Wednesday, March 26, 2014

3 Questions to Boost Productivity (AND Health)

Before I share the 3 questions that will boost your productivity, and your health, I’m going to share the story of how I came to learn these questions.

Please don’t learn them the hard way – like I did.        

Recently my truck, affectionately nicknamed The Art Mobile, broke down and it was going to be a few days before a necessary part was delivered  and the repair work completed. Since I didn’t have another means of transportation, I had to cancel all of my appointments that week.

Immediate. Relief. That’s what I felt. I also felt surprised that I felt relieved. When I’ve had car trouble in the past I would worry about what the repairs were going to cost. Or I would be angry that I was being inconvenienced.

But was I worried? No. Was I angry? No. I was RELIEVED!
Hello! BIG flashing neon sign that I was approaching burnout and needed to use my new found time for some much needed rest and rejuvenation. I even found myself chuckling as I acknowledged the “convenience” of my truck breaking down so that I could clear my calendar and get some relief from my over-scheduled life.
So did I accept my gift of time, now that my calendar was clear, to relax and give myself some much needed self-care? I wish I could say yes. Unfortunately, the answer is no.

Instead, I kept working. I kept pushing. I kept burning the midnight oil AND the candle at both ends. And because I didn’t slow down, just like my truck, a few days later I broke down. And what I thought would be a day or two in bed turned into a week.

Not having the strength or energy to do anything for days, I had a lot of time to reflect on my circumstances. I was reminded that we do not serve ourselves, our friends and family, or our clients when we try to squeeze productivity out of every hour, of every day. And I was reminded that rest and relaxation are invaluable to the quality of our work and our health.

So as we create the next day, week, and month of our lives I invite us to ask ourselves the following questions:

1. Is this something I can say, “I’m not saying no. I’m saying, not right now” to? A lot of us, my self included, suffer from the fear of losing out on what feels like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. But we need to be honest with ourselves about how much we can really take on. And we owe to others to honor our current commitments before we agree to more.

2. What is my motivation for saying yes? A born people pleaser, I continue to experience opportunities to practice disappointing others instead of agreeing to things I don’t really want to and then harboring resentment. The next time you feel pressured to say yes to something you want to say no to, buy yourself some time. Say you need to check your calendar, and then get back to them  after you’ve reflected on how you really want to respond.

3. When am I going to schedule non-negotiable time for my self-care? For a lot of us, if we don’t schedule it or put it on our to-do list, it’s easy to forget the importance of rest and self-care when life and all of its distractions and interruptions are vying for our attention. Commit to your self-care like you would an appointment with someone else. You deserve it!

Live creatively – and with abundant health and productivity,

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

There is life outside of the art studio

The beauty of being artists - and the artists of our lives - is WE get to choose what our lives look like. We decide which projects to say yes or no to. We determine how hard, or not so hard, to work. In essence, we get to blaze our own trails, and write our own rules along the way.

After nearly 3 months of working 12+ hour days for 6, sometimes 7 days/week, to get ready for my, "Choice Points," art show at Sync Gallery, I am re-discovering that
there IS life outside of the art studio.

I'm still logging long hours most days (because it's just my nature to work a lot), but I'm also cultivating my self-care disciplines again. I've been j
uicing and blending, meditating and journaling as I sit in front of our 2 fresh water fish tanks as I enjoy their beauty, and this past weekend I went on my first ride of the season on the back of my husband's motorcycle. 

But it was a simple domesticated thing, sewing a button back onto a pair of pants for my husband, that brought me back into my body. It took me years to realize how important it is to honor my creativity. But it only took threading a needle to remind me that, in addition to being an artist, I am also a wife... and a daughter, an aunt, a friend...

We are ALL artists - the artists of our lives. And we are also SO much more, to SO many people. 
Live creatively - in all its many forms,

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

It's the MOST important ingredient of all!

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters
compared to what lies within us."

~Oliver Wendell Holmes
Whether you're building a business, or baking a cake, LOVE is the most important ingredient. You might have everything else right. But if your business plan, or brownie mix, didn't start in your heart and isn't infused with love, your project, or sweet confection, will fall flat.
Ask: What can I give? How can I serve? When we live from a place of being a beneficial presence to those around us, amazing things happen... Our lives become more meaningful, joy filled, and richer in the infinite currency of the Universe - LOVE!
Once you've got love, there are two other important ingredients to consider when starting a creative business. Watch this week's video to find out what they are.
Click here to watch video
Still not sure about the love thing? Watch Simon Sinek's paradigm shifting Tedx talk, "How great leaders inspire action," here.
Click here to watch Simon Sinek's Tedx talk
Simon shares powerful examples of inspired leaders and organizations that think, act, and communicate from the inside out.

Live creatively and from a place of love,

P.S. Contrary what I say in my video above, I will not be in the gallery this week on Thursday. Instead, I will be there to represent my work on Friday, March 14 from 1-4 pm and Saturday, March 15 from 12-4 pm.

Choice Points and Western Metamorphosis
There are only 3 more days to see  my show, Choice Points, and photographer Britt Ripley's show, Western Metamorphosis, at Sync Gallery. Both shows will be coming down this Saturday, March 15 at 4 pm.

Sync Gallery is located in the heart of the Santa Fe Art District at 931 Santa Fe Dr, Suite 100, Denver 80204.  
Gallery Hours:
Thursday, March 131 - 4 pm

(Britt will be sitting the gallery on Thursday without me)
Friday, March 14: 1 -4 pm
Saturday, March 15: 12 - 4 pm
By appointment: 303-319-2771 

Britt Ripley discussing his photography

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Want to Open Doors? Ask Questions!

How much do you love yourself? I have been asking myself this question a lot since leaving my day job to pursue my creative endeavors full-time.
It’s a faith walk to follow our dreams and lead with our heart. In the process, fears and worth issues can get stirred up. But when I ask, “How much do you love yourself?” I remember that I am worthy, that my dreams are worth it, and that I owe it to those around me to create a life that makes me happy.
Our minds can only focus on one thing at a time. By asking ourselves a question, our brains automatically start seeking solutions. Solutions that can raise our vibration, shift our perspectives, and get us back on course.
I have also been asking questions of others as I navigate my art career in Denver. In this week’s video I share how asking relevant, open ended, questions took me from not knowing anyone in the state of Colorado (except my husband) to having a thriving life and career 5 years later.
Click here to watch video
As always…

Live Creatively,
P.S. Come see my current art exhibition, "Choice Points," at Sync Gallery this Friday, March 7 during First Friday Art Walk in the Santa Fe Arts District. Can't make it to First Friday? No worries! My show will be up through Saturday, March 15. Here are the event details:
Choice Points
February 20 - March 15, 2014

Closing Reception: Friday, March 7, 6 - 9 pm (1st Friday Art Walk)

Gallery Hours:

Thursday's 1 - 4 pm

1st Friday 6 - 9 pm
Other Friday's 1 -4 pm
Saturday's 12 - 4 pm
By appointment: 303-319-2771 
Discussing my art
Photo credit: Louie Trujillo, Sync Gallery

Monday, March 3, 2014

5 Tips for Recovering from Post-Painting Blues

Guest blogger post for

I found myself feeling post-painting blues during the days that followed the gallery opening of, “Choice Points,” my new abstract painting series. The weeks leading up to the show were long and intense. I spent 12-18 hours each day painting the series and preparing for the exhibition.

Taking a break to fuel up on my favorite organic energy
drink while I hang my show at Sync Gallery
Once the opening artist reception was over I thought I would finally catch my breath and find balance in my life again. Instead, I felt anxious and sad, found myself crying, and had trouble sleeping – some of the symptoms the Mayo Clinic describes as signs of postpartum depression.

As a childless female artist, I often describe my painting process as a birth and affectionately refer to my paintings as my babies. So it should have come as no surprise that my excitement and anticipation for the new works, and their unveiling at my first gallery show, would be followed by an emotional crash similar to what new mothers experience who have recently given birth.

To recover from post-painting blues I gave myself lots of self-care: 

1.       Sleep. I only had 3 months to prepare for my new art exhibition so I kept strange hours to ensure I met my deadlines and honored my commitments. As the opening drew closer, and my to-do list seemed to grow longer, I worked harder and slept less. So after the opening, catching up on sleep was my priority. After months of an insane schedule, it was not easy to fall asleep at a reasonable bed time. But after a few nights of consistently winding down and turning out the lights at a set bed time, I was finally able to fall to sleep when I wanted to again. A cool bedroom temperature, an eye mask, and ear plugs help.
Read 4 more tips at the blog here.