Artist Profile: Nicholas Wilton - Building Communities of Creatives One Workshop at a Time

Being a career west coast abstract artist would not be possible without the help of talented teachers.

When I first started this journey of becoming a professional artist, I was running solely on emotion and old, ignored art supplies.  I didn’t have a goal.  I didn’t know that this would be my career.  I was merely trying to express feelings of remorse, anger and agitation that were alarmingly amplified when I decided to quit drinking.  No longer comforted by simply burying these discomforts under the weight of alcohol, I unearthed them and then needed a tool for dealing with the difficulties that bubbled up.  

I had leftover paint, paper and some brushes and so I started.  I had never done abstract painting before, but sobriety was just about all my brain could handle.  Thinking about realistic details of a still life, or…let’s be honest here…trying to do anything with any specificity at all was really difficult.  I just began to move my brush-holding hand and abstracts are what sprung from my fingertips.  And it saved me.  

Finding art again was an unexpected gift given to me by my willingness to let go of old coping mechanisms and being open to getting to know myself.  Self-awareness had never been my strong suit.  So, discovering that I am an artist was amazing and at the same time, a “well duh” moment.  I knew it all along, I just ignored it because I didn’t think it was practical road to travel.

Guidance from an established west coast abstract artist and teacher was the inspiration I didn't know I needed.

Nicholas Wilton West Coast Abstract Mixed Media Artist
Nicholas Wilton is a Sausalito, CA based abstract artist and teacher whose workshop I attended flipped me into action.  I have been painting consistently since.

 

A year into my self-administered art therapy adventure, a good friend suggested that I take an Art 2 Life workshop taught by Sausalito, CA based abstract artist, Nicholas Wilton.  After briefly checking out his website, I was immediately attracted to Nick’s art.  His use of shape, repeated pattern, movement and vibrant colors widened my eyes and motivated me to learn more.  I signed up and drove to California for 5 days of art making.  It was the best thing that I have ever done for my art, my confidence and my career. 

Nicholas Wilton Art 2 Life Workshop Westerbeke RanchDay #1 of Nicholas Wilton's Art 2 Life Workshop at Westerbeke Ranch in Sonoma. 

Nick taught his 6 art principles which included color, harmony, value and design.  Many of these had been introduced to me in my long abandoned fine arts schooling but not thought of since, and they were important reminders, but his 6th principle was the most important and influencing….Soul.  Heeding soul was not taught in art world academia and wasn’t that what I was really working on?  Cleansing, listening, being receptive and responding to my soul?  Without knowing it, Nick was reiterating what I had been learning over the past year…to thine own self be true. 

Nicholas Wilton Art 2 Life WorkshopDay #4: My works in progress at Nick's Art 2 Life Workshop.  The finished version of the one in the right corner is at the top of this blog post.

Nick also believes in the importance of having a community to lean on as well as contribute to.  Over the past couple of years, he has continued to be a huge support and inspiration to me through his art, blogs, video lessons and willingness to make time for students like me.  He recently made himself available for a 15-minute interview so that I may share some of his wisdom with you. 

If you are an artist needing direction, I highly recommend his workshops and if you can’t afford those, just sign up for his blog "The Artlife".  He often sends out videos discussing his work, process and problem solving.  Read on for our conversation about his influences, challenges and maneuvering through the business of art. 

A 15 minute interview with west coast abstract artist, Nicholas Wilton.

MG: You seem to be a master of creating patterns without making the painting have a “wallpaper” feel.  Is that something that you have to work for or does it come naturally? 

NW: People always say to make exciting design, you have to have a variety of sizes and shapes and things, and you can, for sure…but you can also [work within] a pattern.  If the pattern is repeating, that can be somewhat monotonous because when we look at one part of the picture, the same kind of feeling occurs in another part of the picture, so that’s the recipe for sort of boring somebody.

Nicholas Wilton Color-Field-1 Abstract Painting Mixed Media ArtNicholas Wilton, Color Field One, 36x40, Mixed Media on Panel, Caldwell Snyder Gallery

But if you can offer differences within that context, that can become really interesting.  So, for example, maybe the pattern repeats, but the color is different on different parts of the pattern. Then that becomes noticeable and interesting.  Or maybe the texture is different.  (Pointing to the painting above.) That painting looks like little chips of color [in rows].  That’s not a very particularly exciting pattern because the pattern isn’t really anything…just a bunch of colors…but I’m talking about colors and the conversation about color.  All of the sizes are the same and they are in a line but I’m really paying attention and offering the viewer something that’s different.  There are contrasts that happen to be in the [different] colors.  Patterns can be wallpaper like but when you change things within that, then it becomes exciting.

MG: The first artist you studied with was a stained-glass artist Ludwig Schaffrath.  How did working with glass influence how you paint now?  What was the biggest lesson that you learned from him as a new artist that you carry with you today?

NW: Well I entered into it more as a craft.  I liked making things, so I was learning how to make stained glass.  The thing about stained glass is that [you start with] incredible pieces of glass.  Some are translucent.  Some are transparent. There’s glass from Germany that’s really beautiful. What you learn pretty quickly is that maybe it’s the materials that are so amazing. 

Let’s say you pull out this amazing piece of glass that you love. It’s so beautiful just on its own. Then you cut it up and you make a flower out of it... So, I became interested in the questions of why do I keep taking this amazing material and turning it into pictures that happens to be made out of stained glass, but really weren’t very good?  When you think about a picture of a stained-glass flower, it’s kind of bric-a-brac. It can be kind of cheesy.  So, I started to look around at different artists that were doing work as good as the materials.  

Nicholas Wilton Art 2 Life Workshop Work TableAn Art 2 Life Workshop table.  The raw materials are just as important as the finished product

 

Ludwig Schaffrath was making these incredible modern day monastery windows…very contemporary and very much in alignment with the glass. I was seduced by the materials because of the caliber of the finished product.  The materials were so good that it upped my game to get better at designing and using it. What I learned from this gentleman when I was 15, is that the only thing you can really do is something personal and unique.  If you want to copy reality, that’s fine but you have to do it in a way that’s personal. He was the first one to press that idea that I still teach today and try to do in my own work.

MG: I recall you saying in a workshop that you can try to make your art look like another artists’ but it’s never going to.  It’s always going to look like you. 

NW: Yeah.  We can try on different ways of working.  I can copy an artist for a day and try to make my art look like theirs but you won’t stay there very long because it’s not very interesting because they’ve already done it.  But it is important for you to pull out and discover the reason why you were attracted to their work.  You might love Mark Rothko but you don’t want to be Mark Rothko.  You just want to understand the way he’s using color because that’s what you love.  I wouldn’t want to do a Mark Rothko painting because he already did them all.  People learn that eventually and they move on. 

Nicholas Wilton Bone-Yard Abstract Art Mixed Media PaintingNicholas Wilton, Bone Yard, 12x12, Mixed Media on Panel, Caldwell Snyder Gallery (I LOVE this one.)

MG: What is the most challenging part of being an artist at a professional level?

NW: I think there are three parts: 1. Isolation 2. Not having all of the information to do this…it takes time to have all of the information, how to paint, what to do when you get stuck, all of that technical stuff and then 3. Having the right place to do it.   I couldn’t make these paintings in a small room anymore.  I had to move to a bigger space and it was scary.  I had to pay more, I wasn’t sure I could do it… Having a practice that works…that’s something you have to learn.  They don’t teach that.  Having a good community and a solid art practice or approach and just the basic information.  That is what I teach in my online courses and workshops.  If you can give that to people, that does it…. especially the community part.

Nicholas Wilton Millwork Abstract Painting Mixed Media ArtNicholas Wilton, Millwork, 60x60, Mixed Media on Panel, Caldwell Snyder Gallery

MG:  So creating a community of artists that you see regularly and having people that you talk with often…

NW:  Yeah and even connected on a Facebook group or whatever.  I’m really interested in creating community…that’s why I’m talking to you right now. We are staying connected.  We might not have talked for a long time but we’re connected and I just believe that’s a path that allows me or anybody to do this rather unusual activity and pull it off successfully. 

MG: You teach workshops as well as painting.  Do you enjoy one more than the other? Do you feel that teaching and painting complement each other?  How? 

NW: They work in conjunction.  I don’t think I could teach if I wasn’t doing the practice.  I have my own personal practice and then I’m helping people develop theirs.  I do these Sunday blog posts and those are done completely spontaneously.  I’m painting and then I learn something new or I’m getting new perspective and I just share that with people. Certainly, the teaching is derived from the painting. And teaching clarifies my own practice.  The best I ever paint is after 7 days of teaching a workshop.  I go home and I can pretty much guarantee that I’m painting more confidently and probably a little bit differently than I was before I left.  So, it’s a win/win as far as I’m concerned.  It works for me.

Also, you can’t forget that by teaching I’m getting inspired by all of these other people.  When I see your painting and what you’re doing…you’re painting larger now…I get that juice from you.  There’s been an exchange because we’ve worked together a little and I see what you’re doing and it’s bigger and it’s “wow!” and that fires me up and my day is just a little bit better and I use that energy to go do this challenge (pointing around the studio). 

Nicholas Wilton Pin-Point Abstract Art Mixed Media PaintingNicholas Wilton, Pin Point, 12x12, Mixed Media on Panel, Caldwell Snyder Gallery

MG: You had a gift line business adventure at one time.  How did you feel when that opportunity came along and why did you ultimately decide that it wasn’t for you? 

NW: I created the opportunity in a way because I was tired of doing illustrations…you get paid for one and then do another one and another one and another one… I would make some really good art but it would just disappear so I thought “how can I make some of this art stay around?” and the idea of putting it on products, gifts specifically, like trays, boxes and tote bags, came along and I worked with some friends and we created a company. 

What happened though was that the momentum, the need, the desire to sell, that directed the company, of course…that’s the whole point…to make money.  But my direction was partly that, but to also make the best possible work I could.  And at one point, one of our biggest sellers were basically little tiny cheap reproductions of paintings that you could get at Walmart or Bed Bath and Beyond for like $5. I saw my own personal work [reproduced] but I was uncomfortable because I’m also a fine artist and I had done a lot of work to keep my work at a premium, to keep the prices high, to make it prestigious, because it is. It’s what I do.  It’s really important.  But I saw that this was cannibalizing that and I didn’t like that.  It didn’t feel good to me.  And when something doesn’t feel good to me, regardless of the money, I know from art, from my life, you don’t do continue doing that.  You do something else. There are alternatives.

Nicholas Wilton Blue-Storm Abstract Art Mixed Media PaintingNicholas Wilton, Blue Storm, 12x12, Mixed Media on Panel, Caldwell Snyder Gallery

MG: Spring is almost here.  Seeing as nature is such a big influence for you, do you notice that your paintings and pallet choices change when the seasons change? 

NW: Yeah.  I think so. My studio isn’t heated and I’m warmer now, which is half the problem.  I get so damn cold in here because these ceilings are so high so I’m bundled up in the Winter and it’s just a hard road for a few months.  Also, I think Spring is more of an opening and unfolding and Winter is a closing more.  There is an ease to it and a looseness and more color.  I think there tends to be, over the course of an artist’s career, to go from control to more and more loose and more and more exploration and an opening or broadening and I think that relates to seasons as well.

MG: What piece of advice would you give a young artist starting out and does that advice change if someone is starting out as a young artist vs. an older artist? 

NW: I just think it’s important to realize that each person, old, young, whatever, whoever, if they’re interested in doing this and if they can pay attention to what they love, and really focus on that and look within themselves, that’s really the path to making personal, authentic, sellable, desirable work that you love.  That’s the path and that’s available and they have everything they need they just may need some guidance.  Everybody’s unique and everybody can therefore make unique and personal work.  They just have to pay attention to themselves.

Learn more about Nicholas Wilton on his website.

The painting at top by me is "Original Bubble" 12x12 Acrylic, Paper and Graphite on Birch Board and was one of the pieces I created while attending Nicholas Wilton's Art 2 Life Workshop in 2014.  

Join my community and be part of the Artventure!

Comments (5):

Marigny on

Rebecca – Thank you so much for reading!

Rebecca Janes on

Hi great posts on Nicholas Wilton and the other ones also. thanks.

Marigny on

Judy – You are most welcome! Thanks for the comment. He is amazing and generous.

Jan – Thank you very much! Yes…I feel very lucky, indeed.

Judy Levit on

Marigny, this was a great interview. Thank you for making it available. I took Nick’s CVP online course and I am also so very happy that I found him! I have learned so much and love being a part of the continuing online community.

Jan Allsopp on

Great interview Marigny! I’m a NW fan too having done his CVP online course. I’d so love to do a workshop with him sometime. You are lucky to have such a good and generous teacher in your life. So nice that you’ve kept in touch.

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Bringing it Back to Joy….Damn it

When the holiday chaos turns me into a grinch, I have creativity to show me the joy.

 

Ohmyfuckinggad!  I just spent like two hours doing gift research and it’s official: The holidays do NOT make me grumpy.  Shopping makes me grumpy.

I am not a shopper.  I really never have been.  I have been letting the same woman at the same boutique in my hometown of New Orleans dress me since I was 16.  16, y’all!!!!  I walk in and say, “Jennifer, I need jeans, tanks, and t-shirts that don’t look like t-shirts.” She disappears and brings me things that I love in my size.  The end.  

I joke that I will always have to visit home because otherwise, I’ll never have any new clothes. It’s true…I haven’t been in a year and I forgot to get tanks the last time I was there and now I have one tank that I wear every day.  Gross…but true…

My point is that it isn’t the actual holiday that overwhelms me.  It’s the massive expenditure and the time suck that shopping takes that stresses me out.  

We are all so friggin’ busy.  Between the three party invitations that I received just yesterday, I realize that my schedule is getting quite full and I have to be careful.  I cannot afford to take on too much and spread myself too thin.  I know where that will lead: exhaustion, anxiety, and me not wanting to leave my bed. 

Back to joy!!!!  I opened my online holiday sale to the public yesterday.  It has been nice for me to look back at the art that I created for this sale.  It is all art that breathes optimism, love, laughter, and joy, all feelings that I experienced creating this work, and definitely a feeling that I want to bring into 2020. 

 

I don’t want to start 2020 being more tired than the dead.

 

I don’t want to start 2020 being more tired than the dead.  I want to feel invigorated and alive!  Positive and hopeful!  I want to begin in a head space that says, “YES to life!” rather than, “Aw fuck, really?” 

After my husband decided THIS MORNING that tonight, we should take a family photo for our holiday cards, I was most def in an, “Aw fuck, really?” mindset.  Shouldn’t we have done that about a damn month ago?

But then I had to get on the computer and open my online holiday sale to the public.  I, once again, had a chance to take a look at the art work.  Heart Flowers for love, Love Clubs for laughter, Surfboards for joy, and A Lovely Mess for Optimism.  *Deep exhale.  Right…that’s what it’s all about. 

 

The intention I want for my life is expressed through my creativity.

 

I love this work. I love my life.  I love my family who supports me being an emotionally challenged artist.  And I love you!  YOU!  Who is on this crazy, beautiful, artventure with me and reminds me that I’m not alone. YOU!  The one who has read this bah humbug tirade of a blog post all the way to the end! YOU!  Who while reading this thought to yourself, “Oh Thank the Lawd, it’s not just me!” 

No, it’s not.  For every person out there wearing bells and reindeer antlers, singing, “Falalalala,” there are also those of us in fetal position, rocking back and forth in the corner, wearing a nasty and yellowing tank top saying, “Fufufufufuck,” as well. 

How’s your attitude today?  In the comments, tell me one holiday "jolly" that made you want to stick hot pokers in your eyes.  Today, the Salvation Army bell was this close to going up Santa’s you know what. 

All I can say is thank goodness for art.  It’s as if the intention I want for my life is expressed through my creativity.  Even though my mind may default to the negative, my creative side is always there saying, “Or, it could be like this…”   

Alright.  Enough of the tirade.  Time for joy.  It’s studio time. 

 

 

Shop my Joyful Art for the Holidays Collection by CLICKING HERE.

 

The paintings at top is Seagull Prism, 8x10, Acrylic & Paper on Canvas and comes in a natural wood floater frame.  Make this little surfboard and a large dose of joy your own, by clicking here.

 

 

I am an artist and writer, living in Talent, Oregon with my husband and daughter. I use creativity to break through anxiety paralysis, I play in the ocean to stay strong and inspired, and I often visit my hometown of New Orleans, where the rhythm of my heartbeat is renewed. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram where I post stuff sometimes.  To hear from me more regularly, join me on this Crazy, Beautiful Artventure.

Tiara is my Super Power: The Strange Ways I Stay Calm

I’m standing on the corner of Stay Calm and Freak Out trying to decide which way I’m going to go. 

 

I know which way I’d like to go and I’m attempting to remind myself that I always feel like this before a show.  So, you know what that means…


…It’s full on TIARA TIME! 

 

Oh yeah.  I was standing in my studio right after kid #1 came in sick, and a half-hour later, kid #2 came in panicked and crying, and I thought to myself, “when did life get so chaotic?”  Then I saw the sparkling tiara sitting on my shelf.  I don’t know what it is, but that tiara makes me feel like a gad damn Wonder Woman.  I wore it the rest of my day and at the dinner table.  I have to love my family for not even mentioning it. 

Today, I’ve got to be in go mode.  I have to get the house ready to be cleaned, go to Trader Joes for cookies and cider, Office Depot for a new receipt book, get the Christmas decorations out of the garage (omg I hope the box is easy to find), and start transforming my house into a gallery. Oh!  And I’ve got to write this blog post.   (Thanks for helping me suss out today’s to do list.)  

Did I mention that I’m fighting off a migraine, whatever illness the kids have brought in, and haven’t felt so tired since having a baby? 

This is how tired I’ve been:  I went to the ocean over the weekend.  I surfed Friday and had a blast.  Saturday morning, I woke up to find a cold and windy beach but still, it was totally surfable.  I watched my hubbie and his BFF paddle out...and promptly fell asleep in the van.  Like the dead.  

Hubbie woke me when they got out.  I said hello, and fell asleep again.  We left the beach and went to BFF’s house where we ate and I passed out on the sofa.  Hubbie woke me and moved me back into the van where I slept until 8:00am the next morning.  Sunday, we took at redwood hike, which was lovely, and then headed home where I was in bed by 9:00pm.  I guess I needed the rest.

It’s been an exhausting couple of months.  Some of the most physically and emotionally exhausting since giving birth.  Before a show, I traditionally get crazy nervous anyway, but now, I’m heading into the show already feeling somewhat compromised.  I just keep telling my body to pretty please hold off on getting sick until Sunday evening.  

I am reminding myself that my holiday sale is filled with art all about joy, love, and laughter.  Plus, I’ve decided to display my series called, A Lovely Mess, which I have not shown locally.  A Lovely Mess is a visual description of the chaos of life, and the beauty that hides within, if we’re willing to look for it.

A good reminder.

I am so blessed in this life.  I am surrounded by natural beauty and amazing people.  I have a home, a car, too many clothes, and access to art, music, and the ocean.  I love playing records and paint-dancing in the studio.  I love surfing.  I have a beautiful family, and the added bonus that we all like each other a whole lot (well…most of the time…they are teenagers after all…).  

 

There are people in this world with real problems…like no access to clean water problems…and here I am whining about being nervous before a dang art show. 

 

I know that my feelings of anxiety are valid and deserve attention, but today, as I stand on the corner of Stay Calm and Freak Out, I find myself feeling guilty about feeling anxious.  There are people in this world with real problems…like no access to clean water problems…and here I am whining about being nervous before a dang art show. 

My feelings are real and should not be dismissed but I have to wonder, when did I get so self-centered?  Is it the culture that we’ve been raised in?  We live in an incredible land of privilege.  My guess is that even some people who live on welfare have it pretty decent when compared to a lot of the world.  And yet, I would also guess that we are one of the most stressed out societies on the planet.

 

I wish this holiday, beyond all else, that I could just flip a switch and make the anxiety disappear.

 

I wish this holiday, beyond all else, that I could just flip a switch and make the anxiety disappear.  I often think about the old crusty surfer that I met on the beach one day who, with a twinkle in his eye, told me that, “stress is optional”.  It doesn’t feel optional.  How does that happen?  How do I get there?  Teach me, Oh Crusty One.

So, great…now I’m feeling anxious over feeling anxious.  Dang, the hamster is running early this morning.  But I have hope.  I have hope because right when I wrote the sentence about the hamster, I pictured it in my mind, aimlessly running in the wheel, but this time, the hamster in my head has a fucking tiara on. 

My wish this holiday season is that everyone can drop a little joy into their stress filled days.  That when our families start getting under our skin, we can picture them wearing tutus and tiaras.  When traffic, shopping, wrapping and unwrapping makes us think of pollution, waste and debris, we can also see the sparkle of the season and remember how freaking lucky we are to be born here, and not Syria.    

That the dark side of life is only one side, and we can choose to focus on the light and joyous side, and simultaneously live in a way that doesn’t feed the dark.  What a gift that would be. 

Do you ever have guilt about feeling anxious or stressed?  In the comments below, I’d love to hear one way you could shift that perspective.    

And look, I know I’m a silly human.  I mean, who the hell puts on a tiara when they’re feeling stressed to the max.  Apparently, I do…and guess what…it’s all good.

  

Marigny Goodyear Art Tiara Therapy

 

The photo at top is one of my little relief surfboard paintings I've created, for the holidays.  They simply represent joy, positivity, optimism.  This one is Psychedelic Sea Stars, 8"x10", Acrylic on Canvas, Framed $280.  

 

CLICK HERE to learn more and join the waitlist to get early access to my online holiday pop up sale.  Give a one-of-a-kind gift of love, laughter and joy and receive a FREE GIFT FROM ME when you order.

 

I am an artist and writer, living in Talent, Oregon with my husband and daughter. I use creativity to break through anxiety paralysis, I play in the ocean to stay strong and inspired, and I often visit my hometown of New Orleans, where the rhythm of my heartbeat is renewed. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram where I post stuff sometimes.  To hear from me more regularly, join me on this Crazy, Beautiful Artventure.

Gratitude & Reassurance from the Universe...in a Bowling Alley

Sometimes the Universe lets me know I’m on the right track, by simply making me smile.

I cannot believe the holidays are here.  That’s it.  2020 will be here before we know it.  It’s just a stone’s throw away. I find that by the time Thanksgiving hits, the holiday whirlwind sweeps me up and pitches me out into the new year before I’ve even had time to look around and see what the hell just happened.

Well, that’s what it feels like anyway.  Thankfully, due to the recent transition tornado that hit my life about six weeks ago, I’ve already been in whirlwind mode, and so I’m feeling strong and prepared today.  I’m already in crazy town!  Whatchoo gonna do now, Universe?

You know what the Universe did this week?  Gave me a big ole pat on the back.  It said, “Girl, you’re doing so well.  You’re being of service in a time of need in a big way, and I see you.” 

The message came while listening to oldies, in lane one of a bowling alley with carpeted wall decor.  No kidding. 

 

How did the Universe tell me this?  The message came while listening to oldies, in lane one of a bowling alley with carpeted wall decor.  No kidding. 

I haven’t bowled in…well…I can’t remember the last time.  I used to love it.  In high school, my friends and I would clown car it in a station wagon to the Bowl-A-Rama where we would play “Mellow Yellow” and “Secret Agent Man” on the juke box, and bowl with an extreme amount of silliness…usually ending with someone getting injured.  (I’m looking at you Eliot.  I will never understand how one pulls a groin bowling.)  Good times.

This past Sunday, we were invited to join a group of friends for a few games.  I was tired AF, and have turned down many a plan lately.  However, bowling?  Now that sounded like something I could socialize for.

Game one, first thing that happened is that I bowled three strikes in the first three frames.  Wa-Wa-What?! I have never in my life done that and chalked it up to someone needing to get a “turkey” right before Thanksgiving.  But it didn’t stop there.  I continued to bowl the best score of my life in that first game.  A 145, to be exact. 

I was pretty proud, but knew it was a fluke when first frame of game two, I got a gutter ball.  Woops.  But then…spare…spare….spare…strike…spare...holy crap what is happening?  Game two, I bowled a 136.

Game three, I thought for sure my arm would be tired, but no, I bowled a 155, including a strike and spare in the last frame.  My lowest score of 136 was even 20 points above the next high score.  In short, I killed it.  I blew everyone away, every game.  Even my hubbie, whom I have NEVER beat in bowling.  Never. Not in the 14 years we’ve been together.

 

There, sitting in lane one, I felt as though the Universe was patting me on the back saying, “For right now, you’re a gad damn winner.”

 

Over the past month, I have been exhausted to the point of freaking out in front of my family at the breakfast table, repeatedly crying in my studio, and hysterically laughing at the prospect of what the hell could possibly happen next.  There, sitting in lane one, I felt as though the Universe was patting me on the back saying, “For right now, you’re a gad damn winner.”

I say that in jest, but I’ve really been thinking about it.  I have written in the past about paying attention to the signs on our paths.  How if we look around and observe, we will be able to tell if we are where we need to be, or if we have decided to detour and go off-roading (which can be fun, but not so good on the shocks).

While I have not been questioning the decisions made in the past six weeks per se, I admit that when times are overwhelming, it’s easy for doubt to creep in.  On Sunday, I felt that the Universe was giving me a reassuring pep talk and saying, “You’ve been working hard.  You’re doing awesome.  Here’s something fun to smile big about.”

I mean, my highest ever bowling score was like a 110.  I was always stoked when I broke 100.  But a 155?  That’s some higher power shit right there. 

Thursday is Thanksgiving which has a complicated history that hasn’t been presented all that accurately.  But, no matter the origin story, it has become a time for family and friends to get together, and for all of us to reflect on the things that we are grateful for. 

So…I am grateful for my incredibly supportive, patient, and giving family and friends.  I am grateful to be of service to someone I deeply care for, when they need it most.  I am grateful for the ups in life, but also for the downs, as they amplify the ups when they come, and teach me profound lessons while they are present. 

I am grateful to live in an absolutely gorgeous place where the mountains take my breath away and the ocean continues to teach me about myself.  I am grateful for my simple home that keeps me warm and dry.  I am grateful that I am tuned in to the Universe and can hear the direction that comes my way.

And I am incredibly grateful for YOU.  THANK YOU for being on this crazy, beautiful, artventure with me.  I love this community and I know that we will all continue to inspire each other as we move into 2020. 

In the comments below, I’d love for you to tell me three things you are grateful for. 

Aw crap…here come the tears again.  So be it.  I hope your Thanksgiving is filled with love, laughter, joy…and pie so good, it makes you cry. 

 

Love & light always,

Marigny

 

The photo at top is one of my little relief surfboard paintings I'm making for the holidays.  They simply represent joy, positivity, optimism.  This one is Del Norte, 8"x8", Acrylic on Canvas, $160.  

CLICK HERE to learn more and join the waitlist to get early access to my online holiday pop up sale,  Give a one-of-a-kind gift of love, laughter and joy and receive a FREE GIFT FROM ME when you order.

 

I am an artist and writer, living in Talent, Oregon with my husband and daughter. I use creativity to break through anxiety paralysis, I play in the ocean to stay strong and inspired, and I often visit my hometown of New Orleans, where the rhythm of my heartbeat is renewed. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram where I post stuff sometimes.  To hear from me more regularly, join me on this Crazy, Beautiful Artventure.

How Not to Turn Crazy This Holiday Season

The holidays can turn me into a stark raving mad stress machine!  Making self-care a priority enables me to enjoy the holidays, while lowering my stress.   

Maybe it’s the need to fit in all the events.  Or maybe there’s pressure to decorate the house so that it looks as good as the neighbors’.  Quite possibly there is financial stress in finding extra cash for presents.  Maybe you just don’t want to see your in-laws... 

Whatever the case may be, I DON’T FEEL LIKE IT!  “Like what?” you may ask.  The stress. The pressure.  The overwhelm. The Christmas carols.  All of it.  All the things that come with the holidays.

This time of year, I am particularly prone to “hamster wheel brain” and “chicken with my head cut off syndrome”.  I mean, let’s be honest here, I’m prone to it all year long.  So, add in multiple deadlines, revenue goals, holiday cards (both personal and professional), Christmas gift shopping, all the events and parties, and the one enjoyable task on my holiday to do list, pie baking, and I am ripe for anxiety overload. 

Not to mention that as the holidays approach, people seem to have an increased level of road rage…or is it just me?

Yesterday, an hour before my weekly Yoga class, I thought to myself, “I definitely don’t have time for Yoga this week!”  So that meant that I DEFINITELY had to go.  I’m glad I did.  Self-care is important this time of year and I mustn’t let that go slack, that’s for damn sure. 

So, there I was getting my Om on, and I announced to my Yoga community that I was having my locals’ holiday art sale.  I was explaining that this year, my holiday art is focused on positivity and the things that bring me love, laughter, and joy, and immediately I felt a shift in my stress level.

Just talking about the art that I’m creating for the holidays (both my local in person sale and my online holiday pop up), created a sense of ease.  It was as if I reminded myself what I was proactively doing in order to take care of myself and keep overwhelm at bay. 

 

What we focus on is what we create more of.

 

With that reminder, I was able to let go and completely drop in to my Yoga practice and man, what an amazing class it was.  (Props to Melissa Cooley here in Talent, Oregon at Om Sweet Om Yoga Studio.  If you are looking for a Yoga teacher in the Talent, OR area, go to her.  She’s one of the best.)  I came back home feeling totally refreshed and I dove into the studio, where I am completely behind, but I no longer felt as stressed about it as I did when I left to go to class.

I’ve talked about this before, but saying things out loud is powerful.  By just announcing my intention of my holiday art to a group of 10 people, I reminded myself of what I am attempting to create for the holidays.  Art that brings love, laughter, and joy.  I mean, if I’m focusing on that, I won’t give my brain much time to starting looking around for things to stress about.

 

Last week I talked about being pro-active in our self-care heading into the holiday season, and here I am, one week later, already needing a reminder myself.

 

Last week I talked about being pro-active in our self-care heading into the holiday season, and here I am, one week later, already needing a reminder myself.  What we focus on is what we create more of.  I could focus on the stress and tap into a never-ending stress Mobius within myself, or, I can focus on this art.  This beautiful art that makes me smile and reminds me of how I want to live: In love, with lots of laughter and infinite joy.

So, with that, I’m back into the studio this morning.  I have art to make for you and for myself.  I want to head into the holidays with a stream of positive cosmic dust in my wake. I am a pie baking, positivity seeking, optimism comet!  I can do this.  So can you.  Let’s continue into this holiday season with happiness and bring that into the new year.

I'd like to know where, in the busiest of times, you go for solace.  Tell me in the comments below.  

I’ll be going to Yoga, taking my walks, and keeping up with my daily breathing and meditation practices.  After all, this is the time of year when pie and cookies are a food group, and family and friends make time for each other. Why choose stress?

 

The image at top is one of my little surfboard relief paintings.  It’s a little shiny as it’s awaiting it’s finishing coat, but it makes me smile never-the-less and reminds me of the joy and creativity that surfing sparks within.  This one is called "Three Dollar Board", 8”x10”, Acrylic on Canvas.  

CLICK HERE to get on the waitlist, get early access to my online holiday pop up sale and give a one-of-a-kind gift of love, laughter and joy and receive a free gift from me when you order.

  

I am an artist and writer, living in Talent, Oregon with my husband and daughter. I use creativity to break through anxiety paralysis, I play in the ocean to stay strong and inspired, and I often visit my hometown of New Orleans, where the rhythm of my heartbeat is renewed. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram where I post stuff sometimes.  To hear from me more regularly, join me on this Crazy, Beautiful Artventure.

Warding Off Holiday Stress by Creating Joyful Art

When holiday stress threatens my sanity, I search for inspiration in what brings me joy. 

And with a strike of lightening and a crash of thunder, the holidays arrived. 

Ok ok…it’s not THAT dramatic.  But does anyone else feel like the anxiety tornado triples in size this time of year?  I suppose I could talk about all the things I usually talk about starting around Thanksgiving…gratitude, self-care, being of service, and yes, all of those things are important.

But I also talk about those things all year long and frankly, I’m a little tired of listening to myself.  Sometimes I feel like all I do is bitch, forgive myself for bitching, come up with strategies so there is less to bitch about, repeat.

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for some fun!  The holidays are here.  My local’s only holiday sale, and my online holiday pop up sale are both in 3 weeks, and I have a lot to do.  I was going to make a shit ton of Love Clubs for the sale, but to be honest, I’m kind of tired about thinking about how women don’t feel safe in the world.  Yes, they’re funny, but also not at all (plus I have enough of them pre-made already to offer, and I’m going to have a “build your own” custom Love Club option at the local’s sale). 

 

Love, laughs, and joy is all I want to surround myself with right now. 

 

Instead, I’m focusing on joy.  What brings me joy without question every single time?  Surfing.  So, for my holiday sale, I’m making a series of (I hope) fifteen surfboard relief paintings based on my old sketches of surfboard art that I did years ago in the mornings between dropping my kiddo off at school, and heading into work.

For months, I sat and drew surfboard art.  It was (and still is) a dream job of mine.  By the time I stopped, I probably had something like 40 different designs, from abstract, to ocean life inspired.  I knew that I would do something with them one day and it seems that now is the time. I went way back into my Instagram feed and chose the 15 most “liked” designs to use for the project. 

These relief paintings are a new style for me.  As you know, I love changing things up and keeping myself interested.  I didn’t think that just painting the surfboards on a canvas would make the impact that I wanted them to make.  I want them to POP off the canvas, literally. 

So, I am using a light acrylic molding paste to actually build the surfboard on the canvas so that they are three dimensional.  Each surf board is given a few layers of the paste so that they are noticeably built up off the canvas.  I sand and shape them by hand.  No molds are used.  Each is unique. 

Then I paint my design on the board. I was adding complex backgrounds but quickly realized that the surfboard itself was the star of the show, and was more powerful of an image with solid color backgrounds.  So, solid colors backgrounds it is, with a few subtle additions here and there.

They are charming and they make me smile. The art that I will offer at the beginning of December, both at my local’s only holiday sale and my online holiday pop up sale, are focusing on the bright side of life.  Heart Flower paintings for love, Love Clubs for laughs, and Surfboards for joy. 

 

Love, laughs, and joy is all I want to surround myself with right now.  I want reminders of the light.  I need to be nurtured by positivity.  My art for the holidays is all about that nurturing, especially heading into the new year.

 

And with that, I have to go and do stuff.  I know it’s a short blog today, but time is of the essence and I have SO MUCH to do. 

Are you starting to feel that “holiday dread”?  In the comments, tell me one thing that you could do for yourself during this season that would help you sustain your energy and positive attitude.  It ain’t all poinsettias and gingerbread men, no matter what the Costco display says. 

Love and light to you,

Marigny

 

The image at top is a grouping of the surfboard designs that I would sketch, sitting in a cafe early in the morning, before heading into my jobby-job.  

 

I am an artist and writer, living in Talent, Oregon with my husband and daughter. I use creativity to break through anxiety paralysis, I play in the ocean to stay strong and inspired, and I often visit my hometown of New Orleans, where the rhythm of my heartbeat is renewed. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram where I post stuff sometimes.  To hear from me more regularly, join me on this crazy, beautiful Artventure.

 

 

Four Reasons to Speak Your Truth, No Matter What Others Think

We fear speaking our truths because of rejection, judgement, and being misunderstood, but in fact, hiding our truths is far more damaging than speaking them.

 

Last week I sent out a questionnaire to you, My Fellow Artventurer.  I asked about fears and/or challenges that you have surrounding speaking your truth, finding peace within your life, and living with an anxious mind. 

I received many different answers to the “finding peace” and “living with an anxious mind questions”, but the question, “when it comes to speaking your truth, what is your greatest fear or challenge,” resulted in one common answer: you’re afraid to speak your truth because of the reaction you’ll receive from others.

This answer came in a few different forms:

“I worry what people will think of me.”

“The truth can hurt others.”

“Being misunderstood by the listener.”

“Judgement and rejection.”

“No one listens.”

“That the other person will get mad/yell at me.”

“Being rejected or not understood." 

“The truth—and I—will be received poorly.”

“Being rejected or told I’m not worth it.” 

“Rejection and misunderstanding.”

Holy Moly.  Quite the common thread.  I TOTALLY 100% resonate with these answers as I lived the majority of my life scared to death of what others thought of me.  So much so, that I didn’t show my true self, I didn’t state my true needs, and I made decisions based on what I thought “you” wanted me to do (without asking you, of course). 

Never-the-less, once again this questionnaire has shown me how alike we are, and that my fears are not unique.  It has really made me ponder why is it, exactly, that we fear the reaction of others as much as we do. 

I remember when I was a teenager, I was at a restaurant and really wanted to order meatloaf and mashed potatoes, but ordered a burger instead because I was scared of what the other kids at the table would think of my comfort food craving.  If I didn’t even order the food I wanted based on fear of judgement, you can imagine what the other decisions in my life were like.

When I was in my late 30s, I decided to start writing this blog about being an artist.  If you go back to the beginning, my blogs were about my process in the studio and the projects I was currently working on.  Then I began to speak freely about the challenges of living with anxiety, loneliness, insecurities, all of the emotions that I had felt all through my life and squirreled away into a great big hole within, too afraid of what it would mean if I expressed how I really felt inside.

Then I dropped my truth bomb about being an alcoholic and promiscuous teen and what that had done to my emotional and mental health as I grew into a woman.  It was that essay that unlocked the power of speaking my truth. 

First off, I found out I was not alone.  Talk about a shocker.  Women from all over the world reached out to me, not only to say that they too felt what I felt, but also to thank me for having the courage to speak up about an uncomfortable topic.  They called me strong.  They thanked me for offering a way to talk to our children and stop the cycle of girls growing into women who feel that they have nothing to offer men beyond their sex.  I now realize that none of us are alone.

Number two, I discovered that speaking my truth gives me confidence, and that makes me want to do it more.  My life changed that day I began hearing from my readers.  I felt seen, maybe for the first time.  And that was not the fault of my loved ones who support me no matter what.  They were always there.  But I learned that my silence was me hiding, and that’s why I had not been seen before.

Thirdly, I discovered that I had been living dishonestly.  You know what the opposite of truth is, right?  Yup…a lie.  I had to admit that me not speaking my truths was just as damaging as me telling lies.  I was scared of the outcome of telling others how I felt, and so I created my truth based on what I thought “you” wanted me to say.  The damage that was created within my life by not speaking my truths was hard for me to look at, but existed none-the-less.

Fourth, I realized that what others think and say about me is NONE OF MY DAMN BUSINESS.  I mean that.  You might be saying, “Of course it’s my business!  It’s about me!” and I suppose if others are slandering me to a point that it’s effecting my home life or career, then yes, that is my business.  But otherwise, everyone has an opinion and the opinions of others are not here to serve me.  My mental health is too important to be stifled by worry about what others think about me.

 

The fact is the damage that I inflicted upon myself by not speaking my truths, was FAR WORSE than the damage that anyone else’s opinion ever inflicted upon me.

 

Damn…I wish I had learned that lesson when I was in my teens, or twenties, or earlier in my thirties for that matter.  The fact is the damage that I inflicted upon myself by not speaking my truths, was FAR WORSE than the damage that anyone else’s opinion ever inflicted upon me.  I was my own bully.  I allowed the infinite “what if” scenarios to be the decision makers. 

And far worse, I made my decisions based on what I thought you wanted me to do without even asking you, therefore, I decided that I knew what you were thinking! If I think about it, that’s pretty fucking arrogant. I mean, who am I to know what anyone is thinking.  What…I’m some omnipotent being who can read minds?  No...I thought everyone thought like I did, and I was extremely judgmental. 

Funny, huh?  I was terrified of the judgements of others, but really it was me that thought I knew everything.  And worse, when it blew back in my face, I blamed you for not acting how I thought you would.

*Deep sigh.  I’m still learning.  Apparently, a lot of us are.  I would like to continue talking about the importance of speaking our truths as I can see that many of us live in self-imposed prisons that we have judged and sentenced ourselves to. 

I’d like to investigate what allowed me to change this behavior.  What was it that made me feel safe to do so?  Is there a way for us to learn how before we create damage within our lives that can’t be undone (AKA hitting rock bottom…)?

Let’s try this…for one week, so until my next blog post, let’s all commit to speaking at least one small truth a day.  This could be when your partner says, “what do you want to watch tonight?” and you say, “I don’t care,” when in reality you want to watch Legally Blond for the one hundredth time. It could be asking for someone else to make dinner on Wednesday, instead of slogging into the kitchen to make dinner, all the while hiding resentment towards the bottomless mouth holes that are your family.  (Come on…we’ve all felt it…)

In the comments below, I want to hear one baby truth bomb that you’ll drop this week. 

These examples may seem small, but in my past, I would harbor an incredible amount of anger around these types of daily scenarios.  If we can’t learn to communicate our truths in these simple ways, what’s the likelihood we’ll do it when big stuff comes up? 

We must start by starting, and so, let’s begin.

  

My Reclaimed Hearts series is now available on my website.  These paintings are all about the healing and strength that I gained by speaking my truth.  I have learned that my feelings count, and that I owe it to myself and my loved ones to express it, even when it seems hard.  Learn more about these paintings and give yourself a reminder of the importance of speaking our truths by Clicking Here. 

 

The painting at top is from the Reclaimed Hearts series. Diving Heart 8, 6”x6”, acrylic & paper on canvas with a 1.5” gallery wrap profile.  $120

 

I am an artist and writer, living in Talent, Oregon with my husband and daughter. I use creativity to break through anxiety paralysis, I play in the ocean to stay strong and inspired, and I often visit my hometown of New Orleans, where the rhythm of my heartbeat is renewed. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram where I post stuff sometimes.  To hear from me more regularly, join me on this crazy, beautiful Artventure.