Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Living TAW - Chapter 12 - Faith

My chapter 12 Living The Artist’s Way video is the final, and most vulnerable, video in this 12-month / 17-post blog series. I share my deepest epiphany, my newfound awareness of what has been my biggest creative block all along.

In the 12th and final month of this journey reading Julia Cameron’s book and writing my daily morning pages, I became aware that I have spent my life exhibiting a pattern of behavior in which I have honored other people’s opinions (one person in particular) of me and my art over my own opinions. Well, not anymore! I am taking my power back. I choose love – for myself, my life, and my art. 


Watch out 2014! I am shinning my light brighter than ever. I am currently working on 3 commissioned paintings, getting ready for a 2-women art exhibition at Sync Gallery in Denver in February, and I am writing a monthly creative lifestyle guest blog post for Gallery24seven.com. None of which would be happening had I not lived Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way for one year.

As I mentioned in the video, to further help me expand into my greatness, after Living The Artist’s Way, I recently signed up for a few creative e-courses. And these days I am reading about novelist Alex Marcoux’s intuitive creative process in her book Lifesigns

Below is a list of the 3 e-courses I signed up for and links to where you can sign up too. I hope you’ll join me. If I don’t see you in the virtual classroom, I hope our paths cross somewhere else along our creative journeys. 

Live Creatively,
XO
Marcella




Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Meaning and Magic of the Mentor Relationship

Guest blogger post for Gallery24seven.com:

Marcella Nordbeck and Laurie Maves

A mentor is someone who has gone before us, taken the steps, dared the leap, and landed in the middle of her dreams. She is proof that when we lead with our heart, miracles can, and do, happen. 

Had our mentor not come into our life, we might still be living in the land of, “Someday,” and at the crossroads of, “I wish,” and, “I hope.” But our paths crossed. And our destiny was forever altered that moment when we met, that chance encounter of infinite magic and mystery… 
 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Living TAW - Chapter 11 - Autonomy

5 weeks into living as a full-time working artist and 11 months into Living The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, chapter 11, “Recovering a Sense of Autonomy,” is the perfect prescription. In this chapter, “We examine the ongoing ways in which we nurture and accept ourselves as artists.”

Julia begins chapter 11 by discussing the importance of not getting stuck in our past success. I couldn’t agree more! In the following video I share how I’m breaking out of my habit of painting spirals by painting pure abstractions for the Sidewalk Series and going from a brunette to a blond to shed my old 9-5 office job image:


In chapter 11 of The Artist’s Way, Julia goes on to discuss the importance of sports (she recommends walking meditations), having an artist’s altar, and says, “Small rituals, self-devised, are good for the soul.”
 
These days I’m working 50-60 hours/week as I work on 3 commissioned paintings and get ready for 2 large upcoming art shows. So I don’t have much time for walking meditations. But I do try to squeeze in a few at home workouts into my schedule each week to keep my body limber and strong so I can reach across 48” canvases. My favorite workout DVD’s are Trudie Styler’s Warrior Yoga and Cindy Crawford’s Shape Your Body.

The alter in my studio is always changing. Currently it is home to photos of my parents and one of my spiritual gurus Louise L. Hay, along with feathers, stones, and other treasures I’ve collected on my journey.
 
My Artist Alter
December will be the last month I post a video blog on Living The Artist’s Way, but I will continue to write a monthly creativity blog for Gallery24seven.com. Read my first G247 guest blog post, Honoring the Creative Call, here: http://blog.gallery24seven.com/honoring-the-creative-call/

Until next time, remember we are all artists – the artist of our lives. What are you creating today?

Friday, November 8, 2013

Honoring the Creative Call

Guest blogger post for Galllery24seven.com:

For some, the creative call is experienced as a feeling, an actual physical sensation felt in the body. For others, the creative call is experienced as a knowing, a conscious understanding that something is inviting them to live life larger than they have yet to imagine.

How ever you receive the call, it is a divine invitation to honor that which your soul is yearning to express through you, as you. Once you have heard the call, there is no going back. Following any other path will be met with resistance and suffering. The only option is to...

Read more at the Gallery24seven.com blog:
http://blog.gallery24seven.com/honoring-the-creative-call/



Working on "Rise"

Monday, October 21, 2013

Chapter 10: Self-Protection

10 months into Living The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and a major change has begun to unfold in my life. Major! I didn’t see it coming, but I should have because when we answer our soul’s higher call, change is inevitable.

I don’t want to spoil the surprise so you’ll have to watch my latest YouTube video to learn what the major change is.


What I will share is I’m learning that no one else can make us happy. We each have to take responsibility for our own happiness. While it is not always easy, it is undeniably necessary. If we are going to live, truly live, we have to live the life that is calling to us. Not the life that is calling to our sister, our neighbor, or old Aunt Mary. The life that is calling to us. For me, it was not the life I was living…

Did I mention it’s a major change? Yeah Baby!

I recently met up with my art mentor Laurie Maves. Witnessing her professional growth and creative achievements serve as tremendous mental equivalents for me. She shows me it can be done, that one can have a successful art career, even in these interesting financial times. But she can’t provide me with a road map. It’s tricky, and often scary, but we must blaze our own creative trails. We’re on our own creative journeys, creating lives and careers that are uniquely our own.

What have you been clinging to? Is your self-protection blocking your creativity?

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Chapter 9: Compassion and Creative U-turns

I’m nine months into Living The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron’s, “Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self,” and I am EXHAUSTED! So I’m taking the easy approach today and just writing my blog. Sorry folks… no video this month.

Thank you to EVERYONE who has watched and posted comments on the corresponding YouTube videos since I started posting them as part of this experiment back in April. As I mentioned in last month’s video on chapter 8, this journey has been much harder than I expected. Your words of encouragement have been wind in my sails, helping me to keep moving forward when I want to give up. Which is just about every day.

So it is appropriately timed – as it is each month – that in chapter 9 Julia discusses having compassion for ourselves and offers advice for overcoming creative U-turns. That’s when we reach a certain point in the creative process and then, often as a result of fear, we turn back. I haven’t done a full U-turn yet, but I’m certainly at a cross roads.

The day after my chapter 8 video blog post last month, I got promoted at my day job. That day was my last Wednesday off, the day of the week I had dedicated to my creative pursuits. The following Monday I went from working 32 hours/week back to 40+ hours. Enter exhaustion, coupled with fear that I’m at risk of not honoring my creativity again.

I feel torn. I love my day job. Everything we do there is in complete alignment with my values. It’s why I have worked there almost 5 years, the longest I’ve ever worked anywhere.

But if I don’t make time to make art my soul will shrivel. So how do I do both? Work full-time and make art? HOW?! THAT is what I want to know Julia!

My husband Sean and I play that game, what we would do if we won the lottery. My answer is always the same. Quit my day job, travel around the world, then settle somewhere in the states, preferably near the ocean, and dedicate myself to my art and writing full-time.

So there it is. Quit my day job. But would I really do it if money was no object and I had complete financial freedom to live as I choose? I don’t know. As I mentioned above, everything about my day job is in alignment with my values. I stand behind the work we’re doing in the world and cannot imagine not working there. 

What I am having a hard time imagining is what honoring my creativity looks like. I thought this was the year I would up-level my art business. But it’s my day job that has up-leveled, while making time to make art feels like a struggle.

In addition to Living The Artist’s Way, I began reading Gabrielle Bernstein’s latest book, May Cause Miracles: A 40-Day Guidebook of Subtle Shifts for Radical Change and Unlimited Happiness. It causes miracles all right! I was just a matter of days into the book when I got promoted at work to a position I have wanted for the 4-1/2 years I have worked there.

Early into, May Cause Miracles, Gabby offers the affirmation:

I have forgiven my past,
released my future,
and shown up for the present with love and faith.
 
I have the affirmation written on a post-it note on my bathroom mirror. It serves as a reminder to me that every day is a miracle – an opportunity to shift my perceptions and have the courage to change. Change behaviors that no longer serve me. And change ideas about my future that no longer excite me. 
 
At the beginning of the Living TAW journey I thought my goal was working towards becoming a full-time working artist. But today I am realizing that my goal is simply to learn how to honor the various facets of myself while living in the present moment.
 
I also thought Living TAW for a year was going to help me cultivate the discipline necessary to become a successful full-time working artist. But in chapter 9, Julia says that, “…discipline is dangerous…. The discipline itself, not the creative outflow, becomes the point.”
 
She goes on to say, “Over any extended period of time, being an artist requires enthusiasm more than discipline. Enthusiasm is not an emotional state. It is a spiritual commitment, a loving surrender to our creative process, a loving recognition of all the creativity around us.”
 
Throughout this nine month journey I have allowed my spiritual practice to evolve. I am disciplined in that every day I do something to support myself spiritually, whether it’s do yoga, meditate, write my pages, or all of the above. But I’m not so rigid that I do the same thing every day. I check in with myself each morning, ask myself what I need, and respond appropriately.
 
It’s dawning on me that if were to approach my artistic practice the same way I approach my spiritual practice – with flexibility and patience with myself – I just may find the balance, and self-compassion, I have been searching for. And avoid a creative U-turn in the process.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Bloom True: the E-course

As you know, for the past 8 months, I have been Living The Artist’s Way – Julia Cameron’s, “Course in Discovering and Recovering your Creative Self.” Another artist who has had a tremendous impact on me, and my art, this year is Flora Bowley. I am a huge fan of her book, Brave Intuitive Painting, and alumni of her online painting class, Bloom True: the E-course.

https://uc112.infusionsoft.com/go/BT/marcellanordbeck

Since beginning to study and practice Flora’s intuitive painting techniques, I have become more courageous – both on and off the canvas. I’m taking risks in art, and in life, I was previously too afraid to take. As a result of my bravery, which I learned in Flora’s book and E-course, this year I signed a contract to have some of my art represented by Gallery24seven. And this summer I rode on the back of a motorcycle and participated in a Native American sweat lodge – two other firsts for me!

Below are the first two paintings I created after I began to
study Flora’s techniques. Both are on exhibit for sale at Gallery24seven.

Together Through What Separates, Acrylic, 36 x 36
Through Veils of Illusion, Acrylic, 36 x 36
Bloom True: the E-course presents a transformational approach to painting, and living, that celebrates intuition, connects body, mind and spirit, and allows unique and expressive paintings to emerge naturally and authentically.

Brimming with all new high definition video demonstrations, unique lessons, inspiring prompts and enough encouragement and inspiration to last a lifetime, this course will empower both first time and seasoned painters to unlock their creative flow while gleaning transformational life lessons along the way. 
Bloom True: the E-course is unlike any other online painting E-course out there, and it may just change the way you paint forever.

Although basic instruction regarding tools, materials, color theory, mixing paint, composition, value and layering will be covered, the focus of this course is not on specific painting techniques. Rather, the intention of this course is to present a holistic approach to life and painting, one that empowers, inspires and encourages you to let go, move through fear and discover your own authentic way of creating.
 
https://uc112.infusionsoft.com/go/BT/marcellanordbeck
 
The next session of Bloom True: the E-course will run for five weeks starting on September 30, 2013, during which time you will see the evolution of three original paintings from start to finish. Professionally filmed in HD and shot on location in Flora’s Portland studio and home, the course will provide encouraging step-by-step guidance for painting as only YOU can, as you bravely let go of fear, embrace intuition, find your own style and open up to a new world of creative possibilities.

This is an online course with lessons posted daily, Monday-Saturday, for five weeks. The password-protected classroom will be accessible to you 24/7 from anywhere in the world (and for six months after class finishes), so you can dive in whenever it suits you. You do not need to be online at a specific time, so it does not matter what time zone you are in.

I am a paid spokesperson for
Bloom True: the E-course. If you sign up to take Flora’s online painting class through this link, I will receive monetary compensation that I will use to further my artistic endeavors. Thank you for your support and for choosing to, “Let go. Be bold. Unfold.”

https://uc112.infusionsoft.com/go/BT/marcellanordbeck

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Chapter 8: Recovering a Sense of Strength

Living The Artist’s Way for 12 months has been a LOT harder than I thought it would be. For starters, I didn’t anticipate encountering a massive creative block 8 months into the project.  
 
I finally got back into the studio today and started painting again. But it’s been an emotional journey, since last month’s video blog, of questioning everything in my life from my creative routines to my spiritual practices.

When I started this project in January I naively thought this would be the year I took my art business to the next level. That was my initial motivation for doing The Artist’s Way again. But instead, the year has been less about creative expansion and more about spiritual growth.  
 
Watch the video to hear more about my journey and the breakthrough I had last night…

 
 
What would our lives look like if we chose to live from a place of trust…?

One of my reasons for not painting for a few weeks is because my husband Sean and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary camping in Grand Mesa National Forest in South West Colorado. We had a magical time reconnecting with our Spirits and each other in Mother Nature's paradise.
 

Entrance to Grand Mesa National Forest in South West Colorado
 
Our campsite nestled in the National Forest
 
 
Enjoying a meadow of wildflowers
 
Two Columbines - the Colorado State Flower
  
Above the heart shaped lake
 
The heart shaped lake
  
On a hike


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Chapter 7: Perfectionism, Risk & Jealousy

Are you thinking of ditching The Artist’s Way?  I’ll admit it – I was. Or you did ditch it, but you’re thinking of giving it another go? Jump back in with me this month as I review chapter 7, “Recovering a Sense of Connection.” 

If you’re like me, and you’ve been full of insecurity and doubt lately about where you are on your creative journey, chapter 7 is the perfect read. In it, Julia discusses perfectionism, risk, jealously and the “practice of right attitude for creativity.”


How does Julia know exactly what we need to read, exactly when we need to read it? It’s a mystery to me. But I guess that’s why she’s the Queen of Creativity!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Abundant Time and Space

This week I’m diving into chapter 6, “Recovering a Sense of Abundance,” in Julia Cameron’s classic, The Artist’s Way. In the video I discuss how my perception of time, or my perceived lack or abundance of it, has changed (significantly!) since finally going on solo artist dates. I also share an awesome time awareness tip I learned from Austin Kleon in his book, Steal Like An Artist.



I can’t count the number of people who have told me they aren’t honoring their creativity because they don’t have the space. You don’t need a large space to be creative. How much space does a sketch book and a good Pilot pen (my favorite is the Precise V7 Rolling Ball Fine) take up? Not much! So space, or the perceived lack of space, is not an excuse for not capturing your ideas or expressing yourself.

Welcome to my studio! :)

I acknowledge that the challenge of not having a dedicated creative space, where you can leave your supplies out instead of constantly moving them out of the way, grows tiring. I know! Throughout high school I would paint on my bedroom floor and sew at my desk that was intended for doing homework. When I started painting again in my early 30’s I would spread out my art supplies on the kitchen table or the living room floor. A pain in the ass and disruptive to my roommates? Yes and yes. But not having a dedicated creative space didn’t stop me from making art.

On the right. Behind the chair is my 1st found bookcase.

My first dedicated creative space was an old dining room table in the corner of a 2nd bedroom/home office. I shared it with my husband in our first apartment. The four foot round table wasn’t much space to create on, but it was space that I didn’t have to clean up if I didn’t want to.
Inspiration Board

Bigger space is not necessary better space. For 18 months I had an off-site studio. It was about 250 square feet. Sometimes I slept there, sometimes I didn’t. What I certainly did not do was create art in it. For me it just wasn’t an inspiring space. And it resulted in a creativity drought.
The Helm

My current space is perfect for me! For starters, it’s in my home again. I don’t have to drive to and from, wasting precious time that could be used creating . Nope. I can shuffle in, at any time (even in my pj’s and slippers if I want!) to take a peek at my works in progress. I do that a lot actually. My bathroom is the adjacent room (great for cleaning up my brushes!) so I often wander into my studio when I’m brushing my teeth.
On the left.

While my current studio is not large, I am working on larger canvases (three 36 x 36” at the moment) and on more pieces simultaneously than ever before. I think what helps is I’ve found a balance between storage space and creation space. And it also supports me to put everything away when I’m done. Since the space is not large I don’t like it cluttered. But, more than that, pulling out my tools and selecting my paint colors is part of my creative warm up process when I come into the space to play.
Vision Board

A creative space need not be fancy or expensive. I don’t know about you, but when I’m getting my art on, I get my art on everything. If it’s in my studio, it’s subject to being splattered with paint. So I love that most of my studio furniture are things I found on the side of the road or discarded by a dumpster. They already have some mileage to them. A little paint splatter just adds more character.
2nd found bookcase.

My most recent found furniture item is a nifty chest of drawers with a secret desk drawer. And get this – I found it on my fist solo artist date two weeks ago! It has transformed the space. Even though it takes up space, with the addition of the surface top and the storage drawers, I have more space to create in.
Paint, mediums, and tools.

So there you go. You don’t have to have a large space, or fancy furniture, to rock your artistic endeavors. You just need imagination and to surround yourself with inspiration. To give you more ideas for creating your art space, following are more pictures of my current studio that I took today. Happy creating!
It's not a bookcase without books.
Found Chest of Drawers
Lookie here... It's secretly a desk! And that's also a found chair. I have a matching pair. :)
Storage
Studio Alter
My Angels. I was lucky to have not 2, but 3, Grandmothers. They are always with me. :)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Just Because - A Bonus Blog

My next Living The Artist’s Way blog post on chapter 6 isn’t scheduled until next week. But I’m feeling called to share things with you this week. So this is a bonus blog!

For the past few days I’ve been feeling full of self-doubt and insecurity. I’ve been wondering where my art fits in among so many talented and inspiring artists leaving their creative mark on the world. I’m not the only artist with the message to love yourself, honor your creativity, and to follow your dreams. So how do I stand out? How do I shine my light within a community of so many other bright lights?
 
I took my feelings and questions into meditation this morning. I set my alarm for 20 minutes. But before it went off I was tying my shoe laces as I listened to my intuition to go for a walking meditation outside.
 
Here in Colorado the wild flowers are just now in bloom. As I walked, I admired (and collected) a variety of wild flowers. There were SO many colors, shapes, and sizes – just in my back yard. Imagine the variety of flowers throughout Colorado, the United States, and the world!
 
 
That’s when I got it! That God/Spirit/Higher Power (whatever you chose to call “it”) didn’t stop at just one flower. The variety of flowers is boundless. With hybrids, the variety of flowers is infinite. So if it’s true for flowers, and if you believe in Oneness like I do, than creative expression must also be infinite.
 


Following are some other thoughts that dropped into my consciousness during my walk:
 
Stop Comparing. Each and every one of us is a unique expression of Spirit and on our own path. No one else has lived your life or had your sequence of experiences that made you the person you are today. Your wisdom, your insights, your expression, your ART, are yours and yours alone. 
 
Redefine Your Definition of Success. It’s easy to beat ourselves up if our career, art or otherwise, isn’t as far along or as profitable as someone else’s. But we can’t define our success based on what others are doing or have achieved. 
 
What are your hopes and dreams for your art? Do you continue to experiment, play, and try new things? Do you challenge yourself to take risks and do things that scare you? 
 
Also, think about where you and your art were this time last year, five years ago, even ten years ago. I’m willing to bet, if you stop to think about it, that you have grown, expanded, and have a lot to be proud of.
 
Make Art Just Because. Don’t make art with the sole intention of marketing and selling it. Make art just for you. Make art that you find beautiful and inspiring. Then you may share it with the world. But not because you have to, because you want to. 
 

A bonus blog deserves a bonus creativity prompt!

Bonus Creativity Prompt: Mini Vision/Inspiration Boards
 
Feeling creatively blocked or uninspired? I know if I go a few days without getting into my studio I get stage freight at the idea of putting paint to canvas. To get my creative juices flowing again I’ve started to make mini vision/inspiration boards.  
 
 
What You Will Need:

2-3 old magazines. A variety is best.
Scissors (or you can use your hands).
One 8-1/2 x 11” sheet of paper. I like to work with colored construction paper.
Glue or other adhesive. I use Tombow MONO Adhesive, permanent bond.
A timer. I use the alarm on my cell phone.
1 hour of uninterrupted time.

How it works: 

Set your timer for 20 minutes.

Grab a magazine and turn it upside down. Yep, you read that right – upside down. The objective here is to get a different perspective. 

Start quickly flipping through the pages. Don’t think, just feel. Tear out anything and everything that appeals to you and evokes a positive emotion. It might be a color, a pattern, a word, or the (upside down) composition. Don’t judge. Just tear! 

Continue to flip through your upside down magazines and set tear-outs aside until your alarm goes off. 
 
Once your alarm does go off, set magazines aside and reset your timer for 20 more minutes.

Spread your tear-outs of images and words in front of you, turning them right side up. Notice if there are any themes. This is when you can start to edit, keeping only those images and words that most appeal to you. 

Start trimming the images and words with scissors. Or, you might feel called to tear the pages with your hands, leaving the raw edges. 

When your timer goes off it’s time to start gluing, so re-set your timer for the last 20 minute increment. 

Grab your 8-1/2 x 11” sheet of paper. White will do, but I find it fun to use a piece of colored construction paper. You’ll also need your glue or other adhesive. 

Arrange and glue your torn out and trimmed images and words onto your paper.  

Once you’re done, you will have created a mini vision/inspiration board that is unique and beautiful – just like YOU!

 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Sleep and Solo Artist Dates

In this week’s Living The Artist’s Way blog series video I discuss the importance of sleep and share my favorite sleep aid. It’s a follow-up to my last video when I mentioned that I’m not sleeping as much these days because of all the creative projects I’m working on. I can’t stress enough how important sleep is (or how much I should follow my own advice)!


As promised in the video, today I went on a solo artist date. It's my first official one since I started the 12-month Living The Artist’s Way blog series 5 months ago! I walked a couple miles to pick my car up from the repair shop instead of using their shuttle service. Along the way, I snapped a few photos of my beautiful neighborhood.


 
 
Before I even made it out of the parking lot, I found this cute dresser/desk discarded at the dumpster. It’s proof that the Universe supports me! Once it’s cleaned up, it will be a great addition to my art studio for organizing the ephemera I use when creating mixed media pieces.
 

Other updates:

I signed a 6 month contract with gallery24seven.com. I’m super excited to be partnering with them! The new online art gallery launches in June. More details to come!

My first 3 recycled flowers got accepted into the recycling show at 40 West Arts! Details can be found on my Events page.

I’m working on four more recycled flowers. They’ll be available for purchase through my new etsy shop soon!

I registered for Flora Bowley’s next “Bloom True” intuitive painting e-course. It starts Monday, May 27 (Memorial Day). I’m SO excited I could pee my pants! You can learn about Flora’s awesomeness and register here.

And I read Jessica Swift’s e-book, Jump Trust Repeat. It’s an art business book FULL of inspiration and information for creative entrepreneurial types. One of my favorite quotes from her book is, “Do the things that scare you, and you’ll be shocked and amazed at what happens when you do!” Jessica’s book can be purchased here. While you’re at her site, check out her cute rain boots!

Phew! I’ve been a busy artist…

June is the 6th month (and it’s almost here!) so I’m starting to read Chapter 6, “Recovering a Sense of Abundance,” in Julia Cameron’s classic, The Artist’s Way. Until my next post on Wednesday, June 5, merry art making!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The World Needs Your Creative Ideas

In addition to discussing chapter 5, “Recovering A Sense of Possibility,” in Julia Cameron’s classic book, The Artist’s Way, this week I announce exciting news about the advancement of my art career since my last vlog post just two weeks ago! And, I reveal the gritty truth about what lead me onto a creative path. That part has not been a secret. But I’ve been keeping the announcement under my hat for two weeks so I’ve been bursting at the seams to share my exciting news with you. So please watch!

Following are pictures of the recycled flowers I created for the Recycled Art and Vivid Colors show at 40 West Arts in Lakewood. The flowers in this series are made from buttons, corrugated cardboard, egg carton, envelope, foreign language book, gift wrap, paper towel used to clean paint brushes, plastic food packaging, plastic shopping bag, and Styrofoam. Oh, and they DID get accepted into the juried June show! :)
"Recycled Flower 1." Mixed media on wood.

"Recycled Flower 2." Mixed media on wood.
"Recycled Flower 3." Mixed media on wood.

And, in case you missed it in the video, my reflection, "Feel It To Heal It," was published in the June 2013 issue of Creative Thought magazine. The little girl on the cover is a perfect reflection of my inner child! She's even at the ocean, where I will live someday... 
 
As for the top secret announcement... Well, you'll just have to watch the video to find out! ;)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

How I Live The Artist's Way

In response to the wetcanvas.com forum question, “Have you done The Artist’s Way and did you find it creepy?” I’ve up-leveled my blog and included a video. Below is my very first vlog!

In this first, of more (shorter) videos to come, I share how I have customized Julia Cameron’s 12-week course in “Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self” to support me and my creative endeavors. I also address Julia’s reading depravation tool presented in chapter 4. And I give a mini book report on Brave Intuitive Painting by Flora Bowley.


Vloging is new territory! If you know me, you know I’m not a techy person. I rely on my husband to upload music to my ipod. So please be gentle with your comments. I promise, with more practice my future vlogs will be more laser focused so they’re shorter.  Because, really, who has time to watch a 15 minute video?!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Not for the Faint of HeART

As I continue to live The Artist’s Way, my focus this month is on chapter 4, “Recovering a Sense of Integrity.”  Julia Cameron says, “This [month] may find you grabbling with changing self-definition. The essays, tasks, and exercises are designed to catapult you into productive introspection and integration of new self-awareness.” She goes on to say, “Warning: Do not skip the tool of reading deprivation!” 

What I've been reading
Say, what? I don’t remember the tool of reading deprivation from when I did The Artist’s Way three years ago! I guess I skipped that part... 

Julia also says, “It is a paradox that by emptying our lives of distractions we are actually filling the well. Without distractions, we are once again thrust into the sensory world.”

Well, call me a rebel, but I need to read! I need a little distraction now and again. Otherwise, the “sensory world” is too much for me and I become over stimulated to the point where I faint. Literally. 

Just last week, after an extremely stressful day at my office job, I passed out. Thankfully, I was at home and my husband caught me as my knees began to buckle. Fainting happened so suddenly. One minute I was conscious. Overwhelmed, but conscious. The next thing I knew I was lying on the floor, rubbing my temple, asking, “What happen?”

I turned to my trusty copy of Louise L. Hay’s book, You Can Heal Your Life. In the middle is a reference to the mental patterns that cause dis-ease. Louise lists the probable cause of fainting as, “Fear. Can’t cope. Blacking out.”  Her recommended new thought pattern, or affirmation, for fainting is, “I have the power and strength and knowledge to handle everything in my life.”

Living an artistic life is not for the faint of heart. As artists we often have to be relentless, fear-facing, risk taking, trail blazers. I know a lot of artists and no two careers are the same. These are different times that call for different, creative, approaches to life and art. What used to work doesn’t any more. What might work needs to be tested. At times, it’s scary. But if thinking, behaving, living, and creating different than we used to wasn’t scary, we would not know that we are on the right path, living The Artist’s Way.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Enjoy the Ride

In Chapter 3 of The Artist’s Way, “Recovering A Sense of Power,” Julia Cameron says, “Growth is an erratic forward movement: two steps forward, one step back. You are capable of great things on Tuesday, but on Wednesday you may slide backward. This is normal. Growth occurs in spurts. You will lie dormant sometimes. Do not be discouraged. Think of it as resting."

If my career were someone else’s I would be impressed with what has been accomplished. Yet, when I spend a couple days, like this past weekend, laying on the couch sick with the flu, all I can think about are my unfinished projects. The paintings I haven’t completed, the creativity book I’m still writing, and the art class curriculum I have yet to finish developing.
With collectors Anita & Larry Larson, 2009

In 4 years, I’ve shown in 23 group art shows, 4 solo exhibitions, and was the featured artist at 3 silent auction fundraisers. In the process, I’ve sold 30 works of art, including 5 paintings at the opening reception of my first solo exhibition and 2 commissions. In addition, I was a Featured Artist of the Month on DenverArtist.com, received an Honorary Mention ribbon from Art of the Rockies, and was interviewed by the Denver Post regarding the Piano I painted for the city of Denver.

Then there are my writing accomplishments. In addition to this blog, I was a guest blogger for Tarcher/Penguin publishing for 12 consecutive weeks. I was published in 2 anthologies. And recently, I was invited to write a piece for Creative Thought magazine.  

Not too shabby for a girl who started sharing her creations with the world just 4 short years ago. But as I laid on the couch, too sick to be useful or productive, I wondered, “Are my dreams pipe dreams?  Am I kidding myself thinking that if I keep working at it, someday I may be able to make a living as a full-time working artist? Or am I hoping for the impossible?”

Even Georgia O’Keeffe, the first American woman painter to realize her life’s dream of earning a living by her art, took breaks. In How Georgia Became O’Keeffe: Lessons on the Art of Living biographer Karen Karbo says, “She would go through phases when she worked every day, but there were days and weeks when she would read, spend hours tramping around outside, write letters, sew, and play dominoes with the cowboys. When she was at the height of her fame, she spent an inordinate amount of time doing housework.”

As I convalesced, I contemplated the meaning of my life and the purpose of my art. I wondered, “Why am I not content to just live a simple life, to just hold down one job and be a wife? Why do I possess this inner propulsion to create, express, and connect with others? And if I need to create, why isn’t my inner muse satisfied with just one form of expression? Why must I feel called to paint, and write, and as if those were not enough, to teach too? Why God, WHY?”

The simple truth is, I don’t know why.  It’s like asking, “Why do I like the color purple or French vanilla ice cream?” I just do. It’s part of who I am. I’m a creative being, so I must create. I must! Creativity is what gives my life meaning and, at times, makes life bearable enough to live.  
Getting sick forced me to stop and take time to listen to my inner guidance. I was reminded that I can try to manage my time and schedule my days. Wednesdays are typically spent writing, while Saturdays are usually spent in the art studio. But as John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

I will try to remember Lennon’s sage advice. And when I get ahead of myself and think I should be doing more, or have accomplished more, I will remember to enjoy the ride and release my attachment to the outcomes as I continue to Live The Artist’s Way.