Off to Neverland!

 

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I celebrated my 24th birthday this weekend. I can’t quite wrap my head around 24 years of life & don’t have words yet (I just seem to cry a lot because I have such a hard time with time passing and growing up and everyone getting older). So I decided to make a happy list.

Peter Pan is one of my favorite stories ever written. J.M. Barrie is brilliant. And I absolutely love children’s literature. The book, the Disney movie, all the stories inspired by Peter Pan, illustrations; I love it all.

24 reasons I love Peter Pan: 

1. The “never grow up” concept. Childhood in general.

2. London. The Bloomsbury neighborhood is a DREAM.

3. A whole world in a star, in the sky?! LOVE.

4. The Darling children’s, Peter’s, & the lost boys’ love of stories

5. The beginning of the story takes place during nighttime, my favorite time.

6. FLYING. I want to fly (not in a plane) so badly!

7. Living in a tree/ a whole tree house underground.

8. The sense of adventure and exploration and play.

9. All the sections of Neverland (mermaids, Indians, pirates). They’re so timeless and classic in storytelling.

10. Fairies!

11. Michael Darling in the Disney movie is the cutest child. Ever.

12. Tiger Lily is so great. And her name is even better.

13. The Lost Boys. The concept of lost/abandoned children finding a home.

14. The map of Neverland. I love maps. And I love Neverland.

15. Peter Pan & Tinkerbell’s partnership. And Peter & Wendy’s friendship.

16. The need for a mother’s love.

17.  “So come with me, where dreams are born, and time is never planned.”

18. “To live will be an awfully big adventure.”

19.  “I’m youth, I’m joy,” Peter answered at a venture, “I’m a little bird that has broken out of the egg.”

20. “I suppose it’s like the ticking crocodile, isn’t it? Time is chasing after all of us.”

21. “You just think lovely wonderful thoughts,” Peter explained, “and they lift you up in the air.”

22. “Would you like an adventure now,” he said casually to John, “or would you like to have your tea first?”

23. “On these magic shores children at play are for ever beaching their coracles. We too have been there; we can still hear the sound of the surf, though we shall land no more.”

24. The overall scenery and aesthetic and imagination and fantasy. It’s all my dream world. Neverland is the place my mind drifts to escape from real life.

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xo, Michelle

P.S. A reminder that I have a rather new print for sale in my Etsy shop: Wanderlust :)

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“Grace, not perfection.”

A few years ago, I read this quote and it stuck with me. This week, I felt the need to handwrite it and paint.

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I am trying the best I can to be the best I can be. Sometimes my own head and body get in the way. I can’t churn out artwork as frequently as some artists I follow. I’m still new to learning business and I’m constantly trying to absorb more information about it. I’m still learning how to balance art and business. I’m still trying to set up a lifestyle that works for me, day-to-day. I have days where I just need to zone out and do nothing. I’m constantly afraid of my past anxiety taking over with full force again if I push myself too hard. I’m still figuring out how I want my business and my internet presence to be, because I’m in introvert and I simply cannot post something everyday; I have a need to reflect and be deliberate with what I share. I juggle my art business and life and my part-time babysitting jobs. I know that’s how my life will continue to be, so I’m doing the absolute best I can sanely do to establish habits and a workflow that work for me.

I find myself often feeling like I’m not doing enough, despite constantly checking things off my to-do list. I guess I have high standards and hopes for myself. I’ve always been a little overly ambitious but a little bit lazy. I know I’m capable, so I strive for perfection. I always have. And sometimes that’s good- it’s motivating. But sometimes it’s horrible for my emotional well-being. Nothing is perfect. Perfection is something people perceive from the outside, and the person who created it or the person living in it never believes it’s perfect.

So I’m always making an effort to focus on the gracefulness of what I’m doing. Am I creating pieces I love? Am I doing the best I can? Am I presenting a message and a presence I want to present to the world? Am I being deliberate and cohesive and consistent? Am I presenting my work gently and gracefully, not abrasively and desperately? I am working within myself to do things with grace (not in a religious way, but in a refined, gentle, smooth way). I will strive to create work & a life that I’m proud of, and I will strive to be graceful in my actions in all areas of my life. I will always do the best I can, and try to accept that it will rarely be perfect in my eyes.

Whomever is reading this, please never hesitate to share any thoughts with me. I’d love to know what you’re thinking :)

xo, Michelle

P.S. Forgot to announce that I re-designed my website quite a bit. Go see the new layout and some new content: www.maryandluna.com

Photo Field Trip!

I FINALLY got some time to blog about this incredible experience I had!

From February 28 – March 3, I attended a Photography Field Trip/ workshop/ camp at El Capitan State Beach, California. It was basically 300+ photographers from all over the world “glamping” and learning and socializing. I don’t even have enough words to summarize a weekend filled with so much goodness. I summoned a lot of courage to go to this retreat, where I didn’t personally know anyone going, only photographers whom I follow & love on instagram. I drove 3 hours in the POURING, terrifying, zero-visibility rain by myself, the furthest I’ve ever driven alone, and I never drive in rain that hard. But it was so so worth it. For some reason, I only took a handful of photos. I was just in sponge mode- absorbing information and watching people and being present in my settings. I think that was good for me. So here are my favorite photos that I did take!

Some of the grounds at El Capitan Canyon

Some of the grounds at El Capitan Canyon

a route on the grounds

a route on the grounds

My little cabin :)

My little cabin :)

Just a little bit of the swag we all got!

Just a little bit of the swag we all got!

the view from my cabin door- yurts/tents! And rain.

the view from my cabin door- yurts/tents! And rain.

The Big Tent / Dining Hall

The Big Tent / Dining Hall

perfect pair.

perfect pair.

El Capitan State Beach

El Capitan State Beach

Wandering with James Moes, this is Stevie.

Wandering with James Moes, this is Stevie.

wandering with James Moes, this is Kaley.

wandering with James Moes, this is Kaley.

I've followed Kaley on instagram for a while, but I didn't even know this was her until I got home!

I’ve followed Kaley on instagram for a while, but I didn’t even know this was her until I got home!

Rog & Lyndzee during Sean Flanigan's shoot + burn class

Rog & Lyndzee during Sean Flanigan’s shoot + burn class

again, Rog & Lyndzee during Sean Flanigan's shoot + burn class

again, Rog & Lyndzee during Sean Flanigan’s shoot + burn class

Sean Flanigan leading us in a shoot.

Sean Flanigan leading us in a shoot.

me & the brilliantly talented Yan Palmer.

me & the brilliantly talented Yan Palmer.

my roommates, Kay & Chelsea.

my roommates, Kay & Chelsea.

so many people in this one lol.

so many people in this one lol.

Some of the sweet girls I got to hang out with: Simone, Jenna, Kelly, & Racquel.

Some of the sweet girls I got to hang out with: Simone, Jenna, Kelly, & Racquel.

Group photo before we all went home! Our only sunny day!

Group photo before we all went home! Our only sunny day!

After I got home, I was inspired to create a little commemorative art piece of all the imagery that stood out the most: tents/cabins, notebooks, cameras (duh), backpacks/swag, and muddy muddy boots! A bunch of the attendees ended up buying prints of it, and it was so so encouraging to know my illustration was well-received by fellow artists.

sketch of my illustrated memories

sketch of my illustrated memories

my illustrated memories

my illustrated memories

It was such an unforgettable experience. No one complained about the rain and the unbelievable amounts of mud because we we all just so happy to be there. I met a ton of new, creative people, which I needed so badly. I got so much support and encouragement and positivity. I feel so hopeful. I learned SO much from these professional photographers who are incredible at what they do. I loved being in such a beautiful environment. It felt like camp. Like Parent Trap & Dirty Dancing style. Only with people who love photography & adventuring as much as I do, and no 11-year-old Lindsay Lohan clones or beautiful Patrick Swayze (RIP). It was all just so fun. So unique. Just as I was feeling very comfortable and making friends, it was over. I can’t wait to see what happens next year. Thank you, Field Trip, I love you.

To see more photos from EVERYONE who went, browse Instagram: #yeahfieldtrip.

xo, Michelle

P.S. any Field Trippers who still want this art print can order one from me here in my Etsy shop!

New print: Wanderlust!

Whew, it’s been a whirlwind over here! This week I’ll share my amazing adventure at a photography field trip/workshop I attended last weekend. But today I have a new print available to share with you!

Wanderlust (noun): a strong, innate desire to rove or travel about.

I have a wanderlust soul; I always have. Since I was little, I liked to read about other places and states and countries; I poured over and memorized maps. I crave wandering aimlessly, new scenery, exploring places that are not much like where I live in a sunny, suburban California beach town. I LOVE landscapes and nature and staring into open land and looking up at beautiful architecture with wide-eyes and wonder.

I’ve played with so many ideas of how to use this word in a piece, because I’m aware that it’s a common theme. I had one sketch for it about a year ago but I knew it wasn’t what I wanted. Recently this illustration just sort of flowed out of me, and I think it’s heavily influenced by fairytale scenery. I had a desire to paint trees and a forest.

Here’s the original sketch:

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Here’s the final piece, available as a print in my Etsy shop

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Hope you like it!

xo, Michelle