Saturday, May 31, 2014

Haiku Day 3: Karaoke

love me like a man
at drunken karaoke
also sang Adele

"Billie in the Studio" ©Tabetha Hastings

I would absolutely love it if you would haiku with me! Simply create a little haiku. Three lines: the first and last have 5 syllables each, and the middle one has 7.

Post below in the comments, or on my facebook page at

Haiku Day 2: Shelter From the Storm

it pours in my world
I seek shelter in your arms
save me from the rain

After The Rain  Oil on Canvas ©Tabetha Hastings

Haiku with me! Simply post a haiku to the comments below. You could even take mine and build on it. No hard and fast rules here. I'm sticking to the 5-7-5 format. First and third lines have 5 syllables, and the second has seven.
Come on, it'll be fun!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Daily Haiku Day 1: Words Are Confusing

Pear Tree ©Tabetha Hastings
It's been nearly two weeks since I finished my Happiness Project. I've been reflecting on all of the changes that have occurred in my life since starting the project in early February. They've mostly been interior shifts - I've found I'm much more open to change and new situations and possibilities in my life.

Added to my 100 happy days was the fact that I started a new Artist's Way class 60 days or so into the project. This means that in addition to finding something that made me happy every day, I've been doing a lot of work on myself. I've done the Artist's Way several times before, but there is always more to learn about oneself. And, people are like onions; peel back a layer and there are just more layers waiting.

All I can say is that there have been definite changes in me, and the people around have seen it, too. It's a good thing.

So, in the spirit of keeping up with my daily blogging (which also has helped me grow), I've decided start a new project each month. 100 days was a very long time for the happiness project, but I think one month will be a nice amount of time. So perhaps one month I'll blog each day about what I'm grateful for (I think that will be powerful), and another month I'll do yoga each day.
I'm open to ideas for monthly projects... please comment below if you've got any great ideas.

This time around I want to exercise my creative muscle in a way that I don't normally (I call this artistic cross-training). So for the next 32 days, I will bring you a haiku a day. (I've been all about the haiku lately. Don't ask me why...)

Today's haiku, inspired by a trip to the Botanic Gardens:
sitting near bamboo
aromas or a romance
words are confusing

Here's an idea: why don't you haiku with me? Simply post a haiku to the comments below. You could even take mine and build on it. No hard and fast rules here. I'm sticking to the 5-7-5 format. First and third lines have 5 syllables, and the second has seven. 
Come on, it'll be fun!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Joni Mitchell Both Sides Now, Nowadays

Joni Mitchell is my hero. Or my shero, as the case may be. She is an incredibly creative person, and considers herself a painter before a singer or a songwriter. And of course that's something that I can really appreciate.
I think that part of the reason I love her songs so much is that they are so visual lyrically. They are rich, vibrant and emotive. I can see them playing out in my head when she sings.
"Moons and Junes and ferris wheels
the dizzy dancing way you feel
as every fairytale comes real..."
Those words put me right there in the song.

This version of Both Sides Now is just incredible. She recorded it years after the original and her voice is much richer, and you really beleive that she knows what she's talking about more than ever.

I was reminded of the revisited version of Both Sides Now when I watched a tribute concert from 2000, today. There were some pretty good performances of other artists covering Joni's songs, but she stole the show when she closed it with this poignant version of Both Sides Now. Incredible. Just another example of how we only get deeper and fuller and richer as we get older.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Painting Final Layer of Highlights and Shadows: Video

It's been kind of strange not blogging for a few days after blogging for 100 days in a row. But I'm back! This time with a little video of me (or my hand) working on the final layer of my painting "Standing Alone".

The bulk of the painting is done, I was just touching up some highlights and shadows on the branches. Not the best painting video ever to exist, but not too bad for my first attempt.

I must say: holding an iPhone in one hand and painting with the other is a bit of a challenge. What I really need is a Google Glass. I'd make good use of that thing! Anyone want to buy me a pair? Anyone...?

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Happiness Project Day 100: I'm Done!!

Celebrating Day 100 with a glass of wine!
It may sound a bit like a cop-out to have today's happy thing be the fact that I'm finished with this project, but really... it made me happy to think about it today!

It has been quite the adventure, and the fact that I stuck with it (or anything for that matter) for 100 days is astounding.

I would definitely recommend it to... well to anyone and everyone, really. But particularly to anyone who is going through a rough patch. This project pulled me out of a depression. Some days were harder than others, but the fact that I had to look for something to be happy about made me appreciate the little things that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. Some days I had to make something happy happen. Sometimes that meant taking a walk, or even searching for a song that I like.

As good as this has been, I'm happy to move on to the next thing. And of course, I'll keep looking for things that make me happy. I've regained my footing, and focusing on happy things is again second nature for me.

And now, here is Tina Turner singing a Joni Mitchell song with Herbie Hancock. Fantastic.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Happiness Project Day 99:Being In The Moment Even In Rush Hour Traffic

Crosstown Traffic ©Tabetha Hastings
It is really nice to see how far I've come.

I was running late today - a common occurrence in my world - but today was ridiculous. I live 10 minutes from my studio (in rush hour traffic) but I had to go across town to get supplies before my 6:30 class. It was so late by the time I left my apartment that I thought I'd be lucky if students weren't waiting for me. (Forget about time to set up for the class.)

But despite all of that, I remained calm for the entire drive. I did not beat myself up for leaving so late, nor did I scream at other drivers. I was able to remain present and enjoy the drive. The trees were lovely in the late afternoon sun. (Sorry no tree pics, but I was driving, after all.)

That is progress, and progress makes me happy.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Women's Health and Body Image

"Ignorance Is Bliss" ©Tabetha Hastings
I did not wake up in the best possible way this morning. Before I even opened my eyes I realized I had a headache. I thought I'd distract myself with some Facebook and perhaps the headache would leave, but... no.

The news on my Facebook feed was not good: one friend (yet another friend) was just diagnosed with cancer, and another needs an operation. Another was in chronic pain, and there were others in various states of physical and mental anguish.

Bad news everywhere. I laid there wondering what to say to these people. How could I find the words to soothe them? And, of course, it brings up my own fears about illness.

If you're like me and believe in the Law of Attraction, you know how I felt at that moment, focusing on the negative; it's bad enough to attract what you don't want by focusing on it, but it's doubly bad if you know you're doing it. It made me want to quit Facebook and put my head in the sand just so I could feel okay. If I don't know about it it doesn't exist, right? 

Of course I'm not going to isolate to escape the bad news of friends. This is life on planet Earth, and bad things do happen to good people. Besides, if you isolate from the bad news, you isolate from the good news as well. The key to riding out the storm and being able to support others is setting my own tone. Finding my balance and my connection to source before even attempting to anything to my friends who are hurting.

So instead of focusing on the negative, I laid there thought my way to a somewhat better feeling place. (Ask if you'd like to know how I do that.)

Then I got out of bed, and immediately had negative thoughts about my body. My knee hurt, my body was stiff and all I could think was how I wanted to lose my huge thighs.

I limped my way to my desk on my poor knee, and sat down to Facebook again.
Miraculously, a video about loving your body came across my feed. In the early part of the video, women were asked to describe their bodies with one word. They said things like wobbly, ugly, disgusting... horrible things. I was shocked at how extreme the words were, but not surprised that's what they thought. I know very few women who love the way their bodies look.
Myself, I've been working on clearing the negative self-talk for some time. It's there, but not nearly as severe as these women (huge thighs, anyone?). I would hope that if asked to describe my body in a word I would say strong, resilient, lush, voluptuous or healthy.
On a good day I would.

The question I have is: How can you hate your body?? Your body is where you live. It's how you move through this world. I may not love the way my body looks all the time, but I love my body, and I love what it can do, and those are important distinctions to make.

Watching the video, I couldn't help think that there is a correlation between hating one's body and disease. I'm certainly not saying that everyone who is sick started out by hating their body, but given how rampant body hatred and disease both are, there might be a connection.

What would happen if we truly loved and appreciated our bodies? Would our beautiful cells respond with perfect health? If not, what's the worse thing that would happen? We'd be happier. And the advertisers, cosmetic companies, plastic surgeons and anyone else who tries to make us feel like we're not good enough - would be a little bit less wealthy.

So, my challenge to all women, is to love your bodies. Even if you think that I'm crazy and there is no correlation between health and body image... love your body anyway. Love your body because it feels better to love your body. Love your body because you deserve to love your body.

The first step to that is accepting your body. It's hard, but you can do it. Realize that body hatred is probably a deeper issue than just hating the way you look. There are other issues that need to be addressed, and only you know what they are. When you're ready, you will address them, work through them and move forward.

Watch the video here - this woman lost weight, became a body builder, and still suffered from the same issues as before. We've got to deal with our issues ladies. We've got to own our shit.

There is a ton of information out there on this topic, and I'm no expert. I'm only going from my experience, and the following things have really helped me:

  • First of all, listen to your self-talk. What are you saying about your body, about your abilities? What are you saying about yourself? Catch yourself when you say something bad and ask would my best friend say that to me? (If the answer is yes, then you need a new best friend!)
  • Some other things to feel better: 
  • Focus on what your body can do, not what it looks like.
  • Focus on what you body can do, not it's limitations.
  • Turn your negatives into positives. For example, you could say: 
  • My thighs are big, but they make a great lap for a cat/dog/kid.
  • My feet are wide, but I stand firm on the ground. And they get me to where I need to go.
  • My arms may be not be toned, but they give great hugs. 

Why are you talking trash about a body that serves you so well? What would you do without your arms? What would I do if I actually lost my huge thighs? Because you know what? I don't really want to lose my thighs, I just want to lose some of the fat. My thighs are great. They are key part of my mobility and I'd like to keep them, thank you very much.

Bottom line: appreciate your body, it's the only one you've got. 
And just maybe if you learn to love and appreciate it, your body will be healthier for it.

A note to anyone who reads this and is thinks just get your fat ass to the gym
Okay, there's a thought. But it would be a HELL of a lot easier to get to the gym when you're feeling better about your body. You're not going to work out if you feel like the entire gym is judging you. And yes, people may judge, but we tend to judge ourselves more harshly. If we can accept ourselves as we are, we might not worry about people at the gym, which would make it easier to go.
Also, this body image issue does not only affect women who are out of shape. Women who are hitting the gym may just be going through it too.
Self love is the key.

Happiness Project Day 98: Artistic Breakthrough

Okay, artistic breakthrough may be pushing it slightly... it smacks of a broad-reaching breakthrough. This was more like a breakthrough that I made on this particular painting.

This painting, "I Stand Alone" (the latest working title), is one I started a few years ago. Once or twice a year I pull it out and look at it, and sometimes work on it. It hasn't quite known what it wants to be, and consequently has gone through several stages over the years. There are many layers of paint on this one. And I keep thinking that it is just about finished but... the painting has a mind of it's own. (And even as I look at it now I see something I want to work on.)

Anyway, the breakthrough came when I added another little hill to the middle ground on each side of the painting. Actually I more discovered it than created it. It was kind of a happy accident. Artistic accidents are pretty much par for the course, and I consider them a part of the creative process. The key is to recognize and work with them, which involves letting go of control of what you wanted it to look like. Just like life, right? Things may not turn out the way you envisioned, but they work out. And sometimes much better than what you pictured.

In the case of my painting, I think the extra hill adds depth and interest to those sections, and the overall composition. I was quite happy to discover that hill!

And here is what I was listening to...

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Happiness Project Day 97: Studio Time

Untitled oil on canvas panel painting, in progress. 5"x7" ©Tabetha Hastings
I got in lots of studio time today. Arrived mid-afternoon, left after midnight, and taught a class somewhere in there. Otherwise, I wired some paintings, sorted, framed, painted, pondered, planned and read. A good day in the studio, indeed.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Happiness Project Day 96: Growing Together

(As yet) untitled, and in progress ©Tabetha Hastings
With a few exceptions, I try really hard not to put anything too personal into these blog posts. Pretty much anything having to do with friends or dating is off limits. I might write about what happened, or how I felt about it, but the who is left out (except for one or two posts early on).
This means that often the happiest thing in my day does not make the cut. Or it makes it, but key details must be left out to protect the - ahem - innocent.

With that in mind, my bit of happiness today came from visiting with an old friend and realizing how great it is to have long term friendships. I'm lucky to have some peeps who have been with me through thick and thin over the course of many years.

Perspective is everything, and when enough time passes we can stand back and see how far we've come.  We have both changed and grown, and now stand in a different place than we once did. It's nice when two people can grow together as friends instead of apart.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Happines Project Day 95: Abundance of Oil Paint

Over the years I have collected a LOT of oil paint. Not necessarily on purpose... sometimes I wouldn't realize what colors I had and ended up buying duplicates. And sometimes people give me paint - they decide that they don't want to paint with oils, or that they don't want to bring their oils with them when they move out of state. And then there was the time that my mom bought a whole box of them at an estate sale.

Wherever they come from, I accept the gift of paint graciously.

Unfortunately paint does not last forever, and I find myself in a situation where I need to start using what I've got fast, or I'll have to throw it away. And it really does hurt my soul to throw away paint.

So really I have no choice but to paint with wild abandon. Okay... that's pushing it a bit. I didn't exactly paint with wild abandon today, but I did play around on nonsense projects without fear of wasting paint. I have been really reserved with my oils paint over the years - that stuff is expensive! It felt good to just gob some paint out of the tube, and experiment with it.

I felt abundant in the oil paint department today, and that is good reason to be happy!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happiness Project Day 94: Class Full of Kiddos

Today I taught my first all kids class. It was a group of girls age 10-11, and they were awesome - so much fun!

It's a whole different ball game from teaching adults. I was surprised at how not messy they were. But I was not surprised at their willingness to be creative and have a good time with it all. They were much bolder than most adults, less judgemental, and happier with their paintings. 
I'll tell you what though; those girls wore me out! Every one of them was polite and friendly, but the were little chatter boxes!

I gave a few of them some group canvases to work on when they were done (canvases that class after class use their extra paint on), telling them "do whatever you want - work with what's already there, or obliterate it completely". Most adults are become very precious with what's already on the canvas, and are afraid to cover up other people's work. But these kids? They went to town, mixing every color they had on their palettes, and completely covered the painting that was there. Way to be bold, girls!

This song came on the mix, and a few of them started singing. Too cute.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Happiness Project Day 93: Midnight Walk and Dire Straits

Looking back on my day I couldn't choose which thing made me the happiest. So, I decided to take a walk and think about it.

I hardly ever do it, but I love taking walks in the cool night air. It was a beautiful night, and the walk cleared my head and became my happy thing for today. It was so nice to get away from my computer and look at the clouds moving across the moon. And I love the way the street lights fall on the trees in strange ways that the sun and moon would never do.

Getting out after dark gives a person a whole different perspective on things.

I think these blooms look kind of creepy with the flash on them.

This song was going through my head on my walk. I love pre-MTV Dire Straits.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Happiness Project Day 92: Feeling Solid

Today's bit of happiness didn't come from thing or an event, directly. It's more of a feeling that comes more from the knowledge that the older I get, the more sure I am in my beliefs. I've become stronger and less afraid of other people's (possible) disapproval of me.

Maggie Kuhn said "Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes." This is getting easier and easier to do. I am speaking more, and my voice is shaking less these days.

Part of this is from getting older, it's true. In some ways life really does begin at forty. But this sureness of self also comes from introspection, solitude, having a rich creative life, and writing. I write to explore my inner world. I write to figure out who I am, what I want, and who I want to be. And I write to just get the thoughts and ideas out of my head.

Above is a picture of my writing... several layers of it. Seeing it like that makes me realize that is how my brain feels sometimes before I write: a jumbled mess! Then I pour the words from my brain onto the paper and I feel so much better.

So, I'm happy to have writing as one of my outlets, and I'm happy to feel solid in my beliefs. My foundation feels strong.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Happiness Project Day 91: Ponytail and Permission to Chill

I started locking up my hair back in November of 2012, so I've had this head of hair for roughly a year and a half. (By coincidence, November of 2012 was the same month my mom got sick...)

For at least the past 8 months my hair has been at that awful in-between stage where it's in my face, but I can't pull it back. So I wear scarves or pigtails in an effort to get it out of the way. But today I discovered (by accident) that I can finally pull my hair back with one band. Yay!!
Life just got easier.

Another happy thing today: I gave myself permission to chill out for a few hours. I've been burning the candle at both ends for awhile, and forcing myself to work. There has been a little kid inside of me complaining and whining and fighting me at every turn. She's been throwing a fit screaming I DON'T WANNA WORK!!
Today I decided to listen to her. I stopped pushing myself, let go of everything I was going to do this afternoon (except for my 6:30 class), and chilled out. It made me crazy happy to do that! I walked into my bedroom and fell blissfully back into my bed like I was doing the Nestea plunge!

For you youngsters who don't know about the Nestea plunge...

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Happiness Project Day 90: Being a De-Stress Facilitator

Wow - I'm in the final ten days of this thing! What an amazing journey this has been.

My happiness today came from my private lesson student. She came straight from work and was a half hour late for her 2-hour lesson. Needless to say, she was pretty stressed out when she arrived.

She sat down, pulled out her paints, and dug into her new painting, and pretty soon she said "Hey! I'm not stressed!"

Painting is pretty cool like that. It has a way of bringing you into the present moment. The rest of the world can just fall away, and it's just you and the canvas.

I'm so happy to be able to play a part in making someone's day better.

(Also today, a homeless man told me I smelled nice. Hey - I take my compliments where I can get 'em!)

By the way, if you're curious as to why I started doing this project, you can check out: My Happiness Project Day 1.

If you're in the Denver area and want to learn to paint, check out my website

Monday, May 5, 2014

Happiness Project Day 89: Money in the Mail

I got a letter today from "card services" and thought oh no - am I over limit?? Good news rarely comes from such an address. But lo and behold they said they made a mistake and failed to reduce my APR in 2011, and are adjusting my account for the difference.

Say what?! Do you mean to tell me that my credit card company is giving me money? I checked my account and it's true! So, while this is not actual spending money in the bank, it's money I don't have to pay back. Hooray!

Heck yeah that makes me happy - to the tune of seventy some-odd dollars!

$70 isn't always that easy to come by. I work hard for the money!

Happiness Project Day 88: Making Art for Art's Sake

I've come to realize that I have a hard time working on certain paintings during Paint Club. Specifically, any painting to which I feel attached. This means that if I'm creating something to sell, it's difficult for me to work on, simply because I find it hard to focus when other people are around. So, I save those pieces for when I'm working alone in my studio (although sometimes it's even hard to focus when I'm alone).

Because of this, Paint Club has become an "art for art's sake" thing for me - which is wonderful. When you create art for a living, it can feel like a job from time to time. It's good to get back to doing art for the fun of it.

This is a collage that I've been fiddling around with for awhile. It's fun to tear paper and paste it on... it's really re-imagining another artist's work. So I cut, tear, paste, draw and paint on this thing. I've got no particular place that I'm going with this, just having fun. And fun = happy.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Happiness Project Day 87: Dinner at Cucina Colore

A good friend took me out to dinner at Cucina Colore in Cherry Creek tonight. It was a late dinner, and they were getting close to shutting down. When we found this out we said we'd go someplace else, as not feel rushed or make the staff wait. But the host was very nice and convinced us to stay.

Once again I was enjoying the food too much to take pictures (which is really a good thing), but trust me, the food was beautiful and delicious. We shared the buratta, which (I found out) is a cheese made from mozzarella and cream. It was served on a bed of arugula (which I normally hate), with oven roasted tomato and basil pesto. Amazing.

Then we each had a salad for dinner. I had the Pollo E Orzo salad, which was delicious. Believe it or not, we left there stuffed.

Good food, good company, and being made to feel welcome... what more could a girl ask for?

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Happiness Project Day 86: Crazy Karaoke

So, I'm writing my post-First Friday happiness blog from the VooDoo Comedy Playhouse in lovely downtown Denver. That's right folks; I'm live, on location. And it is absolute karaoke madness here. Complete with big lumberjack looking dudes singing Miley Cyrus. And... he just did a cartwheel onstage. Yes, this is fun.
I know karaoke I not for everyone, and frankly I used to be a snob about it myself. But you know what? This is fun. 
In another mood it wouldn't be the same, but right now I'm happy. :)
Oh- and now a rousing rendition of Sweet Caroline (bah-da-da). 
Soon, Lynne and I will sing Lady Marmalade. 
Bottom line: these people are every bit as cheesy as I am. I love it. 
Yes. Good times never seemed so good. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Happiness Project Day 85: Artist Date at the Park

This evening I took my artist to the park. We romped and played... no.. no we didn't. But we did sit in the cool air and and the warm sun and read and write and sketch. It was really lovely.
(More info on Artist Dates for interested parties...)

The picture to the left is my morning pages journal, where I was rambling about my dream house (as per one of this week's Artist Way assignments). My dream house apparently includes a lot of trees, since it turned into tree sketch. But then, my mind does tend to drift even when day dreaming about dream houses.

I loved the colors at the park today. The sun was low in the sky, causing the blades of grass to look a vibrant green at the tips, and a deep, lush green at the roots.

Oh yeah - two things made me happy on my way to the park today:

1) I saw that a branch of my bank is being built smack dab in the middle of my drive from home to my studio. Yay!! (I have to drive completely out of my way to get to my bank now.)
2) I heard one of my favorite Diana Krall songs on the radio. A rare thing. Gotta love the KUVO pledge drive!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Happiness Project Day 84: Fresh Energy in The Studios

Setting up for the big show.
Today we hung the First Friday art show. There is a big push every month during the week leading up to First Friday. We have to completely take our studios apart every month: paintings come off the walls, tables and supplies get stashed away in the back room. Then the artists show up to hang their work.

The studios were buzzing today with 18 or so artists and helpers working on the show. It makes me happy to have our spaces infused with the fresh energy that new art brings.

I'm really looking forward to this First Friday - it's the first one of the warm season, we have a great mix of artists, and I think it's going to be a lot of fun!