Tiny Buddha Blog Post #4 - Saying Goodbye to the Hamster Wheel

I am a highly efficient person, West Coast abstract artist and business owner.  Sometimes I have to remember that balance in work and play is important.  

Thank you to TinyBuddha.com for publishing my article titled: There’s More to Life Than Work: Goodbye Hamster Wheel, Hello Balance.

I love my work.  I love it so much that some days, I forget to eat.  I get so wrapped up in my art business that my "other" life (you know, family, friends, self care and such...) gets neglected.  Really, what I strive for is balance.  That's easier said than done sometimes.

I suffer from "hamster wheel syndrome" which UrbanDictionary.com defines as: when someone just keeps running in circles (and making the same mistakes) in their life instead of progressing.  At times, my brain is firing 10 ideas per second and each sparks another 10 ideas.  Ultimately, that leads to me not knowing what the heck to do and so I do nothing.  Sound familiar?

Check out my latest post on Tiny Buddha to read more about how I deal with this struggle.  If it resonates with you, please share.  

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I'm Bringing Simple Back

Being a West coast abstract artist means that, by default, I'm also a small business owner... But I'm not sure the same business rules apply to me as an artist.

So, the past couple of weeks have been…um…interesting.  I worked super hard at the end of last year to have a revenue and marketing plan in place for all of 2018 so that my year was planned out to the T.  How very responsible and business owner-y of me, yes?  Well…I think I’m throwing the majority of it out.

I have been a sponge when it comes to learning about growing my business.  I have taken more courses than I can count and worked with 2 separate business coaches since 2015.  The amount of information that has gone into my brain is stifling…literally.  Half the time, I feel like I can’t move.  I am the kind of person that given direction, I will take that ball and run with it until I reach my goal, or my legs buckle from underneath me.  Last week, they buckled.

I simply cannot keep up.  My drive to be a successful abstract artist, writer and business owner has brought me to the brink.  And I want to be clear here…it’s not the mission or the art that has led to here.  It’s my drive.  My never ending want for more.  My belief of, “By doing X, Y & Z, I will get A, B & C” just isn’t really panning out.  Here, in no particular order, is a sampling of all the suggestions that I have been given in order to grow my business.

  • Create art for all price levels
  • Write a blog to create content for my website
  • Submit guest blogs to places where my “ideal clients” hand out
  • Submit articles to magazines
  • Approach pod casts for interview possibilities
  • Email 3 people a day, 2 strangers a week and send specific articles via email or better yet, snail mail, to 1 person per week
  • Join Instagram (I won’t list all of the different ways I’ve been directed to use IG)
  • Join Facebook business
  • Run Facebook ads and promotions
  • Create a mailing list and send out emails often and consistently
  • Send out surveys to my mailing list
  • Participate in different Facebook groups
  • Create a Patreon page
  • Repurpose my art for art prints and products (I won’t list all of the different products that have been suggested…there are too many)
  • Create a webinar for people struggling with anxiety and depression
  • Create an “Excel for Artists” webinar
  • Create a private Facebook group for my fans
  • Collaborate with other artists
  • Do art shows
  • Do pop up shops
  • Do holiday sales (Christmas, Mother’s Day, Earth Day, etc…)
  • Be sending press releases to media regularly

 

And like I said, that’s merely a sampling.  I have a very hard time not taking every suggestion I get seriously (with the exception of “excel for artists” as I’d rather put hot pokers in my eyes that try to teach artists to be organized).  If you’ve been following me for a few years, you’ll know that I’ve tried the majority of this list.  I’ve at least dipped my toes in each and every one. 

You know what it’s gotten me?  Exhaustion, disappointment and SI joint issues from sitting at the desk. 

Marigny Goodyear Art Surfing
More of this please...

Plus, I feel like I’m further away from my art.  I was told last Fall that at the phase of business I’m in, I should be spending 80% of my time on marketing and 20% on creating art.  I’m just not sure that I can sustain that.  In fact, I know I can’t.  The complexities of trying to weave all of these things into my day to day has hurt my productivity rather than helped it.

 Here’s a statistic that I’m not too happy with:  In 2017, I created 54 paintings (wow!).  If we broke that down by months that would mean by the end of April 2017, I had completed 18 paintings.  This year, I’ve done about half that, so far.  Now, I’m aware that I didn’t do all 54 of those paintings evenly divided over the months.  I know that I did 20 small ones in the months leading up to the holidays. Regardless, I’m not painting nearly as much as I want to be.

Marigny Goodyear Art in the studio
And more of this...

I kind of freaked out on my business association Facebook page last week.  Here’s an excerpt from that freak out: “I want to make art, sell art and surf. It's a little frustrating that in order to do that, I have to become all of these other things. Patreon, pop up sales, webinars, conference calls, blog writing...jeez...can't I just paint? I spend 6 hours a day with this stuff and 2 in the studio. I freak out every now and then from this pace and have to run to the coast to hide from it all.” 

To my surprise, do you know what my business coach’s response was?  “I want to make art, sell art and surf.  This is exactly what you should do, no questions asked. Your business needs to reflect this Vision in its Mission, and you need to shave off everything that is not in alignment with this.”  Amen. Hallelujah. Queue standing ovation here.

True to self, now that I have a person of authority in my life telling me that I should do what I want to, I now feel I have permission to do so.  (Sorry Mom…apparently, I had to pay someone to tell me what you’ve been telling me for a while now.)

So, more art.  Of all kinds.  No more: “In order to brand myself, I need to stick to a square canvas only using this one technique”, or “I have to only paint one theme or subject”, or “I can’t stray from my established prices”, on and on, etc…  I’m actually working on some small paintings right now and I’m not using paper in them…OMG! Imagine!

Marigny Goodyear art in the office
And less of this...

As an artist, I think I should be experimenting all the time.  That’s what will keep my work interesting and my passion ignited.  And as a person, I just need the ocean.  I’m so much happier when I’m surfing regularly.  I know that I need to give my business attention, but I’ve been attending the fuck out of it for a few years now and I haven’t necessarily seen the rewards for focusing on the business side of things.  Don’t get me wrong, there has been some growth, and I've learned a lot, but not enough to justify sustaining this cray cray pace.  

I’m pulling back.  Re-assessing.  Simplifying.  Remembering my passions and why they should ALWAYS be the focus. I want to be doing the things that spark my soul more and the things that turn me into a puddle on the floor less.  More art.  More surfing.  Less computer time.  Less bitching.  Word.

An Artist’s Search for Self: Dude, where’s my Ikigai?

The adventure of becoming a West Coast Abstract Artist, has led me closer to finding my Ikigai, and  I have definitely found what I DON'T want to do.  

I have just returned from 9 days on the beach.  My body is strong and relaxed and my soul is full…and I’m terrified.  Yesterday I was confident and feeling that I was in the right place at the right time doing the right things.  Now that I’m back at work, I’m scared that I will deplete all of the amazing energy that surfing for 9 days in a row, going for long hikes in the red woods and spending time with my loved ones has given me. 

Well, not this time, negative voice!  I have seen a few things pretty clearly over the past couple of weeks and I’m definitely aware of what I DO NOT want to see happen.  My predictability is finally in the forefront of my brain which means I'm getting to know myself better.  I do not plan on being surprised by my negative thinking habits and the confusion that it can cause so here, in no particular order, are some changes that are going to be implemented immediately: 

I am NOT, in any way shape or form, allowing my passions to turn into something I dread by marketing them to death.

I have made huge headway in the realm of marketing.  Ok….maybe not in the way that I thought I would but headway regardless. I have been taking course upon course and absorbing every bit of marketing info that I could get my hands on.  It’s been great, but guess what:  I’m done with that for now.  I can’t take any more info about ideal clients, email campaigns, revenue streams and goals…I’m just overwhelmed by it all and frankly, I fear that worrying about all of this stuff has taken me away from the part of this journey that I’m actually passionate about, painting and writing.  I dread sitting at my desk because of the lists of marketing tasks on my plate.  It’s time to simplify.  Because if I don’t, I’m going to hate this journey super fast and I really don’t want that to happen. 

Marigny Goodyear abstract artist essay writerWriting has become a path to better understanding my Ikigai

People resonate with my writing more than my painting.

Not something I would have ever foreseen…but it’s ok.  I like to write.  I didn’t know that I liked it.  All I do is write about what I know which happens to be struggles with anxiety, depression, the feeling that I will never truly be happy and how my art and being in nature helps me out.  Through writing about it, I understand it SO MUCH BETTER.  Through understanding, I have been able to make some serious habit changes that help me from being perpetually pulled towards negative thinking and I have helped myself enormously. 

And guess what I found out in the process? A lot of people have the same problem.  So many in fact, that when I write about it, people contact me from all over the world.  No lie.  I hope that eventually my writing will lead people to my painting but I’m also open to writing being a larger part of this adventure if that’s what is meant to be.  

I don’t want to manufacture new goods into an already “over saturated with stuff” world.  I want to create original works of art.

One thing I have learned in the first quarter of this year is that I don’t like the way manufacturing new products makes me feel.  I did my first pop up shop in March.   Many of you bought tote or beach bags, throw pillows and canvas prints and I thank you all dearly, from the bottom of my heart for purchasing.  I wish I could say I was going to proceed with the other 3 pop up shops I had slated for 2018…but I’m not gonna.  It felt really weird to try and create some awareness around the state of our oceans and coastal health, and simultaneously be creating new goods. 

Sure, they were made in America, but there was a lot of polyester involved, and I’m sure toxic dyes, etc.  If I ever create art products again, they will have to be 100% eco-friendly.  Plus, that pop up shop took way too much time and energy away from my art and I began feeling disconnected from my own adventure.  It’s not for me. 

Marigny Goodyear Art Creating Joyful Adventure on Patreon

However, I love Patreon and will continue to grow my inner art community there.

I launched Patreon only a few weeks before the pop up shop and then the shop kind of took over everything and so I didn’t really promote it all that well.  I still managed to gain 12 Patrons on Patreon and I have really enjoyed updating them weekly, and doing my monthly recap video.  It feels like an online diary and much more intimate than the Book of Face or Instragram.  The 12 people I’m talking to care enough to give me money every month in order to be part of my inner art journey.  That’s powerful! 

The road in front of me will show me which way I should go…and this road is pointing me to art, surf and adventure. 

When I’m driving on the highway, I have 2 choices, keep going straight, or take an exit.  I cannot get off the highway where there is not a road in front of me.  (I mean, I guess I could but it would be super bumpy and there is a likelihood that there would be expensive repairs involved.)  Why make things hard when there is an exit just up ahead?  I have recently received funding from a Patron that I have decided will be put towards my dream of the MKPG Art Trailer.  I really did think it was just a dream until this funding came along. 

I have just over 2 years until my daughter will go off to college.  During that time, I am going to build a mobile art studio/gallery to tow behind our surf van.  We will go where the surf takes us and I will be able to continue painting and writing essays and will get a vending license to sell art on the road.  You know when you pull up to a beach, and you see that guy or girl with jewelry out on a blanket and everything they own in a back pack next to them and you think, “how on earth do they make that work”?  I want to be that wackadoodle person (albeit with an vanpartment and mobile art studio in lieu of beach blanket).

Marigny Goodyear art surf adventure pacific northwest
All I ask for is pure joy. I think that's what the Universe wants for us all anyway.

Creative living as an artist and writer makes me unbelievably happy...and simultaneously terrified.

Truth is I’ve always been that wackadoodle person who desperately wanted to be “normal”.  Instead of embracing the creative parts of myself, I always ran from it as if it were some sort of super strain disease.  I’ve realized that creative living is actually the only type of living that makes me happy, but it also happens to be terrifying.  Instead of embracing my true nature, I’ve allowed that fear to steer me off my path thinking it would be the easier way.  Guess what?   Not easy, and there have had to be many repairs made in the forms of sobriety, therapy and a deep look inward.  I have realized that by not just simply being who I was born to be, I actually complicated my life into a pretty big cluster.

We may think that the choices we make are safe but unless they are congruent with our true essence, those “safe” decisions can sink the ship.  In Japanese, the word Ikigai means “a reason for being”.  Finding one's Ikigai can sometimes take a lengthy search of self but once found and followed, life becomes satisfying and has meaning.  We must always be in alignment with our callings or be actively looking for them.  After a long search, I have found that mine is art, surfing and adventuring and so, going forward,  that is what I shall think about when making every decision. 

Have you found your Ikigai? Please share in the comments below.  I’d love to hear about what gets you out of bed in the morning.  XO

The painting at top is Herons 2  8x10 Acrylic, Paper, Graphite and Crayon on canvas (Gold floater frame included)

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How Giving Feeds the Soul (even if it's inconvenient at times)

Illness, death and injury can be seen as HUGE diversions from the things we should be doing and can create resentment.  I suggest that perhaps being of service when our family, friends and community needs us does more good than harm.  Service feeds the soul.

Happy March everyone!  Can you believe that it is already the third month of the year?! It has been a crazy couple of months for me.  I’ve implemented Patreon into my art business in order to build a private community around art and personal development (click here for more info) and today marks the opening of my very first 30 Day Pop Up Sale on my website where I’m offering limited edition art prints, tote and beach bags and throw pillows.  March’s theme is taken from my Pelicans painting. 

I was hoping to have awesome photos to share with you from the last Surfrider Foundation beach cleanup and in reflection, write a blog about being of service.  However, life has not cooperated with me and my best laid plans for the beginning of 2018 have not happened quiet the way I thought they would.  Normally, that would have pissed me off royally.

In truth, I can’t believe that I have launched both my Patreon community and my first quarterly Pop Up Sale on time.  The first week of this year, I worked hard and focused.  I made these two new programs my priorty…but then I got sick.  I was laid up for a week.  Not much I can do about getting sick, so I took the week to focus on my health.

The next week I was ready to dive in again!  Full steam ahead!  And then I got a call from one of my oldest and dearest friends.  Her mom had passed very suddenly and unexpectedly.  So, I was on a plane to New Orleans to help in any way I could.  I was there for about a week.

When I got home, I was ready to rock and roll!  I worked for about 3 weeks, hard and fast to make up for lost time…and then my daughter got the flu.  I kid you not, I have never seen her so miserable.  She was sick and out of school with fever for a full week. 

To those of you who may say “Hey that last one isn’t a problem!  You work from home!” you either don’t have children or you’ve never had to take care of a sick one.  I was either cooking, cleaning, running a bath, disinfecting, doing laundry, rubbing her head, dishing out medicine and fending off the junk myself (because I’m not going down this time!), and trying to work in between all of these tasks.  I became completely behind and missed the beach clean-up because of the flu.  It’s no one’s fault.  It’s just life. 

The day she was well enough to leave the house, I woke with a crick in my neck that hurt so bad, my mobility was effected.  My husband had to help me do things like put my hair in a ponytail and trying to get a hoody on made me weep.  So, painting was out….and I had a commission due to a client by the end of February. 

Interruptions, distractions, emergencies are all things that can divert our routines.  Instead of becoming frustrated, perhaps we can look at these things as a way to give back.

Marigny Goodyear Art air travel protectionFresh off the Flu and onto the plane to New Orleans. I would have never chosen to travel that close to being sick, but wachyou gonna do?

 

In my past life, all of this would have blindsided me and my work flow so badly that I immediately would have gotten frustrated and inevitably, contentious feelings would have grown towards all of these people and problems that were stopping me from doing what I wanted to be doing.  Resentments y’all…no fun at all. 

That was the old Marigny.

The new Marigny celebrated her 5th alcohol free year on February 28th.  Yup, yesterday was my sober "birth" day. 

When I first was in recovery for alcoholism, I had to shed my old belief system 100%.  And while that topic is large enough to have its very own blog post, one of most important things I had to admit to myself is that my thinking came, in general, from a very selfish place.  I did a lot for others, but always with the expectation of getting something in return and when I didn’t get it, I would get really angry.  I was, of course, oblivious to this selfishness and when I figured it out, I was shocked and truly disappointed in myself.  

I discovered that a solution to this problem is to be of service to others.  At first, I tried to cram in ways to volunteer into my already packed and over scheduled life.  Recovery takes a lot of time and effort and sometimes it all felt very overwhelming.

But I realized something…being of service doesn’t always have to be applied to the food bank or the SPCA.  Although I have tried to involve myself more in my local Surfrider chapter because I’m passionate about surfing and my love for the ocean,  I realize that the most important people to be in service to are my family and friends.

These are the people in my life who have stood by me during my volatile times, the aftermath of those times and my journey to sobriety, my depressed states and my daily anti-anxiety rituals.  Why shouldn’t these be the people that I willingly and happily give my time and energy to?

Being of service takes me out of myself.  By helping those who are in need, I contribute to a larger part of life...the part that doesn't revolve around me.

Spiritually, I believe that there is nothing else that feeds the soul like being of service.  It takes me out of myself in a way that nothing else does.  As any and all activities that are good for me, service work never really sounds like that much fun.  I don’t mean to sound like an asshole or anything, but do you think that cleaning up trash or taking care of a miserable and grumpy teenager sounds enjoyable?  What about going to the aid of a mourning family?  Good times these are not.

But when I go to the clean ups and see all of the people that care for our beach, the “chore” becomes a bonding experience and ultimately brings me closer to my community and to the Ocean.  

After my kiddo’s fifth day of fever and third meltdown over not being able to hang out with friends on the long President’s Day weekend, I thought I would lose it.  I was looking at the painting that is due by the end of the month and felt panic rising, but then she looked at me and said, “Thanks for taking care of me, Mom.  I love you.”

When I went to see my friend’s father, who had just lost his wife, he just grabbed me and hugged me and thanked me so much for being there for him and especially for his daughter during such a terrible time.  

I realized that I sacrificed my work and plans for her, for him, for my people…because I’m a person and people contribute and take care of their villages when it’s their turn to do so. That’s what I choose and I can feel proud that I’m doing what a good person does and I’m doing it without pitching a fit because I know that in the long run, taking care of my people is good for my soul.  

Marigny Goodyear mixed media abstract art studio longhornsI swear to God my art table looked exactly like this for about 2 weeks.  It is a dern miracle that the longhorns commission was done on time.

Did my daughter take me for dinner to thank me for my “lost” week or treat me to a spa day because my body hurt after all the care taking?  Nope.  What I got in return is love from her and the comfort of knowing that she is cared for. 

The old me would have been fuming inside from all the inconveniences.  The 5-year alcohol free me is just happy to be able to be home with my daughter to be her nurse, rent movies and make food that she may or may not eat.  The sober me didn’t even think twice before jumping on a plane to help my friend.  And the community minded me didn’t cry about not being there for the cleanup (and, let’s be honest, to surf afterwards). 

And guess what…all of my work got done on time anyway.  If I would have had a fit, it would have been out of a projection of fear.  Fear that the shit wasn’t going to get done and that I was going to be a failure.  That was my old mind set.   Instead, I just shrugged and said, “Not much can be done about the flu, or death, or a crick in my neck.  It is what it is.”

I’m really excited about Patreon and my Pop Up Sale and about the next beach cleanup, but in the end, I am content knowing that I can parent without having severe FOMO (fear of missing out).  I can be here for my family because I want to be, not because I feel obligated to. 

I must admit that it makes me a little sad to think that’s how my brain use to work.  I felt like my family was holding me back from whatever the hell I thought I should be doing.  Now I know that it’s my family that lifts me up and it’s my community that holds me and makes me feel part of something.  

I don’t normally like to give advice, but here’s 2 cents from a sober drunk.  When you feel really bad about yourself, when life just sucks and you want to crawl in a hole, do something for someone else.  Spend an entire day dedicated to your child’s interests.  Grab a coffee with your Mom.  Make a surprise romantic dinner for your spouse.  Show love, Y’all.  I want my road to be paved with love, not money or number of paintings created.  Love.  It’s really all that matters and indeed, all we need.

And FYI - a percentage of the profits from my 2018 Pop Up Sales will go to Surfrider Foundation for ocean clean up and coastal health awareness.  There are always ways to give.  So go do it.

The painting at top is Stampede 36x36 and was commissioned by Taqueria Picaro in Ashland, OR. (And I completed it on time.)

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Want to Make Money While Making Art? Treat Art Like a Small Business.

I have officially been a professional West Coast Abstract Artist for 1 year.  By treating my art like a small business, I have seen growth that many professional artists have told me they didn't see until about 10 years in.  

I have had a successful first year in that I held 5 art shows and made my first-year revenue goal by selling 15 pieces of original art plus 1 commission.  I have my first comprehensive marketing plan in place for this year.  2018 will introduce a few different revenue streams into my business model including art product pop-up sales and the involvement of Patrons into my process (which I’m so excited to introduce you to soon!)...

...And I can almost hear the crickets and see the blank stares as I talk about this stuff...the boring side of the art biz that no one asks me about.  The questions I get most often are “where do you find inspiration?”, “how long does it take you to paint that?”, and my favorite, “you make a living from this?”.  Seeing as the creation of art is really how I spend only 30-50% of my day, I thought I'd let you all in on what it is like to make AND sell art for a living. 

I initially went to college for art.  I entered Boston University School of Fine Arts in 1994 with dreams of learning to weld and design large scale sculptures.  I graduated from BU in 1999 with a business degree.  Huh? 

Yup.  I did what a lot of kids end up doing which is changing my major half way through college to something that was 100% different from what I started in.  When I made that switch, I thought my life as an artist was done.  Over the next 20 years, I worked in various professional positions from hotel management, advertising executive, to junior broker at a financial firm...and I never felt that any of those roles fit me at all. 

It wasn’t until I was in my mid-thirties that I embraced art again.  When I did, I finally felt comfortable in my own skin and I thought, “Right!  This is what I have always loved!  I should do this for a living!”  But there was a caveat…after a few hours in the studio, I found that I was over working my paintings and felt that I was “forcing” creativity.  Creating is exhausting work.  I still had a day job so it wasn’t a big deal at first, but the thought began crossing my mind…can I really do this full time?  But then, something pretty cool happened.

Marigny Goodyear Art Small Business Owner
Welcome to my office where I spend at least half my time.  That reminder on my window encourages me to bring it, 150%, every day.

Artists are also small business owners...whether we want to be or not.

As a professional artist I am, by default, also a small business owner.  It seems this is not a role that a lot of people with artistic brains are comfortable in.  But for me, it has been a stimulating challenge that excites and motivates me.  It also means that I get to switch back and forth from making art to marketing art and tending to my business, which turns out to fit me perfectly. 

In high school, I lived in the art room and art was one of the few classes that I got top grades in.  The other classes that were my favorites?  Math and any science that involved math.  In college, I loved my accounting and finance classes.  There is just something about numbers and organization that my OCD brain has always been attracted to.  But art and math sure seemed a strange combo… 

As it turns out, I am perfectly suited to being an art business owner or “artrepreneur” as I like to say.  I love to create art.  I also love creating spreadsheets that track my finances, marketing schedules and social media engagement.  I find immense pleasure in creating revenue plans and taking online courses about marketing in the age of social media (which, BTW, is VERY different than the marketing classes I took 20 years ago).  

All on my own, I have built a website, created a social media presence and grown a mailing list that I send correspondence to multiple times a month.  I have started and continued to write this blog (a pleasure that still surprises me).  I now know how to write press releases and engage with media outlets. I send out surveys to better identify my ideal client and this year, I’m creating a few different ways for those clients to buy my art and be part of my art community at various price levels.  

And when I’ve spent 4-6 hours in my office doing all of the above, I move to the studio and make art for the remainder of the day.  

Some people’s eye glaze over when I start talking about this stuff.  Some people are fascinated.  And some still think that artists cannot make a living without gallery representation and a presence at one of the huge art fairs like Miami’s Art Basil.   

I simply want to make my art and simultaneously make a living.  I do not need to hang in MOMA.  I do not expect to see my work on the auction block at Sotheby’s and I don’t really care if academic types think my art is below their standards because I sell it online.  If MOMA comes a-calling, I will gladly answer the phone, but that is not how I measure my success. 

Marigny Goodyear Abstract Mixed Media Art Whales
Pinstripe Whales, 24x24, Acrylic, Paper & Graphite on Canvas.  My passion is the ocean.  Why wouldn't I strive to be there as much as possible? 

I want to make art.  I want to live my life by my own standards.  I want to make my own rules and be independent in my decision making.  AND I want to make money while doing it. 

I think that I’m REALLY lucky.  I like both the creative and the analytical parts of my business.  I also love to surf and strive to build a life where I can jump in our van and enjoy the ocean often…like for weeks at a time often...all the while working on the road.  

Some may think that I’m unrealistic, but I don’t think so.  I think I have the ability to create my ideal life.  To do what I love despite the opinions of other people which, by the way, I hardly listen to anymore.  

Is it easy?  Hells no!  But it’s me, all me and nothing but me.  I am responsible for my own destiny.  I have found a way to blend together what used to seem as totally unconnected interests.  And I truly believe that it is something that all of us have the ability to do, if we so wish. 

So, for all you lovely people who like to write music AND balance your check book, who love to create recipes AND alphabetize your canned goods, who design and sew your own clothes AND make spreadsheets of your textile inventory…  YOU are the natural Artrepreneurs of the world!  

Yeah…you’re also probably pretty weird and never really “fit in”, but that’s OK, if fact its great!  Embrace your eclectic nature!  Find ways to use ALL your talents together.  For you are the masters of your own universe and the creative do-ers who innovate AND motivate to get the shit done!   So, go on with your weird self and create the world that you want to live in. 

And for Pete’s sake, don’t listen when people tell you that it’s not possible or you’re doing it wrong.  When people use the words “unreasonable”, “unrealistic” or say that “great artists don’t make money” (yes…someone actually said that to me…) just walk away.  I am going into 2018 choosing to believe in myself and my mission.  I’m doing this my way.  Yeah.

 

The painting at top is Deep Dive, 24x24, Acrylic, Paper & Crayon on Canvas

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How Writing Brings Me Emotional Clarity

It’s been a bit over a year since I started writing a blog about my path of becoming a West coast abstract artist.  What started out as a necessity for creating content for my website has become a most pleasant surprise and joyful practice in my life. 

I’ve never put much emphasis on writing.  It’s not that I didn’t like writing, it’s just that visual arts have always had the strongest pull on me creatively and so I never really investigated writing as a creative outlet.  That and the fact that my Mother is a writer…well…I guess it just never occurred to me that I would end up doing what my Mom did for a living. 

When I started developing my website, I was encouraged to start a blog as a way to create content.  I have to have content in order to drive web traffic to my site and so a blog, I was told, should always be an active part of marignygoodyearart.com.  I was given a bit of guidance in that my first couple of blog post should be my “pillar posts” and should tell people all they need to know about me and my art.  I worried about what I could possibly share with people after that. 

Marigny Goodyear Art Heron SketchJust as sketching helps me to see the path to a painting, journaling brings me towards emotional clarity.

Keeping an artist's journal is a path to understanding.

I started to keep an artist journal in my studio that I would write in after my art practice for the day was done.  I would just reflect on what I did that day and how I felt about it.  Well…from that I came up with idea after idea about me, my art and why I do what I do, how my personal struggles contribute to my art and how my art contributes to my life.   I learned things about myself that were there all along, but I had never been able to put words to.  Writing fixed that for me.

I’ve written about my art process, my struggle with anxiety and depression, the things I’m grateful for in my life, how I deal with stagnation, my passion for surfing, nature and doing things out of my comfort zone…  The list goes on and on.  1 to 2 a month for over a year now.  Because most of my writing revolves around my own self-development, my articles fit into a “self-help” category but my intention is not to fix other people rather to heal myself.  

We are not alone in the hardships of being human.

I have received emails, messages and comments after posting blog posts that have shocked and humbled me.  People have reached out telling me things like “I have struggled with this same issue but didn’t know how to put words to it until I read your post.”  One woman told me that she was about to end her relationship but after reading my blog post on the problems with having too many expectations, she realized that she too had been expecting her partner to know what she needed without her having to communicate it, and it always ended with disappointment for her and frustration for him.  

I want to repeat that I don’t intend to help people with their problems.  I don’t think I know how to solve everything and I sure don’t want the burden of helping people through darkness.  If I did, I would have become a therapist or something.  But having people reach out to me from all over the world and tell me that they relate to me and that my writing has helped them put things in perspective has been a powerful experience for me.  Powerful in that I didn’t know that I could help people but even more so in that I know that I am not alone in the dark times. 

For a person that has felt extremely isolated for the majority or her life, it is a comfort that I had no idea was out there.  Just to simply say the things that I have always been scared to say and then have people respond that they feel that too.  Wow.  We are never alone.  No matter how dark I can go, I now have an understanding that I am not crazy.  I am not abnormal.  There is nothing wrong with me.  

Being a person is hard.  My most important job as a human is to learn how to be human.  I think that means showing compassion and kindness to all of the insane appearing emotions that come from my head and my heart.  Until I learned to do this, I couldn’t get anything done.  I lived in a place of not understanding the voices in my head and feeling unsure of just about every step I took.  Until I started writing, and sharing my writing, I had no idea that I wasn’t totally alone and that my problems are not unique.

I am no longer scared of my imperfections.

Now, I am an open book.  I am honest about my emotions and I’ll talk to most anyone about them.  Really.  I’ll never forget being at a party where a woman that I just met shared with me that she was a bit uncomfortable because she didn’t know many people.  I responded that I feel uncomfortable in social situations about 75% of the time…even when I do know people.  I said that it was ok though, because that was just how I am and I’ve learned tools to deal with it and be social or tell people that I’m just not up for it and stay home.  At first, she looked shocked that I would share such a thing and then a look of relief spread across her face.  She wasn’t alone. 

I’ll talk to you in the middle of a party about my struggles with alcohol, anxiety, insecurities, depression, how hard I can be on myself when I feel like I can never do enough…  Whatevs. Bring it.  I’m not scared to identify these things anymore.  That is what writing has done for me.  It has allowed me to process some of my deepest secrets and thus took fear out of the equation.  Writing takes vague and uncomfortable feelings and turns them into concrete words.  Seeing them in black and white makes them less scary. 

Now, I laugh at the judgement I used to have when seeing a bunch of self-help books on someone’s book shelf.  I realize that it was my own insecurities I was uncomfortable looking at, not theirs.  Seeing someone embracing their problems made me cringe.  I get it now.  Having organized words explain difficult emotions is a powerful thing both for the reader and the writer. 

Our emotions are what make us human and if we meet these feelings with an inquisitiveness, compassion and understanding, that is what will allow us to grow.  So, thank you for reading and for reaching out.  I’ll keep writing openly and honestly.  We are all human and we not alone, ever.

Happy New Year everyone.  Onward we march into our unknown adventures.  I, for one, am pretty darn excited to see what is around the corner.

Marigny Goodyear Art Never Stop ExploringPhoto Credit: Chris Goodyear 

The photo at top is a sketch for a duo of whale paintings that I'm working on.  

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