The Swirling Colors of an Inspiring Friendship

 

Oh this journey I’m on…it’s leading me down a most beautiful path. As you know, it’s helped me meet some very interesting people. A simple chance “like” on Twitter led me to this wonderful shop on Etsy selling unique, hand-drawn works of art.

Lauren Ashbury is a visual artist from Los Angeles who creates stunning abstract drawings inspired by many things that I love…music, sunsets, yoga, meditation, nature, rainbows, stars, vibrant colors, … well the list goes on. What drew me to her art immediately was the reminiscent feel of the adult coloring books that I went crazy for…before the whole world went crazy for it.

I happened to read a random article one day about the Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book by Johanna Basford. The moment I finished the article, I jumped over to Amazon to buy it, as well as sets of colored pencils (with fancy electric pencil sharpener), pens and all kinds of markers. I was so excited when it all arrived and quickly set to picking out my first page to color.  Johanna’s drawings are exquisite..it was so hard to choose the first page!

It seemed like it would be easy and soothing, and maybe it is for some people. Not for me though. Trying to pick the right colors for each section seemed like it took forever, and I was never satisfied with any “section.” I would fuss at it, trying to perfectly shade in each teeny tiny space. I frustrated myself trying to envision how the “perfect” coloring would look. I couldn’t just have fun and “color at-will.” I just don’t have a knack for it.  I didn’t even get halfway through that page before I gave up.

That was over a year ago. I never opened the book again. I’m not even sure where I put it, honestly…somewhere so out of sight that I might never remember. But I saw these kinds of books everywhere, and it made me feel a little sad and empty that I never finished that page, never tore it out and hung it on my wall.

It was through my connection to Amy Venezia  that I met Lauren Ashbury. The moment I laid eyes on her work … I’m not even sure I know how to describe the pure joy I felt. It was like looking at those black-and-white drawings I struggled with already colored in…perfectly. But it was even better than that. Lauren drew and painted these herself, by hand!

Surrender

I purchased my first drawing by Lauren in June. As soon as it arrived I actually squealed with delight! It looked beautiful online, but in my hands it looked and felt like glorious treasure. I chose “Surrender” because it depicted how I was feeling on this journey…like I want to raise my hands to the sky and surrender my spirit to all that is around me, to open myself up to new ideas and experiences. The swirling blues and greens, the silver stars…it was everything I love. I stood in the sunlight and held this art in my hands for several minutes. And I felt good, really really good. So good that I sprinted back to Etsy to get this beauty a companion.

Miracles at Sunset

It seemed fitting that my second selection be “Miracles at Sunset.”  It was the same size as Surrender (7″ x 5.5″), and I thought it would be easy to frame them together. Once I did that, I was struck by how well they complement each other. The golden yellow stars with swirling shades of pink, the woman with her hair up, the peaceful focus…so many things about Miracles complete and balance Surrender, especially when they’re side-by-side. I hung these above my writing desk so that in moments of thinking, I can lean back and just look at these pictures. It instantly relaxes my mind and makes me feel soothed. But these aren’t the only inspirational works I have to gaze upon!

RainbowTadasana

It occurred to me that Lauren might start to think I’m some kind of creepy stalker if I bought  more of her pieces. But I pushed through that feeling quickly. 🙂 One week after purchasing Miracles, I went back to get two more pieces. Like Surrender and Miracles, Rainbow Tadasana is 7″ x 5.5″ and beautiful! This time, I wanted to share Lauren’s work with another person who would appreciate the delicate beauty of her talents. Knowing that I intended to gift this piece, Lauren even included an extra, new packaging envelope…in case I actually did give it away! Truth is, I still haven’t yet…there’s something about the scene in this picture that makes me feel like “I was once standing in that same spot, looking out over the landscape, feeling awash in color.” I’m sure I’ll part with it one day. After all, I have other beautiful pieces to look at, such as…

MoonRiver

“Moon River” (also known as “A Girl in an Evening Meditation”) is different from the other pieces in that it’s larger (12″ x 16″) and done in acrylics on canvas. This was the piece in Lauren’s shop that I wanted most from the very first time I laid eyes on it. I’ve never bought an actual, real painting before. I have lots of Van Gogh screenprint reproductions (his is the work I’ve admired most throughout my  life) but no unique, one-of-a-kind creations. Finally, I decided I’d denied myself long enough! I was going to have this canvas on my wall! Best. Decision. Ever.

Being a fan of Van Gogh, and a fan of inspirational quotes, my favorite is “For my part, I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.” Growing up where I did, I had easy access to a river…a place where I spent a lot of time just thinking. I still go back to that river fairly often and have spent many evenings there, under the stars. You can see them so clearly out there, away from the city lights. Especially in the winter months when the cold air seems to sharpen everything. It’s dazzling and awe inspiring. When I look at this piece, I feel like I’m right back at that river, wishing upon the stars.


To date, I have purchased THIRTEEN of Lauren’s amazing creations.


I have nine pieces from the Rainbow Chakra Meditation Series waiting to go into my Zen Den once its finished. Lauren and I are also currently collaborating on a custom piece that I am very excited about!

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AND!! I was  fortunate enough to win a custom drawing in her Labor Day giveaway! It might outwardly seem egotistical to choose my own name for the drawing, but I knew Lauren would create something I would love, something so perfectly “me,” and I was right!  I was already so happy to be selected as a winner, but I literally cried when I saw the finished piece. I highly recommend a visit to her shop to check out the gorgeous new offerings she has available !

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