Illustrations by Nancy C. Sampson

Posts from the ‘inspire’ category


A gorgeous sunset from my trip with Kelly to the Chesapeake Bay area in the Fall.

The sun is setting on another year and I have been thinking about goals, both old and new. It’s important for me to remember to celebrate accomplishments first, before moving too far into the goal-setting stage. I found myself ignoring that last week, my thoughts focusing only on what I’d like to achieve in 2015. Taking a moment to compose this post is bringing me back to more positive reflection.

For 2014 I am proud to have welcomed a new rescue cat into my home, The Amazing Mongo! He has a very loving and entertaining personality. I am also glad to have deepened some new friendships and renewed some older ones. I brought my artwork to three craft shows and heard great responses from new fans. I conceived of, produced, packaged, and began selling a set of temporary tattoos in my Etsy shop: “Foodietoos.” My parents and I went on trip to visit beautiful Tuscany and Rome (the latter has a very different beauty compared to the Italian countryside) in the spring, and then visited my brother in Colorado for a week in the summer. (Greg and I spotted a bull moose in the forest one morning!) Friends and cousins came to visit me throughout the year and we enjoyed what the city has to offer. I have been keeping sharp at my freelance day job in magazine production and helped the publication complete some important articles. I’m so thankful to be part of the process each month. I made sure my friends kept laughing. I discovered a new genre that I’d like to explore with my drawings … which leads me to 2015.


Mom, Dad, and I at lunch in Sienna, Italy in April.

Goals and resolutions are definitely important but I never can actually accomplish everything I set intentions for at the beginning of each year, unless they are very low goals! (Eat fruit. Don’t wait 4 weeks to do laundry.) I have learned to not let myself become discouraged if the way things turn out isn’t quite the way I expected or would have liked them to be. It is too easy for me to get into a negative mind space and start thinking about what I “didn’t work hard enough” at, or “didn’t do enough” of, which tends to dissuade me from moving forward.

Looking back at what I did in 2014 reminds me that I am living a full life and I have to allow myself to be fluid within it … if I only stuck to my goals I might have missed out on some surprises and detours that enriched my year.

In light of that, I’m not going to post any of my specific goals here (Are you surprised? I am, too.) but I will share my general mantra for the New Year: Keep exploring, stay positive, reach out and up. (I stole that last one from yoga class!)

What about you, do you prefer very specific goals or more general ones? Why?

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I really love it when I have an image or an idea in my mind and I can get it exactly as I imagine it onto a piece of paper and into the world without a glitch!

Believe me, this is a rare occurrence. Usually it takes me a few drafts, centimeters from my eraser, turns with the pencil sharpener, and layers of tracing paper to get the art to look the way I want. More often than not, I either can’t seem to make it as great as I imagined it in my mind’s eye, so I have to compromise, or I didn’t have a clear enough vision of what I wanted until I started sketching.

The drawing that inspired me to write this blog entry happened just an hour or so ago. I really am pleased and surprised with how easily it flowed from my mind to my pencil. The image has been floating around in my imagination for a few weeks and I just could not let it go until I made it real. I wish it was always that easy and quick.

Unfortunately I can’t go into much detail about what the image is or what inspired it for reasons that I don’t want to give away right now. I will be able to share all later in the week!

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Here’s another Halloween costume photo that I found. I believe this was senior or junior year of high school?

I don’t think I had a name for this one but I know that I really wanted the white make-up on half of my face to be in the shape of a quarter moon! This was a year that I re-purposed some fabric from a past year’s costume. The white drapey fabric that I am wearing in this picture was from a ghost costume that was inspired by one of my favorite young adult novels, Ghosts I Have Been by Richard Peck.

The main character of the story, Blossom Culp, dressed as a ghost to expose a scam artist who came to town and claimed he could summon spirits. Anyway, she carried a candle and I carried a batery-powered, glowing pink rose instead.

Believe it or not I still have that white fabric and I used some of it last year as part of my “Ghost of a Zeigfeld Girl” costume:

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As a last-blast meet-up group event, Gina, the now former leader of the Betty Spaghetti Meet-Up Group of Art and Debauchery organized an event where members make banners to display in a public place. The banners had to have a positive message for the general viewing public to enjoy. I really put my heart into my banner; I love the idea of creating public art to surprise and hopefully inspire people who might see it. (The origin of my encouraging phrase is explained in a post from earlier in the year.) The idea reminds me of a great YA graphic novel I read called The Plain Janes, but Gina found the idea on a website called “Learning to Love You More.”

We met around 2pm on May 2 inside of Grand Central Terminal along with one other group member, David, who helped us hang our 2 banners. I was hoping a few more members would show up to witness or hang banners with us, but it all worked out fine.

There were more than a few police men & women patrolling the inside of the building but we actually accomplished our goal without anyone of authority telling us to stop what we were doing! The spot we chose also helped cloak our activities… there is an overpass that connects the main hall to 42nd St., and the since this balcony-type railing area juts out from the main walk-way, it was impossible to spy us from the main hall. Below the overpass was a ramp leading to the Oyster Bar, food court, and lower-level train tracks. Plenty of people were walking on the ramp but apparently no one who wanted to stop us.

After hanging, admiring, and photographing our work, we sat down for a snack in the food court, then parted ways. The banners were still hanging when I left GCT, and there were people taking photos of both banners. Each side of the ramp had a bridal party photo shoot with the banners in the background! So, who knows how long they stayed up there. Gina and I assumed that the cleaning crew or someone who works in the building would spot them by the end of the day and they would be removed. Overall, I found the experience very satisfying, although my living room wall seems bare without the banner.

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