The Story of Jasmine is truly unique and remarkable—not only from the standpoint of the story being told but from other key aspects as well. I thought I would help my supporters understand why every installment is unique and remarkable.
It’s not supposed to happen like this…
… to freshly present a finished installment to readers at the same time the story is being conceived is unheard of. But here we are.
Books usually go into production after the ideas have already been conceived and written down, sculpted and rewritten, then edited and proofread. The amount of text is known. When planning a publication, designs are based upon knowing beforehand the sizes of all the elements needed to be in the layout.
The Story of Jasmine is in perpetual idea form. I can truly say I only have a vague notion of where the story is going. And I don’t know how the story ends. I am trusting that the creative process will take me where I need to go and everything will get resolved in a spectacularly satisfying way.
The way I process information is a factor in my creativity. Not only am I a visual thinker, but a spatial thinker as well. I see things in terms of their orientation in space (and time). When I’m writing, I often get a visual of how the story appears on the page.
I record ideas as they freshly occur to me and reason out the in-between stuff. I’m often surprised at what is gets revealed in the narrative that had never occurred to me when piecing known elements together. To update the newest information in my head is to integrate it.
While I’m in a more linear mode, I ponder why newly revealed details would be important and how they might affect the other characters. All I really have to do is pose the question to myself and I’ll (eventually) receive an answer. However, the story usually comes when I’m engaged in a physical activity, such as housework.
Maybe I’m sweeping the floor when a part of the drama unfolds before my eyes. I’ll continue my activity until the “clip” is finished. As a visual thinker I “see” the characters in motion. Then I’ll go over the scene in my head, again and again—while still sweeping—so I understand it from each character’s perspective.
****I’ve read research that suggests that doing something physical while trying to learn something reinforces the ability to remember. It might be why when talking with a friend while on a walk, I would be able to reconstruct our entire conversation later when taking the same route. The memory is tied to different features, such as walking over peculiar cracks in the sidewalk or pausing in front of a tree. I’m apt to agree with the study. But I digress… ********
Each published installment is a single scene that represents a complete thought. I decide whose viewpoint would most effectively advance the story for the reader. I only begin writing in earnest when phrases start coming in.
Writing might take a couple of hours or three days. But as soon as I am finished, I transfer the raw text electronically and import it into Photoshop. First, I see how much text there is to work with. If there is little text, the illustrations become larger, vice-versa.
This is the point where I edit the text. Appreciating the text in the context of the page is where I begin to assess the design. The text becomes units or blocks that have spatial relationships to other blocks. Visually, some blocks need to be filled when the lines are too short. I solve these visual problems by adding or losing words. It’s a matter of choosing different words to convey the same meaning. If I want to increase the size of an illustration, I may toss out a paragraph.
This more organic method flies in the face of conventional graphics design where an established grid dictates the size and relationships of the units. For aesthetic considerations, I rely upon my eye and my artistic sensibilities to make the page a joy to behold because I’ve internalized the rules and understand how to break them.
The Jasmine Font
A large part of my page aesthetic is due to the font. I designed my Jasmine font based upon the calligraphy I used in 1980 in some installments of The StoryofJasmine published in The Dragon magazine.
The text font is the italic version of the Jasmine font. This is another departure from convention. Italics is seldom used for large blocks of text because italics is too hard to read: it is usually reserved for captions instead. Roman (upright) and Regular (medium weight) versions of fonts are normally used for blocks of text.
When I first used my font, I was still renovating the original panels and wanted to replicate their size and look. The Jasmine italics font is the same size as the calligraphy was on the original panels—large—so readability is not an issue.
Then I decide what needs to be illustrated. Often, within an illustration’s progress, I may change the text to better describe the action, which may increase or decrease the size of the art.
Often, no illustration decision is necessary. I simply re-create what I saw in my mind’s eye when my creative muse showed me a clip. I admit, I often receive material enough for several pages. So it’s a matter of being discerning. If I wish to feature a certain scene, I manipulate the text to accommodate an illustration, balancing the elements of the narrative between three panels or more.
I chose to make the characters ultra-realistic looking. I wanted to f—k with the notion of reality impinging upon fantasy … a story documentary in page form. The realness of the characters feeds the realness of the tale. This very story just might be happening out there, somewhere, in another reality…
From conception to finished layout and art, the process takes about a month. With Patreon’s monthly deadline, I feel honor-bound to my patrons to produce at least one installment each month. During the month, I weave together many different creative disciplines. But whatever I do, the result is fresh and in-the-moment.
Where actually does the story come from? Is it my imagination or am I tapping into some other realm where all this is actually taking place? Do other writers wonder the same things too? Can’t it be both?
Well, I cannot worry about how relevant a story is about a girl growing into her power even though I sometimes wonder if people are sick of medievally-inspired fantasies about kingdoms at war with evil. It doesn’t matter. This tale is being told whether or not our world is ready for it.
All I know is that my Patreon fans are witnessing a creative process that integrates several disciplines on an on-going basis.
This is a continuation of notes for The Story of Jasmine that were written on Italian Stationery in Cortona, Italy:
Rogan hesitated a moment, then gave up his weapon to the Guardian of the Temple. He felt the same frustration Thorne had described and felt naked without his sword.
“Come.” The dwarf commanded and processed down some steps. They passed many columns and rooms and at last stopped in front of a small opened room. Rogan could have found the inner chamber easily by himself. A blinding light radiated from the room with a great intensity.
He could not make out much detail and worried that he would be blinded, but the dwarf insisted, with Rogan’s own weapon, that he enter.
Last Friday, my older sister, Diana, challenged me to draw from memory the layout of the house we grew up in. She wants to compare our recollections. I believe she is writing an account of her life. Recreating a blueprint from memory was an interesting exercise. There are rooms whose details I remember quite well but others I’m totally vague on.
When she saw my version, she provided more specific details. As I concentrated on the spaces, I started to remember things that happened in them.
I shared one of my stories with my sister and she insisted that I write down my memories of childhood. Then came the idea that we all recreate the layout of the house we grew up in as we remember it. Then I suggested we all write down our recollections. Perhaps this will be a powerful means to make a solid family connection.
My family is separated in different states. The house we grew up in together unites us in deep ways. My sister plans to offer this idea to the rest of my brothers and sister soon.
In the meanwhile, I believe this idea has many merits for others to consider implementing.
As a means to connect with your family during this epidemic, I challenge you, as my sister challenged me, to recreate the floor plan of the place y’all grew up in. Compare notes and swap memories and be respectful. Who knows where that may lead?
This moment in time brings with it a change in all aspects of life as we have known it — from how we shop, to how we raise children, operate our businesses, teach and learn, nurture relationships, and more…
When you look back at how you navigated the challenges and uncertainties of this time, ask yourself…
Did you rise to become the best possible version of yourself? Were you acting in ways that contributed to the common good of your family, neighbors, colleagues, or community?
Did you make choices about how to creatively respond to the crisis and how to help others do the same?
Navigating the challenges brings with it a golden opportunity to make a shift in your lifestyle. It’s also an opportunity to become fully conscious of who we are, how we are living, and how we are all interconnected.
You can intentionally change the status quo by choosing to empower each other so that our communities and our world are flourishing long after this crisis has receded.
But in order to create this vision of our future, we need to accept that the solution will not arrive from the outside, but from our choosing to stand for what we know is right and good — compassion, altruism, social responsibility, Oneness, and love.
We need to make a change that will allow us to look back a year from now and say we chose humanity and our planet instead of operating in old, habitual ways (that have embraced greed, violence, and abuse) long negating our Oneness.
I have a tool to help you make the shift to consciously create a new version of our world by consciously stepping into becoming the best version of yourself and empowering others.
I have a coloring book that is more than a coloring book. Using the meaning of symbols, it’s a self-exploratory tool to comb through the issues in your life that have prevented you from showing up as your best self.
Much of the unconscious world is collapsing under its own weight.
Many forms of commerce are hitting full stop. Ships are idle. Planes are empty. Even automobiles are parked without riders.
As old establishments fail, this is making room for new institutions and ways of living that are more fruitful and productive.
There will be some rebuilding of the old norm but, in many cases, new organizations will offer something fresh, something new, something conscious.
Those of us on the conscious journey have been calling forth a new humanity and a new earth.
Could it be that we’ve found our moment in the midst of so much challenge and hardship?
How about you? What are you being called to at this time?
Those on the conscious journey are in touch with their soul’s calling. The calling is often tangible and persistent.
What are things you can do full-time or part-time to contribute to an awakened world?
We are in a season of sequestering. This is a perfect time to feel deeply into our personal calling.
We will only create a new humanity and a new earth if we each decide to play a role. A small percentage of the population can’t possibly shoulder this load. No leader on high is going to take us there.
Conversations with God says our invitation in life is to announce and declare, express and fulfill, become and experience Who You Really Are.
Could it be that we are at such a moment?
It depends on the decision you are making right now. Our individual decisions are a microcosm of what we are deciding collectively.
We are stretched but we are stretched in a good way.
So as we talk about rebuilding…
Let’s rebuild consciously and let’s create flourishing on every level: in our own lives, in our homes, in our communities, and in the world.
We can do this. So, let’s do this now and let’s do this together!
Admittedly, I don’t know much about ways to be sociable … but I know all about being alone.
Those for whom being alone is novel, I have some tried and true methods for coping. I work from home and have for many years. Often, it takes a lot of discipline to keep working, especially when I don’t feel like it. Those times I don’t want to force my creativity, I fall back on some activities that I will now share with you.
When you’ve exhausted everything you can think of, but are still feeling antsy, depressed, or generally out of sorts, think about doing some of the stuff on the list below. Here are 10 things you can accomplish now that you have the time.
Organize your Photographs. Whether physical or digital, sort through your shots and place them in folders. Delete duplicates or mistakes. Keep it’s nice to be able to locate photos when you want to without going through a ton of them to find the one you are looking for. Besides, this has the added benefit of reliving memories you are fond of.
Tend your Indoor Plants. You may have known for a while that this needs to be done, but didn’t quite have the time. Pick off the dried leaves. Add some new soil. Repot plants that have grown beyond the capacity of their container. (If you shop at Walmart for groceries, visit the garden section). Work on your outside garden plants too!
File your Papers. Now you have the time to go through your piles of papers. Widdle down that pile by going through them, consolidating them by subject. Papers could include the recipes you’ve collected, useful advice about health, how-to articles about other subjects, or letters you don’t want to throw away. After sorting, consolidate and find a nice place for them.
Clean out your Refrigerator (stove, range, microwave, or toaster oven). The necessary job of cleaning is always time-consuming, especially when it concerns large appliances. But guess what? You’ve now got the time for this chore. Thoroughly clean underneath the surfaces and where foodstuffs often fall.
Dust off your Books and Bookcases. This means taking them off each shelf to vacuum or swiffer the shelf as well as the tops of the books. Take this time to determine if you really need to keep the book(s) or pass them on.
Make some Bread by Scratch. Nothing is better than freshly baked bread. It’s especially great if you’ve never before done anything remotely like this. Now is a great time to experiment. There are plenty of how-tos on the internet. Who knows, you just might have a knack for this type of thing. And if it doesn’t quite work out, no one will know … plus, you can always eat the evidence.
Dust-Off that Project. Yikes, your project has been sitting around for a while, waiting for you to get back to it. When you started the project, you really liked how it made you feel, but somehow life got in the way. Now is your time to finally finish it.
Begin the First Chapter of Your Life Story. Come on, you’ve thought about writing one. Now’s your chance. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know anything about writing. Just start. Get some words down on paper (or word processor) and see how far it goes. If you start to lag, think about having to clean the grout from the shower tiles. That should be incentive enough to continue.
Go through Your Closet. Look, you have clothes you haven’t worn for years just sitting there, taking up gobs of space. Sort through them. And what’s that thing at the back of the closet in the corner? Weren’t you looking for that a while back? And are you saving those shoes that are too tight for when your feet get smaller?
Work on YourPersonal Growth. There’s no time like the present to comb out the emotional snarls in your life, those things that keep you from fully living the life you want. This doesn’t have to be hard. I have created a simple and easy means to help you work out. Check it out.
Hopefully, you’ve already found something out of the 10 activities listed above to help you with your alone-time during your quarantine. Not only will they focus your attention, but you will also feel a great sense of accomplishment.
PS- I want to add to the list: “Take care of a little kitten or puppy who needs your help” because that would be awesome.
Note: I do not have children, so I cannot easily advise those who do.
The start of a New Year always holds such great promise … being a completely blank slate — there are 366 days (leap year) to bring your dreams to life. Simply following through on your promises means becoming the best version of yourself. I have a great way to help you do this.
My contribution to 2020 is to live up to my full potential as a visionary artist who makes spiritual energy tangible.
I’m glad I realized I don’t need to keep my spiritual life assets and my artistic life separated in my head or in practice. (Although they’ve always worked together), I am honoring my gift by recognizing what a waste it would be if I don’t offer the fullness of who I am to those who can benefit!
Through my art, I offer to you—not only my heart—but the strength of who I am. Let the best version of me allow you to see and embody the best version of you.
That’s what I do. I shamelessly declare it.
Through my visionary art, I can help you remember who you are at a soul level. By using the images and symbols surrounding your higher self, I create an image of the best version of you. The resulting image is not something you strive for. It’s who you are already! Sometimes, when life gets in the way and you accept limiting definitions of yourself, you tend to forget your true essence.
The art is there as a reminder. You are greater than you know. It’s time for you to expand into your bigger role. As surely as it is time for me to expand in mine. I’m calling my art “sacred” as a way to differentiate it from the usual creative process.
When does art become sacred? Is it when the artist creates it with love and reverence? …or when the energy radiating from the art can be felt? …or when the colors, symbology, and geometry reinforce the potency of its meaning? …or when the intent of the artist is sacred? It’s all of them.
I’ve decided to devote my abilities to create Power Art for people on a path of personal and spiritual transformation. Folks involved with self-improvement seem to be the most open to the idea that art can also be a powerful means to connect in deeper ways to oneself.
My desire is to create life-affirming, uplifting and renewing art which draws its power from the archetypes and symbols being depicted. But the full energy remains passive until it is called forth. Then it acts like a portal into the energy of your soul’s power. You can tap into this undepletable energy anytime and give yourself a psychic energy boost.
If you are interested in having me create art of personal significance for you that resonates with your psyche, let me know of your interest. Add yourself to my new mailing list where I intend to share deeper insights about how art and spirituality meet.
The language of the unconscious uses symbols and colors as a part of its lexicon. The unconscious mind responds to colors emotionally. When you use color to consciously bridge communication with aspects of your self, it starts a conversation. Mindfulness coloring is being aware of your intent during the process while keeping your focus squarely within the moment.
There are no rights or wrongs. There are only feelings and experience. Whatever the outcome, in the simple process of coloring, different states-of-mind become accessed. [Tip: Simply switching the pencil to the less dominant hand in the coloring process will assure interesting adjustments.]
If I wanted to:
Bring more joy into my life, I would choose a yellow coloring pencil. I would either color my own Enneagram Type’s coloring page from “Dancing The Enneagram” with yellows and oranges, or I could color Type 7’s coloring page. I could also choose another page that has animals associated with happiness and joy, like the dolphins from the Peacemaker coloring page 18, shown above.
Here is a narrative demonstrating my mindfulness coloring.
To alleviate feelings of sadness, I would choose a palette of several colors and approach the coloring in stages, using the darkest first (dark blue, medium blue, turquoise, pink, yellow–with a surprise at the end). It’s important to develop a technique of using the side of a sharpened pencil to color a broad area and to lay down color with a light touch. The idea is to broadly go over the general area with the color, tracing the contours over and over again. The page gets darker with each subsequent pass as the color’s saturation builds up.
While your pencil is finding it’s path, it is imparting and picking up energy. Move your strokes to encompass more of the page. Give yourself permission to feel when you need to move on. Don’t get caught up in any desire to “finish” coloring any certain area. Leave it be for later, in a different coloring session. We are always a work in progress.
The point is, by first using light feathering strokes, you are able to layer two different colors together. Another reason you are using light strokes is because of the rhythm you create with the pencil strokes puts you in touch somatically with your deeper parts.
The beauty of the system I’m developing is that it by-passes the intellect. Having more to do with the intuition, there’s no need to process why, when, who, how–the only need is to watch the healing parts of yourself take over as you allow it. The healing works because we respond to symbols and colors on a deep, foundational level.
Acknowledge your sadness by choosing a dark blue colorpencil (like navy or even indigo). Find the Peacemaker coloring page (18) and just color bits of the background, because sadness is always in the background. Do not color the dark blue all over unless you are treading very lightly. There are many color blues in the ocean.
The waters of the ocean you are coloring represent your emotions. Consider the ocean as different shades of blue and in using different blues, you are honoring the depth and complexity of your feelings.
Now, choose a medium blue pencil and begin coloring next to the dark blue, gradating it out. Using a light touch, feather out the edges. Use the same technique with a turquoise pencil and continue coloring lightly where the medium blue left off and beyond.
Whatever recent issue prompted your coloring session, the blues represent your acknowledgment of your sadness. You have every right to feel what you feel. You honor the Truth of your feelings. The blues, quite literally, lighten up. Turquoise, with its bluish-green cast, introduces a hint of healing into the image as you color with the pure hue. Know that you won’t be blue forever.
Still using the turquoise, work your way up to the horizon. Using the lightest of strokes, concentrate on the sky closest to the water. Ascend your strokes, ever so subtly out of the water, out of the emotions, and up, into the horizon. Your pencil is till close to the water, (probably still wet 😉 However, now you have more perspective. Before you lies the expanse of the ocean, representing the innate wisdom of your Emotional Intelligence.
Now, you are free to pick up a non-blue color. Choose pink. Pink is white added to red. As a warm, active color, you are introducing quiet action. Continue to feather the pink over and quite beyond the boundary of the turquoise. Continue filling the sky with pink. Notice, what happens when the pink gets merged with the turquoise. Your eye blends the two to create another color. Behold–the result is a shade of purple. It’s magic! By yourself, you have introduced purple, the spiritual color of transformation!
Look! What a sunny day it is. Like you did with the pink color, take out a yellow pencil (confidence) and feather over the pink, making sure to preserve some of the pure pink hue (for the sake of aesthetics).
Notice a beautiful shade of peachy orange becomes created when the yellow rolls over the pink. Orange is known for its gentle, warming effect. Totally opposite Blue on the color wheel, orange is considered to be an antidepressant color, which exudes confidence and joy etc… FIN
Only when and if you feel confident enough, you can end the session by taking a purple colored pencil and going over some areas within the dark blue of the water. Symbolically, you’re adding the power of transformation into the waters of your deep emotions, making it easier to get out of a funk. The purple is an echo of the sky-color you created, literally adding a little bit of sky into the deepest parts of your sadness.
I hope this technique gives you a better idea about how to approach the act of coloring as a tool for transformation. The approach may be gentle and forgiving, but it’s surprisingly effective.
It happened again last night. I shared an artistic idea that was just in it’s beginning stages, still delicate and budding. I was hoping for a grand “go for it!” kind of response—something juicy and supportive that would inspire me to dive deeper into the project.
Well, that backfired. Instead, I received a critique of what was wrong with the idea. Instantly, my energy deflated. Now, it will take a concerted effort for me to muster enough “oomph” to just get to the headspace I was in before I opened my big mouth.
I recognize it as my fault. I broke my own first cardinal rule to NEVER reveal or talk about a project before it is completed. It’s far too likely to get the result I just mentioned. Do people think artists are unaware of our own artistic challenges? When an uninvited critic takes a behind-the-scenes look at the creative process, it seldom results in the artist becoming more inspired.
The second thing I’m wondering is why, oh why, do people feel the need to be critical when an artist freshly shares their work. We usually want kudos for our artistic effort, at least initially (btw–I’m not referring to gallery shows where this behavior is expected).
Also, in the case of delivering commissioned art, some business people must be under the impression that it is unprofessional to tell an artist you really like the result. Are they afraid the artist will charge more if compliments are freely given? I’m reminded of something my mother always said, “If you cannot say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” To receive no response to delivered artwork is also very disheartening for a sensitive artist. What they are not saying can be construed as the receiver’s disappointment
Well, last night, I was ornery enough to stop the conversation long enough to inquire of my friend if there was anything he liked about my share. He seemed puzzled until I explained that I only heard negative things … were there not also positive things to balance out the negative? There was, but the positive stuff didn’t seem to require mentioning. What? Then he became embarrassed that I called him out and he back-petalled, trying to defend his reaction.
Anyway… I want people to realize the etiquette: unless specifically asked to provide an artistic critique, keep your mouth shut. However well-meaning, it is just as rude to give unsolicited criticism as it is to give unsolicited advice. When artists are ready, they will ask for honest feedback, but until then, assume they want some feel-good energy for their efforts. Often, for me, this energy is just as important as money.
Yes, I recognize my true motive in sharing was to receive emotional and energetic support so I could continue my artistic exploration with a renewed sense of vigor. But even a simple request like this can also backfire. In the past, when I expressed wanting to receive only positive feedback about some artwork I had in progress, my husband would often say, “What? You don’t want me to be honest?”
Sigh. That disempowering response always stopped me in my tracks, leaving in its wake many unfinished artistic starts, abandoned as unworthy.
Today, I’m strong enough to have responded with, “No. I only want you to be supportive. My work is in a delicate (or difficult) stage at the moment and I really need some positive energy to get through this. Are you willing to kindly do me this favor?”