Posts Tagged 'drawing'

The Return


It’s been a long time since I’ve really written a post here on this blog—the kind of post I used to write here: posts about livingĀ a creative life and all of the day-to-day realities of being a human. I’ve been posting my Sky Poems off and on, but they focus more on universal experience. Lately I realize that I feel less alone when I hear the nitty-gritty truth about other people’s lives, and I feel more true to myself when I’m honest about my life in return. So here I am with some truth about where I’m at right now, which is also a bit of a behind-the-scenes explanation of what’s happened on this blog.

A couple of years ago, I came to a crossroads in my art life at which time I chose to close down my art shop and stop doing the business aspects of my art. At the time I said that I was just stopping the business because I wanted to focus on the art, and while that may have sort of been true, the full truth was that I had started to let outward validation (and confusion about my worth based on that validation) get the better of me, and I could not understand what to do but withdraw. I did continue doing some art and writing, but I felt so lost that really I stepped off the path I was on. After several years of feeling clear that my creative work was my life’s work, I didn’t feel clear anymore. I shifted my focus to other things: day jobs, making and saving money, pursuing some other things I care about, like library work. Other big things happened too: I had a baby 8 months ago, and most recently my little family moved from Boulder, Colorado (U.S.A.) to Zurich, Switzerland (my husband got an 18 month job here as a science researcher).

We’ve been in Switzerland for the past 4 months, and this move and going from working two jobs to being a stay-at-home mom has shaken things up in my head. I find myself thinking a lot about what I want my life to be about. This inevitably brings up thoughts about all of the creative adventures I’ve been on and how, when I was really doing this creative work, I felt complete alignment between my inner and outer life. This work felt like the complete manifestation of me, or some sort of big time play. It felt like laughing—that honest, that full of deep belly living. And I miss that.

You may say, but what about your Sky Poems? And you would be right to say that. The Sky Poems are a part of that same energy and play. But it feels like I have been holding back. I have been living as a trickle when there is a rushing river or an ocean just under the surface.

I don’t know what these realizations really mean, how they will manifest themselves in my life. And I have learned again and again that it’s silly for me to make promises in terms of creative output because I am not in control of what comes and how things happen. And that is one of the things I love about creativity—the mystery. I also love the possibility and the expanse: put your faith in creativity, believe in it, surrender to it, and you never know what roaring wildness will come. I have missed living from that place. I hope to be able to find my way back there and begin to share that rediscovery here in this space once again.

Thank you to all of you who have continued to follow along in my adventures for all of these years, and thanks to anyone new happening by for taking a peek. I hope you’ll come back and see what develops and use whatever you see here to light a new fire in you.

Lastly, I would like to say that I am reopening comments on this blog. A while ago I closed comments in order to help myself detach from needing feedback. But now I realize that was largely part of my instinct to withdraw. So, I am reopening comments, which means : comment, don’t comment. Whatever strikes your fancy. Have a wild, wonder-filled creative day!


Everything Flows

{This is a drawing I made a while ago that seemed particularly perfect for this post. It’s called “Like a River”}

If there’s one thing that’s true in life, it is that everything changes. Everything flows, moves, and transforms, always. We know this inherently; we start out in our mother’s stomachs as just a bunch of cells dividing, and then we become a baby, and then a toddler. And we grow every year, change every year. Even when we’re adults and the change is not quite as apparent, we are changing every minute. And yet, why is it still so surprising sometimes?

I’ve been thinking a lot about my creative life lately. Really when have I not, but this past several months have been different. The artist’s life that I thought was my bedrock has turned out to be just as changeable as everything else. This has surprised me more than I can say. I sometimes wonder if this is a cosmic lesson—life is trying to teach me that nothing is solid, there’s nothing to hold onto. It is a hard lesson to learn when it messes with something so dear. And perhaps that’s the only way we will ever learn the most important lessons—to have the most seemingly solid thing in our lives be uprooted and shaken into the high winds.

And when this happens, it becomes clear how much we have been identifying ourselves by the thing that we were holding onto so tightly. For the past 5 years I have been “artist.” I liked the sound of it. I liked knowing who I was. Even on a bad day, I could come back to this definition and feel solace in it.

What happens when you’re not sure if that’s really who you are anymore? That thing that you’ve defined yourself by for so long.

It hurts is what happens. And it’s scary. Right now I’m scared because I’m not sure what it all means. And I’m sad because I’m afraid of losing this thing that I have loved.

I’m still making things; I draw, I write, I take pictures. I sit at my art desk with all of my artist things around me. I am not throwing away my pens or deleting all of the scans of my drawings. But something has changed, and I just don’t know where I’m headed now.

As true as it is that everything changes, I also do believe that everything flows where it needs to flow. This does not make it any easier, or less sad or scary. But it does give me some hope.

Five years ago, I could never have guessed where I would come through with my art because it has been such a flow. Such a rollicking stream flowing into all of the corners, sharp and smooth, that I would never have seen if I hadn’t gone along for the ride. I am so thankful for that. Deeply thankful.

And now I have to trust that wherever I am going next will be just as natural and beautiful and wild as this ride has been so far, whether there’s more art in it or not. If I can trust that and flow with it, there will be no other place to go but into the wide stream of a full adventurous life. And hasn’t that been the point all along?

Leafy Generosity

A new drawing today inspired by my little tomato seedlings that are making their way in the sun on my art desk:

“Leafy Generosity,” 8 x 10 inches, pen and ink, prints available in my shop

Wide Heart : : A New Art Print!

“Wide Heart,” 8 x 10 inches, pen and ink and watercolor, available in my shop

This is a print about something I’ve been practicing much lately, or trying to practice: letting go. Oh, my heart wants so much to be wide open and let life take me where it wants me to go, and making this print helped just a little bit. I hope it helps you too!

Here We All Are on This Roller Coaster Together

I recently finished reading the book The Great Failure by Natalie Goldberg. The book, as the title suggests, is all about failure; Goldberg’s failures, and the failures of the two most important men in her life (her father and her Zen teacher). Near the end of the book I came across one part that really struck me:

“After I die . . . I wouldn’t want people to say of me only ‘She was a great teacher’ or ‘I loved her writing.’ I would like at least one person to come closer, to add, ‘She was also lonely, she suffered a lot. She was mixed up. She made some big mistakes.’ Then tell those mistakes and sum up: ‘But she was important to me.’ Then I would feel really honored, as though someone had seen and known me” (Goldberg, The Great Failure, p. 190-191).

I loved this firstly because it’s always encouraging to realize that someone whose work you admire is also going through the same struggles. We all are. We can get delusional and imagine that other people (especially people who’ve achieved much outward success) are perfectly aligned and happy and going somewhere smart. But they’re just like the rest of us; they have the same jumble of clear transcendent days, heart-crushing dark days, and in-between hi-ho-type days.

I forget this constantly. What is it about suffering that can feel so lonely? No matter how many friends you have, there’s still the feeling that you have to get through it on your own. And on a certain level—you do—no one else can live your life for you. But to realize that we’re all walking along side-by-side, that someone else somewhere is going through this too—or has made it through and lived to tell about it—that really lightens things up.

Reading this also made me feel relieved—it’s OK to be mixed up and suffering! It’s OK to feel lonely and make mistakes! Sometimes I try so hard to run the other way, I want so badly to stop suffering, to never make another mistake. But that’s not how life is, and it’s OK. In fact, maybe it’s even a little bit beautiful that we will always be a big mess; a jumble of feelings and thoughts and changing moods. Maybe the real beauty of life is not in finding the straight and narrow {the even path} but instead in riding the roller coaster, hands in the air—crazy, wild, beautiful, messy, wet ride that it is.

So here we all are at the amusement park, riding the rides and eating too much cotton candy. That’s life. And wouldn’t you love to be able to look back and see that you let it take you for a ride, instead of trying to have the whole thing on lock-down? Think about how many adventures you would miss if you kept trying to hold on with a death-grip. Let us all take a minute to loosen our hands and let it take us. This magical, unpredictable, joyful, painful, messy, flowing life.

Feeling the Warmth

I have been struggling with a lot of doubt and confusion over the past 3 months. If you read my blog regularly, you may have noticed: I haven’t been posting so much lately. I have taken a big step back from my art business as I try and understand what’s going on. I have had many ups and downs over the past four years of making art and running a creative business, but never during that time have I had such a long period without creative direction. I’ll be honest: it’s been very scary at times. I put my art shop on a break for a while and wondered if I would ever reopen it. I have spent a lot of time asking the question: Is this it? Is this the end of me selling art? I knew I would never turn away from art-making, I love it too much, but selling art and art as a business, maybe this was the end.

Then a couple of days ago after a series of circumstances came up, I reopened my shop on a whim. Right after I reopened it, I visited my shop to make sure everything was up and working. Immediately when I opened the page, I felt this surge of warmth. It was like returning to a warm sunny room I used to love and spend a lot of time in. I felt a simple joy I haven’t felt about many things recently. In a flash I remembered how it felt to make all of the pieces of artwork—like laughing, like playing, and often like being a lightening rod for something bigger than myself. It sounds so cliche, but when I’ve made most of my word drawings, it has felt like the words came flying in from somewhere else {maybe on the wind} and they opened me up.

Then shortly after I reopened my shop, I got an order for a print. Today when I was walking to the post office to put it in the mail, I laughed out loud when I thought more about the specific print that had been ordered. This first print I sold after reopening my shop was the print above: “Get Back on the Horse.”

I wondered, “Is this just a coincidence that out of the 100 items in my shop, this is the first thing I sell after reopening my shop?” Perhaps it is just a coincidence, but it warmed me again and I felt happy.

I still don’t know where I’m headed, or what even next week holds for me. Part of me thinks that this whole experience is happening to teach me a big lesson in accepting the unknown and how to stop trying to control everything. I can feel that I still have a ways to go here, that I’m meant to sit in the unknown for a while longer. And also, after such a big rift in my life, I know that nothing will ever be the same {not my art, not my work-life, not my heart or mind or way of being}. And this is a good thing—even though it’s scary. This is what it takes to expand.

What I have learned most from this most recent part of the lesson is this: feel the warmth. There are certain parts of everyone’s life that open up with simple warmth. Those moments when we feel a surge of simple joy. Art has always opened up that feeling for me, that’s why I’ve kept drawing and making even through the past three months, if only just by spending a few minutes drawing each day.

I think if you want to live your life guided by more than just your logical brain, the best thing to do is feel the warmth, bask in it, and follow it where it will take you. Sometimes it might be hard to make out where it might lead, but you can’t go wrong if you’re feeling the warmth.

Here’s to all of us having the presence and courage to feel the warmth and follow it into the unknown. I wish you so well!

12. When All Else Fails {a dozen thoughts on living}

This is the twelfth {and final!} post in a series I’ve been doing called A Dozen Thoughts on Living. Enjoy!

Hello there! My name is Nicole K. Docimo, and I am an artist and writer from the U.S.A. but currently residing in Zurich, Switzerand. Thank you for visiting my blog!

Some Thoughts

"Be thirsty for the ultimate water,
and then be ready for what will
come pouring from the spring."

{from "Joy at Sudden Disappointment"
translated by C. Barks.}

~This Work ~

Unless otherwise noted, all images and writings on this blog were created by me, Nicole K. Docimo aka Blue Bicicletta. If you would like to share anything you see here for inspirational purposes online, I just ask that you kindly let folks know where you found it. If you are wanting to share/reproduce any of my work in any other way, or have any questions about how you will be sharing the work in relation to copyright, please contact me directly at nkdocimo {at} gmail {dot} com. Thanks!

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