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My Journey as a Creative Designer

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Last month, I was thrown a bit off track by life's events. It happens to the best of us. We set our goals.We work to achieve them. And then as we are rolling right along . . . BAM! "Life" gets in the way. It is just part of living. 

As I get older, I am figuring out that the more resilient and flexible that I am, the easier things are. I have watched family and friends who are perhaps a little bit rigid in their thinking struggle because things aren't quite the same as they were before or things didn't go exactly as planned. Many times, the things that they are upset about aren't things that really matter in the long run. If the table isn't set quite right or if we didn't get all the decorations up that we had intended, who's to notice? Certainly not the people that we were inviting to our home. The way I look at it, if they DID notice or say something, they wouldn't be the type of people that I would want over in the first place. 

My dear friend Cari and I used to 'displace' holidays often. She was my best friend throughout the years when my children were young. She lived a couple of houses down the street from me when I lived in the suburbs of Chicago and we were together nearly ever day - including holidays, birthdays and special occasions. 

Cari was a Surgical Open Heart Nurse at the local hospital. Many of her working hours were during the weekends and holidays. Part of being friends meant that we covered for each other with our young children. She would watch my kids when I was really busy and I would help with hers. It was part of being friends. But because of the many occasions when she had to work on an actual holiday, we learned to 'displace' our celebrations and do what we could when it was convenient for all of us. It was far better than leaving someone out. 

Cari passed away from cancer several years ago, but many of those things we did together remain with me. It is funny how you learn to prioritize things when hanging around nurses. (I had many friends who were nurses. I don't know why. It just worked out that way.) I think when you realize that saving a life is more important than having a correct table setting or celebrating something on a particular day, things come into perspective. You loosen up. You learn to be grateful for things like good health and your kids being safe and warm. Most of all, you learn that when you do the best you can, that is good enough - even if you didn't accomplish all you set out to accomplish. Being kind to yourself is far more important than meeting self-imposed deadlines. 

With that said, I decided to work on my sloth pastel drawing that I was creating for my daughter, Danielle. Dani loves sloths, and she had asked me last year to create a picture of one for her. I was naturally flattered that she would want something that I drew or painted, and did my best to work it into my schedule of creating.  

I had a good start and had intended to be done with it for her Christmas present, but when things derailed in early December, I just wasn't in the mood to create. It got sidelined, as much of what I was working on did, and now that I am feeling better, I thought it was time to finish it up. It was time. 

Here is a photo of where I left off in the drawing:

You can see that I was nearly done, only to have the arms to complete. The drawing is done on charcoal colored Pastelmat board, using CarbOthello pastel pencils by Stablio and Conte a Paris pastel crayons. The size of the drawing is 5" x 7". 

It took me a little bit to get back into the rhythm of this drawing, and I still may 'fine tune' it a little bit. But for the most part, I will call it "done." 

Here is a comparison between my drawing and the reference photo:

(My drawing (of course!) is on the right.) 

This was my second attempt at using pastels and I really did like the result. They are much quicker than the colored pencils are and I like that you can layer lights over the darks so easily. The Pastelmat board is a MUST,  though. Other papers just don't take the necessary layers that are needed to give the drawings depth and dimension. 

I hope you like seeing this finished up. It felt good to check it off of my list of things to do. As I said, I may tweak the drawing a little more and add some lights onto the arms, but for the most part, I will call this "complete."  

On to my next creation . . . 

Happy Friday to you all! 


  1. Carole A. Kemp on January 14, 2017 at 12:36 AM said:
    I can't believe how beautiful this little guy is. It's hard to distinguish your drawing from the photo. I would be satisfied with a tenth of your talent!!!
  2. Sheila Bergner-Landry on January 17, 2017 at 8:58 AM said:
    Thank you so much Carole. :) I really enjoy working with this medium. It allows so much 'correction' and adjusting. It makes it easy to be successful. I always love trying new things. Take care, Sheila
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