I’ve been inspired by a calmer pace of life lately—not that it would seem so from the outside! My daughter still needs taking to nursery, work still needs to be done, a hundred and one things are still demanded of me throughout the day. Yet by choosing to notice the quiet and beautiful times that life offers up to me and truly pausing mindfully in the present moment, I’ve managed to squeeze more calmness and happiness from my day than ever before. I’ve subsequently realized that happiness isn’t a goal in the distance to be marched towards, but something that is available to us right now, under our noses, and we can continue to cultivate it through being mindful. It’s no surprise that this revelation has come to me immediately after a period in my life that has been exceptionally busy, stressful, and pressured. If I’m being honest, most of the pressure was self-imposed rather than circumstantial: pressure to be a good mother when I had no idea what I was doing, pressure to still have a career and contribute financially to our family so that I wouldn’t feel like a nobody, pressure to do everything with a smile on my face, pressure to just feel like myself again. And when I could no longer take the pressure, something wonderful happened. I let go. I stopped wanting. And suddenly everything that I needed, that had been there all along, became visible to me—sunshine, the smell of dinner bubbling away in the slow cooker, the loving greeting of my two dogs when I walked in the house, the way my daughter pretends to snore at bedtime…I could go on and on. I created “Tea for Two” as a reminder to myself to always be mindful, to make space in my mind and time in my life for the little things like tea and a natter with a good friend.
I’m a freelance illustrator who graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in Scotland, UK, back in 2006. I have since worked freelance on projects for magazines and advertising agencies and I’m very excited to say that I’m also about to have my first children’s book published. I produce all my work digitally in Adobe Photoshop via my Wacom tablet, which allows me to express a hand-drawn, raw quality in my illustrations whilst also ensuring the imagery can meet the technological demands of the projects I’m involved with. My partner and I bought an old farmhouse with some land a few years ago in the countryside in Lincolnshire, UK. We are partway through renovating and preparing our small holding and it is where we will continue to bring up our 18-month-old daughter for hopefully many years to come, teaching her the ways of the countryside and looking after our animals. It is this lifestyle that inspires my illustrations. I love earthy colors and a simple way of living and I hope to produce many self-initiated pieces of work based loosely around my lifestyle.
@gracealtonillustration ✴ http://www.gracealton.com/