Friday, 31 March 2017

Peace comes from within

I feel like I am being surrounded by toxic people. That may have been the most dramatic sentence I’ve said in a long time, but it’s the truth.

I’m having a bit of trouble finding the good in people at the moment. A few weeks ago five innocent people lost their lives due to an act of terrorism in this country. It sickens me to think of how many people have been affected by such heinous murders. Somebody will never see their child again. Somebody will never be with their wife again. Somebody will never work with their colleague again.

The worst thing of all is that these people did nothing to provoke the attack. They were completely ordinary people like you and me. We are incredibly lucky for every day we live on this earth, yet we can’t seem to grasp what that really means.

To see so much negativity and idleness in people infuriates me.  I understand that we all have our own set of problems, and I’m definitely not telling you that they aren’t an issue, but with so much conflict going on in the world around us, why can’t we all try to make peace and be positive?

Negativity is toxic and your mood rubs off on those around you. Whatever pain you are going through, however tough it may be, will end. Suffering is inevitable but like everything, is not permanent. Seek help from somebody if you need to but please, please don’t burden other people with your negative thinking.

In summary, what I’m saying is that life is way too short to be spent feeling sad.  It’s something I’ve witnessed way too much recently and something that needs to change. Please talk to somebody if you feel this way and learn to carpe diem.

Oh, and here' some links you should check out :)

Friday, 24 March 2017

Is Buddhism the Answer?

I've always had an interest in religion, but that's not to say that I've always agreed with the principles of religion.

Growing up, my best friend and her family were very religious Christians, which meant that I got to experience the lifestyle much more than some of my other non-religious friends did. I was invited to church, youth club and even bible camp with her! Although I didn't passionately believe in God, I was still amazed by the sense of community that was created by simply believing. 

However, I think it's fair to say that it became a bit difficult as I got older, especially as people started asking questions about why I didn't believe in God and if I would join them to pray. It just felt morally wrong to pretend to be something I wasn't. 

Once I got into secondary school, my relationship with the church was very irregular. I was still invited, but it felt strange to be worshipping somebody I didn't believe in. 

Up until recent years, I hadn't really given religion much thought. I wasn't encouraged to by my school either as it's non-religious. I suppose that this is a good thing as it allowed me to discover it in my own time.

That was when I discovered Buddhism. I'd heard the word tossed around a lot, but I'd never been curious enough to look into it. There's a lot of people out there who could put this better than I can but I'll try...

Buddhism is about developing the mind, finding inner peace and knowing that nothing is permanent. It's the belief in reincarnation (in many different forms) and knowing that all actions have consequences. What I find interesting about this religion is the fact that they don't believe in a God and the fact that unlike most other religions, there aren't any set rules (in the usual sense of rules). 

I have tried to incorporate the Four Noble Truths and Five Moral Precepts into my way of thinking and would love to be able to call myself a Buddhist one day. By doing so, I no longer fear the future and instead have learnt to live in the moment. Buddhism is something that I strongly believe in and feel passionate about.


Books to read:

What are your religious beliefs?
Health and happiness,
Marti xxx

Friday, 10 March 2017

Who are you?

'Who's that?' 'Who are you?' 'Who's he?'

These are all somewhat basic questions which are usually answered with a brief answer. 'That's Dave,' one might answer. 'I'm Dave,' he might reply. After this introduction, both parties tend to be mutually acquainted. 

The thing is, the assumption that by knowing the name of a person, you automatically 'know' the person is a completely appalling concept. Even after hours of small talk and 'getting to know' the person, is it really the person you know or is it their social facade? 

You might find out that his full name is David Green; he's an entrepreneur with two kids and a dog called Rover. His favourite colour is orange and he plays the flute.

That's all well and good, but you don't know anything beyond this information. What is he passionate about? Does he strive to make a positive change to the world his kids will grow up in? Is he actively supporting those who do? I'm not sure whether this makes any sense to anybody excluding myself but I thought I'd share regardless in case somebody agrees with me. 

I am thankful for the fact that I have a strong concept of who I am as a person. I am not just and will never be just 'Marti' for my soul holds so many different alternate passions and dreams.

 That's one of the reasons why I'm so glad I have a unique name: I will never be defined. There will always be so much more to a person that a name or some trivia.

I hope that made some sense to somebody tehe ;)
Love, Marti xxxx

Friday, 3 March 2017

Art with Claire O'Brien!

1.  Heya Claire! Thanks so much for taking the time to collaborate with me! Would you mind starting off by telling us about who you are and what you do?
Hi Marti, thanks for having me! I live in Leeds, I’m 36 and I’m a mum of two boys. Having left my job in university administration two years ago I’m now working full time on my artwork and writing projects. I struggled for years with managing the right work-life balance as well as trying to develop my art skills so I made the decision to quit my day job to commit to it fully. I’ve recently reached a point where I’m ready to share my artwork (which is quite scary!) so I’ve now started to post some of my work online (see my Facebook page here ). So far, I’ve shared some of my traditional drawing/painting of portraits but I’m also working on moving into illustration and sequential art. 

2. What is your preferred  creative medium and why? Is it pencil and paper, sculpture, textiles or something else entirely?

When I began drawing I worked mainly with paper and pencil (or charcoal for life drawing). About 18 months ago I invested in a digital drawing tablet and it’s completely transformed the way I work. Digital is a forgiving medium which allows me to edit and correct mistakes easily but you can also play around with composition, texture and colour.

3. Where do you find your inspiration? 

 I take inspiration from all sorts of places; personal experiences, places I’ve been, things I’ve read. Film and music are important influences in my life which is what led me to start drawing portraits of musicians. I’m a huge fan of comics and graphic novels so this style informs a lot of my work.

4. Are there a specific message you are trying to communicate through your work?

In my portrait work there’s no specific message, other than showing an appreciation for the subject. But when it comes to my writing and narrative art, I take a more personal approach. A large part of my work is autobiographical so it’s just a way of putting a part of myself out there. I’m quite a shy person so being able to express myself through my art is important to me.

5. Which art movement or artist would you say influences your work most?

I was always interested in impressionism in school, not only from a visual point of view but also because my other great love in life is France (I studied French at university). I love Manet’s use of contrast, Renoir’s city scenes and Degas’ poses. At university, I took a course in photography and discovered Henri Carter-Bresson and Robert Doisneau. I was captivated by a photograph’s ability to tell a story and it made me want to create something which you look at wonder “what’s the story behind this?”. 

6. Are you working on an projects currently that excite you?

A while ago I wrote a script for a graphic novel and once I finished it I didn’t know what to do with it. At that stage, I didn’t feel like my drawing was good enough to illustrate it myself and I didn’t have the confidence to approach an artist to collaborate with me. I feel like things have moved forward since then so I’m starting to work on the art for this. It’s a big project but I’m really excited about taking on the challenge.
7. How would you define the word 'creativity'? Does a piece of work need to be admired by others to be creative or is it more about the process and ideas that have gone into it that make it creative?

Wow, great question! As far as I’m concerned creativity is the act of making something and it doesn’t matter if something never gets seen, let alone admired, for it to be creative. I have so many pieces of work that will never see the light of day but it doesn’t take anything away from them being creative. Of course, admiration for work is nice but it shouldn’t be the reason for creativity. 

8. What is the biggest challenge you face professionally?

Having a family and a career has always been a bit of a juggle and creative work doesn’t necessarily fit into a 9-5 pattern! There’s also the fact that I came to art a little later than most so I feel like I have to work much harder to catch up. It took 10 years working in an office for me to realise that what I really wanted to be was an artist!

9. You have the opportunity to invite a famous artist from the past round for dinner- who would you choose?

 I would really love to meet an American street photographer called Vivian Maier. She worked as a nanny and spent her spare time taking thousands of these incredible photographs while she was walking around the streets of Chicago. Sadly, her work wasn’t discovered until after her death. She was supposedly quite an eccentric character and had a really fascinating story. 

10. And finally, what is the best piece of advice you can offer to people who want to be more creative?

If you’re interested in in art, even if you’re a beginner, seek out local art classes you can join. It’s a great way to meet like-minded people and I found doing this increased my confidence. Online drawing tutorials are great or even just get some paper and pencils (or whatever you have!) and just draw anything: your family, friends, pets, or use your imagination to create characters. Don’t worry if you don’t feel like you’re any good straight away, keep at it and you’ll notice yourself get better every time. Art is a skill, not a talent!