Health & Fitness

#lifereboot: Stephanie Gilman draws new conclusions

Author: Elle Canada

Health & Fitness

#lifereboot: Stephanie Gilman draws new conclusions

I’m sitting at my dining-room table, staring intently at a piece of toast. This might sound like an extremely dull way to spend a Saturday afternoon, but there is much more to this simple piece of bread than one might think. I stare at the infinite little holes and tiny crevices, and I notice the way it curves slightly from being heated. I look at the small burned spot and the seeds along the crust. There seems to be an endless amount of visual stimulation in this ostensibly mundane slice of bread, yet I never thought to really look at it before. Usually, the process goes as follows: Make the toast. Eat the toast. Repeat as needed.

But as part of my #lifereboot journey, I’ve started taking a closer look at everything around me and finding beauty within the ordinary. This is the guiding principle behind the art class I am taking at Sketchbook Skool, an online school that encourages drawing and keeping a sketchbook regardless of your skill level. The course is entitled “Seeing,” and for the first assignment, I am tasked with drawing a piece of toast. As a newbie artist, my sketch won’t be hanging in an art gallery anytime soon, but that’s not the point. It’s about learning to slow down, be observant and gain a new perspective.

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#lifereboot: Stephanie Gilman's drawings

#lifereboot: Toastmaster

There seems to be an endless amount of visual stimulation in this ostensibly mundane slice of bread, yet I never thought to really look at it before. Usually, the process goes as follows: Make the toast. Eat the toast. Repeat as needed.   Stephanie Gilman shares 5 simple steps to facing your fears

Image by: ELLECanada.com By: Stephanie Gilman Source: Stephanie Gilman

#lifereboot: Stephanie Gilman's drawings

#lifereboot: To thine own selfie be true

Drawing a self-portrait is a challenging task. There is a natural tendency to want to refine certain features and erase perceived flaws. I try my best to produce an accurate reflection, noticing the shapes and lines that make up the structure of my face. I’m not thrilled about drawing my short hair. It used to be a source of pride, but now – in my post-chemo grow-out phase – it’s morphing into unwelcome mullet territory. But I am committed to seeing what’s really there and not what I imagine might be.   Stephanie's favourite posts from her blog, passmeanothercupcake.com

Image by: ELLECanada.com By: Stephanie Gilman Source: Stephanie Gilman

#lifereboot: Stephanie Gilman's drawings

#lifereboot: To thine own selfie be true

For this illustration, I use a photo of myself that was taken a couple of weeks after I was diagnosed with cancer and a few weeks before my double mastectomy and all of my treatment began. It looks to be just a simple selfie, like any other, but staring at the image brings forth a rush of emotions. Although the photo shows a smiling, healthy, happy appearance, on the inside I was a complete mess, filled with anxiety and dread over what was to come. As I sketch the photo, I pay close attention to the long hair, the lashes and the eyebrows – all things I have lost. Drawing this picture is an act of remembering and nostalgia for the “me” who existed in my pre-cancer life.   READ MORE: How Stephanie Gilman faced her "high" anxiety

Image by: ELLECanada.com By: Stephanie Gilman Source: Stephanie Gilman

#lifereboot: Stephanie Gilman's drawings

#lifereboot: To thine own selfie be true

This sketch is a “quickie.” I am only supposed to spend a few minutes drawing the basics of what I see, without removing my pen from the paper. I’m not sure if it really captures my essence, but it’s a good exercise in relinquishing control and following one’s instincts. Not being able to go back and erase and revise my mistakes is somewhat terrifying, but as a consummate perfectionist, this is a lesson I need to learn. I actually find this to be the most relaxing sketch to create; I realize that I am enjoying the process instead of concentrating on trying to make it “good.”   #lifereboot: Couples therapy 2.0

Image by: ELLECanada.com By: Stephanie Gilman Source: Stephanie Gilman

#lifereboot: Stephanie Gilman's drawings

#lifereboot: Neighbourhood watch

For one assignment, I am supposed to sketch a building, so I choose the somewhat uninspiring apartment building across the street from my home. I’ve looked at this building numerous times, every day, for four years. But I’ve never really seen it.   READ MORE: One woman's journey to reboot her life

Image by: ELLECanada.com By: Stephanie Gilman Source: Stephanie Gilman

#lifereboot: Stephanie Gilman's drawings

#lifereboot: Family portraits

I do a fast water-colour sketch of my menorah and then go back and slowly add the details with a pen. Danny Gregory, the co-founder of Sketchbook Skool, says, “Accuracy is less important than capturing your experience.” It’s not a perfect rendition, but it depicts an important symbol in my life, one that represents my family and my heritage and culture.   Stephanie Gilman's lifereboot journey in photos

Image by: ELLECanada.com By: Stephanie Gilman Source: Stephanie Gilman

#lifereboot: Stephanie Gilman's drawings

#lifereboot: Quote, unquote

For this week’s assignment, we’re asked to draw one of our favourite quotes. I like this one from Oscar Wilde because it speaks to the hardships we all endure and the possibility of finding something beautiful amid the rubble when you shift your viewpoint. If this course has taught me anything, it’s that sometimes all you need to do is look up. You might be amazed at what’s there – what has been there all along, simply waiting to be seen.   READ MORE: Stephanie Gilman's quest to lead a meaningful life

Image by: ELLECanada.com By: Stephanie Gilman Source: Stephanie Gilman


READ MORE:
Stephanie Gilman tries couples therapy 2.0
Stephanie Gilman faces her fear of heights on the CN Tower EdgeWalk
GALLERY: Stephanie Gilman's #lifereboot in photos

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Health & Fitness

#lifereboot: Stephanie Gilman draws new conclusions