We had the good fortune of connecting with Nadine DeRose and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nadine, what habits do you feel play an important role in your life?
What habits do you feel helped you succeed?
Self-Care, Gratitude and Creativity are the three most important habits that have helped me succeed. My profession as a social worker for Los Angeles County has it’s unique challenges. I have experienced compassion fatigue and I’ve had to learn how to practice emotional resilience to handle the daily stressors of my profession. Shouldering people’s problems day in and day out can take a toll after a period of prolonged work that can potentially have an effect on my own well-being. I have learned to understand the implications of life balance. Self-Care, Gratitude and Creativity are all habits that I believe have helped me succeed in my career and in my personal life. Each day I practice gratitude by keeping a Gratitude Journal and I reflect on the positive events of my day and throughout the week. I try not to focus on what’s missing in my life, but instead I reflect on what I already have. Meditation is also a part of my daily ritual and this personal practice is now essential to my self-discovery which has helped to minimize stress and quiets my mind every evening before I go to bed. Reducing stress and creating more peace is a technique that I have fully embraced. “Practice meditation. You’ll find that you are carrying within your heart a portable paradise” Charles J. Jones – “Truth Avenger.” I have also experienced the pitfalls of neglecting self-care.
Prior to becoming a social worker I was faced with a serious illness that left me legally blind. This disease was called Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada (VKH) which most people have never heard of because it is a rare disorder that creates vision loss. I experienced a rapid loss of vision and retinal detachment. After about a year of high-dose steroids and injections of the eye my vision was thankfully restored. Prior to my diagnosis of VKH, I was under a significant amount of stress and truly believe that this disease could have been avoided had I practiced self-care. We all know that chronic stress can lead to serious medical conditions. Today my self-care is my priority and I never want to experience being out at night and only seeing microscopic dots of light and nothing else. I remember that evening so vividly as my friend Kirt was driving in the city and as I was looking out of the window for the first time since my diagnosis and feeling scared out of my mind.
Today I listen to my body, strive to live a healthy lifestyle and practice daily gratitude “Wear gratitude like a cloak, and it will feed every corner of your life.” – Rumi. Five years ago I unfortunately experienced the death of my dear mother and for the first two years after my mother’s death, I grieved in silence and isolated myself from the world. I felt myself going down a dark tunnel and knew that I had to make some significant changes in my life if I was going to see brighter days and move forward. I no longer wanted to hold the guilt and anger, I was ready to accept the reality of losing my mother. “Acceptance illuminates reality so that were better able to see the next step.” Sarah Ban Breathnach. I knew that I had to begin embarking on new habits and that would include some type of creative outlet in an attempt to unleash my artistic expression. I had my daughter link me to Instagram so I could follow other creatives. I originally started making journals and that kept me busy for a few months. Then in March of 2019, I started sketching in a journal. I began art journaling and that allowed me to release the emotions of grief and loss. This process became very therapeutic. I found myself wanting to rush home from work so I could find my journal and get in that creative time. This grief journal became my landscape to continue the process of creating while finding this new found artistic interest so rewarding I could not stop and it became a part of my daily routine of self-care. In June/July/August of 2020 a few pages from my art journal were published in a National Publication called “Art Journaling” published by Stampington Publications.
On March 25, 2019, I posted my first drawing on Instagram and today when I look at this post from three years ago it fills my heart with so much pride and an enormous amount of accomplishment without any technical training. This quirky drawing I created and posted in 2019 is a reminder of where I started and where I’am today. “Every artist was first an amateur.” Ralph Waldo Emerson. As a self-taught artist I began drawing authentically and learned the basic composition of drawing a face because it took me several months to figure out that my faces were way out of proportion due to a shrunken forehead. You Tube.com was my informal training where I found a video on the basic compositions of a face. I started practicing every day and eventually I developed the confidence to begin painting on canvas. While painting on canvas sometimes I experience an energy flowing freely while in the process of creating and when I approach that last brush stroke I step back and wonder, did I do this? I get so intensely focused while painting that I lose track of time and everything around me is silent. I feel an alignment to my higher self and that is a feeling of pure enjoyment. That satisfaction of achievement is what inspires me to continue creating.
The next step was trying to find ‘my style’ and I never rushed the process, as I knew with time as I continued to practice, listen and focus on the process it would eventually define itself, as art is a journey not a race. Today I would call my style eclectic, with a touch of femininity inspired by fashion and nostalgia. I eventually started to bring my paintings to work to decorate my personal space. I have colleagues that stop at my desk and stare at my paintings and ask me, “Do you paint all of these?” or “Do you sell these?” Today my place of employment has my artwork scattered throughout the office. This is the beginning of something new and promising because this creative passion drives me every morning to get up and go straight to my art studio to continue to create (after my cup of coffee). This magical journey and response to my artwork has been immensely gratifying and I appreciate all my followers on Instagram and those who comment and or reach out to inquire about my work. I recently launched a website at www.nadinederose.com where you can purchase my original paintings. I had no idea that I had this creative drive inside of me and this was all sparked by the loss of my mother. “What hurts you blesses you. Darkness is your “candle.” – Rumi. Art is not only my sanctuary but it also has served as a healing power and it has connected me to my highest self. I surrender to keep my soul alive by continuing to nurture my creativity, focus on the magic of painting and continuing to practice the daily habits of self-care, gratitude and creativity. As Charles states in Truth Avenger, “what you surrender to becomes your power” and no truer words have ever spoken to define my journey.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I believe what sets me apart from others is that I have never had a formal training. Most successful artists have some type of of formal training or went to college and earned an art degree. I’m self-taught and enjoy taking taking on-line courses when I have the opportunity. My work is inspired by fashion and nostalgia. I love the fashion of the 50’s and 60’s. Bridget Bardot hair is what I call inspiration and I love painting different types of ‘big’ hairstyles. I enjoy working with bright colors like pink, red and black are my three favorite colors that are a common color theme in my work. My style is defined by fashion, current events and classical vintage.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would take them to Javiers in Santa Monica. I love the ambience and the food is fabulous. Then I would take them to all the best second hand stores so we can shop and find some hidden treasures. I also enjoy visiting the Historic Downtown Clarement for a variety of over 50 restaurants to choose from and it’s five minutes from my home.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My Beautiful Daughter Chrisy who continues to make me proud every day
My Mom who I feel is cheering me from heaven
My Dad who is my biggest fan
Charles J. Jones who introduced me to ‘Enlightment’ and who graciously nominated me for this story