Flowers

It’s the fourth day of my 60 day sketchbook challenge and the third day of my 31-day writing challenge.

Today, when I sat down to sketch, all I knew was that I wanted to focus on putting colours on paper and not on drawing lines. I wanted to get out of my head.

Looking at the outcome, it turned out to look like a bunch of flowers.A bunch of flowers

The bunch of flowers

 


Flowers (31 day writing challenge 3/31)

Not sure if gouache is a medium I like working with. I love watercolours for their translucency and I love acrylics for their opacity. With gouache I’m getting the feeling that I am stuck somewhere in between. But before I shape a final opinion, I’ll be experimenting further with gouache in this sketchbook. Everybody deserves a fair chance, and so does gouache, hehe. Besides, I do have some ideas I’d still like to try with gouache.

For me, working with gouache is probably comparable to riding say, a bicycle, a snowboard, or like driving a car: it takes time to get used to it and routined practice to master it. Once familiar with the basics, things start getting more fun, experimental and daring. So I am still in the process of learning. And pretty much everything that happens is a surprise (for the better or the worse).

I am also not used to the sketchbook’s paper. It is 120 grams perforated paper and I cannot apply too much water or colour because the pages get all wrinkly. For my illustrations or watercolour artworks, I usually use rough and thick watercolour paper.

Also, I am not really a person that paints abstract. When I create, I usual start out with an image in my head then draw the lines (which at this point can turn out completely different compared to the image I had in my head when I started out). Finally, I add colour. Now colour is a tricky business with me. I once watched a documentary on art. There they said that some people saw lines and others light. Impressionist artists like Monet was given as an example for an artist that saw light. I believe Dalì would be an example of an artist that saw lines. After watching the documentary, I already had the suspicion that I was a line person. Today, I do believe that I am more of a line person than a light person. Or maybe, I am just a light person in disguise!?

In any case, I’d like to expand my work process and materials I can use to multiply my options on how I can express my inner self through images.

Now, I am mainly referring to my artwork series ‘Paradigm Shift’ (acrylic on canvas), which has been advancing terribly slow, because I’ve been more busy with illustrations and digital artwork. If I want these paintings not only to advance quicker but also to turn out as experessive as I see them in my head, feel them in my heart and in my soul, I will have to learn to switch easily from head, to heart, to soul and back as required. I’ve realised that, being too much in my head has only blocked this artwork serie’s progress. The goal is, that it should become little less control and a little more creative and unsurpressed flow.

Bedtime!


Good night world.


 

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Time

Doing a little writing challenge and combining it with my daily sketch for 60 days.

I’ll be writing everyday at least 500 words (unedited) for 31 days. Both challenges are intended for the extra exercise and routine.

Of course I am also wishing to create engaging content for you, too. But please forgive me if I’m just rambling on.

As for today, it marks the third day of my daily sketch and the second day of the writing challenge.

conceptoftime
Time: gouache and gold ink; daily sketch day 3/60

 

I did not intend to paint clocks. And, had I realised what a terribly complex topic writing about the concept of time would turn out to be, I would have painted some simple blotches to which I could have wrote just anything! But I stuck it through, for better of for worse. Tomorrow I’ll need to come up with something simpler to write about. 😉


Time (31 day writing challenge 2/31)

The last couple of years, I’ve had a feeling that time is passing really fast. And I mean, really fast! 2016 felt not different. Is time flying by? Or am I flying with time?

Accepting age as a factor for a fast time perception alone does not satisfy me at all. I really dislike when people blame ‘whatever’ on age. But I’ll give the age argument a fair chance and contemplate its influence on my personal time perception:

Let me travel back to when I was a toddler. I barely remember anything in the first couple of years of my life. Or let’s phrase it differently; I’ve go no memory of time related sensations. I’m guessing, as a child, I still did not have enough awareness to add the time factor into the experiences I was making. Early on in life, my only concern was to quench my thirst or hunger, poop, rest or explore this strange new place I found myself in and be as cute as possible to make sure the ones feeding me (my parents – a concept I did not understand in the beginning of my existence) will continue with keeping me warm, dry and well fed.

Around the age of three and four, memories started to kick in and got archived. Gradually there were more things to remember and more things to look forward to. A great experience wished to be repeated and not so great ones, well, avoided. And before I even realised it happening, I was stuck in either past memories (good or bad) or dreaming or fearing the future, disassociating myself from the present.

I feel that my ability as a child to be more in the present did not stem from my age as such, but from my disinterest in the past and the future and an in-the-moment concentration on what I was experiencing. The more I grew into the time concept of past and future, the more I was jolted out of the ‘timeless’ experience of the now into a decelerated perception of my passing days and existence.

As I grew older troubles and worries derived from challenging circumstances made life harder. Worries in particular are like chains that couple past traumas with future angst. It’s like an endless loop in coding or a dog chasing its tale. There is no clear beginning nor visible end to worries. Looking back I can say that worries decelerated my time perception massively.

Until, well, because I set upon a path to consciously return to the present moment, which in my case would be by means of yoga and meditation I was able to break out of the endless loop and feeling of stagnation.

Time can pass quickly when we are engaged in something we enjoy, but it can also pass quickly while we are engaged in so much ‘doing’ that we miss out on the ‘being’, which in my opinion is also a lesser than desirable state of being. There needs to be a balance of movement and stillness within time.

Thinking about it, from a happy person’s perspective life will not seem much longer than a blink of an eye. For a person who is suffering, life is an endless endurance and time seemingly stands still.

The thing is, circumstances cannot necessarily be influenced directly or even changed. Life will always bring its fair share of challenging situations. There will always be things do that I do not enjoy so much. But, whatever the circumstance, I can always decide to be happy and engage in life with utmost awareness and aliveness to make the best of the present moment and fly with time.

Time should not just fly by nor should it stand still. We should fly with time and make best use of it.

 


For now, I just want to fall into bed!

Good night and sweet dreams.


Happy New Year! To a delightful 2017!

I’m sitting in my office/kitchen looking out the window and admiring snowflakes softly floating from the night sky. It’s the first snowfall this winter season. To me, snowflakes are absolutely beautiful, magical, divine.

When looking at a whole year, snowy nights are rather rare. Maybe this is what makes them so special?

But now back to what I actually showed up to this post for:

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I hope your two first days started off well!

May you experience a juicy year full of

love, light, and positively surprising and consciousness expanding moments!

To a delightful 2017!

Spirit Animal Guides for 2017: whale, octopus, slug, hawk, white peacock
Spirit Animal Guides for 2017: whale, octopus, slug, hawk, white peacock

Every end of the year, I do a shamanic journey to find my spirit animal for the upcoming one. This year is no different, except that it brings with it an abundance of spirit animal guides to join my year’s journey: whale, octopus, slug, hawk and white peacock.

I’m also getting a strong feeling that this year will have its fair share of possibilities and upcoming opportunities. My only concern is whether I’ll be brave enough to seize the opportunity as it arises. The thing about opportunities is: they are fleeting and cannot be thought over for too long. Unfortunately, I can be an ‘over thinker’ and I believe, I’ve missed many a good opportunity because of it. May my spirit animal guides help me out of the maze of over thinking into the vast skies of clarity.

Furthermore, this totem pole marks the first page of a sketch book with 60 blank pages. I received it for my birthday last year and have decided to do a simple sketch (mainly colour) a day. The purpose of this tiny exercise is to relax into whatever is being created. Kind of like a ‘creative stretching’ or ‘colour meditation’. It’s about letting go of the mind and being the observer of where the hand and brush takes me.

It does not have to result in anything other than trying out something new and daring to fail (as in disharmonious colour combinations, or wobbly lines or whatever else I [my judgemental mind] may not be happy with). I think it is important to have the freedom to fail in art. Because, maybe I will created 59 pages of b.s. but the 60th page will be a revelation of new creative potentials. It might even take 60x60page sketchbooks before that happens. Doesn’t matter, it will take as many pages and sketchbooks as it will take. All that counts is that I show up to the page and fill them with lines and colour as well as breathe deeply and relax into the activity.

page 2 of 60
page 2 of 60

 


Time to breathe deeply. Good night.


Advent Day 19: Christmas Gift Boxes

Here a very quick illustration for today’s Advent day 19, because my day was spent wrapping Christmas gifts:

Christmas Gift Boxes
Christmas Gift Boxes

 

I really enjoy wrapping presents. A lot of love and attention to detail goes into the gifts I wrap. I’ve never managed to get a paper, add a ribbon and call it a day.

Most commonly, I use wrapping tissue in all possible colours and layer them. To me, wrapping tissue is the watercolour amongst the wrapping papers. And, I always have a stock of wrapping tissue in various colours at home.

Another type of wrapping paper I like to use is the natural brown one. There are endless possibilities with this paper.

Finally, on some occasions I will even use fabrics.

 

It just makes me happy, when those on the receiving end not only enjoy the gift but the process of seeing the gift and unwrapping it, too.

As a child, I used to make many, many Christmas presents for my parents. No matter how small the gift, each one would be wrapped separately.

Presents wrapped-up were (and still are) a delight to my eyes. So much so, that I would prolong the opening moment to such extent that my parents would get all jittery and started persuading me to start opening the gifts!

When I finally gave in to their wish, I would take it nice and slow with unwrapping. Ribbon after ribbon, sticky tape after sticky tape. I made sure no paper or ribbon was ruined. Because, you know, maybe it could be used to make something –  I don’t know – just something.

Still today, I am not the tear open gift ‘unwrapper’. I still enjoy looking at wrapped gifts – even if they are not meant for me.

I guess it’s just my ‘thing’.

(In case you were wondering, I’ve never ironed wrapping paper… ok, ribbons and fabrics? yes; paper? no)

 

Do you have a ‘thing’ when it comes to gift wrappings?


Happy 19th day of Advent and see you tomorrow.


Advent Day 17 – Marks my Bday & White Peacock Revisited

Yep, I’m a full-fledged Sagittarius.

Usually, I don’t write about my birthday – but today something is somewhat different.

Yesterday’s ‘White Peacock’ illustration was so disturbing to me. I literally loathed it! And this feeling continued throughout the night and during today’s Advent and, well, my birthday, too.

I decided, the illustration needed to be revisited. I needed to create an improved version for today’s advent – although I had many other ideas: cake with candles, gingerbread man with birthday cake, huge cupcake with candle, Mrs Santa baking birthday cake, etc.

But the power of the White Peacock was stronger and demanded my attention. And, it was only after another session of peacock feather and symmetry frustration that I understood why.

 

Peacock Revisited
Peacock Revisited

 

The way I see it, birthdays mark the beginnings of a personal new year.

And although, in my case, the general New Year is only two weeks away from my personal one, these transitions happen differently, yet possess identical power in terms of introspection.

Every general New Year, I seek out an animal spirit totem that will guide me with its wisdom through the new year.

To find the animal spirit totem, I will use a deck of cards. If a real-life animal gets my attention before I lay the deck of cards on New Year’s eve, I will go with it. Last year it was a gecko and it indeed guided me well through this year.

Sometimes, it takes me a while to register the animal that is seeking my attention.

Like with the white peacock, where it took me a good day of annoyance over an illustration to tune into its symbolism.

To recognise the animal messenger (whether in meditations, dreams, in real life, in my mind, or even whilst googling for something entirely different),  something in my mind, heart or soul needs to start to move (annoyance – or amazement, awe, disgust, etc.). It usually triggers some kind of emotional or cognitive response.

And this is what happened today:

I was working on the peacock illustration when I received a beautiful birthday message from a very dear friend of mine that touched me to tears. One of the things he wrote was:

May you shine like a Sun for centuries in the millions of hearts! ‘Lavanya’ [meaning of name] is the life force and you represent that! ~ Madan

I was not feeling ‘unhappy’ today. I had a nice day. But maybe I could describe the feeling with ’empty’ or ‘pointless’ and still discontent with the ‘bloody’ peacock.

Upon reading Madan’s touching message, things shifted to the better. I also felt the urge to research white peacock animal spirit totem meanings.

I discovered, there is a connection between Madan’s message, the meaning of my name and the message of the white peacock.

In short, if I really wish to tap into my life force, the force (wait a minute, this reminds me: the new Star Wars movie is out! 😉 – anyways, where was I? Ah yes – ) that makes me shine from within and gives me the ability to touch hearts as I move down the path of life:  White Peacock will be my guide in the upcoming year.

Also, quite clear to me now: the illustration is not to my liking yet,  because I need yet to ‘become’ the White Peacock.

There is much more to the White Peacock’s message, but I will leave it at this for now. I’ve got 365 days to imbibe its message and teachings – and to get the illustration right! – Don’t worry, I will not post ‘a peacock a day’ until 17th Dec 2017! 😀

 


May the force be with you!


Advent Day 12: Mrs Santa’s Chocolate Cake Recipe

I was so tired last night when I posted this, that I forgot to add a few details like pictures of the cake itself!

You’ll see, it’s pretty much what Mrs. Santa is holding in her hands in this illustration.

Mrs Santa's easy-bake, gluten-free, vegan Chocolate Cake recipe
Mrs Santa’s easy-bake, gluten-free, vegan Chocolate Cake recipe

 

Simple Gluten-Free, Vegan Chocolate Cake Recipe

PREPARATION TIME: 40-45 min (excluding cooling off the cake)

What you’ll need:

TOOLS

a large bowl that is comfortable to whisk in

a whisk

a cake form
(I use a 28 cm round cake form, but it can easily be smaller, square, heart-shaped, little cupcake forms, etc. you can let your imagination run wild)

INGREDIENTS FOR THE CAKE

Dry ingredients 

11/2 cups or 120 grams gluten free flour

1/4 cups or 20 grams raw cocoa powder

3/4 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp finely grained Himalayan salt

1/2 cup or 100-110 grams raw cane sugar

(while typing down this recipe, I had a thought: as the Christmas season is upon us, you might also like to try adding some spice to the dry ingredients like 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder [haven’t tried this yet], or 1/2 tsp of cardamom powder, or ginger powder might also be an interesting taste variation)

Wet ingredients 

1 tsp bourbon vanilla extract

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

6 tbsp coconut oil

1cup or 235 ml of water

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 190° Celsius

Put the above mentioned dry ingredients in a bowl and stir with a whisk.

Now add all the wet ingredients – except for the water – and whisk it so you get a bit of a smooth wet center in the bowl.

Then, slowly add the water while whisking the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients starting from the center.

The dough should turn soft and gluey.

Sometimes this happens before the cup of water is empty (at around 220 ml); this is when I stop adding water.

Now, whisk just long enough for the dough to have an even consistency.

As it is gluten-free flour, it will not rise as you may be used to with other types of flour and beating it will not make the difference.

Oil the cake form bottom and sides, then add the cake dough.

Put it in the oven and wait for 35 minutes.

That’s it. Done!

 

VARIATIONS on how you can prepare the cake to serve

 

easybakeglutenfreechocolatecake
Easy-bake, gluten-free, chocolate cake and its serving variations.

 

THE SIMPLE ONE

You can treat a piece of this cake like a croissant.

This is also why I call this cake a ‘Chocolate Flat Bread’.

It can be simply enjoyed like a slice of toast or a croissant adding your favourite jam  on top (I personally love cherry jam combined with the chocolate flavour of this cake).

If you really looove chocolate, you can also use a vegan cocoa butter spread – it gives the cake some extra creamy moisture. However, for some, it might just be a chocolate flavour overkill.

 

THE ONE WITH THE POWDERED SUGAR TOPPING

This variation is nice for decorating the cake.

I like to make heart or flower cut-outs, which I add before I sprinkle the powdered sugar on the cake to create a nice pattern.

You can enjoy this powdered topping cake plain or with jam as in ‘The Simple One’.

 

THE ONE FOR SPECIAL OCCASIONS

On some occasions, you might want the cake to look a little fancier. But due to time constraints, you may still desire a fairly simple cake. Here is what I do:

For the double/triple layer cake, I bake two cakes.

I add a thin layer of jam or icing of choice on the upper side of the bottom cake layer.

Then, I add the second cake layer on top. That’s it!

You can now add powdered sugar as in the above variation or an icing of choice as a topping.

 

ICING suggestions

80 grams of cocoa butter 100 grams or more (depending on your sweet tooth)

raw powdered cane sugar

Making the icing

Melt the cocoa butter in a bain marie and let it cool off to a creamier state.

Slowly keep adding the powdered sugar and stir it into the cocoa butter (I use a hand blender for this, but it is not really necessary).

Keep adding the powdered sugar until you reach the desired sweetness and consistency.

Variations of the icing flavour

Add 1 banana to the icing mix (add a bit of blueberry or raspberry or beetroot juice for a nicer colour) or

Add a bit of lemon/lime

Enjoy

***

As I never mix dairy with chocolate (for Ayurvedic food combining principle reasons), all my chocolate creations are vegan.

That is why my icing suggestions for this cake will also always be vegan. 

All produce I use for this cake are organic.

***


Bon apétit and happy 12th day of Advent!


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Advent Day 10: Decorating the Christmas tree

Decorating the Christmas tree
Decorating the Christmas tree

I think the upcoming Supermoon is getting the best of me. Or all my muses went on holidays without notice.

I’ve been experimenting around on my Wacom in Photoshop trying to come up with THE idea for today’s advent illustration.

You know, ‘THE’ idea. The little masterpiece of masterpieces.

But regardless how much I dug into the creative soup of my inner something, I remained utterly uninspired.

Not even experimenting with various Photoshop tools helped… so, I’m calling it a day and share with you ‘that’ what ‘happened’.

I do not feel ‘that’ it was worth the stiff neck and aching shoulders.

But, it is what it is and, as the French would say: c’est la vie.

I’m off to do some relaxing yoga postures and then straight to bed, tomorrow is another day.


Namaste, Aloha, So Much Love


Advent Day 9: Snowflake Whisperer

Snowflake Whisperer: made with Photoshop
Snowflake Whisperer: made with Photoshop

Snowflake Whisperer

With the first snowfall, the girl went to a nearby forest to make a wish.

She did this every year.

She said the first snowfall brought magic with it.

After her wish was made, she’d close her eyes and listen.

She’d listen to the ancient stories the snowflakes had to tell.

No matter when and where,

they always had some wisdom to share.

 

Something I’ve noticed about the first snowfall of the season: it brings a special kind of magic with it.

I’ve observed how most people’s faces brighten up with a beaming smile upon seeing the first snowflakes descend from the sky.

Regardless of how big a frown they were wearing.

Even if for a mere moment only, a childlike innocence – originating from the depths of their souls – takes the lead.

And, for a fraction of a moment, their inner child can escape its cage and come out and play.

May we allow our inner child to play freely with all the snowflakes and beyond.


Good night everyone and pleasant dreams!


 

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Advent Day 3: Cinnamon Hot Chocolate Recipe

Yesterday’s illustration was inspired by a cinnamon hot chocolate I had made for myself because I was struggling with ideas and just needed to take a step back. It was a little miracle drink, as after a few sips, I knew what I wanted to create!

Today, on the third day of Advent I thought I’d share the recipe with you. So here we go:

Ingredients for one person:
(I use all organic produce)

cinnamonchococup

Two thumb-sized ginger roots (peeled and sliced in thin slices)
200 ml water
250 ml almond milk (unsweetened)
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
1/4 tsp Himalayan salt
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp raw cocoa powder
23 drops of liquid stevia (or 1 tsp honey/raw cane sugar/maple syrup/agave syrup)

Yay! Let’s make it:

Peel and slice the ginger.
Bring the water with ginger to boil and let it simmer until the amount of water is reduced to about 150 ml.
While the ginger water is simmering:
Add the almond milk in a mixer cup (should be heat resistant) with all the other ingredients and blend a bit (I use a hand blender).
Add the hot ginger water and blend thoroughly until you’ve got it as fluffy as desired. You can also decorate the foam with a bit of cocoa powder in the end.

That’s it!

Now it’s time to grab your favourite glass, mug, cup, whatever makes you feel cosiest.

cinnamonhotchoco1

Enjoy!

***

This recipe is not carved in stone, it can be adapted to your taste buds’ liking and preference.

The reason why I do not suggest cow’s milk in this recipe:
Based on ayurvedic food combining principles, cocoa powder mixed with cow’s milk becomes toxic for the body.

Also, the reason I do not boil the almond milk is because, to me, the taste changes unfavourably. But, maybe you’ll like it.

If you are going to drink it cold, it could be tricky with the coconut oil as it will become thick and lumpy.

***

If you do decide to make this drink, I’d love to hear how you like it!

 

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