Today I bought a beautiful, hardwood table from a gal who just graduated from USF St Pete with a degree in conservation. She is moving to Lake Tahoe, CA to take a job with AmeriCorps. I am so excited for her. The desk was her mother's before it was hers, and now it will be my art table. It's big and sturdy and I can't wait to spread out on it. Setting up a work space is a hugely necessary step in the process of creativity and I feel that after moving back to FL four months ago, mine is finally work-worthy!
Yesterday I had the extraordinary opportunity to meet with my new mentor for this grant, Carrie Jadus. Carrie is a self-taught world class oil painter and the co-creator of SoftWater Studios, an artist cooperative in the Warehouse Arts District. She's raised a family and created a thriving art business. She's my hero because through her experience, I have a solid example that this dream of being a painter is tangible. When I first saw Carrie's work it truly resonated and I somehow knew then that one day I would get the chance to learn more from her. There was no shortage of magic sitting across the table from Carrie getting to ask, learn and share our stories. We talked about all things art and creativity: the challenges, the rewards and the discipline, as well as the dreaming, required to make a creative pursuit realistic. I have copious take-aways and I am beyond grateful to Carrie for taking on this opportunity to mentor me.
This year is about stability for me. I'm a bit of a dreamer and in efforts to lead a charmed life, I've often followed change and what seems exciting, easily ignoring the practical. Change is a constant in life, however, in mine it verged on addiction. Over the years, it's left me feeling disorganized, depleted and confused, more often than charmed. Through steady inner work and self-development, I identified this imbalance and realized I've been waiting for someone else to ground me, whether that be friends, family or a partner. But that never worked. I also came to realize that while I was still able to create new work with this pseudo nomadic existence, it could be so much better if I wasn't adding a perpetual sense of movement into my life. Now, I am creating a more grounded way of living for myself and my art. As reflected in my first blog, I reside in a sweet little house on a quiet street surrounded by birds, trees and sunlight. I take care of Little Z, the first pet of my adult life, just bought a magical vacuum, also a first in my life, and am finally saving receipts after years of trying! I am a part of my community through jobs teaching and advocating for art. And I have a room of my own, a little painting studio, devoted to creating, as Virginia Woolf suggested is necessary for creative success. Sure I still feel pangs of wanderlust when I scroll through beautiful pictures of the world on Instagram and such, but travel will come when it's ready and perhaps from a different approach than the one that was no longer serving me. I feel so much peace in my heart now that I am here and feel that time has finally slowed. I breathe deep and sleep sound.
Doubt is still a visiting character in the story of my life, as it is with everyone's; however, I now understand that doubt is merely a substitute for impatience. Very few of the best things in life happen quickly. Patience is a necessary team player. Good art takes time, as does a good life. Things we desire have a way of coming about in their own time. There's this vision I hold onto of my future self in my someday studio slabbing big globs of paint onto multiple canvases while the sea crashes outside my open balcony doors bordered by waving banana leaves. It's fantastical and in this fantasy, I produce work quickly and joyfully. In my real life, the work I create can take years for an idea to blossom. In the past, if things weren't happening quickly enough, I'd likely make hasty changes, requiring movement and upheaval. Jobs, homes, states, boyfriends, etc, expecting change to ground me but it never did. Bringing creative ideas to life requires time, space and energy. Navigating our way through life to provide ourselves and our craft these things is no simple feet. It requires careful attention to the driving forces behind our imbalances and patterns. It feels that I am at the tip of the iceberg so to speak and when I focus on that, I know I am right on track. No doubt.
I am experimenting with a new trucker hat design. I created a hand-painted sample last year and sold it online. I'll make patches of this design that I can then add to any hat and background design. Progress! I'll be vending outside Painting with a Twist at 2527 Central Avenue in St Petersburg, FL on Sunday, June 23rd for St Pete Pride weekend and look forward to having some of these new hats available for purchase.
Tonight I joined 20 other Gulfport artists to start planning the ArtJones tour of December 14 & 15, 2019. ArtJones was created 3 years ago by a small group of professional artists in the Gulfport area, offering a self-guided open-studio tour of working artists. This will be my first year joining the excellent group of artists and I couldn't be more honored and blessed to join them!
I painted on a small 4x3" block of wood today. It was a scrap I found at work. The idea for this mini painting was something I saw last Easter weekend while helping my friend out with her catering business over the holiday weekend. At the end of the day, I walked across the client's lush grassy yard and looked up at the sky, a deep indigo shade of purple, with three gray green palms spread across it. To me, this little mini is so sweet and it inspired me to try more paintings on found wood. I plan to add resin to this piece to give it a polished look. Again, an idea that was years in the making and can only come to fruition now because I'm planting the garden for it to grow in. My goal is to create lots of these minis for the ArtJones tour in December!
The greatest take-away from this week's events is this: the inner work is the most important. Everything follows from there. When we're doing the work it can feel like nothing's changing, or heaven forbid, getting worse! It can take time for the outer world to reflect the changes of the inner world. We are here to learn how to love. That is all. And to borrow shame and vulnerability researcher Brene Brown's hashtag, it involves #practiceoverperfection. I'll leave you with a quote I came across recently in Don Miguel Ruiz's "The Mastery of Love" (author of The Four Agreements) that sums it up for me,
"The only thing left is to enjoy your life, to be alive, to heal your emotional body so you can create your life in such a way that you openly share all the love inside you."