My “Songbirds Of Hope” project is complete! Wheeee! As promised, here is the final product. In case you missed the first three parts of the process, here they are: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. The workshops went really smoothly and were well-received by the children. They were all really engaged in the activity and took their work seriously. They had a blast finding ways to put their own personalities into their birds. Some even created multiple birds for me. Over two days I worked with twenty-six children to create the final piece. Then I installed the canvases, vinyl lettering, and sound recorder. Yes, our birds chirp when you walk by them.
The Clark County Public Arts office was a pleasure to work from beginning to end and I give special thanks to the talented Arturo Cecena, who shepherded over a dozen projects like this one. The installation was accepted permanently by the Desert Breeze Community Center, so if you’re in the neighborhood, be sure to check it out.
Check out my interview on Clark County TV!
“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tunes without the words and never stops at all.” – Emily Dickinson
Wishing you the best, always!
Bonnie Kelso writes and illustrates books for children and adults that encourage individualism and brave self-expression. She facilitates art workshops for her local community and beyond. A lover of nature and travel, she can be found wandering about outside with her family whenever a good opportunity to do so presents itself.
Everyone in my family is cute. Some are beyond cute. It’s part of a family legacy that spans back centuries. Even our old Scottish family crest reads: “Leisure With Dignity.” How cute is that? When I gaze at old sepia-toned family photos I see bright-eyed round, chubby-cheek faces twinkling back at me and I recognize those familiar elements of cuteness that reside in the faces of my parents, my sisters, my nephew, and my own children.
The other day, at the dinner table, where most deep family discussions take place, we discussed how cuteness can be a important survival skill. For example, our cat might swipe at someone, but then because of her extreme cuteness, all is forgiven, and she continues to live a pampered life in our home. This example can be extended to just about every member of my family. Like I mentioned before, we’re not always as cute as we look, but like the cat, we always seem to land on our feet.
So this week, in honor of cuteness, the less recognized superpower, I have been drawing something cute each day in my sketchbook. Of course, cuteness is subjective, but if you’d like to follow along, I have been posting them on Instagram. The greatest thing cuteness can offer these days is to, in some small way, lift a person’s spirits and maybe even help a person smile. If either of those things happen when you see my drawing, then mission accomplished.
Since the lock-down began, I’ve suddenly had a lot less time to work on my projects. The funny thing is… I’ve somehow managed to still find time to work on my projects! I’ve had to make a lot of tough choices in order to stay productive. It’s heart-breaking work to have to say ‘no’ to comfortable routines and people we care about, but it helps you to understand in your heart what you need to continue saying yes to, no matter what. The world is changing on micro and macro levels all at once. Even when things “go back to normal” we’re only kidding ourselves if we believe that anything will ever be like it was. I’ve been learning important things about myself during these past few months. Like the other day when a distracted driver almost ran me over in the crosswalk. I learned two things in that one moment. #1, I learned that my crisis response is to freeze, not fight or flight. #2, I learned that I had been taking for granted that a few lines drawn on the street could grant me safety. They don’t. In these times we have to be extra vigilant. We have to observe. We have to look both ways, again and again, even when the lights are green and the little walkie man is flashing. It’s okay to freeze, but at some point we need to start moving again. But when we do, we have to remember that the world has changed, that we have all changed. There will be some things we will miss. But there will be other things that we can rebuild to be better than they were. We have to decide to hold on to that hope.
For a limited time I have reduced the price of my coloring books to $7.99. Enjoy!
Check out this new 100 Day Project on Instagram: #TinyLifeLines2020
Being on “lockdown” might not be all that bad for some people, like me. I’m used to spending long hours working alone, but for some people this is a fate worse than prison. As we all grapple with where this global situation leads us, it is essential we stay connected with others and with spirit.
We are all in this together and we are stronger than we realize. In a meditation I received this prayer which has become my mantra:
May our bodies be fortified with boosted immunity, may our minds be filled with positive thoughts, and may our hearts be overflowing with generosity and compassion as we courageously walk into the future with dignity.
Now is a great time to start a creative project of your own. If you’re not sure where to start, try getting one of these playbooks. Each day you can write and draw in it until you figure out what you want to create. Once you’re into a project, you can use it to monitor your progress. I’ve been using one for three years and now I’d be lost without it. (read more…)
As an empathic creative, I am constantly bombarded with ideas, inspirations and messages from spirit. I used to have a day planner, several spiral journals, a sketchbook, and about a million post it notes floating around my house and work space. It was maddening trying to keep everything straight. I had no single resource to turn to to really measure my progress and reflect on where I had come from and where I was going with an idea or project. One day, I decided to try… (read more…)
This is what it feels like to finish cancer treatment! I did it. I survived. I am humbled and ultimately a better person because of it. And, yes, it sucked. I am still a little angry about the whole thing, actually, but just a little bit, deep down where I hardly notice it anymore.
Now is where the fun part begins. I get to live again. I might not be base jumping any time soon, but I’ve started moving my body fast enough to feel my heart-beat again. This is a quality of life improvement that I am ready to fully embrace.
Thank you for reading this. Thank you for caring. On this Thanksgiving I have a lot to be grateful for. Mostly, I am thankful to be alive. I am thankful to have the ability to think about putting sweaters on wild animals. I am thankful to have the time to wonder, who was the first animal to be drawn with a sweater on. Was it Winnie the Pooh? Goofy? What is Goofy, anyway? These are the questions I am grateful to be able to ask on a Thanksgiving morning, because I am still here. I am still alive, and I am hopeful that with each new day I will put a little more of my fears and insecurities behind me.
To see more pictures of animals in sweaters, if this interests you, click here.
I am thankful that I have time to draw this penguin in a sweater. That I can put aside everything else and simply indulge myself in an idea and put pencil to paper and create it. I don’t know why I wanted to do it, but I did it, and you know what? It made me feel happy. Sometimes I get so consumed by the challenges of each day, the work that needs to be done, the goals that are still to be met, that I forget what the point of it all is anyway. Everyone might have a different reason for living, but, for me, today, it is to create a little “penguin-in-a-sweater” happiness.
Deep in my heart I’ve been wanting to write a Children’s Picture Book about global climate change and our role as stewards of this beautiful planet we live on. I’ve been waiting for a story to come to me ever so patiently. Then, just yesterday it appeared! As I sat in my backyard and wrote in my journal next to my favorite tree, the words came through my hand and I don’t even really know how. I believe it may have been from a source outside of myself. It felt like an out of body experience. I love it when that happens!