You Cut Through All the Noise- artwork inspired by Bastille

The Anchor by Bastille inspired artwork

I take inspiration where I can get it, whether thats when i’m out exploring (and who can forget that time I had the bf pull over while we were driving around Big Bend National Park to try and sketch some of the mountains out there that caught my eye….in 100+ degree weather), through books I read, magazines I pour over, websites I spend too much time on (tumblr, you hell-site) or of course, through music.

Generally, I listen to anything and everything I can get my hands on, usually through exposure from playlists people make over on 8Tracks ( you can go take a peek at my playlists collection here if you’re curious) but a couple of months ago the bf brought home the latests album from the band Bastille and it caused a flurry of inspiration in my mind. I love the band for their creative approach to songwriting, musical experimentation and of course their lead singer Dan Smith’s vocal talents and by the time I had reached the end of the album I was clutching a bunch of new favorites. The Anchor is the second to last song on that album and… I couldn’t quite say what it was that stuck with me, but it dug deep. I remember listening to that song on repeat for what felt like days on end until I found myself with free time on a Sunday and there I was, sketching out the lyrics. And then a couple of days after that I was fumbling with my colored pencils, blue smudged all over my hands and my arms sore from detailing swirl after swirl. Surprisingly even after the hours I spent working on this, I still really love the song.

( Obviously the art doesn’t do the song justice but, it was lovely to see the way the song made me feel expressed out on paper. )

~m

Outtakes, the 2016 Edition- Misadventures, Stolen Oranges and Glorious Skies

Lemme start this out by saying, just in case you’re not the sort of person who employs the beginning of the year to bring a symbolic end to a cyclical calendar that is pretty much as symbolic as anything else…. you’re probably not going to enjoy this post. I personally VERY much enjoy the feeling of a year coming to a close, having a goalpost for myself when it comes to achievements and above all, having a measured distance to use to fully- and I do mean fully- stretch out my procrastination tendencies.

Also, I love having a specific time I can use to reflect on the utter lunacy of the year just passed. And no matter which way you slice it, what glasses you use to view this past year, it’s been a staggering parade of one global mess after another, gains that felt like losses and losses that still leave us smarting. But i’m not going to get political here, because I think there will plenty of people with better words than I who will most assuredly be churning those out. This is just a post reflecting on this past year, for me personally, with outtakes mainly from the cluttered library of my iPhone.

Lets begin with a list of numbers, my favorite:

5- travel/guide books read
9- National Parks visited this year
3- the number of times the AC went out in our house (FRUSTRATION TO THE EXTREME)
6- times that I shouted “SUNS OUT, GUNS OUT!” to the boyfriend when neither guns nor suns were out, just after waking up on the weekend with too much energy
3- Economics books read (and only one that made me scream in frustration)
19- podcasts I listened to this year
3- the number of times we encountered the Border Patrol
5- times that I turned to the boyfriend while on a roadtrip and said with full seriousness “welp, I guess this is where we die yeah?”
5- friendships lost to inattention, inappropriate romantic overtures and/or jealousy and miscommunication
2 – moments where I wanted to throw a match on my current life and just walk away, go live as a hermit in Alaska and just generally start clean over
4 – the number of times I was driving home from work and had the overwhelming sensation of immense gratitude for the life I get to occupy
1- orange stolen from a co-worker (long story, technically he freely gave it to me?)

countless- hours spent on tumblr dot com, times i’ve said “what the fricking frick??”, honeybuns eaten at work and times i’ve laughed until my sides hurt and my cheeks burned

Traves and Misadventures: 

As I mentioned above, me and the boyfriend managed to visit 9 National Parks this past year (as well as 1 additional tribal park) and I honestly can’t believe we actually got to do that? I had literally not gone to a single one before then and on a whim we decided to visit the Grand Canyon for my birthday and a whole trip spawned out of that. (The masterpost for that trip as well as the outtakes can be found here. ) After that, bitten by the outdoorsy adventure bug as I was, I decided to shelve any plans for visiting cities or even traveling out of the USA to focus on seeing as much of the USA’s natural beauty as I could.

Places and parks traveled to this year are as follows, in order :
The Grand Canyon , Zion NP, Bryce Canyon NP, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Santa Fe(NM), Big Bend NP, Goodland (KS) Arches NP, Canyonlands NP, Death Valley NP, Joshua Tree NP, the Salton Sea State Recreational Area, Slab City (CA), Carlsbad Caverns NP, Abilene (TX)

Places we’d planned to visit and plans either fell through or were changed: 
The Great Sand Dunes NP(CO), New York City (NY), Boston(MA), Rocky Mountain NP(CO), Estes Park (CO) Yellowstone NP, Yosemite NP, Huntington Beach (CA) and Dallas (TX) (we literally live right here next to it and yet we did not once manage to get our butts into the city for any reason)

Arts, creativity, crafts and snailmail: 
While this year was utterly fantastic for traveling, it really sucked when it came to creativity and finding inspiration. I finished my first novel last year (lets not get into that bit of a novice accomplishment here) and I spent this last year editing it and generally using it as a reason to not work on any other writing endeavors. My art-journal Mondays fell by the wayside, which is more than a little disheartening as they were my most popular posts as well as the ones I used to share a bit more of a personal side. Even my regular art projects dwindled down into the half dozens, with my mountain pieces taking me longer than ever to finish and my textile art falling completely to the deadzone.

When it comes to snailmail, yikes- it’s even worse. While I don’t claim to be a super snailmailing aficianado, i’ve been at it for almost 7 years now and some of my closest friendships are bound tighter because of it so, it’s definetly important to me. Basically when it comes to art, i’ve fallen a good deal shorter than I expected.

And in this New Year? 
Obviously this would be the part where I list out all the goals and plans i’ve got to make this new year 10x better than the one thats gone by.
But.
For all the ups and downs, personally? This past year was actually very kind of me.

So for the coming year, while yes i’ve got plenty of goals and focus’s listed all neat and tidy in my main journal, the only three goals i’ll share here are these, two very tangible, the other not so much:

1. Make it to Europe this year, come hell or high water
2. Strive for more creativity and push myself for more everyday that I can
3. Read more fiction books.

Europe is being planned slowly but steadily (or more accurately, on the fly and haphazardly), creativity is being stoked by crisp white pages and an abundance of colors and as for the books? As weird as it might sound, that will probably be the hardest one.  This past year almost all the books i’ve read have either been travel guides, historical, economics related or mathematical /scientific (leaning towards the topics of A.I or astrophysics). But i’ve got literal piles of fiction books waiting to be read, from science fiction like Hyperion to classics like The Once and Future King over to more new titles like The Girl on The Train, so it’s certainly doable I think.

Anyways, this post has gotten long enough to the point where by the time I post this it will literally BE the new year already so, lets end this with the thing that  helped get me through the year, music.

Most Listened to Albums of 2016: 
Wild World- Bastille
The Joshua Tree- U2
Communion- Years and Years
Lemonade- Beyoncé
A Seat At The Table- Solange

Most Listened to songs of 2016:
BTSK- MSMR
The Anchor- Bastille
She’s a Lady- LION BABE
Chasing Twisters- Delta Rae
Ain’t No Grave- Johnny Cash
Macbeth- Jed Kurzel (From Macbeth Soundtrack)
I Found- Amber Run
A-Flat- Black Violin

not drowning in my coffee cups just yet,
~m

p.s will be back with the last two (three? dear gods) posts for this last roadtrip in the New Year 

Art Journal Monday- These Black Stars and Deadlands

Song lyrics- Far From Any Road, The Handsome Family

Song lyrics- Far From Any Road, The Handsome Family

I’ve been thinking about death a lot lately.

Well ok hold on- before this gets really morbid, let me begin anew by saying, i’ve been thinking about death in that all encompassing and almost annoying way you can get when its 3 in the morning and you can’t sleep and your thoughts begin to go down the path of “i wonder where do we go after it all ends” and then you migrate on over to “is anything eternal, does anything truly linger?”  I wouldn’t presume to think i’m the only one who gets like that when sleep won’t come, thought I imagine that it’s less common with people who get enough rest.

black suns and stars

Here in Texas, the land seems to go on forever sometimes, long stretches of road that fades into the horizon like you’re out at sea and the shore is just a faded memory. I’ve been out there in the dead of night with no cars in sight for hours on end, driving driving driving and it’s at times like that when the idea of eternity seems the most real to me, as odd as that sounds. There’s just something about being behind the wheel of a car, the wide open road yawning forever in front and just pocketed shadows of land surrounding me, containing the possibility of anything. It takes you about 7 hours to just get out of the state, at least from where i’m situated, and trust me, believing in eternity- in the idea of forever – it comes so easy when passing under the shadows of the monumentally enormous grain silos and almost terrifyingly gentle wind farms that span the nothing out there.

lyrics, art journal photography

So why death then, if eternity is what occupies my mind? ‘Cause death holds tightly gripped hands with eternity, you can’t get one without the other even if you tried and I think accepting the idea of eternity is about as easy (or as hard, depending on who you ask) as truly accepting the idea of death, that inevitable end. And when I look out across the small expanse that is my life, I want to know that I am satisfied with what i’ve done, and still utterly hungry for more. And accepting both eternity and death, it helps me with that.

And honestly, most days? I’ll take all the help I can get, no matter where it might come from.

What do you think about, when it’s 3 am and you can’t get any sleep?

far from anyroad, art journal post

Songs on Repeat This Past Week- 

Legions (War)Zoë Keating
Nagada Sang DholShreya Goshal
Thrown AwayVast
Can IAlina Baraz, Galimatias
Prituri se PlaninataStellamara
CowardHayden Calnin

Not drowning in my coffee cups yet,
~ m

The White Queen- Art Journal Tuesday 

I’ve spent this last week wondering what this year is going to be like. The past year, according to the common concensus that i’ve seen from all the time I spent on tumblr, just pretty much tried to kill everyone. And I can’t even argue with that, 2015 was rough- to the extreme. I don’t know anyone who didn’t come out of it without a few scars or mental breakdowns, myself included.

So, 2016, what will you bring?

art journal monday, the white queen

For me, last year was the time span where I changed jobs 3 times, finished my first novel, bought a house with the bf, lost touch with literally all of my friends, bought my first new car, developed an obsession with fancy trousers and silk scarves, and thats just the stuff I can remember.

2015 was the year for growing up it seems, and while I don’t think I particularly did a fantastic job with that, I think I did enough that I can spend this year doing the things I love.
Like traveling.

Gods I miss traveling. From that first whirl wind brush of an idea of where you’d like to go to the almost stressful part of planning it out to even just the packing part of it. I miss the little roadtrips I used to take to random towns all over North Texas, finding weird little places like the Futuro House or the odd hidden gothic trees in the water just outside Rowlett.

a lovely addiction, art journal monday

Winter weather is something fiercely ugly here in Texas though, and I can’t quite motivate myself to go out and find the beauty or even just the strangeness out there, at least not yet. I am however, planning a roadtrip for my birthday in March. Currently the plan is….New Mexico, most probably to Santa Fe. My first ever roadtrip was about 3 years ago or so, to Santa Fe and I think it would be cool to do it again when I have more time, a new car that can better handle the distance and more importantly, a bit more spare cash to have more ill advised adventures with.
(Well, I did say I hadn’t quite mastered that adult thing yet yeah?)

the white queen

Songs on repeat this past week:

I Know You Are But What Am I?– Mogwai
Dead Reckoning- Clint Mansell
Für Alina– Arvo Pärt
Mountains- Hans Zimmer
Hold Me Down- Halsey
Afraid- The Neighborhood

Not drowning in my coffee cups yet,
~m

The Shadows In The Mountains- Art Journal Monday

the words and the shadow of the mountain, art journal

Art Journal Monday is back, and nobody is more surprised about that than me, myself and I.

(Previous art journal posts: How Not To Chase the Storm, I Beheld Enchantment, Spirits In Your Head, Love, I Don’t Want A War My Friend,Tis’ All Fiction )

I’ve finally gotten around to confessing myself to friends that might or might not have been waiting for answers to my self imposed hermit-like ways of last year and there’s something to be said about unburdening yourself onto the table with all your guts on display like “yes hello there, here’s myself, judge as you’d like.”

words in my art journal

I’m getting back to art though, now that the guilt i’ve been carrying around for the past 10+ months has lessened. I mean, I still have huge bridges to repair with friends of course, telling people what exactly has been going on with you isn’t quite the same as taking tools to the cracks in the foundations of your friendships but i’m at least on that step now instead of the square zero of before.

And so, we start again.
In the Shadow of the Mountain

Songs on repeat this past week:

CoyitaGustavo Santaolalla
Voyage Of Bran- Brendan Perry
It’s PersonalThe Radio Dept.
Season of LoveShiny Toy Guns
Loud Pipes- Ratatat
Ba BaSigur Rós
GravitySteven Price
RunawayYeah Yeah Yeahs
Dust Bowl DanceMumford & Sons

Not drowning in my coffee cups yet,
~m