Posts Tagged 'painting'

The Return

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!

Don’t Know Mind

{I’ve been playing around with a some little paintings and this here is one}

I just finished reading a wonderful book called The Wise Heart: A guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist Psychology by Jack Kornfield. I’ve long been interested in both Psychology and Buddhism, so this book really hits it for me. I read another book by Kornfield some time ago, and it really cut through to me, so it wasn’t an accident that I turned to him again. He has a kind, gentle, and deeply insightful way of talking about the struggle of life and how we can see out of it.

Towards the end of the book, Kornfield talks about a concept called “Don’t-Know Mind.” It means exactly what it sounds like—a mindset where you realize you don’t know how things will turn out, and that’s OK. Kornfield presents it as a meditation exercise. Here’s an excerpt:

“Sit quietly and easily. Focus on your breath or body. When you feel settled, bring to mind a time ten years ahead. Recognize that you don’t know what will happen then. Feel the not knowing and relax with it. Think of the earth spinning through space with hundreds of thousands of people being born and dying every day. Where does each life come from? How did it start? What changes are ahead for us? There are so many things we don’t know. Feel the truth of don’t-know mind, relax, and become comfortable with it.

Now bring to mind a conflict, inner or outer. Be aware of all the thoughts and opinions you have about how things should be, about how other people should be. Now recognize that you don’t really know. Maybe the wrong thing will lead to something better. You don’t know.

Consider how it would be to approach yourself, the situation, the other people with don’t-know mind. Don’t know. Not sure. No fixed opinion. Allow yourself to want to understand anew. Approach it with don’t-know mind, with openness.”

(Kornfield, The Wise Heart, p. 381)

Since the beginning of this year, I’ve been struggling with much uncertainty, and this idea of Don’t-Know Mind really struck a chord with me. I notice how often I get so focused on trying to control situations, and this causes me nothing but suffering. Don’t-know mind is the key to freedom from this struggle. Since I read the passage above, I’ve been imagining this shift often and seeing how Don’t-Know Mind is a very expansive and calm mind to live in. It’s the mind of letting go—of doing what you can and then letting the outcome be what it is.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to live in a mindset where you are free to let things happen as they may? Just do your own work and then be completely open to what happens? If you too struggle with uncertainty, I hope this idea helps you as much as it has helped me! Thank you Jack Kornfield for your deep ideas and insights!

Happy wonder-filled peaceful day to you!

New Art Inspired by the Mountains

You may have noticed that I’ve been taking an unofficial break from regular blogging. It’s just one of those times for me when I need to ponder what I’m doing. Luckily, this slowdown in blogging has not meant a slowdown in art making! I’ve been drawing and drawing and drawing some more as I’ve been working on some different illustration projects, and I’ve been doing some painting too . . .

I was playing around with some triangles and watercolors one day, and I stumbled upon a mountainesque scene. As often happens, I had no intention to draw mountains and lakes, but then they happened. It is not completely surprising—I’ve been on some amazing mountain hikes lately and I was very happy to find this nature scene on my paper.

“Long Lake,” 5 x 7 inches, pen and watercolor, prints available in my shop

My husband and I went for an overnight backpacking trip up into the high mountains last weekend and we camped just next to a beautiful mountain lake with a cirque of mountains just beyond. It was spectacular! Once I found the first mountain painting/drawing, I knew I had to make a Cirque, and so it is:

“Cirque,” 5 x 7 inches, pen and watercolor, prints available in my shop

I have a deep love for water, and a special fondness for wild mountain lakes. I love to sit on a sunny rock and watch the water glistening and listen to the wind blowing. This Big Lake below is one from my dreams—I would like to find a perch nearby and watch the shifting waters.

“The Big Lake,” 5 x 7 inches, pen and watercolor, prints available in my shop

I hope you’re having a wonder-filled first days of September! I’m so excited for my first fall in Boulder {fall being my favorite season and now living in an area full of wild places to appreciate it}. Thanks for visiting and seeing what I’m up to! I hope you are so well!

Isn’t This Supposed to be an Art Blog?

Did you know that it’s been almost a month since I’ve posted a single piece of art on this here supposed art blog!!??? Well, I couldn’t let that go on for much longer, not to mention the fact that I begin to feel a bit edgy if I haven’t made any art in a few weeks. So, here it goes—my first piece of art from Colorado!

“One Day at a Time,” 5 x 7 inches, pen and watercolor, prints available here in my shop {I enjoyed working with my watercolored letters so much back in May, I’ve decided to make more drawings this way!}

As always, much of my art comes from what I’m going through right now in my life, and this illustration is no exception. I always have trouble getting going again after a break, and so my big move to Colorado really set me adrift. Here I am in a new city in a new state, and an entirely new situation: since my husband got a new higher paying job (the reason we moved), I have a little bit more financial flexibility and am not in a rush to get a part-time side job.

So, it’s just me and art, at least for the next couple of months {at the end of which time we will assess our family finances and see where things are with my art business and decide whether or not I can continue doing art full-time}. While this is a lovely lovely gift, it is also very scary—I’m constantly assessing how to approach this new opportunity, and wondering what I can do differently this time around, since my last short try at making my full income from art didn’t work out as I hoped.

The answer I always come up with about art, and pretty much everything else, is: take it one day at a time. I have come to believe that the only way you can create a really beautiful unique life is to learn to live this way. It’s so easy to panic, to try to plan every second, to try to think your way out of failure, but all you can do is live your life one day at a time, one moment at a time, and do the best you can by making choices that feel good to you. And so it is with this drawing that I remind myself {and anyone else out there who needs to hear it} to put one foot in front of the other, and trust that you will get where you get, and no matter where it is, it will be just right.

Happy day to you!

Get Back on the Horse : : a new drawing, with color!

I’ve been thinking a lot about my art business lately, and how I’ve somewhat fallen off the horse as far as the business side of things go {you know, marketing, trying to grow my business, etc}. I think I’ve gotten jaded, or stuck, or a little lost, and my impending move to Colorado is making me think a lot about what my next steps will be.

Then yesterday I read this lovely post by Susannah, inspired by her nephew who is learning to walk. She writes (and shows in the cutest video) how he keeps falling down, but then he just laughs and gets back up again. This reminded me of just how important it is to do this—to keep getting back on the horse, keep laughing and trying again. And so, this drawing was born from this idea and also the fact that I drew a horse in my sketchbook some months ago and she was just dying to jump into a drawing.

You know I love black and white, but once I had put down the pen drawing it just needed something else. I instantly thought: blue {I am the blue bicicletta after all} so I pulled out my watercolors and went for it. I hope you enjoy it, and I hope it inspires you {whenever you may need it} to get back on that horse. I’m looking forward to hanging this one above my desk in my next home to remind me to keep on getting back up no matter how many times I may fall.

“Get Back on the Horse,” 8 x 10 inches, pen and ink & watercolor. Prints available here in my shop.

Another Color Experiment: Blue Pinwheels

Here’s another experiment in color and black ink—I’m calling it “Blue Pinwheels” for obvious reasons.

I started thinking about how many beginning painting students have to take a color theory class where they paint endless color wheels to learn how to mix colors. I never went through that rigorous study {and I think I probably would have spent long nights banging my head against my paint box if I did}, but perhaps these pinwheels are my own lighter version of them. Really, I was just messing around, and pinwheels are made up of triangles—and you know how I love triangles {and the color blue}.

And to be honest, I can’t imagine {in all kindness} forcing myself to got through every color in the color wheel with a new set of pinwheels. So in the end, perhaps this really is nothing like doing color wheels! I’m just playing {as always}.

Happy fancy-free playing to you!

A Tall Skinny Font and My Favorite Color in the World

So, the key word for me this month is play, and so I have been playing around with a new hand-drawn font:

I have been seeing versions of a font like this around in the “Indie Movement” for a while now, but I was specifically inspired by a tutorial I saw in Sunset magazine created by Yellow Owl Workshop. I have seen Yellow Owl Workshop’s work several times on the Internets—there’s something about their work that really attracts me. So, I was not surprised when I was lead there once again through this page I ripped out of Sunset. Isn’t it funny how that happens? A certain style calls you and you keep finding your way back to the same artists again and again! This font is so much fun to play with and I’ve been using it every chance I get. You will most definitely be seeing it show up here again.

On a second note, since I’ve been playing with paint a little this last week, I thought I would share with you:


I was painting in blue yesterday and found myself {by no surprise really} mixing up this color. I’m not sure how faithfully it is represented on your computer monitor, but my favorite color in the world is a soft blue with a hint of gray—it reminds me of the sea, and I find the color to be so peaceful. I have many memories of looking out on a shade of this color when visiting the north coast of California. One day I dream of having an art studio painted this color.

Happy wide blue day!


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."
~Rumi

{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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