I have been really into mandalas and extensive circular patterns. They look great on the center of the hands (both sides); the symmetry is perfect. One can keep continuing the design, making the mandala bigger and bigger (unless of course he/she is working on a smaller hand).
Recently I've been obsessed with filling up the fingers with moroccan patterns. They are a bit more difficult to do but the results are worth it. Wouldn't you agree?
These are uncertain times. The world is afraid and in absolute disarray. Innocent people are dying everywhere and it is especially hard in these times to have any sort of hope.
In these times, we cling to what is necessary, what is near; specifically, our faith and our friends.
Nothing calms my head more so than doing henna designs (on either myself of my friends). Two of my friends came over and I drew on their hands, we had an impromptu henna party. It was great to spend time with them and also to further perfect my craft. Sometimes doing henna on my own hands gets tiresome and it is so much more fun to photograph others hands after I finish my work. These designs were great and my subjects were, too!
Let us hope that devastation and despair is replaced by hope, everywhere. No more fear, intolerance, hatred, bigotry, and let us fight to end oppression and injustice!
The joy of spontaneity is in the word itself. An unpredictable surprise at an unknown point in time. In a life of routines, spontaneity is often thrown aside for an easier, predictable life. I prefer to go home and spend time watching reruns of the same shows instead of going outside and doing or trying something different.
Last week however, in a burst of spontaneity, I decided on a last minute trip to Edinburgh, Scotland and Amsterdam. I met with some friends in Edinburgh, spent 2 days touring the city and on the way back I toured Amsterdam alone. What a great way to have spent the weekend and I certainly encourage every person to be spontaneous in their lives. It changes things, one meets new people, tries new things (like hiking a dormant volcano); all in all it fosters change in a generously sheltered life such as mine.
The rest of the city (and country) is very green. A dormant volcano called Arthur's seat lies in the city limits and we hiked up its 800 ft summit to enjoy spectacular view of the city.
There are many streets closely packed together, alleys called "closes" that have very interesting historic stories and were, essentially, tenement apartment dwellings without proper ventilation. Plagues festered and destroyed the lives of thousands in those closes. Walking along the royal mile in the old town feels as if one has stepped back in time. It is stunningly well kept, the closes are in great structural condition, too. One can easily imagine how life must have been in those days, in small cramped rooms beneath towering steeples and grey skies.
Two weeks ago I never would have thought that I would be standing on the summit of Arthur's seat, looking over the city of Edinburgh, with volcanic ridges and moors around me. Absolutely love spontaneity...the idea of not knowing tomorrow has become quite a romantic idea indeed.
The flu, by far it has been the worst thing I have ever felt in my life. The fever, aches and pains, the coughing, it was quite unpleasant.
However, those three days at home did lead to some blinged out, henna inspired iPhone cases using metallic markers, nail polish, and rhinestones from Michaels. I now have four different cases to use, its like giving my iPhone a choice of what it wants to wear for the day!
I would like to conduct an experiment. Once a week I will confess something and see what the results of the confession will be. There are no goals in this endeavor, I'm just bored. And therein lies my first confession: I get bored, a lot. I live most of my real life inside of my head, in a series of fantasy worlds. The tangible world and its day to day constructs bore me.
I did some freehand sketches with a pen and spent some time with the ducks and swans at the Prospect Park Lake. There is stunning beauty even on the most coldest of days.
My mind is far ahead of where my body is at any given time. It is exhausting. Constantly I remind myself to slow down and rejoice in the present for it is transient; meanwhile the future remains unknown and unpredictable.
Several years ago on a cold day in February, I was lucky enough to spend a single day in Paris, France. While I hated the time constraints we had, in retrospect that single day left memories that have idealized the city for me. Everything I remember about Paris is beautiful because my time there was so short. That philosophy should be applied to life in general- it is short, therefore make it as beautiful as you possibly can.
I can go on and on and repeat what the world has said about Paris, about its beauty, the architecture, the monuments, the people, the river Seine and its idealism even in the cold, dead of winter; however, I will let my pictures reflect it.
That cold day in Paris is one that I will never forget.
I have a job that allows me to travel to some cool places from time to time. Back in October we went up to West Point in the town of HIghland Falls, NY. It was the best time of year to visit, autumn, and the leaves were just beginning to change.
Some of the most impressive and inspiring views of the Hudson River valley are in this area. This picture above really takes my breath away; I could hardly believe it when I was standing there to take the picture. It reminded me of the scene in the Fellowship of the Ring, where the companions are traveling by boat through the river with enormous mountains on either side of them. Just beautiful.
I love Brooklyn, I have stated that several different times in this blog. What I love the most is that no matter how many times I am traveling through Prospect Park or Park Slope, I always seem to find something new to marvel at. There were really quiet places in Prospect Park- benches and bridges I had never known existed, where one could sit and be at one with nature with no sounds of humans for miles (so it seemed). The trees and foliage block out noise and the highways very well- the design of the park is fantastic. I noticed old structures in the park that no longer had any use yet were still kept there. I ended all the way up at Grand Army Plaza and the from the farmers market there, I bought some goodies for the lamb stew I prepared that evening.
I spent three hours wandering around the park and came back to try the henna pattern below. It originally ended on my wrist but I continued it further down. It kept looking more and more elegant. And of course how could i forget my circles? I kept that in my palm- it's my favorite design. It reminds me of a circus.
Weddings in the family create a nice but hectic break from the daily routine. I cannot remember the last time I had been so tired. Nevertheless I did get to work on a lot of henna- for the bride, for myself, and on a candle.
We opted for a less filled in look and I was impressed with the way the bridal henna turned out.
My next endeavor will be creating patterns with fine point pens.
Very rarely do I get enough time to sit in one place and complete a task without interruption. Doing henna, for me, is not a chore, rather, it is therapeutic.
I love getting before and after shots and comparing them. This henna (whichI bought in Pakistan) is very good, it does not stain the hand too fast and it lasts a couple of days without peeling off and making ones hand feel like sandpaper. I kept my hand (with the paste on) in a plastic bag for an hour to help retain some heat. It work and the color stained very well. Perfect day for practice for upcoming brides!
At an awesome family reunion this weekend in Pennsylvania, I took several pictures of the cabin, surrounding trees and flowers in the grass. I realized, in between my attempts at photography, that building and maintaining relationships is similar to how we maintain and care for plants. They require the same kind of effort.
When handling plants and flowers one must be gentle and nurturing. They must be tended to and cared for regularly otherwise the plants will wither and die. Likewise, relationships must be cared for and tended to, whether it be through meetings or virtual contact. That effort to care must remain otherwise that relationship will not progress, and humans who limit their contact with others find themselves at ease with a loss of social interaction.
I learned a valuable lesson this weekend in the importance of tending to relationships. Meet with your relatives, develop relationships with people, it's an important part of life. it is definitely an important part of mine :)
Once I start drawing, it's hard to stop. The designs keep getting bigger and more elaborate as I try to get everything perfect, down to the very last detail and even the color scheme.
I'll be adding pictures and commentary of the things I love. I am an ordinary person in an extraordinary place. There is no special purpose to this blog other than to project what I am thinking of at any given moment.
All the photos are mine (unless stated otherwise). Please do not use without permission. To learn more about me, check out my linked in profile below.