Thanksgiving Vibes

Howdy friends. Happy almost Thanksiving, which is the holiday that grows on me more and more every year! This time around, I'm going to order vegan Thanksgiving dinner, because although I love cooking, I'm feeling like letting the holiday work for ME, instead of work for the holiday. Thank you Kelly for the idea What about you? Do you have major family plans? Major napping plans?

I started off this month with an education in our United States voting process. As a poll worker, I got to see the whole shindig come together. My favorite part was seeing neighbors recognize each other, and kids go ga ga over "I voted" stickers. They're like gold to them.

Then a sweet and talented friend sent along a gorgeous print to me last week. I love her style and I love spooky things, so this was extra delicious. Thank you Zhen!!

annie-ruygt-oc-illustration-zhen

My desk is a bit all over the place as I try to stay grounded with personal projects (still working on the picture book ideas with agent!) and my client work. To help me remember, I purchased some goodies like oat flower essence for recognizing my "calling", and a journal with motivational quotes about being our gosh darn SELVES. They have added a lot to my morning. Just having a ritual in place to work on very specific things that need my attention makes all the difference.

annie-ruygt-art-childrens-illustration

I'm so grateful for the support of my friends, family, and clients, as well as for the opportunity to make art for a living and for pleasure. This life truly is precious, and I hope you go forward through this holiday season recognizing how special our time is with loved ones- heck! even with strangers. All we have are moments, pieces of time. Opportunities to appreciate being alive. Here's to mounds of this. Happy Thanksgiving and lots of love,

Annie

October

I am in Boston, touring the city and historical sites with my family, and of course, we had to walk around HARVARD. More on that later. After picking up the "independent" weekly student newspaper, and I came across a poem that captures fall and youth perfectly.

OCTOBER by Remedy Ryan

It's too early in the year to wear jackets so we rub each others shoulders as the wind whistles past a year older now we know where we are headed but we still whine about the long walk

You're hit with the saline smell as you push yourself into the crowd your hair sticking to strangers' skin a second ago you were shivering outside and niw yiu wonder why you are here until an old friend pulls you into her arms

Your feet start to move to the hum of the speakers it's the type of night that makes you believe in fate but also in chaos bodies banging together like wind chimes sporadically, beautifully, impatient.

More poems by Remedy here: https://www.harvardindependent.com/author/remedy-ryan/

September, where did you go?

Happy end of September. I told myself that I wouldn't let this month fly by so fast, but alas, it did. Lots happened. For one, I celebrated my birthday with my twin sister by going to Chez Panisse in Berkely, CA. It's a touchstone of 1970's Bay Area culture, and one of the best restaurants I've ever had the honor to dine in. Farm to table, truly, and the elegance of natural food are what they aim to share. So glad I could experience it with my sister.

I also graduated from Improv 101 at Upright Citizen's Brigade in Los Angeles, and had such a great time performing for all of our friends. Memorable moment- playing a woman afraid of pickles.

 Right after, “Pickle Lady”.

Right after, “Pickle Lady”.

Then, I sadly lost my dear Uncle Jody, whom I will miss terribly. Death reminds us how important it is that we stay present. After I came back from Napa and had to immediately pack for a work trip to Chicago, life didn't seem real. What was I doing, flying to another state to attend a conference after all that? I didn't even feel like I was in my body, but rather, so tuned into those precious moments with my Uncle Jody, Aunts, Parents, and other family, holding his hand on his deathbed.

 My mom and I at the hospital in Napa, wearing the same shoes.

My mom and I at the hospital in Napa, wearing the same shoes.

 Beautiful gifts of nature.

Beautiful gifts of nature.

Memories are little gifts, and I value each and every one of them. And to be present in the moment, yet relive our greatest memories, that is a wonderful state to be in. It's the state of gratitude.

So on to Chicago I went, where I illustrated some tech talks at JSCAMP2018. And finally, after visiting some wonderful friends, I came home. Here I am. Waiting to hear about my book that's out with editors and publishers (some have turned it down) with fingers crossed. Back at the ole computer, freelancin'.

 Pumpkins at the Chicago Arboretum.

Pumpkins at the Chicago Arboretum.

 A Chicago house I very much want.

A Chicago house I very much want.

But, October awaits us! I have started gulping all the tea I can, and am looking forward to my vacation next week to the East coast to see my sis and all the turning leaves. Scarves ready, tea packets packed, and sketchbook in hand, I shall take on Autumn like never before!

-Annie

Annie is an author and illustrator with books available on Amazon and local book stores. She is open for commission, too! She lives in California, and loves tea, bike rides, reading, and exploring new places.

Dancing, Writing, Cooking, Painting, Singing, Watching, Repeat.

I will admit to anyone reading this, I have been in a rigid "funk" lately, where I have pushed myself to "be creative" every day, but really I'm just forcing myself to produce.

And I've been screaming- "there's no milk left! No milk left!" My spirit animal is a cow, did I mention that?

Being creative means being curious. I love that word, curious. When we are curious, don't we follow it without looking back? Don't we feel excited to discover something, and momentarily forget about all the things on our to-do list, or what was worrying us moments before?

I remember when I was about 11 and I'd walk around my old neighborhood searching for things that would claw at my curiosity. Notebook in hand, binoculars round neck, and even at one time a spy microphone, I was set to discover something outrageous about the way the world works. I know NOW that eavesdropping is highly inappropriate, but hey, I was 11 and it was a blast. I don't regret it! I have notebooks full of weird conversations I overheard, or of watching people in their backyards. It doesn't sound that fascinating when you read those notebooks now, but at the time it was thrilling.

 Current piece called, "Meditation". I don't usually paint abstract but this idea came into my mind during my practice, asking me politely to work with it.

Current piece called, "Meditation". I don't usually paint abstract but this idea came into my mind during my practice, asking me politely to work with it.

This is what an art practice is all about.

When you sit down to create, there shouldn't be an end goal in mind.  A thread of curiosity can lead you to places beyond expectations, beyond your doubt, beyond the bullshit and worry.  I was making the mistake of pushing aside any thread and "practicing to make perfect" so that I'd be better than I was before.  

Isn't now good enough?  Honestly, it's all we have, so we better damn well appreciated ourselves this moment.

Practice makes.

We don't need the perfect part.  Because practice is what makes us.  Through a practice, we are unfolding, uncovering more and more of ourselves.

 My current vision board. Looks different than any other board I've made- no items, no things, just a call to practice.

My current vision board. Looks different than any other board I've made- no items, no things, just a call to practice.

When do I practice?

I have to make time to practice, but I'm shooting for often as possible.  Children do it every day.  I think it's safe to say that we should too.  I think the more we do it, the more we can let stuff go and get down to the real stuff.

It doesn't need to look like one thing.

Reread the title to this post.  All of those things are part of my practice.  I have decided I will not just practice one thing because I am a multisided human being with lots of layers.  Yay!  

Now tell me, what will your practice look like?  Start with this: what are you curious about?  Now go out and follow it.  I can't wait to see where your practice takes you!

 

 Beautiful time spent with friends is also a part of my practice- since it inspires my books, writing, and fills my heart!

Beautiful time spent with friends is also a part of my practice- since it inspires my books, writing, and fills my heart!

_

Annie is an author and illustrator with books available on Amazon and local book stores. She is open for commission, too! She lives in California, and loves tea, bike rides, reading, and exploring new places.