15 January 2015

A Fresh Start & Pointing Toward North

Wow! Time flies. I still am adjusting to 2015.
Between my day-job and the myriad activities that seem to happen every autumn, I had no energy to update this blog for quite a long while. If you are curious about what art I was creating in the past few months, check with me at the ~runningwave~ Instagram feed.

Over the winter holidays, I worked on a new, exciting piece of art for Jill K. Berry's Map 2015 Challenge.  Here's a sneak peek; more later:
A small glimpse of my 2015 Map Challenge artwork

I finally stood up to all of the voices in my head that told me I can never be a cartographer, and made my own hand-drawn and painted map. I used this as an opportunity to test the skills I have been honing. I had been refining both watercolor and ink techniques last year.

As my new horizon stretches out ahead, I am finally beginning to see myself as a pen-and-ink, or draftsman, sort of artist. My art always tended to focus on color and three-dimensional art, but in the past year I have become more comfortable drawing on flat papers.

This map helped me to realize that. All the more so, because I was able to finish it in my parent's studio while I was spending an afternoon with my father. Their studio is always been a place of "serious art" in my world. To spend the day painting and drawing there was a real treat. Something that I had not done since childhood.

The Travels of runningwave 2015, watercolor and pen, 8" x 5.5" inches

This map is a mind-map of sorts, following the trail of where I've been in my inner life and of where I hope to go throughout 2015.  I am intentionally cryptic in naming my places on the map. I hope the map is a beautiful graphic work of art for the viewer, but the landmarks mean something symbolic to me.

I am aiming towards something that The Artist's Way author, Julia Cameron, calls "finding your True North." By "True North," I think she means that locating that direction within yourself that points to your dream, what you really want to accomplish in your life.

The Compass Rose
Here are some more details and a couple of work-in-progress views of my 2015 map.

Eidolon Mountains and village of Vacilla, in progress. No text yet.
I don't know anyone who progresses through life in a straight line. All travels have crossroads. Some paths are better than others for safely arriving at your destination.  Given that water and waves have so much meaning for me, it is only natural that my trek follows the course of a mountain stream, over a bridge and along a river that widens as it reaches a forest and plain.

Detail, Sailing from the metropolis of Kaleidos.
I took the name from "kaleidoscope," from the Greek, beautiful + form
I happen to find the shapes of islands on maps pleasing, so I felt like coming to the great city was a good place to launch out into the waves by sail.   The Isle of Gracia took its name from "Gratitude," a state which I am actively trying to cultivate.

Detail featuring Isle of Gracia, representing one my goals

2015 is going to be -- I hope -- a different kind of year for me creatively. I am starting from the get-go by participating in a community called Year of the Spark! mentored by two amazing artists: Carla Sonheim and Lynn Whipple.

I will be sharing more of my discoveries and work created for that community later.

Thank you for viewing. I welcome and encourage comments.


  1. Welcome back, Maria! I think your map is beautiful and I love that the place names are rather cryptic, significant only to you. Since I know some of your art journey from last year I loved seeing your work on flat papers. I also love your Zentangle inspired "2015" that is at the top of this post. Looking forward to making more art together this year.

    1. I'm always up for another art adventure, Maryanne. I've enjoyed sharing the journey with you.

  2. So very wonderful, Maria!
    Love your reference to Julia Cameron's "finding your True North!"

  3. Totally awesome map, Maria. A success all around. :-)

  4. I think your map is awesome. Of course you can be a cartographer! It doesn't have to be your profession for you to be one.

    I did wonder if Kaleidos was based on kaleidoscope :) Aside from the literal meaning from Greek, you can also see kaleidoscopes as agents for ever-changing, evolving art. Eh? Ehh? Wink, wink, nudge, nudge! ;)

    I love the zentangled 2015, too!

    1. Yes. You sussed out the meaning of Kaleidos, Ms. Pokkit. I was thinking literally of the Greek roots "beautiful" + "form," but it's also very relevant that the image shimmers and moves, evolves, as you put it nicely.