Stars In My Belly

I'm no longer a practicing artist. (Or has my definition of art simply changed?) Trying to figure out how to write about losing that old part of myself. How I still don't know if I lost it all on purpose. How that loss made me question my value as a breathing being. How it feels like I'm an astronaut in training...and how much, when I'm honest, I love it. That good suspense. Lengthen this tether, bit by bit. I'm going up, going out, stars in my belly. 

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T's And Me

I've found my way to Times Square
every day for the last three days.
Without even wanting to,
without even trying.

Have you heard?

There's a breed of ant
that's drawn to electronics
in swarms.
The crazy kind that'll take up room
in the back of a Texas man's television.
They'll break your stuff.
They make the ground appear
as if it's moving.

I saw it happen.
(I saw it on TV.)

I've never forgotten about these ants.

I'm still afraid
they're coming for my stuff.

It doesn't take much for me to get on board with a good Rumi poem.

Case in point: the following poem popped up in my Facebook feed under some goofy clickbait article about THE POEM THAT HELPED CHRIS MARTIN GET OVER HIS CONSCIOUS UNCOUPLING...BLAH BLAH BLAH. (Seriously.) I clicked.


And I love the poem. I love most Rumi-isms. I was also feeling pretty down about feeling down that day, and so, I wasted no time in grabbing an empty poster-sized frame from a closet—pulled out a magic marker, wrote it down on the back side of the frame's paper insert, and hung it in my hallway.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

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Vim & Petal: What's In A Name?

Some time last year, I had this great chance to step out of my regular role as a Graphic Designer, and dip my toe into naming a product.

is the first gin from Middle West Spirits. It's unique, layered, and unlike any gin I've tried before. The beautiful label was designed by Cole Londeree. You can read the description of Vim & Petal below the pic of MWS's six-toed distillery cat (I'd be remiss not to post a cat pic!) Middle West Spirits is open for tours—$10 a pop, highly recommended.

A unique union of the culinary and distilling worlds, this American style dry gin bursts forth with a pioneering robustness, then falls quietly like the soft red winter wheat at its base.  Each full-bodied flavor and enticing note of Vim & Petal brings to life 18 botanicals and the delicate tension between them… to give you character, dimension and a refined versatility.

VIM & PETAL speaks with confidence, but knows when to whisper.

Tasting Notes: Softly sweet aromas of citrus, spice, and saffron. Light body with prominent notes of elderberry and fresh juniper balanced with rare seeds, roots and exotic spices. Finishes clean with floral notes of Sichuan peppercorn and Indonesian cinnamon spice.

Photos courtesy of @middlewestspirits

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A Glass For The Perfect Pour

This entry was pulled from my weekly newsletter, A Drawing from Isla Garland.
Interested? You can subscribe here.

There are plenty of subversive wine glasses for sale online. This is my very own fantasy version.

PEEVES: You'll get over it. A couple of sips will do. Takes the edge off.
GRIPES: I dunno. Sometimes complaining helps us sort out our feelings so we can do something about them. This might help.
SORROWS: You deserve this moment. Just you and the wine...reflecting, feeling all of the feels...together.
REGRETS: The wild card. Either you'll forget 'em for a minute, or accumulate more. Good luck! 
FUCK IT. You're probably gonna have another glass.

DISCLAIMER  Sometimes I don't feel like drawing. Sometimes I grab the nearest tool to make what I want to make. Today is one of those days!
DISCLAIMER  I encourage you to drink responsibly (even if that means choosing to stay sober every day, yo.)  
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While it's not the most economical route, I've got my eyes (har-har) locked on some new frames from l.a.Eyeworks. I've been wearing a pair of their stainless steel frames for the past couple of years, and just love 'em. Eh...not sure any of the styles below would even fit my face (my nose bridge favors pads), but I can dream. Here are my current favorites.

Mind Blown

Anxiously awaiting the day when I can not just post this gif on my Facebook timeline...but somehow carry it around with me in on-demand holographic form.

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But First


Scannerless, I made an all-digital drawing for this week's newsletter. Here's the story: I failed to find my chill before attempting to "fix" a glitchy scanner/printer at the beginning of the week.

(It did not end well.)


Click/tap the images below for the downloadable files if you need a reminder to take a deep breath and chill first sometimes, too.

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Self Help And Other Stories

Here's a round-up of some books I devoured in 2015. Let me tell you, there were more (thanks to Audible, I can enjoy a book AND do laundry), but these were the highlights. You'll notice I'm a bit of a self-help nerd...but I did try to dip my toe back into fiction (one is better than none), and I even read an anti-self-help book (I like to be well-rounded).  Here's a little note on each recommendation. Cheers!

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Jarryd James

I discovered Australian singer Jarryd James opening for a Meg Myers show in Pittsburgh last year. Really love his voice. And, I was a big INXS fan growing up, so...soft spot for the Aussies.

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interview with Seb Lester

Do you follow the work of Master Calligrapher Seb Lester? A recent interview with Booooooom has been making the rounds this month, and his Instagram account (@seblester) gives us a peek into his regular practice. 

That said, one excerpt from the interview (below) struck me in particular. I, for one, am extrememly thankful for current tools that facilitate a rapid-fire form of connection, learning, sharing, and practice. Those tools have worked extremely well for me over the last decade, where I've had a lot of hurdles with perfectionism—and a resulting lack of momentum—to clear. Mastery, and what it takes to achieve it, looms large in the distance. On a somewhat related note, The One You Feed podcast (Episode 090: "The Art of Work") with guest Jeff Goins touches on modern-day mentors and apprenticeships. Worth checking out.

JH: Photo filtering apps, beat matching software, there are a lot of tools out there making it a lot easier to sort of shortcut the time it takes to “master” something. These things promote creativity but they also have a way of encouraging lazy creating. Should we be encouraging more kids to master one thing rather than be mediocre at a bunch of things?
SL: I think it’s great that technology does empower people this way and create choice. I wouldn’t be prescriptive but I am personally more interested in trying to become a true virtuoso in one field than a generalist. Specialization has worked for me. I would love to paint again, and to produce dodgy electronic music again, but I think developing a profound understanding of anything requires total commitment to that field. Profound mastery requires everything, heart and soul. A lot of love and a lot of time. I know that, even having spent twenty years working at this, I still have a lifetime of learning ahead of me.
Read more on Booooooom...
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