Sunday, January 8, 2012

How to Feel Miserable as an Artist

I have this list hanging in three different places in my studio, and have made copies for more than one friend. I don't know who wrote this... found it online, but if anyone has an idea, I would love to give props to the author.

How to Feel Miserable as an Artist:
(Or, what not to do, underline all that currently apply)

1. Constantly compare yourself to other artists.
2. Talk to your family about what you do and expect them to cheer you on.
3. Base the success of your entire career on one project.
4. Stick with what you know.
5. Undervalue your expertise.
6. Let money dictate what you do.
7. Bow to societal pressures.
8. Only do work that your family would love.
9. Do whatever the client/customer/gallery owner/patron/investor asks.
10. Set unachievable/overwhelming goals. To be accomplished by tomorrow.

HAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!! Wow. Ring any bells???

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Happy 2012!

Now, my dearies, I know I have been absolutely horrible about writing. But all is not forsaken! Not that I think ANY of you are just counting the days until I post or anything.

So, the title of my entry is quite a way to start the year, right?

Let me give you a backdrop.

I have a little ritual I do every New Years Day (no, there are no virgins involved. well, uh..) My ritual is to write one letter to the Universe on what I am thankful for in my life and in the past year. This one is usually pretty long. I get specific. Events, people, pains, loves, growth. You, dear readers, may have even been included. Then I write another letter for hopes and wishes for the following year. I usually put them together in an envelope of some sort, then send them to the Universe by means of an element.... water, fire, air or earth. This year was fire.

Man, I'm a hippie at heart.

This year, I learned how to pray. Not like get on your knees and sing your heart out sort of prayer, although I'm by no means opposed to this. But when I wrote my hopes for 2012, I wrote them a bit differently. Usually I get a bit specific..."Please let me meet a tall, dark, handsome guy......blah blah..... and please let him be kind and generous and maybe own a home in Charleston or Venice, Italy.... blah blah.... oh and I would love to make oodles of money in painting...blah blah...oh and please let me travel to distant lands, ...blah blah....and I would love a pet,.... blah blah... and please help me with the extra couple inches starting to form around my mid-section.... blah blah...oh and I wish for world peace. THANKS!"

Well, I may be more thoughtful than that, but you get the point. I want THIS AND THAT, dear, dear Universe. PLEEEEEAAAAASSSSEEEE let it happen!

But this year, by the grace of some beautiful humans whom I am learning from, those humans being my friends, I'm learning a little how to pray.
It was more like this:
"Dear Universe.... please keep me open to seeing the path which is best for me, whatever that may be. Thanks".

The only part about that prayer, or hope, or whatever word you choose, is that it involves a certain amount of trust. And loss of control. And with no control inevitably comes FEAR.

a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil,pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; thefeeling or condition of being afraid.
foreboding,apprehension, consternation, dismay, dread, terror, fright,panic, horror, trepidation, qualm.
courage,security, calm, intrepidity.
a specific instance of or propensity for such a feeling: anabnormal fear of heights.
phobia, aversion; bĂȘtenoire, bogy, bogey, bugbear.
liking, fondness,penchant, predilection.
concern or anxiety; solicitude: a fear for someone's safety.
reverential awe, especially toward God: the fear of God.
awe, respect, reverence, veneration.
something that causes feelings of dread or apprehension;something a person is afraid of

See, problem is, in wishing and hoping for one thing that I AM ABSOLUTELY SURE will make me happy (and fancy, and fabulous, and so on) I don't see what may be actually the best thing for me. (Loss of control)
So with this idea, without a doubt, I feel fear. It's one of my more comfortable emotions as a person.. NOT that fear is comfortable, mind you. But I am used to running to it. And that's ok.

My mom has told me for years that the best remedy to fear is action. And she's right. Fear is not to be avoided, but it is not to be lingered in. I bow to it, thank it, feel it's pull and weight, then move on. And action, luckily, is a means to hope. And hope, guided by honesty, is a means to staying open to the path that is the best for us. Trust, if you will.

So part of my hopes for 2012 involve action. And trust. And fear. and Honesty. And loss of control. It's what I do in painting, at my best moments, and painting is a tiny sliver of life, at ITS best moments.

I wish all of you openness for 2012.
Much love.