along cliffs I walk

when I walk
through lush fields
that have
been made green
by rain
I think more than I should
I think
of things gone by
of myself
of others
and I wonder
what it means
me walking here
just now
I stand on cliffs
and stare down
at the waves
against the wet sand
of the shore
I feel that
I may be
a wave
rolling in and out
with the tide
like breath
we are all waves
going in and out
the day
comes in with the sun
and goes out with the sun
our world
it spins
but we go in
and then we go out
waves we are
on the edge of a cliff
we don't understand
eternal cycles
stuck we are
walking along a cliff
we call time
but when we look down
at the waves
we see
the infinity
we have missed
I look back
at growing grass
and I wonder
when it falls again back to the earth
that grew it
where I will be
when I walk
along cliffs
I think
of things
to hard
for me
to understand
things like eternity
and waves
and the meaning behind growing grass
along cliffs I walk
and I can't help but look down

Let's Talk Words

Words. Words make up our conversations, our friendships, our thoughts, our learning, our life. Words mean a lot to me, I find freedom in them. Words are easily malleable, capable of building and destroying. Words are powerful. Words are one of the most easy and most difficult weapons to wield. Words are open to anyone.

Any yet, our society is so resistant to words. I notice, at school, the lack of appreciation for carefully crafted phrases. You're too smart, they say, you're practically a dictionary, why do you bother to learn this stuff? People prefer to read a small blurb of text than something lengthy, thought out, beautiful, that really means something.

It scares me. The next generation is forming and we are resistant. We avoid learning new words at all costs, online summaries will have to do because we couldn't bear to actually read something. We are loosing our power.

It's not important to have a good vocabulary, people say. I beg to differ. Let's talk about overused words.

A word that is used over and over begins to mean nothing. Think of the word awesome. Initially, the word awesome was this crazy big, BANG word, implying something that would prompt your mouth to fall open in awe and you might kneel or a tear might fall from your eyes because it was so worthy of your undivided, shocked, stunned, total attention. Now, awesome is used in an offhand way. "That photo is awesome! You're hair looks awesome!" I'm not saying this is wrong, because I do it too, the word awesome is fine to use offhand, that's how our society has chosen to use it. But it is a good way to show how the more a word is used, the less impact it makes.

So we need these unused words, rare words, to make impact. To get our point across. We want our words to be approachable, but at the same time attention grabbing. How can we use our words to connect with people? If you use an interesting word, a more finite word that really captures the sum of what you are trying to say, not only is it more exact, more precise, but it is also more engaging. You sound more professional, more intelligent, and you are. You understand the careful hand that should be used with such powerful words. You check your definitions.

And with a bigger a vocabulary, the less a word is used, since you have so many words that each fit perfectly into different scenarios, the rarer it becomes, until it only appears exactly where it was meant to be, it's piece fitting perfectly into the sentence. It's a beautiful thing really, that perfect word that captures the quintessence of a thought. And you have no need for overused, vague words because you always have the perfect word at the ready, that will make each sentence a symphony to the ears, each syllable conveying real meaning. I don't know about you, but I want to talk, I want to write, like that.

What about bad words? Can a word be inherently bad? This is a tough one. I for one avoid swearing, simply because I believe it builds nobody up, and I want to be a builder-upper. I think that these words though are like any negative word, they were made to imply something negative, just like the words bad or annoying or gross or any word like that. It is our society that has shaped them into something that is temptingly edgy and offensive. And then they get overused. I go to high school, I hear more bad words in a day than I heard my entire elementary school career. It's dirty. And I find it sad that these very powerful words have become so overused. I think that in the right situation these words have a place. I think this situation doesn't appear much, but sometimes it does, like maybe you are writing a story and something phenomenally bad and happens, I think your character could use a nice cuss word right about then, if you feel comfortable writing it. These words, if used sparingly, bring emphasis and a bit of a shock factor. But in our day and age they bring no shock or emphasis because of how common they are. Words shouldn't be demonized because of how people use them, it is people's job to speak responsibly. We don't need to use negatively connotated words unless they are appropriate, and I believe that throwing them around for the sake of being rebellious is not only extremely inappropriate and rude, but also cliche, overused, and immature. I for one would rather you said something intelligent than call someone something that powerful as a joke.

So that is my opinion on words. Keep in mind that it is only my opinion and I am in no way saying that this is for-sure-facts. Because I am not trying to judge anyone, or any words. I only wanted to share something that means a lot to me, something that has a place in my heart. I would love to hear your opinion on words if you feel like it. Do you agree with what I said? How do you feel about bad or overused words? Leave a comment below!

The Creative Blogger Award

Hey readers!

First of all, HAPPY VALENTINES DAY! <3 <3 <3

 Second of all, I have been nominated for the Creative Blogger Award by the wonderful Wanda from We Heart Dreaming. She has nominated me for so many awards, and I am so thankful to her for that, and I always feel bad because I never get around to doing any of them and so I AM FINALLY DOING ONE! Sorry it took so long Wanda XD. Also I hope you don't mind that I used your image for the award- if you want me to take it down I totally can-- I just thought it was so cute!

So anyways, the rules are:
-Thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog
-Share five facts about yourself
-Nominate 15-20 (that's a lot so I might not be able to do that many) bloggers and add their links
-Notify the bloggers you included
-Put the rules on your post

So to switch it up a little, instead of doing five random facts about me (as fun as those are) I thought I'd do five facts about my creative life (since it is after all the creative blogger award). So here are five facts about my artsy side.

1) I like my art to have meaning. Whenever I do a painting or drawing or poem it usually means something, even if the meaning is just me feeling boxed in so I'm going to mess around now :)

2) My blog is my place to be my real creative self. When I blog, I feel like I don't have to make my  my art or writing fit in, because my blog is just that, mine. It has been so special to share with all you readers my passion for creativity in general.

3) I really like collaging, and I don't do enough of it. Something is just so relaxing and fun about it, it's hard to explain.

4) I really really hate drawing or writing or painting when someone's watching. It really stresses me out and I often mess up because I'm focusing more on the pressure of being watched then on the piece.

5) When creative-ing, I must have a clean room. I don't know why, I just must.

So for my slightly less than fifteen nominees:

-Ava from Quiet Land
-Frankimay from All About Good Vibes
-Shelby from Every Little Bit of Lovely
-Zelus from My Hopeful Pencil
-Abby from Abby and the Pens
-Nadia from Cofeessions
-Noor from A Little Bit of Sunshine
-Vanessa from Simply Me

The Waves Book Review

The Waves is a beautiful novel written in the form of a (long) soliloquy by the esteemed Virginia Woolf. It follows the lives of six friends, and describes their lives, emotions, loves, hates, wishes, longings, and dreams. It uses beautiful wording and endless metaphors, descriptions, similes, and personifications to convey the feelings the characters experience. The book is divided into chapters, each one starting with a short passage describing a different part of the day- sunrise in the beginning, all the way to sunset at the end.


Before I dive into this I must give you proper warning- if you are looking for an easy read, a fast paced novel with simpler wording, then this is not you book. If you are up for a challenge, are ready to dive into literature and want to swim in the confusion of descriptive language then you simply MUST read this. I was in the latter category and this definitely met my hopes.

The wording, the language in this book is exquisite. The vocabulary, man, I was head over heels in love by the first page. If you are a fellow word nerd then this is the book for you. I got to read so many words I didn't even know, and I love learning new words so I was thrilled. Also, the poetry, I have to say this book really launched me even further into the depths of how amazing poetry is, and how many forms it is available in, and now I am even more addicted to poetry. So I salute you Virginia Woolf.

For me, this book was less about the story and more about the words, and the emotions the words conveyed. I read some summaries and things to get a sense on what English pros had to say about the book (since it is a classic), and it seemed to me that the main part of the book was supposed to be the bit about the death of Percival. For me though, I felt the death of Percival was really only a prominent feature of the story for one chapter, and then after sort of faded as the protagonists' life progressed. I got more in the sense of the intense emotions love and responsibility bring, as well as the hardships and challenges of friendship. But I feel the book can be viewed many ways, and think none of them wrong or right, because, in a sense, this book is really more an art piece than a work of fiction, open for interpretation. 

As for the characters, I connected with them each differently- some more than others. I really felt with Bernard when he was talking about how words and stories are constantly swirling about in his mind, how he seems to find a story for everything. I didn't connect so much with his intense extroversion though, since I am much more an introvert than extrovert. That is where I really connected with Rhoda- her introversion and need for time alone was very relatable for me, as well as her "dreaming" which I took as her thinking about her life and the things around her, then taking them  out of context into her imagination. I had a harder time relating to Susan, since I am not yet a mother, but I could definitely feel for her, and felt with her during her hardships and also her love for her baby. Louis was iffy for me- his determination to do well in work was relatable, but his intently money driven mindset was not so much. Neville was by far the hardest for me to connect with, for he always seemed to be yearning after some new love interest desperately, and I'm not really a dramatic person. But he was a very interesting character to read from, and I quite enjoyed his parts. 

I loved the way that the book was divided up by different parts of the day, and how the description of the sun's height was always reflected in the chapter. I also loved how during the last chapter, after the sun had set, at the very end Bernard said that he could see the sun coming up again, just over the horizon. That was really beautiful to me. 

Overall, I loved this book. The descriptive language was wonderful, and it was fairly magical to read. I highly recommend it to any lover of the written word. 

What did you think of The Waves? What character did you connect with the most? Comment below:)

Watercolor Experimentation

So I am now in a painting class at my school (yay!). And I have been doing a lot of work with watercolors, and with the leftover paint I've been trying out some interesting stuff in a sketchbook. It's really just me messing around, but I think they all look so cool. So here are my sketchbook pages of watercolor techniques/experimentation- enjoy!

Oil Painting - The Basics

So as most of you have hopefully figured out I LOVE painting, and I especially love oil painting. I was doing a post about DIY oil painting back during December and I realized that the amount of instruction necessary for someone who has never oil painted before is pretty much endless, and that it was impossible to give it all in that one DIY post. So for today I have prepared a post about oil painting basics, to introduce new oil painters to the medium and necessary materials. This is a LONG post so bring some snacks or something and take frequent breaks if you need it.

*Please note that I am not a professional oil painter and by no means know EVERYTHING there is to know about oils, but I was taught by one of the best last spring- I participated in an intensive mentorship with a local professional artist who worked only with oils. I received a lot of training then, and that is mainly what I base my painting off now. I also take art classes at school ( I am in painting this year, and I took freehand drawing last year). So yeah, there is my training if you were wondering :)

So the first step of oil painting is to understand necessary materials. There are A LOT of materials you need to oil paint. So I am going to do my best to explain each on and how it's used, then dive into choosing paints, setting up your palette, choosing brushes, and prepping a canvas.

When oil painting, the first thing you want to get ready is yourself. Lay out everything in a comfortable area that you are ok with spending a while in. Don't try to force yourself to paint in a place you aren't comfortable. If you prefer to sit on the floor, prop you painting against a wall and sit on the floor. If you want to sit on a desk, situate yourself comfortably at a desk. Lay everything out close to you, don't make yourself to get up and go get stuff in the middle of a creative process. Turn on your favorite playlist and wear nice, comfy clothes. If you are a person with long hair, like me, I highly recommend putting you hair into a bun or braiding it or something before you start. I have gotten paint in my hair before and it's not a great experience. An apron is something it's good to consider wearing, or also an old T-shirt works too. When working with oils, it is very important to wear gloves. Some paints can have poisonous materials, and you really don't want to get them on your hands.

After you are situated, one of the first materials you need to consider is terpenoid. Terpenoid is essentially the thing you dip your brush in to clean it off, like water would be for water colors, except that oil and water don't mix. The brand of Terpenoid is 'ordorless', but it does give off a pretty strong smell so that, if you have a sensitive nose like me, it can get annoying pretty fast, and also is not good to inhale for long periods of time. Make it a rule- when you open terpenoid, open a window. When it's time to clean a brush, swish it around in the terpenoid until all the paint is off. Dry it thoroughly on a towel before dipping it back into paint again, because terpenoid works as a paint eraser and will wipe the paint right off the canvas. This can be good though, because if you have a spot on your painting that you don't like, run your damp (with terpenoid) paintbrush over it and you will see the paint start to disappear and be absorbed into the brush. Don't get it too wet, or else it's going to get pretty watery everywhere. If that happens, lightly dab the spot with a cloth.

Terpenoid is easy to buy on amazon or a craft store, but you really don't want to have to keep buying it over and over. There is an easy way to save both your money and terpenoid. Pour a good amount into a jar. Use it for painting. Then let it sit until you paint again. When you paint again, you'll notice that the clear terpenoid will separate from the paint. Pour all the clear liquid into a new jar, and then the murky liquid into an old bottle or jar to be disposed of properly later on. Wipe out the paint on the bottom with a paper towel, and then use the new terpenoid for painting. Continually switch jars until it's time to refill! 
*Note- terpenoid cannot go down the sink. Check to see how to properly dispose of it in your area.

Linseed oil is another easy thing to buy at a craft store or online. Linseed oil is essentially something that you mix into your paint (only a little bit) to soften it up. It's non-toxic, so don't worry about smelling it (but don't eat it because duh) When using linseed oil, dip your brush in just a little bit, then gently mix into the paint you are using. Get it as soft as you like, then apply to painting. I like to pour my oil into a little cup (I think it's supposed to be a shot glass, but I personally think it works best for linseed oil) I found in a large package at the grocery store. My teacher kept hers in those little mini jam jars. Either way works fine. Keep in mind that you cannot soak rags in linseed oil, because they will spontaneously burst into flames which is not something you really want to happen. So if you spill linseed oil and have to wipe it up, treat the rag properly before disposing of it. Look up how to take care of linseed oil soaked rags if you encounter this situation.

I clean my brushes using Ivory bar soap. There are specific brush cleaners you can buy at craft stores or online to use, but Ivory bar soap has worked fine for me so far. When cleaning a brush, turn on the sink to a very gentle trickle of water, and wet the tip of the brush. Swipe it through the soap back and forth until it has lots of soap in the bristles, then rub it over you palm under the water, swiping the brush on your hand as if you're painting. Repeat until the paint is out of the brush. Sometimes a brush will stain, and that's normal.

Ok how are we doing? You still with me? If you need a break feel free to go eat some crackers or cereal or something and come back later. Ok you back? Let's do this!

All right we made it to paints! Woo hoo! The rule of thumb with oil paints is that the less ingredients it has, the better. Just like food. Oil paint is made from pigment mixed with oil as a binder. A good paint will just have a couple ingredients, so that the paint is very pure. A bad paint will have a gazillion, which means that lots of ingredients are being used as fillers, and when you mix the paint it's going to turn to what artists call mud, which essentially means yucky brown. So buying high quality paint the first time is better! If you are going to do a large section one color without mixing it at all, then go for a cheaper one, because you aren't mixing it anyways. But your base colors are better off nicer. I recommend buying a starter pack of about twelve colors, and then building off that when you feel you need more. I have Winsor & Newton paints which I ordered off Amazon, and I am very happy with them.

Next up is your palette. My art teacher taught me a very specific way to arrange a palette when painting. Every artist seems to have a different way though, so if you feel more comfortable doing it a different way then you can. But I find that this way is very effective, and works well. It is also really neat how each color has a meaning. For your palette you can use anything- a piece of paper, some palette paper, a wood palette, a plastic palette, a sheet of glass or plastic- whichever feels most comfortable for you. I am the kind of person who only wants to put out the colors necessary, but my teacher says to put out a drop of every color out on the palette, even if you think you're not going to use it, it's better to have it there than to have to interrupt your creative process to get another color out. Mix colors together using a brush or palette knife.

Paintbrushes are hard to choose- there are so many of them and in every size, color, and material. The first step when buying brushes is to locate the brushes that say oil. These are usually kind of rougher. I personally don't love the rough texture, so I like to buy ones that are for acrylic and oil, that way you get a smoother brush. I have found that there are three main types of brushes you need- filberts, fans, and rounds. When you're painting you always want to use the biggest brush possible. So when I sit down to a painting I usually end up using a fan brush, (swipe this back and forth over paint to smooth and blend) a large filbert and a small filbert ( for doing most of the painting) and a very small round (for tiny details and the signature). It's important to try out lots of brushes to get a feel for your brush style. When painting, try to only get paint on the end of the brush, not the part closer to the handle, as it makes the glue holding the hairs down less sticky.
*Note- the numbers on brushes indicate the size.

So you've got everything you need, all your materials in order, how do you start? Well, with a canvas. There are many different types of canvases to try, the main two types being canvas board and stretched canvas. Stretched canvas is canvas mounted on a wood frame, and canvas board is canvas mounted on a board. You can buy both ready made at art stores. If you are really cool then you stretch your own canvases, but that's a post for another day. I usually work with cotton stretched canvas, because it's not too expensive and I like the way it looks, but it's really your choice. 

Once you've got your canvas picked out it's time to prep it. Before you put any paint on, you need to gesso it. Putting gesso on a canvas protects the paint from eating through the canvas. You can use a gesso brush from the store, which is essentially just a brush that you might use for painting a wall, or old paintbrushes, or a foam brush. The upside to the paintbrush is the texture of the bristles, the upside to the foam brush is that there are no bristles to fall out. When gessoing, you want to do two layers. First do one horizontally, allow to dry, then do one vertically and allow to dry. If you want, you can even do a third one, which would be diagonally. Once it's dry use either a charcoal pencil or regular pencil to sketch out your painting's layout on the canvas. Keep in mind that it will NOT erase very well, so make sure your drawing is how you want it the first time. If it really gets messed up either in the painting or sketching, then you can easily gesso over it!

Once you do these steps you are all set to paint! Good job getting through all of this! Keep your eyes our for more oil painting posts, like brush techniques, mixing the right color, and other helpful stuff. I hope this was helpful, and remember, leave me comments below with any questions you may have and I will do my very best to answer. Thanks everyone!