Honoring 2018 – Finding my “voice”

January 16, 2019

It is hard to believe that this time last year, I had just ended a 12 year corporate career, and was stepping joyfully into my new life as a full time artist.

I didn’t realize then that 2018 would be focused on figuring out what kind of art I really wanted to create, and how to successfully navigate my new found freedom.

Here are the highlights of an eye-opening, joy-filled and sometimes confusing year.

  • Explored all the mediums and subjects that I had always wanted to try, but never the had time while working full time. I started with painting flowers, and quickly moved to pears, abstracts, landscapes, portraits, and new mixed media techniques. I played with acrylics, oils, soft pastels, oil pastels, gouche, water color pencils and watersoluble crayons. In total, I took 11 workshops with some amazing artists (including Ivy Newport, Donna Downey, Devon Walz, Bob Burridge, and Lale Mille to name a few), both in person and on-line, adding something from each to my evolving artistic voice. Here are a few of the many happy experiments that captivated my attention this year:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Participated in a bi-weekly mastermind group with 3 other creatives, organized by Daphne Cohn of The Creativity Habit podcast. This group helped me become clearer about my art goals, kept me accountable, and led to me reading…
  • … the “The One Thing” by Gary Keller, where I realized that until I knew what I most loved to create, and how that translated into my unique artistic voice, the time I spent marketing my art would be wasted. So I let go of the business of art (including my bi-weekly newsletter and blog), and focused on the happy experiments you see above. I was searching for what gave me the most joy when I was in the process of creating it.  The result?  Read on…
  • During a “Story Session” with Daphne Cohn, where I described my life journey for the purpose of clarifying what I wanted from my art career, I had a major aha moment.  I realized that although I loved taking workshops to expand my art skills (resulting in pear, abstract and flower paintings), the experience of creating these subjects left me cold and uninspired.  When I talked about what it felt like to create a collage, however, my heart exploded with joy and I saw deep meaning in what I was creating.  Suddenly, I knew that I had come full circle,  back to where my journey with art started 25 years ago, and I once again claimed collage as my medium of choice.  No more painting pears or flowers, unless they were part of a collage and told a meaningful story. Below are two of the collages I created after this life changing realization… 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • 3D collage “Guidance Surrounds Me” (below) was accepted into Artfields, a week long arts competition in Lake City, SC celebrating Southeast artists. My husband and I spent a weekend exploring the art of the 400 artists accepted into this extraordinary exhibit, where the entire town is turned into an art gallery, and participants vote using their phones for their favorite art.

 

 

  • Tweaked my daily routine over and over again, searching for the perfect balance between structure and freedom. This is still a work in progress, but now I’m questioning whether I want a schedule at all, even though maintaining a daily routine while working full time helped me to successfully integrate art into my traveling day gig, and create a ton of art in hotel rooms. Stay tuned for how I resolve this inner conflict – the subject of an upcoming blog post.
  • Renovated my entire studio (along with other parts of the house) after a BIG tree hit my roof when a tornado ripped through the back yard – a very unusual occurrence in my neck of the woods.  This “gift” gave me the opportunity to create my dream studio, complete with skylights, casement windows and gray pergo floors, mostly paid for by insurance.  Thank you Universe!  Below is a glimpse into some of the changes. To see the rest, check out my Instagram Story Highlights under “New Studio“.

 

  • Moved out of my home for 3 months while the roof was repaired, setting up a temporary art studio in my neighbors basement, and living in the rest of their house too (they were in Canada for the summer).
  • Radically changed my diet while participating in Kris Carr‘s 21 day vegan challenge for the purpose of improving my health and preventing my annual fall/winter respiratory illness.  Result? I discovered that I actually love eating vegan (now my diet 85% of the time), as does my meat and potatoes husband, and I healed my 2-year old ear ache. However, I STILL got several respiratory illnesses this past fall and winter, each lasting for weeks at a time. In 2019, I’m determined to finally heal the respiratory illnesses as well.
  • Started kickboxing with 9Round as a new form of exercise, and to my surprise, I absolutely love it.  My husband teases that I’m going to beat people up when I’m headed to the gym, but my gloves ONLY make contact with punching bags.  Hard to believe that I actually wear these gloves.

 

  • Vacationed in Newport, Rhode Island in August using a ton of travel points left over from my traveling day gig. Although my husband I and enjoyed exploring this gorgeous historic city, it was WAY too cold for this Southerner.  We only hit the beach one day out of 7, and wore sweatshirts the rest of the time.  Brrr….

 

 

 

 

  • Continued to document EVERY penny I spent for the third year, insuring that my full time artist lifestyle is sustainable for the next 40 years!
  • Enjoyed at least one in-person girlfriend date, plus phone dates with my two besties (they live 2-12 hours from me) each week.  Strengthening my female community was one of my primary goals during the first year of full time art as these relationships had often took a back burner as I traveled for my day gig.
  • Traveled to only 12 cities for my former day-gig (instead of 30+ in 2017), certifying people to use the MBTI personality tool. I switched from full time employee in 2017 to part-time contractor in 2018, and now work just enough to pay the bills, a total of 60 days – easy peasy! This very limited work schedule gives me 40 weeks a year to create art full time. The class picture below is of my group in Atlanta this past December – I fell in love with everyone of these precious souls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And finally, in the tradition started by Kelly Rae Roberts, I want to finalize my honoring to 2018 by reflecting on a few profound questions.

What do you want to acknowledge yourself for in regard to 2018?

What did you create? What promises did you keep to yourself?  What brave choices did you make? What are you proud of?

  • I want to honor that I kept my commitment to let go of my art biz until I was clear about WHAT I wanted to create and sell.
  • I want to honor that after a ton of experimentation, I came full circle to what I most want to create, collage painting.  It feels amazing to come back to where this journey started 25 years ago, and to see my favorite art form in a whole new way.
  • I am proud that I took the time to clarify and expand my artistic voice, rather than just continuing to create what I knew how to do.
  • I want to honor that I changed my diet and started kickboxing in order to heal my body.
What is there to grieve about 2018?

What was disappointing?  What was scary? What was hard?

  • I had so many dreams of what my life would be like as a full time artist, and I realized early in 2018 that I needed to let these go.  I imagined that I would be creating and selling a new collection of art every couple months, when in reality, I didn’t complete even one. It was hard to let go of my expectations in order to fully explore what I REALLY wanted to create. There were many months when I wasn’t sure if I would ever find my “voice”, as I moved from one artistic experiment to the next.
What else do you need to say about 2018 to declare it complete?

The next step is to say it out loud, “I declare 2018 complete!” How do you feel?

  • 2018 was not what I expected, and much better than I imagined.  I let go of my full time art fantasies, and stepped bravely into unknown territory as I clarified my artistic voice and message. This was the first glorious year of my dream come true, and this story is thankfully just beginning.

I declare 2018 joyfully complete.  I am ready to step into all the miracles that await to manifest in 2019!

 

 

 

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Giving away my original artwork?

December 18, 2018

I’m giving away this original pear painting on Friday, December 21 at 7pm est. to one of my insider newsletter subscribers, possibly to YOU!

This will be the first of MANY original art giveaways that I’ll be hosting from December 21 through early Spring 2019 exclusively for my newsletter insiders.

WHY am I giving away my original artwork?

Great question, and one I’ve contemplated for many months as I planned my way back to selling art. Since quitting my day gig almost 12 months ago, I put my art biz on hold while I figured out WHAT I really wanted to create with this precious new gift of freedom.

So for most of 2018, I experimented to my heart’s content, playing with every medium and subject that seemed to be calling my name, begging me to dip my toe in its artistic pool.

Starting with collage, where my journey with art began over 20 years ago (more of that story here), I played with adding acrylics, oils, encaustics, pastels, pencils and crayons to my work. Then I experimented with painting flowers, portraits and abstracts, and even creating 3D sculptures from plaster-of-paris and old books.

In this soul-expanding and sometimes doubt-filled process, I learned a ton of new artistic skills and accumulated a huge collection of what I call “experimental” art.

Best of all, I had…

SO. MUCH. FUN!

And as I played, I closely listened for what type of art made my heart skip a beat as I created it, and what felt like drudgery. As a result, with each passing day, I got a little clearer about the type of artist I wanted to be, and the kind of art I wanted to put out into the world.

What did I discover from 12 months of experimenting?

In the end, I came full circle. I realized that I still LOVE the medium of collage, and creating work that profoundly inspires those that my art is destined to touch, including me.  However, now I also LOVE to add both acrylic and oil paint to my collages, what I call “collage painting”, making them more abstract and free-flowing, rather than realistic, which had been my collage style for over 20 years.

Which brings me back to why I’m giving away my art.

A small part of me wants to hang onto all the art I created this year as a souvenir of this soul expanding journey, and my first year without a day gig. Yet most of me wants to give it away in order to make room for the type of art that I most LOVE to create.

Could I sell these instead? Sure, but I don’t want to since much of this experimental collection does not align with what I want to create from this moment on, and the type of artist I envision myself becoming.

So I’m giving away a lot of pears and abstracts to you, my loyal art loving friends, in gratitude for supporting me as I went through the process of finding my way back to and expanding what I most love to create.

 

A few details about how the giveaway works:

If you are already signed up for my newsletter, you don’t have to do a thing but wait for me to pick your name out of the hat. If you aren’t signed up, simply send me your email through the Contact button above, or click on this link to sign up in less than 30 seconds!

If you want to increase your chances to win this original painting, tag your friends in my Instagram post that matches the picture above.  You will get one extra entry for every person tagged, in addition to the entry you already have for being a newsletter insider.

Note: Shipping is free if you live in the USA, but the giveaway is open to all of my subscribers worldwide.

 

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Suddenly, “it” happened

May 25, 2018

“Your story is just beginning”

I have spent the past 3 years experimenting with many different art forms, all for the purpose of exploring and expanding my artistic voice.

This journey inspired me to follow what fascinated me in any given moment, resulting in many happy art experiments.  Hence why I have painted a ton of abstracts, flowers, and pears, some of which are posted below.

 

Although I deeply enjoyed the process of learning new art techniques, there always seemed to be something missing, like a puzzle piece I couldn’t find.

What was I “meant” to create and contribute to the world with my art?

So I kept experimenting, KNOWING that one day soon I would stumble onto what I had been searching for along.

Then suddenly, “it” happened.

Two weeks ago, I felt completely compelled to take an online class that combined painting AND collage with Ivy Newport. From the very first project, I felt my internal excitement growing, and I moved faster and faster through the material to see what Ivy would teach me next.  By the time I got to one of the last projects (posted at the top of this post), my heart was exploding and my body tingled as I created, a sure sign that I was close to finding the missing piece to my artistic puzzle.

Ironically, I have been led back to where I started in 1993 when I first discovered my love for collage, back when I thought collage was my only option as an art medium since I couldn’t draw or paint.  My experiments over the past 3 years have proven this to be untrue –  I can both draw and paint, and I now believe ANYONE can with enough practice, encouragement and motivation.

So after all that searching, and developing many new art skills, I have come full circle, back to where I started, but much better.

My experience reminds me of the T.S. Elliot quote ….

We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.

Reading this quote again brings me to tears for I know this to be my truth.

I feel like I’ve come home, once again, to myself.

This story is far from over, yet I’m finally clear that collage will again be the central focus in my artistic voice, and that voice will always be evolving, leading me forever home to myself.

 

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What does “midlife” mean to you?

May 07, 2018

My friend Peter Fritz from the Midlife Tribe recently asked me about my journey through midlife for his inspiring podcast, asking me many profound questions, including this gem:

What advice would I offer someone who felt lost, unfulfilled and shackled by their circumstances?
My response….

Feeling lost is a sign that I need to dive deep into my soul and profoundly listen to what the sorrow is teaching me. However, rather than leave my current circumstances because I feel miserable, it’s always worked best for me to relax into where I am with deep appreciation and acceptance, especially when I don’t like the scenery before me.

It’s only by loving where I currently am that I find a better place to stand.

So odd to be asked about my experience of “midlife” since I have never related to this term as it relates to myself.

In fact, I relate to myself as if I’m in my 30’s or young 40’s, rather than my biological age of 58. “Middle-aged” simply does not describe who I really am –

a vibrant and continually growing soul.

 

He also asked me….

Did you suffer a “midlife crisis”? (hell yes!)
What’s a tactic you’ve used to gain more control over your life?
What’s a limiting belief have you abandoned in the last 12 months?
After 40, what event, decision or perceived risk was pivotal for you?

 

To listen or read the rest of my answers to his mind opening questions, click here!

 

 

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The “one thing” that is changing everything!

April 19, 2018

I spent the first 4 months as a full time artist learning how to navigate this new unstructured territory.

Before I quit my job in January, I had a LONG list of what I wanted to accomplish with my art biz, and envisioned it would be easy to tackle everything on my list with so much new found time on my hands.

Boy was I in for a reality check, as I shared with you here!

So I spent the first 3 months experimenting with different daily rituals, trying them on for size, constantly tweaking my schedule.  Then I read “The One Thing” by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, and the final puzzle piece of how to effectively spend my days finally fell into place.

Bottom line – THE MOST IMPORTANT thing I can do right now is ….

… learn new art techniques. Period.

EVERYTHING else takes a back seat.

And this takes time, lots of it.

Creating art seems like such an easy thing to do, yet it is also the easiest thing to put on the back burner.  Turns out that was I treating my art-making practice as an optional luxury, and something I would do AFTER all my other ducks were in a row.

Like you, I have A LOT of ducks.

The One Thing” made me look deep within my soul to find the most important thing to spend my time on, and that by doing this, everything else would be easier, or maybe even unnecessary.

So on April 9th, I made this commitment to myself:

I am blocking out 4 hours a day, Monday-Friday, to develop my skills as an artist, with the overall intention of expanding my unique and inspiring voice.  Everything else I want to do with my art biz (blogs, newsletters, Instagram, etc.), comes after I get this one thing done each day.

Now on week two, this simple commitment is already making a huge difference in the speed in which I am learning new artistic skills, and integrating them into what I already know how to create. I suddenly have plenty of time to experiment and play, take workshops, and have fun with art making once again.

And my unique voice is beginning to show her timid self,

one painting and experiment at a time.

 

To make this type of commitment also means that I have to give something up. 

There just isn’t time for ALL I envision doing. 

For starters, I’ve decided to post to Instagram every other day, instead of every day. To my surprise, that appears to work equally well.  My community isn’t abandoning me while I spend the extra time to make art. Who knew?!

By the way, the picture in this post is one of MANY new paintings I have created with a joy-filled heart in the past couple weeks, and is a direct bi-product of following my “one thing”!

 

Coming soon – all the juicy details of my new daily schedule, which includes my 4 hour daily commitment.

I’m curious what is YOUR one thing, the thing that by doing it, everything else would be easier or maybe even unnecessary?  Please share in the comments below so that we can support each other as we each take our next steps toward our deepest heart’s desire.

 

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art classes that are expanding my “voice”

April 05, 2018

For my first 20+ years as an artist, I created collages using magazine and book pieces, which eventually evolved into creating 3D collage. Every one of these collages was a labor of love, a self-portrait of where I was at the time, it took about a year to create, and I worked on 10 at a time.

One of my all time faves, “Something incredible is about to happen“, is below.

Then about two years ago, I had an unexplained hankering to add paint to my collages, but I had never painted a thing in my life, other than a bedroom wall.

The fact that I’d never painted didn’t deter me – it was just another fun skill to learn. So I started researching on-line art classes, which seemed the perfect way to learn considering I was often on the road for my traveling day gig.

The first course I took was with Kelly Rae Robert’s where I learned how to create mixed media collage backgrounds, and then paint an angel with a spiritual message on top of it. I had a blast creating three angel paintings copying Kelly’s style (one shown below).

Then rather than complete her workshop by painting the remaining three angels in the videos, I took what I learned from Kelly and created several painted collages inspired by her work, and the “Take Flight” collection was born (my favorite shown below).

This collection was primarily created in hotel rooms, after work at night, as I traveled for my day gig. Hence why I changed my Instagram name to @theHotelArtist!

The process of learning how to add paint to my collages was so joy-filled that I wondered what else I could create with paint.

So I continued taking more on-line classes, including Flora Bowley‘s wonderful mixed media abstract workshop, and most recently an abstract workshop with Ivy Newport (work-in-progress below).

Once I quit my day job in January 2018, I finally had the time to take workshops live, rather than just on-line. The first one I took was with the fabulous Carrie Schmitt, where I learned to paint abstract flowers and had an absolute blast doing it. Below is my fave that I created during her 3-day workshop.

Learning from Carrie inspired me to expand my flower painting skills even further, so I signed up for Donna Downey‘s on-line workshop, and created several more flower pieces, including the one below.

Then a couple months ago, I took a 5-day workshop with Bob Burridge, an amazing mixed media collage and abstract painter.  From Bob I learned a ton of new abstract techniques, including how to paint a pear (below).  If you want to learn how to create this yourself, check out this artist’s “Bob blasts” – weekly video tutorials where Bob shares how to paint abstract pears, wine bottles, abstract landscapes, and so much more.

As I write this today, I am in the middle of taking an amazing on-line class with Devon Walz where I’m going through a unique process to expand my “voice” as an artist.  I absolutely LOVE this class, even though I am only a quarter through the inspiring material.  Below is a detail of what I’ve created so far  – MUCH more to come!

Each of these wonderful classes have added a new dimension to what I know how to create as an artist, and is fulfilling my 2018 intention to give myself time to experiment and play.

After so many years creating one type of collage, it feels like the flood gates have opened on my creativity as I learn new skills, adding them like a puzzle to my evolving artistic voice.

I have no idea where all of this new learning will ultimately take me, and luckily, I don’t need to know.

I’m simply trusting that I’ll land in the artistic place where I’m destined to be, where I’ll be filled with joy and connection as I create, and be able to make the world a better place with the art and inspiration I add to it.

I would love to know what art workshops have inspired YOUR artistic journey.

Please share in the comments below so that we all find new teachers from which to expand our artistic horizons!

 

 

 

 

 

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Now what do I create?

February 27, 2018

I have been following my new daily schedule for almost three weeks (to be shared in detail soon), and am finally creating art 3 – 4 to hours every day, Monday through Friday.

 

Now the question is . . .

WHAT do I create in all that luscious time?

For the past 12 years, I created what I knew how to do – 3dimensional collage, and most recently, adding paint to collage. I like what I’ve created, even loved it at times, yet I’ve always wanted to expand my skills as an artist.

But with a day job, there was never time to do this.  I created what I already knew, what gave me joy to create, AND what I perceived others would also like in the hopes of selling it.

So when I quit my job, I decided to focus my first 6 to 12 months of freedom on experimenting with different art techniques, and NOT selling anything.

I signed up for six on-line art classes, two live art workshops, made a list of artists who publish You-tube and Instagram art tutorials, bought a boat load of art supplies, and started learning new stuff for the first time in years. Heaven, right?

What I didn’t realize is how uncomfortable I would feel venturing into unknown territory, where I don’t have skills.

The result? I often don’t like what I create, at least not initially. I find myself feeling a tad insecure and shaky making what sometimes looks like “shitty art”.

It was time to give myself a good talking too.

To do this, I used the method I’ve relied on for the past 25 years to ground myself and make my highest good decisions.

I took off my glasses (I can barely see to write without them), wrote a question in my journal that I wanted help with, and started writing in third person as if the Universe/God/my highest self (for me its all the same), is talking to me.

Here is the question I asked a couple days ago…

God, I need your help.  Should I focus on getting good at one art style, OR what feels best each day, switching between new techniques before I get proficient at any one?
What is my highest good path with art making each day?

Then I wrote in third person whatever I heard in my head, continuously, without stopping to think or edit. And when I was done 20 minutes later, I reread what I wrote and I was stunned at the profound wisdom before me.

I KNEW it was my truth.

Here is how my highest self answered that question….

Just keep creating art everyday, like a prayer to yourself.

Do what is calling your name each moment, no need to stay in a straight line.

By moving from project to project, style to style, you will put together the puzzle pieces of what you are seeking with art.

You don’t know what style to focus on because you haven’t yet stumbled on the style that will be uniquely yours.

Make no mistake you WILL find it.

The path to finding your unique voice is to follow what sounds like fun each day.

It will actually take longer if you just stick with one technique or style and get good at it.

You will fit many things together to form what you are destined to give to the world.

For now, stick with the absolute joy of experimenting, allowing you to play without a purpose.

Now is the time to play, enjoy the process, and learn the discipline of creating everyday.

This is your highest path.

So that is what I’m doing now – PLAYING.

To be honest this makes me nervous. Creating without a plan, or a clear path is very uncomfortable.

And I’m doing it anyways, KNOWING that this is the shortest path to what I most want, even though I don’t exactly know what my art will look like when I get there. Maybe it will be some version of what I’ve created for the past 12 years, or perhaps, something brand new is getting ready to be born within me.

For now, I’m simply creating what ever most interests me each day, trusting that somehow this process will lead me to find my unique voice as an artist, and how I’m meant to share this with the world for the highest good of all.

It is time to stop writing now and start my three to four hours of art making for the day, because that is what my schedule says I should do!

 

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I’m Not doing art?

February 14, 2018

 

One of the very few paintings created since quitting my job!

 

I’m now on week 7 of being a full time artist, and to be honest, I’ve found myself floundering, not sure how to move through my new unstructured life.

Although grateful beyond words to finally the time to create anytime I wish, I’m surprisingly not creating very much.

Why you ask?

It’s a question I’ve been asking myself over and over, and over!

Here’s the thing. I became really good at fitting art into ALL the nooks and crannies of my on-the-road, full-time employee life.  When I left my job in December, I envisioned that I would float through my days like a free-as-a-bird artist, creating art whenever I felt inspired.

Yet with so much unscheduled time, I have found myself unsure of when or even what to create.

I have found a million excuses for NOT doing art – everything from I need to take care of sick relative (actually a good excuse) to needing to buy more art supplies (I have plenty already).  Anything not to sit my butt down and create art, the one thing I love doing more than anything else.

Oddly enough, I created more art with a job because I had a daily ritual that I followed religiously.

So even though I love to float through my days without a schedule (consistent with my MBTI type of ENFP), I actually thrive when following a daily routine, including a set time for creating art every day.

After taking a couple weeks to create what my new daily ritual could look like, I’m giving it an initial test drive this week.  Once I tweak it a bit, I’ll share it in detail, but until then, here is a sneak peak of what I’m doing each day.

  • I’m starting my days at 5 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays, and at 6 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, depending on the type of exercise I have planned.  Art making starts around 9am.  I’m giving myself weekends to float through my day anyway I wish, and to focus on my marriage and community.  There are many more parts to this daily ritual, which I promise to share as soon as I work out the kinks!

What is YOUR daily ritual?  How do you navigate through your week?  Please share in the comments to inspire us all to find more effective ways to find time for our deepest hearts desire.

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Honoring 2017 – a year that changed everything!

January 18, 2018

As I gently step into my new life as a full-time artist, I first want to reflect on the life transforming events that transpired in 2017 that led to quitting my day gig on December 31. After 12 years of envisioning, planning, and most of all, surrendering to the present moment, this was truly my dream come true.

I’m actually stunned that I could accomplish so much all while working full time.

Makes me wonder what will happen in 2018 without a job!

So here are the highlights of an extraordinary year!

  • Traveled to over 30 cities for my day gig, training people to use the MBTI for 5 days at a time. During EACH trip, I focused on loving every moment of this precious experience, even when it occasionally didn’t look so good on the surface (i.e. travel delays, hotels losing shipped workshop boxes, answering emails after training for 11 hours on my feet, working on holidays, etc.). Below is a “class photo” from a group I taught in Atlanta – totally loved EVERYONE of these dear souls.
  • Changed my Instagram name to @thehotelartist after jokingly calling myself this at a wedding in June, and it stuck. What better name to describe how I bring two, 50 pound suitcases (one full of art supplies) for every trip, setting up an art studio in every hotel room I visit!
  • Finished creating my first art collection in over a decade. With the release of “Take flight”, I experimented with promoting a specific date and time that all 20 artworks would be available on my website. Result – I sold half of the collection in less than 24 hours! Below is one of the sold pieces, “Miracles surround me”, and one of my personal faves.
  • Visited colleges with my beautiful niece Ann (who had lived with my husband and I for the past 1 ½ years) to help her choose the college where she would finish her degree.  She moved out in August to attend Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. Result – I once again have an empty nest.
  • Privately made a wish to be interviewed on a podcast, and out of “nowhere”, Betsy and Laura with “The Luscious Living Podcast” called and offered just that, my very first podcast interview! Click on the photo below to listen to the podcast.
  • Hired AMAZING art coach Betsy Cordes with February13 Creative (and her son Henry) to help me focus my art business in the limited time I had available with a full time job.  This simple step ultimately motivated me to quit my day gig. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU Betsy!
  • Continued to follow the daily ritual I established in 2015 that integrated my day gig (the vocation I love) with my beloved art (the calling that I cannot live without). I attribute this ritual as the number one reason that I was able to finally quit my job.
  • Brought my niece Ann on a 5-day business trip to Nashville (her 5th “bring my niece to work” trip since she was 10 years old) where she played during the day, and we played together at night when my work was done.  Below is a picture of us “playing” at night in a country western bar overlooking downtown Nashville.

 

  • Partnered with February13 Creative  (my art coach) to send out press releases to share my journey to become a full time artist, for the second time. Result?
  • Created my first limited edition art print from “Where I am meant to be”, and sold most of the 22 edition. Below is the print Photoshoped into a scene, something I learned how to do this year  and made my photo-styling sooooo much less time consuming

 

  • Experimented with painting WITHOUT any collage elements, resulting in new collection “Hidden Blessings”. Now I’m hooked on adding abstract elements to my style as it continues to develop. Below is a detail of my favorite from this collection, “Peace“.

 

  • Completed all the unfinished 3D collages that had been hanging around my studio for several years. My purpose was to fully close this chapter of my life so that I could start fresh as a full-time artist in January 2018.
  • Applied to my first art competition (Artfields) in over a decade, and to my delighted surprise, “Guidance Surrounds Me”, was accepted! I’ll find out summer 2018 if I won one of their many cash awards. Below is a detail of this 3D collage, which features pics of my family in the windows and locket.
  • Created one-hour of art on most days, and figured out how to do this in a kind and sustainable way.
  • Expanded my Instagram following from 10K on January 1, 2017 to 15.6K on December 31 by continually studying how to work with this platform with authenticity and love.
  • Took an online email marketing class with Abby Glassenburg, and committied to sending out my newsletter every 2-4 weeks. I started doing this in April.
  • Had an earache most of the year, forcing me to give up most food that turn to sugar, such as bread, potatoes and alcohol for months at a time – bummer. I love ALL things made of sugar!
  • Traveled to Provence, France to celebrate my darling Robert’s birthday, and our 2nd wedding anniversary.
  • Took my first live art workshop in over a decade. I adored learning how to paint abstract flowers with Carrie Schmitt at Donna Downey’s amazing studio. This was followed by a workshop by David Kessler to learn new abstract painting techniques.  Below is a detail of one of three flower paintings I created during my oh-so-cool weekend with Carrie!

 

  • Completed two on-line art business classes, starting with Juliette Crane, and later with Amira Rahim. I am so grateful to both of these blessed artists for sharing what worked for them.
  • Witnessed a full solar eclipse in Columbia, South Carolina with my love and 500 strangers that felt like family by the time the moon covered the sun.  Below is a pic of Robert and I waiting MANY hours for this phenomenon to take place – totally worth it!

 

  • Continued to document EVERY penny I spent for the second year.  I wanted to make sure that I walked into full-time art with my financial eyes wide open!
  • Enjoyed at least one girlfriend date twice a month, deepening all of my friendships, especially with fellow artist Sue Stokes, who became my accountability partner.
  • Hosted most of our family from Delaware and Chicago for Christmas (eight, including Robert and I), complete with a sit-down neighborhood Christmas dinner for 20, and 7 holiday events over a 3-day period. My biggest and most fun holiday EVER, but also overwhelming with constant activity. Next year we might opt for a deserted beach somewhere.  Below is 5 of the blessed 8, including my love and I!

 

And finally, in the tradition started by Kelly Rae Roberts, I want to finalize my honoring to 2017 by reflecting on a few profound questions.

What do you want to acknowledge yourself for in regard to 2017?

What did you create? What promises did you keep to yourself? What brave choices did you make? What are you proud of?

  • I want to honor that I stayed completely present for my day gig for the first half of the year, as I traveled 2-3 times a month, Monday through Friday, not knowing when or even if I was going to quit my job.
    • Then in August, almost like magic, I heard an internal message while meeting with my art coach that it was time to quit.
    • Soon afterwards I asked my boss if could become a contractor (very part time employee without benefits), working only 5 days a month. To my complete delight and surprise, she said YES! I quit my job on August 1, giving a 4 months’ notice, celebrating my last day on December 29, 2017.
  • I want to honor that I created my first two collections of art in over a decade, all while traveling extensively for my day gig. Most of the 30 pieces created for the “Take flight” and “Hidden Blessings” collections were created in hotel rooms. I am proud of myself for no longer allowing my day job to be an excuse for why I didn’t follow my deepest heart’s desire.
  • I want to honor that I added meditation as a regular practice for 55 minutes on most days, even while traveling. Amazing how this calmed my heart and helped me envision where I wanted my art to go once my day job ended.
What is there to grieve about 2017?

What was disappointing? What was scary? What was hard? What can you forgive yourself for?

  • Letting go of an amazing 20-year career with the company that publishes the MBTI, a job I loved, was much harder than I thought it would be. After I resigned, I had many “cold feet” moments, thinking that I was crazy for quitting such an extraordinary job where I made tangible a difference in people’s lives.
    • I grieved the end of this chapter of my life until my very last day when I gathered all my old files and papers and burned them in a bon-fire in the back yard – the perfect way to say good bye to an extraordinary journey.
What else do you need to say about the year to declare it complete?

The next step is to say it out loud, “I declare 2017 complete!”! How do you feel?

  • 2017 feels like one long blessing, from helping my niece move on with her life, to me doing the same when I finally realized my dream of becoming a full-time artist for the second time. It was a year of blessed endings as I said good bye to a job I loved, and beginnings as I stepped gingerly into full time art.

I declare 2017 gloriously and joyfully complete. I am ready to step into all the miracles waiting to manifest in 2018.

 

 

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Countdown to freedom

December 06, 2017

22 blessed days until I no longer have a day job.

My heart is wide open and glowing as I type these words.

Yet here’s the bigger truth. 

I have ALWAYS been free.

I was free to stay in a day job for 12 years, even when my heart longed to do art full time, every day.

I was free to find ways to love my job, even when it didn’t look so lovable on the surface.

I was free to do my day job in a way that most fulfilled me, and best served my clients, employer and colleagues.

I was free to reorganize my life so that I could create art at least one-hour a day, even in hotel rooms far from home.

I was super free to have a home office, even though I was often not sitting in it.

So you see, I have always been free. 

But very soon I’ll have a new kind of freedom. I’ll be free to get up a little later, 6am instead of 5am, because I no longer have to squeeze art making into my very limited free time.  My “work” time will soon be my art making time.

Oh my goodness, I’m truly shaking with excitement at the thought of this new reality.

However at THIS moment, I STILL have a day job. AND I’m going to love EVERY. SINGLE. MOMENT. until it ends in 22 days.

Today I am in Atlanta for one of my two remaining 5-day trips as a full time employee, and I am deeply enjoying the work I get to do, and the fun of doing art from my hotel room at night.

All is well, it always is, no matter what I’m doing, no matter where I am.

Thank you my dear friend for taking this journey WITH me. For cheering me on each step of the way.  Your loving support fills my heart with joy.

P.S. The words on this collage painting perfectly describe my philosophy for the past 12 years as I have dreamt about returning to full time art, while being perfectly present for where I was in every moment.

To thank you for taking this ride with me, 22 limited edition Art Prints of this collage painting are available at 22% off for the next 22 days, through December 29, my last day of full time employment!!!! Click here for details.

 

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Why abstracts?

November 22, 2017

When I started creating art 24 years ago, I choose collage as my medium because I could not draw.  Who can not tear up magazines and put them back together, right!?  I fully explored this art form, found a unique expression through 3D collage and had a successful run selling my 3D collages. Life eventually brought me back to my beloved day job, and I continued creating collages on a VERY limited basis for the next 10 years.

Then out of the blue two years ago, I found myself wanting to to paint.

I started by adding paint to my collages as abstract collage backgrounds for my “Take Flight” collection, and had a great response.  This increased my desire to paint, and to explore what else I could do with it.

How about creating mini abstracts, and embedding hidden blessings into the design?  Hmmm….  So three months ago, the “Hidden Blessings” series was born as I traveled to 7 cities for my day gig (a very light travel schedule for me!), painting from hotel rooms at night.

The joyful process of experimenting with layered and dimensional acrylic paint, and drawing abstract designs on top, has inspired me to take this even deeper.

I want even MORE paint.

Since I’m quittng my day job on December 29, 2017, 37 days from now (yes I have countdown on my phone), I’ll finally have time to explore paint and abstracts in a bigger way, and I do mean BIG. In order to fit my art into suitcases, I had to work small, but no more.

In preparation for my dive into full-time art, I’ve bought a dozen large canvases, tons of paint and brushes, and enrolled in three abstract painting classes between now and February.  I’m sooooo excited for this new adventure to begin.

I have no idea whether I’ll end up as an abstract painter.  All I know is that following my deepest hearts desire has ALWAYS led me to my highest good place, and I KNOW it will with my exploration of paint, whether I end up sticking with this medium or not.

So 2018 is ALL about expanding and exploring my voice as an artist.  What is in me that I want to share with the world?  How am I meant to serve through art? Is there another way, other than art, that I can serve even better?  Exploring these questions, and having lots of fun doing it, is my intention.

This is going to be the best year of my life.

 

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Finishing what I started so I can begin again

October 31, 2017

Before I step into my new life as a full time artist on January 1, 2018, I want to bring closure to the way I’ve been creating art for the past 2 decades.

Up until recently, I created 3-dimensional collages. Each artwork took an average of 12 months to find all the images and assemble, including the one above, “Guidance Surrounds Me”.

Although I loved the process of creating every one of the collages in my “Awakening” and “Magical Bike” collections, I always longed to create faster and more spontaneously, without all the precision and detail of my 3D style.  The idea of creating a collage in a month, or maybe even a week, totally intrigued me. I also longed to add paint to my collages, like one of my all time favorite artists Arless Day, even though I had never picked up a brush in my life!

Then on a whim in 2016, I signed up for two on-line painting classes (perfect for my traveling day-gig), bought a ton of acrylic paint and started experimenting with adding paint to my collages.

From day one I was hooked, and ended up creating a new collection of collage paintings called “Take flight”. In fact, I was so excited about my love affair with paint that I didn’t want to finish all the half-completed 3D collages sitting around my studio.

Until now.

For the past two weeks, I’ve been compelled to finish what I started before I take the next big step in my art career.

So that is exactly what I’m doing – finishing a ton of old projects, and to my surprise, I am having a great time doing it.  Its like connecting with old friends that you haven’t seen in ages, and realizing that you are still good friends in spite of all the time that has passed.

Here is a sampling of the collages that I’ve been finishing in the last 14 days, in preparation for bringing them to the framer, the last stage in their journey to completion.  When I’m finally done, I plan to dive back into creating painted collages, and most likely will not look back, except when I say good bye with gratitude to each of my 3D beauties when they find new homes.

Have YOU ever wanted to finish something in your life, to clean out the old, in order to make room for what you want to bring in new?  Please share either in the comments below or on Instagram, to inspire us all to finish what we started, so that we can begin again!

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