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...feed your soul with art & creativity!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Top 10 Wise Suggestions for When You Have to Move

HAH!  Betcha thought I'd fallen off the planet.  And I did...sort of.  Fell into that chaotic bottomless pit called "moving."

Can you believe it?  We moved again.  A lot of upheaval with my Sweeties' work resulted in change of job, venue and home.  And of course, the studio.  Which is, once again, in complete disarray and pieces parts as I currently do not have a good, dedicated space for my artwork.

So scrap all the thoughts, blogs and progress on setting up art studios.  I had JUST gotten them where I liked them by moving inside to get away from bugs, frogs, spiders, lizards, etc.  But none of that matters now.

If you are moving or have to move or considering a move to create an art studio, let me share with you some of my VAST experience and knowledge on this process!

1.  Pack like items with like items.  That way, if you decide to work on one specific thing, you'll be able to find the materials and tools more easily.

(c)SZing, 2013.  Packing up and emptying shelves
2.  MARK YOUR BOXES--even if you have to write lots on the outside--I lost two ETSY sales this month because I had NO IDEA where my items were in storage and couldn't possibly go through the 100 boxes marked "art" to find the items.

3.  Don't put all your art books in one box. This is similar to putting all your eggs in one basket.  Rather than breaking the books though, you can bet you'll pretty much tear up your own or someone else's back when they try to pick up that box of bricks.  I ended up putting two or three books in each art box I had so that none of them would be so heavy as to be unliftable.

4.  DO wrap fragile items well.  It may seem obvious, but sometimes in the midst of moving you just get overwhelmed, or time becomes a factor and you tend to throw a bunch of stuff into a box.  Here is a good rule of thumb:  if it is dear to you, costs more than you can easily replace out of what cash you carry in your wallet or it can make you money by being kept whole--bubble wrap, tissue wrap, paper wrap--wrap it up with care and be sure not to put heavy items on top of it.  Save yourself some money, heart ache and frustration.

5.  Save your boxes when you finish unpacking and re-sell them on Craigslist.  People are always moving.  Don't throw those boxes away.  Carefully tear them down and list them as gently used.  I sold a lot of 75 empty boxes for $70--no, not nearly what we paid for them, but better than nothing.

(c) SZing, 2013. Chaos of moving and packing
6.  Pick some supplies that work together and pack them so you can immediately get back to creating.  Be sure to include any tools or materials that are required for any specific projects.  This time when we moved, I kept most of my jewelry making materials in the first load of boxes we unpacked and have been able to continue to be creative and artistic--which, given the insanity of moving has probably saved me some level of stress and being locked in a loony bin.

7.  Enlist help.  Whether it is with packing up boxes, moving boxes into a moving truck, moving boxes from a moving truck into storage, moving boxes into a house or unpacking, select some dear and valued friends to help out--or opt to pay friends or friend's children to help out.  Let's just say that me and my Sweetie are not as young as we once were (shocking! I know).  This time around, we paid two teenage boys who are the sons of friends of ours to help move the heaviest items into the truck and into storage.  We also had several dear friends who helped move those items out to Sweetie's shop and saved his and my back by sharing the load.

(c)Szing 2013, moving and packing
8.  Paper or plastic.  Trust me--as much as you might like to keep things feeling normal in the moving process, buy paper or plastic cutlery, plates and cups and use them at least the few days before moving and the few days after moving.  You have to pack up your dishes sooner or later and you're too busy and too tired to have to bother with cleaning up dishes.  Yes, I realize it is wasteful, but in the scheme of things keep in mind this is a temporary solution and will help to save you a little energy.  Apologize later to the environment if you must by creating a compost or planting some trees...but during the move--do yourself a favor and choose paper and plastic.

9.  Check your tires.  Thankfully this move we did not have any tire disasters.  But in our previous move we had not one, not two, but three different vehicular challenges during our move that added a ton of stress and anxiety to an already stressful and anxious experience.  Not to mention cost.  This time, we bought new tires for the trailer before hand, checked the cars out ahead of time and thought ahead to any contingency that might occur and derail the smooth transition from one location to another.  It was worth it to buy the tires given the peace of mind it allowed.

(c)SZing, 2013, so much for an art studio
10.  Use storage.  We were not able to immediately move into our new home this time around and had to stay in a hotel for 4 days.  This was plenty of challenge with 3 cats and a dog.  But we also had some of our more precious items with us.  Rather than keep those items in the car or hotel room with us, we opted to get a small storage unit for one month and placed them there.  We chose a place that got great reviews, was clean, had terrific security including locked gates all around the fortress and security cameras all over the place.  Our precious items were probably more secure there than they are in our home now. It was, again, worth the peace of mind and certainly worth the cost as we would not have wanted to pay to replace those items had they disappeared from the hotel.

Okay...that's my top 10 wise moving suggestions.  I probably should include an 11th, which would read, Do Everything in Your Power to Love Where you Are, Make It Work For You and STAY PUT!  That being said, that isn't always possible.  Take it from a moving veteran, everything you can do to make it easier on yourself is worth its weight in gold.

(c) 2013, SZing, Bohemian Art Cafe all photos and text. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Look to the Past

Here is an irony.

I plan to blog about the past...today.

Living the Source, (c) SZing 2013. All rights reserved. Tempera on Bristol.
My first sentence started with Now.  I erased it.  On my second time, I wrote, Most of the time....I deleted that too.

Clearly, that linear device we humans use called time is the subject of my blog.  It's just taking me a little bit of effort to get around to it.  Particularly when I quite frequently strive to live in the now, at this moment. Now.

However, we do use this construct called time to help us make sense of our world--or at least one semblance of sense.  And most of the time, I would recommend and note that the past is gone and there is nothing that we can do to alter it or make it different so our efforts are best spent on the Now.

Except when...we can change the past.  Except when we can make that quantum leap to correct an error and change the way things work out.


Use tools.  Here is a delightful one.

Here is an example.  For years (see? more time) I did not think I was artistic.  Then in my mid thirties (another recognition of the passing of time), I decided that I was going to be an artist and I immediately began calling myself an artist.  At first (an order of time), that felt weird and a little false, particularly since as a child my artwork was really not inspired--although it was quite genuine.  I know, because I have proof left over in the form of a file my parents saved of different art projects I completed through various grades.

Yet I now definitely know myself to not only be an artist (and a prolific one if that, even if I am not yet popularly selling in large quantities or large sums) and a writer.  And it is hard for me to remember a time when I did not enjoy creative endeavors.  Some of my favorite childhood projects were making new Barbie clothes from scratch, practicing my interior decorating skills by making my own homemade Barbie homes, complete with carpets, paintings on the walls, and windows with curtains.  I enjoyed our Camp Fire Girls (sorry guys--you hadn't been accepted into this club yet) projects each week, even though there is some minor proof in the form of photographs that my artwork was less than stellar work.

We must look to the past to find our limitations.  The other day as I sat listening to a friend of mine talk about an unlimited universe and unlimited opportunities, I realized, "why, that's true!"  I am unlimited.  The biggest limitation I have that keeps me playing small is from the beliefs and indoctrination I have incorporated into my life as I have grown and some of those were beliefs of "not being good enough," of "who do you think you are?" and of "your sister is the one who is artistic, not you."  I can choose now to look to the past, see those beliefs and decide deliberately whether or not I want to continue to let them operate in my life and keep me playing small.

I choose to live life large.  So now comes the exciting and fun game changer where I think only thoughts of my unlimited potential, tell myself daily hundreds of times what an excellent artist I am, write myself love letters to tell myself about all the fabulous qualities that I embody and as with the beliefs that have kept me hiding from the very largeness of life and the opulent abundance of the world, I will be able to change my future, now.  I believe that this works because I have seen it do so.  The trick, of course, is to believe.

If you're having trouble following this, there is a VERY quick reading book by Richard Bach that was written in the mid 70s I think called "Jonathan Livingston Seagull."  Pay especial attention to Jonathan's teacher Chiang and the brilliant words he shares.

Now, I am ready to get back to the now. Now.

“Overcome space, and all we have left is Here. Overcome time, and all we have left is Now.” 
― Richard BachJonathan Livingston Seagull

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Slay a Dragon

Today I am going to slay a dragon.  You know what a dragon is....it's that fiery beasty that rears its ugly head and demands attention when there are other things you would like to be doing...like frolicking in a field of daisies or floating in a secluded lake....
Where to begin?  I'm exhausted just looking at it.
(c)SZing, 2013
To slay a dragon is a daring and courageous act.  You can sometimes get burned.  It requires enormous amounts of effort and stamina.  You may even have to train and prepare before the battle with the dragon begins.  

To slay a dragon is to remove an impediment from your journey.

Today, my dragon is to make significant progress in moving my studio into the house and at the same time, moving my sweetie's wood turning studio out to the outdoor studio.  I've been making very slow headway--perhaps a scale or two at a time on the dragon--a box here, a box there...and then I become overwhelmed.

Today I am going out to empty cabinets and prepare them to be brought indoors.  Today I am going to clear off a table and bring it indoors.  Thus making space for his tools and materials to go out.  Since this particular dragon has the magical power to basically suck the energy out of me in no time and leave me turning helplessly in circles...my plan is to work quickly.  To make progress in two hours and then leave the dragon so damaged that when I return tomorrow, it will be so disabled as to not be able to harm me.

My goal is to have my studio spaces completely intact and ready to work/teach by not later than the end of May and to have his work materials out there so he can begin at the same time.

Beginning to get order...slaying that dragon of a disaster.
(c)SZing, 2013

This is a big dragon.  I have accumulated much "stuff" and work in multiple medium.  Those mediums are not light nor small (glass).  I sometimes wish I just did one small think like watercolor painting...How easy it would be for me to be moved and productive.  But, alas, I am of the ilk that requires significant mental stimulation and am curious about so many things that I've developed talents for each of my favorite mediums.  Even lightening the load of supplies is a challenge as I continue to think, "I know I will use that."  Inevitably when I give away something, shortly thereafter I wish I had it because I've happened upon the most remarkable manner in which to use it.  So other than removing palmetto bugs, ginormous spiders, frogs and lizards from my materials before they enter the house, there is very little else that is being gotten rid of. This entails a very special type of magical trickery--consolidating materials so that more fits in a smaller space.  I have floor to ceiling shelving in one room. It is amazing how much material is stored there AND that I can actually see what I have to work with.

There really will be an organized art studio space in here soon. (c) SZing, 2013

If you have a dragon you have to slay, here are my top five hints for making it a successful venture:
1.  Be prepared with the right tools for the job.  (for me, this means boxes, gloves, trash can)
2.  Keep your eye on the dragon and move swiftly. (Know what your end result goal for the day is and keep moving toward that--and know what your end end result is so you can eventually reach the end of your adventure.)
3.  Figure out a way to make it fun. Dance around the dragon. I listen to motivating music and I let myself be excited as if it is a holiday as I come across materials I haven't seen  or used in over a year.
4.  Be willing to relinquish some of the treasure to the dragon.  There are times when we may want to keep the entire treasure pit.  But being willing to let go of some of it will lighten the load, make us lighter and therefore more flexible on our feet, and even perhaps appease the dragon.
5.  Use the trash bucket.  Some people might think this means that as they get nauseous from the idea of getting rid of stuff they can up-chuck in the can. No. I mean....put stuff in it.  Yesterday I was able to let go of quite a bit of old papers and bits and bobs that really had gotten damaged, dirty and tangled and really weren't able to be used.  I also got rid of a big bit of stuff that a very industrious frog had pooped all over.  I have a simple rule...nothing with poop on it goes back into the new studio.  It feels like a good rule of thumb for me.  Also, no live critters get to enter the household domain, despite the fact that my felines would be happy to dispatch them.  The idea is to limit the amount of critter related screaming to none.

Okay...those are my tips for dragon slaying.  If you have a dragon....I wish you well on your adventure to slay it.  What I do know is that once this dragon is gone, my time, energy and focus will be available for much better and more creative activity.

I'm off to don my sword and armor.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Embracing the Thriving Artist Within

It's time for artists, myself included, to release the starving artist routine and to embrace a consciousness of embracing the thriving artist within.  It's time.

Making art is one thing.  Selling it successfully is an entirely different beastie.  Many artists have no or very little business experience.  Many artists are uncomfortable selling, some are nervous meeting new people and/or talking about themselves.  But there comes a point where your home has all the art it can hold.  You have all the jewelry one human can possibly wear.  Your family and friends and co-workers all have all the art from you they can fit into their house. And short of stock piling it or rotating it around, the next step is selling.  

I had a studio in a building with other artists.  I no longer have that luxury as there is nothing like that here (although I would love to create one).  I don't want the expense of overhead for a storefront.  I have opted for selling from my website/etsy/zazzle/bonanza...but I don't want to spend all of my time trying to make the sale.  I also have been experimenting with farmer's markets and craft shows, selling my art wholesale and having trunk shows, as well as teaching classes.  I have selected show cases where I place my work on consignment but I am very careful about where I place this work and to make sure I know the seller well.

My experiment with farmer's markets, flea markets and like (also online) is that the people who are attending are 1) not looking to purchase my items at all (looking for produce and that is it) and 2) if they look at my work, they want it at a yard sale/flea market price and want to dicker...which I don't do.  My prices are set based on my labor, my cost of materials, overhead and my profit x 2 for the retail price.  My wholesale prices are based on purchasing multiples of an item.  Let's face it, I have to make a living in order to be able to continue to not only do what I do, but to love to do what I do.  So, after six months of attending farmer's markets, I am out of that market business.  My experiment has taught me that these are not my buyers.  Time to move on.  There is no point in continuing now that I've realized that this is not the place for me.

Having come to that conclusion, I continue to experiment with what works and doesn't work.  I continue to select craft shows to try out (since I'm new to Florida I'm still finding out what works)...for example, a recent example of a show that did not work for me was for a really great non-profit and it featured a car show.  I sold nothing.  I had very few people even stop by my booth. There were only about 8 vendors at the show.  It dawned on me toward the end of the day that...these people were not here to shop.  Most probably didn't bring any cash or perhaps some didn't even have any disposable cash to spend.  They were there to look at cars.  Lesson learned.  I won't return next year.  Though the price of my booth was minimal, I still lost money from it, not to mention the loss of time spent getting to/setting up/and being there--this was time I could have spent in a better way.  

I'm still figuring it out.  And I have to admit, that the commitment of a blog can become a burden.  I don't want it to be.  I want it to be here because I love sharing my thoughts and experiences and my art.  And the social media...I don't want it to become a chore.  I want to enjoy sharing what I am working on.  The flip side is that I now realize that I have to be consistent with my contacts...and I apologize to those of you who check my blog regularly and find I haven't updated in a LONG time.  I'm going to get back to just enjoying at and hope that you will respond by sharing it with others.  

I'm ready to move back into the arena of thriving as an artist.  I embrace and welcome it.  I'm willing to do what needs to be done so I can continue to create my unique artworks.  I encourage other artists to consider embracing thriving. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Don't Expect the Unexpected

We've all heard that phrase, "Expect the Unexpected."  I'm saying "DON'T."  What I mean by that is...don't throw the baby out with the bathwater (what a horrible phrase, eh?)....Sometimes, the expected is exactly what a piece of art or writing wants and needs.

When we, as creative people, reject the expected because it is expected, we can lose valuable input and inspiration.  When we refuse to acknowledge the expected as it begins to be unveiled in our work because we are patiently waiting for the unexpected to arrive, we can be sorely disappointed.

Our artwork can become stymied.  It also can become...less authentic.  If you are waiting for the unexpected, and nothing shows up in your thoughts or expression, we can tend to "make up" what is unexpected.  This contrivance can alter the entire feel of a piece and change the internal and external meaning.  It can make the work lifeless.

I'm not saying to deny the unexpected when it genuinely does request an audience, I'm simply cautioning against overtly trying to "make something happen" in your art or writing that doesn't really fit in.  If you are struggling and forcing something to fit, then the chances are that...it doesn't...fit.  Be patient.  The muse of creativity is always speaking.  If you need to, take some time to meditate and just be open to hearing what comes.

In the meantime, consider focusing on some small details as you wait to discover what is next....

Monday, April 1, 2013

Outta Whack!

Some days things you plan just don't unfold the way you thought they might.  Things get outta whack!  When that happens...you just have to punt.  Be flexible.  Change your expectations and allow the mystery of your day to unfold.

Today I had an entirely different plan for what I would work on.  But then I realized that it is supposed to be stormy weather for most of the week here and a significant portion of what I was going to do then is outdoor related or requires me to be outside.  I was going to work indoors on the computer and designing art.  In light of the impending rain, I switched it up and moved things around on my calender/schedule.

Somehow, miraculously, by being open to the change, my week is a lot less harried and stressful and I was even able to plug in some fun and playtime.

I received an email from a colleague the other day that said in a nutshell, "there is no flexibility to change the current situation."  I say, "hogwash."  All things are re-negotiable so long as you are 1) willing and 2) flexible.

Today things are outta whack, but it is turning out for the better.

P.S.  I got curious about this term "Outta Whack".  

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Surrender to the Process

This morning I had planned to go to a craft market to sell my artworks.  But my ignition failed on my car and I'm going nowhere.  When I returned to the house to have a cup of coffee and figure out what the day would turn out to look like instead, I realized that it's not in my control and the best thing I can do is surrender to the process and be open to the opportunities that the day holds.

Abstract painting, "Progression".  (c) 2011 SZing. All rights reserved.

This is not unlike the process of doing artwork or painting.  It also applies to most businesses.  And it certainly applies to our spiritual living.  We do not have the entire blueprint.  We are only given what I refer to as "marching orders" and have the tiny corner of the overall plan.  We can use our free-will to determine how best to carry out our marching orders, but fighting the marching orders only prolongs the pain.

I could have come inside and been so upset that my day's plan was messed up and allowed that to cause my entire day to be blown apart.  I could have fretted and fussed and tried to "make" it work out--although in this instance, short of hiring a taxi, there really isn't much I could do today to get things working out how I wanted and expected them to be.

Abstract Painting, "Conflict of Interest", (c) 2010, SZing.
All rights reserved.
One of the reasons I love the Painting Experience that I attended this past weekend is that I have learned to (mostly) surrender to the process.  I will admit it is only through some rather painful and wrenching resistance in the past that I learned this hard-won lesson.  What I found by surrendering to the process is that it "shushes" the inner critic and the inner control freak because I listen, acknowledge their contributions and they go away.  In the act of surrendering, I am able to hear and see clearly what the next step in the process needs to be--whether that is a change of paintbrush, loading the brush with a new paint color--like maroon or red instead of green--or if the next step is an image or idea of some particular item that comes into consciousness and must be added to the whole.  In one case, this was a goat.  It hung out in the back of my brain the entire time I was painting and was the last thing I put into the painting, but I honored it and gave it its place.  Had I refused to do so, not only would my painting have been incomplete and felt incomplete, there is a very good chance that I would have become stuck or frustrated and perhaps done something drastic like paint over the painting in order to avoid the issue of the goat. 

In recent months, I have begun to call surrender "the great cleanser."

Abstract Painting, "Monsoon Season." (c) 2010, SZing.
All rights reserved.
In the past, the word “surrender” held negative connotations of ideas of suffering, limitation, lack, or loss. It meant giving up something valuable and implied there would be pain of some sort. Over the years, I developed a new way of looking at and allowing surrender.  I see surrender as the restoration of my spirit to its divine and original state—a cleansing of sorts from the day-to-day will power that the human “I” tries to exert upon my world.  There is joy in the release from the pressure of having to “make” things happen.  Surrender moves beyond my human self/will to allow the power and presence of the Source to flow and guide my thoughts and actions.  In some respects, this fits the traditional definitions of surrender in that I “deliver my fugitive self into the Law.” 

Abstract Painting, "We Are Everywhere", (c) 2010, SZing.
All rights reserved.
To surrender is to relinquish monkey mind busy-ness, planning and thoughts of “how things should be”, allowing things to be as they are.  Surrender is the release of Spirit that brings freedom, confidence, peace, abundance, health, faith and more of life.  To surrender is critical to faith and manifestation.  All situations, events, activities, thoughts and processes have a natural path. Rather than forcing a path, Surrender allows the existing path to be revealed.  Surrender opens a door to possibilities, imagination and exploration. 

In surrendering to the process, my artwork continues to grow and ends up better than it would have had I fought my intuitive guidance and inner knowing.  I trust my art...and conversely, my art trusts me.

(c) SZing, 2013. All rights reserved.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Spontaneous Expression

I just returned from a 3 day retreat--also known as The Painting Experience held in Orlando, FL.  Perhaps I have mentioned it in the past.  This is not your ordinary painting retreat.  We learned no specific technique for painting.  We did not have any pre-determined subject matter.  We were not producing for quantity, nor especially for quality.

So...one might ask...what was the point then?


(c) SZing 2004, My first "Painting Experience" retreat painting
entitled The Creation
As in life itself, each person's experience is absolutely unique, so I cannot and will not say that the insights or thoughts I had, nor the outcomes or "aha" moments will be the same for another person.  I cannot say whether the experience is mundane or spiritual, whether it is fun or frustrating, whether it is freeing or captivating for others.  I can only know for myself the highly personal and powerful experiences I have had with The Painting Experience.

I first "met" Stewart Cubley when I stumbled upon his book.

I had been drawing and craving some form of creative outlet besides creative writing and embroidery for a long while.  I bought some inexpensive paper, some paints and brushes.  I worked through the book for an entire year on the same painting.  I used the book as guidance when I would get stuck in my own head, my own fear...and the "unknowns."

The Painting Experience was developed by Stewart Cubley and Michelle Cassou many years ago.  They wrote Life, Paint and Passion.  Just look at this luscious, juicy cover...someones process art some time in the past....
Book cover copyrighted by authors/publishers

Just look at the sub-title:  Reclaiming the Magic of Spontaneous Expression!  Wow!  As a creative person, (and aren't we all?  Even if we have divorced ourselves from that creative spark within?), I absolutely get excited at the idea of spontaneous expression.  What this implies is freedom to create.  It implies no boundaries.  It implies no planning or strict forms.  It implies....well, there are many ideas this implies but I invite you to explore for yourself what this might imply.

In 2004, I first attended a week-long retreat of The Painting Experience in North Carolina.  It was astounding to me when in the first meeting, Stewart said, "When you finish each painting, you're going to sign, number and date it."  WHAT????  I had taken a year to do just a single painting.  What could he be talking about?  As it turns out, throughout the week I completed multiple paintings.

(c) SZing 2004, "Day of the Dead" from my first
Painting Experience retreat

Then I retook a 3 day retreat in Maryland in 2008.  I only worked on one painting and didn't even complete it as the details and involvement I had with the painting became quite intense and excited me to work on the details.  It was cathartic for me.

And now I have just completed another 3 day retreat in Orlando, Florida.  I completed one painting and began another.  Others in the retreat completed many--and I think one woman must have done at least 25 paintings in her experience over the three days.  I really wasn't paying that close attention except that every time I looked up she was changing her paper.  Me?  I was so engrossed in the "story" and experience and the dialogue I was having with my painting that I was totally engaged right up until the last 2 hours of the retreat when I finished the painting and began the second.

My painting as it appeared about half way
 through the process 2013, Orlando FL.  (c) SZing 2013

I suppose I must correct a statement I made above:  "We learned no specific technique..."  Well, we didn't necessarily learn, but rather, re-awakened or remembered how to listen to our inner voice--that inner critic even.  I'm not talking about psychotic episodes here but that voice we all have that speaks to us almost non-stop about everything we see, hear, experience...This was more about opening a dialogue with that voice so that it could be heard, sometimes shushed (the critic) and allowed to guide.  It is the doorway to mystery and living juicy.

I have discovered over the years that for me a painting does not feel finished until I have listened to my inner voice, acknowledged it's feedback and honored it's requests for specific items or colors to be used in the painting.  I know the painting is complete when I get no more "marching orders" for what to include or do next, no new thought of a specific detail or color to add.  When I can look at the painting and ask, "What else do you want?" and not get any further promptings...I know I am done. When I have  tried to "act as if" I was done but really just didn't want to include something or was afraid I would mess up what I'd done, I have had the nagging feeling that the painting isn't complete or finished and usually I end up having to put the paper back up and add whatever I get a hit on to include.  I'm learning not to hurry the process and to trust the silence and the voice which ultimately, is my Self.

(c) SZing, 2006, "Hanging the Moon"
I don't know what other participants experience.  We don't really talk a lot about it--partly because it is so personal but also because one of the primary rules of the retreats is that it is a "comment-free" zone.  No judgments!! There is no speaking while we are painting and we may look at other's work but must refrain from talking about it either in the positive or the negative or giving any thoughts or suggestions or any feedback whatsoever about the pieces.  This is more difficult than you might think, because often I have seen work that I was very intrigued by, liked or was even in awe of.  There have been other works that I have thought perhaps the person was hiding from themselves by covering over things they had painted, or finished up really quickly without really honoring the painting itself...but none of my personal thoughts or judgments were given voice and even sometimes had to be dealt with internally as it was none of my business what others were doing or experiencing. Sometimes I like to not look at others work so that I can continue to be authentic to my Self and not borrow ideas.

 Curious?  Check out this video about the process....

I truly do not feel qualified to explain the process for another person and would never want to misinform another as to what The Painting Experience is or does or what the benefits are.  I would highly encourage anyone intrigued with the idea of spontaneous expression or intuitive creation using paint and paper as tools to take the risk and join a retreat.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Combining Ideas

Sometimes the best thing we can do for our artwork is to combine ideas and mixing mediums together we have never used before.  This can result in amazing new techniques and outcomes.  A core concept of creativity is the combining of unrelated ideas.
butterfly hat
Here are some favorite medium mixes of mine.
1.  Combine tissue paper with acrylic paint.
2.  Combine ceramic paint with glass.
3.  Combine found objects with glass.
4.  Combine wood and paint.
5.  Combine paint and metal.
6.  Combine sand with paint.
7.  Combine textiles and text.
8.  Combine digital art with wax.
9.  Combine tinfoil with glass fusing.
10. Combine ink and photographs.
apple orange
Here is a quick and easy, fun and intriguing way to combine unrelated ideas as subject matter for your art or writing project:
Create a list of items you like now or liked at an earlier time in your life—here is a random list of items I like:  butterflies, bicycles, gardens, swimming pools, seashells, clouds, bluebirds, cats, party hats, fancy dresses, high heeled shoes, books….
Now I could take two or more of those items and create a piece of art that combines them.  For example:  A cat with butterfly wings riding a bicycle; or A bluebird in a party hat and fancy dress lying on a cloud.
musical bird
Here is a great link for some more thoughts about combining ideas and creativity.

Friday, March 15, 2013

What’s Your Name Anyway?

It can become very routine to get in a routine.  Sometimes this is also called “A Rut.”
Which is not good to get into.  Unless you’re an elk or a deer, but that’s a whole other discussion.
no name
Consider what can happen simply by changing the name of something.  If it is your art, you could change from “bad” to “good.”  You could change your genre of art from Abstract to Cosmic Expressionism.  You could change the title of a work from “Ode to the Woods” to “Wood, Where You Be?”  See how making a simple name change can, in fact, alter one’s perspective and perception of something?
john doe
Not to get all Biblical and stuff but there was a time early on when Mankind was given permission to name all things living.  Imagine what the implications would or could be if Great Ape was now Hairy Beastie Who Beats His Chest and Has Banana Breath.  Or if Kangaroo was now Bouncy Ball of Fur with a Pocket.  Maybe Fish could be named Scaly Slippery Side Faced Water Wigglers.  Okay.  You get the picture.  On one hand, I think it is important not to get too hung up on a name.  There is an argument for it all being “semantics.”
name badge
It has long been a tradition that a person’s name is one of the most important “possessions” they can have.  Whether that be through dint of reputation or the more superstitious belief that it was important to keep your real name a secret lest someone take your power away.
I believe that Words do have power and we must be aware of and carefully consider what we name our creative works and the names we give ourselves as well. 
For many creative people, calling oneself an Artist or a Writer seems to be fraught with all sorts of “deservingness” issues.  If you are creating art, writing, or making music, please, please consider calling yourself an Artist, a Writer or a Musician.  Let yourself be what you are.
precise name
Keep in mind that should you decide you do not like a label that has been attached to you, you can choose a new name.  Today, I am Woman Who Juggles Many Tasks and Risks Falling On Face.  Tomorrow I may be Little Miss All About Recycled Upcycling Trash User Girl. Next week maybe I will be Jelly.  I get to choose.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Which Way Should I Go?

One of the hardest parts about being an artist can sometimes be the need to make decisions.  It can be as simple as “what type of paper to use” or “what size paper to use” to decisions about taking classes and where to submit artwork for shows.
yes no maybe dice later now never dice
To make a decision means to cut off—as in cutting off other options or choices.  In a world where we are inundated with possibilities, the ability to make a decision can become extremely overwhelming. 
which way should I go
Not all decisions are life-changing or will be significantly noticeable in our day to day activities.  In order to overcome procrastination, and to be productive, the ability to choose is critical.  One of the easier ways to make a decision, especially if the question can be posed as a yes/no answer is to toss a coin. 
easy decision making

Monday, February 25, 2013

I will not be daunted.

I will not be daunted.  That is the quote of the day and here's why...You won't believe it.  I can hardly believe it.

<BIG SIGH>  Some of you might remember what my studio looked like when I had it at the Pendleton Art Center in Ohio (featured in the Spring issue of Studios Magazine in 2012--just before we moved away!)

My lovely studio, Bohemian Art Cafe, as it once was in Ohio. *sniff sniff*  I miss it terribly!
I'm moving my art studio...AGAIN.  After struggling for the past year to get my studio set up out in the handi-house, I've realized that it just isn't working out.

Spider of enormous size!
Only one of many many froggies that
visited my studio this year!
The shed itself is great.  But, the frogs, the lizards, the spiders, the enormous cockroaches (okay, they call them Palmetto Bugs here, but to me they are still cockroaches!), the mice and yes, even a small snake have all stopped for visits.  About the only thing that hasn't made it inside is an alligator. This plethora of unwanted visitors, along with the stifling heat--since a frog or two mucked up the works of the A/C unit--have made this a most inhospitable location for my art. It doesn't seem to matter what I'm working on,  one or more of these critters jumps, skitters, or falls on me as I'm reaching for tools or supplies.

I figure I have caused more than one golfer on the 4th hole of the course where we live to completely flub there shot as I scream (I can't help it...1) I'm a girl and 2) I hate when these creepy crawly things land on me--hard to believe this is the girl who used to pet fuzzy caterpillars!

Currently used as storage, this will be my painting,
jewelry and collage space
Future home of my glass studio
So, we are planning to move my studio indoors.  My glass and enameling will go in one extra bedroom and my jewelry, painting and collage/assemblage will go in another.  My sweetie will be moving his tools and wood working studio out to the handi-house--he says that bugs and frogs and lizards, etc. won't bother him and he'll turn on fans when he is working.  We might even be able to get his stuff organized with all the shelving that will be available.

Since the two rooms are even smaller than the outside studio, I have a lot of organizing and some "getting rid" of to do.  The great thing is that I'll be able to put up more shelves and cabinets and that should make up for most of the additional space needed since I'm not using several walls (doors) in the shed.  And I'll be able to use a walk in closet for some storage--I'm thinking that for now, until I figure out a different solution, the items that I take to markets and crafts fairs can be stored in the closet and the door shut so I'm not tripping over everything as I do now.  I have a LOT of items for displaying from my Ohio studio and some of those are going into storage.

The current studio.  A lovely space, if only I could seal it from
the critters aka insects etc.  Future home of sweetie's studio.
I think it will work well.  I'll have temperature and bug control, be able to work in the evenings after sweetie goes to sleep much more comfortably than I ever felt going out to the studio outside, and will be able to enjoy time with the cats and dog.  I'll have instant access to the Internet and my PC/printer.  I'll even be able to have a TV for background.

Biggest drawbacks:  1) moving everything out of the rooms to storage and his studio 2) prepping the rooms with cabinets and shelves, 3) moving everything from the outside studio indoors and 4) it will be even more challenging for me to find reasons to leave the house.

I can clearly see that there is room for
additional organization in my studio life.
I do think it will benefit my creativity but I am worried about the space for working on larger projects and how/whether I will be able to ever teach any classes--even itty bitty ones--in these rooms.  I'll be able to let go of more stuff that I've not been using or thought I'd use and never did and be able to clear out mediums that I no longer want to use.  I'll be able to get an even greater level of organization done and really have specific areas for specific mediums and tools.  It's exciting. And daunting.  I will not be daunted.

I believe we are shooting for an April time frame to commit to this project.  I have a lot of preparation work that needs to occur before that time.  Wish me luck.

Friday, February 22, 2013

WHAT??? Too much art????

Earlier this year we moved and left a delightfully large studio where I could teach, display my artwork, sell my artwork and work on large projects and art gallery shows.  We now live in a location that does not have any sort of artist colony or group studios and my studio is about a third the size that I used to work out of, as well as now being next to our house and not especially conducive to public browsing.

It's really been a struggle for me to get motivated to get organized and get my studio set up--partly because I have a tremendous amount of artwork.  When you create something almost every single day, and sometimes multiple somethings in a day, it is easy to accumulate "inventory."  There are some great ideas for the challenge of having "too much art."

Some of my artwork is extremely personal and something that I have no desire to sell or for which I am willing to let go.  Other pieces are good pieces but I'm ready to sell them.

Not having a shop or studio from which to sell my artwork, it's been leaning against a wall in the office for months.  We have a large wall that has very little on it.  So the decision was made that the wall be serve as a temporary gallery wall and painting storage.  Eventually I know that I will either sell these pieces on Etsy or other online venues, at a craft show, or find homes for each piece from some art related co-op or shop.

In the meantime, it is fun to have a wall to wall gallery of artwork.  I like to have my work in art galleries and multiple shows occurring at the same time so my artwork is out and being seen.  It is a sad thought for any artist or museum to have so many works that there isn't space to display the art.  I have visited some very nice art museums and galleries over the years...most limit the amount of art on a single wall, but others, like the art at the Corcoran in DC place many paintings on a single wall.

What to do with paintings in the "in between place" between creation and display or sale...this is an age old dilemma of the creative artist.  If you have a solution or an idea, please, by all means...share your comments and suggestions.