Posted in being a sensitive artist, Being Creative, Blog Tuesdays

When the World Goes Crazy, Lighten the Load & Find What Fits

blogwhatfitsI have such the habit of piling it on. What is mine, what isn’t mine, what is the collective mine, what is out there, what is not my responsibility…And I found myself overloading, again. My stomach goes on vacation without me and I get an headache as a big wakeup call that I’ve been carrying the world around on my shoulders. I’m not really sure why I don’t just have shoulder issues, which literally and symbolically makes a lot more sense. I’m guessing because the classic feeling center is the stomach. And sometimes we can’t avoid the overload, like the shakeup that is happening in the world in Charlottesville, or kids going back to school and having big emotions expressed. But one thing I know for sure is that my creativity is deeply affected.

Looking at this overload and the relationship to creativity my mind searches for a solution to bring balance back. In my email today, the fabulously real Danielle Laporte asks, What will you let go of? Letting go translates to lightening the load. Because if I am taking on the world and a whole lot of stuff that isn’t my stuff to work on, I need to drop that suitcase down on the ground, so I can create and express. I need a moment of honesty with myself.

  • I can’t do much about what is happening in rallies of hate, but I can support those who are doing something about it. I can hand it to them.
  • I can’t do much about my stepkids’ world before me, but I can say a prayer that they figure things out themselves and find their voices. I can hand it to them.
  • I can’t do much about the inbalance between what I give out and what I receive…whoa…what’s this…but can I? I can drop things that don’t perform. That feels like I am giving so much out and not getting back? That would really be lightening the load.

Now we are hitting paydirt and some deep honesty…

Last week I mentioned again on Facebook that I was asking for donors at Patreon for my new book. For only $1 or $5 a month folks would be supporting my project, the Idea Emporium Book, as I created it. That’s $1.00. When I started the Patreon page, a few of my dear friends who have seen me through thick and thin, lent their support. I was deeply grateful. With their support I was hopeful, excited, and filled with ideas. I could share bits and pieces of the book. I could share lessons, ideas. And I have. Support feeds your creativity. And I wanted to share with even more people and create even more.

Now I’m an extremely creative person. Sometimes the ideas, whether good or not, flow through too much and I can’t shut off the flow. If I didn’t create I would crumble. It would be like shutting off a raging river and I’d either flood over or dry up. And when I asked and shared, and got crickets, I felt unsupported, invisible. And then I felt resentful. And most healthy people just pull back and don’t share as much. Not me. I give more! With suggestions from a coach for the book she suggested I increase my social media presence and that would eventually sell the book. I added a facebook biz page for my book. I now have two pages to take care of. I started writing again, which I needed to do, because without writing I was cutting off the flow. I got ideas for doing classes again and I wanted to offer a zine. More ideas. More flow. But again, I looked at that Patreon page and the result and I pulled myself way back. This is a business after all, and without financial support coming in, it is hard to feel rewarded for what I do and feel that balance of giving what I have and sustaining that business. Whether folks don’t trust or understand Patreon (which I think might be some of the issue), or whether they don’t see the value, it wasn’t helping.

I felt all this today as I cleaned the house with my stomach healing, and as I avoided the news and social media angst over the world and focused on scrubbing. I’m not sure I will keep my Patreon page as I don’t want to burden my besties, and that is how I am feeling. But I don’t want to let of my idealism either or enthusiasm for what I am creating, or that hopeful feeling when I create something new. And I like to give, I like to help others. That’s my mission.

Creatives, can we be more honest what fits and doesn’t fit us? Instead of doing more work for less reward?

  • The exhaustion of Facebook ads to maintain a page when I am not a social media marketer
  • Having paintings in gallery shows; I am not a fine artist
  • The follow/unfollow technique on Instagram. Can I have a great big Ewwww?
  • Free seminars or classes to get folks to look at your work
  • Wholesale
  • Big venues when I’m a one on one kind of person

I just think the formula to get there we are told and taught is not working for me and I need to find new avenues, new areas of support, to seek out so I can keep creating for those who value and need it. I need to find my formula.

Can you lighten your load and carry less of the world on your shoulders? And what isn’t fitting and what needs to be a better fit for you regardless of “how it’s being done?” Feel free to share what DOES work for you.

Freeing your thinking and my own. Until next Tuesday,

ronnidesigningfairy

 

Posted in being a sensitive artist, Creativity and imagination, Reg Creative Tips

I’m not allowed to look at other artists, Being Authentic Part two

comparingpostI’m blocked. I’m looking at Chapter 3 and it’s coming to the home stretch of being able to submit it as a sample chapter, and the ideas aren’t flowing.

The irony of this is I just wrote about what to do to unblock in last week’s post. But that’s how it always works, whatever I am meant to teach or share, that lesson will be full-fledged in my face. Welcome lesson.

I adore the work of other artists. They inspire me with their imagination and their original voices. Watching my Pinterest feed, I am in awe! But too much looking at other artists blocks me, especially when I am creating my own project.

I looked to the masters for advice. I took out the book, Rising Strong by Brene Brown. I sought out the book after finding it in Barnes and Noble, my church of books. Here I was, sitting on the floor cross-legged and tears of knowing were flowing down my cheek after skimming on a chapter and finding the one on Sewer Rats and Shame. I pushed them away before my stepdaughter could see it. Brown was writing about Comparing, my biggest vice.

“Another one of shame’s sidekicks is comparison…comparison sucks the creativity and joy right out of life. If our story includes shame, perfectionism, or comparison and we’re left feeling isolated or “less than,” we need to employ two completely counterintuitive strategies.”

Her advice is basically to tell your story to someone else, (would this work?), and to talk more lovingly to ourselves. I have a running dialogue in my head that isn’t pretty and was accumulated since I grew boobs. It is definitely the voice of shame and shame is mean and tells you how you suck. This piece of information was big for me. It was shame that was giving me headaches! Shame that was blocking my creative flow! It had a name and comparing was the disguise.

One of the hardest things about making this book has been asking myself, What makes this book special? Is it special enough? Which is a crap-load of old stuff to hit me with. What makes you special? How are you different then the person over there? Are you good enough?

I wrote last week about being Authentic. I think the antidote to the not enough’s, and comparisons, is being Authentic as possible. It’s the truest to you as possible.

Last week I talked about The Lab, that great hip hop dance group on World of Dance. Last week was the elimination rounds on the show and I hate the format. They are taking several dancers that in their own right that are wonderful and unique and pitting them up against each other. The Lab lost against a lithe little dancer who could bend like Gumby. We as the audience were forced to watch apples vs. oranges and the judges decide “who was better.” Isn’t that subjective? And why aren’t we honoring both styles? I am sure The Lab will recuperate and have now gained even more exposure for their dancing skills (they seem already pretty successful.)

So comparison has to have a winner, and that’s why it doesn’t work. Having to prove yourself or your work that it’s special? That’s a trap too and an evil one. My question would be, why aren’t they seeing what is special?

Now I do have a handicap against me — I’m Jewish and our culture pretty much was raised comparing. “Oh, look at so and so’s son. He’s went to Yale and is a Doctor. Isn’t that impressive?” Never mind that he’s a secret drug addict who cheats on his wife the first Friday of the month. Most folks are judged it seems on their education (because it is so valued in our culture), and on your job.

I come back to the creating part. You are working on a project. THE worse thing is to judge it in process. I share a story in my Help I’m Sensitive book. I took a NIA class and we were challenged with balancing poses. When I looked at yoga girl standing next to me in her perfect pose and matching yoga outfit, I fell right over. Pretty embarassing. But when I focused on my own core, my own body in straight line and how that felt, I had some amazing balance! I could stand like that for quite awhile. When we create we need to be enjoying the creating. Watch a kid draw or paint. They are messy, full of life and in the moment drawing or painting what they draw or paint. The worst thing would be to tell them to paint orange instead of red. You just cut off their flow, people!

And that’s essentially what I did by focusing on all the other “successful” artist’s accounts. I was watching yoga girl and telling myself how my orange should be red. And I wondered why no ideas would flow in there. I need to be that little kid again who has no knowledge of the world and what others are doing while painting their stuff animals blue and making an outfit of a tutu paired with a striped soccer shirt. It’s more of a protective mode I need to be in. To be able to shield her while she creates. 

Brene Brown was right. I do need to talk more lovingly to myself. If had a child in front of me creating, I would see all that was beautiful and raw and magical in her/his art. I would not parent her with discounting and tell her it was not enough. Our expression needs self appreciation!

Until next Blog Tuesday, how are you going to stop your habit of comparing and focus more on the work? I give you great appreciation for what is raw and beautiful for what you are making. It is more than enough, in fact, it is SPECIAL.

ronnidesigningfairy

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Go check out my Express Yourself with Line and Alien Botany Class I am offering in the Fall. Early bird rate registration!

 

Posted in Being Creative, Designing, The world of the imagination

The Goal is to be as Authentic as Possible, Part One

regtipstrengths

As I was writing in my Brain the other day (what I call my sketchbook notebook), I noticed that the underlying theme I was writing was about staying authentic, having that true voice in my creative work. The artists I admire so greatly all have such a unique style. (Think the late Dr. Seuss). They are true to themselves. I’m sure they weren’t overnight successes and somewhere along the way someone might have told them they were “doing it wrong,” or “too different,” or even told, “Why are you drawing in crayons, when the “in” thing right now is pen and ink?” And yet, they persisted, staying true to whatever was streaming out of them.

Finding that creative style all your own can take years. I know when I started out, my pen and ink drawings were wobbly at best. After lots of training at college, my drawings got more rigid or detailed. My illustration teacher, Dennis Corrigan, taught me how to fine-tune my pen and ink skills and include background places in the drawing for the eyes to rest. I would consider these drawings more realistic in style. This is one of my favorites of Lilibeth and Emily, my first beagles.

Lilscolor300

Where I am now in what I create is more of who I am, many years later, with a looser feel. My style is more clear and true to my voice, with a mix of precision from before, with whimsical loose. To tell you the truth, I don’t know how in the world I ever drew that many detailed lines. I lack the patience now and, ahem, cough, the eyesight. I know when I started I lamented I couldn’t be loose and free like some artists. Today, I embrace what I got.

Finding that authentic voice is a lot about being trueest to yourself, and folks can feel it. I’ve seen a lot of Potions out there lately on how to have a successful business. It looks like Fancy Seminars online to sign up for free this or that. It looks like pop in your photo here and take pics of your breakfast. It’s like the girl in high school who loses her identity so THAT boy will like her. All of a sudden, she loves basketball and hiking and wears tight jeans, when everyone knows she prefers soap operas, the mall, and the preppy urban look. If there is no PASSION underneath it, there’s no voice. It’s an empty voice. It should look like this:

The Lab

These kids have a strong, clear voice with their own sense of style. This is fierce passion in action. (SOURCE: NBC World of Dance on Youtube).

Creative folks out there that have such a distinct voice take us into their worlds. We can feel that energy bubbling all over. We feel that expression is coming from a deep source. I rummage through folks on Instagram that copy the mixed media crayon style like Teesha Moore or Jane Davenport. They are just starting in their quest. I am thinking down the line they will find that voice too after putting on someone else’s. Check out artist Claudia Six, who I found yesterday. Her distinctive imaginary friends and dark yet spooky style has a voice all its own. Check out her Alice in Wonderland series while you are there; theatrical yet whimsical. Would love to visit her studio.

Claudia Six

Screen Shot 2017-07-18 at 9.39.00 AM

SOURCE: Claudiasix.com

More scouting around Instagram I look for the voices that can’t be duplicated. I found this artist from California.

Lissa Herschleb

Screen Shot 2017-07-18 at 9.59.10 AM

SOURCE: Instagram, copyright Lissa Herschleb

Her style is funky yet distorted with a bit of whimsy thrown in. Her site. She credits “indigenous peoples and the spirit world” as her influence, and that voice is clear, raw and dramatic. You rock, Lissa.

Screen Shot 2017-07-18 at 10.11.41 AM

A Fanciful Twist – Vanessa Valencia

SOURCE: http://afancifultwist.typepad.com; copyright Vanessa Valencia

And on the other side of the spectrum, Vanessa takes you into her world of glitter and colors and golden retrievers with hats, and you want to get lost there in her imagination. This is a world I bet unicorns live. Each year she sponsors Madhatter and Halloween blog parties that have been fun and entertaining. Her positive and uplifting style bursts through photos on her blog. And through her parties, many try to replicate her, capturing that magic, but that’s impossible. Which brings me to…

The problem with all this admiring is you can envy their style and end up taking on a little of it and muddy up your own. Glitter on my photos? Yes, let’s add that. Black somber seems to work, I will recreate that for my Instagram photos. You are now so far south of who you are and meant to be. Be inspired by their work. Use that inspiration to propel you forward to your authentic path. If they can do it, so can you. As I create my Idea Emporium book, I am constantly reminded of this. With my research I see in other books, my book develops, but I am probably best creating far from the computer or the bookstore so the book can talk how it wants to be. After all, the point of my design activity book is finding YOUR style and voice, not drawing the same cupcake I draw. I want to see your style, your design. 

Grappling and pushing for your style doesn’t work either. You have to get there with experimentation, discovery, and even a few accidents. It can take years or a month. It all depends on how far you can deep-sea dive into yourself, and how much you can bypass the quicksand — all those “not enough” voices in your head.

The advice I keep getting is to STAY AUTHENTIC, whenever I am thrown off course. Be true to what I do best, stick by it, don’t judge it, and that applies to you also. From the examples I shared, the most successful creative people seem to do just that.

pandatrain
from IDEA EMPORIUM book

Until next Blog Tuesday, find what floats your boat and calls to you the most… hey, that has a catchy feel to it. Could be a song. With lots of hugs,

ronnidesigningfairy

ASKING FOR WHAT YOU NEED: If you liked this post, do consider, for only $1 a month even, becoming a patron to support the Idea Emporium Book project. The link is here. And be sure to follow this blog!

Posted in Being Creative, Creativity and imagination

What Blocks Your Creativity & What Flows It

I’m excited to get things rolling here at the Idea Emporium. I just started a Facebook page for the world/book, I’m growing my Instagram page to share video clips and drawings, and the book proposal and first chapter are nearing completion. Yay! I’m excited also to have you on this journey and be a part of the Idea Emporium world. This is good stuff, but then why am I having soul-crushing dreams like being naked while driving a car? Or having headaches and this overwhelming urge to live under the bed most the day like my Giant Ooh Yellow Dog, Cobi Ann, and I don’t want to create? Making things takes a lot of vulnerability — you are putting yourself out there for all the world to see. And creating those things takes up a lot of energy. You need to refill and renew, but creativity can be shut off for a little while. There are THINGS that can block that flow of creating, and THINGS that can keep that river flowing. So here’s my tips if you are feeling hopelessly blocked, numb, pissed off at everyone and everything because all that creative juice ain’t going anywhere. Believe me, I have been there. Like the other day…Drum roll please.

Three Things that are like Toxic Mud to Your Creative Juices & What Will Fix It: 

Too much Social Media Not Enough Creating Take heed my friends! The other day I created a nasty migraine. I was staring at the phone counting my Instagram Followers. I was cursing the Unfollowers/Followers and getting caught in the nonsense game. I looked down at myself, and thought, Dear Goodness, This is my Life now? I hadn’t drawn a thing. Not one. In fact, I probably didn’t look away from that phone in two straight hours. It was my driven personality taking myself hostage. I was close to needing some kind of weekly meetings. Yes, build your audience (I’m talking to you and to myself here), but please go do what you do first! That’s the whole purpose of sharing, right? To have stuff to share? This social media thing of who gets the most followers first reminds me so much of Middle School. Let’s see who has the most friends and is popular, but God forbid, you pull out a tendon and are on crutches one day and no one is there to help you up the stairs when you need it (true story, tenth grade). 

 

You aren’t having fun This is a biggie. Yes, work can be hard and there’s irritating things you have to do like fill out taxes and business forms, and actually leave the house and talk to other people. But there needs to be PLEASURE in what you do. It should be fun. I have a teaching philosophy called the Rubber Ducky Theory. Even the mundane like taking a bath can be fun by adding a squeaky rubber duck to the bath water. In fact, learning should be fun. We integrate more when we are enjoying ourselves. Once you aren’t having fun, it’s a big indication you are heading in the wrong direction. I’ve been reading a fabulous book on Design Thinking called Designing Your Life. There’s this exercise on Engagement and keeping a Good Time Journal (not what you are thinking, you dirty mind.) In your journal, you write about all your activities of your day rating them with how much energy that activity gave you and how engaged you were. The more engaged, the better. What a mind blower! This is your map. Letting you know what you are meant to do, where you thrive and your strengths are, and what gives you true pleasure. That’s fun, people, that’s joy. Go there, says the map. Because years from now on your death bed you are going to resent what you didn’t do (Well, that’s a downer, but you get what I mean.)

 

You are comparing your thighs with someone else’s thighs When I was a teenager I was perfectly happy hanging out with friends and thinking I was way more than enough. Thank goodness for women’s magazines to remind me I was not! What a service. Today’s magazines are replaced by Instagram images of perfect homes and people laughing in mid air. They are photoshopped even on their phones with editing software, and they are posed with all the right things around them. Ugh. Never mind that behind the scenes their marriage is a mess and they are addicted to sniffing glue. A form of torture for artists is to have them scroll the feeds and look at how one artist has a zillion followers even though they draw cartoons with their feet for fun. “Omg!” I cry. I don’t even draw with my feet and my drawings are good. Am I not special enough? I just compared my thighs with someone else’s thighs, symbolically of course, and decided I didn’t measure up. This exercise then cuts off my creative flow and I have zero ideas, and all I want to do is sit and watch an iZombie marathon and be grateful at least I’m not undead. You are your own kind of special, remember that. The whole snowflake analogy thing. Don’t get caught up in that nonsense that is trying to sell you perfume. 

Symptoms Your Creativity is Shut Down:

Antidotes:

  1. Vacation. When my hubby and I went on vacation to California a few weeks back, I filled up my notebooks with creative inspiration. It was glorious. Even day trips can help change the scenery. You need in-person inspiration to experience to fill up that well of ideas. 
  2. Talk to good friends. They are your fans for the creative stuff you make. They love your dress design you made from socks and won’t rip it apart why it doesn’t make sense. You need to fill up with the right voices.
  3. Make what is important to you, important. Quickest way to creative blockdown is to try and please everyone else while creating. Everyone wants you to paint mountains, but you feel pulled to paint old tricycles caked in rust. Please paint those tricycles! In the long run, you will have the bigger success.
  4. Fill up with Goodness. I love looking at Pinterest or hanging out at the library. Barnes and Noble magazines also fill the well. Images love to feed the creative juices. But fair warning: don’t fall into the Comparing sandlot. Watch Spirited Away.
  5.  Dance! Listen to music that gets you hopping. Kick up your feet and move. That gets the juices flowing the quickest and easisest. 
  6. Let things grow in the time it needs to grow.
  7. Be authentic as possible. Get back to yourself. What did you used to love to do as a kid? What is your favorite interests? When’s the last time you perused the graphic novels in the bookstore or checked out the journals in the stationery store? What is most YOU?
  8. Read The Artist’s Way and the whole section of “the odds.”
  9. Go watch Embrace: The Documentary. It will snap you back into place.
  10. What works for you?

So, what do you think? Been blocked? Stuck in the evil muddy waters? Step away from the phone and go put on some music. Better yet, have some coffee at a funky coffee shop with murals painted on the wall. How do you know that creativity is coming right back? You will feel the flutter of ENERGY bubbling up. Until next time,

ps. Do take a look around here and have fun unleashing your creative juices. The Bakery needs cupcakes designed. Episode 1 is ready to be viewed. And join the growing book Patrons over on Patreon and shop the store with upcoming classes to support the project.