Now that I have some rules about how much social media I consume and a new place to do the work I have to start asking myself the even scarier question which is "what am I doing to sabotage myself and my career". I won't go too far into that as it is it's own blog past entirely. I will say though, that as I clean up my business systems I am learning to look further inside of myself at what other factors might be at play here.
I realize now that I have finally put that place down on paper, that it inspired me because so much of her best qualities were present there. She was an incredibly talented crafter. She could make almost anything beautiful and during her children's young childhood made incredibly beautiful matching outfits for them. She loved endlessly.
In checking out at IKEA I realized that I had climbed a small mountain that day. The easy road is no longer a viable option because my work is worth it. My business is worth it and more importantly my clients are worth it. I want my artwork to change people's spaces. To make them feel alive and vibrant and I cannot do that with subpar choices. My business, and more importantly my art, have a higher value than that.
Friends I love designing pillows. This last month I got a special request and this was the beautiful design I came up with. I got so excited about this one off that I have decided to offer it for sale in my Etsy shop as a special for the month of May! I love this so much I am already dreaming about what design I will feature in June.
We have been spending some time on our childhood trying to re awaken our inner child and I knew it was time to come back to the envelope in the drawer. I pulled out those photos yesterday determined to find some goodness in them again. As an artist my work focuses on the topics of queer identity, femininity and recovering lost memories. It was time I took to those photos for contemplation.
It is no secret that I get overly excited about The 100 Day Project that Elle Luna started. Every year it sneaks up on me. This year in particular it is like balm on a wound. Something in the crazy weather and crazy injury I was suffering had me feeling lost. I had more work to do than ever. I had more opportunities than ever and yet I could not quite put my finger on what was missing and where it had gone. Then my first reminder email came through my email box. I started to contemplate, plot and plan. Then it occurred to me. I had some how in the grey winter lost my sense of play.
The 100 Day Project is more than just playtime too. It is community. A place to find and connect with other creative people. A really that is why I love it so much. It takes me out of my comfort zone, encourages me to play, and introduces me to new people to cheer on. This year I put together a list of my top five favorite 100 Day Projects. Maybe you can find someone new to cheer on or share in the delight of someone else's project and joy.
You can also find my 100 Day Project here. I am doing 100 Days of Watercolor Sketches. As an abstract artist I can't imagine a better way to play and stretch my muscles.
I love Lisa Congdon. I always love her work however I am especially drawn to this project. I have large hands for a woman. It is something every partner I have had has noticed. Sometimes in my discomfort I even make jokes about artists having bigger hands. Something about this project allows me to love my own hands a little more.
Bellingham based mixed-media artist
I know as a fellow Mixed Media Artist I am always leaning a little towards this medium. However what really spoke to me abou this is the softness and honesty in her pieces. They propel you into a perfect new moment.
Kansas City Artist
I love this project for the sheer volume of it. While Therese is focusing on small abstracts she is creating several a day. This particular project is pure eye candy.
I have dreams about this project. I cannot wait to see it everyday and often make audible sounds when I see the days work. The sweetness of each piece. I could fill my entire home with these tiny little weavings.
Something about this project gives me an enormous amount of joy. This project speaks to me on so many levels. First I also find that when I am hibernating too much, working in the studio or spending way to much time in front of the computer, I make the same resolution to force myself to talk to one stranger a day. However the fact that she is doing cut out portraits of those interactions is mind blowing.
I hope you find at least one project enjoyable and if you have any particular favorites for The 100 Day Project why not share it in the comments below with a link?
She’d done it. The tiny little stranger had looked inside my soul and found the words I never could. You see, that has been my problem my whole life. I have a whole lot of feelings going on inside and yet seem completely incapable of adequately expressing myself. It was not until I was almost thirty and I started painting that I finally found a way to express all that I had going on inside. For me I felt like I was suddenly speaking a language people could understand.
Two characteristics each of the panelists related to being women in sports. Over and over I heard each panelist speak on these two topics. As an artist struggling to figure out the in-between space in my life it spoke so deeply to my heart that I almost teared up. It reminded me that I am not alone, not as a women, not as a artist, not as someone who is so passionately in love with this crazy career path that I cannot imagine who I would be without it.
I am looking at ways to become a better version of myself. Whether this is as an artist, in my day job or in my personal life, it is something I generally strive towards. Sometimes my attempts to become a better version of myself do not actually make me a better version. Sometimes my attempts are completely in vain.
However one of the ways that I strive to be a better version of myself is that every year around my birthday I look at the past year, take a moment of gratitude, and then set some goals for the next year. In an attempt to have some accountability I also share those goals with you. So Cheers! to my annual birthday post.
What a year the last year has been. I am so grateful to have a fiance who completely supports the things I chose to do in life. Even when it means giving up alcohol, dairy, sugar, wheat, caffeine, beef, pork, and well nearly everything right at the beginning of summer. Which has me thinking about my first goal for the next year.
1. CONNECT MORE
My fiance is a mental health therapist and in nature is comfortable making connections with people. Myself however definitely falls into that awkward category of artist that DW Winnicott spoke about in the quote below. The reality is though, that producing and selling art is all about connecting. I also recently got on the app Voxer and have been sharing instant voice messages with my friends and I will admit that it has drastically changed our friendships. We are by far more connected than we have previously been. Most importantly I have learned that I need this connection in my life.
2. SHOW UP AND BE SEEN
I did a Braid Creative webinar this week on branding. Not only was the webinar exceptional, (I would totally do the full course if I was not paying for a wedding in September) but something that Kathleen Shannon said during the webinar really sunk in for me. She said Show Up and Be Seen. It has been such a year of transition for me that I have only really been painting. Literally to the point that I have a giant stack of paintings just waiting to be hung up and shown. If I want to do this full time, which I do, I need to step up to the plate and be seen. That is really scary for me. It feels really vulnerable to me. Which is something I am actively working towards. It also leads me to my third and final goal for my 35th year of life.
3. ASK FOR HELP
I am terrible at this. So bad in fact that my fiance bought me Amanda Palmers book The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help. Something that really stuck out to me from Amanda's book is the concept of art as a reciprocal process. I have spent so much time painting without really having a plan as what to do with the paintings when I am done. That is where Amanda's book comes into to play. It is time for me to start asking for help. Finding somewhere to hang my art and asking people to buy it. That is a scary process but is ultimately a necessary process.
I have to be honest with you these three goals actually give me butterflies. There is so much depth and discomfort involved that I cannot help but know these changes are necessary. Not only for me personally but for me professionally. I am always interested to know what goals you are working on? Are you focused on something that genuinely makes you feel nervous? Let me know!!
Today marks one month of The 100 Day Project for 2016. Last year was the first year of The 100 Day Project and was originally put on by The Great Discontent and Elle Luna. This year though The 100 Day Project has become it's own entity. While I could spend some time on how that change has effected The 100 Day Project this year in comparison to last year. Really what I want to write about is my own experience with this years 100 day Project in comparison to last years.
Last year was a failure. I think I got through day five and fell flat on my face. I know now some of the reasons that it was such a complete failure. One of those reasons was I was in a new relationship and while I had a wonderful home work space there was just too many things going on to commit to daily art practice. I also know now that another reason was that I picked a project, #100daysoffoundobjects, that was just too complicated. It involved finding objects to then modify daily. While I am a mixed media artist I am primarily a painter and thus did not have enough raw materials to make it work. Lastly I did not have the commitment to prioritize the project in a manner that would make it happen.
This year though I came into The 100 Day Project with a plan and here it is.
Make a plan
Set up a project I can actually handle
Have support during The 100 Day Project
Pre order supplies
Engage with the audience and others doing the project
Find joy in the project
Some of the plan seems really common sense right? Make a plan. Duh. But what I realized is that really a plan makes a difference. I decided when I was going to be working on this pieces, how I was going to make them, where I was going to make them, and how I was going to accommodate the project when I didn't have time or energy to complete it. What that really looks like is that I decided to do sketchbook spreads. It keeps the supplies simple, a few colors of paint, pens, and my sketchbook. The mobility of my art supplies makes the where easy because it is anywhere. The when comes down to my lunch break at work Mon-Fri and weekend mornings. The time also comes into the how because one of my big tips is that I work on several pages at once and finish the page the night before. For example day 27 was completed the night of day 26 so it was ready to be posted.
The support piece is equally important. Not only in support from my partner but also support from my online tribe. I am in several groups working on this project. We share in our joy and our challenges and that keeps us moving forward. I confident today on day 31 that I will make it to 100. What are you doing to keep up with your 100 Day Project? Comment below and let me know any tricks you might have picked up along the way!
Abstract Art rarely has a recipe. For me in particular that is what I love about it. One of the things I really love about Mixed Media Abstract Art is that any material goes. Lately I have been pulling out interesting strings I have collected over the years and my sewing machine. I rotate between adding abstract sewn lines and actually hand sewing designs in. In the photo above you can see where I added hand sewn designs to one of the pieces in my Moon Sisters series. I have even begun to add favorite fabric and really engaging the layering process beyond just paint.
So here we are. 2016 is the year of exploratory art over here at the art studio. I am allowing myself to add new methods. I am digging deep to figure out further what do those additions mean to my current process and this crazy journey I call Art. For me adding sewing in digging into my own family history. My grandmother Alice was an exceptional seamstress. I remember vividly the picture of her in her emerald silk wedding dress she made herself. She has been gone for several years now and I guess this is the way I can honor that relationship.
All my work is about exploring my own history. It feels the most natural and truest way to look at the past, present, and future. I am often surprised within my own self the ways I bring forth these details. So for now its just some sewn lines and link to my grandmother.
Good artists copy, great artists steal.
- Pablo Picasso
This weekend I got out for the SE PDX Artwalk here in Portland. More specifically I got out to the Ford Building which houses quite a few artists and more specifically one of a close friends favorites. It was inspiring and amazing to see the spaces that other artists work in. Afterwards as my friends and I went to get a beer one of my friends said that my work reminded her of one of the artists we had visited with. I stepped back agasp and immediately went to look at my Instagram feed stammering all the reasons I felt that our work was different. For my friends it was a casual comment made with no harm intended. For me it was a challenge to my creative integrity.
In this wake of all this I decided that today I would ask the fellow artists and makers in one my facebook groups what creative integrity was for them. I was surprised with the diversity of answers. As I read each response I thought within myself yes, that is EXACTLY what I am talking about! How is then that we can all have such different answers to one question and yet they are all the correct answer?
Yes. It is true.
They are all correct because they are all part of the same answer.
* Be Inspired *
Inspiration is essential for creatives to do what it is that we do. In a digital age that inspiration often comes through social media channels such as Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and other artists websites and blogs. Naturally someone else's work is going to influence our work. However I think the defining line is when a creative takes ownership over an idea they learned from another artist.
This is huge for me. I think that Integrity goes beyond poaching other creatives ideas but also to the actions of creatives within our communities. To have creative integrity we should be investing in our fellow artists and supporting each other in our progression as artists.
This was an aspect that I hadn't fully realized in my thoughts on creative integrity. When I asked about creative integrity in one of my online communities and someone brought up the sourcing of materials. I realized immediately that not only should be we sourcing our ideas responsibly but also our materials.
*Make art for yourself first*
Personally, I believe that we are best serving our communities when we are making art for ourselves first. Art is a language and an expression of something raw and real that requires honoring. A second thought on this is also that we have a responsibility to honor our voice. We are all given creative gifts and not only do we owe it to ourselves to listen to that voice but we owe it to our communities to bring forth that expression.
I think more than anything being aware of how we are being inspired and how we are creating our work is the truest form of integrity. We will learn from others but emulations only can take you so far. We have powerful creative voices inside all of us that need expressing.
I have been obsessed with working in my sketchbook lately. I think it is part of this constant journey to find some balance in my life and right now it feel so so good.
At the end of 2015 I worked up a full five month content marketing plan. I could sense in my heart that I wanted to be back in the game of blogging and truly thought that by setting out a solid five month plan of topics and posts about Mixed Media I could really access a whole knew part of my creative process.
Well as you can see I failed.
My artwork took a big turn in some really wonderful ways. Feeling the push because of my full time day job I chose instead to take the time and focus on my painting.
I took a couple of opportunities from some local businesses to display my artwork. Not so much because of the opportunity to sell the work but mainly because this new place I am at with it is something I am proud of. Finally, after six years of doing this I feel like I have a body of work I want to share with the world. If you are in the Portland Oregon area I invite you to stop by The Bike Gallery at 1001 Sw 10th Ave. or to take the time to have brunch at James John Café in St. Johns where I also have a selection of seven paintings hanging.
Also I have been working on short videos of the process. If you are interested in seeing a piece in progress I encourage you to sign up for my newsletter where I will be including these little sneak peeks!
I have always been interested in encaustics. And like most artists for a short time I really experimented with it. But as time went on I realized that the cost was just to high. I knew that it wouldn't replace my love for abstract mixed media and that I already hoard art supplies. However I learned recently about a method of using plain beeswax to do encaustic mixed media collage. I fell in love.
Mixed media beeswax collage hits me on so many levels as an artists. I can use photocopies of the photos that are important to me, like the photo above of my future wife and her grandfather, with wax and other ephemera to permanently document our history. I love the way it fills my studio with the smell of bees wax and the freedom of the process.
In November I taught a workshop at St. Johns Living Well in Portland, Oregon. I had ten students and it was an inspiring and perfect day. Recently I got approached to do another workshop which I have scheduled for February 7 from 12:00 pm to 3 pm
I encourage you if you are interested at all in bees wax and what you might do with this medium consider signing up for the class. The cost is just 55.00 dollars and includes all the supplies you need to create two full pieces, as well as three hours of instruction and a delicious lunch. This class is for all skill levels but due to the materials might be best for age 16 and above.
There is a question I get all of the time when I am asked what kind of art I do. Generally it goes like this
Interested customer: Oh! What kind of art do you make?
Me: I am a Mixed Media Media Abstract Artist.
Interested customer: Really? What is Mixed Media anyway? Is that like scrapbooking?
At this point in the conversation I am already overwhelmed. I am overwhelmed that a subject I love so much is still a big point of confusion for many people. By definition Mixed Media is visual art that employs more than one medium in the creation of it. Traditionally the mediums are distinctly different in nature. On a broader scope, for me being a mixed media artist gives me the freedom to hoard supplies. It creates beautiful mad scientist moments when a piece needs something extra to finish it and I have by chance really some random thing that seems to tie it together. Lately that has been a spool of yellow string I picked up when volunteering for MECCA some years back. It also covers my bases when the fact is that my typical go to supplies for a piece are acrylic paint, alcohol ink, some kind of lace or string, oil pastels and often pieces of ephemera I have collected along the way.
I love the journey of mixed media. I love interacting with another mixed media artists work because not only am I emotionally committed to the journey that the artwork takes me on but also the science part of my brain is always wondering about the process. I wonder what materials were used, how exactly they interacted and most importantly can you make it happen again. It is a curious journey for sure.
Dear reader if you are still confused as to what exactly this broad term signifies do not fret. I am including a list of some of my favorite artists as an example. Why don't you take the time to fall down the rabbit hole for a bit. The journey may surprise you. And a surprising little bonus, most people do not know that Pablo Picasso is often considered a mixed media artist. .
Awesome Artists to explore!
New Years is here. And to be a bit of a nerd, the statistics regarding New Years resolutions are something I find very interesting. According to the website Statistic Brain, the general sense is that the statistics regarding success in achieving our resolutions says that only 8 percent of those who attempt a New Years resolution are successful. Even more interesting is that 46 percent of those who attempt resolutions are successful through the end of June. Somehow in the last 6 months of the year we lose steam. Looking at these statistics can make a person question whether or not making a resolution is even worth it. However I have one more statistic for you, the whole point of this post, people who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than those who do not explicitly make resolutions.
For many of us, the New Year is a reset. As an artist who thrives on the blank canvas I thrive on the New Year. December rolls in and I begin to contemplate the new years resolutions. This year though, I did something a little different for December. I still contemplated my goals, worked on my word for the year and begin the general day dreaming of how I might expand and grow in 2016 as I normally would but otherwise completely shut down my side hustle. It seemed kind of risky when we are constantly taught to be present in social so that we can grow our following. However I needed to be true to myself. I needed the time to look inward. I needed time to sit with my own self to really know what the next years resolutions could be. Turns out, as I focused on what my future goals might be I realized I needed a solid foundation to make those goals a reality. It seems that maybe my framework is my weak point so I am spending the time needed to strengthen that.
I am also taking the time to look at last years resolutions asking the question “am I one of the 8 percent”? Last year I did my resolutions in a very different way that I had before. I decided not to go with a traditional resolution about change and instead chose to make three lists I would focus on. My first list was my Learn list, my second list was my Go list, and my third list was my Do list. If you notice not a single list was a change list or a don’t list. The lists are as follows.
- To Can
- To Make Soup
- To Make Beer
- To Sail
- To Sew Better
- Camping More
- Snow Shoeing
- To the Beach More
- Stay in a Yurt
- One Away Thorns Game
- One Art Retreat Out of PDX
- Quit Adidas
- Paint Portrait of Dogs
- Buy 8 New Pairs of Shoes
- Book 3 Art Shows
- Plant a Bigger Garden
I completed 10 out of 19. All in all I feel very good about the completion rate. Like the statistic said, the other goals I set in my life were much easier to obtain when I had started the year off with the mindset of taking my goals seriously. I know for some folks it might seem like I missed the mark but for me the resolutions I set are about making my life better. These resolutions and the whole mindset I started the year off with has paid off.
I spent the weekend at Crater Lake celebrating my birthday. The last day of my 33rd year was nothing less than perfect. I hiked 8.25 miles on Crater Lakes Rim Trail, ate a dinner cooked over the fire and stared into a night sky full of stars. This was a site often unseen in Portland. Something about that lake provides a deep sense of calm for me and allows me to really focus on the year ahead of me.
The last year has fallen to the way side now. It was a year of struggle and growth. Not so much in the financial side but more so in the realm of emotional struggles. July 17th was the one year anniversary of my friend Nicole's tragic death. I can remember the moment I found out with a shocking clarity. However in the wake of her passing I have really taken a serious look at my life. More specifically looking at the creative side of my life. Nicole was a talented songstress and what I have taken from her passing is a higher commitment to my art. I took this weekend at Crater Lake to really define what that means.
I mean really. What does it mean to make a higher commitment to my art? For me it is about defining exactly what I want from my art career. That is such a big question. I want to make art and I want o be able to afford to do all the crazy projects in my brain. A goal setter I have decided to revisit my yearly resolutions with a business minded focus. Here are some of my birthday resolutions rolling around in my brain.
1. Double the amount of shows I participated in this year.
2. Complete another month long project.
3. Apply to an artists residency. I have a specific one in mind and that requires a more focused body of work.
4. Take my newly defined career direction to the next level. Launch the website.
5. Transition from my forty hour to my side hustle full time.
These are some big extensive goals that include a series of smaller goals as well. However I am confident in my ability to get things done. Now to just keep moving forward.