I’ve been battling a totally scary and wacky “drawing block” by channeling my energy into new creative endeavors and studio visits. And although my inner spark of all-day-all-night creativity is still going strong…. my paintings and drawings had been pushed to the side – that is, until my recent trip to Miami last week where I started drawing again and my own solo-creativity had some energy sparkle within it again. My friend Dana of DoTheHotpants.com and I haven’t ever traveled together but we decided a while back to take a self-love weekend trip to Miami where we focused on two things: SUN & NO BODY SHAMING. That meant… no negative speak towards ourselves or others, very little boozing it up, focusing on positivity & channeling any negativity into morning meditation. It was like a retreat for your insides! And these parameters set the stage for my illustrations to have more energy as well.
The trip started with a long one-way ticket straight to Miami. My flight was 5.5 hours and although I had brought a book to read, it was too early in the morning to be bothered with paying attention to anything with tiny print. I busted out my iPad and started drawing. My mind was a little frozen from not being in practice much lately. I didn’t know what I wanted to draw so I decided to just flow without pushing myself into one direction or another. It was the longest run I’ve ever drawn straight. The entire 5.5 hour flight was spent sipping crap coffee & doodling to create a drawing filled with flowers, symmetry and bright colors (<— that’s a video of me drawing in real-time, yo!).
The minute I got off the plane, color was surrounding me everywhere I went. I wonder now if I was just more aware of it after such a long run with the bright pinks and oranges of my drawing earlier in the day? Miami was deep in Spring Break craziness…. ladies were dressed to the nines & men were on the prowl. But the things that caught my attention the most centered around bright colors, art deco architecture and the amazing artwork surrounding us during the entirety of our trip.
Creativity in Miami is much more BOLD and bright than in San Francisco. There’s unapologetic vibrancy there & self awareness borderlines not giving zero fucks. My first afternoon was spent in Little Havana looking for a proper cuban coffee & then later in Brickell (Downtown Miami). The first clear distinction that I wasn’t anywhere near my city by the bay was the attitudes of those around me. Although the ‘tudes of Miamians was less warm than a San Franciscan… the artwork was large, bold and bright & the juxtaposition of the two things made complete sense. The side of one building in Brickell was covered in a moving light show of people dancing and it was easy to explore the city like you were traveling through a museum.
I’ve always found that I grow more as a little human when I’m traveling than I do when I’m in my beautiful city. Maybe because I’m more thirsty for new knowledge or because I’m wide-eyed and ready to learn new things more readily? Whatever it is… There was a shift within my trip to Miami that pulled me closer to my art than I had felt in over a year.
We stayed in South Beach – filled with snotty little spring breaker millennials & old peeps who clearly had too much sun – which made for prime people watching mixed with lots of neon high-tops which matched all of the signage & lighting. The buildings were covered in a pastel glow and the art deco architecture allowed you to feel that this neighborhood had some serious history.
The true star of the South Beach show was the ocean and beach that took up the entire eastern side of this island. Going to the beach ain’t no thang in South Beach and therefore, there wasn’t mush oogling when women frolicked around in a bikini on the sand. Tho I may have blinded a few people with my ethereal skin, no one thought twice as we sat down & took in the glow of the burning sun. My future 80 year old self will be proud that I got myself into a bikini (outside of when I do that in Montana when we water ski) & I happily splashed in the warm Atlantic ocean like a land-mermaid.
I’d go home at the end of the day and find myself drawing and exploring new hand-lettering techniques on my iPad each day while we shifted from one activity to another. Almost like drawing meditation, I’d bliss out while adding more color and layers into my drawings. I was clearly influenced by the neon and pastels around me for this drawing I did for dothehotpants.com
PART TWO of this blog will come later in the week when I talk about the most inspiring place I’ve been to in the last 5+ years & let you in on a little secret: I have a favorite shape! Which came to play about 10,000+ times during my trip to Miami. Other things to note: This post is musically paired with “Ways to Go” as well as “Tesselate” (hint hint, my favorite shape).