8 ways to say goodbye to Summer (August links)

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goodbye summer picture

I’m very sad to be the one saying this but… Summer may be over already.

Temperature has been dropping fiercely here in Catalan lands and the weather is already calling for some blanket and sofa time. I must confess I’m actually wearing a long sleeve top and trousers (and I’m in need of changing my short socks for long ones or I’ll be freezing in no time). Sun is still warm but clouds have been coming and going all week. I hope this winter comes slowly. I hate wearing really thick clothing.

So… what now?

Well, the cold brings with it a lot of good things too. First of all, we will be able to go on new adventures! It was too hot and too crowded lately but now… Well, I predict a year full of great times spent outdoors.

Also, I can’t stop my mind from thinking about October already, seeing pumpkins and hearing about Halloween all over the place. Which, I don’t know why, makes me think of hot chocolate, the fireplace and chilling afternoons. But you must know how to make a cup of hot cocoa so I can’t share that with you. However, I’ve found some recipes that would make for a perfect plan for a Friday or Sunday afternoon.

Here’s a cake that is also a cookie and a pie. I’m melting inside like a coulant. I want to taste that. Right now. Please.

– Don’t like cookies? Here is another one making my mouth go water-nuts… A one bowl vegan chocolate cake .

– Wanna see who else is excited about Halloween? Follow @loveandasandwich and her cute monsters!

– What about something healthy for breakfast? Lately, I’m testing how to introduce some oats into my life and I’ve just found this recipe that could be quite handy. Are you ready for an a-mues-zing month?

– Did you ever hear about vegan bacon? Me neither but here it is. I’m buying cauliflower this week.

With more time to spend indoors, going back to our work and life routine we may end spending more time in front of our screens. But try not to! Contradictorily, I want to share a couple of articles (on the net) about it.

– Are you an avid user of Instagram? Maybe you’ve heard about the new movie about it. If not, you’ll learn about it here: How Instagram Makes You Basic, Boring, and Completely Deranged.

Want to know more about how social media hurts us? Read how Designers are using “dark UX” to turn you into a sleep-deprived internet addict.

– Not everything is dark and sad in this world. Now look at what Disney is doing. I love it (spoiler alert: breaking princesses stereotypes with photography).

– I’m missing the surf. This cooler weather should mean more waves coming in right? Hope so. In the meantime, I was reading about this exhibition in California that “tells a Complex Message of Access and Environmentalism”. If non-surfer people loved the beach as we do (and if we all loved all natural places) would all of us take better care of them?

Now I leave you with these links and wish you the best time going back to “normality”. But let’s try it doesn’t become “normal”.

Doing the Thing

Lena *


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7 inspiring links to check out, from last month (JUNE)

Create, Explore, Lifestyle

Another month has gone, so fast. The more I do, the more it seems I have to do and the quicker the time goes by. But that didn’t take any fun of living the start of the summer, with some beach days, river days, climbing days and many movies. I can’t even remember all of the good stuff.

Though, I’ll make you a quick list of links to check. (psst, don’t worry, you don’t have to check all of them now, we’ll be waiting for you).

1. A newsletter : Lecture in progress

I have subscribed to many newsletter this month. And they look quite promising. Lecture in progress surprised with their emails, so I want to recommend it to you. If you’re after some good advice from creatives, interviews and have interest in the creative industry you’ve found an ally in them.

2. A song :

I love every single song by Lana del Rey. Just recently listened to it.

3. Additions to my following list on instagram

Loving is sharing! And today I want to share a few inspiring designers! Their images are so wonderful, modern and striking!  They just make me want to design more.

BIRGIT PALMA

A post shared by BIRGIT PALMA (@birgitpalma) on

THEMISHAART

A color palette I couldn’t love more. Check her incredible patterns.

SPRINKLEDLIFE

This one will take you into rainbow daydreaming.

ARCHIPROUDFOOT

Don’t ignore the signs. This is one to follow.

HOWABOUTORANGE

There’s something about her patterns that calls me.

A post shared by Jessica Jones (@howaboutorange) on

4. A book :

She means business. You know I’ve read quite a few books about the creative life, entrepreneurship and success. I’m still doing. Maybe a new post of Books for Girlbosses will come soon. Anyway, my point is, this is a good book on the topic. At least, one that resonated a lot with me. It packs practical tips and strategies with felt advice alongside visualization talk and the like. And her personal journey and those of her closest ones. But not only that, she also has a lot of resources for you to build your success journey. I’m totally diving into those, so be sure I’ll be shining in no time 😉

BTW, I got myself the audiobook, so it’s Carrie Green herself talking, so cool and nice to listen to while painting.

5. A place :

Siurana. We started June at full power. We got on the car for two days and didn’t stop for a minute (okay, maybe some, I just like to make things big!). We went for lots of exploring and climbing. Here some shots. Get inspired and go find your next adventure!

6. Do your to-do stuff while playing

Have you ever heard of gamification? In few words, it’s transforming some activities into a game. The example I want to share with you today is Habitica. It’s a game developed to help you get better habits and do your to-do list with a more engaging twist. My sister (Mariposas de papel) introduced me to this, and even I’m so behind her in the game, I’m still going there day after day.

What’s in it for you? If you ever played online games like Gaia online, wanted to have the nicest avatar or just liked pixel art you can be sure you’ll like it. Though, the funniest part is doing it with friends. You can even get into battles that you’ll only able to win doing a hell out of things from you list.

(Need a tip? Have lots of dailies and do as many as you can to keep healthy).

7. Surfing freely (online) : a safer anonymous Browser, Tor

Do you ever feel that google, or the internet knows you too well? Would you like to be able to browse the internet without it knowing all about you? Maybe just because you should be able to. Because you don’t have to be giving your info all the time.

I’ve started using it. No regrets. More freedom. Always strive for freedom.

Tor Project: anonymity online


 

 

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where to find inspiration

How to find inspiration

Create

where to find inspiration

The blank page syndrome. The burnout moment. The empty mind feeling. Everybody, but specially those of us who work in a creative field have experienced it. Even the student during the long hours before an exam has this thought: I don’t feel like it.

And you know that it’s quite difficult to be productive when you are not feeling it right? But you know you have to do it and start as soon as possible. How can we move on from that pain and do the work?

“A blank page is no empty space. It is brimming with potential… It is a masterpiece in waiting — yours.”
A.A. Patawaran, Write Here Write Now: Standing at Attention Before My Imaginary Style Dictator

Smart procrastination. That’s my answer and my method. Well, prior to that I would try to do something else that is equally urgent or important. When that doesn’t work, I decide I will have a good time and start working in a different way.

“By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The non-existent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.”— Nikos Kazantzakis

Let’s imagine I need to do an illustration. I don’t know where to start. I should have a concept, and I may have one, but it’s not talking to me, I’m not visualizing the painting yet.

So, what do I do?

1- I keep a folder full of images that I collect for future reference or inspiration. Things I would like to draw, inspiring pictures or others’ illustrations and paintings that I like. Going through all of my favorites could help me get a clear image of what I’d like my illustration to look like, choose a palette I want to try or just convey a feeling I want to incorporate to the piece.

2 – Option two: use Pinterest. Not in an endless search for something without even knowing what I’m looking for, but just to look through all of my boards and see if there’s a theme that I haven’t tried yet or maybe let the lifestyle of my choice inspire the real me. One that I would specially recommend is (having and) checking your dreams’ board. That will probably be more powerful and bring you some creative energy that you could use to start the work.

3 – If nothing has worked so far (which would be rare, I usually would use just one of all these items) I visit a very dangerous place: Instagram. However, I’m not talking about refreshing endlessly the feed or go stalk your favorite artists; I’m just talking about using your likes and saved instas to get you back to a moment you felt inspired. Because I will usually save a picture when it tells me a story or makes me feel a special something which I know may be useful my future uninspired me.

4 – Similar to the previous one, I often take screenshots of things I like or things I could use in the future. It’s also a good moment to check them. I must confess I usually forget about them so they sometimes are, at the least, a surprise.

5- Have you been too hard on yourself? Then it’s time to go over the old photos of travels and let my your life (and gratitude for it) be your inspiration. In the same way, I may revise my old sketches. That’s wonderful, because there might be an old drawing there deserving of some improvement.

“A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn; it can be stabbed to death by a quip and worried to death by a frown on the right man’s brow.”— Charles Brower

A writing problem

If it’s too hard to craft a new post, there’s hope too.

1 – Take an old post of yours and see what’s missing. Could that become a new post?

2 – I have this wonderful app called Keep, by Google, in which I jot down any idea I get at any time. When you are experiencing a block, it’s a great time to go check it.

3 – Stop and reflect. What has been going on in your life? Or to the people around you? Could something of that be transferred to your blog? What story could you tell and link to your theme? Asking questions is always a good way to start.What strategies do you have to get inspiration or dropping aside procrastination?

To know more about my process, read this post.

For books on creativity read this one.

For more resources go to Resources.


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How I get inspiration from nature and MiniAdventures

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When not knowing what to paint… paint flowers

And that, my friends, is good advice. Well, unless you hate flowers.

Flowers are always a good option, be it for a present be it for honing your art skills.

I myself enjoy very much portraying flowers in my paintings, though that may be as a result of admiring flowers so much in real life. Not that I am a nerd of flowers nor paint them in a scientific way. But I must stop and watch them when I find some in the wild.  They are like little souvenirs from my trips.

So today I want to transport you with some pictures to that special feeling into the world of flowers.

Why Flower Inspiration

Just starring to flowers brings me a sense of calm and I get lost with the colours, textures and complex forms.

The smaller the detail I get my eye on, the bigger my fascination. It kind of feels like seeing nature from the point of view of a fairy.

And, in these cold days, feels so good to go back and see some of the findings of the year, during miniadventures and hours spent outside…

Do you feel the call of nature, the call of freedom? Don’t you want to create something that beautiful right away? Cause I do want!

flower inspiration

flower inspiration

flower inspiration

flower inspiration

I love the pastel colours of those walls, plus the pink of the flowers it reminds me of ice cream!

flower inspiration

This may not be flowers… but such and interesting form and texture…

flower inspiration

flower inspiration

Stars, stars , stars on the Earth

flower inspiration

flower inspiration

flower inspiration

flower inspiration

flower inspiration

Do you like to watch flowers? Do you usually paint them? What is your favourite type?


Be ready for Christmas and the New Year. Celebrate with us !

 

 

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Get some inspiration for the New Year: MiniAdventures

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The Holiday mood is already everywhere. This week we decorated for Christmas. We have half of the presents bought. I’ve heard carols in the radio and the streets are decorated with its coloured lights. We are ready for this season!
I like this time of the year. Specially when we are still getting some days that aren’t that cold. Even then, that’s the prefect excuse to warm up with a cosy blanket on the sofa, something to drink, a panettone to eat and a movie or book to entertain ourselves.
I also find it’s a very good moment for creativity and imagination. You know, it’s the magic time of the year. But it’s also near the end of it and the start of the new. How will it be? How was this year?
Imagining the future feels good. We can start planning next year adventures, travels and activities.What can be more fun than that?
Make a couple of new boards on Pinterest and start planning the year! I’ll be doing it!

In the meanwhile, I want to share with you some pictures of my little adventures of the last months. A good way to remember the best and get some inspiration for the next MiniAdventures.
Have you heard about this term? Checking it I see they are called MicroAdventures instead. I like mini though. It’s basically about getting outside, do something different without having to travel far away or for a long time. You can find more about it here and here. It’s something I really like, because MiniAdventures are short but good, in new places but not at days of travel, challenging but affordable. Any trip, every cycling day or hike could be one. I like to see any activity as an adventure. Life is an adventure. Every day can be an adventure.

For today’s, I want to show you about my last surf trip to the north, in France. One week of chances, challenges, nice weather and some calm.

Are you coming?

Pack your board and bikini, some clothes and get in the car. We are going! Road trip mode on

on the road

Be there, do that. Ready for da surf? Let’s go!

Look for that beach with perfect waves, park the car in the woods, surrounded by magical forms and get ready. Walk over the dunes of sand and paddle hard for the waves of fun.

beautiful trees

Feel the salt in the skin, the sun in the eyes, the freedom of the sport.

I don’t usually take a camera into the water… so let’s pretend the picture below belongs to the same trip… 😉

lena singla surfing

Surfing base camp – Boards, wet wetsuits and shiny noons.

wetsuits drying

surfboards

Transport yourself into a week of nice sunsets with bright colours and beautiful skylines.

hossegor river side

sunset in the camping

sunset in hossegor

When the summer is gone, it feels even better : Beach on the morning, beach on the afternoon.

golden sunset wave

gold beach

Have a laugh; this is my stylish way to the top of the bunker.

bunker

views over the bunkers

Go cruising!

lena singla skateboarding

lena singla cruising

One day the adventure is over and we have to come back. But there’s still a promise of more.

on the way back home

What MiniAdventures did you do recently? Something snowy planned for this Christmas? Let me know in the comments.


Be ready for Christmas and the New Year. Celebrate with us :

 

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Creative books for the artist in you (1)

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creative books

I’m sitting in my sofa, a blanket over my legs, the last lights of the afternoon entering smoothly through the window. A cool breeze is petting the trees outside and dark clouds are moving fast towards the town, above the mountains. I’m reading a book and I’m fully immersed in the words.

That, for good or bad, has been a recurring scene in my life. Books have always been a good companion of my, may they have been just readings for entertainment or study. Whatever I’m interested in the moment, I’ll look for new perspectives in books.

So when I had made my mind clear that I wanted to pursue a creative career, preferably as an artist and my own boss, I started looking for books that could inspire, motivate and teach me a way. Books for creatives. And, of all of them, I’m bringing you a list of the ones more relevant.

But this is more than a list. Because as I’m getting used to highlighting I though it would be great to share some of my favourite quotes with you. (If you like what you read, maybe you could ask for some of these books this xmas… 😉 )

My selection of books for creatives

1- (a combo) Show your work /&/ Steal like an artist by Austin Kleon

Austin Kleon is an artist and writer. In his first book, Steal like an artist, he talks about having references while working and how it is ok to “copy” to learn or get inspired to develop your own work. As this one is interesting, I found much more useful the Show your work book. Basically it talks about what the title says : how and why you should share more of what you’re doing like an artist and how that can help you, your process and your success building an audience. These books are like the business side of the creative life.

Want to have a look inside? Here are some of my favourite quotes of Kleon’s books. You can also visit his site and blog to find out more.

Show your work

– “Once a day, after you’ve done your day’s work, go back to your documentation and find one little piece of your process that you can share. Where you are in your process will determine what that piece is. If you’re in the very early stages, share your influences and what’s inspiring you. If you’re in the middle of executing a project, write about your methods or share works in progress. If you’ve just completed a project, show the final product, share scraps from the cutting-room floor, or write about what you learned. If you have lots of projects out into the world, you can report on how they’re doing—you can tell stories about how people are interacting with your work.”

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– “Ask yourself, “Is this helpful? Is it entertaining? Is it something I’d be comfortable with my boss or my mother seeing?”

– “If you want to be more effective when sharing yourself and your work, you need to become a better storyteller. You need to know what a good story is and how to tell one.”

– “What do you do? What are your ‘recipes’? What’s your ‘cookbook’? What can you tell the world about how you operate that’s informative, educational, and promotional?”

– “If you want fans, you have to be a fan first. If you want to be accepted by a community, you have to first be a good citizen of that community. If you’re only pointing to your own stuff online, you’re doing it wrong. You have to be a connector. The writer Blake Butler calls this being an open node. If you want to get, you have to give. If you want to be noticed, you have to notice.”

– “Work is never finished, only abandoned.” —Paul Valéry”

 

Steal like an artist

– “My interest in making music has been to create something that does not exist that I would like to listen to. I wanted to hear music that had not yet happened, by putting together things that suggested a new thing which did not yet exist.” —Brian Eno”

“We want you to take from us. We want you, at first, to steal from us, because you can’t steal. You will take what we give you and you will put it in your own voice and that’s how you will find your voice. And that’s how you begin. And then one day someone will steal from you.”—Francis Ford Coppola”

– “ The writer Wilson Mizner said if you copy from one author, it’s plagiarism, but if you copy from many, it’s research.”

– “First, you have to figure out who to copy. Second, you have to figure out what to copy.”

– “You start out as a phony and become real.” —Glenn O’Brien”

– “Ask anybody doing truly creative work, and they’ll tell youthe truth: They don’t know where the good stuff comes from. They just show up to do their thing. Every day.”– “It is better to take what does not belong to you than to let it lie around neglected.” —Mark Twain”

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– “Google everything. I mean everything. Google your dreams, Google your problems. Don’t ask a question before you Google it. You’ll either find the answer or you’ll come up with a better question.”

– “Whether I went to school or not, I would always study.” —RZA”

– “The manifesto is this: Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use—do the work you want to see done.”

– “Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.” —Gustave Flaubert”

– “If you ask yourself ‘What’s the best thing that happened today?’ it actually forces a certain kind of cheerful retrospection that pulls up from the recent past things to write about that you wouldn’t otherwise think about. If you ask yourself ‘What happened today?’ it’s very likely that you’re going to remember the worst thing, because you’ve had to deal with it—you’ve had to rush somewhere or somebody said “something mean to you—that’s what you’re going to remember. But if you ask what the best thing is, it’s going to be some particular slant of light, or some wonderful expression somebody had, or some particularly delicious salad.” —Nicholson Baker”

2- My second recommendation is Big magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert

The author of Eat, Pray, Love wrote a book about her creative process, how she sees inspiration and how she treats every step of it.

Even I don’t resonate with every chapter, there is much to it that I do like, find inspiring and empowering.  So that’s what my selected quotes are about.

– “ Do you have the courage to  bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?”

–  “I’m talking about living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear”

–  “Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them”

– “Your fear will always be triggered by your creativity, because creativity asks you to enter into realms of uncertain outcome, and fear hates uncertain outcome.”

– “ I felt like I was falling in love, or had just heard alarming news, or was looking over a precipice at something beautiful and mesmerizing but dangerous. […] I believe I can confidently call it by its name: inspiration”

– “ Whatever is bad for you is probably also bad for your work”

– “ You can support other people in their creative efforts, acknowledging the truth that there’s plenty of room for everyone. You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures.”

– “ You might earn a living with your pursuits or you might not, but you can recognize that this is not really the point.”

– “ I don’t know what I think until I write about it” Joan Didion

– “ Romans didn’t believe that an exceptionally gifted person was a genius; they believed that an exceptionally gifted person had a genius.”

–  “… in the end, creativity is a gift to the creator, not just a gift to the audience”

– “ I thank creativity for allowing me to engage with it at all. Because either way, it’s all kind of amazing – what we get to do, what we get to attempt, what we sometimes get to commune with.”

– “ You do not need anybody’s permission to live a creative life

– “ Most things have already been done – but they haven’t been done by you.”

– “Just say what you want to say, then, and say it with all your heart. Share whatever you are driven to share. If it’s authentic enough, believe me – it will feel original.”

– “ You are not required to save the world with your creativity”

– “ At the end of the day, I do what I do because I like doing it”

– “Your own reasons to create are reason enough”

– “ Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolutions in your heart. The rest of it will take care of itself.”

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– “ If you’re working on your craft every day on your own, with steady discipline and love, then you are already for real as a creator.”

– “ When we look at your work […] we will want to feel your youth”

–  “We need your work  in order to enrich and inform our own lives”

– “ It’s difficult to create things; if it wasn’t difficult, everyone would be doing it, and it wouldn’t be special or interesting”

– “ Be the weirdo who dares to enjoy”

– “ Let people be in love with their opinions […] and just keep doing your thing […] The reaction doesn’t belong to you”

– “ Make absolutely whatever you want to make. It’s nobody’s business but your own”

– “Everybody imitates before they can innovate”

– “ Holding yourself together through all the phases of creation is where the real work lies.”

– “ It’s far more honourable to stay in the game – even if you’re objectively failing at the game – than to excuse yourself from participation because of your delicate sensibilities. But in order to stay in the game you must let go of your fantasy of perfection”

–  “ Give your mind a job to do, or else it will find a job to do, and you might not like the job it invents.”

–  “ At the end of your creative adventure, you have a souvenir”

–  “ You are free, because everyone is too busy fussing over themselves to worry that much about you”

–  “ A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week” General George Patton

–  “ The work wants be made, and it wants to be made through you”

–  “ The lightly you can pass the time, the brighter your existence becomes.”

I have selected three more creative books… but I’m worried you could get an overdose of creative advice so ‘m going to share the rest next week, with the second part of this post.

In the meanwhile…
  


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