Friday, February 5, 2016

i wanna be an artist when i grow up

If you have attempted to fit whatever mold
and failed to do so, you are probably lucky.
You may be an exile of some sort,
but you have sheltered your soul.
- Dr. Estes

I heard a comment from someone the other day
that reminded me that there are still far too many people
who see the artist as a fuzzy kind of
they still don't know what they wanna do
with their lives and they're too lazy
to do anything else
kind of profession.
Many years ago, the father of a friend
asked me what i did for a living.
When i replied that I was an artist,
his response was, with the flip of a hand:
"oh, well then you must be poor."
and he walked away.
And he said it with a straight, serious face.
He was far too important
to waste his time with an artist.
He was a business man with money.
I was just an artist.
(today, I'd tell him to fuck off.
But back then, I was less confident)
I went away feeling torn
with the thoughts in my head
flying around like annoying mosquitos.

Maybe he's right.
I'll never have money.
Maybe i should do something else.
This is too hard.
I should pick something more stable.

Thankfully, I stayed on my path.
I surrounded myself
with people who encouraged me,
and kept voices like his
as far away from me as possible.
No it wasn't always easy,
no, I didn't make a lot of money,
but like most things that aren't easy,
life in the arts is so worth it.
(especially when that's who you are!)
It took me years to develop
the confidence i needed
to be able to stand in my own light
and to be proud to say:
Without justification.
Without shame.
Without feeling any less


or ambitious

or educated

or capable

or important than anyone else.
It took me years
to understand
what my work was worth.
Not in terms of money,
but in terms of meaning,
for me and others,
and ultimately,
the world.

Yes. The world.
That's how big I see things now
because i believe in the ripple effect.
I believe that if ONE person is inspired
by someone or something,
if ONE person sees something
that makes them happy,
then they in turn will inspire others.
At the very least, they will be happier themselves
for a moment in time,
and if they are happier for a moment,
chances are, they will spread their joy
and make someone else happy too.
I'm not convinced that money can do this.
(there are a lot of lonely rich people in the world).

I did this quick painting outline
a few nights ago,
and as soon as i did the 3 "plants",
i decided to scrap it
(by putting a black line through it!)
Once the black line was there,
I looked at it and decided
to add more black lines through it...
connecting the lines here and there
 At this point, it made sense to add some color...
 and a few more colors...
and more still.
The lighting is bad here,
but as you can see -
i think it's been revived!
I'm not sure i'm done with it..
i'll post an update if i do anything else to it.
And this quick sketch of me & my thoughts...
i made myself prettier.
And thinner ;)

If you know someone
who wants to be an artist
or an actor
or a writer
or a dancer
or a poet
or a musician...
especially if they're young & just starting out,
to stay with it!
Society doesn't make it easy for them.
The world doesn't make it easy for them.
Tell them to keep going.
Tell them it takes a lot of guts 
to do what they're doing.
Tell them they'll need to get comfortable
with uncertainty.
With not always being rewarded financially.
With questions and assumptions
and judgement from others.
But tell them to KEEP GOING ANYWAY.
The world needs them now
more than ever.

Friday, January 29, 2016

blue skies

I am loving this winter
compared to the last!
- Pauline Leger :)
I took this photo just the other day
on my afternoon walk.
Can you see the second sun there? 
When I took the photo, 
i was blinded by the sun in my face
so i didn't notice anything else in the sky...
but who knows? 
Maybe it's a reflection of something in the lens,
or maybe it's another planet.
Either way, it's beautiful.
This (below) is a photo of our front yard
taken a few days ago.
..and this is the same view,
taken at about the same time last year!!
Ask me why i was so often down in the dumps.

(the snowplow, trying to clear our road last year. Yes, that was the ROAD)

I found last winter so difficult
(for more reasons than one)
and i wonder how you all put up
with my ranting & complaining all the time?

The main issue for me last year was this:
I worked at a job that i grew to hate.
It's a strong word, I know.

I tried to like it, i honestly did.
I tried to understand my co-workers.

I tried to take the advice of some people,
to just go in, do your job, and come home
but i just couldn't do it.
(my friends told me to not go back) :) 
The frustration stayed with me.
And my reasons for staying?
I had said YES.
I needed to work.
The money was good.
It was close to home.
It was only a 5 month contract.
Eventually though,
i started to notice a difference in me.
A difference I didn't like.
I was more often sick.
I would often wake with headaches.
I was losing patience 
far more often than i normally would.
I didn't want to see my friends much.
Everyone annoyed me
and everything just felt heavy.
Some would say that's just menopause -
and maybe some would be right... 
but i know it was more than that.
It was something deeper.
(and no, it wasn't depression)
So I finished my 5 month term
and i told myself I would never work again
in such a negative environment,
regardless of the money.
It may not be negative for everyone,
but it was negative for me.
Imagine putting an free spirited artist
(who is not interested in material wealth)
to work at Wall Street.
Yeah, it was kinda like that. 
And I say all of this because
i met with my doctor a few weeks ago
for a routine check up,
and the first thing she said was:
Wow. You look so much better
than the last time i saw you.
I told her about my decision
to stay away from work that drains me
and my starting a gratitude journal again,
and going outside whenever I can...
First, she said she was so happy for me.
Then she said:
i know a few things about you...
I know that you can't stand injustice & greed

I know you love art & making work that matters

and I know you're an introvert...

So how did you ever make the decision
to even apply for this job?
she asked with a smile on her face.
(she's a good doctor and she knows me well) :)
We all do things we don't wanna do sometimes.
That's life.
Very few people love their jobs all the time.
But deep down inside
when we are negatively affected
by the environment we are in,
we have to do everything in our power
to remove ourselves from that environment.
Deep down inside,
we all know what's good and what's bad for us.
So I let go.
I decided I wasn't going back to the same thing this year.
Letting go was exactly what I needed.
I am in such a better place now.
Letting go of expectations.
From others and myself.
Letting go of the idea that
I need to make a ton of money.
(Again, we need far less than we think.)
I'm happy for those who reach their financial goals
but if my goals are different (if i don't want the BMW)
then my LIFE will be different too.
Let go of society's definition of success.
Do your OWN thing.
If you work at a donut shop with fun people,
and you get up in the morning
and you're happy to go to work -
you are living a good life!
If you love crafts
and you work at a craft shop with fun people,
you are successful!
There are people who make $75,000/year
and who 'burn out' on a regular basis.
That is NOT my definition of a good life.
And speaking of a good life,
whenever i see photos on-line of someone's work space
i'm usually in awe of how clean it all looks.
Of course, we all know things aren't always as they SEEM.
Everything in its place.
Everything organized and tidy.
Not a speck of dust anywhere.
Let's just say that's not me. ;)
This is part of my workspace
and it's on a good day.
With crap on every inch of the table...
and lots of stuff on the floor too!
Fluffy with a bad hair day.
We all have our bad hair days, right?
So we also have our bad/messy art table/floor days.
Blue skies...all the way.
Just for you.
Thanks for being here!
Have a great weekend everyone!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

how inspiration found me

In our life, there is a single color,
as on an artist's palette,
which provides the meaning of life and art.
It is the color of LOVE.
- Marc Chagall
There's been very little art happening here
for the past few months,
but a few nights ago,
i sat my ass down and told myself
i wasn't getting up
until i painted SOMETHING.
It could look like crap, I didn't care.
But I was gonna paint something.
Whenever i have these dry spells,
i try to practice patience and trust.
Patience with myself (you can't force something out)
and trust that inspiration will find me eventually.
So I lit a candle,
put on some instrumental music,
and played with paints.
I initially started with just a few colours,
and the intention of just spreading them
on the canvas with a palette knife.
Just blocks of color.
I kept playing with colours & shapes,
alternating between palette knife & brush,
feeling at this point like it was nothing
but a big mess.
But it didn't matter. 
I was painting.
Then I flipped the canvas upside down,
and only then did I notice
what looked like a woman with 3 legs
(upside down, at the top center of the canvas).
Or maybe it's a woman holding an umbrella.
Or tugging a security blanket. ;)
So I flipped it over again
defined a few more lines,
and something happened at this point.
I began to like it.
I looked at it for a while,
then I left it for the evening.
When i woke up the next morning,
i looked at it with fresh eyes
and natural lighting
and i loved it.
Funny how that happens...
When i finished painting in the evening,
i thought "yeah, i guess it's not bad"...
but when i saw it in the morning light,
after a good nights' sleep...
i really liked it.
I see people and streets
and a city and trees...
And the best part for me
is the mystery woman...
Another quick drawing
from the DRAWING YOUR LIFE book.
My gratitude journal,
that i had neglected for a while
but have now begun to write something in here
on a more regular basis.
One of the best ways
to make your life better
is to jot down a few things
you are grateful for each day...
to become conscious of what you HAVE
rather than what you are missing.
And by what you have
i don't mean things. :)
What I'm currently enjoying...
the biography of Marc Chagall.
I love art that tells stories.
Marc Chagall's art tells stories.
A beautiful little video here,
with the work of Marc Chagall
and music that makes my heart melt:

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!