I started a brand new adventure this week, I’m hoping you all want to come along for the ride! I am partnering with Art On The Columbia to be their “artist in residence. Here are some questions and answers about the arrangement
Question: What does this mean you are doing?
Answer: I will have my studio at art on the Columbia.
Question: What are the hours you are down there?
Answer: I will be at the studio, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.
Question: Can I come watch you paint?
Answer: yes, I will have my studio open from 1-4 for people to come in and watch me paint. You can ask questions about what I am doing, my process, and the products I am using. I will be down there before 1 but I will be filming online classes and product reviews.
Question: When will your online classes start coming out?
Answer: I am hoping to shoot a valentine card video this week which will take you through the entire process of designing, painting, adding words, editing your cards for print… this will be a watercolor/ mixed media class. I will be doing my other mediums as well, including large florals, but this is an easy one for me to start with. Another class I thought about was art journaling.
Question: when will you be doing in person classes?
Answer: We are working on scheduling that now. I am still coming up with what classes I want to teach.
Question; What kind of products will you be demoing?
Answer: I am planning all kinds in my head. Different kinds of canvases, such as wood verses canvas, primed, unprimed, different levels. Different paint mediums. Paint colors, all of the different shades of green, red, blue…… Anyway, you get the idea. Let me know if you want a demonstration of something.
It’s winter where I live. The really interesting thing about winter in the Tri-Cities, is that it always comes after fall, any of you experience that phenomenon? What? It’s not interesting? We actually had summer prior to that, and before that was spring. Ahhh spring, Spring was really lovely. I’m actually kind of afraid that next year winter will come again. At this point I think I will curl up, under the covers and hide. Does that seem ridiculous? “Of course winter is coming!” you might say, “it is here now and it will return next year.” Here’s the thing though, Sometimes I spend my whole summer dreading fall, yep that’s right, because after fall is winter, and so on and on it goes right? Do you ever do this?
The funny thing is that everything in our lives including business, replicates this exact same Rule, Winter will come again, just like the night, it happens over and over like clock work. It doesn’t matter who you are. You cant change it. In my life I have endured some mighty big storms, and like some of you, I have also had times that those storms made me duck and cover scared for the next one.
We really can’t change winter right? We can only change us. We can’t just wish the snow away, but we can change how we feel about it. Some winters are nearly impossible to be grateful for, But some are just a bother… woah is me.
We can choose to learn from them if we let ourselves. We can grow, we can become better people, unfortunately in life one of our best teachers, is struggle. In fact, If I am being honest, in the last four and a half years, I have dreaded half of every year. That’s 2.25 years of my life, in fear and heart brake waiting for more fear and heartbreak, let’s face it, that is no way to live.
If your are like me it’s ok, if you have also had seasons like this, lets hug it out and remind ourselves that our not being ok, has lead us to now, and now, we are ready for change.
The first big storm came on our honeymoon. This was literally a big a$$ storm. With wind, rain and floods. This is not a metaphorical storm, this is a “You are happily on your honeymoon, but also you are seeing the roof of your hotel fly by in pieces outside the window.” Kind of storm. Ironically, this experience was pretty much prophetic for how the rest of my life would continue from this point on. Storm followed by storm. Here’s the thing… I actually have really great memories looking back on this storm. Also I am still married to my wonderful storm enduring partner.
Sometimes storms leave you in the dark. The storm really hit the second day of our honeymoon. The electricity blew in our hotel so even though we actually couldn’t physically go back home and our trip was extended, Everything we did had to be by candle light. This turned into a wonderfully romantic time. Jon and I played cards together and really got to know each other. (We had only met 6 months earlier which is a story for another time.
Sometimes storms leave you without choices. The hotel only had access to a generator so our only option for food were hamburgers, so we fine dined on hamburgers by candle lights playing cards. Sometimes I feel backed into a corner by my storms, in fact there’s only one choice to be had. Well guess what when life gives you hamburgers you should learn to love hamburgers. Moving forward with only one option is actually a huge gift at times, trust me, spring will come and there will be plenty to choose from. Learning how to love your limitations is a huge skill, and here’s the thing, Today’s limitations are tomorrow’s blessings, these are the things you can share with all of the future people you come into contact with.
Sometimes when you think you are in trouble, its only a smokescreen. The first day of our honeymoon when we still had electricity seemed so amazing. A jacuzzi in the room and a beautiful view. What could go wrong right? As we sat sipping wine enjoying the whole scene, things seemed pretty steamy, and I don’t mean fireworks, I mean, our lovely jacuzzi was filling our entire room room with steam. At least that’s what we thought Until we started coughing. We then realized that this was not steam but smoke, filling our room rapidly. Somehow, we hadn’t opened the trap to the fireplace and smoke was billowing into our tiny piece of heaven. Of course Jon the hero that he is broke into quick action, he put the fire out pouring water from the tub with the ice bucket. Our beautiful room now smelled like smoke, Jon and I thought, judging from the black on the ceiling we were in really big trouble, this would cost us. Waking up the next mourning, Jon went to work scrubbing the ceiling, this only made a really white spot, the rest of the ceiling was grey. As we confessed our sin to the hotel lobby, we came to find out that the wind shut the trap, this was actually a common occurrence. In fact when they moved us to another room the exact same black spot was on the ceiling. Sometime what feels like trouble, isn’t trouble at all, it’s just a great opportunity to open the window. There are times that we just aren’t seeing what’s out there, just outside the scope, waiting for us to walk through.
Sometimes your path is blocked because the opportunities are right where you are. Because we were young and poor, our honeymoon was just a half an hour away from our apartment at the Oregon coast. Our path back home was only 30 minutes, but as our honeymoon progressed, our path became blocked, with trees, giant, humongous, wind blown, trees. The hotel that we stayed at was kind enough to give us free nights until the path was opened. This was only the beginning of the crazy life Jon and I have had together, I am so grateful for those down trees in our path, because this was an opportunity to be patient, to just sit in our storm and watch the birds fly by (backwards , the birds were flying backwards.) We were given the opportunity to really grow as a couple, and to pause, because bigger storms were yet to come shortly.
So how can I apply these lessons I learned from my first storm to my art business
Being left in the dark. Do you ever find yourself questioning what to paint, or make, that will be popular and make you sales? This sometimes makes us feel like we are left in the dark. When you are dealing with this problem, Paint what you want. When you feel left in the dark, trust your other senses. Trust your own personal taste. Would you love something on your wall? Paint that. Side note, if it doesn’t sell it looks great on your wall.
Being left without choices. When I started doing art I was a “starving artist” I had very few choices for art supplies. I learned in those early days how to be frugal and limited the amount of colors I could buy. This was such a valuable lesson for me. I now have very few needs when it comes to supplies, I learned how to mix new colors with very few choices. If you find yourself in this situation, embrace it see it as a challenge. See how many colors you can produce with just the three primaries. Also so much can be done with cheap paint. Don’t let your limitations stop you from creating.
I have found myself in trouble in my business multiple times. One area that stands out in my mind when it comes to trouble is over committing . so many times I have found myself totally overwhelmed with commissions. In these overwhelming moments I have to stop myself from complaining and just be grateful that I am a working artist. The other lesson I’ve learned from over committing is that, no amount of money is worth my peace of mind.
When your path is blocked. After my 100 portraits I found my path frozen. Sitting in the same place for hours on end created for me some major back issues. I was stuck, literally. I could have let this totally derail me. Let me be honest, I felt myself a little derailed. I needed to stop for a minute, my family needed me and my body needed me. Stopping in August made me really look at how I was treating my body. I made a choice at that point to stop drinking alcohol and change my diet. Having to stop, forced me into taking care of myself, this has been a really great choice for my life.
To sum it up, winter is here to teach us many lessons. For those who have followed me for long, know I have been in way worse storms than this little one. We can all look back and see our growth from these seasons. What lessons has winter been teaching you?
Every year its the same thing, Im excited for a fresh start. In fact I would almost go as far as to say that I am addicted to fresh starts. I love a new journal, new water bottle, new organizing app. New diet, new house keeping books, new workout clothes… you get it right? Am I the only one?
The funny thing is that I think there is a reason for this madness, Ive always seen it as a lack of balance in my life, by March, I have completely fallen off of the wagon. FAILED!!!! The sad thing is that I am perfectly overjoyed and happy when I am doing all of the healthy things, so why am I failing?
I start out with perfectionism. I never just start eating better, I choose the most extreme diet I can find. My favorite is the whole 30, Im actually pretty good at it, but I never get off of it, I spin my wheels so hard until I crash after whole 90 or however many days I end up enduring.
I end up choosing something that takes up too much of my time and energy. I love a good house cleaning/organizing routine. But here’s the thing, most of them end up taking all of my time and energy. All of the T-shirts are folded in a completely satisfying way, I have a perfectly organized check list. My toilets are scrubbed and my sink is thing. But geez, does my family not get the whole “never use that shiny sink again” rule?
It starts to get really expensive. Yes I know, I should be milking my own grass fed cow, and only buying grass fed, organic, cuddled beef, and Wild Salmon that’s been gently placed in a net, by a scuba diver, but holy crap, that stuff is making me poor, organic coconut milk and all of the nuts and oils are super expensive. I end up giving up because its just not within the budget of a normal family.
So what can be done this year as I am really wanting the satisfaction of a whole new start , but do not have the time, money or energy to sustain what I have done in the past? The honest truth is that I really started in September of 2019, so coming into the year 2020 is about the time that I drop off. I don’t want to drop off darn it! Here’s my plan.
Most meals I am eating are paleo. This diet really is the one that feels best for my body, I successfully manage a weight I am happy with and at this age because it is anti inflammatory it helps with my ongoing joint pain. What am I not doing? I am not going out milking my own grass fed cow, buying only the most expensive triple organic veggies and eating organ meat everyday. I can not afford to eat that way, and to be honest with you, these things only overwhelm me. If I can eat organic within my budget , great! I know longer feel like I need to launch myself into total anxiety if I don’t eat all of the most perfect forms of fuel for my body. Also if im just super in the mood for a peanut butter cup, I eat it, I don’t even punish myself about it. Lets face it, I’ve failed before, I’m trying to make this a marathon not a sprint.
I do the same cleaning/ getting ready in the morning ritual every single day (except for weekends). Really the most important reasoning for this one, is to allow myself the time to do what I really want to do, which is paint. Setting up a daily routine gives me so much more time. Also I no longer look around my house and feel totally depressed because I have to get housework that’s piled super high done.
I have incorporated exercise into my life that begs me to do it. In the past, when I’ve decided to exercise, I always went to the treadmill and weight routine. Don’t get me wrong, for some people, running is a dream. I HATE running! I literally look at the timer the whole time waiting for it to be over. Ive tried everything to trick myself into liking it but I have failed. I now make it my plan to go to the gym 4 days a week. 2 days are Zumba, and 2 days are centergy. I am in love with going to the gym now, I leave class feeling completed ready to get on with my life. Working out is making me happy! Also if I do miss a day I feel disappointed, not because I’m full of shame, but because I love going.
I am so excited to hear about how you are incorporating a happier you in this new year! Let’s go out and happy the heck out of 2020, are you ready?
Do you ever feel completely uninspired and don’t know where to go from here?
Yeah, me too! In fact I’m pretty sure it’s a side effect of being an artist. I try to work on my business everyday, at the very least every workday, but some days i just don’t want to. I look at art as my business that means I have to wake up everyday and work at it. I know, I know, I’ve heard it all before, “art needs to be inspired!” Some times you can’t just wake up everyday and feel inspired. There are some mornings, I wake up and honestly, Im just not feeling it, I am totally, utterly uninspired. In fact, I find myself thinking up every reason after reason, on Gods green earth, to distract myself. Ten cups of coffee later, 15 Youtube videos, House cleaning (I am definitely uninspired if Im cleaning.) I just Don’t want to do it! Here are some strategies I’ve come up with in my own life to keep myself, inspired.
Just start working, The number one thing I do to keep myself trucking is, keep moving forward. I know that if I want to be successful in my art business, I really need to work at it. So… like it or not, I put on my trusty overalls and a fun podcast, or audio book and “just keep painting.” Usually as I get started painting , guess what happens? Yep, you guessed it, I find myself actually getting inspired. Honestly, inspiration doesn’t just come knocking at my door, I have to go seek it out every single day.
Cleaning my studio. One tried and true strategy for getting inspired, is to clean up my studio. I can not tell you how many times, I have walked in to my place of bliss, to a total place of chaos. This only leaves me feeling deflated and wanting to turn on my heals walking right out the door. It seriously never fails, even 15 minutes of straightening up, really does clear my mind. This one thing gives me the desire to really dig into my next project. Even better than that, if I’m really stuck, is to rearrange my studio. It takes me really moving stuff around sometimes, to get just the perfect arrangement. In fact, I’m still trying to figure that one out.
Go on an artist date. Julia Cameron in her book “the artist’s way” talks about taking time to feed your creativity. One of my favorite artist dates, is going to a local nursery. I love to take tons of pictures of flowers to bring back home to my studio. Anything that inspires you can be your next big adventure. Take a walk around your neighborhood, go buy flowers at the local florist, even going to coffee with a fellow artist, these things can really feed your imagination. Even taking a trip to a local museum can feed your soul for hours.
Explore other artists on instagram and pinterest. Now this can definitely become a huge distraction so try to set a timer, or a limit how many pins you pin. When I am super uninspired, I pin 10 paintings that strike me for any reason at all, then I ask myself, “why do you like this? what makes it appealing to you?” this is a tried and true method to get the creative juices flowing. Another really important thing to keep in mind, is that even though you are getting inspired, you never want to copy an artist. Take inspiration such as color, texture, and composition.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to just doing something to really put time into your creative business. I truly believe that 2020 is your year! Dream big, go out and share your amazing gifts with the world! Let’s do this together. What do you do to get inspired? Share in the comments.