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Hello, hello! It’s been a minute… I was feeling as though I had abandoned Of Love + Light during the month of May—unintentionally—but when I logged in this morning, I realized it wasn’t quite as lackluster as I’d thought. I did put up eight posts during the month, which certainly isn’t daily Monday through Friday, but is more than I’d remembered. I’ll chock that up to glass half-full… Small victory.

Please do stand by as I work to find balance and remain in a state of inspiration so that I can share that with you. I will state upfront that as we slide into summer, parenting and travels take a front seat, and I will spend a portion of the summer without any internet access. (Yes, such a thing still exists in the world!) I will continue to post intermittently, with a concerted effort to get the Weekly Creativity Challenge up and running, and be back more fully in the swing of things come September.

In the meantime, here are a few things that inspired me this past week:

San Diego: Kelsey Montague, Dr. Seuss and the Chuck Jones Gallery

My kiddos were off doing their own thing Memorial Day Weekend, so my husband and I had an impromptu day trip down to San Diego. While there, we walked around the Gaslamp District, and stumbled upon the Chuck Jones Art Gallery. I was drawn in by the huge banners of Dr. Seuss quotes on the doorway.

It was incredible to see not only illustrations from pages of the books, but also lesser-known Dr. Seuss artwork that can’t be found between hardbound covers. One image that particularly grabbed my attention was a self portrait of Dr. Seuss, as a furry character that you might see in one of his books, all alone and bent over a typewriter… looking puzzled and fearful, but pushing through it all to get his stories out into the world. I think the expression could feel familiar to any creative: the juxtaposition of the fear of vulnerability, combined with the call to create.

I snapped a quick pic from afar, so it’s hard to see, but it’s the photo in the middle.

I wasn’t familiar with Chuck Jones before coming across the gallery in San Diego, but he was the artist behind many of the Looney Tunes characters, so the minute I saw his work, it was familiar. There were several prints of Bugs Bunny and the Tasmanian Devil, along with an original drawing of his that is not for sale. You can learn more about him on the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity website, and read about his legacy. The Center for Creativity is located in Costa Mesa (Orange County) and works to ensure artwork and creative expression are accessible to everyone.

I love this Chuck Jones quote from the center’s website, which so closely mirrors my post about the child-centered no-judgement philosophy behind Hands on Art:

“I believe that all children will learn the joy of drawing if encouraged by ample materials, and love strong enough from their parents—and it must be very strong—to refrain from the well-intended but deadly use of unqualified criticism or excessive praise during the very early, very crucial, very creative years of childhood.”

—Chuck Jones

According to its website, Chuck founded the Center in 2000. He passed away in 2002, at 89 years old.

Five miles a few hours later, as we headed back to the car, we walked by a giant Kelsey Montague mural. I’ve shared a Kelsey Montague before, in my post on the Abbot Kinney Boulevard murals of Venice Beach… she’s an artist whose specialty seems to be wings, but really she paints anything that lifts you, with the hashtag #whatliftsyou. In addition to her wings, I’ve seen balloons and birds and bubbles and headphones. She (and her sister, who manages the business side of things) use Instagram to share new murals as they pop up, and update their location as they travel the world. Every time I check the Kelsey Montague page, she seems to be a different city!

Kelsey recently painted three murals at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, to support a hurt and healing community.

Here is the San Diego mural we saw:

Those bikes you see in front of it are all rentals… there are hundreds of bikes and scooters scattered all over the place. You use a credit card to unlock them, and can basically pick them up and drop them off wherever you like. We used our own two feet only, but it looked pretty cool… and there were a lot of people using the service!

Erna van Dyk: #ColorChallenge

My dear friend and spectacular artist Erna van Dyk is kicking off the summer with an eight week color challenge. This week is RED. I invite you to visit her website, join her Facebook group (Art with Erna), or see her Instagram page for more information on how to participate. It’s free, and an awesome way to focus on the world, one color at a time.

Here’s a photo of her Instagram feed:

I haven’t created my red image yet, but I’ll share it with you when I do! I invite you to create (or photograph) something red, and then share it in her Facebook group, or on Instagram. Be sure to tag #colorchallenge and #ernavandyk to fully engage in the community aspect, and to see what others are doing!

Teachers Rock

Finally, I wanted to share a feel good news story that I heard this morning. It’s about sixth-grade teacher Judith Toensing who (back in 1997) wrote on a student’s report card, “Invite me to your Harvard graduation.” That student, whose name is Christin Gilmer, never forgot that message, nor did she forget Judith’s passion for helping those living with HIV/AIDS. Last month, she graduated from Harvard with her Doctorate of Public Health.

Harvard was so touched by Christin’s tribute to her teacher that they flew Judith out to the graduation.

The story is a great reminder about how deeply teachers can shape our lives… and nice to see a story of a sixth grade teacher so dedicated to her students, as my own kids prepare for middle school this fall. I love that it was more than the message about Harvard that Christin remembered… it was the message of compassion and empathy and making a difference that she took to heart.

You can click here to read the full CNN version of the story, including a minute-long video and several photos.

ABOUT < OF LOVE + LIGHT >

Of Love + Light is a place for uplifting media, creative inspiration, art, nifty creative publications, and storytelling. I also offer editing, creativity coaching, and small business communications planning services. Founded by Alana Garrigues, Of Love + Light is your place to come, relax, feel inspired and loved, and share more of what’s good on this beautiful planet.

Of Love + Light has infinite possibilities, and YOU are a huge part of what this will look like. Want to talk? Send me an email!

“Little Things that Made Me Smile” was posted as part of the Daily Dose: Inspired series. 

Daily Dose: Inspired… Looking for a small something to get you inspired to take on the day? This is the place to come for a photo, a song, a pick-me-up quote, a little slice of happy. At least, these are the things that inspire me!