Why I Make Art

As I sit down to write my very first blog post, I thought I should probably start simply and to the point.  Why is it that I make art? In order to answer this question, I have to clear my head of all the complicated, swirling explanations that want to manifest, because it is really quite simple and I have a habit of over complicating things.  I make art because I have to.  I didn’t always know that it was such a huge part of me.  When I was a much younger and an active artist, I knew.  But somewhere along the road of college majors, different career paths and having a family, I forgot.  It seems silly now.  I mean, how do you forget who you are?  But I did. Now, middle-aged and quite tired of playing the career game, it is very clear.  I am an artist and thus, I make art because it is the only thing that I have ever done that I was truly comfortable doing.  It fits effortlessly.

When I was in my late teens and in the visual arts program at Boston University, art felt stifling.  It was too classical and there was not enough experimentation.  I ended up with a business degree from the BU School of Hospitality.  The culinary classes were more of a creative outlet than the art program was.  It was there that much confusion began.  I never believed that art was a career where I could make a living.  It was a hobby.  An outlet not to be taken seriously.  The funny thing is that my family, teachers and friends supported me in my art.  They all seemed to think it was a realistic path for me.  I have been plagued most of my life with negative self-talk and a lack of confidence.  Thus, when I switched majors to study accounting, marketing and food & beverage management, I was leaving the only part of me that really mattered behind.  Since then, I have been a round peg trying to shove myself into square spaces.

 

I have always been an all or nothing kind of girl:  Relationships, food, alcohol, jobs, whatever it was didn’t matter.  I was either all in or all out.  It was the same for art.  Once I left the BU art building, I think I stepped foot in it once over my next four years.  In my nearly 20-year search for my career path I worked in restaurants, for caterers, yoga studios, accounting and brokerage firms, a city magazine sales office, an internal education department at a medical school and finally, organizing other people at a non-profit where I have been for the past 8 years.  In that time, I busted out the hot glue gun and papier-mache to make Mardi Gras crowns or other costume accessories and I created elaborate meals and table settings, but that was the extent of my artistry.  During the “Big Search”, my alcohol intake continued to grow as a crutch to mask feelings of inadequacy and not fitting in.  I drank to feel confident.  It wasn’t until sobriety hit that I realized what I had been ignoring for so long:  I am an artist and I need to make art.

I was sober only a few months when abstract paintings began flowing from me.  Painting became my meditation.  I then started focusing on the activities that would aid my creativity.  Sitting meditation, a practice of which I begin every day, became habit.  Being outside, especially in the ocean surfing but also mountain biking, skiing and hiking was how I prioritized my free time.  I realize that all of these practices have this in common: they put you in the moment.  Learning how to shut off the constantly nagging (and mostly negative) internal dialog.   Because my art is an expression of the present and if I don’t actively stoke that fire, it grows dimmer. 

I haven’t had a drop of alcohol since February of 2013.  In that time, I have created a body of work that I am proud of.  I haven’t felt pride like this since my art room days of high school.  It seeps into all areas of my life.  I can better speak up for myself with confidence.  I recognize self-care as a life line for myself and all those around me that I care for.  And…I’m surfing like the Bad Ass Mama that I am.  So I ask myself, “Why do I make art”?  The simple answer is because I HAVE to.  Because without it, I am an empty shell constantly searching for answers that have been there all the time but I chose to ignore.  I make art because it lights up my face and my daughter can see that light and she tells me that she’s proud of me.  I do it because it brings happiness to me and my family.  In fact, after doing this consistently over the past 3 years, I can’t help feel a sadness that it took me so long to see what is now so obvious.  I suppose I had other things to do, and I know that all those experiences will help me down this new, yet old path.  I’m so glad that I’m back here.  I missed it so much. 

 

Painting at top is Derby Day 12"x12" Mixed Media on Birch Board.

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How Going with the Flow Tames the Chaos

Choosing to follow the flow may not make the chaos disappear, but it certainly turns the volume down.

 

I have been living in a state of “WTF” for a while now, not really knowing what to do next and picking random tasks from my to do list that seem like they should be prioritized.  There has not been much of a cohesive plan for 2019.  Well…that’s not true.  If you recall, the official plan was to have no plan and to just do what feels right and makes me happy.

Yesterday, something extraordinary happened: it all started to come together.  It’s as if four projects and all of the related tasks regarding those projects have been swirling above my head for five months.  They were flying around so fast, it was hard to even see them clearly. It made me completely uncomfortable and feel as though the strategy of not being a slave to my calendar was perhaps ill conceived. 

However, yesterday, as I was finishing framing nine paintings for my June 7th show, I looked at the collection and realized that indeed, I have a cohesive series to present.  Not only is it done, but I LOVE it.  The Lovely Mess series is complete (minus one last painting I’m working on now), and each painting is dreamy, emotional and optimistic all at the same time.  I am extremely proud of this series and for me it is the marker of an important milestone: the moment my writing and my painting crossed paths and became one expression in two formats. 

Creatively, that is a huge accomplishment.  Until now, the writing and the painting have been separate entities.  Painting was an expression of my subconscious, and writing was the organization of my chaotic hamster wheel brain, in an effort to figure out what’s behind the madness.  Now, those two things are actually one.  My subconscious no longer feels like some mysterious no mans’ land that I’m just now discovering, and my brain feels more tapped into the subconscious and able to draw out what is actually happening under all the noise.  That’s amazing. 

Emotionally, an additional shift has occurred.  I have written before about how expectations used to drive me crazy and ultimately drove a good friend away.  I used to say that I was fine, “as long as I knew what to expect next”. Nothing made me more uncomfortable than to be in a state of unknowing…except maybe the uncontrollable-ness of other people changing plans that affected me.  That shit used to drive me absolutely crazy.  

However, two things have happened that have fundamentally changed the way I think.  This first is surfing.  One thing I learned is that being a control freak and being a surfer do not mix.  I am constantly at the mercy of the surf report.  Waves, tides and weather…three things that I have absolutely no control over.  Over the past couple of years, I have changed from one who would get seriously irritated if someone cancelled or changed plans on me, to being that completely annoying surfer who is regularly making last minute changes in plans due to the surf report.

I’ve also become a person who giggles when people want a straight answer out of me regarding future plans.  My favorite giggle inducing question is, “so when are you going surfing next?”  Dude, I have no idea. Whenever NOAA tells me it’s time.  Thankfully, my close friends are understanding if I move our breakfast dates.  They don’t hold it against me and man, does that make me feel like a fool for my past pissed off-ness.

The second thing that impacted my need for knowing what comes next was to throw it all up to the Universe this year, and simply do what hundreds of eye-roll inducing motivational posters tell us to do: Follow My Bliss.  This was not comfortable for me, but when I surrendered, I mean FOR REALS surrendered to that which makes me happy, pretty amazing things started to happen. 

I got into two new galleries. I was featured on HGTV and interviewed on a nationally recognized podcast.  I received great press in Bend regarding my show.  My creative expression deepened and I took my first cross steps on my surf board.  BAM.

What made me choose to shift gears?  It’s pretty simple, the other way wasn’t making me feel good.  I felt a lot of pressure from my calendar and marketing plan and I realized that all of those deadlines were causing me to burn out.  I think that’s why this year felt like such a difficult motivation.  I was tired.  

Did I accomplish a lot with my calendar as acting CEO?  Yes, I did.  Was it an important thing to do my first two years in business?  Yes, I think so. It helped me build my CV quickly which has enabled me to leverage myself in broader ways.  Was it making me happy?  In short term bursts, yes.  But in the long term, I was feeling boxed in, anxious, and exhausted. 

I’m not necessarily saying that I should ditch all my time management tools, but the time had definitely come for me to chill the fuck out.  One thing is for sure.  The change isn’t effecting my business all that much.  In fact, in a way, I think I’m getting further in my reach.   I mean HGTV!!!!!   

Actually, I have swung in the opposite direction to the point that I now look around and see a society of sick people who are working themselves to death.  I could write a whole essay on this topic.  It’s like if we’re not constantly working, we’re failures.  I believe in hard work.  I’ve always been a “worker”.  But I feel that in our culture, there are two lines of thought: you either work tremendously hard and be a success, or choose not to and be a lazy failure. 

What about those who want to enjoy life NOW?  What about not working our assess off for decades, at jobs that are not spiritually or emotionally fulfilling, while putting all of our money in investment accounts for retirement at 65.  I mean, what if I’m hit by a bus tomorrow? Seems like a pretty big gamble. 

I’m choosing now.  I’m choosing happy.  I’m choosing the path of least resistance.  And want to know a secret?  We can all make this choice.  It may seem scary and it may not look how we think we want it to look, but then that’s the point, isn’t it?  To see things as they are and not how we imagine them to be in Future Land. Can you imagine what would happen if every person on the planet stopped worrying about the future and the expectations surrounding it?  OMG.  That may be the liberation that world needs.

 

 

I am an artist and writer, living in Talent, Oregon with my husband and daughter. 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 Getting Lost in Gratitude Shows Me the Way

Gratitude is the best road map.

It is lunch time and I’m finally sitting down to write my weekly blog post. Usually, I at least get started on my essay first thing Thursday mornings, before I take off for Yoga or a walk/hike.  If I’m not finished before I go, I’m pretty close, and when I get back from exercise, it’s editing and emailing time.  But here I am on this Thursday early afternoon, late to the party, and I have a very simple reason why…I got lost. 

For those of you who know me well, you know that I am directionally challenged.  Seriously.  I have the world’s worst sense of direction.  If I’m ever navigator in your car and I tell you to turn right, you can do us both a favor by taking a left.  I get turned around even given clear and simple directives, and for the love of Pete, don’t tell me to go “three blocks North” …I have no idea what you’re talking about. (When Siri tells me this, I just turn whichever way is easiest and wait for redirection.) 

I was hiking on the trails this morning, lost in my own thoughts and before I knew it, I had no idea where I was.  The trails that I hike on are pretty easy to figure out and most loop back to each other so no big deal, right? Worst scenario I could think of is that I would end up popping out on the North side of town and have to grab the bus back. 

Then my internal dialog kicked in: Why didn’t I pay better attention? Why did I pick a trail that I didn’t know well? Why didn’t I just go to Yoga?  I have too much work to do right now!  I’m wasting time!  Before I knew it, my brain was in full blown negative self-talk mode, and I started getting frustrated and beating myself up. 

I got lost in that crap for a minute and started feeling quite anxious, but then, I found my palms were together at my heart, and I started my morning gratitude prayer. 

 

Thank you for my life, health, family and friends.  For art, music, the ocean and mountains.  Thank you for all the amazing experiences I get to have.  I offer myself to you. Please give me guidance, strength and clarity to stay on the path you’ve laid out before me.  Please give me the willingness to see your path and stay open to wherever it takes me.  Please continue to help me walk through anxiety and fear and replace it with trust and confidence.  Please continue to help all those who suffer and help them to see their own path.  Thank you for these gifts.  Thank you for your love. Amen.

 

For many, prayer is awkward.  I know that because it used to be awkward for me.  I had to let go of who, exactly, I was praying to.  I was never sure, but eventually I came to realize that it doesn’t really matter.  It is the act of expressing gratitude and asking for guidance. It is the reminder of things that are bigger than myself and that there is a pretty significant amount of suffering in the world today. I am blessed.  My life is good.  Whether I’m late to work or not. 

Can you guess what happened next?  Yup…I took a turn and immediately recognized where I was.  I could have turned left and gotten back to the house quickly, but instead I went right, because that led to my favorite part of my hike.  The part where I get to jump creek crossings and feel like a kid. The joyful part.

My hour-long hike turned into a two-hour lesson of patience, gratitude, and letting go.  It’s been a little while since my last full-fledged chaos induced meltdown, so I think I’m getting better at this. Maybe, I have to occasionally get lost to broaden my view.

Whatever the case may be, I’m incredibly grateful that I’m seeing a shift in my habits. I reached for one of my “tools” (in this case prayer) to calm me before I got myself all in a tizzy.  (Usually, I have to reach tizzy before I remember to even look for a tool.) 

I’m not going to get too excited.  In my experience, moments of clarity come either right after or right before a total freak out.  However, it behooves me to remember what I said to a friend who recently had a slip in her Zen.  “It’s ok,” I said, “We’re not perfect.  It’s a practice.” I’m grateful for the practice, the work, the seeking and the finding.  It’s all part of a process called growth.  After all, it is Spring and I am a wild flower.

 

 

I am an artist and writer, living in Talent, Oregon with my husband and daughter. 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.

5 Pieces of Advice for My Daughter That Are Also Pertinent to Adulting

With Mother’s Day around the corner, I am thinking of the motherly advice that I dish out, and how it behooves me to follow my own words. 

This is your reminder that Mother’s Day is a week from Sunday.  I am busy in the studio making Heart Flower paintings for a Mother’s Day Market in Ashland (Saturday, May 11th, 11:00am-6:00pm at Bestow & Bloom 149 N. Pioneer Street), and so I’ve been thinking about my job as a Mom.  My daughter is fed, clothed, warm and dry, so basic needs are a success! 

She’s also a teenager which means that swirling emotions abound!  My Momdar is on overdrive right now picking up on all sorts of sensations that may, or may not, welcome Mom’s attention.  I won’t go into detail about her as that would create a whole other set of emotional outrages, but I have been thinking about the advice that I give her that is also pertinent within my own adult life.

So here, in no specific order, are five things that I tell my kiddo that us adults may need reminders about every now and then.

#1 Don’t put so much pressure on yourself.

She is a junior in high school and that means that college prep and choices are a big theme right now.  She feels an awful amount of pressure surrounding this decision and I have been witness to how this process has changed since I was a teen.  Chiefly, it has become highly competitive and exorbitantly expensive. 

I won’t go into a big tirade about this (although I could write an entire blog post about how ridiculous I think it all is) but the other day, I found myself saying, “this decision is only one of many that you will make and it does not determine the rest of your life,” which, by the way, is exactly the opposite of how these kids feel. 

The point is that the more pressure we put on ourselves, the more stress is created.  The pressure and stress are not necessary.  In the end, everything will work itself out in one way or another.  Which brings me to point… 

...#2 Keep an open mind and don’t have specific expectations of how situations will work out.

My daughter has the expectation that she will go to college.  I like that expectation. That is a manageable expectation to work within.  The best thing that the college counselor said to us is that, “there is a road to college for every student at this school”.  The implication that the road will look different for every kid is important as it teaches them to keep their minds open to how their college experience will look.

That is such an important gift of a lesson.  As an adult who, in the past, had such an issue with expectations that I felt constantly disappointed and pissed off at the people who couldn’t meet them, I am thankful that she is learning this early.  My new mantra is that things will work out how they work out.  It may not be how you expected it, but it will be perfect for you.

#3 Speak up.  Ask for what you want.  No one can read your mind.

When my daughter was little, she would grunt, whine, and get completely frustrated when I could not interpret her groans.  My reply was always the same: "I don't understand that language.  Please use your words." Now, as an adult, I know how to use language, but sometimes I forget to.  You want a raise? Ask.  You want to stay home instead of going out? Say so.  You need some downtime to take care of yourself? Communicate your needs.  

I used to be scared to do this and now that I do, I feel silly that it took me until I was in my mid-thirties to figure this out.  I have heard people in relationships say that they don’t feel they should have to ask.  For instance, they “want their partner to want to help with the yard work”.  Well…that sounds like a fantastic way to never get your needs met.   

We all need to speak up!  Forget about wanting people to read our minds.  Forget about what other people should be doing.  And by the way…

#4 Stop should-ing all over yourself.

We all have that list of things we should be doing. You remember how Yoda said, “Do or do not.  There is no try.” For me, a more helpful direction is: Do or do not.  There is no should.  “Should” is a reminder of the things that we’re not doing and most likely won’t do.  “Should” is an easy way to beat ourselves up.  “Should” implies failure of situations that don’t even exist yet. 

I suggest to her that she replace the word “should” with the word “will”.  This simple change in words used makes a huge difference.  Here’s an example: “I should get exercise 4 days a week.” vs. “I will get exercise 4 days a week.”  Simple, yes?  My theory is that if I can’t say, “I will get exercise 4 days a week”, I’m not ready to commit to that.  Maybe I can only realistically say that I will get exercise 2 days a week.  When I’m ready, I’ll bump it up to 3.  Then 4. 

My belief is that it is easier to set ourselves up for success with small, actually attainable goals than to create a goal based on what we think should happen. “Shoulds” are based on what we see other people succeeding at that we aren’t.  Here’s a secret: I don’t need to accomplish the successes of others. I am not them.  I am me.  There is no comparison and there are no rules about mandatory achievements that every person on the earth has to do.  

#5 Accept and Enjoy Life

For me, I try (hard) not to sweat the things that aren’t within my control.  This includes, other people (and their children), the weather, taxes, the surf report, fire/smoke season (our new 5th season here out West), delayed flights, lines at the bank, traffic and gas prices.  I mean, just not worrying about this list alone will save me years of my life.

I don’t think my daughter liked this piece of advice very much but it is a cold hard truth.  Decisions, challenges and obstacles never end.  I wish I could tell her differently.  There will always be some shit hanging over our heads.  The good news is that all of us go through this. We aren't alone. The bad news is that it never ends.  So, we may as well enjoy ourselves, right? 

It’s simple.  Eat the ice cream. Learn to play the drums. Choose a college in Hawaii for no other reason than it’s in Hawaii. Don’t worry about what you look like when you dance.  Smile and laugh whenever possible.  When someone accuses you of not taking life seriously enough, reply, “Thank goodness.”

 

 

 

 

I am an artist and writer, living in Talent, Oregon with my husband and daughter. 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 Productive Procrastination Clears My Brain of Clutter

When I say “procrastinate”, what I mean is, “accomplishing lots of shit that is totally unnecessary”. 

I have been doing uber amounts of work over here at MKPG Studios, none of which is on my to do list.  Normally when I do something that isn’t on my list, I add it to the list and immediately cross it off to make me feel more accomplished. However, unclogging drains and putting up shelves is not in my current business plan and so adding it to my list only makes me feel like exactly what’s happening…I’m procrastinating.

To be honest, I didn’t even unclog the sink.  I started to but then quickly realized that unless you already have a base knowledge of plumbing, YouTube University is probably not the best strategy.  (Thanks for saving me, Dad.)

But the sink was the icing on the cake after I had gone through all my art supplies, including testing all the markers, pens and paint tubes, and tossing anything that was dried or drying. I dusted the studio and reorganized every pad, paint tube, ruler (I have five in various shapes and sizes…who knew?), tool, container, stencil, cutting utensil and paint brush.

 

Marigny Goodyear Art Acrylic paint organizedNo more paint tubes in boxes! Now I can see exactly what I have and what needs to be used first.

 

When that was done, I employed the help of my Hubbie and put up new shelves in the office (YAY!) which means that I can now move around my desk without stubbing my toes.  I then organized boxes of notecards, hats, packaging materials, show supplies and paintings in inventory. They all live on shelves now!  I can see the floor!  

Marigny Goodyear Art shelving organizedShelves in the office!  What a concept!!!


I am so happy.  All of that crap work that needed to be done for YEARS is now completed.  Now there is nothing left to do but paint...

I have to admit that I have taken procrastination to a whole new level.  It was hard for me to ignore the pile of leaves that was kicked up by pulling the hose inside to blow out the sink.  I swear to God, if my daughter walked in right now and said, “I want to change the color of my room”, it would be difficult to not immediately jump into the car and head over to Miller Paint, (which would be her second trip there for the day as she took 3 boxes of paint cans there this morning to be recycled).

While in the midst of taking on non-urgent tasks, I did realize something: clearing physical clutter also clears mind clutter.  Instead of looking around the room and getting that anxiety indicating tummy flutter, I am filled with a sense of ahhhhhhhhhh.  (Not to be confused with the normal everyday AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!) 

I now know that I don’t have to buy anymore sapphire blue, rose pink, or cadmium yellow paint (I think 9 tubes of each is plenty), that paint dated from 1996 is most likely dry, and that I own a compass ruler.  I don’t remember buying that but it is in its original packaging so I must have.  I also know that when paint goes bad, it smells worse than fish caught on Monday and served on Sunday.  Poooweeeee! 

I now have a full box of paint tubs and tubes that have been uncapped and are finishing drying out completely in the backyard which, I learned, is the proper way to dispose of it.  Learning new things all the time. 

So, all of my ducks are in a row, my t’s are crossed, my I’s are dotted. I just read a saying that “clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions”.  Take that postponed decisions!  I have procrastinated you into OBLIVION!!!! 

Now back to painting.  The above photo is a sneak peek of what I accomplished before the organization fairy visited.  I’m excited to get back to these ten small pieces that I started in Los Angeles and are almost done. Next to start the last three larger canvases for my June 7th show in Bend, OR.  I’m pretty darn on track to having this series completed by then as long as I don’t get distracted by the other things in disarray.  Please Lord, don’t let me open that junk drawer…

 

 

I am an artist and writer, living in Talent, Oregon with my husband and daughter. 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 Faith is a Path Towards Flow and Away from Fear

I am a former control freak, reformed by faith and flow.

I’d like to take quick a moment today to talk about fear and how it works in relation to faith.  This will be a quick one as I find myself scrambling to get art work ready to bring over to a new gallerist, who has interest in showing my work.  When an artist lives in a city, this probably means getting in the car or an uber and heading across town to said gallery.  When you live in a small town, it can mean a four-hour drive, and that’s a quick jaunt. 

The complication is that I’ve been procrastinating painting (if you can even call what I’m doing painting anymore), and now I have to have examples of my new work ready to show to a gallery owner.  So today will be dedicated to getting a few more small pieces built. 

Last week, I was not in such a motivated place with my art, and threatened to cover it all in joint compound.  Well, as you can see from the above photo, that is exactly what I did, and it’s pretty dang cool looking.  It looks like layers and layers of history being pried from a wall and formed into a square. And the paint!  OMG, when I add paint to the joint compound, amazing things are happening. 

So, I’m finding myself re-invigorated in the studio.  Just in time too, but isn’t that always the way?  I decided last year to put in more time with my surf community because that is one of my main passions and what feels the most nurturing to my soul.  Did that decision have really anything to do with my art?  Not so much but I felt deep down that engaging more with the community I love would lead to awesome things.

That’s called a leap of faith, and for me it was an experiment.  In the past I have been an extremely organized and “ruled by my calendar” type of person.  At the end of every year, I update my business and marketing plans for the year and then calendar out all of the to dos in order to make those plans happen.  I did that at the end of 2018…and then promptly decided to ignore it all.

Instead, I chose to change my way of thinking, and do more of the things that I love for no other reason than that is what feels good.  It may seem silly and perhaps a bit naïve, but I was testing a theory that by flowing with the things that are placed in front of me, by following the signs that I usually pass daily without much notice, I would grow not only in my personal life, but in my art as well. 

What has that led to?  Within 6 months, a successful community art sale, a nationally listened to podcast interview, an art show at surf art gallery in Washington state and a meeting with another gallery owner in another coastal town.  Also, a new project that I’m not quite ready to talk about yet, but I will say that I’m happy to be working on something that makes me laugh out loud.  I think I need a bit more laughter these days.

Faith has been an interesting thing for me to embrace.  As a control freak, putting faith in anything was like closing my eyes and repeating the words, “It’s all going to work out. It’s all going to be ok,” over and over, regardless of whether or not the room I was sitting in was on fire with the roof caving in.  To me, faith seemed like a practice for people who live in denial with themselves and their situations.  However, I find my relationship with faith is changing. 

It may because I’m tired from “the chase”. Do you know what I’m talking about?  Chasing what you want so hard and fast that we burn out before getting “there”.  Where’s “there” anyway?  [Insert existential crisis here.]  All jokes aside, if life truly is about the journey, not the destination, I realize that I live my journey in a state of fear.  I have felt frozen in fear, efficient in fear, indecisive in fear, clear within my fear and just plain tired of my fear. I don’t want any of that anymore.

For me, faith is a way out of that fear.  Having faith is a way for me to take away control from the control freak, and place it into the hands of something bigger than myself.  I don’t know who or what is in charge, but what I do know is that when I take a moment to ask for guidance, look for answers and then respond when they come, life unfolds with more grace.  Could it really be that easy? 

Ok ok…enough with the spiritual lesson.  I have to go make art now, because that’s what the current road sign says it’s time to do, but I'll leave you with a question: If you suddenly chose to have faith that whatever is currently looming over you will work out, and you used that faith to help you navigate through, how would that change your mind set and/or stress level?  

Peace y'all! 

 

 

I am an artist and writer, living in Talent, Oregon with my husband and daughter. 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.

 

Art & Emotional Expression: the good, the bad and the WTF

Emotional expression in art is inevitable, whether the artist likes it, or not.

It’s been an admin sort of week here at MKPG Art.  I finally got taxes dealt with.  I organized all of my to do’s for my June art show in Bend, Oregon.  I got all the things from my trip unpacked and put away back in the studio.  I social media’d my little heart out about my artwork’s appearance on HGTV.

 

What’s missing from this picture?  Art creation.  My studio process has been annoyingly “stuck”.  I made some progress with two little 8x10 paintings only to get frustrated and cover them both completely with black paint.  I sanded back some of the dark paint and allowed the bright colors underneath to peak through (see above).  There is something there. I’m just not sure what it is and/or if I like it.

 

All I know is that I’m tempted by building supplies like joint compound right now and I’m a bit worried that I will end up with a bunch of paintings that weight a million pounds and look like they’ve been pried from a falling down piece of architecture…but that also kind of excites me.  I’m choosing to follow my art mantra which is “when in doubt, DO!” and so I am looking forward to heading into the studio this afternoon with the goal of dying and texturizing joint compound to slather all over these two pieces.  I may need a pick ax afterwards…but honestly, that kind of sounds fun as well.

 

I feel like I’ve said “it’s been hard to get into a groove this year” about a hundred times, but damn…it’s been hard to get into a groove this year!   I think that part of the problem is that for the first time, I feel as though I’m stuck working on a series of paintings because of a deadline.  If there is one thing I know about myself, it’s that being forced to complete something is a terrific way to get me to not want to do it. 

 

And what’s up with that?  Is that just a stubborn, independent person’s problem?  I feel like I’m the kind of person that will get stupid excited for something, until someone tells me that I HAVE to do it.  Then I just want to move onto the next thing.  I’ve not had that creep up in a series of paintings though, until now.

 

What is it about this series that has me feeling so bogged down?  For one, I suspect the difficult subject matter has something to do with it.  I’ve been focused on my past sexual trauma and it has been thrust into the spotlight once again this month, for various reasons, one being that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.  Look, I’m glad to be talking about the subject matter and it has helped me in processing difficult shyte.  However, I’d like to find a balance between expressing what has been locked up for years, and wanting to detach and move on.

 

There are a few challenges surrounding this for me.  For one, I like talking about it…until I can’t stand it anymore.  Honestly, I am grateful for this conversation and honored that I have become a voice within it.  Every time I hear from someone who thanks me for my raw honesty, tells me that they now know they aren’t alone, and connects the dots between past trauma and current emotional issues, I feel as though I have created positive change.  OMG THAT’S AWESOME.

 

However, I do occasionally find myself wanting to run and hide in the bathroom with the door locked and all the water running so no one can hear me curse and cry. Usually this happens after hearing from trolls, (I know there is nothing I can do about those nasty people.) but this has also been happening after particularly hard truths are expressed by others. More than once, people have said that the things they are telling me have never been said out loud before.  That’s amazing, yet terrifying.  I find myself in a place of “authority” on the matter and for that I feel humbled, burdened, grateful and like I want to throw up. 

 

I say this not to make those who have spoken their own truths to me feel bad.  That’s not it at all.  I guess it’s just important to me that the entire picture is seen.  Just because I’ve opened up about this in a public way doesn’t mean that I’m not still highly effected by it.  I still cry.  Not daily anymore as I was last Fall, but multiple times a week.  I think it’s because I’m still raw and maybe it’s difficult to heal entirely while still taking in the pain of others that's similar to my own.

 

Perhaps that’s why this series of paintings is difficult and my instinct is to literally burry it under construction materials.  I should experiment with my art and yet, I’m terrified by the metaphor.  Am I just finding new ways to burry my old pain?  Am I wanting to put it back now that it’s out in the open?  Does part of me wish I had never opened this Pandora’s box? 

 

I am finally doing what, as an artist, I've been striving to do: connecting my creations with my emotions.  I am expressing what has been hiding deep within me through words (easier) and images (waaaaaay more challenging).  Why is one so much easier than the other?  Maybe it’s because within essays, I can hide behind snarky sarcasm and self-deprecation and within the abstract painting, there is nowhere for me to hide.  What comes out, comes out, and frankly, it’s not always easy for me to look at. 

 

Truth be told, I kind of like what’s happening in the black paintings.  I like that the bright colors are popping through, almost in revolt.  Like it’s a “can’t hold me down!” kind of moment. But the colors also look as though they are trying not to be re-hidden.  They are struggling to stay bright and present.  They are nearly drowning in the darkness.  Both are perfect descriptions of how I feel and I can’t hide from that nor can I say that one is more powerful than the other. 

 

I know one thing, when weeding the yard looks more fun to me than painting, I’m either on the wrong path with what I’m working on, or absolutely spot on the right path of something that needs further (yet scary) discovery.  Oy…I think I just have to press on and get through this period.  Hopefully something powerful comes from it as I would like this to resolve with a bang rather than a whimper.  Frankly, the whimpering is a bit out of control these days and I’m realizing how scared I am.

 

I hate admitting that I’m scared.  I would like to think that freedom from my denial means that I’m all fixed now, but that’s not the truth.  I live in various forms of fear splattered with blood, sweat, tears and unpredictable yet incredibly empowering brave moments.  I believe that those moments are happening with more frequency, but when I’m in fear, they're hard to see. All I see is weakness and I find that dang annoying.  Today, I’m going to choose a different reaction to feeling weak.  Rather than hiding under black paint, blankets and Law & Order, I’m going to approach it head on…with joint compound…and a freakin’ pick axe.

 

 

I am an artist and writer, living in Talent, Oregon with my husband and daughter. 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.