Daydreams Diary: Storms in the Clouds

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Sleepy Sundays: Brighter Day

Brighter Day © 2018 Snapping Turtle Arts | cardcastlesinthesky.com

A lot has changed in the past few months. Even more is still changing. We are no longer moving our place of residence and this office. (At least not any time in the near future.) A great deal has gone on behind the scenes.

One thing remains constant. My health is still considerably poor. We are doing our best to fix this. Although, I’m not too sure what’s in the cards for me.

We decided to renew CardCastles for another year anyway. Somehow, I still have this strange optimism despite having tea with the reaper lately. There’s so much more to tell you, but we’re going to have to save that for a Daydreams Diary. For now, let’s all just try to look towards brighter days together.

What gives you hope?

Have a peaceful Sunday

31 Nightmares 2017: The 19th

Wisps
© 2017 Snapping Turtle Arts | cardcastlesinthesky.com

Sometimes the strange and otherworldly creeps into my head when I’ve had a particularly stressful period of time. My body will literally feel drained by the mental taxing and eventually it gives out and I’ll head into a deep sleep. This is the usual recipe for my nightmares.

You’ve heard me describe settings of hope within these dreams before here during #31Nightmares.

This artwork is the visual representation of a place that brought hope inside one of my most terrifying dreams. Myself and a group of friends were being chased by a lake like an old-school splatter movie. Though, from a first person perspective in my nightmares, this was not the sort of place I wanted to stay long. These little wisps were lights that helped lead us out of a barren area of the forest.


This has been Day 19

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Daydreams Diary: I’m Waiting Here

Truth is I’m long overdue for one of these things. So-much-so that I don’t know where to begin.

With that said, like a wise friend once told me,

“Start at the beginning.”

 

Still Ill

Since the tail-end of 2015, I’ve been wrapped under ill health. I’ve hinted at it here before, but never blatantly stated there is something very wrong going on in my body that could possibly cost me my life.

I guess I didn’t want to worry you.

I didn’t want to add to your stress.

I could barely accept it myself.

After all, I am a mother.

 

Months of Work With No Reward

Book covers and album art might seem like easy work to someone outside of my field. Until they try it themselves and see just how grueling it can be. Most quit within the first year.

It takes a trained eye to be able to determine what is going to pull a person in. Concept artists are in the business of bringing your visions to life. This sometimes involves an almost spiritual gift to “see” into someone’s head.

I’ve been at this now professionally past the year mark. The job itself has come with countless rewards. These past few months have been different, though. It seems nothing I’m working on is getting off the ground.

 

More Hate (As Usual)

Riding off to run errands one morning I hear a distinctly familiar voice on the radio. He was being interviewed by a popular shock jock around these parts (and nationally). The man went on trashing some female that he only referred to as “some chick on Instagram.”

Needless to say that “chick” was me and that interview cost me some clients. I’ll spare you the details. This person doesn’t even know me. They only know of me, due to the fact we move in similar circles.

It didn’t stop there.

After the atrocities going on in my country, I could no longer allow myself to stay silent on certain topics sadly deemed “political” issues.

This has gotten me labeled, attacked, and ultimately shunned. All because I am sticking up for people who’s voices get silenced daily. But, this is not new to me. I had the same role growing up in school. I’m used to standing up to bullies in defense of my friends. Though just like then, sooner or later, I expect to be attacked or silenced—just like them. This does not mean I’ll stop; no, much to the contrary. I simply acknowledge that this is a tough fight, that will probably still be going on long after I meet my end.

 

Hope

The hardest part about writing this isn’t publishing it.

It’s the knowing that most of this will go over people’s heads.

It’s the knowing that the same people who slashed me up for being “too positive” all the time will criticize this for being “too negative.”

It’s the feeling that this could possibly be the last thing I write.

It’s the knowing that no matter what I do, I can’t fix any of it. (And I’m a control freak.)

It’s the knowing that no matter what height I reach, someone will always be there to knock me back down.

Though despite all of this shit, I will not give up or give in. Heaven knows I’ve been through worse.

As long as I’m still here there’s a chance to spin this all around. After all, I’ve got things planned and that doesn’t stop just because I’m ill.

 

Family & Friends

My sister is having a baby. I’ll be an auntie this May. I wish I could say this is cause for celebration but, sadly my relationship with my sister is becoming strained. I want to be there with her when she delivers. I want to help solve all of her problems. But I can’t. I’m not always available when everyone needs me. Some people in my life understand that. Most don’t. I have a demanding job, an even more demanding side-job, and I’m the mother of a child that needs extra care. Some people misinterpret this as me not caring for them. Now, I can add my own flesh and blood to that list.

 

No Time to Wallow in the Mire

Even with all of that heavy muck, I have no time to stop. There’s a client waiting on my work as we speak. I have three days to make magic happen. There’s a Sleepy Sundays piece of artwork waiting to be published for you bright & early. My son needs me 24/7, and that doesn’t stop when I’m sick. It’s open season on every single person I love, so you know I’m not going to shut up about all that anytime soon. Not while people I care about along with myself are persecuted, ridiculed, labeled, silenced, and shoved away.

I could just shut down. It would be easy. It would feel good. I’d get some much-needed peace.

But what fun would that be? I’ve been sent here to create—to heal.

Someone I care deeply about that has been somewhat of a mentor to me this past year and well into 2017 recently said,

“I can’t live in a world without art.”

So why in the world would I let that happen? As long as I live and breathe here on this Earth, why would I ever stop?

I was born for this.

So c’mon baby light my fire…

Sleepy Sundays: What the Wind Blew In

Over this weekend I had the unique opportunity to finally catch up with some friends. Being buried under some snow helped get some projects nearer to completion.

The common theme that seemed to ring through every single conversation was one of hope. We all feel it. In this industry I get to work with a lot of different walks of life. Some of us are artists. Others are musicians. Some are actors, authors, and bloggers. You catch my drift. We are a colorful bunch.

These friends have been telling me in different forms they sense this is going to be a tremendous year for the arts. That thought in itself brings me some hope for this year.

What has you hopeful for 2017?

Have a hope-filled Sunday!

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A Year in CardCastles: 2015

CC 2015 Highlights Badge Icon

Twenty-fifteen will go down in my rear-view as the year that played Russian Roulette with my emotions.

There were unforeseen highs and uncertain roads. I saw a closing of doors and an opening of many others. My friends and I suffered some devastating losses, but I was reminded to be thankful for those that are still here.

Then one of my biggest influences passed away, and my life took a turn to carry on old paths and forgotten dreams…

These are the moments that made, (and almost broke, but ultimately…well, you’ll see) CardCastles in 2015.

 

 

CardCastles 2015 Highlights

January

We started off small and quietly. I shared about fears in Ashes over at Stories That Must Not Die, and reposted it here since the story tied in to some past thoughts shared.

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February

There was a  l o v e theme.

Window to the Heart

Then, I was blindsided by change. The future of CardCastlesInTheSky hung in the balance. A former large part and driving force of my site used to be the gallery. By clicking on the gallery you used to be taken to my Twenty20 Store where my designs could be purchased in many forms. Just shy of three years I decided to part ways with this company due to a shift in ideals.

You can read about the gallery closing here~> in All Good Things Must Come to an End 

This post was one of my Top 5 viewed this year.

If you’re curious as to why I decided to stop selling my artwork and designs/home décor, you can read some of the reasons in, Blowing the Doors Wide Open .

 

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March

Repeat The story of the gallery closing had a happy ending/new beginning on March 1st. I first premiered my new gallery home at the base of my new project Snapping Turtle Publishing.

You can read about the gallery opening in, Blight and Blastoff. *This was among my Top 10 viewed posts this year.

You were all so welcoming and supportive of me going out on my own!

I went into uncharted land and climbed out on a limb. Once outstretched on that branch I jumped into the fire.

You cheered me on every step of the way.

 I will forever be grateful for that.

Sight

 

The stats climbed as I started to delve into touchy topics like in Stuck On Repeat.

Don’t let the page “Likes” fool you, this post got quite a few views across the internet. My Twitter stats reflect that this post made over 1,000 impressions in less than a day.

Even with all that, your favorite post that month was Sleepy Sundays: Strange Hope.

That new variation of an old design brought some more attention to my artwork than ever before. It started to shock me, really. It brought in a lot of art lovers and new followers and readers to the site. By the end of the month, we even had some celebrity readers and fans in the music industry.

I felt like I was in some strange dream.

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April

We spread acceptance.

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My dear friend and Stories family member Matticus shared an important discussion topic over at Stories and we shared it here as well. You can read that post here~> in the end, it’s just an opinion

There was a photo journal of a trip to NY and you all loved it. Those were among some of the most popular posts that month.

Soon after the stats jumped even more.

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Screencap of WordPress Notification
This was only mirrored in other posts throughout the months. We shared more at Stories and I passed it on here. Now it was just a matter of waiting for our friend to return home and join the rest of her friends.

New readers poured in all finding me through common interests. I started to make detailed reports combining the Statistics here with the CardCastles Twitter and Google Analytics.  The results gave me insight on what people came here for and how to plan for the future of things here.

Then some hurtles started to show themselves, and it was almost like something could be felt in the air.
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May

Then it all went silent.

I lit a candle for the second time to pay respect to a friend.

We had lost somebody dear to us, and for a while, it all didn’t make sense.

Heart Light

Friends along with the Stories team mourned this loss and gathered together.

We wore blue to stand with our friend in some form. I wrote about my own experience the day of the funeral in Sleepy Sundays: Old Friend. The piece remains one of the most complemented renderings this year. 

I lent my artwork over to Stories so Matticus could vent his feelings of grief. He was the mouthpiece for the rest of us that only echoed his feelings. 

Then something happened through that grief.

Love

A family was solidified. A community rallied around that family, and they slowly lifted us up.
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June

The request for this piece set into motion the beginning of self-employment. My first steps out on my own as an artist, free from any former companies. You can read the story behind that here. ~> Paint On the Walls

Kiss the Sun From that point I was fully and officially out on my own with this art business. This freelance thing has been uphill (and stressful, but mostly uphill) ever since.
I started getting more interest and emails asking about features and guests, so we set plans in motion for July.

We Regrouped & Recouped and then we Disconnected with a little help from Estelle. 

It was a heavy month, but we went out on a high note. 

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July

This month, although seeming promising from June’s point of view, managed to deal another blow.

Despite the tone, The Hits Just Keep On Comin’ got the most comments this year.

After processing that upset, we paved the way for better times.

Better times arrived.
We became a legit business. Now we can toss around business cards and stuff. 

Har har.

~~~~~

We Celebrated 3 Years!

We set plans.

We Broke Records!

My Creepy Reads and Local Legends post featuring author J.P. Pollack and his book Death On the Devil’s Teeth flooded CardCastles with the most views ever in one day and most views in under 30 minutes. 

It still holds the top spot. 

I learned a valuable lessons in planning when the CardCastles Artist Spotlight bombed.

We Moved On

…and may have broken the internet while we welcomed home a friend.

I shocked all of you when I lifted the veil for the very first time over at Stories in To Paint a Picture. I’m just sorry it was under those circumstances, but I regret nothing.

July was like some erratic squirrel, but in hindsight, I grew tremendously from it. 

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August

Roadside garnered quite a bit of positive attention.

We planned again in the Summer’s End Approaches and you liked it. This was among the Top 15 viewed this year.

And this one…We Could Be Heroes

and then some more bad news.

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September

It started with bad news, and me writing this~>Dare to Dream: A Tribute to Wes Craven

and the idea for 31 Nightmares was born.

It was planned for the entire month.

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October

The 31 Nightmares Series

31 Nightmares
#31 Nightmares Series
Myself and guests shared horror-inspired works in honor of film legend, Wes Craven.

 

New York Comic Con

I took a trip to see friends and ended up with one of the greatest experiences of a lifetime. This group of buddies that have become some strange family, all knew each other for close to five years. There’s a few crazy stories how we all got to know one another and they all involve gaming, of which we are avid fans.

 The stars must have aligned because the one year I was able to go, the developers of one of our favorite games were hosting a panel.

The entire time blew my mind. Warframe liked our tweets about it too!

October was liberating and therapeutic any many ways. 31 Nightmares brought in so many new people I’m planning on resurrecting it next year. Here’s how crazy it went with numbers:CardCastles Twitter Stats Oct 2015

October yielded 11.7 thousand impressions. I’d say we left quite a mark!

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November

Out of nowhere I started getting requests for my services. Book illustration, logo design, book covers, animation, intro videos, website design, you name it. I was so excited and overwhelmed by it all I may have said yes to too many things.

This was all, however, a blessing in disguise. It’s teaching me to plan better & manage anxiety.
I got to joke around with one of the stars of one of my favorite shows. 

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December

 The year-end posts I made on social media said it all. You all make this place what it is. 

There is so much left out of these highlights & I could go on for days. Just know that you all made this a special year of healing & change for me.

Thank you deeply for reading, sharing, viewing, and staying with me through such a rough & trying (but triumphant) year!

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See you next year! 

 

Sleepy Sundays: Strange Hope

Strange HopeStrange Hope

Normally, I give you a little background info on the piece being showcased. Today I’m going to leave you with some mystery and say only the idea for this piece came to me during a low, rather somber moment.

What symbol of hope have you seen recently?

Have a hopeful Sunday!

Love Everyone Anyway

Children with disabilities should not be remembered for what they can’t do or can’t do well.
I feel a piercing need to share that thought & this simple art because of that.

After Rain
I’ve spent a lot of time in therapist’s offices & schools lately because of my own son’s needs in speech and some of the sensory issues he has.
These children are extremely bright. They just need to be taught differently than the “typical” or “normal” kids.
What the heck is normal anyway? I’ve always hated that word.

My hope for the future & future generations is that we stop making snap judgements or discriminating against people for things we may not fully understand.

I could go on & on for days about this subject…but my head is tired & my eyes are weary. It takes a lot to type on without letting tears fall.
So I’ll leave you with this:

If you love someone, imagine what it would be like if one of their abilities were taken away or lessened.
It could be anything, eyesight, hearing, use of their limbs or whole body, brain injury, mental disorder.
Ask yourself: Would you love them any less?
I’m sure the answer is “No.”, right?
Now, as a human race..let’s try to have that outlook on everything, everybody.