am drawing my own coloring sheets just for the fun of it AND I have learned enough to be able to transfer them into a digital form for those who enjoy coloring!

I’ve uploaded two brand new sheets today; the Aloe Vera inspired by the plant in my driveway and the Succulents-1 inspired by the plants on my porch. 🙂

it’s coming back from winter, it will look much better in a couple of weeks, haha!

Guess who’s been spending some time in front of the house watching the boys riding bikes and playing with their friends?

I love my succulents! And they love my porch here in Central Texas.
check it out in the Shop 🙂 It’s free to download
https://www.lubacarlson.com/product-category/free-coloring-sheets/
this one is a free download too 🙂 https://www.lubacarlson.com/product-category/free-coloring-sheets/

Is Blogging even my Thing?

Ha! That’s a great question to ask myself when I feel like I’m failing everyone who reads my blog by procrastinating and not posting new entries.

The truth is that it is much easier for me to communicate through image and bullet points, my brain feels stuck every time I need write something decent.

As I’m looking for a good solution, I am starting to read Lisa Congdon’s book on How to Build an Artist Career. And, what do you know, she suggests that blog posts needn’t be lengthy and fully researched. They can be just a short share of what is happening in my life.

So it is. The decision is made! I will do my best to share my daily life, sketches that don’t make it into social media and whatever it is around me that inspires me to move this art thing along 🙂

How does that sound?

Are you my reader? Would you mind saying hello? I would LOVE to know if someone’s reading, LOL

Love you!

Mr. Bushy Tail Fox and Henna

bushy tail fox henna

Wow! This was a while back and I never published it!

This design was first created in my sketch book while I was sharing my vacation with my family at the Azov Sea in Ukraine. I shared the sketch in my Instagram feed and my good friend Grace reached out to me to have it done on her arm.

Beautiful Grace at West Pecan Coffee and Beer with her gorgeous Bushy Tail Fox

Henna is an amazing way to connect and reconnect. We had so much fun watching the fox emerge out of faint lines and getting framed in the juicy leafy diamond shape frame.

Juicy leaves

What is your spirit animal? Would you wear body art with it?

henna fox

Fall Mandala Henna

I created this design to help me teach the concept of combining ornamental elements, such as acorns here with a traditional mandala.

I had so much fun working with my model! She was my inspiration and as you can see below, the design came out crisp and very gothic. Gosh, I just love it and can’t get enough of it!

I think dark colored nails and purple glittery background totally helps with all the gothic impression!

The acorns are so cute and lovely! I have the acorns element repeat itself three time throughout the sleeve design.

The fingers were a bit tricky. I used parallel thin lines which got filled in later and since we were two hours in already and it was a bit dark, the fingers took a bit more work. The leaves on the top had finished them nicely, don’t you think?