100 Days

Who am I? I guess I am what I think and what I feel. I am the people I love and the people who love me back. I am the place where I grew up and those I grew up with and my memories and my history. I am the beauty I could find in the world and I can no longer be the beauty I let slip and passed me by. I am my beliefs and convictions and my lacks of conviction. I am what I do when I am faced with a decision (I am the road to the left or the road to the right). I am also what I do every day : I am the sum of my habits.

 Habits can be difficult for me. I have a long history of passionate enthusiasms that fizzled out. I need some structure, some real deadlines, to keep me in shape. That’s why I jumped into #the100dayproject this year. It’s an open project that happens mainly in Instagram and starts in the spring.  Creators of all kinds make a commitment to practice their creativity in some tangible way every day and post the results online also every day, for a 100 days. Today is day 14 for me. I am committed to do a 100 days of drawing. So far its been great even though I have already cursed at this decision more than once. Sometimes I am exhausted and really don’t want to draw, sometimes I am extremely busy and end up having to draw very late at night or very early in the morning and I am a sleep deprived zombie as a result. Sometimes I am utterly uninspired. Some days every single thing I draw sucks. Sharing the results is not easy, because I don’t want to expose any imperfections or weaknesses or mistakes. I wonder if I’m exhausting everyone with an overload of content. But the habit of drawing every day is taking hold like a plant extending its roots; its growing and getting stronger and I am better for it. You can follow along here if you want: https://www.instagram.com/thebluebirdheart/

Root for me and wish me luck because I am the queen of unfinished things and I really want to get through all the way to the 100th day!

The 100 Day Project, Day 14

The 100 Day Project, Day 14

Home

This place is loud in every way. The street is filled with opposing currents of sounds: a bell in the rough hands of a man goes up and down announcing the garbage truck, there are cars and all kinds of horns, there are people using machines in nearby workshops (something to do with metal or something to do with wood), street dogs bark at each other and sometimes fight and another lonelier dog cries from the top of a roof. A rooster keeps announcing something which is no longer the start of the day. Scratchy old megaphones on top of rickety trucks sell gas with one song, oranges with another song, freshly baked bread with another song. The voice of a child which is always the same voice in all the streets of Mexico asks in a recording if you have old fridges, mattresses, washing machines or stoves to sell. There is a sound for homemade fruit sorbets, another for tamales, another for a man in a bicycle with a stone to sharpen your blunt knifes and scissors, and another man with a very deep voice carries on his back a big  table asking the street who wants to buy it. In between the cars starting or stopping you can also hear the birds. The people are loud and whistle sharply from the street for a specific someone to look out the window, they play their music loudly in their houses (sometimes sing loudly too). The houses are loud and painted in bright miss-matching colors, the roofs are loud with moving clotheslines and tv antennas and plastic water tanks. The sun is loud and makes your skin go red (it’s not the muted sun of the Canadian winter). The life of this little neighborhood is always blooming and bursting at all hours of the day. No matter the crisis, the depth of our problems, these people (my people) will not go out quietly and will not go dark. They don’t shrivel; they are always blooming, and their resourceful bodies are always loud which is also a form of joy, which is also a form of victory.

I’m very quiet and shy but I come from this loud bright place and I’m always longing for someone to paint their house pink or yellow. Loudness fills me to the brim and makes me smile. I hope I carry always with me at least some of the loudness of my people, some of this astounding ability to fight a way out and bloom in a thousand sounds and a thousand colors.

My drawings, by the way, seem to get louder and louder. This one is, maybe, too loud. But I look at it and it makes me smile, the way a bright pink Mexican house makes me smile.

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To Be or Not to Be Alone

I have spent most of this Sunday, right at the edge of the week and the year, alone. It has been delicious. As an introverted person being alone is good and restorative for my soul. It refills my reserves of energy. Many things are best enjoyed alone: immersing one self in a creative task that demands concentration (like drawing with very fine ink liners), listen to favorite music with the headphones on so it can be uproariously loud, sing very badly and without any care, make ridiculous dance moves for only the cat to witness, sink into a book in complete silence, write, walk around in one’s glorious nakedness (cellulite and stretchmarks and all), or daydream without interruptions. I find myself sometimes in very saturated routines and not always get to be alone, so I treasure days like today. My need for these spaces creates a bit of tension with my husband who is an extrovert and the most social of social people and for whom an experience is almost meaningless unless it is shared. He socializes everything, even activities that one would think are designed for being alone, like reading, and he bursts into the room and reads to me what he just read and found interesting or funny (and I love him for that, and many other reasons).

In his book “Immortality” Milan Kundera describes a woman named Agnes that finds herself feeling a lot better when she doesn’t have to share her office with any co-workers for a week, simply because it means being free of other people’s gazes.  I am a lot like Agnes. I love all my co-workers but part of the reason I enjoy being alone is because no one looks at me and I feel relaxed and completely free. Privacy it’s effortless and light. I wouldn’t like to be famous because I love walking down the street while being anonymous and forgettable and unburdened by people’s attention.

But as much as I remember Agnes, I also remember Celine (Julie Delpy) from the movie “Before Sunrise” and very specifically I remember a scene in a little alley where she explains to Jesse (a very young and handsome Ethan Hawke) that if there is anything God-like and magic in this world, it’s not locked inside you, or me, but lies in the space between us. I agree, and I treasure that piece of dialogue from the movie and think about it often.

So while the week and the year ends I type these lines to be thankful for all the hours I got to spend by myself, and to be even more thankful for the moments in which the distance between myself and someone else was filled by a road or a line or a bridge, and a treasure of magic and electricity that was waiting there, in the space between us, got to be found and got to change us, and changed me. I hope for a new year filled with private hours (I want to draw a lot and write a lot and perform lots of weird dance moves for my cat), and also I hope for a new year charged with the electricity that fills us with excitement and awe, when we connect to other human beings. So be it.

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The Dream of Drawing

Dreaming is both a talent and a handicap. It can be a way of building a world not yet built, or an easy way of evading what needs to be confronted. It requires some skill. I have always been a talented daydreamer. Many of my dreams have been detailed evasions, of the handicap type. Instead of gathering the nerve to approach the boy I liked I would nurture imaginary stories in which the boy and I were happy together without the risk of breaking my heart. They would be long engaging stories with lots of dialogue and some twists and a little bit of tension that would always be resolved with a delicious ending. I wish I had been more heartbroken and exhilarated and wise right at the centre of experience instead of safely cocooned in painstakingly constructed imaginary worlds. I loved escaping, and still do. I love sinking into invented universes. I love fiction, I love novels and movies. I love forgetting about the world, not having to face the world, and dreaming always is so cheap and free and easy. It’s tempting to not work hard at achieving something and instead get lost in the dream of success blooming like a fruit out of your fingertips (a most disastrous recipe). One cannot avoid reality for too long and if time is perhaps the only valuable thing we could ever own, we should spend most of that time out there living and fighting, bleeding and laughing, taking flight and getting wiser in the real world. But I will never stop daydreaming, because I can’t. And out of all the human beings in the world, my favorites will always be the ones that hold feverishly a lottery ticket and think in detail of what they would do with all their riches.

Dreams can be cozy nooks that keep us from going outside and face what needs to be faced. At the same time, how could we ever move forward if we are not pushed by a dream? All that is powerful, and magic and inspiring has always begun with the kernel of a dream. Maybe the best of us, all of us, is our ability to dream beautiful dreams so we can fight for them.

For me, drawing is a way of dreaming. It is very similar to those long escapes from reality in which instead of talking to the boy I liked I would imagine a world in which we were kissing, or married. Now, instead of thinking about work and bills and cleaning my house and a thousand daily irritants and conflicts, I spend delicious hours drawing detailed worlds in a blank page, inhabited for example by round trees, and very large birds. But to draw is also a dream all by itself, a dream that needs to be fought for, and built, out there in the world. One day, I say, one day, I will be drawing full time instead of drawing in the interstices of all the other things one has to do to pay the rent. I hold that idea with the preciousness of a lottery ticket not yet cashed. I hold that idea like a candle that needs to be defended, protected with my whole body against the wind. I let that dream drive me and I fight.

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Wish You Were Here II

I revisited some old images to create new versions, as part of a recent partnership with the Wanderwall Studio in Texas. It was fun to play and re-invent. Here is my favorite:

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Two more!

Two more spreads for the story of Tami and the birds.

While other kids play with footballs and dolls, Tami lets the birds play with her hair.

While other kids talk about cartoons and video games, Tami stays silent and thinks about birds.

Playing

My first try at claybord. I'm still deciding whether this would be a good look for a series of children's book illustrations. In the meantime, playing with the textures has been fun!

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Season's Greetings!

Finally, I finished a series of illustrations meant to be in greeting cards and gifts. I have a new store for them in Red Bubble: http://www.redbubble.com/people/michkingirl. My etsy shop remains open but from now on I will only sell there limited editions from very special series (like the series of trees). Happy winter everyone!

I carry your heart with me...

I carry your heart with me...

Teacups tower

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Some more news...

I'm starting a little line of greeting cards and here are the first two illustrations.

Also, I have two new secrets...

Sisters

Sisters

love birds

love birds

secret number three

secret number three

secret number four

secret number four

News

Finally! For those interested, I have available for sale high quality prints of "Limit: One suitcase per passenger". They are $35 dollars (CA) a piece. If you live in Toronto and would like to get one just get in touch via email. I will have an option set up for those outside of the city very soon.

In other news, I have here the first two on a new series: a series of secrets

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The Annex Patio Art Show

Toronto is easy to love during the summer. Days are long, people are happy, we feel victorious (we prevailed over a long and tough winter, now we bask in the sun). Life and culture bloom in too many places simoultaneously and is hard to keep up, so we are hungry to see and do as much as we can before the cold  comes crashing back on us once more. I have a special kind of affection for things happening on the streets or at the parks for everyone to just wander into it without standing in line, without needing a ticket or a reservation. I take great pleassure in street musicians and performers (they remind me of my beloved Mexico City where there's always  lots of free entertainment at corners and squares and subway stations). For all these reasons, I am specially delighted to become part of a street art show and a tiny piece in Toronto's caleidoscopic summer. Anyone at the Annex neighborhood next weekend (July 11 and 12) come visit me at the Annex Patio Art Show! I will be located at 537 Bloor Street and  there will be lots of other artists showing their work using the windows of local shops.

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Seneca Grad Show

Is it really over?

Time flew at school and it all seems luminous now. That's what happens when experiences start belonging to the past and events start becoming memories. The brain filters everything through a growing nostalgia. School was great (never mind the lack of sleep, the panic attacks and the stress... it was just great!). Now, still undefined, unlimited ( and free), time stretches in front of me exactly like a blank paper.

These are images from my wall at the Graduation Show. By the way, I got "Best in Show"! It was really hard to believe... I was just in awe at the talent and professionalism of everyone's displays at the Gallery.

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