Today's Inspiration: The Death of an Insect

I have been doing a bit of moth/butterfly research for an upcoming project. I came across this incredible work by the Finnish animation team of Hannes Vartiainen & Pekka Veikkolainen. I just had to share it.

This is experimental animation at it's best. This film was created with stop motion, 3D modeling and CT Scans. You can check out more of their work here.

The Death of an Insect - Erään hyönteisen tuho from Pohjankonna Oy on Vimeo.

The Declaration of You! Learning to Trust

Learning to Trust the Universe by Debbie Styer 2013
I am excited to write my third and final post for The Declaration of You! Blog Lovin' Tour. As some of you know, I took the Declaration of You! e-course a few years ago and fell in love with it. It pointed me in right direction and asked the kind of deep questions to get me off the coach and on to the work I was meant to bring into this world...  The book The Declaration of You! (which is inspired by the the e-course) by Michelle Ward and Jessica Swift and is out now for you all to enjoy.

This Week's topic: Trust!

I'm pretty hard on myself so trust is a difficult thing for me. I thought I had to make exactly all the right decisions in order for my life to work out miraculously perfect. If anything didn't work out as I planned, the self doubt and fear flowed...Sound like you?

Here's a little story on how I learned trust...

Now, I must say,  I'm not a hugely religious person but years ago,  before I met my amazing husband, I was having the worst time meeting anyone to love me. Sad but very true. Everything seemed to go wrong, the guys I was meeting were pretty terrible (both online and in the real world). I just didn't get it. The more I tried to control what was happening to me the worse it got, and the more desperate I got. It was not a pretty picture. And I was miserable.

Then one day things changed...I just let go. Everyday I would walk by this beautiful church and instead of pleading Help Me to God (or the Universe, Buddha, or whatever you would like to call it),  I starting saying Thank You for the things that went wrong. I began learning from my mistakes and I could clearly see that what I wanted was not necessarily right for me. There must be a reason for the way my life was working out. I started to trust that there was some big plan for me out there in the Universe. I know it sounds silly, but it was one of the great epiphanies of my life.

Learning to trust in something bigger than me lifted so much weight off my shoulders. I didn't need to put so much pressure on myself when something went wrong, and I could better understand when something went right. I was learning to trust something deep inside myself, I was learning to trust my soul.

When I finally met my  husband, I was able to see that this brilliant... crazy... crooked (and sometimes painful) pathway made absolutely perfect sense. Everyday, I still Thank the Universe for my life. I thank the Universe for my friends and family and all those who helped me become the person I am supposed to be.

Now, I open my heart again with my artwork. Again I am trusting the Universe that there is a plan out there for me. Everyday, that I create more work and share it with the world, the pressure of self-loathing and fear is going away. My soul is connected to something big. And I feel like I am indeed on the right path. I may not know exactly where I might end up but I trust that it will be the right place for me. And I am happy...

A few things for you to ponder...

Learning to trust is a pretty powerful thing, don't you agree?

Do you trust you are on the right path for your soul?

Do you think there is a plan for you?

As I wrap up this last Declaration of You! post, I also wanted to thank Michelle and Jessica for helping me along my crazy path. You guys are awesome, and I wish you tons of success with this incredible book. May it help lift, advise and encourage millions of people throughout the world.

One last thing, if you want to read my other Declaration of You! posts. They are here (on Success) and here (on Self-Care).

A Night of Vegas Type

I took a quick trip last week through Yosemite, to Bodie & Las Vegas. It was so fun and a bit nice to be unplugged for  few days. I will admit Las Vegas was a bit overwhelming to me. I found myself getting lost in the huge buildings...but I really loved the old part of Vegas, Fremont Street. It was a bit dirtier and naughtier than the fanciness of Caesar's Palace where we stayed. And I was pretty fascinated by all the neon.  Here's a few pictures that I took....

So fun. I love vintage neon. Too bad the Neon Museum was closed last week(it moved). Maybe next time.

If you're interested, you can check out my Bodie (an Old West Ghost Town) flickr set here. Also, I've been working on a bunch of new illustrations and I will post them soon.

Art Heroes - Southworth & Hawes Photography

Some of the most inspiring (and oldest) photography was done by the photography firm of Southworth & Hawes  ( Albert Sands Southworth (1811–1894) and Josiah Johnson Hawes (1808–1901).  They were primary active between from 1843-1863 in Boston.

These guys really amaze me. I love the way they arrange their subjects. The sitters seem a lot more real then most of the Victorian photography I've seen before. They photographed some of the most famous people of the time including Louisa May Alcott, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Daniel Webster. But the daguerreotypes that really stand out for me are the everyday people...the "unidentified" people.

Unidentified Child, circa 1850
The Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Family, 1849

"The artist, even in photography, must go beyond discovery and the knowlege of facts; he must create and invent truths and produce new developments of facts. "
--A.S. Southworth, 1870
Death of Pain (first public administered Ether anesthesia)1847

Rollin Heber Neal

Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1857

Alice Mary Hawes, 1852

"Learn to look and see the difference under different lights in the same faces. Learn to see the fine points in every face, for the plainest faces in the world are human faces, belonging to human beings... "
--A. S. Southworth, 1873
Unidentified Girl with Ringlets, circa 1850's
Unidentified Woman, circa 1850
Unidentified Dead Child, Circa 1855

"In the nice production of light and shade which is the perfection of modelling, the Daguerreotype will be found to surpass the Artist's best efforts, being capable of representing independently, action, expression, and character to a great extent; and in some instances approaches very nearly, if it does not equal these higher branches, thus developing beauty in grace of motion and in repose, which is the first object and the supreme law of all Art."
--A.S. Southworth, 1855

Two Women Posed with a Chair, ca. 1850 
Unidentified Woman, 1852
Laura Bridgman, 1855

Winchester Family Tomb, Mount Auburn Cemetery, circa 1853

Unidentified Girl, 1850
Winter Portrait with Fur Coat and Gloves

Unidentified Child, 1850

Of course this is only a tiny bit of work by Southwork & Hawes. You can find more in the book, "Young America: The Daguerreotypes of Southworth & Hawes. You can also see more Photographs in this flickr set from the George Eastman House.

I hope these daguerreotypes have inspired you as much as they inspire me. 

Now, I'm off to work on a custom portrait...

Weekly Brain Mushings

I've been working away trying to get everything ready for the Etsy art show. I'm trying hard to get over my inner messy kid and find the perfectionist within. I'm working on measuring everything perfectly, over thinking everything and basically rethinking my entire life and career...

Yep, I'm driving myself nuts, but in a good way. It is pretty wonderful when you push your self father than you've gone in the past. And looking towards a hopeful future.

I came upon this wonderful TED talk by Alain de Botton.

 His talk really calms me. Basically he says we are all driving ourselves nuts.  Doesn't it feel good that we are all in this crazy world together?