Friday, February 27, 2015

Day 88, 100 Happy Days: Art on the Go

I love how circumstance and venue can change how we create. Travel is no excuse to slack on making art; in fact it's a perfect opportunity. I love looking back at work that I created while traveling, or came into being (directly) because I traveled. 

I just took a short trip to North Carolina, and travel by plane dictated that I bring art supplies that are portable. Oil pastels were my portable supplies of choice. 

I've not had a chance to do much sight-seeing, but just the drive from the airport to the hotel was beautiful. Trees everywhere, and snow (surprise)! 

I sat down with my pastels today, and suddenly a new little drawing appeared. A drawing that wouldn't have come into the world had I not taken this short trip. 

Day 87, 100 Happy Days: Hotel Bed

Never in my life have I been so happy to see a hotel bed. After traveling all night and having slept just a few hours on planes and at airports, I was ready for whatever board-stiff bed that hotel had to offer. But as luck would have it, the hotel bed felt like a cloud! Zzzzz...

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Day 86, 100 Happy Days: Liftoff

Finally off the ground after an hour on the runway and several de-icings. I'm not the best flyer on the clearest of days, but on a snowy night? Yikes.

I'm happy to finally be in the air, and to have wifi.
Also, a cool beverage and a mini bag of mini pretzels. Sometimes it's the small things that make a person happy.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Day 85, 100 Happy Days: Self Accpetance

Reminder notes: old school style.
My name is Tabetha and I am a weirdo. Yes, it's true.
(I believe that most of us think we're weirdos. And, perhaps we are.)

Today, I decided to embrace my weirdness. And I'm not talking about the cool weird stuff. I'm not talking any off-beat, counter-culture, against the grain, artist type of weird stuff. I'm not talking the "let your freak flag fly" kind of weird stuff.

I'm talking about the fact that I seem to need a crazy amount of down time. I'm talking about the fact that although I really do love people, I mostly just want to be alone. Sometimes I don't even want to be around animals when I'm pet sitting. Sometimes I need complete quiet and I can't even bear to listen to (gasp!) music.

But then, as much as I love to be alone... I also want a relationship. (Weirdo!) I believe this is the reason for my crazy number of canceled dates in the past two months. I'm sending mixed messages to the universe: I want a relationship... I want to be left alone! Stop go stop go.

In any case, it's who I am, or at least a part of who I am, and I've got to embrace it. Beating myself up about it and trying to be someone I'm not hasn't worked so well for me in the past.

So, I'm accepting my highly sensitive, weirdly extroverted-introverted self.

Oh by the way, the picture really has little to do with self acceptance. Except that I had a perfectly good iPhone right next to me with no less than four perfectly good apps where I could have stored the information I wrote on my hand, or put it on a list or made a reminder... but I went old school tech. Because that's the way I wanted to do it.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Day 84, 100 Happy Days: Acupuncture

It's been a weird few days. Pet sitting, combined with the snow, and canceled classes had me out of sorts this weekend. Even though my pet sitting job ended today and I got to go home (which normally makes me pretty darn gleeful), I was cranky. I think the cold does that to me sometimes (snow I like - cold, not so much). Also, I was in a fair amount of pain. Luckily I had an acupuncture appointment already scheduled for this afternoon.

I can't say enough good things about acupuncture. I was in tears when I went in, and I floated out of there over an hour later with a big smile on my face.

Also, they were celebrating the Chinese New Year, and I got a free tincture! Chosen specifically for me by my practitioner. My blend is called "free and easy". Yup, could use some free and easy in my life about now!

By the way, I recommend Meeting Point Community Acupuncture. They charge on a sliding scale $20-$40 per session. Totally affordable, and totally awesome.

And... a painted blue tree stump in the snow...

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Days 82 and 83, 100 Happy Days: Bed and Snow

Day 82
I have to admit that for the second time, I skipped writing my about my happy thing yesterday. This is because the thing that made me happy was bed. Climbing under the covers on a cold night and laying my head on that soft pillow... yeah. I just had to do it. And really, how could I blog about it after I had done it? I was sleeping! So, here I am.

Day 83
Snow, beautiful snow! I dreaded getting out in it to walk the dog this morning, but once I was out... wow! Gorgeous. And it's so fun to watch a dog romp in the snow - how could a person NOT be happy watching that?! 
Also, there is something about the snow that makes the world feel different. It feels softer. It's quieter, the colors seem more vibrant. (I was scoping out gray houses that I would never even notice when they weren't surrounded by snow.) People were out taking walks. Everyone was friendly. It was just lovely.

There is something about this fence... maybe it's that beautiful blue standing out against the snow.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Day 81, 100 Happy Days: Groceries!

They say a storm's-a-coming, so I braved the grocery store - with the rest of the city - and stocked up.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Day 80, 100 Happy Days: Tea, Toast and Morning Pages

House sitting. I carved out a half hour for myself and found a nice patch of sun to have a lovely cup of tea, a delicious slice of toast and to write my morning pages.

One of the nice things (and sometimes not-so-nice), is that house sitting gets me out of my usual routine. I don't always carve this sort of time out for myself when I'm at home. Easier in someone else's home for some reason.

Day 79, 100 Happy Days: A Job Well Done

Painty fingers. This after washing them once.
I had a very satisfying class tonight. Ten people, most of whom had never painted showed up to paint water lilies.

They were open to learning and exploring the paint - they had "beginner's minds", which is really a wonderful thing. 
A couple of women came in stressed out and left blissed out (that always makes me happy). Everyone really seem to enjoy themselves and liked their paintings.

But the best part was when someone said thank you for helping me see that I can paint. As odd as this may sound; I think that's one of the best compliments that I can get as a teacher. Because I teach much less than I guide. I do believe that we are all born artists, but that we forget. My job is to help people remember. So, when they do remember I have done a good job.

And that makes me happy. :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Day 78, 100 Happy Days: Art Grab-Bags

As you may know, I've been working on a fund-raiser for my friend Colleen, and we're offering Art Grab-bags for certain donation levels.

Unfortunately I have been swamped lately and haven't had time to get the grab-bags together. I've been gathering art, and gathering bags, but I hadn't put the two together... until tonight!

It feels good to get moving on something that's been nagging me to get done.

Also: Art Grab-Bags - how fun is that?! A mystery bag of art... I would totally buy one if I weren't putting them together!

We've still got some available! If you'd like to donate and get a grab-bag, you can do so at... and, we'll ship within the continental US!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Day 77, 100 Happy Days: Do Nothing Day

Random doodle from today:"The Choppy, Mustachioed King"
Looking back on today, nothing stands out as THE thing that made me the happiest. This was truly a day off, of the first order. An 'I might do nothing, I might do something, but I'm damn sure gonna do whatever the hell I please' kind of day off.
And so I did.

A little work, a tiny bit of cleaning... actually, I have no idea where the day went, but I know I enjoyed it. I took it easy. There were 10,000 things that I could have - and perhaps should have - done, but I didn't. And I don't feel bad.

Also, perspective: I made an attempt to do laundry tonight, but when I opened the door to my building's laundry room, there was a homeless man sleeping on the floor. I got pretty irritated and thought about kicking him out. Then I thought about how cold it was out, and it was snowing, and I realized that this guy's problems are much worse than my not being able to do laundry.

That may not have made me happy, exactly, but it made me grateful. And yes, I'm very happy and grateful to have a roof over my head, and a warm cozy bed to sleep in.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Day 76, 100 Happy Days: The Weekend is Done

I know I'm going against the grain when I say: Thank Zeus on Olympus that tomorrow is Monday. A good lot of the rest of the world goes back to work tomorrow, while I get a day off.

This weekend was particularly busy, and I've been anticipating it for quite awhile. So to have it end makes me outrageously happy! I don't even care that winter has returned. Just another reason for me to stay home tomorrow to clean, sort, read, catch up on work here and there, write, nap, watch a movie... happy day off ahead!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Day 75, 100 Happy Days: My Work!

Photo Haiku
With my schedule being the hot mess that it's been lately, I double booked my studio for Sunday.
Which means I had to push my Artist's Way group an hour later. A few people couldn't make the new time, so I split the group. Half were scheduled for today, and half for tomorrow.

Having ten people in a 2-hour discussion group can be challenging; too much to say, not enough time. So it was really nice to have a smaller group today. And it WAS small - three of the five ladies showed up. It felt like we were able to dive deeper into topics, and everyone got a chance to be heard.

What I love about leading these groups is that it keeps me on task. Not only do I have to do the chapters and the work with the group, but I'm forever searching for new information and new ways to look at the old information. New creativity exercises and games to play. I'm always learning.

Today was Photo Haiku day - always a good time. Each of the ladies took three photos from a pile (old pictures of mine that I was going to throw out), and wrote a haiku about the picture, on the picture. It's like giving new life to and old piece of history - my history. So I get the added bonus of seeing bits of my life re-imagined. (No pictures of people, however. Just things.)
Once we've written our haikus, we go around and read them - with feeling. So much fun!!

I'm lucky to be able to do this work.

Also - it's incredible to know the history of the people in the group, and watch them grow. And to feel like I've not only witnessed, but also had a small part in the transformation.


Friday, February 13, 2015

Day 74, 100 Happy Days: A Day Off

What was there to NOT be happy about today?
Don't answer that. There is always something to not be happy about. But the good news is that there is always something to be happy about. (Hence 100 Happy Days.)

My point being that I found many things to be happy about today...
I actually cleared my schedule and took a day off. And I actually got myself to an acupuncture appointment, which always feels like really good self care (I hadn't been there in months). It was a gorgeous day - blue skies, and stupidly warm (high of 63, but I swear it felt like 73 degrees).

I spent about 8 minutes total talking to people today - and that was just my acupuncturist and a librarian.
I took two naps.
I had a mocha and a delicious banana/blueberry smoothie (not simultaneously).

Today was a good day.

Also, perspective: I was looking for an old photo just now and I came across a video I made in January 2013. Back then - when my mom was sick - I was doing these vlogs - like video journals - just for myself, because I was too tired to write. Usually I'd do them driving home at night, so it would be somewhat of a brain dump. (I'd turn the camera on and put it on the dash - I wasn't looking at the camera as it recorded.)
All I can say is: what a difference a couple of years make. Anytime I'm feeling stressed or overwhelmed now, I should just watch one of those vlogs. I'm so thankful that phase of my life is over.

Yes, life is good.

Day 73, 100 Happy Days: My Favorite Soup

I was SO happy to come home tonight to find that I had splurged on my favorite soup at the grocery store last night. It was waiting for me to heat up.

Shout out to Boulder Organic for the amazing Red Lentil Dahl soup! It ain't cheap but it's totally worth it. And it was exactly the thing I needed.


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Day 72, 100 Happy Days: Power of Focus

I know my strengths and I can say that I do not have strong powers of focus. It's one reason I'm a night owl - when the world is quiet I can finally think clearly.

But for some reason, today I woke up and was able to kick it into high gear right away. I was able to focus on the task at hand, and then the next one, and before you know it, most of my to do list was done.

I wish I knew exactly why I was able to focus today. I'd like to do that every day!

This picture is of my studio ceiling. For no good reason other than I needed a picture to go with this blog post.
Also, sometimes when I'm not focusing, I'm starting up at the ceiling. Go figure.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Day 71, 100 Happy Days: Taking A Break (aka Couch Time)

"Wide Open" Acrylic on Canvas Board ©Tabetha Hastings
I completely fell down today. Not literally - I mean gravity didn't actually take me down, but... life did. Big, crushing, too much to do, burning the candle at both ends, modern day LIFE. I felt like hell, was coming down with some sinus thing, and was emotionally a wreck. I desperately needed a break - a day off at the least - but how could I afford to take one??

My body had different ideas. I knew that if I didn't take one when I felt like I was coming down with the sinus thing, I would be forced to take one when the sinus thing really grabbed hold. Which meant I couldn't afford not to take a break. So, I spend the day lying on my couch reveling in the silence. Sometimes I'd get up and go to bed for a bit. It would have been a really beautiful thing had I felt good enough to fully enjoy it. Ah well.

Around 10pm I started feeling better, physically and emotionally. Hallelujah! Let's hear it for breaks! I took most of a day off and sort of enjoyed it, and it may have saved me having to take a week or more off in misery.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Day 70, 100 Happy Days: Breaking My Own Rules

Back in December I decided to blog on one thing that made me happy a day for 100 days straight. My rule has been: If I forget to blog one day (and especially if I just blow it off), I have to go back to day one and start all over again. Needless to say, I've had motivation to keep blogging.
However, it can be a source of stress. I love looking for, finding, or creating things that make me happy, and I like blogging about them. But given my crazy schedule, the blogging part can be just one more thing to fit in before I go to bed. I often get home pretty late, and even when I'm home I tend to work until I drop; which means that sometimes I blog with one eye open. Other times I remember as I'm drifting off to sleep, and have to get out of bed to do it.

Last night I came home wiped out. I decided that sleep was far more important than this blog, so I made a conscious decision to give myself a break, and skip a day of blogging.

My rules, I can break 'em! And it felt damn good.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Day 69, 100 Happy Days: Transformative Power of Art

"Wash Away The Pain"Acrylic on Canvas ©Tabetha Hastings

Painting is amazing. It can help us get in touch with who we are, and what we need to change in our life. It can bring out our insecurities, or it can soothe us. (I think all of this can be said of viewing art as well as creating it.)

People who come to my classes are often very brave. In my Artist Way classes we talk about fear and insecurities that we have surrounding creating art.
It's very common in our culture.

We are all born artists; it's true. But then we grow up, and somehow life beats it out of us. Puberty beats it out of us. Well-meaning - or not so well meaning - teachers, family members, and friends beat it out of us.
So yes, coming to a painting class like mine can be a brave act.
Some people handle it by having the attitude of I'm just there to have a good time and it doesn't matter what my painting looks like. Others either don't have the fear, or are willing to explore anyway. And then there are others who are just so fearful and beaten-down that they criticize their work and themselves the entire time that they're painting. That's hard to watch, and I try my best to get them through to the other side feeling better. Sometimes my job is 90% cheer leader.
So to have one of those people leave my studio either happy with the painting that they created, or happy with the experience, is a wonderful thing. It is why I do what I do. It's beautiful to witness those breakthroughs.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Day 68, 100 Happy Days: First Friday

What a wonderful First Friday! It was great to see some old friends that I hadn't seen in ages. And great to be back after taking January First Friday off.

Good friends, good art, good drink, good snacks.

And now I'm hitting the sack. Happy and sleepy.

Post First Friday drinks at the Interstate (almost partial selfie) >>>

Friday, February 6, 2015

Day 67, 100 Happy Days: Community

"Enveloping" Oil on Canvas ©Tabetha Hastings
Tonight I wrote a few "thank you" messages to people who donated to the "Art Grab-Bag" Fundraiser that I'm doing to help my friend Colleen.

Once again I was blown away by the sense of community I felt. Most of the donors were my friends, students or fellow artists. Most of them don't know my friend Colleen. Some of them I've known for less than a year, and some I hardly know at all.

And today I was able to drop a check off to Colleen. How amazing is that?! She still has a ways to go - more bills to pay, and she needs to find a job. But the first milestone has been reached, and that, is amazing.

Thanks to my community for stepping up!!

"Red Rocks" (Detail) Oil on Canvas ©Tabetha Hastings
I don't like to blog without an image, so I tried to find a painting of mine that felt like community. I first thought of Red Rocks  because there is a crowd in that painting. Which really is more indicative of crowd-sourcing than of community. But, this fundraising method is crowd-sourcing, so there you have it. Plus, I like the way the crowd in the painting holds up on it's own, outside of the original painting.

Then I thought of Enveloping. Somehow this piece says community to me, even though it's a painting of trees. The forest that inspired the painting, in fact, reminded me of people. Elders, perhaps. Joining together, watching over, protecting.


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Day 66, 100 Happy Days: Back to Business in Fresh New Studio

Me in front of one of my more recent paintings (still in progress).
Today was First Friday set-up day. Artists came and hung their work while I tore down my studio, and rearranged things. It was nice to get back to First Friday after a month long break. I've been doing First Fridays every month since June 2009, I believe. That is a lot of art openings!

Also, exciting to people hanging work in my freshly painted and slightly made-over studio.

It's looking great in there!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Day 65, 100 Happy Days: Kindness
If you're one of the few people reading this, chances are you already know how my mom got sick in 2013 and I couldn't work because I had to take care of her.

I was struggling to build my business, and my mom delivered Pizzas. We had no savings to fall back on. Asking for help has never been easy for me - or even much of an option. But desperate times call for desperate measures, so I took to the internet for help. I set up a crowdfunding page and asked for donations.

My community, their friends, and even a few people I didn't know donated money and kept us afloat for several months. They provided a safety net for us to fall into during those hard times. It was absolutely beautiful.
The one benefit to not having money is getting to see how supported you actually are.

So when my friend Colleen told me she couldn't find work and was facing eviction, I had to help. She was in a pretty bad situation, and seemed to be panicking. (Who could blame her?) She could hardly even afford food. I've been in that situation. Can't pay rent, can't eat. It's awful, and you can't think clearly when your stomach is empty and you fear you might be on the street soon. I have a lot of empathy for her.

So, I started a crowdfunding page to help. And I offered grab-bags of art for donations (mostly art that I'm donating). My goal is to get enough money for her to pay rent and some basic living expenses for two months. This will take off the pressure, and allow her to look for work.

I am thrilled to say that tonight we made the first goal, which is to keep a roof over her head for February! Her rent is $725 (+$75 late fee), and we're at $800! (Of course there are admin fees from the website and processing, so we're not quite there... but damn close.)

Kindness. Most of the people who have donated are from my community and don't even know Colleen. Some of them are struggling financially themselves. But they came together to help someone in a worse situation, and that is beautiful.

If you'd like to help out (and get a mystery bag of art), please visit

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Day 64, 100 Happy Days: A Hot Cup of Chocolate

This was the kind of day when the "to do" list grew bigger as the day went on instead of smaller.

It's 4am. I'm giving up on that damn list. It will still be there when I wake up.

This lovely cup of hot chocolate got me through the night. Or at least part of it. I was so happy to find that I had just enough mix to make one last cup. Ahhhh.... yessss. :)

Monday, February 2, 2015

Day 63, 100 Happy Days: Cutting Myself Some Slack

Today got of to a rough start. I got to bed super late last night, then was up after a few hours because of a bad dream, then realized I felt sick. No bueno.

So I got up and worked. Next thing I knew, the sun was up and the stairs outside my window were being shoveled. It was 7:30am and I had to be at a meet-up at 10am. That was NOT going to happen - especially since I had a 1pm class.

After going back to sleep for a few blissful hours, I woke up too late to properly prepare for class. Which naturally had me a bit stressed out. I allowed myself a few minutes of stress and being upset with myself, then I decided that I just had to let it all go. I had already missed my meet-up, and now I was going into class unprepared... life happens. In the mean time I'm doing the best I can.

And as it turns out, class was great. A bit less structured than it would have been, but, things work out. I'm fairly sure things wouldn't have worked out as well had I gone into the class stressed out.

I've become a fan of going easy on myself. Beating myself up has never worked. Treating myself kindly makes me happy.

Also, the frosty dusk. So beautiful...

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Day 62, 100 Happy Days: Getting Perspective

"Precipice" ©Tabetha Hastings
I love it when I can get far enough from something that I can finally get some perspective. Seeing things in a new light, or from a new vantage point can be powerful. Especially when that thing is a life event that happened seemingly for no reason.

With enough time and life experience, I can usually look back and see how that experience changed my life for the better. It's hard to see the blessings when you're in the middle of a hard situation, but they are there, and you can find them when you look back. And that's exactly what I did today, and it made me very happy.