10 Secret Steps That Will Bring Magic To Your Day (Part 1)

Today I realized how soon is Christmas: 8 days left. Till New Year’s Eve – 16 days. Being from Ukraine made me long for a number of other winter holidays: St Nicholas day (Dec 19) and Orthodox Christmas (that is celebrated on Jan 7). In addition to this, there is another amazing date: Winter Solstice (Dec 21). I always found it silly that people get all crazy over the gifts hunt and ‘made-in-china’ decorations. It amuses me that in America you start to see Christmas promotions in November. However, when I was on the evening walk a few days ago I realized something important, I think. I saw a holiday rush as a means to unite people, make them feel like they belong and are a part of something bigger. It is a natural sensation that makes a human being’s life worth it. In the essay ‘The Myth of Sisyphus’, Camus introduces his philosophy of the absurd: man’s futile search for meaning, unity, and clarity in the face of a world devoid of God and eternal truths or values.

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Finding magic in your life is a lot easier than you might think. A traditional ‘fight for the light’ is really not that necessary, while in pursue of magic, buying 25K worth of Christmas decorations to make your house the brightest in a community is an option but far not the only one.

“A star falls from the sky and into your hands. Then it seeps through your veins and swims inside your blood and becomes every part of you. And then you have to put it back into the sky. And it’s the most painful thing you’ll ever have to do and that you’ve ever done. But what’s yours is yours. Whether it’s up in the sky or here in your hands. And one day, it’ll fall from the sky and hit you in the head real hard and that time, you won’t have to put it back in the sky again.”
― C. JoyBell C.

10 secret steps to make magic happen

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1. Start your day with a special kind of coffee

Recipe by Tove Jansson – novelist, painter, illustrator and comic strip author; she is best known as the author of the Moomin books for children.

You’ll need:

ground coffee, milk, honey and cinnamon

How to make:

  • Combine 1/4 cup of milk with 2/4 cup of water. Add 1/2-1 tsp  of honey; stir well.

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  • Add 2 tsp of grind coffee beans (with a little extra tip). Top it with a pinch of cinnamon. One more pinch of cinnamon you add to the fire that cooks your coffee. Let the fire know what awaits it.

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  • Stir while cooking. And when it is about to escape add a little more cinnamon to the coffee to make it calm down.

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What’s the magic:

Life becomes better after you drink it. Things and dreams that avoided coming true would suddenly start to. Other little wonders will start to occur as well!

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2. Buy/download  and start reading The Little Prince by Antonie de Saint-Exupery while drinking that coffee (see step 1)

It’s very short (just 64 pages). The book is translated into more than 250 languages which makes it fourth most-translated book in the world. It was first published in 1943. The Little Prince is a novella by a French writer, poet and pioneering aviator Saint-Exupery. In this story he is thought to have drawn on the aviation experiences in the Sahara Desert.

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The watercolour illustrations that were made by the author add a magic visuals to a poetic tale about a pilot, who is stranded in a desert and meets a young prince who has fallen to Earth from a tiny asteroid.

It was written during the Second World War: France had fallen and Saint-Exupery fled to North America.

Don’t let the cute illustrations fool you, it is much more than a child’s book, although it’s styled as one. It is a voyage of an adult in search of a sincerity and simple childhood-like excitement.

The Little Prince meets a pilot in a desert
A shot of the Paramount Pictures trailer

Where to get it:

  • Buy a printed version at your local book shop. Be old school, books are very cool to hold in your hands and turn over the pages.
  • Buy an e-book on Amazon.
  • Download a free version (pdf, ePUB or Kindle) – no spam, no tricks, this link actually works: http://ebookbees.com/the-little-prince-free-ebook/

3. and 4. Music cures. Dancing too. Get your day moving with a next step. Now we are all different with unique tastes but here’s what I  was writing this article to:

Music really can make magic happen. I love those chill electronics by Moderat (German based group). Even 10 minutes of getting lost in a dance in between day-to-day errands putts a newly polished smile on my face.

FearFree from Маша Пасічник on Vimeo.

Options:

  • Here is one more podcast (it is literally called “Music, cure me”) at Ukrainian online radio. (Even though Intro is in Russian, music is not 🙂

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  • Feeling more rhythmic? This youtube charnel full of salsa tutorials that are actually very easy to follow fulfills the mood:
  • For a funk mix of electronics this is the way to go:

But seriously go to dancing classes. Literally sign up for tonight’s local class ‘try it out’!! 🙂 It cleans you inside out – body and soul. It took me ages to make this decision. You know how it goes: lack of time, no partner, too expensive, just keep forgetting. It’s all called procrastination – google it! Signing up to classes takes a simple action – just find a school close to you or the one that looks fun, ask a friend, go to yelp, attend evening open dance classes – don’t over think it.

That’s a good movie to get you inspired on the topic (so old – so good):

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5. Seal your wish in an empty bottle of wine.

How to prepare:

          • Buy a bottle of wine (not too expensive, don’t make it too fency, or the wish will think that you are trying to buy it out). It has to be special: pick by nice label picture, or drink the one that a good person gave you, or buy one here – this wine store claims to expose wine to music, that should change its structure and make every cell of your body cheer.

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dandelion wine by Ray Bradbury
That’s another great book to read by the way:)
          • Drink it. Preferably in a beautiful place to charge it with some good memories and share it with some good people, but I’ll tell you secretly – drinking it alone for this cause is fine too (maybe not the whole bottle…and don’t drink and drive, right?).
          • Make a wish, blow it inside the bottle and cork it right away (so that a wish can’t escape).

What’s the magic:

Your wish comes true! Really:) Just be humble and you’ll get 10 times worth of a wish.

To be continued…Saving some for the next magical day!!:)

The Artist Inside Of You​

Did you ever look at that artist on a street or that painting on a museum wall and wondered – how do they do it? I mean, where do you even start? When painting a portrait for example, do you draw eyes first? Do you start from the top? People got used to considering artists a different breed, ‘free spirits’. But I bet you, there is an artist living inside of you, just being unnoticed!

I grew up in a non-artists family. My father has a degree in engineering and my mom – in foreign linguistics. My grandmother would give me paints and paper so that I entertained myself as a kid when she needed to do some work. That’s how it started and yes, I painted all my life since then. I totally believe any skill is acquirable given time and effort. I was lucky to have a lot of both.

 

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National Academy of Fine Art And Archtecture in Kyiv, Ukraine

 

When I had to choose a college – I wanted to go to Australia and study film production. My parents wouldn’t let me: way too far and I was way too young to even apply (as we used to finish high school at 16 then). As a compromise, I agreed to apply to the National Academy of Fine Art and Architecture in my hometown Kyiv, Ukraine.

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It was close to exams time and I had a lot to catch up. Most applicants graduated already from a community art college. I spent a lot of time studying about theater (as I chose theater stage design as a major due to the least competition). I saw applicants drawing human models at live sketching classes, while I was trying to at least get the general proportions right (pretty unsuccessfully). I was recommended one of the professor’s workshops. It was in historic Kyiv district in a basement. I fell in love with art much more then and met plenty future friends, who as myself succeeded in enrolling to the Academy.

I remember this stage design workshop with another professor. He would have a huge vintage wooden table in the middle of his studio. There were plenty of books everywhere, that we looked through and discussed during a class. He would brew tea and one of the students would always bring some homemade cookies. Then we would show our work in progress. We would talk about whether an idea that was presented works and what are the other possibilities. Our professor said that a stage should remind one of a dream. It shouldn’t be necessarily realistic but it must be persuasive. Whatever it is, it should reflect your relation to an object that you are observing.

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Performance: Sartre ‘FLIES’

One time I was walking with a friend in a park. He wanted to take a photo of a tree, wondering how to make it different. I said that he should show through his photo, how he feels about this tree, how he perceives it. Generally, that is how you learn to tell a story every time you create. Unless you are a journalist that has to depict an unbiased reality, your relationship with a subject should be felt through your work. That is where you have to prove why you want one to spend the time to look at your work.

 

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Painting: ‘Matter of Choice’

 

We all have opinions and feelings. Thinking critically is the first step to awakening that artist inside of us. That is when you become conscious of events surrounding yourself and start to notice things. Anything. Whatever it is that resonates with you. It can be facial expressions of people around you, maybe your family or co-workers. It can be patterns of traffic, or glitter of produce (in my case).When you notice things, you will then start to form your opinions, you will realize how you personally perceive them.

"Life in Traffic" painting
Painting: ‘Life in Traffic’

When you notice things, you will then start to form your opinions about it, how you personally perceive the matter. It doesn’t really matter whether you love the subject or hate it. There is beauty in both approaches.

The next step is to share the message. It is the skill to let people see (or hear) how you feel about your subject and why. Every one of us has a unique mindset. You know how daltonic people might not even know they don’t see colors right. It’s very simple: the way they see is the only way, hence the right one. So when you tell a story, make sure you tell it loud and clear. The idea should be comprehendible. But it’s not the ultimate goal.

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You remember how it feels when you wake up that winter morning and you see that streets got covered with snow over night and it all seems so freezing cold, that it gives you shivers. But then you make yourself some hot tea and while brewing it your inside windows get covered with newly formed condensation from the heat coming from inside the room. It’s warm and bright in the kitchen, where you are at. Remember a smell of that tea and bread or breakfast. It makes you feel ever warm. It’s all about contrast. One feels rich in a poor neighborhood, and one falls in love with rain when living in a desert. Comparison to an obvious opposite makes your idea visible.

They also told us at art school to sometimes rotate our paintings upside down to see what’s wrong. The trick is that we get used to looking at our work from the same perspective. By changing an angle we pay attention to details again. It’s not only in regards an artwork. They say that driving after 3 years of experience is the most dangerous. We don’t have substantial skills yet, but the process already seems very familiar. So we loose focus, hence car crashes. Staying focused is a skill essential to succeeding in any field. In surgery and art particularly.

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And the last thing – you just need to find your language. It can be painting, drawing, photography, installations or video. Whatever it is that resonates with your perception. And when you start, just never stop. That’s what I did. You can see my work here and maybe share what you think about it with me. But even now, having over 10 years of a professional art career, I can start a portrait sometimes, and have hard times delivering it. But eventually, I always do. It’s consistency that makes it possible. Also the passion for a subject of the story, you are trying to tell. And constant questioning yourself – why? why not? and what if?

And after that, there are really no rules. Just explore and live your life with a story worth sharing. Choose to see the ugliness or the beauty. Just be open and feel it.

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how to stop profiling and wake up from day dreaming

I came across this haiku by Matsuo Bashō (Matsuo was a Japanese poet, lucky enough to be recognized during lifetime):

“Frozen in the night

The water-jar cracks

Wakes me”

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It made me think of the absurdity of dreams. One may be a homeless, ‘the next top model’, or a manager (you name it) in everyday life. But similarly to a butterfly, that gets out of a cracked cocoon, one reveals the real self in dreams. Guided only with subconsciousness, you travel through intricate scenarios. The development and outcome are based on decisions that you make. Cheating yourself is impossible, though. One can only be a true self. It’s a tricky game, you know.

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I once wanted to make an object: a bar cabinet in a shape of a drunk person. A joke would be: ’a person’ stores liquor inside. This idea quickly transformed into an art project: ‘A Dream That Hatched From a Broken System’. Instead of a bar, I felt like I needed to visualize a concept of dreams as a cracked cocoon. In this case, that would need to be a broken, transparent, real-life sized sculpture of a homeless person. I wanted to make it very realistic. My friends and I searched the streets of Kiev to find an ideal model. We provided a full-service: drinks on a bar, car transportation, change of clothes, all in exchange for a couple of hours modeling. We needed to mold a man’s face that had all the signs of street lifestyle.

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As it turned out, it was a rather sad story that he had to tell us. He spoke English, he quoted literature and poetry by-heard, in fact, he was rather well-known in the neighborhood. Kolia ‘Fisher” (his nickname) was just unlucky at a certain stage of his life. He used to work in advertising and video production once, used to own an apartment in a prestigious part of Kiev. Then things went downhill. And from there, it’s just a snowball effect. He said he was fine now. What else could he say?

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His story was a perfect fit and I was glad to tell it. We all just love to stereotype people we know nothing about. I still see him from time-to-time around, when I am in Kiev.

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But my story is about dreams. It only becomes more real from there on. It is a story from within ourselves.

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After we had his face, we needed a body. Kolia didn’t seem to be excited about it. So it had to be me now. I put on two thick winter jackets to reference the size of a grown man. Slavik, my sculpture-artist friend helped me. I want to tell you: being covered with gypsum, that is heavier than my body weight was a challenge. When gypsum dries, it releases heat. It was very hot. Two jackets didn’t help either.

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Then there was a process of filling the shape with plastic. Plastic is a great material on one hand, as it copies every single nuance of a mold (its texture in particular). On the other, it is very toxic and fragile.

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In the end of a day, it turned out to be a great project. It was a real trip and I believe it educated all of us (who helped its creation). It is important to be conscious. But even more so, to try to reflect the dreams in real life. Be true to ourselves, and maybe we’ll start to see more clearly the stories, that people around us are ‘filled with’.

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See more installations here:

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Cheers,

Masha 🙂

New Series

NEW SERIES is inspired by a process of detachment from the homeland. I left Ukraine two years ago now. And throughout this time I was observing the changes I was facing. These includes the personal attitude towards patriotism and the phenomenon of friendship in spite of distance. Immigration also influenced my overall view-point on the choice of being an artist and staying true to your statement. I also explored the trance-continental dialog one faces through a change of geographical location and the access to the social media that keeps you up to date with the lives that used to surround oneself. Mixed fillings caused the dream-like mixture of memories combined with current political and cultural events that troubled the world in 2015-16.

Chris Froome Chasing Geese - original painting, acrylic on canvas
Chris Froome Chasing Geese – original painting, acrylic on canvas
Art Under Fire Painting
‘Art Under Fire’ – original painting, acrylic on canvas
Found Near Heaven
‘Found Near Heaven’ 96″x 49″ – original painting, acrylic on canvas
I Am The Leader
‘I Am The Leader’ 98″x46″ – original painting, acrylic on canvas
Why Do You Touch Me?
Why Do You Touch Me? – original painting, acrylic on canvas