Monday, 6 January 2014

Happy New Year!

I look so forward to writing my often lengthy tome-like emails to all of you unsuspecting and long suffering friends and family, as I am usually rewarded with a few replies on what you've been getting up to and it also affords me the opportunity to stop and take stock on where I've been this year and where I'm heading to in the next.

This time of year, when Winter prompts all manner of species of plant, animal, and mineral to rest, hibernate, and renew themselves for the not so distant return of Spring. I believe this is also why we humans feel  the urge to reflect on the passage of time and set goals for the year ahead. I am not one for New Year's resolutions, unless of course it is to consume more chocolate, search out more books for our already dangerously overburdened bookshelves, and to laugh more. I do however, set general intentions of where I want the year ahead to take me  mentally, creatively, physically. But, how can one set intentions for the year ahead without taking stock of the receding current year? As I look back over 2013 and marvel at the speed with which it's brought us to the last few days of December, I am filled most with profound gratitude.

I am so grateful for your friendship, encouragement, support, and the nudges that have kept me moving forward and challenging me to find deeper levels of creativity and skill in my creative aspirations and also in who I am as a person. I am grateful for those of you who find pleasure, comfort, or inspiration in the work I put into the world, as that too, is what propels me giddily, gratefully forward.

This year, my intention has been to find more avenues to connect with others through my work, to challenge myself to stretch beyond my everyday expectations. Most folks who know me, know that illustration is my chosen vehicle to attempt to bring more inspiration, joy, and magic into my world, and to connect with the world around me in a more authentic and deeper way. So, with this perspective in mind I dove headlong into 2013 with my sketchbook tucked firmly under my arm. What soon came across my path were experiences definitely not of my design, but so rewarding on every level. 

I am no lover of being the centre of attention (although writing long emails about oneself certainly argues against this statement), public speaking, or even having my photo taken for that matter. I generally shy away from giving group lessons, talks, and solo showings of my work because of the aforementioned reasons. So, it was with delight and my immense pleasure to give one on one lessons to two very talented women this year. I have felt so honoured to share in these ladies' creative adventures and am blown away by how they've stretched and grown both artistically and in their approach to their technique. What I hadn't anticipated was how this opportunity to connect in such a personal way would enrich my own life as well as how I approach my own work. Janna and Shiho, you have been such a wonderful part of my year, I thank you! Fortunately, for all of you curious readers,  Janna and Shiho generously agreed to allow me to share their holiday cards with you all to further prove how lucky I am to get to sit and watch these two amazing ladies create...

students

From offering lessons on painting and illustration to doing a solo showing of my work this year at the scrumptious Cocoa Nymph's magical chocolate shop, and a wild and wonderful trip to Ireland and France, this year has taught me much. Most importantly, I've learned to continue to stretch beyond my comfort zones and self-constructed boundaries as there are such incredibly rewarding and life affirming discoveries around the bend, under the often overlooked stone, and on the next page of one's sketchbook. If nothing else, I hope this rambling yarn will encourage each of you to risk some comfort in the hopes of the reward of making a new friend, discovering a new passion, or seeing our world with new eyes.

Wishing you a 2014 of joy, good health, and inspiration in abundance.

Your fan and friend!
Leah

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