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.
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.
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.
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!
Whenever I set an intention for myself, and share it with others, I have a much better chance of sticking to it!
So here goes, my public declaration of what I intend to do for the next 31 days, beginning TODAY.
1. I am creating art at least one hour a day.
I do something for my art biz EVERY day, but with my heavy travel schedule lately, I’ve let my daily art practice slip. I’ve already created art this morning, so I’m off to a great start for #1.
2. I am repeating the mantra “this moment is my destiny” EVERY time I hear myself feeling any type of resistance to what is before me.
Whether its being stressed about how many things are on my to-do list, or editing an article I’d rather not be working on, or designing a powerpoint for an upcoming training…. no matter what it is, or how logical it is to NOT want to do it, I’m going to stop myself as often as I can remember and say…
THIS MOMENT IS MY DESTINY.
Then I’ll drop all of the other thoughts that follow, and just continue working on the project before me in grounded peace. When the resistance reappears, I repeat the process, over and over again!
After sharing how this mantra worked miracles for me over a decade ago when I hated my day gig, I decided it was time to bring it back as I step into my last 3 months of full-time employment. Still loving my day gig, but with the end so close, I’m finding myself living in the future (as in January 2018 when I start doing art full time), and not fully BEING in the beautiful life I have NOW, day-gig travel and all.
3. I am giving up sugar, including things that turn to sugar like bread and potatoes.
Over the past 6 months, I have gotten an ear ache almost every time I eat sugar, including bread (luckily fruit and wine do not trigger this!). When I gave up sugar over a 4-month period, the ear aches went away. Assuming I was cured, I slowly brought back bread and granola, but one thing led to another, and this quickly morphed into eating cake and chocolate! Now the ear aches are back and I’m starting over with no sugar. Dang!
I hope that you will join me in declaring what you want to focus on in the month ahead.
What would set YOUR heart on fire, or make you feel so much healthier/happier if you focused on doing it every day in October?
Please share either in the comments below or on Instagram so that we can support each other in focusing on manifesting what we most want in our lives.
As of January 1, 2018, I will once again be a full time artist.
Typing these words fills me with so much joy that I literally feel like doing cartwheels and telling everyone I meet!
I will transition to full time art in 2018 by working one-week a month as a contractor for my day gig (the publisher of the MBTI personality tool), continuing to create art from hotel rooms along the way. Working on a VERY part-time basis will give me the freedom to enjoy the delicious process of exploring what I most love to do, while selling the art I create along the way.
I’m so excited that I’ll soon have the time to …
Expand my voice as an artist by taking art classes, experimenting to my heart’s content.
Create art many hours every day (instead of barely an hour a day, tightly scheduled around my day gig)
Learn how to more effectively share my art with the world through my newsletter, Instagram, and the press.
Take better care of my body and soul by adding yoga and meditation to my daily routine, as well as amplifying my healthy eating habits.
And most importantly, spend more time with my darling husband, and wonderful community of women and couple friends.
From the day I returned to my day gig in 2005, I dreamed of returning to my life as a full time artist (full story here). Twelve years flashed by before I knew it, yet this dream never wavered. One small step as a time, I found my way back to what I most loved (read more about this here, here and here!). I now KNOW that this journey was destined to take the exact time that it did, and that my return to art could not have happened one day sooner.
My day gig has been one of the most blessed adventures of my life, teaching me again and again to surrender to ALL that life offers, especially the challenging stuff. This lesson will serve me well as I finally and blissfully step into my dream come true.
I’m looking forward to seeing where my new life as a full time artist takes me, and I’d be truly honored if you would came along for the ride!
The journey to create the “Take flight” collage painting collection began in January 2015, when I made a commitment to integrate art into my traveling day job.
As many of you know, I had been a full-time artist from 2001-2004, and loving (almost) every minute of it. Then in 2005 I let go of my art career to return to a job I loved (full story here), and created almost no art for the next ten years.
Tired of making my day gig an excuse and determined to find time to do what I most loved, I made a daily ritual in 2015 to squeeze art into the nooks and crannies of my life, and for the most part, I stuck to it. Then in 2016, I figured out how to take my art studio on the road with two 50 lb suitcases, and began creating at night in almost every city I traveled to for my day job, from NYC to San Diego.
My new collection, “Take flight”, is the result of sticking with my commitment to myself, in spite of my traveling day gig. Thus, most of the collage paintings in this collection traveled to at least nine cities in the process of being created, and each is a true labor of love.
So after 12 years of dreaming about this moment, I’m thrilled to announce that “Take flight” will FINALLY take flight on Thursday, August 31 at 2pm.
(If you are on my newsletter mailing list, you will have access to the collection 30 hours earlier, on Wednesday, August 30 at 8am, and with a 30% discount – hint hint, sign up here!)
I’m over the moon excited to soon share what I’ve been creating over the past year.
Thank you from the center of my heart for taking this journey with me.
TODAY I’m taking action, and I feel both exhilarated and nervous about doing it.
After discussing every possible positive and negative outcome with trusted friends and fellow artists, I finally decided to change my Instagram username from @catrains_collage to @thehotelartist. Although a small action on the surface, there are so many uncertainties that continue to swirl in and out of my thoughts.
Will my 13.8K Instagram followers stick with me?
Will my followers realize that I’m creating art IN hotel rooms every night after my day gig, rather than creating art to decorate hotel rooms?
Will I live to regret this change, and want to change back in a month?
Although still wrapped in unknowns, my intention with this change is simple…
1. To tell more of my expanding story as an artist, and specifically how I integrate my passion for art into a traveling day gig by taking my art studio on the road with me.
2. Ultimately I want to be interviewed by creativity podcasts where I can share my unique art story for the purpose of inspiring others to figure out how to transform their day gigs into an asset for their passion, rather than something that holds them back.
I already have one booked for June with The Lucious Living Podcast with the lovely and talented @bohorustic and @embraceabundance (Betsy and Laura) and I’m hoping this will be the first of many!
Want to know how I transform hotel rooms into art studios?
I pack VERY heavy. I travel with two – 50 pound suitcases, one fullof paint, brushes and canvases, and the other with my professional day gig clothes and job supplies. As a result, I have been joyfully creating art at night from hotel rooms across the country for most of 2017, finishing more canvases on the road than I previously completed in my home studio when not traveling on the weekends.
What I pack in one of these two, 50 pound suitcases!
The biggest surprise I’ve experienced from creating art in hotel rooms is that I now look forward to leaving Monday morning for my traveling day gig because I know at the end of each day I’ll be spending many hours with my hands covered in paint! Ahhh….
Can YOU relate?
I’d love to hear how YOU integrate your passion for art, writing, sewing, etc around YOUR day gig.
Please share in the comments to inspire us all to find a way to make this seemingly impossible mission, possible!
So until further notice, I will be known as Catherine Rains, The Hotel Artist, and @thehotelartist on Instagram. Only time will tell how my art story will evolve from here, and what the next chapter will look like.
All I know for sureis that I needed to take this action to find out, even if it turns out to be the “wrong” action! No matter the outcome, I’ll learn from this action, in which case it won’t be a mistake.
P.S. I’m open to ALL suggestions of podcasts where you think my evolving story might fit.
If your podcast referral lands me an interview, I will gift you a large archival Art Print of your choice as a gift!
“Stress is the alarm clock that lets you know you have attached to something that’s not true for you.”
As much as I hate to admit it, I am often stressed, mostly (or all) self imposed.
I’m constantly running from my day gig to my art biz, pushing to get the most out of every moment. From 5am to 10pm, I’m getting stuff done, checking things off my super-human to-do list, rarely feeling like I’ve done enough by the end of the day. Can YOU relate?
After reading this quote, I felt compelled to look at the meaning behind my stress, and what this could be saying about what was not true or good for my being.
But how do I stop, or not do something when EVERYTHING on my list seems important, necessary, and non-negotiable?
How can I be ok with doing less, and not getting it ALL done?
Then I stumbled upon a passage (a Divine answer to my inquiry) from new favorite author Tosha Silver where she shared the concept of moving through life with ….
…ease and effortlessness.
Ahhhh…. just saying these words out loud made my heart sigh and my shoulders relax. So I started saying these words over and over again as I reviewed my daily lists and calendar.
EASE & EFFORTLESSNESS
Ahhh…. there comes that sigh again. I’m only in the second week of using these words as a moment-to-moment reminder, and already there’s a huge difference in how I’m relating to my to-do list, and what I’m not getting done.
When I feel the need to power through my list, I say these words out loud – ease and effortlessness – and at least half of the time, my pushing stops. Then I take a full breathe, smile, and choose to be fully present with the task in front of me.
The result of this new practice? I’m not getting as much done. I’ve missed a few days posting to Instagram, and I haven’t done art EVERY day. I’m STILL contemplating what to write in my next newsletter, which I abandoned a year ago, and have no idea when it will go out. Did the world fall apart because I didn’t get it ALL done? Did anyone even notice, other than me?
The biggest change is the realization that I’m doing enough, no matter how much I get done, AND that I am enough, no matter how many items get checked off my blessed list.
Although ease and effortlessness is not quite an integral part of my being, I’m committed to using these words as I move through my day, and life. It’s my loving next step to treating me with the self-care I deserve.
So how about YOU?
What causes YOU stress, and how does this identify what is not good or true for your sweet soul?
Sometimes just acknowledging what doesn’t work can be the trigger for finding a path that better serves our deepest heart’s desire.
Please share, either here or on Instagram, to inspire us all to recognize stress for what it is, and to find new ways to find our truth buried behind it.
What well known teachers have taught YOU profound lessons, even though you may never have met him/her in person?
I have had numerous teachers over the years, but 8 of them have had an extraordinary long term affect on the person I have become, and who I continue to evolve into every day.
My all time favs are listed in the chronological order of when they rocked my world and opened my eyes to an expanded truth.
1. Shirley MacLaine – Out on a Limb
This is the teacher that started my inner exploration many years ago. I had owned Shirley’s (we’re on a first name basis in my brain) book Out on a Limb for several years without reading it, and then suddenly I HAD to consume every word like it was food for my starving soul. I heard Oprah say that she attributed the beginning of her spiritual awakening to this teacher and book as well – sweet to know I share something in common with Oprah, in addition to the way we see the world!
2. Shakti Gawain – Creative Visualization
Shortly after I woke up to my spiritual truth by reading Out on a Limb, I found Shakti’s work, which led me to visualizing my life’s vocation as a career counselor, and eventually an MBTI trainer. I wasn’t qualified for this career on paper when I visualized the qualities of the career I desired, but the Universe found a way to manifest it in a manner that I would never have known how to do on my own, and in a far better form than I had imagined.
3. Abraham/Ester Hicks – Ask and it is Given
While listening to Abraham speak through Ester at a live event many years ago, I used the techniques “he” talked about to instantly manifest an art exhibit before this one-day program was even over! To say the least, this immediate and effortless success got me hooked on reading everything Abraham wrote.
4. Eckerd Tolle – A New Earth, Stillness Speaks
I considered Tolle’s books as my “bible” for many years. They taught me to see EVERY moment as my destiny, and that I only needed to look around me to know my purpose. Just like the teacher before him, this once again changed everything, expanding my vision of how to live my precious life.
5. Byron Katie – Loving What Is, A Thousand Names for Joy
A natural next step to learning from Tolle was Byron Katie, who provided practical steps to fully appreciating everything that showed up in my life, especially the “bad” stuff. I spent nine extraordinary days absorbed in “The Work” with Byron live in L.A., which took place just 2 weeks after the break up of my 31 year relationship. Learning from Byron during this tumultuous time felt like the Universe was personally holding me as I grieved, guiding every step of my healing process.
6. Elizabeth Gilbert – Eat Pray Love, Big Magic
I read Eat Pray Love shortly after I found myself suddenly single 10 years ago. As I read about Liz crying on the bathroom floor after her break up, I was actually crying on the kitchen floor myself! This book was my guidebook for moving through this unknown grieving process, and gave me tremendous hope that there was light at the end of the tunnel. Much later I read Big Magic, and adored learning how to integrate my beloved art into my spiritual practice.
7. Michael Singer – Surrender Experiment, Untethered Soul
When I saw Michael speak on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, I instantly knew that he was the next teacher on my path. Both of these amazing books provide practical guidance about how to surrender to what shows up in our lives, no matter what it looks like on the surface. I have read these books several times, given them as gifts to many of my friend, and am currently reading Untethered Soul for a second time with my husband. Of the 8 teachers, Singer is my all time fav (so far!).
8. Tosha Silver – Outrageous Openness
A dear friend recently suggested I read Tosha’s sweet book of real life stories about surrendering to the Divine, and what can happen when you do. I’m currently reading this beauty, joyfully learning from every delightful and insightful story. Although new to my circle of favorite spiritual teachers, I can already tell that these profound teachings will sink deeply into my soul and be the next step in my awakening journey.
So about about YOU?
What well known teachers have helped YOU grow and become who you are today?
Please share, either here or on Instagram, to help us to get to know each other better through the teachers that have guided our awakening journey.
Maybe we’ll each find a new teacher to learn from in the process!
Talk about a life altering, head spinning question, this is the grand mother of them all!
Ever since I first heard a variation of this question spoken by Christopher Reeves in a Superman movie years ago, I’ve been contemplating my response to this guestion.
So here goes….
If this were my last Wednesday on Earth, I would…
1. …. spend half of the time sitting in the presence of my dearest friends and family, simply enjoying their presence, sharing a few smiles, laughs and memories.
I was with my best friend Cristina as she spent her last week in physical form, and this is exactly what she did. I asked the Universe afterwards to grant me a similar experience when it is my turn to say good bye.
2. …. spend the rest of the time simply BEING with my loving husband, along with my own soothing company, gently giving gratitude for the amazing life I lived as Catherine Rains.
Since I probably won’t know which Wednesday will be my last, the more important question is….
How can I live THIS Wednesday as if it were the last one?
Because the reality is that it could be.
Therefore, from this day forward, I commit to spending time EVERY day in the presence of someone I love, even if by telephone, BEING fully with them, appreciating their sweet essence.
If this were YOUR last Wednesday on Earth, what would be YOUR number ONE priority?
Please share, either here or on Instagram, to help us all prioritize so that we can live everyday as if it were our last.
You might expect me to say that art makes me feel at peace, and occasionally that’s true.
However, creating art can also leave me frustrated and full of self-doubt.
I LOVE to cut paper and throw paint on canvas, but just like anything else in life, what I adore sometimes wears me out as I push through issues that my art forces me to face.
I am ALWAYS at peace, however, when I quiet my inner voice, and witness what is before me without words floating through my brain, narrating and labeling everything I see.
Just writing this reminds me to quiet that inner voice RIGHT NOW, and let go of that voice, if even for just this moment.
To fully HERE, without thoughts or words streaming through my over active-brain, is my definition of peace, AND heaven on Earth.
It’s the kind of peace I have complete control over, and is a choice I make moment to moment, whether consciously or not.
So today, I commit to quieting my mind as often as I can remember. Then tomorrow and the day after that, I’ll make this commitment again, in the hopes that this practice will one day be a habit that takes no reminder!
So how about YOU?
I would love to hear how YOU define peace.
Please share, either here or on Instagram, to inspire us all to welcome more peace into our everyday moments.
This sweet bird, a detail from a large collage painting that will be released this summer, is a visual reminder to welcome peace into every moment.
On February 12th, 2017, I asked what YOU wanted to add to your daily ritual.
In response, many of you publicly committed on Instagram to adding all sorts of beautiful habits to your lives, including meditation, writing, yoga, painting, reading, sketching, singing, playing an instrument, figure drawing, and so many more soul expanding activities.
I committed to creating art for at least one hour a day.
This was a habit I had sustained for 324 days in 2016, even while working a day gig that required frequent overnight travel.
Then life and my day gig took over, and I broke this daily habit. Once I stopped, it felt like climbing the tallest mountain to walk into my art studio.
So I didn’t, for over 2 months. I had a million excuses why I didn’t have the time or energy, but the truth is that I wasn’t making it a priority, and the longer I didn’t do it, the harder it was to jump in and do even the simplest project.
I missed creating art EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
In order to push myself back into the studio, I publicly declared on Instagram, along with many of you, that I was going to start, again, even though I had no idea how or where to begin. As a result, I’ve been happier than I can remember being in over a year, AND I have created 7 new pieces of art for a new collection!
In the process, I’ve learned something important about how to turn daily creating into a sustainable habit.
Instead of forcing myself to do art EVERY day, which is what I did in 2016 to keep myself going, I’m being much kinder this time around. I’m allowing for “days off” from art if my day gig really needs my full attention, or if my brain feels fried from travel and my soul is screaming “DO absolutely nothing”. I’m working on listening to what I really need, following what I hear, and sometimes substituting other forms a self care for art, like meditation, journal writing, or naps!
So I HAVEN’T actually created EVERY day since February 13.
I’ve done something even better.
I created art for 30 of the past 35 days, when my both my body and spirit were open for the experience. Although my intention is still to create EVERY day, I’m being so much kinder to myself this time around. Hopefully, this small adjustment to my daily ritual will transform (almost) daily art making into a long term sustainable habit.
So how about YOU?
I would love to hear how your self-commitment is going?
What have YOU learned in the process of adding a new daily habit to your life?
If you didn’t commit to a new ritual a month ago, what have you been thinking about adding NOW?
Please share, either here or on Instagram, to help reinforce the commitment we have collectively made to follow what our hearts are calling us to do.
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