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.

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.
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.”