Reinventing Myself

You go through phases.  You have to reinvent reasons for playing, and one year’s answer might not do for another.

~ Yo-Yo Ma

Have you ever reinvented yourself?

I realize, only after having a year of hindsight, that I have been doing exactly that.  Or, mostly exactly that.  I’ve also been reinventing my bubble, my environment, my world.

Artsy Business Growth

The hubs and I have continued learning all kinds of cool stuff, adding to our repertoire of painting and faux textures.  We started with cleaning up and re-coating cabinets, and we have gotten really good at re-coloring cabinets with stain and with paint.  We have re-done some cabinets in a distressed, shabby chic style.  We have even rebuilt cabinet doors with metal screens as the interior panel!

Recently we started working in concrete, making counter tops and awesome floors and oh, my gosh!  Talk about potential for all kinds of arting!  Concrete has so many possibilities, from texturing to a myriad of cool coloring techniques.  And smoothing it and forming it and playing in it is awesome.

Changes with the Kidlets

I’ve also taken over our kidlets’ education entirely.  We were previously schooling at home but following a program.  That program has changed so much in the past six years that it is almost unrecognizable compared to the original program.  The last school year I battled frustration and burn-out and in some cases, anger.  The kids were doing way too much busy work and had become tied to the stupid computers.

So we’ve left that program behind.  We’re now enjoying a much free-er, livelier, exciting learning adventure together!! 🙂

Personal and Artistic Growth

And I’ve also been plowing through some personal and artistic growth and expansion…and rebirth.  I’ve been getting into the groove of not being totally involved in the making money for the family.  Being a bit of a control freak, this part has been harder that I thought it would be.  But slowly I am letting go of thinking I have to be in charge of everything 🙂

That release has led to all kinds of stuff.  I feel more relaxed, and more peaceful.  I have stronger faith.  I have more inspiring energy to give to the kidlets and to making stuff and to my art.  Which has also expanded, way beyond my most common outlet of art journaling.  My projects are getting larger in scale and braver.

Overall, I have more courage and I feel more, well, more ME.  Which then turns around and make all of this bigger.

So where does that land the blog?  I’ve actually been missing posting here, and I’ve been amazed that my little corner of the blog-o-sphere still has a life of its own.  I still have traffic and activity and see my work show up in the strangest of places!

My goal is to connect the blog to my other online stuff, like our website and Pinterest and all of the fun and creative stuff we’ve been growing.  I’d like to include some of the family adventures in life and in learning.  Where it goes from there, who knows…but I’m coming out of the fog that’s been enveloping me.

I’m ready to share again, to look out here again, to see the world again!!

Rock Quote Pic

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Art is My Job…Finally!

When I started blogging, my hope that was someday, somehow, I would figure out how to monetize the blog, or my art, or both.

The goal was simple: make art, post stuff, get subscribers, make money.

Have you ever seen the episode of South Park with the Underpants gnomes??  You know, they steal underpants, the kids follow them one night to figure out where all of the underpants were going…and the kids find the gnomes with enormous mountains of underpants.  They ask the gnomes what’s going on, and the gnomes tell them:

  • Phase 1: collect underpants.
  • Phase 2: ?
  • Phase 3: make profit.

The boys ask them, what about phase 2?  All of the gnomes stop and start mumbling and look around at each other, asking Phase 2???

That’s kinda how I feel…I have no idea what happens in Phase 2.  I just know that I make art, I like to slap paint on stuff, and I want to get paid.  Then I have way more time to art.

Oh, and I also love to talk about what I love doing, and I love sharing fun tips and ideas and inspirations, I feel a NEED to give it back cuz that’s how I found this whole thing, by checking out other artists’ blogs and videos.  That’s how the blog really got going.

And I knew only that if I kept blogging, somebody would eventually look at it, and I might be able to build up the following from there.  Doesn’t that seem like what others do?  They blog a bunch, they get a bunch of regular readers, and somehow they get paid.  Advertisers just magically want to start paying them for space on the blog, I’m sure that’s exactly how it goes,right??

Okay, so I understand that’s not reality.  And I have found all kinds of other satisfaction from the blog.

So as we kept plugging along, praying for some opportunity to get paid to be artistic, I got more and more frustrated with “practical” jobs, “practical” choices and so on.  I was having more trouble smooshing myself into that mold.

Now, over the years, my hubs has painted houses, sometimes all white (boring) and sometimes with super-cool faux painting schemes.  He’s re-done cabinets and installed awesome wood-work and helped people with color schemes and decorating diy ideas.  We just hadn’t really pushed it to become a more consistent and financially supportive part of our lives.

But now we are doing just that. 

What I realized is that I want to get paid to paint.  Commissioned work is pretty cool because I know the piece is sold before I make it.  And the customer gives me the idea and the inspiration.

Painting a house is exactly that: a commissioned work. 

It’s not exactly what I was thinking I was working  towards, but it is so way much better than calling people all day long, looking to make a sale.  Stuck in a chair all day long, no sunshine, no exercise, and no painting.  That kind of day sucks for me.

And because I’m playing in paint and painting tools and Home Depot for jobs, I am thinking about other projects and inspirations while I’m working.  And while I’m working, I’m listening to music, chatting with the hubs, and finding new ways of doing things all of the time…

It’s taken a few jobs to get in the swing of the physical exertion part of my day, but I’m feeling stronger and more energetic and more excited all of the time.  In fact, I had a break because my oldest kiddo and babysitter was at camp.  I had to send the hubs to the job without me…and what did I do?  I painted the walls in my living room in between art projects at home!!

Here’s the point…

So often many of us pine for an artist’s life.  We ache for a way to make money arting so that we can spend all of our time arting.  We feel a pang of longing looking at the artful lives of those out there and feel like we’ll never get there ourselves.

If we can broaden our scope of possibility just a bit, we can find ways to live the life for which we’re pining.  We might be able to find other ways to explore our artistic selves and to financially support ourselves and our art supply habits! 🙂

And all we did was put up ads on craigslist, fairly often, and eventually built a free little website so that we could give that link on the ads.  People can go to our website and see explanations of what we do and see examples, as well as click over to our flickr page for more pics of our work.  We also believed in ourselves, that we could do it, and kept up our optimism.

And people do call us.  We do get work.  And I get lots of left-over supplies to play with!

pink room

Pink and white walls, black doors, and stencils and stickers to decorate.

Painted walls, trim, and stained and painted stair rails and posts.

Painted walls, trim, and stained and painted stair rails and posts.

 *Now I’m looking for someone to get brave and hire me to do a full-blown mural!  Then I’ll really be having some fun 🙂

 

 

 

 

Face Practice

GirlWow, so long since the last post.  Sometimes I wonder how I miss so much time??

Our painting business continues to grow.  We built a small website (take a look here).  I am amazed at how much better I feel getting out and painting and refinishing cabinets, and really physically working.  For so long I have used my brain and my conversation skills, selling and serving customers and, well, sitting.  Way too much sitting, talking on the phone, using the computer, and not getting up and moving around and doing more physical labor.

I really like it.  My body is feeling strong, my back feels better, my soul feels better…this kind of work is so meditative!  And I get to spend my work time hanging out with my hubby, making things beautiful!!  It just really doesn’t get much better than this 🙂

And in my art time outside of that, I have been continuing to focus on drawing faces.  Maybe soon I will start practicing bodies to go with the floating heads, lol…

The biggest challenge for me with faces is the coloring…I thought I would battle more with the features, but nope, it’s the coloring.  I have really come up with some interesting color combinations, that’s for sure!  But I keep at it, I’m actually learning to not fight it, but to just keep going…like so much else in art.  That’s a common theme for me, it seems.  Trust the process (I wrote ages ago about that here).

What a feeling of accomplishment, though, to keep at it and begin to see the success!  And this particular girl has a special place in my art journal…she is on the last available page of my current large journal!

Finishing an art journal…that has a very solid feeling of accomplishment.

I have been working in that particular journal for two full years now.  It’s funny, when I first started journaling, I would work in one journal straight through, then moved to the next journal.  Along the way, I started working in a whole bunch of art journals at one time.

I have old books that I used as journals, I have kids’ board books as journals, I have loose pages that I journal together, I make mini-journals out of bags or cards or junk mail, I have composition books as journals…and I have my sketch books.  I have themed journals, I have chronological journals, and I have extra paint journals (you know, the ones where you slap extra paint or ink on pages that you use as backgrounds for stuff later).

And the journals are all over the house!  I was cleaning up some shelves, and I counted…seven journals going at the moment!!  My kids thumb through them, they show them to their friends, and my hubby looks through them all of the time.  My art has become such a way of life in our home, I never imagined how ingrained in our lives it would all be.

That has its own very satisfying and fulfilling level of accomplishment, too.

More Art Time, or Turning Lemons into Lemonade

Look at every path closely and deliberately, then ask ourselves this crucial question: Does this path have a heart?  If it does, then the path is good.  If it doesn’t, it is of no use.

~ Carlos Castaneda

It’s funny…I hated my day job, I prayed for a way out, and I had been pining for more work time with the hubby…and I had been praying for new ways to bring in other sources of income so that I can work on more art and make money with my own hands.

I sort of thought, in all of that pining and praying and fervently hoping, that I would have some alternative worked out BEFORE I left the hated job.

Well.

So I don’t always get to choose the timing or the details or the exact path of how prayers are answered, or so I’m learning.  I did not get a new job lined up, I did not make sure I had plenty of savings at the ready, I did not have a whole bunch of multiple streams of income all neatly lined up.

Nope, I sure didn’t.  My prayers got answered with a big old fashioned kick in the butt as I lost my grip on the slippery rock of seeming safety.

I have been through this before.  When we opened our business consulting firm 6 years ago, I fought to keep a hold on that rock.  I was so afraid to let go and flow with the river.  I was afraid of the unknown, even though I hated the work that had me “trapped” in the known.

While I have since moved away from so much business consulting as the economics of small businesses have changed these past couple of years, I loved my work and my rules and my customers and my way of being able to sink or swim on our terms.

Then I got foolish and took another “Joe Job”.  And in the short time I was working it, I got complacent and liked the feel of the rock under my strained fingers.  I lost sight of my priorities and how I wanted to create my life and how good it used to feel when I felt good about the work I did everyday.

Then comes my answered prayers.  I lost my job.  Before I was ready, or not exactly on my terms and on my timetable and when I was all neat and tidy and “ready”.

And guess what??  I’m living through it!  It seems that I can earn money and art at the same time!  It’s a bit different than what I imagined, and is not the total sum of what I want to do in paying art time, but it so totally works!

Christopher and I have been painting the walls in people’s homes…faux painting, which is just an enormous art journal background!  And re-finishing cabinets and designing murals and playing in color and going to Home Depot…it’s what I love to do, just on a much larger scale than my art journals.  Of course, not so many rub-ons or markers 🙂  But I get to hang out with Christopher and listen to music and wax rhapsodic and paint and make something that looks beautiful and brings joy!

I am still fighting the fear a bit, it’s certainly uncomfortable still, but I have faith that we are moving in the right direction, and I feel so inspired when I come home from a day of painting!  And I have time to art more and get back to so many projects that were falling by the wayside…Now it’s just a matter of scheduling enough jobs to keep the lights on and the art supplies coming!!

xoxo

Happy Fish

 

Happy Freakin’ Friday! You Can Be a Creative Entrepreneur!

Are you one of those creative types who worries that using your creative gifts to build a business might hurt your creativity?  Have you fallen victim to the fallacy that entrepreneurs are somehow bad?  And that being an entrepreneur will mean that you sold out?

Without entrepreneurs, the world would stop spinning around and around.  Economies and everything else would stagnate.

And as a creative type, did you know that the whole creation of a business, however large or small, is a creative endeavor all in itself?  To build a business, you start with a concept, an idea, or a passion.  Just like in our art.  Then as you sketch out the basic idea, you begin to fill in the details, a little at a time, as you continue to see more details of the vision.  All with the hopes that someone out there will understand and appreciate the vision.  That your vision, your idea, can help someone.  If your vision can offer a solution to someone somewhere, then maybe he will pay you for your solution, through buying your product or hiring you to perform your service.

That’s the basics of it, right?  All of the other details involved in starting and building a business just go along with it.  Just like any other creative endeavor, once you’re committed, you’re going to see it through.  We all run into times when we’re plugging along and we start thinking that we really don’t like what’s happening.  What do you do when that happens?  You keep going, you keep adding more stuff, you keep pushing the paint around or adding layers or changing colors or whatever.  You just keep moving.  Don’t get stagnant, don’t give up.  The same goes with building a business.

Let the creation of your business be as inspiring and exciting as the creation of any other artwork.  Allow it to feed your soul and mind.  Allow it to go through the birthing process and be another outlet and expression for your heart.  You can be a successful entrepreneur, even if you never really thought of yourself that way.  All you have to do is rearrange your thinking and keep the faith.