Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Illustration Friday: Sharp



Well.  That's going to hurt.

I originally doodled this thinking about a sharp dive into something wonderful.  My younger daughter suggested stars, so stars it was.  But then it slowly dawned on me, after I had drawn about 70 stars, that those things are rather pointy.  And sharp.  But then my older daughter suggested that perhaps those are cooked pasta stars, the tiny ones that go into soups.  Yes!  Pasta stars!  Nice save.

Speaking of diving into things, I am going to dive into something of my own.  I recently had the pleasure of meeting and learning more about Heather Von St. James.  The more I read, the more I became inspired.

In 2005, just three months after giving birth to her daughter and at the age of 36, Heather was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer.  Without treatment, she had just 15 months to live.  I can't even pretend to know the level of heartbreak and fear she must have felt then.  As a child, Heather liked to wear her father's jacket, which was crusted with drywall dust, essentially wrapping herself in asbestos.  The effects of high asbestos exposure can take decades to manifest, lying in wait.  And when they appeared in Heather, things looked dire.  She underwent a very risky surgery which, thankfully, was successful.  Now, ten years since her diagnosis, she is a cancer research advocate and blogger, bringing awareness to the need for funding and research and helping those battling cancers of their own.  She is a survivor, she is a warrior, and she is awesome!

Heather introduced me to All or Nothing Day, which is coming up on July 26 and which embodies how she strives to live her life since her diagnosis.  All or Nothing Day is about devoting time to live life to the fullest, to be bold, and to push yourself to do things that you've always wanted to do.  So this year, for All or Nothing Day, I have decided to truly put effort into a project I started about five years ago.  As bucket lists go, mine is pretty short.  All the important things, I have and do everyday.  I'm lucky.  But one thing that has been nagging at me is the desire to create a picture book loosely based on the antics and adventures of my daughters.  I'd like them to have something to look back on when they are older that brings back the memories and giggles of a childhood well spent.  I've been working on it in bits and pieces without any cohesiveness.  A few of the images I've even posted for Illustration Friday.  But I'd really like to dive back into it this year and really try to finish it.  I'm hoping that a public declaration, even if it's to the few who visit this blog, will spur me on.

Wish me luck.

July 26.  All or Nothing.  What will you do this year?

20 comments:

Cindy said...

I don't know what I will do yet, but will cheer you on for your book!! xo

Tim said...

The sloth in me is leaning towards the "Nothing" part of the day, but I realize I'm helping my parents move that weekend, and as it was a house I grew up in, "All" will probably take on the meaning that "All" the possessions in a house fall short of "All" that makes up the person.

Lola Azul said...

Nice illustration. I'm glad to know about your project. It's a wonderful idea and i'll be delightful if you share with us. Kisses.

Ted Blackman said...

You gotta do it, Bella! I shouldn't be giving anyone advice about finishing books, I've got 3 or 4 I've been working on for too many years. But of course, YOU should try to do it, you're so GOOD! Also, there's nothing like the feeling of finishing yet another page of your own book, it seems to satisfy some deep sense of artistic accomplishment in you that you don't get from the day job. Here's one thing that really helps me focus: I pull out my large 4'X6' cork board and put all the rough or finished pages of a book up on it, so I can see them all at once while I work in my studio. It helps to motivate me as I add pages to the board and I can see the progress in a visual way as I view the entire board at once. It's almost like it speaks to you, saying: "Look how far you've gotten, look at all this work. Don't stop now, you're almost there". Well, in a good way, it kind of nags me, and I need all the help I can get. Maybe you do, too. Keep us posted! Cool.

Andrea said...

Yes, yes YES!!!! A book...YOUR BOOK!!!!! How absolutely fabulous to hear, and I cannot wait. There are babies due in our family and they will obviously need some of your work (and whenever I go to etsy, I get confused by all of the awesome)

Tammie Lee said...

I love your idea Bella!
As i began reading your post and the thoughts and suggestions of your girls, well you totally had my attention. Then looking at your supporting art, well a wonderful experience. I full heartily cheer you on! such an adorable sharp and soft piece.

Tim said...

Thanks for stopping by, Bella! And yes, I do look forward to your book as well (assuming that you intended for a book for your daughter to be shared with the rest of us!)

theartofpuro said...

Bella I love your illustration and the idea of pasta stars is fantastic. I'm sure you'll achieve your project :) Hugs

Ces Adorio said...
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Ces Adorio said...

DOITDOITDOITDOITDOIT!!!!!!! All or Nothing. Paraphrasing the stoic Seneca, he said this of of life: "Life is like a play: it's not the length, but the excellence of the acting that matters." I have been reading history and watching movies based on history. I am lamenting the "artistic freedom" movie makers allow themselves in the translation of history, basically rewriting it for those who do not read and only rely on movies. However, whether it is books or movies, great men and women of long ago had short life spans. Some died in their twenties and yet, they occupy rich, significant memorable roles in history. All of us cannot be famous or infamous but we affect other people's lives although it's effect may encompass a small circle, how we live will matter or not matter. Political correctness screams that all lives matter, but in truth, excepting unborn children, babies and toddlers who depend on parental care and guidance; how a person lives, the choices and decisions one makes will determine if our lives matter. There is a natural tendency for people to praise, follow and worship living idols who are filled with arrogance, self importance, selfish desires, showmanship and shallow accomplishments. So most strive to be famous or accumulate material possessions beyond need. In the end, the question will not be whether we were successful in our minds or even happy, for happiness is within; it will be whether we lived a life of goodness. Incidentally one will have to keep striving til the end for judgment will be passed by our survivors long after we are gone. How we view this significance separates the selfish from the altruistic. Do it! It will do a lot of good.

Kathy Jurek said...

It's been too long since I visited your wonderful blog. I want to be on Team Bella! Your book would be a treasure. 😉

Nancy Grönholm said...

Really nice save with the spaghetti stars! lol I LOVE the idea of your book! Gosh, your images are so wonderful, I do hope you share a tiny fraction of it with us :)))

... as for what I'll do this year, coincidentally, I've got a book in my head too. Maybe I too should go public with my plans, giving myself a kick in the b. ;)

Draffin Bears said...

Dear Bella,

Yes, a great save indeed with the pasta stars - love this sweet piece.
I love you idea of the book for your daughters and what a delight that will be for them, know it will be. Good luck!
All or nothing... have a cook book I am working on and hope one day to have that completed.
Hope you are having a lovely summer weekend
hugs
Carolyn

Ann Pilicer said...

Wishing you the best of luck to have your wish come true. I have followed you for such a long time and always have loved your illustrations. I think it is a wonderful idea and quite a keepsake for your girls . I think you should be brave and go for it!

Linda said...

Lovely illustration!

Vanessa Brantley Newton said...

You should see the big ol' smile that I have on my face right now. I am smiling from ear to ear. I am sooooooo very, very, very excited and happy about this excellent post. Heather's amazing story is so inspirational and beautiful. Sometimes we don't have a clue about how to live. Sometimes it takes a sickness to make us value what is important. Get busy living or get busy dying. I plan to live a long time. This post has now inspired me and I know that it has done the same for others.

You are super duper talented and deeply dedicated to your girls. You support them in everything they do. They couldn't be who they are without a Mom like you. You put them first and they know it. They appreciate it. Even when they don't get their way they still appreciate having you as a mom. You are raising two fine human beings that will someday speak so very highly of the love and respect that they have for wonderful you. They want to see their mom do what's in her heart as well. They want to see and know that you are living well. So much has happened in your life and yet you have thrived. It wasn't easy I can only imagine, but you have inspired so many of us here on your blog. We treasure you Bella. I can't wait to see what is up your magnificent sleeve my friend. I can't wait to see what you are going to put on the wall of life! I started doing a bucket list just a few days ago as a prompt from my writers journal. Mine is short too LOL! Trying to fine things that I want to do. Travel and teach is are two of the things on that list. Thanks for being a blessing to me Bella. You lead by example!! You DO! Thanks so much for visiting my little blog. Big hugs and lots of love Tsup!

Carol Schockling Lawecki said...

I truly hope you make the book. Your artwork is so awesome and what a keepsake for your daughters! Good luck with your project!

kj said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kj said...


i add my two cents of 'do it.' the book will be a gift that extends well beyond your daughters' precious memories

love
kj

Donna Shepherd said...

It was so lovely to read that this young mother you mentioned was able to receive treatment and live on, and now is helping others. Wonderful post!

AND....I can hardly wait for THE BOOK! How exciting!