Change the world by changing yourself.

Hope

“Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi

I’ve been thinking a lot about change recently. And about compassion. Not quite related I guess. Which is to say: I’ve been thinking (or over-thinking) a lot recently. Not much new there really.

I feel like as time goes on, and life seems to throw bigger decisions at you, sometimes it is so hard to know what is the right direction. What is the “right” way to be. What is the “right’ thing to do. I don’t think there is ever one answer to any of these questions. And one thing I think which is useful to remember, (re my post about comparing yourself) is that we are all so different. Each and every person is unique. That’s 7 billion complete and utter individuals living on this planet (don’t get me started on what is beyond this planet, as that is a little too mind blowing). If I’m honest, that fact alone completely over shadows any worries or concerns I had in my own little world. And instead I find myself in awe of this overwhelming miracle which is actually a fact.

With a decent dose of my usual tangents, I will try to get back to what I think my overall point is… For quite a few years now I have taken it upon myself to learn more about yoga, Buddhism, and meditation. I have a whole array of thoughts on them all, which I will for the most part leave aside for another day, in another post/s. But what I do want to say, is that when you feel in doubt, when you are confused and questioning whether you are in the right job, or at the right place in your life or whatever it is you are (constantly) questioning. One thing you can be sure of, in my opinion, is to work on bettering yourself. Now that of course means something different to everyone. However there are probably a few core things which most would surely agree on, such as trying to be a good person, trying to treat others without judgment and without criticism. Trying to be healthier, to treat you body and mind with the respect and love it so deserves, and encouraging others to do the same.

They are just a couple of things which I think most people would feel happier if they tried to improve on them, and for most people there is always some room for improvement within those areas. And I think that once you are focusing on these things, in time the rest will start to fall into place, because your whole outlook will be more positive and with more clarity. I want to try and make my point with a ‘story’ or whatever you would like to call it, which one of my wonderful yoga teachers, Laura, recently shared with us. It was written by an Unknown Monk, in 1100 AD and reflects that we can only change ourselves –

“When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation. When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn’t change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family. Now, as an old man, I realise the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realise that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.”

This really said something to me, because I think it is so true. This ‘ripple effect’ of passing good intentions and good energy, but by starting with yourself, makes so much sense to me, and is a lot easier to feel like perhaps you could in fact help change something, rather than feeling helpless and overwhelmed by the state of the world if you start thinking about changing the entire world yourself.

And just to round this up, perhaps on a slightly too cheesy note for some, here are some words which perhaps a lot of you already know, but it’s a nice one to remember:

Promise yourself

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.
To make all your friends feel that there is something worthwhile in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.
To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
To forget the mistakes of the past, and press on to the greater achievements of
the future.
To wear a cheerful expression at all times and give a smile to every living
creature you meet.
To give so much time to improving yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy
to permit the presence of trouble.
To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud
words, but in great deeds.
To live in the faith that the whole world is on your side, so long as you are true
to the best that is in you.

The Optimist Creed

By Christian D. Larson 1912

Hope you enjoyed my post, thanks again for taking the time to read it!
– Holly

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Client work = Brodies tea packaging

Last year I was approached by Threebrand to work with them on packaging for Brodies, coffee and tea merchants from Edinburgh. I had to do a watercolour illustration – following a brief for each – for 6 different teas for their new pyramid tea collection. It was a great project to work on, and I am thrilled with the beautiful outcome. And, free tea is always a bonus when you’re a tea fiend like me!
-You can see more images of the final illustrations and final products on my Béhance portfolio here. Below is a selection of some of my favourite images from work in progress pics, final illustrations and of course the final tea packaging!

WIP Holly SharpeGreen tea wip H.Sharpe 02

Green tea with japanese cherry - H.Sharpe
Peppermint wip H.Sharpe 02

Peppermint -H.SharpeRed berry crush 02 -H.Sharpe

Earl Grey 05 - H.SharpeEnglish Breakfast - H.Sharpetrio - H.Sharpe 72


Holly

http://www.hollysharpe.com

ps – the teas are delicious!

When your ideas exceed your time = creative dilemmas

too many ideas

I posted the above photo on my Instagram earlier and a lot of people commented on it saying they felt the same. The response to my sharing of this feeling, inspired me to write a blog post about it, because apparently that’s what I do now…

Sometimes I have so many ideas going on in this little head that I feel like my head is going to explode, or my brain, or my heart,… SOMETHING is going to explode. It can be so all –consuming, so overwhelming that I literally don’t know where to start. This is becoming a problem which often presents itself in one of the following two options;

1. I don’t know which idea to pursue, or proceed with, so I don’t start, I do nothing, I procrastinate, I tidy my studio, I reply to emails, I do yoga, I do anything but create and follow through with the idea/s. I am quite sure this is a common thing for creatives and has been written and talked about a lot (for example in ‘Turning Pro’, by Steven Pressfield, he talks about this amongst other things…), = resistance.

2. I start loads of different things, and don’t finish any of them, or finish some of them, and get all confused again because it seems to have no relevance to what I actually want to do, or to the ‘path’ I previously thought I was trying to take my work and career on. This happens a lot, and the trouble is knowing, and figuring out, and deciding, which ones to carry on with, which ones will I gain the most from, personally, for others, and financially (which unfortunately has to come into it on occasion)??

So, one of my ‘new years’ resolutions’, if you want to call it that, is to try and be more focused and try to not go off on tangents and get distracted as much… If I start an idea, I would like to decide fairly near the initial commencement of said idea whether or not it feels right, if I feel like I have enough fuel, and excitement for the idea to see it through. And if yes, I want to almost force myself to make sure I finish it. This is going to be a delicate balance, because if it is something creative we are talking about, rules and regulations don’t tend to mix well with it (not for me anyway). I think one solution, for me, is to create enough space from the work, I generally always have more than one project or commission that I am working on at any one time, and this can be a good thing, as when I feel a bit tired with one thing, I can work on something that I feel more excited about (sometimes this is not an option when deadlines are involved of course…) and therefore hopefully always keep things fresh. I think a good idea to make sure I can sustain my motivation to finish things, is to allow myself time here and there, to just off load ideas, to sketch, paint, write, whatever, with no plans, no pressure on the outcome or the success of whatever it is. This way, I can go back to focusing on the things I want to see to the end and finish, whilst having ‘side projects’ that don’t need to mean anything, or necessarily go anywhere, but I guess act as some sort of release. And if they turn into something more than that, I guess that can only be a bonus.

This focus and drive to see things through to the end, also means facing the fear of the idea/s failing, which I think is often an underlying reason for the aforementioned ‘resistance’ whether we are aware of it or not. And failing, or not being afraid to, is an all important aspect to staying creative. If something fails, this is a learning experience and it usually means you have pushed yourself, so, I would like to try and maintain my focus on the ideas I decide to follow through on, irregardless of whether or not there is a chance they will ‘fail’. Whatever ‘fail’ means anyway.

I would be really interested to hear any of your views or thoughts on whether or not you feel like this sometimes? And if so, do you have ways of channeling it or ‘coping’ with it? And any advice on how I should manage my own hectic head full of ideas would be very welcome!

Thanks for reading,

– Holly
x

Email: hollysharpe@live.com

Twitter: @hollysharpe

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Aston Martin launch, Edinburgh.

Aston M wip photo pencil

It may come as a relief to some of you, that this is going to be more of an image – orientated post rather than a lot of words!

As part of their official launch night towards the end of last year, I was asked by the Aston Martin garage in Edinburgh, to do a couple of illustrations involving Aston Martin, in some way. I didn’t have a lot of time to create the illustrations – which, sometimes actually works in my favour, a reasonable amount of pressure is usually a good thing for me when it comes to creating new work. At the same time, it can also go horribly wrong sometimes…

Thankfully they were really happy with both the illustrations I created. And it opened up my ideas for something I probably never would have worked on otherwise. The launch night itself was a rather swanky affair, with free flowing fancy cocktails and champagne, a four piece string quartet, teeny canapés, and of course all amidst a whole bunch of Aston Martin cars! (No I didn’t get a discount on a car as someone has asked me!)

Anyway, below are some work in progress pics, and the final image of one of the two illustrations. I have decided to split this post into two, so the scroll-situ isn’t ridiculous. The second illustration and a couple photos from the launch night are in another post here. Both the illustrations are available to buy as prints here.
You can also see a few more pics from the project on my Béhance portfolio here.

 

Aston M words 2 B&W

IMG_2476

01 wip 2 H.Sharpe

IMG_2558Close up - H.SharpeEvent 04

You can see the other illustration in the next post here.
And if you are interested to see more of my work, here’s some links:

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Thanks for looking! – Holly