Light and dark perspectives equally contribute to the big picture

Contrasts are complementary, they don’t exclude each other.

I sometimes wonder, how do others find the balance through their highs and lows? Since we are all different, we’ll have different coping mechanisms, too, I’m sure – depending on the kind of low we have to face, in addition.

My main strategy seems to be diving into my art even more deeply, whenever I feel a low coming. I try to change my focus from what’s worrying me to what brings me joy and fulfillment. This turned the tide to my favour more than once.

Getting active outdoors helps, also. Not paying attention to my mobile phone (or being somewhere, where the reception is at its best problematic) can only contribute for the better 🙂

I got to think about this when confronted with the ‘always think positive’-stuff out there, the last time I got annoyed about something and had the space to calm down and reflect upon it, afterwards – which, let’s face it, doesn’t happen very often, if our days are busy. Mostly, we just get to spiral into negative feelings and small annoying events, simply because our attention and patience went out the window with the incident that started the spiral, instead of taking a step back (my method – count to ten and take 1-2 deep breaths, before reacting) and embracing the fact that failing at something is an equal part of the process, just as successful actions. And, most importantly, it’s okay to feel upset about it.

Not exactly the standard one gets to hear when something goes wrong, nowadays.

Which I think is wrong.

Just imagine how much this way of thinking is contributing to putting pressure on ourselves – considerating valid only the path which brings us to the desired goal.

How about instead of acknowledging the ‘successful’ road, we see it as it is – without the ‘dead-ends’, we wouldn’t have recognized the one we were looking for in the first place, anyway.

Hey, we all make mistakes, now and then, and I know that ‘bad news’ will knock on our door, too, from time to time.

But I also believe that the difference in how we deal with the low, the negative, the less desired will ‘make or break the deal’ for us, in the end, helping us to either enjoy the good times longer or hold on to the negative more than necessary.

On this note, I’m sure you’ve heard about the yin-yang symbol (Tàijí Tú).

Well, the theory of yin and yang is based on studying the natural phenomena, the contemplation of regularities and their transition/variation – like the regularly happening transitions of the seasons or the alternation of day and night.

In other words, this theory implies that contrasts don’t exclude, but rather complement each other.

My conclusion to this theory is that being upset about something is the reverse side of being happy and thus completes the spectrum of emotions we are able to feel. Yes, I know this doesn’t help much when one is hurting, but this thought has helped me more than once to get through the dark times, feeling reassured the bright ones are on their way and the sun will always shine through, after the storm has passed.

Which is what I wish for you, too – strenght, to get through the hardships and trust, that happiness is on its way.

A year in review – I believe that looking back helps us to look forward

Two steps forward might be followed by a step back – concentrate on the growth, not on the setbacks!

Well, here we are – at the end of this strange and challenging year, that 2020 has been for all of us.

I never thought, I’d live the day where we would have to keep the distance, in order to show others how much we actually care.

I don’t know about you, but it certainly shook me to the core – Argentine tango dancers around the world can confirm that our embrace is our way to communicate our feelings to our dance partner.

Dancing the Argentine tango is addictive (in a positive way) and it is for many such dancers a way of living. And, well, for now, this also means for us we have to go on without this special kind of communication and comforting, which doesn’t make it easier, generally speaking, but will make the dances afterwards that much more meaningful and magic.

What started as a ‘normal’ year, pretty soon turned out to be quite different than what we have known so far.

When I last embraced my friends and family in the summer of 2019, I didn’t expect this embrace to be one to last for what now seem to be at least two years. Would I have imagined this, I would have held them a little bit longer, for sure 🙂

But I do believe that by going through this special circumstances, we get a chance of understanding how blessed we are and might learn to cherish our blessings even more.

While we have to be maintaining the distance, we have been also challenged to find new ways to take care of each other, stay safe, sane and communicate beyond the usual channels what we wish to one another.

I have been spending more time reflecting on what I wish to do and why I pursue the path I pursue. It might sound plain and obvious – why we do, what we do -, but I assure you, it is not.

Reflecting on what my true interests look like and how I can be of service to myself and to others, by practicing what I am preaching.

Due to the increasingly expanding interest around a holistic approach on our training practiced in the Wing Chun School I am a proud student of and the soothing effect it has on me, I started my own deeper learning journey on Qigong. A journey I hope to be about ‘covering all the view angles’, because there are always more perspectives to be considered, than just the obvious ones.

I also found a wonderful supporting group of like-minded women who get together on a regular basis to learn from and cheer each other, all the way.

Wonderful ladies who not only celebrate everyone’s each positive step forward, but the lessons we all have to learn on our journey as small business owners and students, too.

In a nutshell, I choose to concentrate on the positive making its way through the negative.

For the year to come, I look forward on trying out new digital drawing and resin pouring techniques for my artwork and am really curious about where some of these new techniques will lead me to.

But in order to allow creativity to lead me further, I will first take a break from the social media platforms and forget I own a mobile phone, for a couple of days.

A well-deserved break, in order to rest, recover and make room for all the creative ideas to come forward.

I can only wish you the same – stay safe, enjoy your loved ones (online Christmas party, I am on my way!), rest, recover and let’s make 2021 a wonderful year!

I wish you all happy holidays!

Leia

How I use my drawing skill to regain mental focus and relax at the same time

Achieving mental relaxation and focus through drawing

I often get asked about where I get the patience to draw like I do.

Truth be told, I sometimes have to wonder myself, where this kind of patience comes from, since this trait isn’t necessarily a strong point of mine.

My drawing style often involves detailed patterns with hatching filled geometric forms, which I love to combine with floral elements, for example.

Then again, over time, I found exactly this detailed way of drawing to be the kind of activity to help me relax and get focused again, especially during stressful times, in general.

It all started with the search of a way to conquer the blank piece of paper lying before me, when I started drawing again, a few years ago.

I just felt the need to fill every little corner of it with color and the more accessible way of doing this was to simply start by splitting the paper into smaller areas through different geometric forms. These smaller areas just seemed easier to manage than the whole sheet at once.

Kind of like “divide and conquer” – a larger task is easier to solve when one focuses on the small steps to be taken in the direction of the solution.

After getting over the insecurity caused by a blank paper, another issue made it’s way to the surface – the fear of making a “mistake“, of accidentaly drifting from the intended geometric pattern in some way, mostly because the small hatching sections I integrate into my artworks are free-hand drawn, without a preliminary pencil sketch.

Especially with large patterns, I would eventually draw a line or (cross)hatch a geometric form some other place than intended and my first impulse would always be to correct it.

After getting pretty annoyed with these slip-ups at first, I soon realized the learning potential it presented – an opportunity to practice patience and “tame” my need of control and strive for “perfection”.

The more involuntary discrepancies slipped in the geometric pattern, the easier it got to accept them and just enjoy the results of such “happy accidents”.

I finally understood – there are no mistakes, when it comes to art, just different outcomes.

A very valuable bonus to this groundbreaking revelation is the lesson I got in listening to myself and silencing the insecurities that could have kept me from simply doing what I love, out of fear of making a mistake. Instead, I took a step back, faced the problem and understood that I am dealing with some of my defense mechanisms. And that’s Ok.

I am nowhere near to where I hope to be someday in regard to knowing myself and unconditionally accepting every little extravagance of my personality, but I am getting there, step by step 🙂

Practice makes perfect when it comes to seeing the glass half full, too

A positive attitude sometimes makes the whole difference – there are no mistakes, but simply different routes to our destination.

I don’t know where the saying “when nothing goes right, go left” originates from, but I find it to be a brilliant centralization of a positive approach to life.

I do my very best to live by this constructive attitude, too.

Maybe I like this saying that much more, because it reminds me of the way I used to panic as a new driver when missing an exit while driving with my navigation device on, because I’d misinterpret the voice announcements.

To my defense and for a better understanding, why the panic, I got my driver’s license at 18 and didn’t need it for 12 years, afterwards.

It was only when I moved to Germany and needed a car that I actually started driving.

So, on top of the new everything, unusual activity and lack of reflexes I had to improve, there were completely new surroundings I had to deal with, too.

All these newness sometimes threatened to interfere with the appointments I had to make, simply because I had missed an exit on my way to them.

It was only with time, practice and patience that my driving skills improved, I learned to rely on my sense of direction and got to know the surroundings better and, most of all, I learned to not let the panic take over anymore by telling myself that my GPS will simply recalculate the shortest route to my destination, so all is well.

Not to mention how much more it helped not to drive off focusing on the fear of taking a wrong exit or route, but with a positive attitude and excitement over the drive ahead.

It might seem trivial, but it was essential to first change my attitude toward the challenge I was facing, before getting to tackle it.

This kind of realization applies on so many levels – there are no mistakes, but simply different routes to our destination.

There is no single angle of view, there are many different perspectives, color shades and ways to reach a goal or different kind of solutions to the same type of problem.

And not allowing discouragement to knock the wind out of our sails by concentrating on the positive aspects is the first step in moving forward.

Although my intention to constantly dive in a zen-approach and focus on the full half of the glass sometimes slips out of sight and thus on the wrong track, I stubbornly start my journey to it over and over again, because I believe it to be the healthy view about life and strive to reach a state of inner calm and joy.

It is out of this state of inner calm and joy that I am able to fully enjoy my day, my loved ones and life in general and create artwork that fulfills me emotionally and gives me a sense of purpose through self-expression.

There will always be situations or people who will challenge our intention to see the full half of the glass and enjoy the positive aspects this perspective brings.

It doesn’t matter. Our first reaction to whatever comes our way can still be neutralized by the second one, when the surprise effect has worn off and we consciously take action, better prepared than we first did.

There will be better days and there will be days when everything seems to be a little off.

When confronted with a less positive day, just remember to take it easy, breathe deeply in and out before reacting to any remarks that infuriate you and, most of all, step away from the computer to chill out, before answering an e-mail that shortly threw you out of your zen-track.

I promise, it helps 🙂

Cornerstone teamwork

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes realize I am talking to myself, while reflecting on something or weighing pros and cons for some decision I have to make.

Please mind, I am not talking about any disorder other than the standard ones , we ALL may be experiencing :))

I do find it funny, especially if the so-called dialogue goes like there are multiple persons /personalities trapped inside myself and I remember some cartoon where one finds itself observing an angel and a devil arguing over the topic.

Then again, every “Leia” that turns out at the discussions table simply advocates a different perspective on the issue.

And wouldn’t it be a shame if we would let such an opportunity – of defending every side of a matter – get away? I’d say, the more perspectives, the better overview before making a decision.

This kind of a dialogue is a standard when it comes for me to deciding upon / planning an artwork / putting into practice some idea I have.

What I might have feared of being contradictory themes, before arguing the different angles, I find it to work very well together, to even complement each other, in the end.

For example, the recurring geometric patterns (squares and triangles) in my fineliner drawings in combination with flowers or birds, especially with watercolor, are two different, yet as such complementary themes, from my point of view.

Soft and hard edges, fully colored areas and hatchings, black/white and popping colors, fineliner and watercolor or resin, the possibilities are endless, so we shouldn’t deny ourselves the fun of exploring them.

Who says that different or opposite themes can’t appear together and rock the stage, even more than they would on their own, more often than not?

Dieser Post enthält #Werbung / This post contains #advertisement

Lately I have been noticing on various social media accounts of friends or artists I am following the clear indication of advertisement in their posts, whenever they are using hashtags or handles of various companies or products they are simply using or even recommending.

And then I remembered. 2019, in Germany, there were several cases of reports of influencers and not only for hosting covert advertisement on their platforms and in their posts or not having various collaborations clearly marked as paid partnerships.

Since this is definitely still a gray area, the (German) applicable legislation in the works and the necessary boundaries not yet clearly defined, the best advice for us, users (not only influencers!) out there is to clearly mark one too many posts as advertisement, before too few.

So please let me clear about my posts:

I started this page as a communication channel to my friends and family – a way of keeping them up to date with my creative projects.

This was about 6 years ago. In the meantime, I started to market my own artworks/designs on print-on-demand channels like Society6 or Redbubble and am working on bringing my own online shop to life.

So, yes, I sometimes post advertisement regarding available products with my designs on them – like in the Footer of my website – or in my artwork portfolio, lately also available on my website and powered by the Artwork Archive.

I do apologize in advance, if you might find this annoying, reading the according hint every time I post something on my social media accounts in regard to programs, products or apps I am using, but I thank you for understanding and showing your support through respecting each others work and copyright and related rights.

Best regards,

Leia

Not your average love statement

I can’t believe Summer is gone, already.

This year has been pretty strange, so far.

This time of the year I usually take a trip at home, to Romania, visiting my friends in Timisoara and my family.

The city is beautiful in September/October. The days are still very warm and the nights not yet too cold.

Oh, and the light, the light is special and the colors so intense.

At least, in my memories they are and will forever remain 🙂

We only keep the best memories of the most precious love stories, so it is only natural to keep the city of Timisoara this way in my heart.

We should have been celebrating 10 years of Argentine tango in Timisoara this fall – Anivertango.

I was looking forward to hugging my friends and getting to share our stories – good or bad, they’re always easier to get over them or nicer to celebrate when they are shared with dear ones.

But this isn’t supposed to be a sad post and I am very grateful for the fact that we are only a Videochat or written message away, when we miss each other.

So, stay safe, dear friends and family, I’ll see you soon.

And for the rest, don’t worry, once you tango, you tango forever, they say 🙂

Fragment of a non-standard self-talk

Leia 1: “So, what is it that you do?”

Leia 2: “What do you mean?…Like, right now?!”

Leia 1: “No, silly 🙂 I know what you’re doing right now – you’re talking to yourself again. Talking and not really listening, I might add.”

Leia 2: “What I do…I draw. First, I draw and then, I’ll paint. After I paint, I will scan what I drew and painted and have fun with all the possibilities offered by digital manipulation. The more I learn about it and lean into it, the more I enjoy the creative freedoom I discover!”

Leia 1: “This is all very exciting, but I was hoping to hear from you what it is you are LOOKING for through all these steps. Steps which took you long enough to take, since you have to learn from scratch what you don’t know regarding this craft and we are both aware, that’s a lot.”

Leia 2: “Oh. That. I see. Well then, I guess I am learning to listen to myself. I am listening and getting to know another side of me.

I guess I get to process everything that happens through it, be it positive or negative.

If it is negative, it’s like it becomes less threatening or painful after being filtered through my fineliner pens or poured in a sea of color and drowned in different layers of resin or retouched in Photoshop.

If it’s positive, it feels like another way of celebrating it, like looking at it from a whole new perspective, just to be able to relive it on another level.

Does this make sense to you?”

Leia 1: “Yes, you treat yourself through the arts.”

Leia 2: “I treat myself lovingly through the arts, it’s what I hope everyone will do, sooner or later.”

The Freedom Series

10 years flew by since Dumitru Mihaica agreed to try to custom make the first pair of Argentine tango dancing shoes for my friend, Maria, in his workshop in Timisoara.

10 years, many, many pairs and dancing experiences later, he built the dancing shoes line My Tango Shoes by Mono and continues to develop it based on the feedback he gets from Argentine tango dancers.

Always creative and inquisitive, he holds on to the openness that got this project started in the first place and sometimes collaborates with other artists in order to continuosly improve and beautify his dancing shoes and not only.

I was lucky enough to get to be one of these artists and am currently working on a series of artworks inspired by my dancing Argentine tango.

I entitled this one the Freedom Series, since freedom is for me the feeling best describing what I get to experience through “dancing the tango”.

The three symbols most adequate to impersonate the feeling were for me the humming birds, butterflies and flowers.

Hummingbird

The first humming bird of the series got a place of honor on a pair of men dancing shoes and the result ist astonishing.

IMG_4967

Especially during these uncertain times, when Argentine tango dancing, like many of our dear ones is missed and kept in our hearts, working on this project feels soothing to me, like the so missed (tango) hugs.

Stay safe, my friends, keep taking care and watching out for each other, hope to see you (and maybe hug you?) soon, somewhere around this beautiful world of ours.

Thank you, Miti, love this one 🙂

 

Get a closer look to the Mono Shoes workshop website:

https://www.monoshoes.ro/?route=common/home

https://www.facebook.com/monoshoes/

https://www.instagram.com/monoshoes/

 

For those of you curious what My Tango Shoes by Mono looks like, in case you don’t already know it:

https://mytangoshoes.blogspot.com/2020/04/sandals-summer-2020.html

https://www.facebook.com/MyTangoShoesByMONO/

https://www.instagram.com/monomytangoshoes/

 

This design is also available to buy as wall art and on a variety of different kind of products, on two different platforms:

Society6:

https://society6.com/leiat

RedBubble:

https://rdbl.co/3eWoipa

Resin, my love

It all started with the fading color on one of my artworks. Not only was this one pretty time-consuming to finish because of the size, but the fading color was the predominant color in the drawing and it simply made me sad seeing it get lost so soon.

It wasn’t difficult to establish the “culprit” for this color fading happening so fast. The picture frame of the drawing hung in a very bright room – lots of windows, sun was shining in the room for the most part of the day.

I realized, I needed a backup plan for my artwork, since it was suddenly clear, how quick all can get lost.

Two different work processes resulted from this sudden awareness – I started to scan my work and looked for a way to protect the finished artworks.

I needed something to protect my drawings from the sun – some kind of a UV protection layer.

I tried different kind of transparent paint coatings. It wasn’t bad, but didn’t look very reliable or the scare I had with the fading color of the first drawing simply didn’t let go of me easily.

I remembered the synthetic resin coatings sometimes used for floorings I got to see a couple of years ago at a construction fair and started looking online for the suitable version for artworks.

Patience never was my strong point so I decided, the best way to get to know this new material, is to try it out. I read the product descriptions and precautions, the reviews and advice for a suitable product on Amazon and ordered a little bit to try it out.

The little recipients in which the two different components were, came together with flyers regarding other products and contact info of the artist representative of the company selling this products. I looked her up immediately and was very happy to find out she is offering guidance for using this medium. Guidance in the form of workshops for different levels of know-how, advice by telephone and info, where to find out more about the products.

I tried to book a workshop about the basics right away, but these courses are very popular, so I only could book one in advance for the autumn 2019 – this was about a year ago, February/March 2019.

Last October I participated in my basics workshop with Stefanie Etter – the artist representative of the company selling this products in Germany.

Right after the first workshop, I booked the next one, for this last weekend.

This was the “master course”. In the evening after the three-day-workshop, I booked the next one, for the coming fall.

I am fascinated by this medium. It is the complete opposite of what I usually do – very precise drawings and crosshatch with very thin tipped fineliner pen.

Resin is hard to control, it’s messy until brought in the form one wants and even then, it is not exactly the way one imagined, but the material sometimes seems to simply be self-willed. It is susceptible for damage until fully hardened and the lack of patience will only bring one this far, since resin usually has to be poured in at least two different layers before completion and every layer has to be sufficiently hardened before the next one can be poured.

But the result is worth it, all the way – vibrant colors, shiny layer, pretty scratch-resistant surface and a better UV protection, for a longer time.

I realized, I would love to combine the two work methods – fineliner drawings and resin pouring.

I am only at the beginning of this new adventure, but I really love discovering the freedom this new medium brings with it and am looking forward to what it has to offer in the long run.

For more information about the resin I chose to work with and professional advice regarding this, I wholeheartedly recommend Stefanie Etter and the line of products she is representing.

Here are some impressions from the basics workshop, last year (5th/6th of October 2019):

Stefanie demonstrating how to work with resin – pouring the color
Next step, “painting” with the heat gun
Different colors, different options
How about a beach remembrance, to hang in the living room?

 

My first resin painting
Mixing the known with the new, Part 1
Mixing the known with the new, Part 2
(don’t worry, it’s an art print, not the original drawing :D)
Mixing the known with the new, Part 3