Monday, 24 December 2012

Light Upon Us

Every year, when the last day comes near, I ask myself the same simple question, am I where I pictured myself to be? And the answer is always a straight no. Don't get me wrong, I am truly grateful for what I have accomplished and I feel blessed to be where I am today. But you know, life has its way of twisting and turning every path we take, somehow it seems like one plus one doesn't always equals two, and A,B,C are not always followed by D. One thing is certain though, that whenever a door closes, somewhere a window is opened. It might sound too idealistic, but I do believe that with perseverance and strong will, we are capable of turning the path a bit closer toward what we have dreamed of at the beginning.

To me personally, 2012 has been quite an exhilarating ride, both family and career wise. I have faced motherhood to unknown measures, took huge steps and risks, heartily embraced all possibilities that had came before me and in the same time plunged into wide open sea even when the tides showed signs of storm. Most of all, I now understand the true meaning of time. That it stops for no one and you will never get to that place you dream about unless you work your way through and make the most of the time you have now. Seriously, they weren't kidding when they tell you to live in the moment, because that is exactly how I plan to live my life from this day forth. No matter how many surprises life has in store for me.

And as always, this blog has been such a wonderful place for me to share my thoughts and dreams. So, my deepest thanks to all of you who have followed my journey until this very day, and for being such wonderful friends throughout the years. I sincerely cherish your friendships and I hope we will continue to grow together in many years to come.

So may light shines upon us today and keeps us guided all the way through. Wishing you peace, love and hope for a better year, tomorrow.

Art: Light Upon Us, available in my shop.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Artist Sketchbooks Show and Tell 2

Amazed. I really should start this post with that one  distinctive word. Why? Because I literally had to work up a sweat to prepare this article! Honestly, up until now I thought I belong to a minor group with "artist" written in my resume but have very little ability to keep a sketchbook. But it turned out that I have lots of friends in that department! You have no idea how many times I was turned down while inviting other artists to participate in this post simply because they don't use sketchbooks. Well, it's a good thing I have the will power of steel. Haha! :D

So anyway, without further ado, here are peeks into the minds of some fabulously creative souls (bless you and your sketchbooks. LOL!)...

As it has been a busy past few months for me, sketching is a great quick creative outlet for me as well as a way for me to keep my "creative juices" flowing :) I like the fact that I don't have to be as concerned about the final product as I am with painting, and that loosens me up to experiment a little bit more with my style and technique as well as different themes. Some of these become ideas for paintings, but a lot of them are just for fun. Faces are my favorite thing to draw and paint, so I tend to focus on these the most. ~ Lauren Saxton, Fair Rosamund Art ~

I have the most fertile imagination, so my sketchbooks are the place where I get to plant and sow the ideas. Some won't take, but others will and blossom into strange things that keep me amused. Mostly, I use them as a place to experiment and try things. My favorite things to sketch with are ball point pens with just a touch of color with colored pencils. Sometimes, I end up drawing whole stories in my sketchbooks like the Bunny Girl who feels odd called, "Being Odd" and the Victorian underwater adventure called, "Fish Tale". It's a lot of fun. Can't you tell? ~ Melissa Kojima, Artist in La La Land ~

"I tend to use my sketchbooks as a place to play with colours or try out new techniques. My ideal sketchbook is an A5 because it reminds me of a normal sized book, like a novel.I use my sketchbooks as art journals too and sometimes write personal things from my heart which I more often than not layer with paint which then leads to other visual ideas.I've kept sketchbooks since I first started painting 20 years ago and still find it difficult to break out from the page onto a fresh piece of paper or canvas. It feels safe for me inside my little sketchbook! :)" ~ Jessica Stride, Jessie Lilac ~

I am constantly sketching. I have a large stack of paper next to my desk that I doodle on all day. It’s actually 8 ½ x 11 inch computer paper. My desk is filled with paper and pencils – I draw everyday. I absolutely LOVE coming up with ideas and sketches, and get excited when I have a new idea for a drawing! I use pencils and pen to draw….mostly pencils. The paper next to me on my computer desk is my sketch “pad” or pile as I like to call it. It is filled with faces, characters, ideas, song lyrics, pretty much all of my thoughts that might come to me throughout the day. I wish I had more time to draw all of the thoughts I write down. I listen to music all day while I draw and am definitely inspired by the lyrics of many of my favorite artists. I am also greatly inspired by my two daughters- the perfect muse(s) for a children’s illustrator! Thanks so much for taking the time to read about me and my sketch book! ~ Heather Stillufsen, Rose Hill Design Studio ~

I recently did a Christmas card that had a similar feel to this first sketch of a girl in portrait form. I had so much fun with it that I wanted to make a valentine greeting in that same vein. Here she's still in her early stages, but you can see her muff is in the appropriate shape of a heart. The other illustration is the companion to my painting of Fergus Fox, who was always intended to be accompanied by his sister. So here she is. This is the original drawing of both of them together. Both Fergus and his sister came about from a trip to the museum, where they had a fox family on display. I've found inspiration to be something that can hit you at any given moment, and you always have to be ready to receive it. ~ Gretchen Powers, The Blooming hare ~

I don’t tend to doodle much in my sketchbook. If I get an idea for a drawing I just want to put it on paper there and then. I hate having to wait or think about things too long. Approaching life in general in that way can be lots of fun unfortunately I guess it doesn’t always go without its troubles. In my creativity, especially when I am approaching a new piece of art, I may end up with things not quite working out but I am resourceful and don’t like to throw things away either. Often this is a time when new things and ideas are born so I guess it is not such a bad thing after all. These pieces will often end up glued in my sketchbook.  If you follow my blog you will certainly have been introduced to Lottie Popjes, she was a mixture of creative adventures gone wrong. I love her dearly because she is so much of what I am about and how I got where I am now.  I am looking forward to her visits to my sketchbooks for the year 2013. ~ Manon Visser, Manon's Popjes ~


My huge, huge thanks to these wonderful artists for sharing some of their inspirations here on Pencils and Fireflies. As I mentioned before, I'm very bad at keeping a sketchbook myself. But that is the very reason why I have started this routine post in the first place...which is to inspire everyone, including myself, to pour out what's up there onto paper and keep the creativity going! I have started drawing more and more in my sketchbook because of it and I will show it to you some time when I'm over my stage fright. :)

Until next time!

Many hugs,

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Animals for the Heart

Hi everyone, what have you been up to lately? I've been doing some new collaboration projects, creating wooden model carvings with the local craftsmen. Remember the owls from my last project? They were such a huge success in the shop, that I decided to have a few more lovely creatures added to the collection. This yellow bird was one of them, and to my surprise he was sold just a few hours after I listed him. :)

Now if you have a soft spot for cute furry animals like I do, I have no doubt that you must collect a clutter or two of animal figurines in your home. I even know someone who has a whole cabinet full of them! She told me that she started the collection just a year ago with only a couple of clay models, and she hasn't stopped buying ever since. Who would blame her, right? Just take a look at these adorable creatures made by Hamlin Design and tell me they don't make your heart melt...

Cat, the lady behind these wonderful creations is a true animal enthusiast, who has an especially huge love for cats. Her sculptures are beautifully made out of polymer clay with just enough detailing to show a kind of innocent simplicity that I absolutely love! It's amazing how Cat is able to tell a story with these animals just from their shapes and postures. I guess this is one of the cases where less is more really proves to be a successful mean of design. :)

So how about you collect animal models too? Any particular animal you're crazy about? Do tell! :)

Monday, 17 December 2012

A Moment of Silence

Sharing with you a moment of silence 
to wash one painful wound that will hopefully heal in time...

My warmest embrace to the people of Newtown, Connecticut.

May faith prevails.

With love,

Friday, 14 December 2012

Out of Practice

A few weeks ago I received a message from a lovely lady, asking if I could do a drawing of a boy for a nursery, and she also asked if I could send samples of my work that featured boys. My initial reaction? I froze and went blank. Wow. I couldn't even remember the last time I drew a boy! So I rummaged through my files, my portfolio case and my sketchbooks, scattering them everywhere, to find only three (yes, THREE!) among what seemed like an ocean of drawings with girls, women and a few furry animals. It made me questioned my artistic tendencies and if there was even a specific reason why I repeatedly use the more feminine angle rather the masculine one.

So I went and challenged myself. I took on the project and started the next day, determined to deliver some good sketches of boys. But all I could come up with were doodles of sweet little girls with very short haircut. LOL. It was strange to see how awkward I was trying to portray a little boy in the most natural way and finally admitting to myself that I was without a doubt, out of practice. Then after a few more attempts, I was glad to be able to deliver some sketches to fit a boy's nursery. Thankfully with an end result that made the lady (and myself) very, very happy. :)

How about you? Do you have any artistic tendencies you'd like to share? I would love to hear it! :)


Monday, 10 December 2012

Illustrated Wooden Treasures

Yes, it's Monday again. No need to feel so forlorn, especially because the holiday is coming very soon and then there will be nothing but festivity ahead for everyone! Now before that comes, why don't we feast our eyes on these gorgeous treasures by sure are in for a real treat! :)

I first discovered NUTAK on etsy during the many hours of my satisfying explorations. Probably like so many of you, I find wood to be one of the most versatile and naturally beautiful material to work with, but making jewelry is something I've never tried to accomplish before. So you can imagine my excitement as I stumbled upon this fabulous shop! Each creation is so beautifully handcrafted, with great attention to details that shows amazing creativity. Monika and Darko are the creators behind NUTAK, both determined to put their heart and soul into each treasure they create. Other than jewelry, you can also find other uniquely made items in their shop...

So didn't that just lift up your mood? I always love finding inspirations on Mondays, just to kick things up a bit to set the pace going. I hope this feature brought you just that... Have a good week, everyone! :)

Links to NUTAK:
Etsy shop
Facebook page

Friday, 7 December 2012

Double Giveaway Announcement

The weekend is coming.♫♫.... Anything special for you on the horizon? I have no particular plan in mind myself, but I'm determined to stay away from work this time (really, I am!). I know that this won't be easy for me, especially because the end of the year is always crazy around that department. I still have a couple more commissioned work to finish and I'm very eager to have them finished before next year starts.

Well know what would make this coming weekend more cheerful? How about bringing smiles to a few lovely faces?? A double giveaway winners announcement, perhaps?? (^_^)

Remember that awesome giveaway from Artist in La La Land? Well, congratulations to... Micu!!!
You have won a set of wonderful goodies from the wonderful artist Melissa Kojima! Expect them to be delivered to your door soon. :)

And the winners to my FIVE free 40% discount vouchers giveaway?? Here they are...

Congrats to all of you! (expect your unique voucher by email very soon!). And thank you so much to everyone who has participated... I have more giveaways coming this month, so be sure to keep coming back and get your chance to win some great prizes! :)

Have a fantastic weekend, everyone!

Grinning from ear to ear,

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

The "Buy Handmade" Phenomena

"Buy Handmade". I read that slogan for the first time about a few years ago when I first dipped my toe into this whirling pool of online community. Living in a country where most products available were mass produced in factories for minimized cost, my head just didn't quite grasp that concept at first. Of course, we have handmade stuff here in Indonesia. Mostly traditional crafts that attract tourists, yet seem too "old" for us locals. There was also a trend to buy imported branded goods, which at the end created quite a down point for the local businesses. So I wondered, how did "buying handmade"  fit nicely into the lives of people in other parts of the world?

When I first visited Etsy, I think the first thing I noticed (and loved!) was how these handmade goods seemed to show such high level of creativity of the makers. It's amazing how much personality is shown in each creation, not to mention the attention to details, and in many cases, affordable prices. But the one thing that really stood out was that these handmade goods were more than just crafts that would only end up in our display cabinets (as most cases found where I am!). These goods were replacements to ordinary mass produced things that we use in daily lives. Clothing, accessories, home decor, paper goods, and even fine art! To me personally, this was love at first sight. So what did I do? I heartily plunged in and joined this phenomenal way of life.

Now as I said before, at the time we didn't have that many daily handmade goods available for sale here. At least not ones that satisfied the cravings for tasteful, well designed things. So it was pretty fun going hunting for them. Shopping online was also an option and I spent plenty of hours at other sites such as Folksy and DaWanda, just feasting my eyes on all the awesomeness I could find. And they were plenty of hours well spent.

Nowadays, I'm happy to say that buying handmade has become quite a booming trend here in Indonesia. It's literally an ongoing festivity! There are now great vendors and workshops available throughout the country, making it very easy for craft lovers like me to make my lifestyle so much more fun and creative. Here are a few handmade goodies from Indonesian artisans... hunted and treasured! :)

My very special thanks to all the wonderful crafts-magicians above that have made this post fun for me to write. Please click on the images to visit their links!

And how about you? Do you buy handmade? Please share! :)