Friday, February 26, 2010

Heart Your Art: The Finale

It's been a long month! I am so not used to posting this much. I need a blog-nap.

I'd like to say a big Thank You to all the artists who allowed us a peek into their journey and to all those who commented here and through email! I'd also like to thank Kim - although she wasn't available for the interview, she did create this worthy post. I think, all together, we helped the campaign accomplish its goal - helping us to Heart Our Art or at least get closer to it!

I want to leave you with some thoughts, some quotes, and some art........

Some thoughts from my journal: October 2007

I have a feeling that this self-love, this self-acceptance, this hearting of me and of what I create is a lifetime process. There will be strides made, hills climbed, mountains conquered. And there will be valleys camped in, forests lost in, deserts survived in. The fullness of it perhaps will not be reached in the here and now. And that's perfectly okay with me. But perhaps it will.

I'm gonna keep going. See what happens. I know there is so much luscious'ness to be found. And I will find it.

~~

Some quotes:

I'm more a movie/tv quoter than a book quoter, so here goes -

"You can't second guess yourself as a designer and an artist and you really just have to be 100% confident in who you are and just go for it." Blane from Project Runway (tv)

~~

"Why did you call me a loser?"

"You try too hard. Winners forget that they're in a race...they just love to run." With Honors (movie)

~~

"You value yourself only as others value you which is often the result of unmet childhood emotional needs." Big Bang Theory (tv)

~~

"There are no rules you can follow. You have to go by instinct and you have to be brave." How to Make an American Quilt (movie)

~~

"Write a first sentence. Then write a second. Kiss men if you want to. Horrify your parents!!" Evening (movie)

~~

"Everybody in their life is on a journey of discovering who they really can be. That's a tremendous opportunity. Every moment! People hear calls all the time! And one of the ways that you know it's a call is the first reaction is, 'not me', 'I can't do it.' That's how you know actually it's the beginning of a heroic journey. The self-doubt is essential. It's no big deal to say, 'Okay, I'm going to have dinner tonight.' But the real call, the real call is something 'I can't do', 'It's beyond me.' That is the invitation. That's the beginning of the journey." Irwin Kula from New Morning (tv)

~~

Some more thoughts:

I think that's the biggest lesson I've learned through this journey: the struggle is part of it (period). There is no WHOLE without it. There is no going around it....only through. No one can pep-talk us totally out of it, permanently. We must accept its bony grasp on our shoulder. We must give ourselves to its chilly embrace. It has wisdom to gift us with and we must thank it for our growth.

Being an artist of any kind is not easy in any sense (although some people may think so, "Oh big deal, you paint."). But it has it's great rewards, perhaps they will not be monetary, but that doesn't mean they aren't to be sought and claimed as ours.

We are deserving of our own love and affection, our own gratitude and respect. It's up to us to give it to ourselves regardless of what anyone else does or doesn't do.

We will never appreciate the beauty and magnitude of the mountain top, if we do not crawl and wander and fight and bleed our way through the thorny valley.

I accept the challenge. Will you?

~~

Some art:


I've already dissed this woman several times. I just kept forgetting to put her up here! But I did put a peek of her before. She's actually completed....can you believe it? Me, finishing a painting! :)


Back to my norm.....these are so unfinished, but beautiful! Next week, while I'm taking my blog-nappy next week, I vow to finish every painting that's not finished (except for the one I want to put a tattoo on......I still cannot find those things....go figure, you clean up your studio and then can't find stuff! :)















I'm grateful that we shared this journey.

~I wish you magick always~
Melissa

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Interview 10: Zorana


When I hear the name Zorana, I think of mysterious lands and gypsy women (who wouldn't, her name just evokes it). I also think of stunning art!

Her blog, Zoranaland, is overflowing with gorgeous images that quickly inspire my hands to grab a paint brush. Oh the TEXTURE I want to crawl inside of! The Color that pleases my eyes and amazes my mind! The Beauty that feeds my soul! The Words that reflect my friends Feeling, Experience, Spirit! (Can you tell I'm in love with her art?)

Zorana may be a bit mysterious, but there is no question in my mind of the level of her talent. Check out her etsy shop, you'll see it too!


The past:

How long have you been arting?

I started painting seven years ago when I was suddenly left with a ton of free time (children that started school and no work).

Have you always hearted your art or did you struggle to do so?

I never thought that I was creative, so in the beginning I was extra happy that I could paint anything... The struggle came later. I easily go from thinking that what I painted is the best thing ever to feeling like I have no talent and nothing to offer. Most of the time I'm somewhere in between.

If you did struggle, how long did it take for you to heart your art?

I think it's an ongoing process. We all have the loud, annoying inner critic. Maybe that's what helps us strive for better, more and helps us evolve. I wonder if there are people out there that are so confident that they really, deep inside heart their art all the time...

What was the process you went through?

I understood that I don't have to heart everything I create. I love the process of creating.

Has there ever been a time when you stopped arting because of this struggle?

In the middle of 2009. I think I was overwhelmed by all the art I see on the internet. I felt like I can't compete, so I stopped.

If so, how long was it before you returned?

Two months. Not long...

How did you begin again?

Sharon (Norah's art) came for a visit, we went to two amazing workshops (Katie Kendrick and Judy Wise). That was more than enough to make me realize that art is a part of who I am and that I cannot stop creating ever again.

Family and Friends:

Is (or was) your family supportive of you and your art?

Very much. They love what I do and show it. They also know that if I don't create for a while I turn into a less pleasant person :-)

How about friends (past and present)?

I don't share my art with my real life friends. I'm much less shy over the computer.

Describe the type of support they have provided?

I love when my husband calls me "his artist". I also love that when I complain about my day job he tells me to quit and make a living with art. Very unrealistic, but extra sweet and means the world to me.

How much influence has your experiences with family and friends had on your own feelings about your art?

I know that the acceptance comes from deep inside. Sometimes all the outside support is not enough to convince me that something is good.

Outside Influence:

How much influence does ‘the outside’ have on your feelings about your art?

Not as much as it did before. I know now that I would create even if no one liked my art. I just probably wouldn't share it.

How does positive feedback affect your feelings?

It gives me wings! I create much more after a good sale or a especially positive feedback.

How do you deal with negative comments?
I don't receive negative comments because people that follow my blog or buy my art are really nice. I would not be able to deal with them...

How do you deal with your art not selling?
To be honest - most of the time I think it's not selling because it's not good enough. I try to do better.

The Now:

What is your current experience with hearting your art?

More and more I heart my art. Or elements of it... Not always.

Do you still struggle?

Sure I do.

What do you do?

Continue to paint.

How do you survive the moment and continue arting?
I don't give it too much thought. I just continue painting. Add a layer. More paint. Try to do better.

Do you compare your work with the work of other artists?
That is never fun.... but I do.

Do you have a process for your inner critic?

Not really. I just move on... There is always a new piece of paper, canvas or wood.

Do you know the ‘what’s the point’ jerk? How do you deal with him?

I hate that one the most, so I splash some gesso over him. That shuts him up.

In what ways do you feel the struggle to heart your art has manifested itself in your life?

Probably in a way that I'm working a boring computer job, not doing what I would really love to do...

Where do you believe this struggle comes from - what do you believe the root is?
Maybe way back from elementary school when I was shy about creating anything. I would draw a tiny figure on a big piece of paper and the teacher would give me a bad grade. It lasted all the way through school... Still trying to overcome that one.

What is your best tip for someone who struggles in this area?

If you feel it in your heart, take the time and do whatever it is that you love. There is a moment when you realize that it's a bigger struggle not to do it, than to continue. Create for yourself and heart the time you spend doing it.

Is there anything further that you’d like to add?

Thank you for this series. It is really great to read all the interviews and learn more about the artists behind them.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Interview 8: Sharon Tomlinson


Last month, I requested an interview with Sharon Tomlinson of All Norah's Art. I was absolutely thrilled when she said YES! My artist path changed immediately when she responded
"The one I'm laughing about is the "What's the point" jerk. That little SOB lives some where in my studio and jumps on my shoulder after EVERY painting. "
REALLY? I hadn't imagined someone whose art takes my breath away could be dealing with that little pain in the butt. I thought it was just me because I was so bad :). But knowing that someone I admire so greatly deals with the same junk I do, made me feel instantly better.

Her blog is a delightful mix of pretty'ness and phun, wisdom and whimsy with Sharon's cool personality shining through every bit. She is as beautiful as her art!

Sharon recently began offering a class (see top right side of her blog). I haven't taken it, but I've read very good reviews.


The past:

How long have you been arting?

That would be hard to say. I think I have always been creative in some way or other. I remember making doll clothes and stuff like that. I also remember my third grade teacher made comments on my report cards about me "day dreaming out the window". I still do that especially when inspiration is churning inside of me. Having said all of that, I remember specifically when my son was about one year old in 1969, I started tole painting and making ceramics. I would say that was the beginning of my obsession of having to have a brush in my hand.

Have you always hearted your art or did you struggle to do so?

I surely must have struggled but I don't have a memory of that. I do remember looking back at my art from time to time and being surprised. Surprised that when I first made the art I thought it was good only to discover "in the moment" that it was not. I still do that; however, now I recognize it as growth and learning.

Has there ever been a time when you stopped arting?

Yes, in the mid 80s, when my children were teenagers, I pretty much stopped my art passion. But my creativity still came out in things I did with them. For example, my son was interested in photography and so we had a darkroom and enjoyed that type of creativity. Also, my daughter was a high school cheerleader and I enjoyed designing and making cheer leading outfits....12 at a time. I also participated in the local theatre for many years. I did everything from acting, directing to painting huge sets and backdrops. Talk about a paint brush in your hand! I used four inch foam brushes and house paint to paint 24 feet by 20 feet backdrop scenes sometimes perched on a 20 foot step ladder. It was very exciting and rewarding to paint on that grand scale.

If so, how long was it before you returned?

I started art as I know it today in the spring of 2006.

How did you begin again?

I was reading blogs. It started with garden blogs and then some of them also told about their quilting. Then one day I landed on a mixed media blog and started hopping from link to link. I was amazed with my discovery. I had a lifetime of various art passions but I had never done anything considered mixed media. A new passion was born.

Family and Friends:

Is (or was) your family supportive of you and your art?

I would say that my confidence in my art was instilled by my Father. I don't remember the words or how he taught me, but I learned from him that I could do anything that I wanted to do. My husband is supportive but not in a verbal way. He being a man of few words. My children are proud.

How about friends (past and present)?

I have had many friends who were very supportive. One in particular during the time before I stopped in the mid 80s was also an artist and she and I enjoyed painting together and learning from each other. Another friend who fits the past and present category thinks I can do anything. When we first met in the 80s, I impressed her with my own tool box. She still remembers that and is a great supportive friend. There are many others.

How much influence has your experiences with family and friends had on your own feelings about your art?

No doubt, there support and encouragement has an effect. I'm sure I have tried and accomplished many things just because my father thought I could.

Outside Influence:

How much influence does ‘the outside’ have on your feelings about your art?

I don't think I am influenced by the outside. Of course positive feedback fuels me. However, I don't seem to hear negative comments or feedback. Now I can't say, there is none. I'm just saying I don't hear it.

How do you deal with your art not selling?

When I have a piece of art that does not sale, I think the right person hasn't seen it yet. For example one of my Sister Reunion paintings about stringing dreams and memories together sat in my Etsy shop for a couple of months. Then one day, the right person saw it and after she purchased it, she sent me an email to tell me why that particular painting meant so much to her. It was as though, the painting was her story and meant only for her. And when she saw it she knew it was meant for her.

The Now:

What is your current experience with hearting your art?

I currently heart everything that I paint. And I heart the feeling after each grand painting that "this one's the best".

Do you still struggle and what do you do?

Sure, there is a point of "struggle" to work through with each piece. But I've learned that you have to keep going and work through it.

How do you survive the moment and continue arting?

For me, if there is a struggle, it is while painting a particular piece. I have learned to expect the conflict and be ready to work through it. I would say that many times the conflict is when I had expectations about the piece. I have learned to start without "expectations" and let the painting speak to me as I enjoy to creative moment.

Do you have a process for your inner critic?

I'm not sure but I surely must. I can tell you that I have a process for "your" inner critic should we be in a teacher/student situation. Me being the teacher and you being the student with that little critic sitting there telling you stuff. I run to the nearest door or window shouting for her to GET OUT and leave you alone. I go on and on, it's obscene, but it works. The whole group learns quickly that those little naysayers are not welcome.

Do you know the ‘what’s the point’ jerk? How do you deal with him?

This question made me laugh. I had no idea that little jerk was known by anyone except me. He is not to be confused with that 'inner critic jerk'. The 'what's the point jerk' visits me often. When I'm all done and so very pleased with myself and my painting and think once again it is the best one yet, he jumps up in my face. I don't have an answer as to how I deal with him, I just find it confusing and have spent many hours pondering the question, what's the point. I could give you a whole list of answers to his question; however, I think I have narrowed down to one answer. The point is to please me. To give me enjoyment. To make me happy. That's all.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Heart Your Art - part 6: Take you out of it

From my journal - March 2009

I was looking around at my studio - just different sections and imagining it as a photograph. A thought popped in my head:

"If someone else put that picture on their blog (or in a book) I would wish mine looked so good."

That's when I realized how beautiful my studio is and how it so reflects my taste. I never/rarely ever give myself enough credit! That's part of the problem!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It's a simple trick of the mind: Take yourself out of the question. When it's done with full commitment, it provides instant gratification!

Honestly, that's what's helped me the most. When I finish a piece of art (or semi-finish), the first thing I do is say these exact words to myself: "If someone else posted a picture of this on their blog, what would I think?" My answer is always something like, "I'd think it was beautiful. I'd love it. I'd wish I'd done it." When "me" isn't in it, I can look at something more honestly, more compassionately, more openly. My inner critic doesn't tear down other people's work. It isn't even present in the situation. So, all that's left is my appreciation for beautiful art! It just so happens that it's my art that I'm appreciating! YAY!

I've been doing this for about a year. Each time I asked myself that question and received the positive feedback, I was able to continue making more art. With each painting, I logged more practice time which in turn helped me to learn and grow. I suppose what it really gave me is what all beginning artists need: SPACE and TIME. (or as my friend, Angelique would say, Grace and Space ;) )

The Space of creating without an inner critic on your back allows you to:

~ create without

- useless negative judgment
- perfectionism ruining your chances of progress
- old tapes running in your head
- the fear of it not being 'right' or, worse, of it being plain old WRONG!

~ create with

- a gentle heart, mind, body, soul
- a kind attitude toward yourself, which we often reserve for others
- GLEE!

Here's the catch 22: If I wasn't happy with something I created, I may give up instead of pressing through (hi Sandy ;) ). If I don't press through and practice, I cannot get any better.

Space and Time are friends of practicing, learning, growing.

As time passed and I kept up with this 'mind-game', my confidence has grown and I don't have to 'trick' myself as often. I am getting better, confidence wise and art wise, because I've given myself the gift of acknowledging what I've done as worthy which helps me to keep going. If I've created something beautiful once, I can do it again and again and again and again and again........

So can you!

~magick~
Melissa

Friday, February 19, 2010

Heart Your Art - part 5 - more money and satisfaction

The "What's the point JERK" for me, is closely related to the issue of MONEY.

From my journal - January 2009


It's one of those problem times. What's the point? To explore. To play. To experience. What more do you require? If this is about money or popularity...well those things do not take away this feeling. Many who have both still feel the way you do. And they are surprised that 'things' are no different. So perhaps they feel worse than you do. Just to LIVE! That is the point. If you need more...I fear joy will not come your way. Just be in the day.

Find something to do and do it...just do it. Look at the cats - they make no $, they receive no huge amounts of applause. They receive no more than you do - perhaps less - yet they are happy...they are joyfull. Why chase a ball? Because it's there to be chased - pursued - played with - experienced. They aren't saying, "What's the point to all this ball chasing? We can't eat it and we make no MONEY from it." No, they just play for the pleasure of it...over and over again. Sure they get bored, but then they just find something new to do.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Satisfaction from the Latin: satis - enough + facere - make. Okay, my brain says this, "It's never enough, so you have to make it enough. Decide that it's enough."

From my journal - November 2007

I'm now watching "You've Got Mail." Kathleen is wondering about her work:

"What is it that I do exactly? All I really do is run a children's book store."

Her boyfriend says, "All you really do is this incredibly noble thing."

She says she doesn't know.

He snaps his fingers and says, while typing, "Kathleen, you are a lone reed standing tall, waving boldly in the corrupt sands of commerce."

She repeats, "I am a lone reed," while leaving the room.

The look on her face though says it all - she doesn't get it, it isn't enough, something is still awry inside of her. The boyfriend sits proudly, as if he handed her the answer.

In the next scene she is writing an email:

"Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life. Well, valuable, but small. And sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it or because I haven't been brave?"

There is this intense pressure from society to live large, bold lives, to be seen, famous, rich - of course. Not all of us are cut out for that kind of life - yet if you aren't than you must not be brave enough, you must not have put yourself out there, you must be living by fear.

I feel the pressure that was placed inside. But inside there is also a voice who says, "What is this big life all about? What is it that this big life contains that this small life does not?

Fame? Fame truly is a non-importance. Fame only makes it difficult to go out unnoticed. :)

Money? Well, sure, perhaps. But again, not of great importance. Brings its own set of troubles. And we've got enough now.

A sense of satisfaction? Does the satisfaction become larger in the big life? Self-satisfaction doesn't work that way. You are either satisfied or you're not. I can be just as pleased about doing laundry as I can about 200 people thinking my work is cool.

Being satisfied in your work has almost nothing to do with what the work is - being satisfied in that way is a decision you make inside. That is all. A decision. Not a simple decision though. And also not a decision made once and completed forevermore. It doesn't just get checked off the list as complete....that is unless you write a daily check list and write: be satisfied with the job you've done/the life you're living.

I looked up satisfaction. It mentions a settlement of debt. This morning I watched "The Waltons" (I love "The Waltons" and "Little House on the Prairie"). The episode was one I'd seen before, but I decided to watch it again. The entire show was about how they had finally paid off the loan for the sawmill machinery. They had no debt. They didn't owe anything to anyone. Their debt was settled!

~MAGICK~
Melissa

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Interview 7: Joanna Rowan Mullane


Take a step into the mist, walk through the veil, and you will find yourself enchanted by Joanna Rowan Mullane. She is a multi-talented artist who creates everything from gorgeous women, to edible journals (they're so yummy, I want to eat them!), to shrines so beautiful that Spirit just flows from them, to so much more! Joanna is also a Reiki Master. Her blog, Little Faerie Tales, is a mix between her eye-candy art and her soothing spirituality. At Ravens Feather Studio, she offers free workshops. I am always grateful for the generous nature of artists who share in this way. Her etsy shop provides you an opportunity to own one of her magickal pieces.

Joanna is an authentic, wise, talented, and beautiful soul. I am happily spellbound!



The past:

How long have you been arting?

Well, if you count crayons and fingerpainting-since I was at least five! In all honesty, it has been since I was very young, my Mom was always very creative and I was always very encouraged to express myself in creative ways.

Have you always hearted your art or did you struggle to do so?

I have most certainly struggled to heart my art! I seemed to always think everyone else created amazing and beautiful art but then would be way too critical of my own!

If you did struggle, how long did it take for you to heart your art?

It took me delving into my spiritual side and learning Reiki and other healing modalities to see that my creations are beautiful because they are an expression of who I am and what is in my heart. It took me admitting that life is not a competition, it is about living your authentic life-that includes loving yourself and embracing the journey!

What was the process you went through?

Purely a realization of accepting I am an artist just as much as anyone else. A beautiful quote from a book by Denise Linn has stayed with me since the moment I read it and it was similar to this-“The moment you judge another person is the moment you lose the ability to influence or help them in any way.” Those words were so powerful to me and I just knew that I had to accept my artistic talents and embrace and honor others!

Has there ever been a time when you stopped arting because of this struggle?

Years ago there was a time when I did put it on the back burner because of career reasons mostly and also because I was listening too much to my own fears and self doubts that there were so many better artists out there-that is only your own self-made fear. We are all amazing artists!

If so, how long was it before you returned?

It was a about a year.

How did you begin again?

I just felt like I was screaming inside-not creating is like not being able to find the air to breath. I need to do make time to “play”!


Family and Friends:

Is (or was) your family supportive of you and your art?

Very much so, I give much credit to my Mom for encouraging that part of me! She is still one of my biggest fans.

How about friends (past and present)?

I never really grew up around many friends that shared my passion for creativity, but then again, I was also kind of a loner child too! As I have grown though, my path has crossed with so many creative people and they truly inspire me and are very encouraging! The blog world has been wonderful too! I love the connection and the beauty of so much creative energy. It is so positive and uplifting.

Describe the type of support they have provided?

Encouragement and inspiration! My family and friends have been the biggest source of encouragement for me but over the last few years I have learned to be my own encouragement too. I create because I love it, not to impress someone else, to me that defeats the purpose. If you don’t do it for you, than people are not seeing your true inner Spirit! And Inspiration, I don’t know how anyone could NOT be inspired by nature itself! Other artists inspire me very much as well just as I have inspired them. It is a wonderful circle.

How much influence has your experiences with family and friends had on your own feelings about your art?

In the beginning, their opinion was what mattered most to me, and as I grew in my own techniques and abilities, I influenced myself more to go further, to let my guard down and just go with the ideas as they come to me. When I quiet my inner doubts is when I let my guard down and just have fun!


Outside Influence:

How much influence does ‘the outside’ have on your feelings about your art?

Not much anymore. I realized that it is okay for not everyone to like my art-I like it. You cannot take it personally because being creative is part of your own personal journey. No one can take that away from you.

How does positive feedback effect your feelings?

Of course, positive feedback is wonderful! I am so grateful anytime someone leaves a lovely comment on my blog or sends me an email to say they enjoy my work!

How do you deal with negative comments?

I have not had someone leave a negative comment yet, that is not to say it wont happen, but if it did, I have to try to remember not to take it personally. Like I said, we don’t all have to agree. I would be being dishonest though if I would say it would not hurt my feelings a little!

How do you deal with your art not selling?

This used to bother me a lot more than it does now because of the self doubt it would bring up in my abilities. You have to just let that go though. You have to tell what I like to call-your self criticizing troll inside your mind to take a hike! I just keep loving what I am doing and keep being grateful I am able to do exactly what I love!


The Now:

What is your current experience with hearting your art?

When you are able to be happy in your own skin and love who you are, faults and all, you automatically love your art because it is an extension of you! It is a reflection of the beauty and gifts that you have. I feel like I have come full circle and I am so grateful because I am able to combine the two things I love the most, helping others in my Holistic Healing and learning to combine that with my love of creativity. Combining the two has opened up so many doors and I am now able to teach creative classes at the Holistic Center where I work and I am still able to dedicate a few days a week to just play! It is a dream come true.

Do you still struggle?

I just go with the flow now. The more resistance I put up, the harder it was, when I stopped worrying I was more present in the moment and could see a clearer path ahead of me which brought solutions and creative inspiration for my future goals.

How do you survive the moment and continue arting?

I do it for me and my own joy. If someone enjoys what I create and they decide to add it to their own collection, I am so very grateful for it. The moment I stop enjoying creating, is the moment I will move on! If something does not bring you joy, find what makes your heart sing!

Do you compare your work with the work of other artists?

I used to but all that does is bring forth that self doubter in your head. It is so much easier for me to honor and enjoy the beauty in another’s work than compare it to my own, In all honesty, there is no comparison as each one of us has our own unique and beautiful energy that we put into our creations! You just cant compare that! Besides if I spent my time comparing my work to others, I would never have time to actually be creative.

How do you deal with comparison from others?

I don’t worry about it anymore. If someone wants to compare my work to theirs or others, that is their choice, I’ll just continue to do what I love!

Do you have a process for your inner critic?

I now tell him to go take a hike while I work on this project!

Do you know the ‘what’s the point’ jerk? How do you deal with him?

That is my self doubting troll, I had to just honor it and then let it go. We all will have good days and bad days, but the point is to not give up if it is what you truly love to do! Be fearless.

In what ways do you feel the struggle to heart your art has manifested itself in your life?

It has made me more determined to find my own way, follow my own heart and manifest the life that I want.

Where do you believe this struggle comes from - what do you believe the root is?

I have always been a very strong-willed and determined person, I am happy and at peace in my own skin, everything else just falls into place after that. I don’t know where exactly it comes from, but it helps push me along!

What is your best tip for someone who struggles in this area?

If you love what you do, everything else will fall into place. Have patience with yourself too, be open to all the possibilities and follow your own heart.

Is there anything further that you’d like to add?

Only to try and stop worrying about what others are doing or thinking. That is the biggest creativity blocker out there because it only serves to create more self doubt and fear that you are somehow not good enough or not as good as someone else. You are perfect so spend more time on actually creating than worrying, when we create from our hearts, we become open to the beauty all around us where true inspiration resides at all times.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Hearting some arting

Sorry, no interview today. But there is art!

Some of these paintings are complete and some are not. Mostly it's the writing part that isn't done. I find the actual writing on the paintings kinda boring, so I have to be in the right mood. It's so much more fun to paint the women! But they'll get there.

The house of her dreams is just over that hill

She's not finished. The words need to be fixed so they stand out more.

I didn't do this on purpose, but as I was working on her, she just kept reminding me of this gorgeous woman. :)


Seed + Earth + Water + Sun + Time = Life

You've seen this one before, but now she's complete.


her hair ~ the color of soil and sun

her dress ~ the color of the rows










Here's a couple I did when it was snowing so much!

My dream, of us, sharing this winter, came true



love the texture of the snow and their lil house


Eventually this painting will say, "No matter how cold it is out there, my heart will stay warm." I really dig the 3-d effect of the buildings.




I am the woman of my dreams!

Here's my latest work. Love her!


Here's a couple paintings I did back in the fall, but again, it took me awhile to get around to the words. So I'm sharing them now.


Stretch up native heart, wake up wild soul, on this wintered full moon night


Her thoughts became a flower



I'm off to create some art! Have a fantabulous day!

~magick~
Melissa

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Interview 6: Chris Zydel


I happily fell into the beautiful world of Chris Zydel a few months ago. I was immediately captured by the depth of her sharing and BAM! my artistic journey changed. Her blog, perfectly named Creative Juices Arts, is absolutely filled to the point of overflowing with wisdom, beauty, and total yummy'ness. If you are interested in the journey of The Artist and/or the idea of Hearting Your Art, Do not miss visiting her blog - even if you're not, don't miss it anyway!

I deeply honor her open and authentic spirit. She is changing lives in ways so magnificent that words cannot fully express it. I know, because she changed mine and I'm only ONE of MANY! She is a thread woven into the tapestry which gave me the courage to open this "Heart Your Art" campaign to others. Thank you Chris!!!!!

Chris asked me to mention a retreat that she will be holding in May in Portland Oregon with sound shaman Fabeku Fatunmise called ARTSOUNDYOU!

Chris adds, In this workshop Fabeku and I will be combining intuitive painting and drumming/working with sound to help people come more alive, connect more deeply with their intuition, become more creatively self expressive and experience the power of art and sound as tools for healing and transformation. Plus it will be all KINDS of fun. Here's a link to the sales page: http://creativejuicesarts.com/3741/
Sounds like a fantastical journey!!!! (heehee - sorry, my silly humor) Only The Universe knows the true impact you're making....but I have a good idea that it's immeasurable!


The past:

How long have you been arting?

I have been in an ongoing process of identifying myself as a creative person which started about 23 years ago when I was in my mid-30's.

Have you always hearted your art or did you struggle to do so?

I have definitely struggled and continue to struggle with accepting my creative expression. When I was younger I was what Julia Cameron in her book the Artist's Way called a "shadow artist." I was attracted to artists and surrounded my self with people who were painters or writers or musicians but it took me a long while to to say "Yes, I too am an artist. I too am a creative person."

If you did struggle, how long did it take for you to heart your art?

I'm much better now, but it's a daily practice to appreciate my own unique artistry and to accept myself as I am creatively.

What was the process you went through?

I did a lot of therapy. And I took classes that were oriented around creative self expression as a healing modality, which is what I now teach and offer to my students and clients. Through that process I realized that there was a big wound in my family around creativity, and that was one of the reasons it was so hard for me to claim my own. And why I am so very PASSIONATE about helping other people become more joyfully creative.


Has there ever been a time when you stopped arting because of this struggle?

I never really stopped in a big way once I got started. But my stopping and starting happens in little ways all the time. I'll get busy with my work or freaked out by some creative project that I've got planned and am afraid to get going on. But I really can't stay away from it too long. My muse is an absolute slave driver!!

I also see my creativity as something that's really reflected in my whole life. It's in my business and the workshops I create . It gets expressed with my clients and how I decorate my home and the way that I dress. I really do feel that my life is my art. Which doesn't mean that I always like what comes out of me. There are certainly some days I'm happier with what I create than others!!

Family and Friends:

Is (or was) your family supportive of you and your art?

I wasn't really in touch with my art when I was younger but now that I'm an adult my family is very supportive of my art. They don't always understand it but they are very proud of me for doing it.

How about friends (past and present)?

I have been very fortunate to have extremely supportive friends in my life both in the past and currently. Like I said I was always drawn to and surrounded myself with other artistic types and they were always happy to have someone to play with creatively!

I was lucky that the people in my life were not threatened by my creativity. However, I've always had an extremely strong commitment to my own healing and personal development, which meant that I participated in things like therapy groups or healing circles or expressive arts communities. Because my friends usually came out of those experiences it meant that we shared values related to supporting each other's growth, being real and prizing authenticity.

Describe the type of support they have provided?

They were genuinely interested in what I was doing and excited for me that I was doing something that I found so meaningful. They listened to me, encouraged me when I was down, gave me and my art positive attention and believed in me, oftentimes more than I could believe in myself at the time.

If you haven’t received support, how do you feel that this has effected you and your creativity?

Because I have received so much support it has really allowed my creativity to flourish. And when I got together with my husband 15 years ago, who is the most creative person I know, his ability to be behind me unconditionally took my creativity to a whole other level of development.

But I have seen what happens when people don't get that kind of no holds barred love and enthusiastic encouragement . And it's not pretty. I saw it in my parents and I see it in my students and clients. The creative process does not thrive very well in a vacuum. It really needs to be witnessed and championed and cheered on. And that is why in my work with my students and clients I continually cultivate circles of creative nurturance where artistic types can come together to fortify and inspire each other to keep on creating.

I think it's also crucial to recognize the difference between supporting someone's creative process as opposed to their creative output. People need to feel that what they create has value, yes, but even more they need to know that what is REALLY important is the fact that they are engaged in the creative process. The creative outcome is just a by-product of someone doing the good and holy work of tapping into and expressing from their creative source.

Outside Influence:

How much influence does ‘the outside’ have on your feelings about your art?

That whole realm of how people respond to my art is just so tricky. And it is complicated for me by the fact that part of my artistic expression is reflected in the classes and workshops that I teach as well as in my writing, which is the artistic form that gets the most visibility. I show my visual art some, but the creative gift I want to give to the world and that I want to be received and valued and found useful is the gift of my words, thoughts and language. I am on a mission to try and teach people about how to have a healthy, satisfying relationship with their creative process and I do that through my writing.

I certainly want people to appreciate and value what I have to offer creatively. And it makes me happy when my art ( writing) is well regarded. But, I also know that if I want my artistic life to stay vital and alive, I need to have my first allegiance be to my own vision and muse.

How does positive feedback effect your feelings?

In some ways it's more dangerous to me than criticism, because I can find myself getting hooked into wanting and craving the approval. A little bit ago I wrote a blog post that got a lot of attention and comments and was passed around on Twitter, etc.... lots of positive feedback. And it kind of drove me crazy because I wanted to figure out why everyone liked it so much so that I could do whatever I did again!! The thing was I couldn't see any objective difference between this post and others I had written. Which meant that I couldn't figure out the secret formula.

I read it to my husband and asked him to help me make some sense of it. He just shook his head at me and said "Honey, you're trying to control the response you're getting here and it's just not possible. You need to let it go. Who knows why it got so much attention? You're job is just to write, no matter what anyone thinks. Maybe they like it, maybe they don't . That's none of your concern."

It was like he threw a bucket of cold water on me in the best possible way. I felt like I woke up out of an approval hungry stupor. I realized that he was right and I was able to let it go. At least that time.

How do you deal with negative comments?

I am pretty lucky in that I don't get very many negative comments on my art. In fact, I can't really remember the last time I got a negative comment on the art itself. I don't like criticism and when I do hear it, it stings a bit at first, but for some reason I'm able to shake it off pretty easily. I figure if someone doesn't like what I do it's really not about me anyway. I just wish I could develop that same detachment around rave reviews!!

How do you deal with your art not selling?

Where I make my money and what I am selling are my classes, workshops and retreats. Which I do consider my art! When they are not filling as much or as quickly as I would like I a.) mope around for a bit feeling sorry for myself b.) complain to my husband who gives me a pep talk to snap me out of my self pity and c.) beef up my marketing efforts. And try to remember that how many people sign up is not always up to me.

Sometimes I have waiting lists for classes sometimes I don't get as many people as I want, but when that happens I have to remember that there's a method to the universe's madness. I just held a retreat where I had two unfilled spots but the people who did attend formed a community that was so amazing and dynamic and perfect in every way. It was obviously the group that needed to happen no matter what other bright ideas or expectations I had on the subject.

The Now:

What is your current experience with hearting your art?

I love my art. I really do. I just read a blog post I had written out loud to my husband and it made me cry! Because I felt touched by my own words. And I love myself for having the courage to continually be creative. Even when I don't always like what I have produced.

Do you still struggle?

Every day!

What do you do?

I just keep going. When I'm struggling it's usually because some version of the inner critic has got me in it's clutches. And I know that the worst thing I can do is to give into the critics fears and insecurities and stop creating.

How do you survive the moment and continue arting?

Sometimes I get mad at the critic and stomp around and yell for a bit. That's always great fun and can help tremendously in breaking it's hold on me. It gets the energy moving and allows me to snap out of the negative critic trance. Sometimes I will call a friend or talk to my husband for moral support and cheering on. It helps to get a good dose of "You can do it, go girl!!" kind of thing. Mostly I just keep my ass in the chair or in front of the easel, writing the next word or painting the next stroke. I know that if I don't abandon myself and my creative project, if I simply I stay with it and keep moving, even when it's frustrating and hard, that I will eventually move through the stuck place and find myself back in the joyful creative flow.

Do you compare your work with the work of other artists?

Oh yes. All the time! Even though I know it's a complete waste of time because I can only do what I do and be who I am creatively. However, sometimes the comparison and envy of someone else's work can be useful because it is showing me a direction that I need to go in or something I want to incorporate. A year or so ago I was comparing myself with bloggers I had encountered who were very open and vulnerable and personally transparent in their blogs. Now that I'm doing that more in my own work I don't feel the same need to compare.

How do you deal with comparison from others?

If someone is comparing themselves unfavorably to me I always remind them that what they are doing is incredibly valuable . And that they have something to offer which I don't because I'm not THEM! That they are just having a hard time seeing that right now. And then I turn it around and appreciate and acknowledge them for who they are creatively.

Do you have a process for your inner critic?

See above.

Do you know the ‘what’s the point’ jerk? How do you deal with him?

A swift kick in the behind. And then I give him a cookie and something to distract him.

In what ways do you feel the struggle to heart your art has manifested itself in your life?

In my classes I talk about how claiming your unique creative process is an exercise in developing radical self acceptance and self love. And that if you can find that level of trust and acceptance in your artwork it will also spill into your life where you will find yourself trusting your intuition and your desires and your choices. So the more I can love my art and my creative self expression the more I can love and accept myself. There is a very direct correlation between those two things for me and I think for most people.

Where do you believe this struggle comes from - what do you believe the root is?

I think the root of the struggle to be creative is inherently a spiritual struggle. Our creativity comes from spirit. It really isn't ours in an ego sense. It's our daemon, our genius, our unique connection to the source of all that is. It comes from our essence, our soul and from something larger than our day to day self. Which means that we can't take credit or blame for how it shows up or comes through us. We get in trouble when we forget that and either try to control it or judge it or think that we are undeserving of it's gifts . Our job is to try to stay open and trust and to surrender to the creative flow. To be it's instrument. To recognize that we are it's humble servant, that it has a job for us and that we will be much happier if we just get out of the way and let it do what it wants and needs to do.

What is your best tip for someone who struggles in this area?

Try not to take yourself so seriously. The muse loves to play and have fun so let her play with you. Try to remember who's really in charge here. Believe me... if you just let her boss you around and have her way with you I GUARANTEE that you will have a much more fulfilling creative life. And a lot less struggle. If you get into a wrestling match with your muse, you are going to lose every time.

Is there anything further that you’d like to add?

Thanks for the opportunity to share some of my experiences with the creative process with you and your blog readers. This was a lot of fun!!

Sorry to all my FRIENDS who read this blog

but I have to take a tiny break from my normal peppy persona to take care of the following business

THIS IS A MESSAGE TO YOU, AND YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHO YOU ARE......

STOP READING MY BLOG

GO AWAY

GET LOST

CREATE YOUR OWN LIFE AND STOP COMING INTO MINE

YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE

YOU ARE NOT DOING ANY GOOD BY INVADING MY LIFE THIS WAY

INSTEAD OF SPENDING YOUR TIME SPYING ON ME AND HATING ON ME

SPEND YOUR TIME HEALING YOURSELF, YOUR LIFE, YOUR RELATIONSHIPS

YOUR ENVY OF ME IS SHOWING AGAIN

IF YOU THINK I AM TOO DUMB TO REALIZE WHO YOU ARE.......YOU HAVE AGAIN UNDER-ESTIMATED ME

I AM WAY TOO SMART FOR YOUR GAMES

BTW, NOTHING I CREATE IS ANY REFLECTION OF YOU OR OF ANY POSSIBLE US.......THERE IS NO US

I WISH YOU THE PEACE OF HEALING, I CANNOT HELP YOU, YOU MUST HELP YOURSELF, BUT I AM NOT GOING TO SIT HERE AND ALLOW YOU TO ABUSE ME ANY FURTHER

SHOO FLY, YOU ARE ANNOYING THE REST OF US WHO ARE TRYING TO ENJOY OUR LIVES

Sunday, February 14, 2010

OWOH winners! Recent events! and Heart Your Art - part 4

OWOH Winners!

Thank you to everyone who came to my blog, read my story, loved my story, hearted my art, and made this event so much fun! Mr. Frog and I are absolutely thrilled to announce the winners.......Mr. Frog, frog roll please.....ribbet, ribbet, ribbet, ribbet.................


The winner of the journal is........................... Debby from The Gathering Nest

The winner of the picture frame is.................. Danit from DishVish

YAY!!!!!!!!!!! Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!! Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Please email me your address by Thursday. The post office is expecting me on Friday. :)

ps: Anyone who would like to purchase a handmade journal, please contact me at AMagickalMeliss@yahoo.com


Recent Events!

Here's a few pictures to show you what's been going on here: SNOW!!!!

Here's what our garage looked liked after the first 2 feet of snow we got.



Here's what it looks like now, after the second snow. It's a good thing we don't need to get into that door (knock on computer).



Here's the hubby trying to clear off the snow from the roof.


Check out our driveway. It's a pretty steep hill which has several 90 degree turns at the top in order to get into the garage - which means the plow can't reach the top and it has to be shoveled by hand. UGH! We are so buying a snow blower!!

See the pile to the right? Hubby had to climb over and into that pile to get up on the ladder. It was pretty funny.


Here's the front of the house, followed by a picture of our nice little pathway.






Here's the back....the back ended up getting the worst of it because of the wind. I really hope it's a long time before I hear the words "blowing and drifting" again.



Some snow is nice......this much snow is a pain in the butt!

I did have something really wonderful happen this week though! I walked into my studio on Tuesday (the day the second snow was getting ready to hit us) and found this amazing sight!


My friend gave me this plant that had seeded itself last summer into this little pot. I never got around to planting it, so I've been keeping it in the window of my studio. I guess it must get a lot of sunshine - maybe it was the reflection of the sun off the snow.

Isn't that just magickal?? It only last the one day, but I'm glad I got to see it. Spring is coming - the beautiful purple flower said so!!





Okay, onto the business of hearting our arting - Let's talk about MONEY!!

"The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're un-cool." The movie ~Almost Famous~

From my journal - January 2009

I still can't seem to shake the yucks. I could be producing a tremendous amount of art, but I'm not. No drive to. Someone was speaking about the exchange of energy. $ for this or that is an exchange of energy. Currently, I have no one to exchange this kind of energy with. But, The Man on The Mountain doesn't seek others to exchange energy with...he exchanges energy with The Earth, The Universe, The ALL!

From my journal - February 2009

What do I want to do with my time?

Take care of the cats
Take care of the house/yard

What else?

Explore Me more deeply

How come all the 'things' I want to do don't make any $?

Why am I concerned with making $?

Cause I'd like to contribute and not just take

Taking care of life/Life in this house IS a contribution. A HUGE one!!

Why do I look at this contribution as not worthy? ("We're not worthy")

Where did that come from? Where did I learn to associate $ with worth?

I didn't know I did that. At least not to this depth. I had a surface awareness of it. But it's never hit me the way it has now.

Society tells us that $ = worth

On a certain level, yes $ is worth 'something' - food, cars, houses......

But on the human spirit/soul/Universal/LIFE level $ = nothing, it doesn't mean squat ultimately (if you believe in Life after Death, someone with $ will never be at higher level than someone without $ simply for that reason)

So, while I do live on Earth and must follow some rules - I don't have to follow them all, especially the ones which are SO easily contradicted and created subtly within the frame-work of society and its values and how 'IT' says we should live.

Where did I learn to associate $ with worth? Shoot......school.....the kids with more $ had the 'right' clothes early on - this began to really matter in middle school and only got worse in high school. They were 'better' and 'better' is worth more than 'not better.' This scenario repeats in college, work, society, government, hollywood, the world, and at home (in our own homes!). Those with the $ are treated better than those without the $.

So, am I saying that I would treat myself better if I was making $ because I would be 'better'???? (this is not even in my journal - I'm saying that to me right now - always learning and growing! now back to the journal)

What can I do to dig up this root?

Work on my self-worth

Sometimes I think what I do (taking care of the house, etc) isn't good, important, or it's my DUTY!!!!!! NOT my Pleasure! Oooooo - that's something. I found another root.

Like my art - it is my DUTY to make something that people will buy so I can contribute $ that we don't really need (it would be nice, but we don't NEED it) so I can be worthy. What a crazy crazy thought. This actually STOPS my art! THIS STOPS ME!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
(end of journal entries)

I am very lucky that making money is not a requirement of me. But somehow, I have still felt the invisible pressure of it. I have, like most of us, equated $ with self-value. Having these kinds of conversations with myself (or Goddess/God/Universe/Life/Great Spirit) in my journals has helped me tremendously (I highly recommend it). Even after these conversations with me, I still struggled for many months. I was pleased to notice, somewhere in the last few months of the year, there was growth in this area. I am still processing it though and probably always will be. I haven't arrived yet, but thankfully I am not where I was!! YAY!

Money is an important, tricky, mysterious, emotionally charged (self-value, fear of not having any, fear of having some.........) conversation to have with ourselves and others. But since WE put such a value on it, we cannot avoid it.

What is your experience with the issue of MONEY and how it relates to Your Art?

~magick~
Melissa

Friday, February 12, 2010

Interview 5: Sandy Meegan


Over a year ago, I was lucky enough to meet Sandy Meegan. Originally she did an interview from the perspective of her gorgeous photography. But, currently, she is on a journey of widening her artist abilities and decided to explore from her new perspective. I admire her honesty, her willingness to grow through the exploration of herself, and her courage in sharing it with others so that they too, can grow. My most favorite thing about Sandy though..........her absolutely genuine spirit. Please visit her blog, Indigo Goddess.

The past:

How long have you been arting?

I think I have been creative as long as I can remember. We made handmade gifts at Christmas when I was young. Needle crafts- crochet, cross stitch. In high school I did a lot of sewing and found photography as a great creative outlet, and it wasn't til much later that I "found" mixed media art, and am in love with it.

Have you always hearted your art or did you struggle to do so?

I struggle/struggled- I think if others that I have given my art to like it, I feel a relief. Maybe I have never taken the time to really enjoy what I create. I guess I have always compared my creations to someone else's, and if there's a resemblance, then I am good.

If you did struggle, how long did it take for you to heart your art?

Struggle? Yeah, I sometimes liked/loved whatever i had created but would anyone else? It wasn't until the last year or so that I realized it wasn't about others acceptance, it was about my own. I'm a work in progress.

What was the process you went through?

I get these very visual idea's in my head- the idea itself is very exciting. Then I attempt to create it. If it doesn't come out like I had envisioned, I get frustrated. Usually this will stop me in my tracks. Within the last year, I am much more aware of this, and try to push thru the difficult times. I will still solicit others opinions from time to time. I guess for me it's a lack of confidence and basic fear. I am trying to really have ongoing conversations with myself, to get thru this. The reason being, I have an immense desire to create.

Has there ever been a time when you stopped arting because of this struggle?

Too many times to count. I have half started projects, I have packed all my supplies away, saying maybe this just isn't for me. BUT, the desire is an very strong underlying force, and I always come back.

If so, how long was it before you returned?

Sometimes a day or two, sometimes weeks. Many years ago, I stopped for years.

How did you begin again?

I just did. I realized that I was missing something. It's hard to really define what creativity is. I am my happiest when I am developing an idea in my head. Honestly, I think that is my strongest creative skill. I am now trying to trust that I can physically replicate my idea in my head to a tangible piece of art.

Family and Friends:

Is (or was) your family supportive of you and your art?

My Nanna taught me how to crochet when I was very young. Oh, and I did a lot of sewing growing up. My mom bought me my first 35mm camera in high school. In the other area's( mixed media) I have had little support. But it's not because they dont want to, I just haven't actually created anything. Blog friends have been very encouraging, but fear and no confidence have stood in my way.

How about friends (past and present)?

In high school I won an Academic Excellence in Home Ec for sewing. That was exciting. I had a friend just after high school that was into photography, and we would buddy up and go on "shoots". Most of my creativity is done alone. I made a doll for a friend recently and she loved it. She was very supportive. Always tells me I am creative. It's me that struggles to believe it.

Describe the type of support they have provided?

Feedback and allowing me the space to create.

If you haven’t received support, how do you feel that this has effected you and your creativity?

For the years that I didn't receive support, I just gave up on it. It squashed me creatively. I was looking for others to validate my talent. And when they didn't, I felt "what was the point?"

How much influence has your experiences with family and friends had on your own feelings about your art?

Interestingly enough, I have learned/realized that altho nice to have support and encouragement, I placed too much importance in it. My own desires were affected by others, and I packed up my supplies often. "I" let another human being take away my love of creating.

Outside Influence:

How much influence does ‘the outside’ have on your feelings about your art?

Now, none. I do what I do because I love it!!!!! Sometimes needing a boot in the butt from time to time to keep me trying.

How does positive feedback effect your feelings?

It makes me smile. It validates my own feelings of my work.

How do you deal with negative comments?

Honestly, in my circle, I dont get any "negative" feedback. I am my worst critic.

How do you deal with your art not selling?

I stopped trying to sell it. I felt when there was no interest that it wasn't good enough, and that is just plain silly. Maybe one day I will list stuff in my Etsy store, but for now, it's about me and having fun!

The Now:

What is your current experience with hearting your art?

I am actually really enjoying the creative process more. I am not so worried about making mistakes and I'm trying to be more present in my work. I'm taking a Suzi Blu art class, I'm trying things at home now that I never thought I could do.

Do you still struggle?

I'd be lying if I said NO. A lot less than before. I am a work in progress... I think it keeps me wanting more.

What do you do?

I cut myself some slack. I dont take myself too seriously. I will now put down a project and come back to it. It's all good.

How do you survive the moment and continue arting?

There is no time for negative thoughts- they breed more negative. I have it in me to create. Now, I honor that.

Do you compare your work with the work of other artists?

I use to. It's pointless. I am uniquely different from anyone else ( something I am really liking about myself now) and so my art will be equally as unique and different.

How do you deal with comparison from others?

No one has compared me to anyone else. I dont know. I suppose it would be a compliment if compared to someone I respect. Ultimately I want to find my own style, and in the meantime, just play with all these ideas I have in my head.

Do you have a process for your inner critic?

I have made her my confidant and friend. Friends dont hurt friends!

Do you know the ‘what’s the point’ jerk? How do you deal with him?

That jerk use to live inside me. No more. The point is...I create because I want to. I dont have to do it for a paycheck, I do it because I feel drawn to it. Altho a little Etsy shop would be nice one day! LOL

In what ways do you feel the struggle to heart your art has manifested itself in your life?

I guess altho I love art, I dont know all the lingo and dont feel like I could go head to head with maybe someone that does. But then the "friend" in me comes out to say that I LOVE the who process of arting and "the lingo" isn't what makes the artist.

Where do you believe this struggle comes from - what do you believe the root is?

Confidence- it has to be. Believing in the process is KEY for me. I have to keep the focus on the positive!!

What is your best tip for someone who struggles in this area?

Heart Your Art !!!!!! If you can have open conversations with yourself, it helps. Also having a friend that you can talk to, that has been very helpful. We all share similar feelings. You dont know that til you expose your own feelings.

Is there anything further that you’d like to add?

I want to thank Melissa for this opportunity. These questions really helped me process a lot. xoxo

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Interview 4: Theresa Cole


**My apologies for not posting Theresa's interview yesterday (and for having to post Sandy's tomorrow). We literally had a blizzard here and the internet was just not working. We got almost 2 feet of snow on top of the 2 feet of snow we got on Saturday. It's terrible. We're totally exhausted from shoveling. UGH! Back to our regularly scheduled program**

I'm so excited to be able to interview an artist like Theresa Cole! Her work is varied, original, and beautiful. She creates gorgeous hemp jewelry, yummy bath products, amazing photography, and MORE! I love the name of her blog, The Happy Soul - makes me feel happy just saying it! Definitely check out her etsy shop.

The past:

How long have you been arting?

Ever since I was a young girl, I enjoyed making things. I remember my grandmother trying to teach me to crochet and letting me sew with her sewing machine at a very young age. In high school, I took every art class that I could, and also a wood shop class. There is just something about that feeling of accomplishment when you look at your finished product and say "Wow. I made that." My creating and crafting fell to the wayside after I had my boys, but about 7 years ago it was sparked again. I fell in love with an adorable little hemp necklace, and after closer inspection, I realized that I had the ability to make those! I've been creating hemp items ever since. My photography is a new found love, only about 1year old, but it was love at first click! The world becomes a very magical place when you look at it through the viewfinder. Within the last year, I have also picked up crocheting and sewing again. Some memories are meant to be relived. :0)

Have you always hearted your art or did you struggle to do so?

Oh my goodness. I still find it hard to heart my art at times. It is a constant struggle for me to accept that I am a true artist, and that my creations are beautiful. I do love everything that I make, but when sales are slow (which is very often), it can be totally discouraging. I have found that if I keep creating, the happiness that brings can break through all of the doubts that I may have. Having a wonderful support group of online friends helps, too.

If you did struggle, how long did it take for you to heart your art?

As I said, the struggle is almost constant. It's easy for me to love my creations, but there is always that doubt that no one else will. On the rare occasion that I actually sell something, it is always a magical experience! To know that someone else loves my items enough to buy them is the greatest feeling in the world!

What was the process you went through?

Oh boy... for many years it was just me against the world. Filled with self doubt and hesitations, I trudged on. Within the last year, I have found the most supportive group of friends that any one could ever ask for, and when that doubt rears it's ugly head, they are the first people I talk to. They encourage me where I need to be, talk me through ideas, and keep me focused on what I need to focus on. Without them, who knows where I'd be.

Has there ever been a time when you stopped arting because of this struggle?

No, I can't say that I ever stopped. There were some very low points where I really thought I wanted to stop, but I truly do like the items that I make. It's hard to stop creating when it's something that you love to do.

Family and Friends:

Is (or was) your family supportive of you and your art?

As a child, not really. My father never saw much point in being creative, and my mother only wanted me to be creative when it was something that I was making for her. Now though, my husband and my mother-in-law are absolutely fantastic! In fact, I show my hubby every new creation before I even list it in my etsy shop, and believe it or not, he picks the beads for the necklaces at least half the time. He's wonderful, and I thank God for providing me with a husband as supportive and understanding as mine.

How about friends (past and present)?

I was never one to have many friends when I was younger, but since I've joined Etsy, I've found the truest, most fantastic group of friends that anyone could ever ask for. They support me in every venture, and help me through every difficulty. Without them, I would probably be a crazy woman locked up with her yarn and crochet hook!

How much influence has your experiences with family and friends had on your own feelings about your art?

Wow. The support that I have received from my friends and family has grown my love of my art immensely! When you are the person creating, it can sometimes be hard to have a clear perspective on the items that you make. My friends and family help me to develop the confidence that I need in myself, and my work.

Outside Influence:

How much influence does ‘the outside’ have on your feelings about your art?

Now this part is easy. I try not to let any outside influences affect how I think or feel. I learned a long time ago that being true to yourself is the only path to happiness.

How does positive feedback effect your feelings?

Positive feedback is essential to my creativity! Hearing what people like about my art gives me the confidence and incentive to keep creating.

How do you deal with negative comments?

I usually run straight to my support group to ask if there is any merit in the comments. If, (after some deep investigation) I find that there is merit to the comment, I strive to do everything I can to make the situation better. Learning from my mistakes is something I have grown accustomed to. Without the occasional mistake, we wouldn't be normal.

How do you deal with your art not selling?

That's a tough one for me. I rarely sell much, but just that one occasional sale is all I need to keep going. I realize that not everyone will love what I make, and if I can still find that occasional customer who does, I'm happy.


The Now:

What is your current experience with hearting your art?

Through all the ups and downs, I've realized that creating is where my happiness comes from. Of course, I would love to sell more, but being able to explore all of my interests and create what I believe to be beautiful is what it's all about.

Do you still struggle?

Of course. Not everyday can be sunshine and roses. If I go a long time without a sale, I can get pretty depressed.

What do you do?

I force myself to create something new! Creating is what really makes me happy, and if I can force myself to create something new, I find that I am happy again in no time.

Do you compare your work with the work of other artists?

I am constantly thinking that everyone else's art is much better than mine. I have no education in any artist area, but what I create comes straight from my soul. Creating the perfect item is what I strive for, and if that doesn't compare to someone else's creations, then oh well. It's part of me, and that's who I am.

How do you deal with comparison from others?

There are times when it totally depresses me, but I honestly try my best to pick myself back up. I know that what I create is special and original, and honestly...if I have to wait a year before it goes to the perfect person, that's ok.

Do you have a process for your inner critic?

Unfortunately, not a good one. Most of the time, I run straight to my best friend and ask her if what I'm thinking is true, or if it's just that evil twin in my head messing with me. After her reassurance, I'm good!

Do you know the ‘what’s the point’ jerk? How do you deal with him?

I am thrilled to say that I don't have one of those people in my life! Honestly, I wouldn't deal with it well, and they would probably be pushed right out of my bubble in a quick hurry.

In what ways do you feel the struggle to heart your art has manifested itself in your life?

The struggle basically only exists in my head. As long as I make a conscious effort to fight it, I usually do ok. It's when I let my guard down that I can become vulnerable.

Where do you believe this struggle comes from - what do you believe the root is?

My own low self esteem is where it stems from. I've struggled with low self esteem all of my life, and even though over the years it has gotten better, it's still a constant battle.

What is your best tip for someone who struggles in this area?

Follow your heart! Your creations are beautiful, even if others cannot see it. Have value in yourself, your creativity, and your items. YOU ARE AN ARTIST! Show the world!

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