Visualizing the Finish Line

pandamillionaire_01232015Since October 2014, I’ve been working on an outdoor panda art mural in downtown San Jose, CA. It’s been a while since I have worked on such a meaningful and long-term project. I hit a few setbacks–some due to Mother Nature, some due to professional schedule challenges, some due to me choosing to be a mother–but overall every minute of working on it has been a joy.

For the longest time, many areas of the mural were painted in a flat mid-tone color, and in need of either highlights or shadows to fully flesh out their respective renderings.  Even though I have been chipping away at all the painting tasks as best I can, one afternoon at a time, I have been feeling frustrated that the process hasn’t been coming together as quickly as I would have liked. (This is also probably due to the fact that I’m also a digital artist and fan of all the technical instant gratification we have at our fingertips today.)

Today was finally a breakthrough.  I enlisted three of my friends to assist me on the painting tasks, and together in the span of six hours we methodically worked through refining many of the shadow and highlight details.  I also personally was able to clean up a lot of drawing details that have been stumping me.  It was not easy, and we all fought through mental battles to stay on task, but by the end of the work night we could all clearly see that the mural was seriously taking shape and beginning to assume its final form.

Thanks to the help of my friends, today was the first day that I could finally visualize the finish line. It felt pretty amazing!

With consistency, dedication, a support system and hard work, success is always just around the corner :)


Creation of the Dark Side

pandamillionaire_01212015This evening, my son Griffith put on his Darth Vader pajamas, complete with cape, for the very first time. He was very impressed with them and started talking about how “cool” Darth Vader was. (Keep in mind his only experience of Star Wars comes from playing the Angry Birds Star Wars game…which is utterly brilliant and well-done but this is not yet the time to review it!)

It made me realize that I have drawn “Darth Pikachu” in my past fanart history, but have yet to draw Darth Vader Panda.

Feels good to cross another task off my bucket list :)


Art for Art’s Sake

pandamillionaire_01202015Painting is such a wonderful activity on many levels. On the surface, it’s extremely gratifying to simply apply a mark to an object because you wanted to.  On a deeper level, it’s a form of meditation to get lost in the repetitive motion of finessing a brush stroke.  On a deeper level still, every line and color choice reflects an emotion or state of mind in at that very moment.

I’m grateful for any day that I get to paint! (Which is going to be every day this year in 2015 ;) )


A Moment of Victory

pandamillionaire_01172015Recently I have been enjoying watching my son Griffith as he learns how to ice skate. (He decided that he wants to play ice hockey, so we will see how that goes…) During his very first lesson, he was actually the worst one in the group, constantly falling and the last to stumble through the basic drills.  Still, he told me that he had a good time, wanted to go back to the ice rink again, and was upset only because they didn’t actually play hockey that day.

Today was his second day of lessons. He actually had a slight turnaround in his attitude; he told me he was feeling unsure of himself, because he couldn’t skate without hanging onto the buckets (used to prop up beginning skaters).  All those fears disappeared once we got to the rink and got him suited up. He was placed into another class, where all the students were around the same skill level, and all needed to be propped up with buckets. Towards the end of the class, for some inexplicable reason he decided to leave his buckets behind and simply try skating.

Griffith took three confident ice skating strokes, and then fell on his knees.

I was watching him from the edge of the rink, and we locked gazes.  His eyes were sparkling, and I flashed him a big smile and threw up my arms in victory.  He had a huge smile on his face and proclaimed “I skated!!!”

It was truly amazing to witness Griffith’s thought processes as they manifested into physical actions.  I literally saw him figure out how to piece together everything he had learned in his class, to the point of his realization of how to actually ice skate. It was like a form of enlightenment.

Moments like these are the real jewels of being a parent. I can’t wait to see what Griffith is going to show and teach me next.