Although I've been travel sketching on and off for most of my life, I didn't really take it too seriously until I made the decision to do so. I remember the exact circumstance: I was turning 40 and my husband encouraged me to go on a life-changing art trip to Italy. It was one of those major bucket list things: To go on a trip specifically for my art practice.
I decided that since I was going on an art trip with a group of fellow artists - sans husband and kids - I was going to live out my fantasy of spending most of my days during the trip in the pursuit of art.
Before going on that trip, I prepared for it by researching what would be the best art materials to take with me for travel sketching. I also tried to read as many blogs and books about sketching that I could find. That's when I discovered all about the growing movement of Urban Sketching. I was hooked.
Unfortunately, at the time, I couldn't find any travel sketching or urban sketching classes in my city or online. There weren't as many books available either. So, I just tried to learn as I went along.
So, I packed my travel sketching kit and went on an art adventure. I tried recording my trip from the moment I got on the plane. And, I tried to sketch at least one thing every day - from the streets of Rome and the ruins of Pompeii to the coast of Amalfi and the Tuscan Hills. It was bliss!
My fellow art tour mates were very supportive of my travel sketching practice. They looked at my sketches from the day and asked a lot of questions about sketching materials and techniques. It was then that I began playing with the idea of teaching sketching classes.
I didn't act on that idea immediately. However, I did get invited to teach art classes in a local art studio (the same people who organised the Italy trip). Since then, my art life has evolved and grown a lot. But, that travel sketching class idea was still put on hold.
Then, a couple of months ago, I received a very exciting invitation to hold a workshop at one of Adelaide's wonderful art supplies shop. The manager of the shop is one of my lovely Italy art tour mates. And yes, the best part: I get to teach Expressive Travel Sketching, live in Adelaide.
So, yes, come 4th of March 2017, Saturday, 1 to 4pm, I'll be holding the first ever Expressive Travel Sketching Workshop at Art Stretchers Adelaide. To learn more about the workshop and/or to book your spot, go to this page: Expressive Travel Sketching Workshop (Adelaide).
We're only able to allocate 8 places for this workshop and a few of those places have already been pre-paid and reserved. So, if you want to join us, do book your place soon.
In a nutshell: It's all about travel sketching using your own way of expressing what you see in the world.
It's not about getting perfect perspectives and straight lines. It's not about drawing and sketching in photographic ways - you have your camera for that.
Expressive travel sketching is all about recording your experiences using lines, shapes, textures, and colours that speak to you. It's about putting down memories on the pages of your sketchbooks. To make your experiences last longer, better than any photograph could.
In the workshop, I'll be sharing some materials, tips, and techniques to help participants learn how to record their travels in their sketchbooks with confidence and joy.
There is no magic formula: You just need to start where you are!
Over the last couple of years, I've been privately sharing information to friends and peers whenever they ask questions about my travel sketching practice. What are the best materials to use and take with you? How do you begin a sketch? How do you sketch quickly?
When pressed for time, all you really need for your travel sketching are two things: Your sketchbook and a pen. They're the only materials I use consistently.
When I'm able to take my 'extended' travel sketching kit with me, here's a list of additional basic things I use:
I usually bring this kit in a separate bag or backpack, together with a DSLR camera and other travel gear. I keep my essentials (i.e., small sketchbook, pen, pencil) in my handbag, so I can easily take them out when there's a quick opportunity to sketch.
I'll be sharing more tips and techniques at the Expressive Travel Sketching Workshop. And hopefully, also in future blog posts if any of you are interested. Just let me know through comments or emails!Read More
It's the start of another year. A great time to re-align our goals - and dream away.
Yes, in reality, it's just another day. Nothing truly special or magical on New Year's Day. It's only special and magical if we assign that meaning to it. And, yes, I choose to do just that. In fact, I love what Sarah Ban Breathnach says about the first day of the new year:
"New Year's Day. A fresh start. A new chapter in life waiting to be written. New questions to be asked, embraced, and loved. Answers to be discovered and then lived in this transformative year of delight and self-discovery. Today, carve out a quiet interlude for yourself in which to dream, pen in hand. Only dreams give birth to change."
That's why I usually try to prepare myself for this time of the year. For as long as I can remember, I've been journaling my reflections of the year that has passed - and writing about my hopes and goals for the year to come.
And yes, I have chosen my 10th Word of the Year!
According to Dictionary.com, thrive means:
It's a bold word in my book because whenever I choose a word, I often look at its opposite meaning. To me, this is important to think about because I believe that when we choose a word, we invite both its affirmative and negative energies to teach us something in our life that year.
That's why I never take the choosing of One Word for granted. It's powerful stuff. And, that's why I'm almost always a little bit scared whenever I choose a word.
In some ways, I see that as a good thing. To me, if I'm a little scared of the word, it means that it's meant to teach me something.
If you've used the One Word Workbook, you'd be familiar with some of these ideas and concepts. Including my annual habit of choosing a project to accompany my chosen Word of the Year.
I have shared more projects in my mini ebook, One Word Projects (available with the workbook).
Well, for one, it's a word that has stayed with me over the last few years. It seems to be waiting its turn to take centre stage in my life. So, when I started writing in the workbook, and journaling, the word kept re-appearing.
And, I realised that yes, I don't want to just survive in 2017. I want to thrive - in life and in my business. And to me, thriving means not just growth or success. It's about growing and succeeding, amidst challenges and tough times.
You see, the last 6 months or so for me have been very tough and challenging - both personally and professionally. In fact, in some areas, the challenges seemed to have been going on for much longer.
Some of the challenges can't be easily changed or removed. So, I am choosing to thrive, in spite of that fact.
That's why over the coming days, weeks, and months, I hope to learn what it means to really thrive. Perhaps, find out how I thrive. Some people thrive in adversity. Or chaos. Or external validation. I want to define my own key to thriving. And, I also look forward to understanding what it means to empower others to thrive.
This is the exciting part of choosing One Word. The part where I make it 'mine' by doing these projects, asking these questions, and maintaining an ongoing interest on how to embed the word in my life.
And yes - if you follow me on Instagram and/or Facebook, watch out for my first giveaway of the year. You'll get the chance to win your own copy of the One Word Workbook (with One Word Projects Mini Ebook) and/or a Custom Digital Art of your Word of the Year.Read More
I'm also a fan of year-end round-ups. I've done it a few times on this blog. Usually, as my last blog post or my first couple of blog posts in the new year.
Sometimes, though, year-end highlights can be a bit overwhelming to write. So, I thought this year, I'd do a different kind of round-up.
This is how I ended up with The Year in One Word printable/interactive PDF worksheet. It's now available for free in our newly revamped* Content Library. So, anyone who wants to look back on their year and record some words to remember their year can do so in a simple manner.
The image below shows the worksheet as a blank printable, which you can print using your own printer and fill out using pens, pencils, and markers. It also features my own filled-in worksheet, which I did using my computer.
I'm really pleased with how The Year in One Word printable/interactive PDF worksheet turned out. It's possible I may have spent way too much time designing it. But, I think I'd enjoy using this every year, so I figure that it's worth it. It would be even more worth the time if other people would find it useful too. That's why it's now in the Content Library.
The general idea is that this resource enables us to come up with one word summaries for the year. It has a spot to write down our Word of the Year. Then, each month of the year has a place where we can write a one word summary for that month. If we'd like to add one word (or a few) notes in each month to remember some things, there's a spot for those notes too.
I enjoyed making - and filling-in - this journaling worksheet. It was lovely to look back on the year (even with some of its tough and painful bits)... without feeling overwhelmed with all the writing and journaling.
So, I hope that you would find this useful in recording your year too!
If you're a subscriber, you'll be getting an email with the latest password for the library. If you're not subscribed yet, just sign up and make sure you watch out for your Welcome Email. That's where you'll find the password.
Happy reflecting! And, may your new year be even more amazing!
* The content library has been through several revamps this year, as new resources become available and taking list members' feedback into consideration. My hope is to design and develop a content library that's super useful, beautiful, and simple to access for list subscribers.Read More
When One Word Workbook launched last week, I was cautiously hopeful. It's something that I've wanted to do and share for so long, I was really hoping that others would love it like I do.
So far, I've heard some great feedback. My biggest pleasure is seeing the workbook actually used by someone to find focus and inspiration.
To show that I'm actually using this workbook for my own One Word of the Year, I decided to do a video walkthrough (see below). It felt a bit odd, reflecting and writing 'in public' - my thoughts, feelings, and experiences laid bare. Granted, it's all sped up, but I still felt quite vulnerable. 🙂
Thing is - I knew it would work. As I mentioned in my previous blog post and on the workbook, it is a process that I have been using for years. I even started writing it all up 3+ years ago, thinking I'd create an online workshop. But, I now think that the workbook format is a good one.
In any case, as I was filling out the workbook, I thought I'd share some tips on making the most out of the process:
Even if it's just a few words. You don't need to write in full sentences. If you notice in my entries, I used a lot of a just words and phrases. Incomplete thoughts. But, it's good to work on each concept in the process. It really helps!
There were a couple of times I thought I'd skip some, especially since I was doing a video capture. I thought people would understand. But, I also realised that it is detrimental to my own process. So, I kept at it. And I'm glad.
Even if you feel like you only have one or two things to write for now, that's okay. Keep moving! Don't stop. Just allow your mind to unfurl and open itself up on the page. Don't overthink. Reflect, write, and then go to the next item.
Yes, One Word is not necessarily a linear process. If you filled out a box and decided to move on, it's okay to go back. Add some more words, phrases, or sentences to something you thought you've already completed.
When I was collecting my words - I didn't discount my sources. I found words from books nearby, receipts, letters, poems, notes, boxes, Post It Notes, and such. I let everything speak to me.
And, in the process, I discovered words that I didn't think I'd even consider on a usual basis. The theme that emerged was completely unexpected, but not a surprise.
I've added links and such in the workbook. Make use of it! It's helpful to have an internet connection available, especially if you're filling the workbook out digitally.
If you decide to print out the workbook like Margo Min, have your digital resources handy. Or, at least, keep a dictionary and thesaurus nearby.
Oh, and yes - don't forget to save your work while you're filling out the workbook!
If you haven't got a copy yet, get your One Word Workbook here. And, please do keep me posted. I'd love to know how you're going with your One Word journey!Read More
As the end of the year closes in, how do you start winding down and preparing for the new year?
Usually, there are holiday parties, family get-togethers, and glorious get-aways that take up a lot of our energy during this season. So, taking time for planning and preparation can be a challenge.
However, one of the things that CAN make a difference in how our year unfolds may be attributed to how we approach the coming days, weeks, and months.
That's why one of the many long traditions in our society is making New Year's Resolutions. We make them with the hope of creating the change we hope for in our lives. But, unfortunately, it's something that most of us inevitably break within a few days of stating our resolutions.
Goal-setting is also another practice that many undergo in the new year. Myself included. I love setting goals. But usually, what we hope to achieve at the beginning of the year may not be the same a few months into the year. Our situations change. Our viewpoints shift.
So, while a year's worth of goal setting is also great practice, this is actually something that should be approached with a bit more fluidity. We need to review and adjust our goals every few months or so to make them fit into the more current version of ourselves.
The practice of One Word is not one that you can break or fail easily, like New Year's Resolutions. It also doesn't need to be reviewed and adjusted regularly, like goal setting.
If you've given your One Word enough time and consideration at the start, it's an amazing tool to use as a guide throughout the year. And, if you commit to 'owning' your One Word throughout the year, it can leave a lasting, life-changing impact.
Blogger and fashionista extraordinaire Julie Bonner of MomFabulous.com has this to say about the One Word practice:
"Once I started doing a word of the year instead of resolutions, things started falling into place. It also made making decisions so much easier because I base them on my word."
Julie Bonner, MomFabulous.com
And, I wholeheartedly agree. One Word offers a simple and powerful way to find focus and create change.
That's why when people started asking me questions like: "How do you choose your One Word of the year?" or "Do you find that you lose touch with your One Word as the year goes on?" - I started taking notes and documenting my own One Word process.
I want to help others find the joy and empowerment that One Word can bring. That's why I ended up creating the One Word Workbook, as well as its companion resource, the One Word Projects mini ebook.
In a nutshell, One Word Workbook is a 50+ page PDF document with tips, ideas, interactive ('fillable') pages, inspirational quotes, and check-in pages. It helps to guide you in a more thoughtful, considered way of choosing your One Word for the year. And, it provides some resources to keep you accountable and focussed, so you can really 'own' your Word and keep it top of mind throughout the year.
This type of commitment to your One Word helps to unleash its real power and potential in your life.
After all, what's the point in choosing a Word of the Year if it doesn't really do anything for you, right?
In my experience, such a commitment to my One Word helped to open an incredible array of opportunities and lessons that helped me to grow and find abundance in many ways. Amazing businesses, friendships, jobs… These are just some things that have come about through my words of the year over the last 8+ years. This is why I love sharing about this practice.
I know many others have found similar successes and joy. And, I hope that many more will find such rewards from the One Word practice.
If you're someone who wants to see what One Word can bring you in the coming year (or even many years to come), I hope that you'll give One Word Workbook a go. I look forward to supporting you in the process!
One Word Projects is a 20+ page mini ebook in PDF format. It contains 10 projects, with tips and ideas on how you can maximise the use of your One Word. You can opt for simple or more elaborate approaches to the projects.
The idea is that you get to develop a relationship with your One Word, so you can experience its true value and impact.
You will have to live with it for a year. And, if all goes well, even for longer than that.
Yes, you can choose it using a 'gut-feel' approach. This can work for a number of people. In fact, I've done it during the first couple of words I've chosen. It's only when I realised just how powerful it is to choose a word that I decided to be more careful and deliberate.
No matter how you decide to choose your One Word, it will attract certain people, situations, events, and opportunities into your life. That's why it's important to have that confidence in the word that you invite into your life.
So, if you would like some guidance on choosing and committing to your word, then One Word Workbook might be able to help.