Inspired by change, challenge and creativity

End of Month Potpourri-June 2015

seedhead drawing

“Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.”  ~Maya Angelou



One of the people I was introduced to in the April Love course, I wrote about last week, was Andrea Schroeder.  She has a wonderful website called, Creative Dream Incubator.  And it is here where I was reconnected with my creative dream, and began drawing again.



daylily drawingAndrea has a great free 10-day course called, Give Your Dream Wings, and I loved this easy 10-minute a day class.  It finally gave me the push to connect again with that wonderful artsy side of me that has been hidden and tucked away to languish for almost 50 years.



That side that colored in coloring books for hours….who made her own paper dolls, clothes and all, and loved every one of them…..who adored the messy paints in art class, was never really nurtured or encouraged.  In fact quite the opposite.  I was told in veiled comments that I had no real artistic talent.  Art classes became drudgery and painful in middle school.  And I was politely asked to leave the chorus in 8th grade…..I was enthusiastic, but tone deaf so it was best for me to leave so there weren’t any awkward moments during concerts.



coneflower drawingI was asthmatic and uncoordinated too so no sports for Donna.  Actually my Physical Education teachers never marked me absent, so I never had to make up classes as it was best for me not to be there since there were less accidents in PE class when I wasn’t there.  So I knew I had to take to my books, and my studies, and excel there as all other outlets were closed off.




“I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing that I wanted to do.”

~ Georgia O’Keefe, artist



Maybe had I been introduced to artists like O’Keefe, and given encouragement, I could have stopped the constant messages of not being good enough, not being creative, not having any talent except for being book smart.



hosta leaf drawingBut no matter, that is all old, old water under a bridge I care not to cross anymore, as I have found my inner creative again.  And I am once again connected to that dream of exploring this once closed off area… fears, no judgments….just creating, trying and moving on with exploring more and more ways to create.



So where did I start?  Well I got a little boost from my dear, very talented friend Mary…she is a wonderful artist (although she will not say she is….but she is).  And 5 years ago, we started a little weekly ritual called, Art on the Patio.  She was working part-time and so was I, and she offered to teach me to draw and use watercolors.  At that time, I was not in a good place with self-confidence….actually I was at a very low spot, but wanting to stretch myself a bit and try things I had long put off.



pot in chair drawingWe met almost weekly for 2 months, and here in this post you can see my first attempts.  The first drawing at the top of the post is my first drawing of a seed head in my garden.  Our art studio was my garden where we would sit at my patio table, under the umbrella, surrounded by a garden with healthy goodies to munch on.



And if it weren’t for Mary, I would not have had the courage to begin this creative endeavor again….we are thinking of getting our Patio Art time started again as we are both retired.  In the meantime, I watched a video of Andrea’s on her website about drawing Mandalas.  And you can see the start of one below.  I draw them daily in my journal after meditating.



mandela 2So where is all this heading?  I don’t know, and frankly I don’t care….I am just so excited as the creative spirit is with me again, and my child-like anticipation and wonder has taken control.  I plan to take a free art journaling class next that is offered on Andrea’s site.  It is wonderful to find so many things offered for free especially when finances are a bit restricted with retirement.



I have my new journal waiting to be filled with even bigger mandalas and other creative works.  And those blank pages, are not scary to look at any more.  I believe wholeheartedly that we can live an inspired, creative and thrilling life by doing what excites us.  And exploring things we want to know more about or see and do.  Each little step we take in this direction opens up new paths, new doorways into new aspects of our lives we never thought would come about.



pink flower drawingWho knows what the next big thing will be….and I am so OK with that.  I want to open that new box of crayons again, and smell that new smell….see the new perfect tips ready for me to wear them down to a nub.  This has been a long time coming getting back to my artsy side….and even acknowledging that I have an artsy side is a big first step.  Because we all do….we just forgot it, or never had the chance to explore it.



And I promise, Mary, if we do some more art on the patio, I won’t get all judgy and try to compare myself to you or anyone.  I will just be me, and let the experience wash over me like a gentle wave of water bringing me new life and exhilarating every cell of my being.




Special Note:   All the drawings here were done in my first attempt at drawing, under the tutelage of my friend Mary 5 years ago on my patio in the summer.  I am sharing these drawings for the first time, and that is a huge step for me.  These are a great start, and I hope to continue to draw often as I meditate with my creative side.







I leave you with more thoughts about creativity.  Feel free to download this photo and share.

leaf drawing

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

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  1. June 25, 2015    

    I am getting a sense of a struggle involved when it comes to the vulnerability of posting your drawings. I believe I understand. As a very harsh self-critic it is difficult for me to trust in the idea of a grateful and nonjudgmental audience. I applaud your honesty and your courage with this action.

    When it comes to my own art, if something is well received I am distrustful, if something is poorly received I am crestfallen. I try to recall what Louise Bourgeois said about a work of art being “done” when it has “filled its role as therapy for the artist”. She further stated she didn’t work for the audience but they were free to take what they could from her pieces. If I am going to create anything, I can only do it for myself and once I am satisfied with it, or finished, and the two are not always aligned, then I am learning to let it go.

    • June 25, 2015    

      You sense correctly Deb…for a long time I did not share these and only with a select few when I did. But I love the idea from Louise Bourgeois about a work of art being “done” when it has “filled its role as therapy for the artist”. And it has done this for me now which is why maybe I am posting these.

      I have adopted that idea that I do art, writing, photography and gardening for myself first….it is therapy and then when I share it others can enjoy and take away what they want from it…again I really appreciate your musings and wonderful take on this…thank you!

  2. June 25, 2015    

    The concept of the creative incubator is fantastic of course. It is like what musicians and songwriters call “Woodshedding”. You go and woodshed a new song, a new arrangement for that song.

    Your drawings have the energy of reverence about them. I love that about your work. And no matter what…in these decades of my life, I’m following the old mantra: What others think of me is none of MY business. Yes, you’ve read that right. We will become crippled worrying about others. I know. I’ve been crippled. Brava my friend.

    • June 26, 2015    

      I have been thinking about the same mantra as well Susan so your reminder has buoyed me to keep going with it. And what a wonderful compliment regarding my drawings. I now feel the need to draw and expand that drawing time….it energizes me daily when I do a bit of a mandala in my journal.

  3. June 25, 2015    

    I love that first drawing, Donna! It’s so full of life and movement.

    I’ve found the same attitude of discouragement among (many) musicians, especially classical musicians: that if you aren’t a prodigy who seems to be destined for a professional career by the ripe old age of 9, then you might as well give up. I’m exaggerating a little, of course, but still — it’s a shame that creativity isn’t taught more often as something to be enjoyed for its own sake. I’m glad you’re enjoying it now!

    • June 26, 2015    

      I agree Stacy…we need to nurture creativity in children and allow them to experiment and have fun with it no matter the medium be it paints, musical notes or a soccer ball.

  4. June 25, 2015    

    ‘Maybe had I been introduced to artists like O’Keefe, and given encouragement, I could have stopped the constant messages of not being good enough, not being creative, not having any talent except for being book smart’
    How those lines resonated. And book smart wasn’t valued either.
    I am still afraid, and still very self critical and I love your courage and the first flights you have shared.
    Thank you. Long may you soar..

    • June 26, 2015    

      Oh Soosie it is hard to take that first flight but so much happiness comes with it….

  5. June 25, 2015    

    What a wonderful and thought provoking post! Love that you are sharing…and like others that have commented…I used to be so worried about what others would think of my photography. Why I have no idea. It’s taken me a long time…but I’m finally free. And so happy to read that others have done the same. Love Susan’s mantra too! And yes, it’s our therapy and that’s the first and most important point! Now I’m off to see what this free mandala class is all about! Now open up that new crayon box and get to work on that table on the patio. Love your drawings!!

    • June 26, 2015    

      Robin thank you so much…it is a fine mantra and it is our therapy isn’t it. The mandala course is short sweet and got me to take a risk after I saw other drawing mandalas and saying to myself, ‘oh I could never do that’ to now practicing little by little and finding it a great creative outlet.

  6. I actually thought the first photo was a professional embroidery pattern at first glance!

    • June 26, 2015    

      Deb that is such a lovely thing to say….you made my day!

  7. June 26, 2015    

    I have always encouraged my children (I have 6) and grandchildren (I have 25) to follow their heart and become what they want to be. Sounds like you have some great advocates, and wonderful programs to be able to utilize in finding if it is what you want to do. For me I just like to know how.
    Great post and love your drawings. You have talent.

    • June 26, 2015    

      Thank you so much Fran….your children and grandchildren are indeed lucky to have your encouragement…it is so important!

  8. June 27, 2015    

    Drawing has something I have done since I was three and discovered horses. It never left me and became important in every job I have had through the years. Painting too. Too bad you were dissuaded because everyone has a creative side that can be nurtured. Not everyone will be a great artist or go into a profession where it is a necessity, but it gives a lot of peace of mind to sit with drawing and painting materials and a blank canvas. I suppose you will be illustration a book of poems soon.

    • June 27, 2015    

      Perhaps I will be illustrating a book of poems one of these days Donna!

  9. June 27, 2015    

    Your eye for colour, design and detail shine in your blogs so I am not surprised you have a visual aritst within. I love your pieces. Especially the dandelion which has a popcorn happiness feel about it.

    Brava for taking the step of sharing your work. That can be terrifying. You are beautifully brave.

    What you describe about your past is something I know a bit about — experiencing similar squelchings as a child and seeing how very common a practice it continues to be in schools. I could never go back to teaching because I just don’t want to be part of that ugliness. An offhand unkind word can direct a whole person’s life for many years after.

    • June 27, 2015    

      Thank you so much Debra! I couldn’t agree more and really cringe when I hear these squelching comments from adults.

  10. June 27, 2015    

    As usual I cannot see your photos or drawings Donna but I can read and can relate to your text. I went on a drawing course with such a bad mindset, I could throw myself on the floor in frustration. My hand and eye were just not coordinating and this is not that long ago. However, with a patient teacher I was able to undertake some recognisable drawings and was quite chuffed with the results. I recently bought a colouring book for my husband as a form of relaxation.

    • June 27, 2015    

      Oh I wish there was a way for me to share the photos with you Julie….I am so happy you had a patient teacher. I have been thinking of getting a coloring book myself….so much fun!

  11. June 27, 2015    

    Your words really resonated with me, Donna. My sister was the artist in the family, or so I was told as I was growing up. My parents told me I couldn’t be an artist because my sister filled that roll. So I packed up my crayons and pencils and became a dancer. Now that knee replacements no longer allow me to dance maybe I will start doing some artwork again too. I love your drawings. xo Laura

  12. June 27, 2015    

    Absolutely Laura you must…pick up those pencils and crayons and let your inner artist shine again!

  13. June 28, 2015    

    I love the idea of art on the patio and these first photos you have shared are quite wonderful. I am not an artist, but I have practised my photography skills in my garden from time to time. Trying to see the extraordinary in something that I take for granted from day to day.

    • June 28, 2015    

      Thanks Cherie…I think there is an artist in all of us whether behind paints, music or a camera so I believe you are an artist my friend!

  14. June 28, 2015    

    Donna, It’s obvious to me from your photos that you have a strong artistic sense, so I’m not surprised to see these charming drawings, too.

  15. July 2, 2015    

    I so admire your willingness to share yourself….. ,!!

    • July 3, 2015    

      I believe it is part of my journey Michelle….and I am glad you support me so much too!

  16. July 10, 2015    

    Maybe a new direction in life awaits. Art was always in my life and I never heard negative feedback, so a different path traveled, but how you get there does not matter.

    • July 10, 2015    

      I agree Donna….I am really enjoying exploring so many different avenues.

Favorite Quote This Week:

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” ~ Aristotle


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