Rainy Baku

39911573-AF53-485F-BD70-EF3E88B8E612I started walking / running exercise routine in October when the weather just started getting colder. On some days the weather was still so nice that I walked in a T-shirt. Then gradually the temperature decreased. Baku is a windy city and our winds can make it unbearable to be outside. Even when the temperature doesn’t drop below zero, it feels like -10. I needed to adjust to these conditions somehow, so I started walking in the Old City. Inner part of Baku is protected by thick walls that date back to 12th century and they hid me from the wind. I loved walking there and exploring it’s labyrinths and I loved that no walk was as the one before. Each time I was changed a route and I always came across something interesting and beautiful, like suddenly noticing a beautiful ornament on the wall or a door made to look like a giant backgammon set, or meeting an old lady that was so loving and kind that she invited me, a stranger, to her house for a tea.

When the winter kicked in, I thought to myself, so how am I going to do this now? I have to admit that getting out of the house wasn’t easy on some of the days. But I was pleasantly surprised to discover the willpower and determination in me that I haven’t noticed before. When I set a goal and I have a plan, I will go out and do it no matter what. And I’m proud of myself for doing this. Another thing that I came to discover is that it’s only the first few minutes when you leave the comfort and warmth of the house or a car that are difficult. After 10-15 minutes body seems to adjust to the temperature outside and it’s not so cold anymore. And the more I build running / walking into a habit, the easier it became.

Isn’t the same process valid for everything else in life? When we have to do something new, something we haven’t done before, it seems scary. In our day-to-day life we often try to run away from problems and challenges. But what if we saw them not as threats, but as opportunities to become wiser and stronger? I saw somewhere that fear was described as False Evidence Appearing Real. So, what if all the things we fear in life, are nothing but illusions that our brain created to keep us ‘safe’ in the comfort zone? But is my purpose here on Earth to be safe? I’m not saying that constantly putting your life at risk is what we all should do, however I want to live and experience this life to the fullest and I don’t want to be captivated by my own fears and limits I put on myself. What about you? Are fears holding you down from doing something you really want in life? Would you like to join me on my endeavor to become fearless, bold, unapologetic me?

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Thought of the day: Miracles are just around the corner

Some time ago I saw a beautiful blooming purple tree while driving  in the neighborhood. I really wanted to take a picture for use in one of my future drawings and few days ago we decided to walk there with my Dad. How much was I surprised to find not just one, but so many other purple blooming trees and flowers and even a waterfall built-in the wall of the park.

We took so many beautiful pictures, that now there is enough material for many more paintings and just had a lot of fun.

Spring is so beautiful and I’m living such a happy life and it all starts with gratitude. When you look on the bright side, when you find things to appreciate and be grateful for (and there are plenty in any situation!) and the more you love God and the Universe, the more it loves you back and shows you miracles all around you, that you didn’t see before! 🙂

Have a fantastic awesome super happy day! I know I’m having one!

Love and light,

Natella

One of "Flame Towers"
One of “Flame Towers”

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iPhoneography 101

About two years ago an iPhone (my first Apple product) entered my life and ever since I’ve been thankful to Steve Jobs and the Apple company for changing my life in so many ways. This may sound exaggerated, but it truly made my life so much easier and simpler and every interaction with this piece of technology is a wonderful experience.  One of the features I use and admire the most is the iPhone camera. It takes such great pictures that it eliminated for me the need to carry around the usual camera. Mine wasn’t professional and very heavy, but it still took a lot of space in my bag. Now iPhone does it all for me. The indoor pictures aren’t that great, but the ones done outdoors and with a good light are truly colorful and amazing.

I love taking pictures and as an artist I must take great pictures. You don’t always get an opportunity to paint outdoors, so by capturing a great moment on a camera, I can later use it as a reference for my drawings and paintings. Additionally, the chance of using the same reference picture with another artist is close to zero.

I like my photography skills, but there’s always a room for improvement. I made my research on the subject and found some great tips and advice. I’ve looked specifically at iPhone photography tips, but most of these advice can apply to taking pictures with any kind of camera. In this post, I will make a list and continue to add separate posts on each advice together with my own pictures using that advice. Let’s start!

1. Use “rule of thirds” for your images – Set your camera settings to show the grid or imagine your screen split into 3×3 squares and try to place the object of your shot closer to the intersection of these lines rather than in the center of the picture. Not always, but most of the times this makes the picture compositionally more interesting. The same rule also applies in drawing and painting, by the way.

If you never used you iPhone camera, this post will help you to get started. It was written before ios 7 been introduced, but you still can get the idea. http://www.imore.com/iphone-photography-starters-guide

Hope you have a great time taking pictures and would love if you share your tips and views on the subject!