Category Archives: Original Artwork

This World is For the Birds

I had a strange dream. Might have had something to do with the amazing Dinosaur Apocalypse, Nova episodes I watched on PBS before I went to sleep. Fascinating research and discoveries that might be documenting the last day on earth for the dinosaurs. But it’s well accepted now, that some of their feathered relatives survived the cataclysm into the new era. And then we came along.

Looking back, by Sheri J. Kennedy 2015 All Rights Reserved

In my dream, I awoke at a swanky, cool campground in Jamaica. On the way to breakfast with a friend, I noticed enormous mushrooms just a little ways away. (We’re talking, the size of small houses!) I was exhilarated at the prospect of investigating such exotic growths more closely and took off toward them like a… curious human rushing to explore giant mushrooms.

For the Birds, Sheri J. Kennedy 2015 All Rights Reserved

As I was running, a large bird – somewhat like a black & white gull – flew into the front of my face and torso. It flapped aggressively, arresting my progress. So I turned around quickly to try to dodge around it and, just as quickly, it flew against my front side again. I couldn’t pass its determined barrier.

I awoke feeling affronted. (hehe, I guess I literally was, in the dream.) I immediately understood that the bird wouldn’t let me pass to this new era or dimension of amazing, huge, and as yet alien to us, growth. I thought, “is it our turn to reach the end of the age this time?”

Our elders, the birds, likely know better than we. What do you think?

p.s. (Afterthought…) The images weren’t created to illustrate this post, they were created long before it, but I thought they went well with it. The humans were originally thought of as resting peacefully in the grass – but resting in peace takes on a new meaning here perhaps?? Sorry about that! -SJK

Wonderfully Random Deconstruction

I had fun cutting apart and deconstructing the packaging the sketchbook came in to design the cover for my contribution to the project. I also added some other elements including postage stamps from the sets used throughout the book’s images, the retro fan, a little cardinal decal sticker, and a print of my hand-carved rubber stamp that I designed and created for our small band of artists that did this project together in my town.

And I’m not sure quite what I was thinking on this one beyond that The Sketchbook Project was headquartered in Brooklyn, NY, and the Lego Beatles and Batman were too fun to pass up? I kind of think of New York as parallel to Gotham City (or visa-versa, I suppose.) And the train seemed like the Beatles were going on tour and stopping at New York Fest, perhaps? It’s fun to let imagination guide freely and not force artworks to make logical sense. That’s what words are for. Images are wonderfully random.

Going Down

I don’t have much to say about these two images. They weren’t created as a pair or with purposeful kinship, but they were in this order in the original sketchbook. I feel a connection between them, so I’m posting them together. These compositions and collections were assembled intuitively, grouping them for color and form that pleased me. Any other levels of deeper interpretation were not intentional.

Going Down, by Sheri J. Kennedy 2015 All Rights Reserved
Collection, by Sheri J. Kennedy 2015 All Rights Reserved

Spring it!

A little more whimsy than yesterday’s post… Continuing with pages from my sketchbook. This one totally fits (in a sideways twisted way) the VERY delayed warming for Spring season this year in the Pacific NW (near Seattle.) I think the little clock has stopped. It feels like there’s a big iron gate locking all the sunshine away. I wish someone would spring it!

Specially for You, My Dear by Sheri J. Kennedy 2015 All Rights Reserved

And of course the milkman is just taunting me. Bringing a gift all tied up with a bow that we can’t open! (There’s an inside secret about this milkman you can see at the bottom of the post if you’re curious.)

I guess I won’t taunt you by not letting you see the rest of what’s peeking through the cuts in the sketchbook page, even though it’s visually my least favorite page of the book. It’s the inside cover and title page for this collection of collages. The Sketchbook Project mailed me the blank 5X7 book and assigned me the theme, “Parts of the Whole” which I subtly subtitled, “Arts of the Whole.” (I kind of have a thing for wordplay.) I sent it back filled with artwork to add to their Sketchbook Library collection.

Parts of the Arts of the Whole by Sheri J. Kennedy 2015 All Rights Reserved

And now the inside secret milkman story:

Along with multiple Sketchbook Project participations, I’m also an avid participant in NaNoWriMo since 2009. I have a friend I made through writing who does both alongside me. One year for NaNo she decided to write a fantasy with a sexy milkman. This was not an Adult fantasy. It was a fantasy story – you know with faeries and… a sexy milkman? Guess what showed up in the magazines when we got together to create our sketchbooks the next season? What are the chances?… I couldn’t resist.

Imagine

After a month of exercising creative imagination by creating AtoZ Alliterative stories, I’m reminded of how energizing it is to use imagination in a positive way. Feels great!

Go Where You Imagine by Sheri J. Kennedy 2015 All Rights Reserved

It’s also got me grooving on images and intuitive connections I see between things. I came across these scans of artworks I created in 2015 for The Sketchbook Project, and I’ve decided to share the rest of them coming up soon. But I chose these two first because of their parallels to things I’ve been thinking about, reading about and working on lately.

I’ve been reading about how our thoughts shape our reality. In other words, what we imagine forms, or at least significantly colors our moods, our self-image, our relationships, and our worldview. Eventually our thoughts and feelings will manifest to change our physical health and environment as well, since these things greatly influence the energy we have and the choices we make. Here’s an interesting article my positively creative blog-friend, Sue Clancy recommended on the subject: https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/imagination-tool-for-change-0224124/

So imagination isn’t just a tool for fun ideas, inventions or for making artwork and writing fiction – though that’s awesome! It’s also a powerful tool that can provide coping mechanisms during crises, strength to build your future, or when not used well can cause rifts in relationships or paralyze you with fear. It can cause you to gain weight or lose weight, empathize or misconstrue, feel more depressed or more motivated.

Danger, Jack Robinson by Sheri J. Kennedy 2015 All Rights Reserved

Your imagination shapes things whether you consciously direct it or not. If you don’t decide what to put there, something or someone else will. So it’s important to acknowledge and explore what you’re thinking. Where did you get that idea? What’s it based on? Do you like the idea? How does it make you feel? What do you do when you feel that way?

Once you’ve considered these things, you have the ability to imagine a new direction for anything that you want to change. I’m not meaning that you can just ignore reality and it will go away. Not in an instant, anyway. But you can change how you respond to that reality by how you frame your inner world around it.

A very personal example for me, is that in the last couple years – like many of us during pandemic lockdowns – I gained a lot of weight. I lost fitness levels too. When I began to huff and puff on short walks, my imagination went in a negative direction. “I can’t exercise anymore. I’ll never lose this weight. I want to get better, but I can’t. If I try, I’ll fail.” And guess what? I gained more weight and lost more fitness. My thought shaped my reality.

Then I got some advice… (happened to be from Noom) You’ve probably heard it before: Speak some affirmations, and imagine yourself the way you want to be. I thought it was a bunch of mumbo-jumbo at first. But I adopted two things. “I can choose anything I want to do at any time.” (In other words, “I CAN.” and “I CAN NOW.”) And I imagined what my successful self would look and feel like with this newly felt ability to do it.

You know what happened? I lost weight, and I gained fitness levels. But that’s not the amazing thing. What astounded me is I feel better. Sure, losing weight and exercising is energizing, but I mean I feel better INSIDE. I believe in myself again. It was my negative, false imaginings that were the toughest part of my situation. I thought (THOUGHT) I was stuck and that I was powerless ever change that again. When I changed my thoughts and imagined (IMAGINED) I could do better, I did. Starting by imagining positively, changed everything for me.

You can make these sort of changes too. Instead of thinking about the terrible things someone said to you, or imagining all the worst things that could happen at work or school, think about the nice things someone else said or that you can say to others, and imagine how your work or school day could go well. What good things can you add into your day? What would your life look like if every day became that way?

I have a long way to go on my weight loss and fitness journey – the rest of my life. But by changing my negative imaginings to positive ones I’ve jumped from depression and defeat, immediately to my real end goal of confidence, happiness and energetic motivation. My health is better too – mental and physical. (Back to that article, in case you skipped it above.) The changes I’d like are easy to work toward, not impossible. I just needed to change my mind. Do you want to change yours? Just imagine.