Slow But Steady

Still in progress.

It’s two weeks into the new year and I have to admit, I’m still having some difficulty getting back into the swing of things since the holidays. Half of me is still on holiday and the other half of me is still decompressing from 2016. I’ve been pretty much trying to regroup and get back on track with myself. While last year I was all about following new ideas and trying out new things, I think this year I’ll try to focus a bit more on settling into what truly resonates with me artistically and spiritually in order to hone a more authentic way of being that reflects who I am. Already I’m rediscovering things I once loved doing but had long forgotten about. I’m also giving myself permission to stop trying to live up to this conditioned idea of what I’ve been made to think my life is suppose to be and who I think I should be both as a person and as an artist and instead just do the things I enjoy, the things that bring me peace and well being. 

As you can see, I’m still working on “Gumballs”, I’m moving a bit slow but I’m steadily progressing. That’s kinda the story of my life but I’ve never been the kind of person who ever got anywhere fast, yet somehow I’ve always managed to get there on time. Sometimes you just need to slow down and take your time with things. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the anxious feelings that comes with being an online content creator in an environment that constantly breeds an atmosphere of pressure to post frequently or fear losing your audience. But as an artist, I’m well aware that things can’t always be rushed especially art. So, I’m taking my time with “Gumballs”. But I’m sure I’ll be finished with it soon. My artistic inspiration for a piece actually has a time limit. As someone who is a bit OCD about leaving things unfinished, I have to finish a piece of art before my interest in it wears out otherwise I have to throw it away or at least hide it from myself. Oddly enough it’s these little idiosyncrasies that actually keep me going in my work. I hate having to throw away a piece so it forces me to focus and finish…and the clock is ticking on “Gumballs”. So I’m sure within a week I’ll be finished and working on something new. 
P.S. Has anyone seen “The Accountant”? If you have, I just want to say, no, I’m not as bad as Christian Wolff when it comes to things being left undone. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Is Art A Waste Of Time?

“Cold Air” (wip) – current ACEO drawing in progress.

There’s something that haunts me. Something that whispers to me faintly from far off with each day that passes and every time I pick up my pen. I’ve gotta good at ignoring it, so good that I often think it’s gone but every once in a while it’ll catch me off guard and I’ll hear it loud and clear. It’s that chilling voice of doubt and fear that creeps up over my shoulder and whispers “But what if you’re wasting your time? What if this is all for naught?” Typically I just shake it off but it’s never really gone. It just lingers, lurking in the shadows, waiting around for a moment of weakness to creep up on me and whisper those same discouraging words. I’ve come to assume that it’s my own cautious internal warning system just being over protective in trying to make sure I don’t waste my time and my life. That part of me needs certainty, solid plans, immediate results and guarantees but since when has life ever been certain or ever offered a guarantee other than death and change? Would I ever accomplish anything if I always waited around for certainty to show her pretty face and give me the go ahead? So, at my best, I suppress the doubt and try to move on. Recently though, I had one of those moments and with uncanny synchronicity (which has been happening quite a lot to me this year) I came across this article by Robbie Tripp titled “How To Beat The 5 Most Common What Ifs For Creatives”. 

…if there’s one thing in this world that’s not a waste of time, it’s producing something new. ~ Robbie Tripp

Without going too much into the article, which I will link to at the end of this post if you care to read it, it’s a brief but insightful take on the difficulties of the creative process and how fear manifests itself in those “What If” scenarios that beset most creators and innovators. As I read over the article I was quite surprised that the devilish “What If” that haunts me is a common bugger that haunts others. There it was at #5, “What If I’m Wasting My Time?”, the words that at times take the wind out of my sails unexpectedly, that creep up when sales get slow or when a commission falls through. There they were in black and white. It was a relief to discover that I’m not the only one who struggles with this. It’s a “what if” that’s fairly common and seeing it there was actually quite freeing for me. I took from it the enclosed quotes that I now turn to if I have a moment of doubt, to reaffirm that art is NOT a waste of my time. In all I think Tripp’s article offers nuggests of inspiration and relief for any creative who finds her/himself struggling with “what ifs” in their creative pursuits. Check out his article if you feel inclined, maybe a “what if” that’s been haunting you is on the list. 

How To Beat The 5 Most Common What Ifs For Creatives

The fact that you have answered the call of your creativity and pledged your passion to it means that you have a much deeper understanding of your purpose in life than most. ~ Robbie Tripp

A Little Note

Because I don’t want anyone to think I’ve skipped town and forgotten about you lovelies, I just wanted to let you know I’m taking the week off from blogging. I’m saddled with Turkey Day duties and attending to family, which leaves me little time for blogging or drawing for that matter. Luckily, come Friday, when many people will take to the streets in the Black Friday madness, I’ll have time again to pick up where I left off and get back to drawing, which by the way is coming along nicely. My goal is to have my current ACEO, “Hanging On”, finished and available come Sunday evening. So until then I’m wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving to those who will be celebrating it and safe travels to those who have to leave home to see family and friends. 

Take care. Q. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ˜Š

Dreaming Big?

Currently I’m reading “The One Thing” by Gary Keller. At the moment I’m on chapter 10 and I have to say that so far Kellar makes a lot of good valid points that truly resonate with me. I won’t go into them because that isn’t what I want to focus on in this post, just know that the fact that I’ve actually gotten past chapter three in book on business inspiration is a good sign that there’s some useful information in between the front and back covers. What I do want to talk about is something that I keep coming across when I read inspirational, motivational self help books as well as when listening to speakers on self improvement, entrepreneurship and business. And that’s the idea of dreaming big. 

In this information age I’m sure you’ve heard the maxim “Dream Big”. You may have seen quotes warning not to share your big dreams with small minded people or if your dreams don’t scare you they’re not big enough. I understand the point that people are trying to get at when they make such statements which is don’t be afraid to go out and do great things. Don’t limit yourself because there’s no telling what you can achieve. And I also understand that all of this is suppose to help stem the tide of the onslaught of naysayers you may encounter along the way if you set out to do something great. I’m all for that kind of encouragement but I’m also noticing a side effect to it all and that’s the underlying shame that may occur if you’re made to feel that your dream isn’t big enough.

When it comes to all this inspirational and motivational encouragement oftentimes the examples used are gleaned from the lives of those considered big dreamers such as Oprah, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffett, J.K. Rowling or that dude who built Wal-Mart whose name seems to escape me at the moment. These are examples of people who have reached a level of fame and financial success in many cases from very humble beginnings that are noteworthy for inspiration. But I often worry that there are many out there who look at such individuals, see what they have accomplished and feel that if they aren’t trying to conquer the world, build schools in Africa, create a platform to bring holographic entertainment to every living room in America or simply striving to be a millionaire/billionaire are being left to feel that their dreams aren’t worthy goals. Where are the books and articles extolling examples of what I like to call “Main Street Dreams”; the dreams of people who want to open up a local barber shop, a dance studio or organics store? Or the dream of someone who just wants to run her own nail business out of her home or the independent artist who wants to make a good living for his art. Where are the examples of people who aren’t necessarily striving to be millionaires but who dream of just being financially stable and independent on their own terms doing something they love? It may not bring in millions or even change the world but it allows them to live comfortably and gives them pride in being self sufficient?  

I admit, maybe I’m reading the wrong books. Maybe there are people out there talking about and encouraging exactly what I’m saying and I just haven’t come across them yet. For now though, I just bristle when I hear or read the words “Dream Big” and then look at the media and see how success is often shaped by the idea of having expensive cars, big houses, jets, yachts, a millionaire or billionaire status and smoozing with those who exemplify that lifestyle. This isn’t to say that anything is wrong with dreaming big or wanting “big” things, it’s just that this one sided idea of success often gives the impression that anything less than this isn’t good enough. As a side note, one of the underlying reasons for why I do small art isn’t just because I enjoy it, it’s also because I don’t believe that everything has to “big” to be worthwhile, beautiful and/or valuable. A part of my mission as an artist is to help bring to light that there can be beauty in small things such as small works of art. With that said all of this brings to mind a video I watched on YouTube where Steve Harvey made some bristling comments about people who aspire to have tiny homes: 

“You need to get a bigger damn dream, that’s what you need to do…This is for people who have given up. This is for people who ain’t got no faith and who ain’t got no dreams…”  

What are some of your thoughts on the idea of “Dreaming Big”? 

Honor Your Process

A budding collection of personal “clearing art”.

Ever caught yourself repeatedly doing something but never really knowing why or lacking in some sort of verbal framework to explain it? I have. Earlier today I had a moment where I questioned something I find myself repeatedly doing without understanding exactly why I keep doing it. 

As I’m nearing the finish of my current ACEO series, “Koi Pond”, I caught myself thinking about not my next series, which I already have planned but rather another one of these little one off pieces I find myself doing in between series or major projects. I already know that I’m gonna do one. I even feel myself getting a bit eager to finish Koi Pond just so that I can. But up until now I never questioned why, I just did them. So today I asked myself “Why?” Why not just get crackin’ on my next project? Why do I keep doing these one off pieces for nothing more than just the benefit of being able to do them? And then it hit me. I’m doing what seems best described as “clearing”. Now you’re probably wondering what I mean. Well, as I thought about all of this it occurred to me that whenever I’m working on a project or preparing for one, I get a lot of creativity anxiety built up within. All types of anxiety starts swirling around such as “How am I gonna pull this project off?”, “Do I have what it takes to actually pull it off?” or “What if it doesn’t turn out how I imagine?”. Stuff like that gets stirred up in my internal feedback and I get all clinch jawed and knotted at the back of my neck. And no matter how many works of art I complete with satisfaction I experience this rush of creative anxiety. So when I do these little pieces of what I’m now personally calling “clearing art”, free of any expectations or intentions, a lot of that anxiety clears out. Doing them is like opening a pressure valve that allows all of that pinned up creative anxiety to escape and gives me time to reassure myself of my capabilities. After which I feel more focused and ready to tackle a new project. 

For a moment there I was beginning to wonder was this some kind of odd quirk of procrastination of mine because I just couldn’t see myself jumping right into my next project. I literally feel compelled to do this which prompted me to question myself. I now see that I need this. It’s just the way that I flow. I need breaks of creativity that are free of expectations to recollect myself before I start on anything new. I guess all artists really do have their own unique processes when it comes to their craft and this is just a part of mine. You have to honor your process. ๐Ÿ˜Š