GentleSoul Arts

Living a Creative Life

Spring ahead

Monday after I got back from South Carolina, I finally caught the respiratory infection / bronchitis that has been going around the office,  I spent 2 days mostly sleeping, then another 4 days sleeping as often as I could.    I’m starting to feel more like myself and now I get to play catch up with office work and house work.

It also means everything is back to a normal routine, I haven’t sketched much so I’ve been listening to creative podcasts for inspiration and maybe some challenges to participate in.  The weather is getting warmer, albeit rainy, so I’d like to get out to geocache. I’ve been reading a lot, one for a book club that meets in a few weeks and the other because it was mentioned in a podcast and once I started it, I was hooked.  I may do reviews on them.  I don’t feel educated enough to do book reviews, so maybe not.

I want to dig my bike out of the garage.  I want to start taking the dogs on walks in the evenings.  I want to start doing yoga again (I don’t know what happened after January). I want to clean up the flowerbeds.

But right at this very moment, I need to get ready for work.


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.



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!


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.


Ready for Fall

The last month has been busy, a lot of ups and downs for me emotionally.   After a minor … okay, more of a major… meltdown regarding finances I decided I’d take a 2nd job.  I decided to apply for a retail job with the upcoming holidays and was emailed to set up an interview.   After contemplating working 40 hours a week at my normal job, and then 20+ hours at a 2nd job, holiday hours and weekends, Black Friday and the rush of Christmas shoppers, I cancelled the scheduled interview.

I’ve re-discovered geocaching and have picked up a few on my way to & from work.   There are upcoming events, on the weekends, that I would have to opt out of if I were working on weekends.   I’m 3 caches away from hitting my 200 mark.

I’m also planning on attending some Sketch Meets.   The Oklahoma Arts Guild group meets on one Saturday a month and the OKC Urban Sketchers group meets on one Sunday a month.

Then there is the once a month art journalling group ladies I meet.  I so could not give up that time. It’s a recharger for me, able to get with like-minded people, and journal.  Sharing ideas and inspiration when I feel worn thin from daily life.

So with my creativity boosted, I’ll be listing my paintings for sale to make some extra money.  I’m getting photos and will calculate prices.  I’m not sure yet on how to ship them but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

On the Puppy front, Vision was 6 months old last week and is scheduled to be neutered tomorrow.   He’s getting a bit of an attitude when playing with Jarvis and there’s been a couple of times when Vision got a bit snarly.   Jarvis is 14 months old and has mellowed out quite a bit.  He is good at tattling on Vision though.  If Vision is into something he shouldn’t be, Jarvis will bark until I go check to see what’s going on.

Spiritually, I’m back into the “I can’t deal with church” mode.   I attended one church consistently until I broke my foot.  David took me a couple of weeks but once I was able to drive, he didn’t go back with me and I couldn’t muster the incentive to go on my own.  I went back today and I was bored.  The sermon didn’t do anything to me.  I played on my phone and gazed out the window.  I thought of going back to another church I had attended in 2012 but had a bad experience.  Then I thought “Why!?”  I’ve tried, it just doesn’t click.   I would love a small group to study spiritually with, but without the baggage I’ve experienced in “organized religion”.

I’m still craving community, but perhaps I can find that with the sketch groups and geo-cachers.