I surveyed artists in the online groups I am a part of, to find out what artists want for Christmas this year. I thought I would end up with a very long list of items to add to shopping lists. Here's what they said instead.
Gifts for your artist friend can be shared all year long once you realize what they value most likely can't be found under a tree. Thank you to my husband, my son, my friends and family who give me time to create, appreciate my work, and give me likes (and love) every day - what you do is essential for me to do what I do.
Please like and share this post to wish me a very happy holiday! Get on my email mailing list by subscribing on the home page.
Thank you for reading :). I wish you a peaceful and joyful season full of creativity and inspiration.
I hit a major milestone this week, but before I tell you what it is, let me give you the backstory.
One job and 3 years ago, I worked in a beautiful office in midtown Kitchener-Waterloo. It was a historic building with an indoor waterfall and tropical garden inside. The building had been in use for over 150 years and some of the architecture was still in place from that time. Sometimes, when I was stressed, I would linger around the fountain and just breathe deeply. But sometimes I was SO stressed that I just had to get out of that building, even for half an hour.
Luckily right next door was a pet grooming and small dog day spa. You could look in the window at the tiny dogs lounging on tiny couches, chasing tiny toys and watching big screen TV. It was everything you are hoping it was as you read this!
But even adorable dogs were only a temporary fix. One more building over however was an art gallery so even though I was completely intimidated by the thought of entering an art gallery, one day I ventured in.
As soon as I walked in, I was surrounded by the visions of the artists and transported away from the gnawing feeling in my stomach. I actually felt like I could temporarily forget everything that only moments before was making me lose my mind.
Despite loving art, I had never spent much time in art galleries. I had fond memories of the AGO and a few museums in Britain, but small art galleries I found to be incredibly intimidating. What did I know about art? Many times I felt I didn't understand what I was looking at (surprise! That's totally normal!) and the intimate nature of a small gallery made me uncomfortable. But I kept returning and soon I was visiting the gallery a few times a month just to soak it in.
It wasn't a huge gallery, but it was a beautiful one; every painting selected with care. I started connecting the artist's work I saw on the walls of the gallery with the art I saw in the public spaces around town. I began to appreciate the quality of what I was seeing, and recognizing and following some of my favourite artists.
In that gallery it became so obvious to me that I couldn't be content without art in my life. I was getting so much from just observing, what else could art bring to my life?
I walked into the Paula White Diamond Gallery for stress-relief but I walked out with a passion to make something of my own.
I took my first painting class at Homer Watson Gallery that year and I haven't stopped. My journey is still just beginning and from those days to where I am today has not been a straight line. It has been a path full of doubts and missteps, paved with abandoned canvases. And I am nowhere near meeting my goals but that year of beginning was a milestone for me and this month I hit another one.
Every year the Paula White Diamond Gallery in Waterloo holds a Square Foot show. Many local artists participate and it is rather awe-inspiring to see all of these uniformly sized paintings hung side by side, wall to wall, and to see the beautiful variability and talent that can be captured in one square foot canvas. The gallery accepts submission of 12X12 inch paintings for this special show only once a year and only some are chosen.
This year, for that show, one of my paintings will be hanging on those walls.
My painting depicts Uptown Waterloo, the town I was born in, the town I returned to for school, the region where I have lived most of my life. Kitchener-Waterloo is changing so much, but it's still recognizable to those of us that know it well, it's still home.
If you read this, I hope you can come see my little painting hanging in the gallery starting on November 21 to December 7. The opening is November 21 at 5:30 pm. Come celebrate with me!
Paula White Diamond
Art Gallery and Design Studio
Unit 103-187 King St. South, Waterloo , Ontario
Every Tuesday at the Button Factory you can sketch or paint (or macramé I guess if that's your thing?) from a live model.
If you have never been to art school, or sought out a figure drawing class, you might have some preconceptions about the experience just like I did.
When I imagined what it would be like to attend a class with a live model, I pictured a beautiful woman, wrapped in a sheet, long hair piled up on her head, silent and still. Or a lithe, young thing perched on a tall wooden stool; perhaps Adonis himself gesturing imperiously from a plinth. Twenty earnest artists crowd around the figure with easels and long paint brushes measuring the form and transferring their findings to paper.
I was about 20% right.
My first live model experience was at the Homer Watson Gallery for a figure drawing class. The instructor arranged the models and we had a different one each week for the class duration.
The first model was a man, let's call him Will. Will was about my age, that age where things start not being where they used to be on your body and body fat tends to increase and is harder to lose.
This was my first shock. It was a welcome one. How often do you get to see a body like yours on a stranger? Beautiful, athletic, thin bodies are everywhere in our media feeds. We are bombarded with them. The bodies that don't meet that standard are covered up. Not that he was unattractive… Okay notice how you make that snap judgement? Attractive vs unattractive? More on that later in the post.
The setting was intimate, just 6 people at tables angled in a rough U shape. Will was there when I arrived and he had already changed into a robe. When we started he shed the robe and stood on a very low plywood stage in front of us. Will used a stick to support some of his poses and he held them as long as necessary for that segment. We started with warm-ups: 8 poses of 1 minute each. As the session went on, the poses got longer and fewer in number. We ended with two 25 minute poses. And I just sketched. This class had an instructor (Scott McNichol - we were lucky to have him) and he guided us through the activity when he saw we needed support.
In subsequent weeks we had an older man, a young and athletically built woman, an older woman and a fat woman.
Back to Will, and his um, willy. Call me 12 years old but honestly I didn't know how to draw his penis. When I draw an ear, I can spend 5 minutes on it and I really stare it down, I measure it visually, and get intimate with my eyes on the all of the contours. I didn't really want to do that with a strange man's penis. It was very unprofessional of me, I know! I felt much more comfortable with the intimate body parts of the women (and let's be honest, there is much less to see!) maybe because I am a woman or because I am heterosexual, I don't know. So especially for Will, my sketch was a little rudimentary in that area; roughed in at best. Sorry, Will.
Now that class has ended, I try to go to the weekly figure drawing drop-in at the Button Factory Community Arts Centre as often as I can. I don't know where the models come from but I know they tend to do the "circuit" of schools and galleries in the region and they are hard to come by. Yes, they get paid. Somewhere in the $50 to $100 range per class, I think. I have only seen women modelling there to date (I am sure that is not intentional) and they come in all ages and shapes. The human body is a miracle in diversity and form. Intellectually I always thought so, but now I KNOW it in my gut.
And they are so beautiful but when I see a new model for the first time, I don't think about unattractive versus attractive, they are all so beautiful because their humanity is on full display. When you meet someone, especially the first time, your civilization instincts go into full throttle -- we characterize and categorize everyone all of the time in everyday life. We make our assumptions and judgments without even knowing we are doing it -- based on what they are wearing, where they are, how they speak, their hairstyle, their walk, eye contact….. We are so judgmental! But that's normal for us. We have evolved to make these judgments to identify our own tribe because from an evolutionary standpoint, we needed to in order to survive.
But we don't need to now, so mostly this function just serves to separate us, and make us feel like crap if we don't somehow look like what we see in the media. How often do we look for our common humanity instead of physique?
Participating in these classes has changed the way I look at other people's bodies. When I look at these nude women (or men), I don't see fat and have my mind jump to all of these assumptions (oh I bet he doesn't work out, I bet she eats too much sugar, obviously they eat CARBS! (god forbid, right?)) about this person. No. Instead I see contours, and shadows and a body that has carried this person from birth to where they are today and I think of the courage and character it must take to disrobe in front of strangers. And I envy this confidence and comfortable relationship between the soul and the body in front of me.
These classes have changed how I look at my own body!
And I am grateful.
Grateful for the chance to grow in my craft.
Grateful for the chance to evolve from a place of hate and body dysmorphia to a place of less-judgement and increased compassion for myself and everyone I meet.
Grateful to learn to love my contours and shadows.
Grateful for the confident example of the live model, who for me, models not only their physique, but their character.
I have been working on a series of self-portraits. Some of them are nude. But they all explore my humanity and all the stuff I am made of. I hope to share some pieces soon.
If you read my first post you know I wanted to be a writer from the time I could hold a pencil. But when the time came, I went to the University of Waterloo for Biochemistry because I thought it was safe and the outcome was known and predictable. Basically I went for the money.
Life is funny, so the joke is that I never made much money in working in the field of science. It wasn't my passion so I stopped my education after my Honours Bachelor of Science was completed. I enjoyed working with students, I liked the process, and the hands-on aspect of research can be very enjoyable. But I didn't care about the results. I enjoyed the practice more than the outcomes.
Why did I think the money was in hard science instead of writing?
When I was growing up there was one yardstick to measure success: how much money you could make.
The family I grew up with wasn't poor but with 5 little girls to raise, money was a bit tight. There was no lack, but there was no Disney World either.
My other family, that I didn't grow up in, was very different. During my impressionable years of 6 to 12, my Dad paid to fly me across the country to visit them. One year we all met in Disney World instead of Alberta.
In one family, my mom was a secretary and my stepdad was a truck driver.
In my other family, my dad was an engineer and my stepmother had a high tech job and was a bit of an heiress. Their house was bigger and had less than half of the people in it than my family home had.
At home, vacations were local and we stayed in tents or trailers. Occasionally a cramped cottage. Sleeping in a tent was just as fun as sleeping in a five star hotel -- just a different kind of fun. The kind of fun of flashlights in the dark, made up games, and searching for the perfect marshmallow stick versus the indoor pools and pancake houses that were hallmarks of vacations with my Dad.
At home, it was always chaos: our house burst at the seams with people and some kind of game or fight was either in progress or about to be. I was never alone. Never bored.
Games at my Dad's house were quiet and cerebral and nobody ever cried or argued and refused to finish the game. I slept on my own in the guest room and I always got to pick the Kool-Aid flavour.
I didn't enjoy myself any more in one location over the other. The experiences were so different, they could hardly be compared.
But I knew there was a difference for my parents. My mom was mostly in a rush, exhausted and stressed (as a kid you never think you are the cause!) and my dad appeared serenely jovial, languidly at ease, even decadent in his demeanor.
It was obvious to me which life was easier. Neither of my parents ever talked about happiness as a measure of success. We didn't talk about following your passion, or the joy to be gained from doing something you love. I think my Dad did love his job, he was a born tinker and his work was an extension of this passion to see how things worked. But it was also a well-paying passion, and that always seemed like the most important factor.
Both from observation, and the messaging from my parents, I decided that trying to be a writer was a financial risk, and ultimately I was afraid to take it.
Twenty-two years later I have been away from science for twelve years and work successfully, and profitably, for a financial company. I still get ideas for stories I want to tell. But now I think about how I can tell them using pictures. Breaking away from the income yardstick that is my parent's legacy has been difficult and I am not ready to break it over my knee quite yet but going back to school (and damn the cost and time it will take) feels like an important step.
I am mostly going back to school for the joy of it. It is a second chance to explore the abandoned path of my youth, and a peak at the future that, with more courage, I might have had.
I am also going back for the credentials. Having the conversation with potential mentors or clients about being a self-taught artist is not an easy one. Continuing without a BFA feels a bit scary. Am I trading one fear for another?
Regardless, back to school I go and I am so excited about it. Plus, if you break it down financially, I am spending a couple thousand dollars per year on courses with professional artists (which is amazing and I highly recommend seeking out artists and community schools where you can learn) but these don't add up to any designation that I can really add to a CV.
My fear of poverty is vanquished. Perhaps my fear of the bohemian is my next big battle.
Thanks for reading. Leave a comment and tell about the fears you have had to conquer to find your way.
You know that feeling you get when the brush moves on its own? Or it feels like time is suspended, and you could be living in a snow globe -- the outside world is so far away it might as well not exist. Your focus is razor sharp. The only sound is your heartbeat. These times are why breathing needs to be autonomous. You know exactly what to do next.
When this happens I know my muse is there. She guides me, draws me forward, pushes me back, makes me SEE. All my dreams seem achievable in these moments.
Then the moment shatters and the world comes rushing back and you are like a tadpole gasping on shore, not yet a frog, not still a fish. Yet it is the memories of this feeling that keeps me trying in the in-between moments when inspiration is still graspable.
We just had the hottest July on record -- worldwide and in Ontario. I struggled through my last week of work before my vacation and I couldn't wait to head north. I was itching to be outside among the trees and water and I mentally packed and repacked my painting supplies in anticipation.
I finished 2 commissions in July and fussed with some other paintings but I really wanted to get out into the woods and be close to the landscapes I wanted to paint. I decided to make the leap and take my acrylics. I usually only take watercolours when we hit the road but I felt ready to do more.
The drive was over 4 hours. And then we had boat trouble but luckily we had friends to ferry us over to the lake lot. My anticipation finally gave way to reality.
To me the camp is a place of miracles. It is right on a fresh deep lake, one more secluded than the busier and bigger lakes nearby. Rocks and trees ring the shores but at our spot a sandy bottom begs your toes to sink in, the lily flowers grow thick in the little bay and there is room for a fire on the beach. A little more luxurious and permanent than camping, not quite a cottage, the forest is up close and personal but we have shelter from the storms that sometimes whip up. I come to this place to connect with the Muskoka landscape and this is my favourite place to draw inspiration from when I paint landscapes.
The weather was perfect. The wind was flirting with the trees and the water, chipmunks rustled and birds sang. The sun filtered down through the birch trees. The rocks on the far shore glowed a pretty pink. I settled into a chair on the beach. I taped down some gessoed paper to my trusty plywood board, scooped up some lake water into a jar, readied my palette and … nothing. No rush, no feeling, no inspiration, even with perfection under my eyes.
I tried to warm up with a sketch. Meh. I tried slapping down some colour. Nope. I tried mixing some colours, tried to paint a tree, attempted a rock. Uh-uh. My muse just wasn't there.
Where was she? The timing was perfect. I was on vacation, I had no responsibilities, no stress, no distraction. Despite my efforts (meditating, reading International Artist, walking in the trees, swimming, closing my eyes and listening to the trees -- if there is a better music than that I don't know what it could be) she could not be summoned. Even my memory of inspiration was stifled. Vodka didn't help either.
I don't know what happened. Four days on the lake and I couldn't produce anything. The day after we got home I did 3 sketches, turned one of my paint slapping sessions from the lake into an abstract work and completed a portrait of my husband driving one of the boats.
Maybe there were too many people around, maybe the wind was from the wrong direction, maybe my muse's invitation got lost in transit. Who knows! Will I try again? Yes. Will I succeed? I have no idea.
In the meantime I will seize on my muse when she comes and paint when and what I can. I took some great photos. I absorbed some atmosphere. That will have to be enough until next time. I am lucky enough to have a "room of one's own" and my muse seems to like it there, for which I am grateful.
Next time I go to the lake, please come with me. I promise we will have a great time. I missed you.
Sleeping and family time are my top priorities. These things sometimes slip when I get into my studio and lose myself in the paint, but I don't want them to.
I had to find something else to let go of that would give me more time to be creative. I work full-time and can't give it up right now, I already cut out (most of -- don't judge!) Netflix. What else could I edit out of my life to make more time to focus on art?
There was one thing I spent a lot of time and energy on.
Dieting. I gave up dieting, so I could spend more time creating.
Most people probably don't spend as much time on dieting as I did. I used to spend a huge amount of time thinking about food. Wanting it, not wanting it. Fantasizing about what I would eat if I was skinny or what I would eat if I didn't care if I was skinny. How many calories I burned at the gym, or walking the dog, or doing yoga. I planned meals in advance and pre-cooked for a week or I didn't plan anything and then obsessed about everything. I worried about how people looked at me, what they thought of me and caught sideways glances of my silhouette in the mirror or the storefront or the rear view mirror of the car trying to guess what people thought when they saw me from the outside. I even avoided family events because of the food.
It was exhausting and thinking about food took so much energy that I didn't have time for a lot else. So, I made a conscious decision to give up my obsession about food, so I could focus on being creative.
When I stopped caring about what I weigh I had a lot more creative thinking energy available and I got closer to what I really care about - creating. I started asking the question: why does it matter that I make things?
When I had more time to think, I discovered that these are the things that I care about:
I want to serve people looking to add vulnerability and authenticity to their surroundings. People who want to enrich their space, so it expresses their personal beliefs. I truly think that by getting very specific you connect with the universality of the human experience.
When I create a piece of art that connects with someone, I feel less alone and that makes me hopeful and brings optimism and connection to my life. More hopeful than examining the calories in a piece of pizza.
I challenge you to find the thing that eats up your head space that could be better spent on creativity and stop doing it for a while. Let your creativity have a little room to move. Spend some of that energy on finding out what you care about. Give up your current obsession that might not be serving you to find a new one.
Can you relate to this story? What have you given up to pursue your passion? Leave a comment and share your inspiration.
I woke up with a bit of a headache Sunday morning and groaned when I heaved myself up. It might have something to do with the mostly empty wine bottle thrust back into my fridge. Maybe. I staggered across the room gathering yoga pants, sports bra, water bottle. No time for coffee, the class was booked and paid for.
Self-management tip: One thing that motivates me to fulfill commitments to myself is when they are already paid for.
Lying and breathing with all the thoughts racing, I heard these words from my yoga mat:
"Meet yourself where you are."
No, it wasn't my hangover or my subconscious talking. It was Ariana, my yoga teacher. And since I trust Ariana, with all of my heart, I listened and wondered what these words mean to me.
I have written before that I don't believe in manifestation. But I do believe that if you are intentional in your actions and your thoughts, the whispered words you need to hear become a shout that can shake you to the ground. Don't blame the universe if you are not listening.
"Meet yourself where you are". First, I was on my yoga mat in a not so comfortable pose at the time. I don't go to yoga to be comfortable. I go to stretch my tight hips, lengthen my body and find a bit of peace and openness (full disclosure: peace and openness are part of the uncomfortable for me). I clear my mind when I am on the mat and wait to see what happens in that empty space. I am not in a good place physically right now. I have been "too busy" painting and volunteering to get to the gym or to the mat and so I took these instructions at face value. Pushing my body past it's limits only brings me pain, so I resolved to do all that I could but not expect more than I could comfortably do today while on the mat. I would practice where my body was today.
"Meet yourself where you are". I have been pushing lately. Pushing time and skills to the limit. I feel this crazy urgency in my life right now, like I fell behind years ago but didn't know it. Now I run to catch up. I paint like a person possessed. I try and try and fail. Try again. I have no less than three online courses that I binge on when I have time. I am following three podcasts and I am searching for more. I'm a mom. I volunteer to help keep my passion alive. I am a wife and that passion has to be kept alive too. I work a full-time job that keeps all the other things solvent. Even when I appear to be doing nothing there is a merry-go-round of ideas in my head fighting to be the next in queue.
I keep thinking ahead. When this painting is finished. When this course is completed. When this event is over. Then there is the next, the next, the next. Each thing I finish is like a stroke on the canvas getting me closer to the end. I fake it until I make it and that little bit of stress that shows up as the rubber bands in my stomach, keeps the adrenaline flowing and my energy on tap. I am tired of "practicing" and I just want to be doing. I play to a future where I have all of the knowledge and contacts and skills I need to be everything I dream of being.
"Meet yourself where you are." Living ahead of my now cheapens it. Sometimes I can't see where I was yesterday. So where am I now?
I am a student of art. Not yet a professional artist. I am a student of marketing. I am a pair of hands and a beating heart trying to connect with my community. I am an employee that needs to show up for my team members every day. I am a mother with a teenager navigating shifting sands of growth. I am a wife deeply in love.
"Meet yourself where you are." I am growing but I am not there yet. And that is totally okay. Practicing is a thrilling and blessed place to be and also a place where expectations should be a little tempered. There is no deadline to miss in this growth spurt except that I set for myself. After a lifetime of always working to someone else's schedule, this is new way of being that I don't fully understand.
While I am running ahead, I don't want to miss the beauty of the experience I am going through and I don't want to leave anything I value behind me either. Each day is my life, not just the days I run towards where all dreams are fulfilled. To meet myself where I am, I must keep pausing and orienting myself; finding the ground beneath my feet in the now while recognizing how far I have come; checking in to see if I am where I need to be or if in my excitement I have headed off course. But most importantly, I must reach out to ensure all of the things I want to take to the end: my family, my friends, my passion, my health, my dreams are still with me.
The finish line is somewhere out there, some vague distance away in the future and I hope I never find it.
Ariana Novak (referenced for her statement "Meet yourself where you are") is a yogi, life coach and extraordinary entrepreneur. Her website can be found on my Resources page.
Sometimes I have to work really hard at listening to my insides in order to be inspired. And sometimes lightning strikes. As they say.
I was surfing around looking at opportunities to enter juried art exhibitions and I stumbled across the Mindful Project. This is a program that is running for the third year in a row by the City of New Market. The purpose is "to end stigma and promote progressive, positive conversations around mental health and wellness".
The exhibition also recognizes Canadian Mental Health Association's Mental Health Week (May 6-12) and the National Youth Week. "
This year's theme is Roots/Routes. It is a very open theme and the call is for artwork that can relate to this theme. When I read about it, it just electrified me. I have had so many ideas about what I could create for this show. And every single idea I have had involves YOU.
Mental health is a daily conversation in my house. And I can't remember a time when I didn't have to fight my way out of my own head every morning. It is a part of my "roots". But I am so blessed at the path/"route" my journey has taken. My roots have helped me be an advocate and supporter for my family in their journeys.
For this show I will be submitting a proposal to create a sculpture to start conversations about mental health and wellness. When the audience approaches the piece, I want it to speak, not just in my voice, but in many voices. Motion activated recorders are small and can be easily concealed in a variety of ways. This is where I need your help.
I am collecting personal stories as short audio recordings that relate to the theme of roots and routes for this show. If you can find the courage to share your story, it could reach someone in a new way and start a conversation that might not happen otherwise. I am asking you to collaborate with me to create new communication routes to the heart of mental health which is the people it impacts.
I have attached an audio file of my own to demonstrate the type of recording I am looking for. This is one little piece of my true story. Find it at the bottom of this page.
Recordings can be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org (my personal email address)
The recording could be anywhere from 45 seconds to 2 mins. I may shorten some recordings if they are long so I can get a good mix of voices and stories. I would like to receive recordings by February 20th.
I understand this is a deeply personal request. All identities will be kept confidential but the stories will be shared, so please be aware that people who know you may recognize your voice if they visit the exhibit. The recording may also be shared on my website accompanied by pictures of the final submission. This piece, if successful, may also be exhibited in other locations. Above all, be safe and look after the safety of your family. I also ask for no profanity since the exhibit would be in a public space.
Some questions to help you think about your story:
By sending a recording you agree that I can use it in any manner as a part of an art installation, and it may be combined with other recordings. It may also be shared on my website as an audio file, in whole or in part. I agree I will not reveal the identities of the people submitting the recordings but that I have no control over whether your voice is recognized.
This is a juried show, which means I have to apply to be in the show. There is no financial prize or compensation. Judges will decide if my piece gets into the show but regardless, I will still create the sculpture and try to share it somewhere, somehow. Maybe even in our own Waterloo region.
Read the description of the call for work here or check the website for more information. https://www.newmarket.ca/MentalHealth
"Artists and makers are invited to articulate their roots or routes in relation to Mental Health and wellness through visual arts. Your roots are personal to your past and self-identity. Your roots can lead you to follow certain routes or charter new ones along your personal journey. Your experiences along these routes are important because they can transform you and affect your mental well-being."
Thank you in advance for your support! I am grateful for this community.
Big dream time.
Full disclosure… I am not sure I believe in manifesting. Definitely I do not believe in passive manifestation of my dreams.
If you don't know what manifestation is YouTube it (I actually love Zoey Arielle - she is the sweetest thing and talks a lot about manifesting and Jen Sincero is a true kick-ass manifestation guru) but in a nutshell:
· Manifestation is asking the Universe for what you want and the Universe delivering that thing
That is a bit bananas in my opinion. The universe does not have a roster of keen art buyers and free art supplies floating among the stars waiting to land in my lap.
BUT. But. But.
I do believe in putting your dream out there and wrapping specific words around what you want and making it real for yourself and the people around you. You never know who is listening. At the very least, I am listening so I need to speak my dream and work on manifesting my dream by my actions.
There are a few books about dream-making that I can recommend.
Elizabeth Gilbert - Big Magic. She talks about the magic that lives around us and how to seize it and turn it into something real. She tells a fantastic story (of course since she wrote Eat, Pray, Love - in case you just arrived on Earth) and is very eloquent on the topic of inspiration and the spark or magic that brings ideas to you and how to action it.
Jen Sincero - Her "You are a badass" series is excellent. I have the "You are a badass" original yellow covered book electronically, on audio and in paper format. Obviously I bought in to her message. She also has a Daily Om course. Daily Om is an online market where you can buy short courses for very little money (usually $10) about any touchy-feeling vegan yoga guru self-help topic you can imagine. Her focus is on ego-building, manifestation and believing in yourself to achieve your goals and change your life to align with your dreams. Some of her other books get very specific on actions to take every day for dream realization or attitudes about money and manifesting money. Her content has helped me change my internal narrative from "no way, I could never…" to "I better get off my ass and do this thing I love because nobody else can do it for me".
Brene Brown - I first saw her Ted Talk. She is a hardcore scientific researcher in sociology who took a hard left turn and believes in the power of individual stories to inspire and tell certain truths that are not apparent by looking at aggregate data. She talks a lot about resilience and vulnerability. I find her very inspirational. Daring Greatly is the book I recommend. I could not be writing this blog unless I believed in what she says about the value of being vulnerable and the payback in terms of fulfillment it brings to you to make connections with other human beings.
I am an advocate of personal ownership. I am responsible for me. I am an adult, I own my life, my path, my dream. Life does not to happen to me, I shape my life by my actions. My actions come from my beliefs. Therefore, what I believe is critical to what a day in my life looks like. Up until now, my beliefs have led me to a regular 9 to 5 job in a very grounded, established industry with incredible job security. I am not irreplaceable (nobody is), but my skill set makes me very employable in my industry.
Lots of lead up to my big dream statement: I will own a gallery, sell my art, advocate for other artists, and make good money doing it. That money is going to let me in turn be a supporter of the arts and support foster families. I ultimately dream of having the perfect property on a lake with an event and overnight space where artists can connect to each other, families having hard times can recharge, I can create without limits… it fills me up with joy just thinking about it.
To realize these dreams and get on the path to them I have had to change my beliefs.
One belief I am still working on changing:
"Security can only come from money and money can only come from a certain kind of technical career" to "do what you love and the rewards will come".
And another that I have successfully changed:
"I am too old to start over and try to be an artist" to "I am an artist, I have always been an artist and I can live an artist's life".
And then I look at what nature has created and I wonder why I bother trying. Work in progress in the banner.
I tried to create an abstract art piece and failed miserably
I love abstract art. It is so mysterious. What is the artist trying to say? What is the piece saying to me? How do I feel about it? Do I feel anything? Is it attractive, beautiful, repulsive?
Harder to answer questions surface as well: is this good art? To be honest, it can be hard for me to tell. In general, I believe if you create something unique, as a one-off endeavour, it is art. Good art is something else entirely and evaluating the grade of art is both subjective and objective.
Some people will definitely disagree with that last statement. Feel free to leave a comment :)
The mystery of abstract art is very attractive to me. Naturally, I also want to appear mysterious (and hence glamourous and interesting) to my audience so I wanted to try to make an abstract piece of my own.
I started with an arbitrary canvas size and shape that I happened to have on hand. I didn't put much thought into it * (first problem).
I went through my existing acrylic paint and mixed a couple of colours that I liked. I picked contrasting colours, teal and pale red, white and black. I made some random squares on my canvas. I placed some next each other, some spaced apart, usually I apply paint carefully but these marks were pretty sloppy* (second problem) since I really didn't know how important this step would be.
I filled in a lot of the canvas with black and left some colour peeking through.
Next, I added some texture with an acrylic paste by Golden that I happened to have on hand. I was anxious to move to the next step after this and didn't let it completely dry* (third problem)…
I taped off one third of the canvas and on the other side I added white, circling some shapes and leaving others untouched, removed the tape and then I stepped back to look at it* (fourth problem)…
It was just hideous. I felt like I knew it would be from the first mark I laid down. The twisted feeling of dismay and frustration that manifested once I stepped back had been building throughout the (admittedly short) process.
Where did I go wrong?
I do hope to develop the skill of abstract artistry and find a way to visually articulate the mystery of my world for others.
I just need to accept that failure is not optional. Failure has always been a part of my process and I will continue to find new ways to do it. As someone born to be bored, that sounds right up my alley.