Monday, April 29, 2013

My "Art Saves" Story on Crescendoh.


I am honored and happy to finally be part of the Crescendoh family! Thank you Jenny for the splendid opportunity to share my story in such a caring, compassionate and  inspiring community of artists and creative people.

Dear friends and readers, it'a also because of you that today I feel OK in sharing my story with the world. I'd love if you read it!

Monica x

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Joyful Simplicities (from my English Country Diary).

More photos than in my usual Joyful Simplicities posts, but I just couldn't help myself! :)
I am living my dream... nothing happened overnight of course, and it took many years, tears, anxiety, adaptability and lots of work to be able to live this life! But now, it makes my heart explode (even when life gets though)- and I wanted to share my joy with you!

Here are some of my latest simple pleasures,  while I'm learning to lead a country life. All pics taken with my cell phone (... remember I'm giving myself permission? ;)).

Finding feathers, and finally being migraine- free! :))))))))

Visiting the local Farmer's Markets.

Seeing quaint cottages with stunning front gardens.

Sharing the lawn with pheasants.

Learning which seeds which bird prefers
(I've been given the lovely jar, which originally contained delicious cookies, by a special friend who lives nearby).

Stopping to admire the finds of the day.

Seeing such incredible views while driving
(and usually, no car is behind you- so you can stop and take a picture).

Wearing simple, comfortable clothes and shoes every day.

Open fields.

Sheep and lambs.

This kind of traffic :)

Seeing horses everywhere.

Discovering different types of eggs I totally ignored the existence of
(these are goose eggs, at the Farmer's Market).

Buying organic salad at the Farmer's Market and finding violets in there (this truly had me gonna crush!).

Living at a very different pace than before and being thankful for that
(found this writing, "Rest and be thankful", at the bust stop) .

"The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them."- Paulo Coelho, The Alchimist
Have a happy weekend!
Monica x

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

On Connections and Vulnerability.

I've been musing about this subject a lot over the past two years or so, and finally the moment has come for me to bring my thoughts and feelings out there into the world. Just as part of my healing process, that might help someone else's healing as well. It's part of my own story, the story of who I am and what I do to try to embrace my vulnerability each and every day, to become a "better me".

"Together", from my art journals.

My instinct like an introvert is so strong to turn inwards

I have deliberately stepped back from any possible in- person connection for years. I've lived my life as a solitary bird... and mind you, I really LOVE and find profound joy and peace in that! The more the years passed by, the more I've stepped back from any connection, my husband and family included (just for you to get the idea, the best, richest, most inspiring conversations ever, I have with my husband... via email! LOL).

Being an artist, and seeing and feeling what others seemed to be unable to see and feel, has always looked like the worst and scariest of nightmares to me since I was very young- people around me really didn't "get me". I believe this strengthened my need for solitude, and for finding a spiritual connection with Nature and the "Universe" rather than a physical connection with anyone around me.

After years and years of questions, pain, struggles with the world and its patterns, I've started becoming aware that I hadn't to find the answers outside, they already dwelled inside of me, in my perfectly beautiful "imperfection". Buried under layers of social superimposition, lied the real magic- surprisingly, I could make it visible thanks to my given artistic abilities and my strong sensitivity /introversion. 
I discovered all of that thanks to my blog (I had totally ignored the existence of blogs until I was in my half thirties, and discovered them just after a great pain due to a broken, special friendship) and to those precious, heart- warming, online connections, inspired readings, artists insights, opinions and share of feelings that like-minded people were so courageous to offer online. That way, I've started to learn that there were many other people just like me, with the same feelings, struggling for the very same reasons, and trying to survive in a world of extroverts that celebrates extroversion and social connection as the only and right way to be. The fact that I work from home and spill my heart out onto canvas, paper, my art journals, a magazine article or a blog post, or though my lens, doesn't mean I don't feel a strong connection with the rest of the human beings, actually being the contrary. I just and simply feel this connection in more of a spiritual, rather than physical, form- and bring to the world the beauty and magic I see, for anyone to partake of it and be inspired by, my own way- simply being what I truly am and doing what is calling me loudly. 

After I started dicovering the online community of my kindred- spirits, I've gradually (if not out of the blue) became conscious of what made me come alive, what kept me alive, what was calling me, and it definitely was my art, my creativity, my introversion. It may sound odd, but even if I've always needed my art and creativity like breathing, I wasn't conscious of that until my mid thirties. And the more I stepped back from extroversion, from in- person connections, the more I caged myself in my "den" doing what made me feel happy, well- the more my work kind of exploded, showing beauty, inspiration, freedom, joy. I have feared for many years that connection with others could affect my art, my creativity, my well being. And the "essence" of my being an artist.

"Solitary bird", from my art journals.

The internet gave me the opportunity to remain very much of an introvert (in spite of what I've written before, put the word hermit here), and reach out for other kindred souls at the same time. Also because I believe that the true essence of everything is spiritual, so this has always been very natural for me. And I can tell you those online connections I made, become crucial for one that used to lack connection in her offline life, in her unexisting community. My blog and those people I now call friends, scattered around the globe, unexpectedly and quickly became my safety net, my steam, my tribe, and there was no need (no room, either) for in-person connections, also because those I had previously had were so heartbreaking (not that I tell the contrary, mostly because of my strong sensitivity).

After 4 intense years of spiritual journey and growth, both in my personal and professional life, I have finally realized that I have so much to offer through in- person connections, too. My heart now is full, big, and eventually... ready.


The cracks in this life, as the quote by Leonard Cohen splendidly states, have allowed the light to get in. Without those cracks, and the consequent fractures they caused deeply in my heart and soul, there wouldn't have been any light, any growth, any blooming.
I'm sure of that, because I've made wonderful art/photographs that way (and my husband made me notice that too the other day). The more I felt broken, the more I felt the pain, the more I was able to produce beautiful work.


I now have much space in my heart to be filled with in- person connections. Some of those hurtful cracks are still there, and the only way for them to be filled is with the beauty of physical connection. Opening my heart to something new (and oh, soooo scary!) doesn't mean my work will loose its magic- it can become even more inspired, more vibrant, more powerful- bringing into the world new thoughts, ideas, feelings, vulnerability, not only filtered through my own heart+ mind, but through the mind and heart of someone else, through the sweetness of our connection; through our laughter, shared grief, even hugs and facial expressions. Yes, I have to learn to accept more faces that don't have a smile painted across their mouths (... also because I don't always have it, either!).


So here I am, on my journey, fully embracing my vulnerability, my imperfection and inspiring others to do the same. And trying my best to embrace their own vulnerability and imperfection as well.
After all, what if all stones were perfect, rounded pebbles? There wouldn't be the thrill (and beauty and magic) of finding a heart- shaped rock!!
Monica x

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Cover Girl!

Just had to share with you, today!
I have just discovered I made it to the front cover of The Country Register once again (Arizona Edition). And with one of my favorite photographs ever, no less!
The Country Register publishes lovely complimentary specialty newspapers crammed full of useful informations, recipes and interesting places to visit, creative ideas, traditions and more, you can find across the USA and Canada.

I so needed this today. Isn't it wonderful and magical when things happen on the days when we most need them?

Thank you so very much, Country Register! You made my day.
Monica x

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Hope.


This wonderful World needs more hope, more love, more compassion, more prayers, more positive vibes... We could do miracles just offering them exactly from where we are.
Boston is definitely on my mind, today.
Monica x

Monday, April 15, 2013

Project Life: March, Part One.

Scilla picked for me by my Mom and Dad.

Meeting the dearest friend I have in Italy before I moved, and exchanging little gifts.

Capturing the moment with portraits of our feet.

Mom's daffs and blue sky. Oh joy.

Sorting out my wardrobe...

Snowdrops from my Mom.

Baking bread. In my PL books, I jot down experimental recipes too, and as usual, I write my journals in a mix of two languages ;)

Me, laughing silly with my hubby.

Gardening love.

March has been quite a hectic month for me, among deadlines and preparing for Surtex, a milestone birthday which had me reflect on the years passed by, returning to one blog only once again and reposting more than 50 posts here, packing and putting everything in storage with the rest of our belongings (and leaving out just what fitted two suitcases to move with us, as for now), doing the last minute things, arriving in a freezing and iced England in a short term accomodation until we find something long term suitable for us, ice everywhere and being stuck at home with no food, an unexpected problem arising and on and on. You bet I've been quite stressed, and that's why I gave myself permission to take a break from everything! PL included. Also because I haven't my printer with me, and it ended up being quite a mess to have my pictures printed (more below). Made the above pages  before I moved, and as you can see, they're pretty much the same style I have previously shared on my blog.

Let's dive a bit deeper into what I've learned so far.

1. This is the very first time I get behind since I have started, so what I'm doing? I'm taking it easy, first and foremost! Then, I have made albums in Iphoto, one per month, and put there the pictures I want to print. So when I'll have my printer again (very soon), what I have to do is to just print! Easy peasy.
To keep track of what happened, I have the daily (written) journals I usually write at the end of each day, but you can jot down very quick notes on a normal agenda if you don't keep a diary.

2. I'm making more and more use of quick Iphone shots I snap here and there during my days. I have given myself permission to leave home my heavy camera gear more often when I'm not working, so my  Iphone has become a faithful friend, and that way, I keep track of everything I do (plus, it's so much fun!).

3. I'm going to have my printer with me soon, and I'm willing to continue printing on demand at home. I thought I could do easily PL even without it, having my photos printed somewhere (there are plenty of online services out there!) but in the end, I found it all quite annoying. First of all, printing at home I usually print every two days or so. I may not have the time to sit down with PL, but at least I have the pictures I want to include printed, and then, when I have time, all I have to do is cut them and compose the pages. But if you have your images printed by a photo printing service, this is not doable at all. You should wait and have more than a few pictures printed each time, so I realized it's much better to print at home to stay on track.
Also, I always want to include a mix of Iphone shots and normal pictures from my camera, and it's quite the mess! With my printer, I don't have any problem mixing formats and then cut them with a cutter.

4. I'm still sticking to my method I explained here and here and here.

5. I have shifted the "This month" list of happenings at the beginning of each month, so I can jot down things as they happen instead of having to wait until the end of the month and maybe forget something.

Will be back with the rest of the March pages as soon as possible. They'll be several pages actually, considering the number of pictures I've taken since we moved! :))
Will tell you more about "catching up" when I'm done.

Monica x

Friday, April 12, 2013

What I'm Loving Right Now...

(in no particular order)

Daffodils, daffodils, daffodils! Here in England, you can find them everywhere! 
Both spontaneous and for sale at very affordable prices... so I'm having fun trying different varieties each week.

My new growing collection of old and used books!
Found these all in charity shops.

Cooking (this is frittata with duck's eggs, peas and Parmesan cheese).

Walking and moving. I definitely need it for my back, neck and general well- being.

Market days!!

New friends. Can you believe this was the first time ever I touched a horse?

Wild birds coming to visit each and every day! Pheasants stroll quietely close to our door and windows- well, for  people born and raised in a big city like us, this is exciting stuff for sure!!

Vintage finds! England surely has a "vintage heart".

Having some art stuff with me once again. It feels so, so good!
(We moved with two suitcases, so there was no room other than for my watercolor box!)


Soft pastels. Oh my, I had never tried them and I'm in love!

Shopping with a basket without everyone looking at me like I'm from another planet! ;)

My growing collection of heart- shaped rocks.  These days, I find hearts everywhere!
Monica x