GentleSoul Arts

Living a Creative Life

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To Blog or Not to Blog…

(Obligatory End of the Year Post for 2018)

I’ve removed the payment information for my blog upgrades 3 times over the last 2 months, and I’ve put them back.    I’m looking for ways to cut excess costs so I can put more towards paying off credit card debt.  My dogs will no longer receive Barkbox (although I will recommend it to anyone. It is a great value for what you get but after 2 years we have a nice stash of toys and treats built up), and I thought cutting out the blog would help as well.

But then I think, I don’t really use the blog to my advantage for my artwork as little as I’ve done of that lately.  I’ve had on my Google Tasks list to revamp a few pages and post my finished art pieces, and it keeps getting pushed out another week or two. I may have deleted it all together, with the idea of ditching the blog.

And I’m thinking of What Am I Going to Do Differently In 2019  year-end reflection.  Art and Blogging.  Two things at the top of my priority list.  I slacked off on my ukulele after cutting the side of my thumb and I couldn’t strum without intense pain for about 3 weeks, I’d like to start that again.   Less social media, more blogging.   More creative Action, less mindlessly scrolling through Instagram pics of other people’s artwork.

I’ll write some tangible goals and deadlines for those goals (like revamping those pages) and work at staying on task.

Thank you to those who follow and read my blog.

Namaste and Happy Holidays.

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Ukuleles and Languages

Coming up on 4 years ago, I bought a ukulele.  A little blue Kohala that was on sale. I bought a beginners book with it, and didn’t really do anything more.  I looked up some videos online, downloaded and learned the chords for In My Mind by Amanda Palmer. I never learned consistent strumming patterns, and the uke spent most of its time on my bookcase collecting dust.

Then I bought another ukulele.  A Mitchell ukulele, regular brown wooden looking.  Something that didn’t look so ‘childish’ as my blue Kohala.  It did sound a little better, it had different strings, and I switched between the two as I dorked around with a few chords.

About a year ago, I saw a local ukulele group does workshops and jam session.  I took Little Blue and fought my social anxiety to join in.  I was told my ukulele was okay, for a cheap one but it would sound better if I put new strings on it.  Also the little phone app I used to tune my ukulele was crap and I needed to buy a tuner that clipped to the head.    I bought the tuner, and a couple of uke books the group used and never went back to another session.  I have them on calendar and maybe one day I will.

A few months ago, I decided it was silly to have these instruments if I wasn’t going to use them, so I looked up some more videos on YouTube and started with some basic lessons.  I followed along with Cynthia Linn first lesson learning Three Little Birds.  I’m still working on strumming patterns, but now I’m more comfortable playing than I have been in the 4 years I’ve had my ukuleles.  I can sing while I strum the songs.  I’m not comfortable singing in front of people, but I have no problems with it while I’m home with the puppies.

I was thinking how learning ukulele, and music is like a language.  Then my brain fell down the language rabbit hole and why had I given up on learning Dutch and Spanish with duolingo.   Part of it was I just stopped practicing, losing interest perhaps?     But I couldn’t deny the progress I had seen practicing ukulele consistently for a month or so, maybe it’s time to get back into practicing languages as well.

I’ve restarted my Dutch and Spanish tress on Duolingo, and it has changed since I last used the app.  It seems like the intro circle on each has been crazy long!  I don’t remember there being levels to each circle and I was getting annoyed, but I supposed repetition is key for learning anything.

I thought I’d incorporate the languages in my sketchbook. I’ll write my Postcrossing cards in Dutch and Spanish, if I get an address of someone who speaks those languages.  I’ll learn kids songs in those languages to play on my ukulele.

It all comes full circle.



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Catching Up – June 2018 Edition

I’m glad today is the last day of June.  June isn’t my favorite month and this year proved to be extra difficult.

Jet died on June 17th between 6:18 – 7:40pm.  I checked on him and then went to mow the easement and back yard.  I came back in and David was up, and told me Jet was gone.   I was glad he wasn’t suffering anymore but I really had a hope he would recover.   When talking with coworkers about pets, I’ve caught myself still saying “I have 4 cats”.   I bought a small Bast statue for him, as I did with our kitten Kali ,who died about 20 years ago.  I didn’t realize it was so tiny when I bought it, but it’s now sitting up with Kali’s Bastet.20180630_0634531

I’ve been sketching more this month. There’s been 2 outings to a nearby park, one demo at a friend’s coffee shop and today I’ll be driving to a farm about an hour away to sketch live chickens for World Sketch a Chicken Day.   I don’t draw from live animals much.  It’s such a challenge because they refuse to stay still.  I’ve done gesture drawings of the corgis as they’re sleeping or chewing on their toys but they still move constantly.  I may pack a bit more than my simple purse travel kit.

Oh, that reminds me…  I simplified my travel kit a bit.  Instead of a 12 half-pan Windsor & Newton travel palette, I used some blue poster tack and stuck 6 half pans (yellow, red, blue, burnt sienna, titan buff and yellow ocher) into a small tin, and cut down a make up sponge to fill up the rest of the tin.  It’s been challenging since I have to mix my greens but I love that it’s so lightweight and takes up no room in my purse.


This was before I decided to add the ocher

I’m also geocaching more and will be in the next 3 weeks with the Hidden Creatures souvenirs going on currently.  I’ve only managed to find Bigfoot but will sign some puzzle caches I have solved as I drive back into town from the farm chicken sketching outing.   I have 65 puzzles solved (I honestly never thought I’d ever work puzzle caches!) and I made a list of all the 1/1 skirt lifters so I hope to hit my 100 mark quickly.

That’s my catch up for the rest of the month.  There are a few other things, but I’m saving those for another post.   Now I’ll decide what art supplies to pack today.   Chicken Sketch Posts forthcoming!


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A Sick Cat and the Cup

It’s been a surreal week.  I have neglected my gratitude journal but once I have some time to breathe and catch up, I’ll easily write a page in it.

Late Sunday morning my cat Jet started acting odd.  He was meowing loudly, and David commented that he sounded like a goat.  Jet stayed in the yoga room, meowing and I’d go pet him. He acted like he was in pain and I thought he had eaten something that had caused a blockage.  I planned on calling the vet 1st thing on Monday morning.

Monday morning, Jet’s lethargic, laying in the shower and barely moving.  He would acknowledge you when petting him but he wasn’t able to walk on his own.  I called the vet as soon as they opened and they were booked up for the day as the vet was leaving early as well and sent me to the emergency pet hospital if I thought it was serious.

At the pet hospital, we found out Jet had a urethra blockage and I honestly have no idea how long it had been going on.  His body temp was about 10 deg below normal and he was severely dehydrated.  Essentially my cat was dying.  They were able to get the blockage out and begin flushing his bladder, which was full of blood.  He stayed in the pet hospital with fluids and a catheter for 3 days .

Now he’s at home and slowly acting more like himself.  I’m monitoring his water intake & urine output.  I don’t think his back to normal but he is peeing on his own.  Hopefully each day he’ll get a little better but we’re not out of the woods yet. He could easily become blocked again.   I have a pet water fountain on order that will double as a meditation fountain and I’m making the yoga room his little sanctuary while he recovers.

Then last night my favorite hockey team won the Stanley Cup for the 1st time in their 44 year history.  I started watching the Washington Capitals after I first saw Ovechkin play in the 2006 Winter Olympics.  I have watched them lose in the 2nd round of Stanley Cup playoffs more times than I care to acknowledge.  I happily ugly cried last night watching Ovie hoist the Cup.  It’s been a dream to watch this and I can’t even imagine how elated the team is!   Congrats guys!

Time to get ready for work.  I’m glad it’s Friday and I can spend the weekend with Jet.


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Marketing IN YOUR FACE!

I’m a sucker for a freebie.  I don’t think I’m alone in this.  When a creative person offers a “free” workshop with various teachers, I tend to jump on board.  Of course, each teacher is going to offer a free gift with their course.  A PDF file tutorial or discount for their next workshop, just sign up with your email and you’ll get the free gift.  Along with all of their marketing newsletters, updates, offers.

The GDPR emails have me thinking, what do I really need in my life, email wise.  Some of the newsletters I’ve stayed on.  They’re unobtrusive, maybe one or two a  month or every few months.  Artists and creatives that I really love.   Others, holy crap, it’s like the pushy used car salesman that won’t leave you alone no matter how many times you say you’re just looking.

  • 1st email: Workshop offer
  • 2nd email: I wanted to make sure you saw my workshop offer
  • 3rd email: I really think you’ll love this AMAZING workshop offer
  • 4th email:  Here’s what others have said about my INCREDIBLE workshop offer
  • 5th email: Don’t let this ONCE IN A LIFETIME workshop offer pass you by.
  • 6th mail:  This is your LAST CHANCE to sign up for my workshop offer (until I run it again in 6 months month).

It’s frustratingly crazy and a little bit sad.  I get you have to put yourself out there.  It’s something I don’t do well, and I’m working on it.  But the IN YOUR FACE emails and notifications are wearing me out.  Like physically.  I’m exhausted deleting, unsubscribing and turning off app notifications because they’re a constant bombardment.

I’ll say No Thank You to the many free workshops that offer a variety of teachers, each offering free gifts and their own workshops, with multiple teachers offering free gifts.  (I’m getting an Amway vibe just writing that!)

Within the last year, I get to deal with a box truck with digital billboards driving down the road when I’m going to work.  It drives the speed limit, during rush hour traffic easily flowing 5-10 miles over the speed limit.  You get stuck behind this thing, forget about getting around because everyone is flying past you.

And algorithms.  These do kind of make me laugh because I’m on the computer a lot at work, looking up spec sheets for products we offer.  Now on my Facebook sidebar I’m being shown products I have no personal interest in, but had to look up information on it for project at work.

I don’t think my  little rant will have any effect on the amount of marketing shoved in our faces but I am being aware of it, and how I respond to it. It won’t go away but I don’t have to join the zombie mob slowly ambling towards the latest gadget, or workshop.


I have to chuckle that the spell check function doesn’t recognize the word “unsubscribing”

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Back to Steady

Oh, I feel like myself again.

After 3 days of socializing, I spent yesterday afternoon at home.  I made dinner, cleaned up the kitchen some, and was in bed by 8:30pm.  Sometimes I chide myself for going to bed so early but I couldn’t keep my eyes open.

I’ll be travelling for work today, and have a social event on my calendar this evening.  I may run into the person who upset me Saturday.  I won’t initiate a conversation, but I will probably say HI in passing.  It’s not in my nature to be rude intentionally.

I’m behind again on A Course in Miracles, but I have been consistently writing each evening in my Gratitude Journal.  Just a few things throughout the day that I’m thankful for.   It puts me in a good mind place before falling asleep.    As I build habits, I’ll add something when I first wake up instead expressing my irritation at the puppies for waking up so early.

Time to get ready for my day!


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Merry Go Round

I was leery of publishing my post from yesterday, but I’m glad I did.  Once I hit publish and closed my computer, I didn’t think much about the situation.  I watched TV as the puppies played until it was time to get ready for an Urban Sketching workshop.

For every down in life, there’s an up.  The workshop was great fun, and I was able to catch up with friends I hadn’t seen in 6 months, or more.  There were some new faces and I hope they begin to attend our Urban Sketching meetup.   We’re a small group right now but we’re also less than a year old.

After sketching at the workshop, I sketched some more at home in the evening, finished up a Buddha painting I plan on hanging in my meditation/yoga room.  I’ll post photos of it to Instagram this evening when it’s hanging.

I try to stay positive, and present a sparkly rainbow bunny to others, but I think squashing down those instances of frustration and anger cause them to brew and bubble.   Festering like an infection that you ignore until amputation is required.   I don’t intend to become a chronic complainer but speaking my truth in all aspects of emotions.  Events yesterday were good, and I enjoyed myself.  Honestly, events on  Saturday were good with the exception of a few interactions.

My intention for this week is to speak my truth, and work on being heard when in a group.   If I feel I need to be heard.   It is more fun to observe and note how others interact.