Friday, 30 January 2015

Which Idea Should be Next??

This is my ideas journal
...well it's really a binder
yeah, it's BIG!
I wouldn't be surprised if there were over a thousand ideas in here. Many so well planned all they need is the smallest part to make them come alive - the action. There are enough ideas in here to last a lifetime, several. And they are added to practically every day.

I cannot think of it as a burden to have so many ideas constantly coming
It's energising
But it's also confusing
and it always begs the question 'which idea should I work on next?' (and usually before any of the current 15 projects are anywhere near to being done)
'what if I pick the wrong one?'
'which one most calls my heart to be done?'
'why do thirty ideas call my heart all at the same time dammit?'

What I've realised recently is I have a lot of inner critic stuff surrounding me around this (which is handy really seeing as that is the soothing healing aspect my 21 Secrets Art Lesson is about - I do believe the universe gives you what you most require, even if it feels very, very uncomfortable!) 

but...I'm beginning to learn how to get out of my head a bit more...'cause that's where all the questions live!!! If I don't, then I can (often) be paralyzed by sheer overwhelm. To sum it up in the recent words I wrote in my journal I'm 'feeling' my next move, rather than 'planning' my next move.

It's really not easy for me to get outta my head when 1000s of projects are cultivating, expanding and morphing, and I don't think it'll get easier anytime soon, and constant second-guessing yourself questions are just one of things my inner critic likes to keep himself busy releasing and going with the flow, rather than concentrating and going with the 'logic' (in ' ' as the inner critic can often give very good arguments to the point where we believe a inner critic dig is actually a truth!is something I need to learn to keep myself in alignment with.

So I'm so curious about this I might set up a discussion on Journal Workshopsdoes anyone else have this issue (too many ideas, not enough time? which way to go? who knows, let's go make a coffee instead!??)
and if so how do you choose which (of all the very fabulous) ideas to go with first?
and does anyone ever just work on one idea at a time? (aka am I just a freak working on so much, or it is a usual habit to have what feels like a years worth rolling at any one time?)
Leave your thoughts in the comments below, or on the Journal Workshops discussion here I'd really like to hear how everyone else deals with what I'm sure if a very common tripping issue for many creatives.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Tell All Tuesday ~ Featured Artist: Paula Haynes

Hello, hope you've had an awesome start to this week
(can you believe it is the last week of January already? seesh)
It's tuesday yay! so here's your weekly artist interview inspiration hit, enjoy!

Tell us a little bit about yourself & what kind of artist you are.
Hello, I am so excited to be apart of this great ,"Tell All Tuesday". Let me tell you a little about myself. My name is Paula Decker Haynes and I am married with one son and two daughters. I have five grandchildren and a sixth on the way. I reside in a small town where my husband and I own and operate a small business. I run a small Primitive Decor and craft shop which I am changing out to have an art studio where I will be able to teach more art classes.

What is the biggest challenge you personally face as an artist and how do you overcome it?
One of the biggest challenges with my art is simply having time to do it. I start a piece and something comes up either with the business or an illness in the family and there goes my time to do art. Because I have fibromyalgia I have to get plenty of rest so sometimes it really is a challenge to find the time I need to get into my art. I have learned over time to relax with it. To just do it when I can and trust my gut to go where I need to when I can spend time creating. I have learned to just enjoy the process and that has made a huge difference for me.

What messages do you try to portray in your work and do you feel that you achieve it?
I want to convey who I am through my art as well as who I want to be, the things I like and places a would love to go to. I am a follower of Jesus and although my painting rarely mention him or my relationship with him, I hope that it shines through in my art presentation. 

What advice would you offer to any perspective new artist?
I would suggest that you just get some basic supplies, good ones because they do make a difference and just have fun. Try to get in a group on facebook or online that is challenging you to try something at least once a week or everyday if you have the time. Join in an art studio if you have one near you. It will keep you motivated and you will be with others who will give you encouragement. Lastly just have fun. Every time you create it may not be a masterpiece but you will learn and grow and it is so therapeutic. It has gotten me through some really difficult times.

Tell us where can we find out more about you & your art?
I have a couple of Facebook pages, an etsy shop and my brick and mortar shop where my art can be found. Paula's originals and My Fathers House on Facebook and Etsy. My shop is at 207 E Main St., Clarkson,Kentucky. 

Thank you for sharing your story and some of your art with us Paula, what you said about following your gut...that is something I totally agree with and have just flowed into in almost all I do recently, but most especially art. What I will say is there is always reasons why we don't have as much time to do art as we'd like (I hear it on here all the time and if I ever mentioned how much doing admin for my art - for instance all the emails I get, work on my art community or etsy shop etc - cuts into my time for doing art, I think people would be really, really shocked) but please see any time you have to take out for your business as a wonderful thing, because oh my goodness your shop is adorable and something that I think many of us crave for. One of my own personal dreams is to have a physical space like so to teach in etc so sincerely well done and I really hope you love your new teaching space when it's complete (would love to see some finished pics?!)

Do you wana join the TATiness ... ???
Email me or click the link to find all the details here =)

Friday, 23 January 2015

Intuitive Studio Stuff... (aka Important Artist Work)

Hi Guys
Well after last weeks very rambly ramble I'm feeling a lot more myself hoorah! 

I've realised I've had a different way of creating this week.

I was chatting with my mum last night (hi mum!) & I was saying how yesterday I didn't feel like doing anything creative, but when I began expanding on that I realised I was still instinctively drawn to my studio for a decent chunk of time. As I expanded more I acknowledged that I did then intuitively start playing with things, like sloshing paint on a blank card or arranging things, like putting paint blobs on the top of some new paint tubes:

and that is how I've kinda been all week, just meandering around my space, but not committing to anything particular.

I have been updating my studio quite a bit over the last month, I brought a new 'daylight' studio lamp that helps artists eyes see colours correctly and not tire them (or give them headaches. woohoo - big plus for me!):

I have updated an area that was a complete mess, here's the before and after:
(I still have some of those large plastic drawers at the bottom to come, but the co couldn't get them all out on time ho hum, so in future it'll still look like this but with less boxes on top and more plastic drawers on bottom.)

I have invested loads over the past 4 or 5 months in new media, for example even after I did the pastels video last week I brought some lovely new pastel pencils:

I have dedicated whole drawers to products I didn't have enough of before to require a whole drawer, such as watercolour markers/pens and acrylic paint pens:
watercolour markers drawer
- still awaiting some new buddies from the states =)

I have a whole bunch of new drawing pencils that I have previously told myself were 'too expensive' for me to buy (especially the 120 Faber-Castell set, seesh, amen for sales!):

And I have invested a LOT in acrylic...trying all sorts of new brands, some are standard ranges, others extremely high quality, but it is my most used thing in my whole studio so it's all needed (right?! RIGHT!)

So the past week I have just been getting to know my new media, I have taken them to a relaxed coffee shop rather than a dressed up expensive restaurant for first date you might say...and I have been really enjoying myself. 

And you know, as I write this out; this identifying what I have been doing I suddenly realise HOW important it is to do this - to just chill out and enjoy your media, to not stick any exceptions onto anything and to treat yourself to something new when you feel stuck in a rut! For a big chunk of 2014 I brought hardly anything arty for myself, and I think my mojo & enthusiasm for my space waned because of it.

Now I know that new things aren't required to be creative (hello! JB here, my mantra is 'use what you've got'), but I think sometimes little boosts like a new media, or a new class (I have a new class available btw, just in cases you're looking ;) ), or a new technique, or a new environment...whatever, sometimes they are necessary so that we don't get stagnant and bored with our creativity. I know too that I have more new supplies than I could possibly get to know well, even in a year, but I have noticed over this week that my journal pages are containing 'a little bit of this', 'a little bit of that' so that a page may be made up of: 10% collage, 10% acrylic, 10% pastel, 10% pencil, 10% watercolour marker, 10% acrylic paint marker, etc, etc and I'm LOVIN' it. 

I feel no need to go through a 101 colouring pencils learning bootcamp, they are doing what I want them to do - allowing me to enjoy them! So I don't really care if it takes me years to get to know exactly how to work all of these materials, I'm just happy to have them right now to play with, and am more than happy to take my time over it. As a bonus through using the new media I have found a new love for my old supplies too, because they are suddenly being forced into new directions I haven't taken them before through incorporating these new items (I haven't felt this much love for Gesso in years lol!And if there is one thing I know FOR SURE is it that many discoveries will be made by creating this way (because there always are; there would be in the 101 bootcamp route too, but I firmly believe you always learn more taking the route of your intuition, or creative instinct as I often call it). So I am looking forward to seeing what is going to be discovered, who know's what it'll/they'll be???

This is Important Artist Work

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Tell All Tuesday ~ Featured Artist: Ditte Villadsen

Hey hey Happy Tuesday
Here is the first TAT of the year =)
I am starting this fabulous Artist Interview series back up after all the holidays and busy start to the new year, so if you want to be featured click here for the details
Enjoy this weeks interview xoxo

Tell us a little bit about yourself & what kind of artist you are.
I am 24 year old woman living in Denmark, near Copenhagen. It has taken me years to figure out what the important things are in life, my life. I allowed myself to be more creative, for instance I have always been a writer – mostly at heart, but I have always loved it. Telling a story, getting captured and sucked into a world my head has created. I decided to let myself be that person, instead of what my parents and society expected from me. A year after realizing that my life needed to change I started to paint - and I loved it from the first brushstroke. It was a way to deal with my emotions, especially at the time, when I dated a man who gave me more grief than happiness. I eventually got rid of the man and kept on painting. I paint my emotions in an abstract kind of way, often I add a figure like a heart – which seems to stick with most of them. I often begin with one idea and end up with something totally different. That’s what I like about painting. I give myself permission to go nuts with colors and brushes, also because writing is way more controlled. It has a form and rules, where abstract painting is whatever you want it to be – and often others see something totally different than you do.

What is the biggest challenge you personally face as an artist and how do you overcome it?
I am very new in the art-world, so you could call me a newbie, and I have no training in art of any kind. The last time a teacher taught me anything art-related was back in middle school. Years ago. I remember close to nothing, but lack of training doesn’t change the fact that I love to paint and to experiment with it. I prefer finding my own way, than to be taught a hundred ways to do it “right” - that doesn’t make it more me. But - yes there is a but - being new in this “game” can be tricky, nobody knows you, and why should they care? How do I get my art out there to the world to see? Creating a blog has been the answer so far, I needed to start somewhere and with time my art and my words will get out there. You have to believe in yourself, so that is what I try to remember – and also not to forget why I started painting in the first place.

What is your heart’s greatest desire for your life as an artist?
It is without a doubt being able to make a living out of my art and my writing. Maybe one day open a Gallery with my own artwork and others, maybe with a bar/café. I am a woman with many ideas, but being able to do what I love and getting paid for it is on top of my wish list.

What is the best thing that art has brought into your life?
Art has brought me meaning, a new way of dealing with things without using words, hope, love - in a way and happiness. Art makes me appreciate life a bit more than before. Art makes mistakes seem less important – I can always find a way to make it work. Art has just brought a lot of good things to my life.

Tell us where can we find out more about you & your art?
You can read all about me and my art on my blog
I write in English to embrace most readers as possible. Denmark is a small country and who knows if Germany or Japan would love my art? This way I have a chance to find out. Beside from the blog I try to stay active on other social media like Facebook and Instagram, which is quite apparent on the blog.

Thank you Ditte for sharing your story and art. I love what you said about trying 'not to forget why I started painting in the first place' that I think is an issue for so many of us, especially when the inner critic begins chipping in I have noticed. I think that has just really helped me connect a couple of dots I have been working with lately re: the inner critic so thank you for that and for your interview, good luck with your art and writing endeavors x

Do you want your name in *l*i*g*h*t*s*??...kinda...
To be featured email me or find all the details here =)

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Add Depth to Your Artwork with Pastels and Charcoal

Hi guys
I have a new video for you today =)

Last week I posted the picture below onto facebook and stated how much I have been enjoying working with pastels lately, and would anyone be interested in me sharing some techniques on it in a video...

to say the response was an overwhelming yes would not be an exaggeration. So here is a video in which I share the three ways I use pastels, and sometimes charcoal, in my artwork when this is the medium I want to work with, both for backgrounds and for focal images.

The three ways are:
sketchy look by simply drawing loosely with the media (as the above page displays)
smoky and grungy look by smudging the media
getting a painterly effect by wetting the media
& of course I suppose there's the fourth way of mixing these techniques together, as I do when I create the Brunette Venus image in the video.

I hope you enjoy it xxx

Much love

Friday, 16 January 2015

Seeing Through Mud via Inner Critic Work

Arrrh weekly ramble post, I have been dreading you so much, not because I don't want to write about what I have been doing, it's just that every time I try to pinpoint what that actually is I lose the words.

And that kind of sums up my week...except it is not just words I've lost. I feel I have been confused and conflicted over a lot of things (...or perhaps everything...I am even confused on that!), but if I try and put any of that into words right now, again I lose them. 

But among these trying to see through mud feelings I have gained a lot too. I think it would be impossible not to, because they became work, and all work brings results of some kind...

The work was surprising, and it brought surprising results. Because I could not see through the mud on things I wanted to look at (or perhaps they were just things I am normally used to looking at), I ended up looking elsewhere and as a result found clarity on things I often do not see at all.

Insight after insight came to me. 

I have not had a week like this week in a long time. I feel like I am always growing, and learning, and developing, but even then with all of that routines occur, and major new insights can be few and far between.

The insights that occurred I can share I suppose, because they are the clear things I have right now, but it took me the mud of the rest of this writing to once again be brought to them, remember them. I could not have just started from this point at the beginning of this blogpost, there was too much cloudy confusion, so once again work had to be done to bring me here. But that is just another lesson I have learnt while actually writing this blogpost - even when you think you have lost the words just some talking (or in this case writing) from that very place, however muddy, will always bring you some clarity (even if that clarity is the acknowledgement that you are confused!... At least you will know it and have somewhere to start)

So my first main insight was about my daily journaling practice, which I have previously mentioned in this ramble HERE. Things have been happening in that practice that man, has opened up worlds for me. But until this week my inner critic would have a bit of a field day, telling me that this practice was: 
'a waste of time!'
'How many other useful things could you be doing instead? 
'And DAILY, wow you really are indulgent of a whim aren't you?'

I can't always understand or hear what my inner critic is saying, I again find I cannot locate the words of it, often it's just the feeling, but this is something my daily journaling practice has helped me pinpoint and understand.

So I've had huuuuuuuuge glorious insights on the side of my inner critic, which is useful, as that is what a large part of my 21 Secrets Lesson is going to be based on. 

I've also learnt that any work I do on anything is important for my artwork, or developing myself as an artist - which is another stumbling block my inner critic would try and sneak in my path, telling me that again I 'wasn't doing anything important' - but as the above point (of work on my inner critic being useful for my lesson) proves, it is all-all-always important. Every clump of mud you have to look around, disintegrate, wash away etc is useful. Obstacles and interests are in our paths for the very reason to work with them, and enjoy the results.

This week I have really enjoyed my results....and my confusion.

Thank you for reading my ramble, and I am sorry that it really is living up to the title of 'ramble' more than ever before, but this is where my head is at, and that is exactly what the weekly ramble blogposts are supposed to be about, me mid-flow of projects, figuring things out and posting myself and my work, unpolished.

PS if you could help me out by letting me know what your inner critic says to you I would be hugely grateful, I have posted a discussion on Journal Workshops that can be found here & I would love it if you can participate =) mwah 

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Yello...and Some Journal Pages


I thought I'd post a quick update

(but with some recent journal candy...of course)

as it's been nearly a month since I did a blogpost OMG!

A lot has happened in that time personally and everytime I intended to post, well something else came up...

but normal blog service will be resuming from Friday, touch wood (with my Weekly Ramble blog series) 

and Tuesdays I will be back with my Artist Interview series, so if you would like to be featured here are the details:

But an awesome thing that did happen in the interim of my last blogpost though was this -
1 Million Pageviews, thanks everybody *big cheesy grin*

Hope you're having an awesome January
Much love

Friday, 19 December 2014

What the Seagulls Taught Me

Hello beautifuls!
OMG, what a month I have had! As some peeps have noticed I haven't been around online the last couple of weeks. Thank you to those of you who have even slightly wondered where I've gone or asked if I'm okay, I've had what you may call a hum-dinger of a month! I won't make this an incredibly long (well long-er) post by going into details but an example would be the tummy bug I caught earlier this week, not nice, not pretty and how crappy I felt kinda summed up the whole of my beginning to December but guess what?? Last night this happened:
First colour of the month!!!!!!!!!!!
I must have my mojo back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I kid you not!
I have discovered that when I'm good my nails are good, when I'm bad my nails are bad. And it's true, after this colour was on I got back to creating a project that has had to be left on hold the past couple of weeks, which I'm neeeeearly ready to let loose and am so excited about!! Squeak **while bouncing**!!

Since I am not yet ready to reveal the project itself I'm being called to tell you a story about it, as it taught me a very crucial lesson, and today some seagulls brought home the teachings even more. Yeah, seagulls. not these kind, the real kind

So start of this month I was planning on having this project wrapped up and posted in no time. Actually I wanted it done yesterday, as it had had so much work already (and I had loved every moment) but I kept getting distracted my shiny new projects, like the 7 Day Art Journaling Challenge for example. Now I know shiny object syndrome is made out to be a bad thing, and in many cases it can be, but listening my gut on any creative project (I think) is never among them. Not for me anyway. I firmly believe in following your own 'creative instinct' as I often refer to it, as it leads to the best places. 
It allows you to create with ease
in a total state of flow and exhilaration
...and what is the point of creating if not to do it when feeling this drive, this eagerness, this fun? 
So yes I often drop projects in favour of other projects that are calling me, but obviously in doing so it puts my other project/s behind, so I became de.ter.min.ed! It should have been beyond finished probably earlier in the year but certainly by November, with all the time that had been dedicated to it. So I set myself a deadline and was super focused on achieving it while I was feeling the creative instinct, the flow, to get it done and move onto other things. The time was right, nothing would stand in my way...and then...
and then...
everything stood in my way!
This circumstance happened, then that circumstance , and all the time I'm pushing against saying 'no I will get this done', next circumstance 'no I will, I will, I will', and then the see the pattern. 
I was feeling disheartened, 
I was feeling out of control, 
and then, I got sick.

And then...I gave it all up.

I let go.
Or I was forced to.
It was not going to happen if I accepted it or not.
I had no choice but to let it go.
And it was the most freeing thing ever.

Eventually I reset my deadline, taking into account things like recovery time, and shopping time, and family time etc etc and without worry about it changing, without the need to feel I had to push it into place. This was the lesson I learnt;
That, no matter what, we cannot control. 

We can plan, yes. We can expect, yes. We can try, yes. We can move the earth to try to make something happen, yes.
But we cannot control. 

Perhaps it's a lesson many learn before the age of 30, but we are all on our different paths and we learnt different things from those paths at different points in our lives. My path showed me this right now. Previously I've had the mindset that if you just work hard enough, if you just push yourself that little bit more, if you just...if you just... But it showed me that really, you can't even control yourself - for example my body getting sick and doing things I didn't want it to. The only thing you can ever really control is your reactions, how you cope with things, and even then at the core of the entire human race we are emotional beings [enter crimes of passion over other crime stats here], and so cannot even have control there in certain situations. 

We certainly do not have control over any external circumstances, at all. And really why do we ever think it is our business to? All we can really do is accept what is, and ingratiate it into any planning, but with understanding that the playing field may change on you again. I've often heard it said that near enough all we worry about, all of us as a collective, are things that actually never happen. We worry about things that never come to be. Well now I understand that a whole lot better. I think we probably worry like this because we can feel that, at the root of it, we don't have control. But after this month's experience I find that so freeing. Isn't it nice to know that it isn't in our control? That it isn't our job to control that event, or that person, or that timeline?

As I've said above we have enough of a battle if we just try and control ourselves, our bodies will let us down on that point - it has it's own stuff to deal with and do. Our brains often let us down, not being able to remember that famous persons name on the telly 'ooooh what have they been in? what have they been in? I know the face....I just can't place it...', or coming up with a great point an hour after an argument has ended, when you can't implement it. Our emotions often let us down, how many apologies have each of us made in our lifetimes for saying something we didn't mean in the heat of the moment or 'god damnit why am I crying right now? That's the last thing I want to do. Grrrr'. And of course by 'let down' I don't mean that it's a let down at all, I just mean that I've learned disappointment can only follow if you choose to control anything rather than just ALLOW!

That's the point of this whole post I suppose, to ALLOW, 
and then go from there.

You wondering about the seagulls yet?

Well as I've only just got back to working on my project, or doing any creative work, I decided to open the outdoor studio tonight. 

I got in there just before it turned dark.
And all the sky was grey. Gloomy, but in it's own way beautiful.
The sun was low as it was beginning to set, giving the place that 'winter sunlight' that reflects so brightly off of the snow (when it's around)
And then suddenly there was a hundred seagulls
At least
Bouncing around like floating lightbulbs
Their white bellies being lit up by the low sun, against the cloudy grey backdrop
Making them look like fairy lights in the dark.

And every one,
Every single one
Was just riding the wind
Twisting and turning at the current's will.

They were all allowing.

Every one
Every single one
Riding the wind
Not flapping, not flying, not caring if they were separated from the flock, not controling.
The sky was FULL of seagulls. In every direction.

Little bright lights filling the sky through their roaming

I wish I had caught it on camera
But I was too busy watching and understanding what it was meaning to me:
It meant a sharp contrast between animal, and human, behaviour. It meant a lesson in remembering to live from instinct and intuition, rather than restriction and control.

It meant I forevermore have a visual in my mind to remind me just to let go
(you can't control it anyway), 
and allow.

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