I am saddened by the news. So shortsighted. :(
Oprah Magazine recently commissioned me to do eight spot illustrations for an article about summer adventures. The adventures included things like swimming with a mermaid tail (totally order-able online, who knew?), discovering your ancestry and recreating their photos, listening to a new podcast, waterparks, visiting a new city, movie parties, sipping pink wines and check out this summer's solar eclipse. All sound fun to me!
Above you'll see a video SALT Project and I put together for Oprah Magazine. And below you can see the illustrations in the wild. :) Enjoy!
My heart breaks for the families in Manchester. Children? That could have been my daughter. That could have been your son. They are all our kids.
I don’t know how to solve violence like this on a large scale. Calling the people who did this losers doesn’t help. I think down deep people are hurting and feeling lost. Including those who commit these horrible acts. Being lost becomes a blindness to suffering.
I might be naive, but I think we need to make connections to keep people from doing things like this in the future. Connect with those who are hurting. Show them they deserve kindness. That they are deserving of compassion just because they exist. Connect also with your dear ones and teach them how to love so big they can’t keep it in.
I think it starts with looking people in the eye. Saying hello and asking how they are right now. Acknowledging those around you. It’s not turning your back and pretending you don’t see pain and suffering and difference. It’s listening to each other and learning that our differences are what make us interesting. It makes us people. And on a micro-level change can happen. And it can grow.
I strive for simplicity - I love stripping away complexity and getting things down to their essence. I try to not make things harder than they need to be. These little butterflies remind me of that.
Feeling grateful this morning because for a minute things feel simple. Getting ready to head out for a walk. Watering the garden. Birds singing. Tea steeping. A load of laundry tumbling in the washer. I am holding this moment.
I thought it'd be fun to show you the painting process. Hope you enjoy!
Friends! Like many of you, I'm alarmed and pretty outraged about the proposed replacement for the Affordable Care Act.
Leaving 24 million people uninsured and drastically raising costs for older people and those with pre-existing conditions (I know lots of these folks!) while providing tax breaks for the wealthy isn't just a bad idea; it's wrong.
I created these postcards you can use to reach out to your legislators, urging them to fight for a better solution. Mine is already addressed to Senator Joe Donnelly, who I believe will stand with us, but I wanted to make my voice heard. I urge you to do the same!
If you need a script, 5Calls.org is super helpful. Just type in your zip code, find the issue and use the script they supply. Here's what I wrote. Feel free to use it:
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I, Penelope Dullaghan, from Indianapolis, IN am outraged that the House Representatives rammed the AHCA through without without review or consideration for the majority of Americans. THE PEOPLE want the Affordable Care Act to be improved, not replaced. I urge you to vote against it in the Senate.
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Hooray! First camping trip is on the books. Feeling solid going into this weekend. Happy Friday, friends!
EDITED TO SAY: All spots for the workshop have been filled. If you email me, I'll put you on the waiting list in case someone else has a change of plans. * * * *
Friends in Indianapolis: I believe I've mentioned here before that I am teaching an in depth block printing class at Squam Art Workshops in New Hampshire in June. To prep and strengthen my teaching skills, I thought it'd be helpful and fun to host a mini-workshop here at my house in Indianapolis.
On Saturday May 20th, from 2-4pm, please join me at my house for a mini-workshop. We'll be doing simple linoleum block printing; covering ideas for coming up with an image or motif, learning how to transfer your design to your block, easy carving methods and how to print with your finished block. This workshop is designed for all skill levels - I promise it's simple even if you've never done it before!
I'm hosting this at my house in Indianapolis, so I'm limiting participants to 10 people. I will supply all the tools and materials you need for a $35 kit fee. At the end, I'll hand out an evaluation form for you to give me suggestions and critique to help my teaching.
To sign up for this mini-workshop and get more information, email me: penny(at)penelopedullaghan.com.
It's gonna be so fun!
The March for Science is coming up on Earth Day (April 22nd), and I've got free posters for you to print and bring with you to your march! This poster is free, all that I ask is that you not sell them and print them only for your personal use. Thank you!
Printing Instructions: Feel free to print this at home. Or you can bring this file to your local printer (locate a Kinko's). The 14"h x 19"w, version is about $15 at Kinko's. It looks great at bigger sizes too! For about $37 you can ask them to mount it on foam core. Or save money by posting on recycled cardboard.
Friday night Well Done Marketing hosted a show of my illustrations. I framed a bunch of my images and they hung on the walls of Well Done's new space. It was so kind of them to host my work and the night was busy and so much fun! I am really thankful to everyone who came out to say hello.
One of the best parts of the night: I created props for some photo booth fun (I love stuff that invites people to interact, as I think having something "to do" really helps with lightening the mood ... more on this in a bit). Well Done hired a professional photographer and people had so much playing with the idea! Here are a few of my favorite images:
What I really want to talk about though, is social anxiety. I read on ADDA.org that about 15 million American adults have social anxiety. I would consider myself one of them. I don't think I'm a particularly bad case, but I know I've missed out on opportunities because of it. And I definitely feel uncomfortable and out of my element in social situations and would rather stay home. I'm a typical introvert, I guess.
I used to shy away from admitting that, but then I read the book "Quiet" by Susan Cain. Between that and her Quiet Revolution, I now understand that being introverted is not something to be ashamed of; it's a valid and perfectly ok way to be. And it's funny - since I've started admitting it out loud - a lot of people have been supportive and sensitive to my temperament.
In fact, at the show on Friday, a few people came up to me, gave me a hug and asked how I was doing with the social aspect of things. (So thoughtful!) And my answer was "I'm actually doing really well." And it was true. This may have been the first event where my heart wasn't racing and I could hear myself think. I had conversations with people without panicky feelings inside, and I was totally present in my body the entire night.
But that feeling of ease didn't come out of the blue. I prepped for it. I'm by no means an introvert expert (check out the Quiet Revolution link above for that), but I will tell you some things I did that I believed helped me on Friday night.
- First off, I stopped working early. Normally I don't think to give myself much transition time, but I wanted to arrive in a calm state this time. The event started at 6pm, so at 3 I turned off my computer, shut my studio door and closed up shop. I grabbed a leash and headed outside for a slow walk with my dog. I think the fresh air was helpful, and going slow set the pace for the night.
- When I got home from the walk I rolled out my yoga mat and did a few simple and grounding poses. I thought about some ideas from anusara yoga: keeping the inner body bright and the outer body soft. This became my intention for the night - inner body bright, outer body soft. And I laid down in savasana for 15 minutes with that going through my head as kind of a mantra.
- It sounds silly, but I think what I wore helped contribute to my self of calm, too. I really don't like dressing up, preferring to wear jeans and t-shirts most of the time. I don't even own many dress clothes because they just gather dust in my closet. However, the one dress I do own, I love. It's a really simple black, short sleeve straight dress made of 75% silk and 25% cotton. I can put a black long sleeved t-shirt under it if it's cold (and I did), and wear tights or leggings and it looks put together. I'm 5'11 so heels are unnecessary, so I wore my most comfortable flat boots that feel like slippers. In other words - nothing pinched, felt tight or made me feel awkward.
- Arriving early. I heard a tip from Susan Cain on a podcast interview she did that said arriving early was helpful for introverts because you don't enter into a big crowd. You start small and then as the guests continue to arrive you feel more comfortable because you feel a bit of ownership of the space. It really does work.
- Something "to do". (I told you I'd circle around to it.) I am a "project" person, meaning - if we have a task or activity we're doing together, I'm much more likely to feel comfortable and open up. It feels like less pressure than if we just stare at each other and talk. So I really wanted photo booth props to be a part of the show so people (I) had something to do. The props were an intentional conversation starter, something for people to accomplish (have you gotten your photo taken yet?) and a built in laugh (because how you can you not smile with a clown nose and bow tie?). It worked like a charm.
- What I ate and drank helped keep me calm, too, I think. I don't love sweets (yes, I'm the one) so I wasn't tempted by the caramel corn, cookies or popsicles available at the party. I think my blood sugar remained stable from the eggs and potatoes I made at home before I left. And during the party I drank only water - no alcohol. I never felt like I was tipsy or might say something I'd regret. In the past I've had a drink or two because I thought it would help loosen me up. But I don't really need that to have a good conversation. I need to be present.
- Close friends. I'd invited a few good friends who I felt really comfortable with, and that made a huge difference. One friend is really funny and she made me laugh a lot. And my neighbor, who might be the kindest person I know, came also and I feel comfortable talking with her. So having those friends there gave me a built in conversation when I needed it.
- Lastly, leaving on a high note. A few hours into the party, I'd had some great conversations and felt like I'd connected well with people. Lots of people were chatting, laughing and having a good time. And I remembered the advice one of my most extroverted friends had given me - leave on a high note. She'd said it about kids - always leave before they get too tired and start melting down. But I think it applies to introverts, too. Leave while it's still good. That way you can put it down in the books as a success. So I said my goodbyes and thank yous and left about a half hour before the scheduled end time. Success.
I think all those things together helped make me comfortable and feel good about the way it turned out. I'm so grateful for the friends that came out that night. Especially the ones who know about my tendency to be anxious and came to offer their presence and support. I hope I can do the same for them sometime. I'm looking forward to applying these ideas to future events and seeing if they hold up.
I'd also like to hear from you! Do you know if you're introverted or extroverted? If you're introverted, what strategies to you use to feel comfortable in social situations? I'm all ears for more ideas!
Thanks for sticking with this very long post. I hope it was helpful! :)
The march is a celebration of science, and about the role it plays in each of our lives.
You wouldn't think science needed to be defended, but in the face of an alarming political trend toward discrediting scientific consensus and restricting scientific discovery, we really do need to speak out in its defense.
People who value science have remained silent for too long in the face of new policies that ignore scientific evidence and endanger both human life and the future of our world. Science, Not Silence.
Have you seen Dutch magazine FLOW? I can't think of a more inspiring pub. The images and the articles are like the most colorful candy you can imagine - you really can't help but smile as you read it.
So of course I was over the moon when they asked for two illustrations to accompany their feature on Slow Reading. Two things I love individually, and together... yum!
Here's the cover (I didn't illustrate this, but isn't it lovely!):
And the two illustrations I contributed:
In our house we talk a lot about stopping and taking a deep breath in whenever we experience a good moment or come across unexpected beauty. Literally dwelling on that positive thought for just a bit longer than we normally would. We also talk about letting the negative moments slide by without holding onto them longer than we need to.
My 8 year old has been struggling with some negative thinking lately and talking about this seems to be helpful for her. For me too. It reminds me to build up beauty reserves in my mind so those paths are the ones I travel more naturally in my thinking. Drawing is a good way to do this. I noticed my forsythia in bloom this morning- bright yellow as the sun. Spending 5 minutes studying it with drawing before I start work made me appreciate it all the more.
I hope you all have a happy Friday and notice moments of beauty in your day too.
Just popping in to tell you that an interview I did recently with Elizabeth from Squam Art Workshops is now live on their website. The podcast is called "Morning on the Dock" and it's just a breezy chat about how I started off working in advertising, my leap to freelance illustration and a bit of my philosophy and thoughts about it all. Oh, and Elizabeth learns how to pronounce my last name once and for all. (hee!) I hope you'll enjoy!
I was feeling really blue yesterday... just down and depleted. So this morning I took a long, meandering walk by the river. It's been a few days without my daily walks due to my current heavy workload, and I've missed them. It really is medicine. Walking slowly. Listening to the birds sing - blissful in their world. Hearing the water move over rocks unseen. Welcoming the warm sun on my face. Feeling the cold around my fingers. Climbing over fallen trees. Stopping and breathing as deeply as I could. Collecting tiny amazing things.
I am well again.
In this crazy and hateful time, it's so important to make our voices heard. Write your Senators. Write Washington. Tell them what you believe in, and tell them to support THE PEOPLE, not their private interests.
This is the first action of the Women's March. For help in finding addresses to send to, click here and look for Step 3. For inspiration on what to write about, and to have a script to help you know what to say exactly, click here.
I've designed postcards for you to print out and use to make it easier! Print on cardstock for the best result - it will hold up in the mail. Cut them out with scissors and write your message and the address on the back. Put a stamp on it, pop it in the mail and make your views known! You can do this every day... it only takes a few minutes.
Together we are stronger!
Hi guys! I need to focus on something positive this morning so I don't fall into deep, deep gloom. Maybe you feel the same? With that in mind, I wanted to share with you a site I'm doing artwork for that is all about good cheer. Brightly is a new resource to help moms and dads grow lifelong readers.
This site is really wonderful - I'm on it all the time for inspiration! They give book recommendations for readers of all levels, offer suggestions on various topics (everything from celebrating diversity to going to the dentist for the first time, etc), and also have fun printable activities to help engage kids in reading.
Here's the first piece I did for them in full - to help promote their book club for kids.
I'm super honored to be working with them! And hope you'll check them out for yourself.