You were born with potential.
You were born with goodness and trust. You were born with ideals and dreams. You were born with greatness.
You were born with wings.
You are not meant for crawling, so don't.
You have wings.
Learn to use them and fly."
Oh, look. An Angel in progress 12x16” oil in panel. Sunday thoughts after a long week as a nurse practitioner** I hate crowds.
In fact, so much so, that when a yoga class is full, and the teacher sees me on the schedule they give me a fair warning before I even enter.
But here’s what I’ve learned.
There are times I don’t mind those crowds. Particularly on bad weeks where I’ve seen how awful people can be to themselves and each other.
Why? Because in that room, I’m reminded every single human has the capacity for grace. And stillness. And patience for themselves and others.
This is also why I NEVER EVER go into the locker room.
Despite all the signs that say ‘no phones’
In any studio,
Immediately after class, I see people race to their pockets and bags and retrieve their devices feigning after whatever notifications they might have missed.
So I skip it. I roll up my mat in the room, sling that towel around my neck and bring that tender reminder back to my studio.
* (Half the week I work full time as an ARNP, the other half I’ve committed to this artist life and the things that make me happy to be alive, running, yoga, being with my chosen family and studio gremlin who owns me etc)
I initially wrote this September 28th, 2022; I wasn't ready to share with all of you at the time. The ink sketches are from inktober 2020, I inked a full month in rabbit theme. Little did I know how foretelling the imagery of the rabbit with the boots would be for the daily theme "Shoes".
I tell this to any one who looks over my sketchbooks, these are not simple doodles.
These are blue prints.
“Stop shrinking yourself to make room for other people’s magic.
You are wondrous.
Take up space.”- @inspiredtowrite
When I was a little girl one of my favorite books was illustrations full of mice who wore clothes and lived in a boot.
I loved that book. Every page was so detailed and the mice were charming as heck in their big family.
I’ve been following the tiny creech who have recently shown up in force in the studio.
I thought they might be new characters in my story.
But the farther I go the more I realize they are not new at all. They have been here all along.
It took me all the way back here. And right now my current work, albeit mostly tiny studies right now, feels like coming home to myself.
Hang with me — but remember the boot, the home of the tiny mice.
Fashion is not my thing.
I’m a minimalist, I have a wardrobe that fits in a drawer. And a metric ton of running sneakers.
I needed an ‘outfit’ to wear to these art show receptions for shows. Something just a bit more ‘formal’-ish than my usual go to of joggers and paint stained Ugg slippers.
So I saw these vegan Doc Martin boots. They were perfect. They were in the shape of that boot from that book with the tiny mice.
….But, they were absurdly out of this world more money than I’d ever spend on shoes.
I only would wear them, what, 5-6 times per year?
Meh. I waffled on the purchase.
I bought a different pair that was far less expensive, but weren’t quite right by anyone’s opinion (thanks fam, good looking out). Sigh. So it goes.
I didn’t show up for that little girl this week- the kid who read books about mice who lived in a boot.
I bailed on two art receptions recently. I had good excuses: a migraine, or I was working, or those new boots weren’t ‘it.’
I could pretend these reasons justified not showing up and standing in front of my art work in public.
This is still a struggle, it’s uncomfy but I know it’s a necessary part of ‘being an artist’,
When I started this account in 2020, I made a commitment to myself. I want my art work to be seen, I don’t want to be the artist who hides in their studio, painting her life away.
I forgot to show up for myself. Forgot to show up for the little girl who quit playing piano after her first solo recital.
Forgot to show up for the girl who hid behind her mom, afraid to be seen. Afraid to wear real pants that weren’t overalls because she was afraid regular paints would fall down. Afraid to spell the last word in the spelling bee properly because then it would be just me and one other kid (I intentionally miss-spelled toothache to get out of this speaking in public situation. ‘tootha-c-k’ actually created far more humiliation for me later on)
Afraid to speak and be heard.
Afraid to embrace being a ‘tomboy’ and not a ‘girly girl’- preferring to spend time with the boys instead of the girls. I got bullied a lot for my alternative fashion choices by these girls later on in grade school, anyway.
Fast forward to present day:
That girl who is now afraid to share and proudly stand by 33 years of a life spent painting the creatures she adores.
That girl who has dozens of sketchbooks filled cover to cover. That’s the thing about sketch books. They can close. You can hide everything in a sketch book.
Sketchbooks are safe.
Paintings in the studio are safe.
But that’s not where paintings belong.
I’m not here to stay safe.
I’m here to get scared.
To feel the fear
…and understand, it’s okay to be afraid.
Don’t be afraid of being seen.
Don’t be afraid of being heard.
Take up space.
Buy the fucking boots.
Stomp around in em’.
The boots are important. They make me a tall person, well, taller , than I really am. This helps me get into character and step out of the studio.
I think ‘Aliza and Her Monsters’ is a little girl trying to be very big and brave.
The boots help.
I want to be tall and not afraid to be seen.
I want my voice to be heard.
I don’t want to be scared to make noise.
I bailed on two art shows and this felt like I took a giant step backward on this art journey.
There was a tiny creech screaming ‘Just get the fucking boots. It’s not about the boots. But the boots are where the little mouses came from.. in that childhood storybook.
I’m here to get uncomfy. I’m going to wear the boots and tell my story.
…and I hope you find the courage to tell your own.
“My optimism wears heavy boots and is loud.”― Henry Rollins
Get. The. Damn. Boots.
Flight School: Feet First, oil on panel, 24x12"
Bradley_Rautenbach (IG) 's brilliant photo "A Jackal Chasing Vultures." Photo : Bradley Rautenbach Photography
Artists find inspiration everywhere. I often find it comes most unexpectedly, sometimes like a storm, sometimes like a slow trickle that builds to a stream, then a river, and before I know it I'm drowning in an ocean and there's swimming polar bears everywhere.
If you know, you know.
Anyway, it was a sunny day in Seattle but believe me, a storm hit.
I have a folder of references called "jackal bois" I've been assembling for weeks now. IG has been doing the most putting out wild life photos in my explore feed lately. Today, I misread a caption on a brilliant photo of a jackal in dire pursuit of a vulture. "A jackal chasing virtues" was certainly a departure from the 'Jackal Chasing Vultures" that Bradley Rautenbach titled it. But , it was too late. By the time I realized my mistake, the lightning already struck. I can't wait to capture this bolt.
What are you chasing?
What are you willing to do? How far? How high? How long will you go in pursuit of it?
And, when you get it, will your journey have been worth your effort?
Or will you arrive,
only to find the goal post moved another 10 feet?
Aliza and Her Monsters