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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LOVE YOURSELF ALREADY. You Know You Want To.

I am both a little girl and a grown woman who is simultaneously ashamed to think of herself as beautiful, yet ready to be bold and unapologetic within the world.  

I'm going to go ahead and drop any worry about sounding totally arrogant in this blog post.  Those of you who know me know that I am not all that concerned with how I look.  I mean, I am concerned about it but I'm not a fashion girl. I don't like to shop. I have never cared to "do" my hair or been into make up.  My cousin used to chase me around with a curling iron when we were kids.  I was just never that interested. 

To be clear, in the past, I haven't always liked what I saw in the mirror or, to be more accurate, what I saw in the mirror didn't always correlate with how I felt on the inside. I was scouted for modeling at 16.  I was tall slender and "had a good forehead and bone structure", whatever the hell that means.  I knew that I must be pretty or I wouldn't have been approached by the photographer or signed by the agency.

When I looked in the mirror, I saw a beautiful girl.  When I wasn't in front of the mirror, I felt too skinny in most places and fat where I shouldn't be.  None of the in style clothes fit me right because of my long ass legs and torso.  My size ten feet felt like boats in relation to my toothpick legs. I felt tense when a camera would point in my direction and my left arm locked up in nervous rebellion when I would walk down a runway.  In short: I was not a very good fashion model because I didn't FEEL beautiful. I felt awkward and out of place.  

I could say that I felt that way in just about every situation.  I never felt very comfortable in my own skin and I always had social anxiety and hated being put on the spot. (Why I ever thought I would be a good model is a mystery to me.)

But on a deeper level, I had the worry: Is it even ok to like what I see in the mirror? 

If I do, does that make me egotistic and full of myself? Even when I saw the pretty girl in the mirror and noticed that she was indeed pretty, I immediately felt ugly for having the thought and would put myself down for thinking arrogantly.  I had self-love guilt, like I didn't have the right to feel good about myself.

This is the dichotomy that women live with.  There is pressure to be beautiful, but if we think we're beautiful, we're stuck up bitches. WTF?

This is an interesting time to be a woman.  I feel as thought we are in the middle of a great shift in how women move within the world.  We are aware that we have been putting up with sexist behaviors that have been tolerated as the norm within our culture, and the #metoo movement is giving us braver voices.  I'm also aware that this particular "time to be a woman" actually began back in 1848 when the first meeting of suffragists occurred in Seneca Falls, New York.  

I would like to propose that we are not part of a new movement, but the continuation of a movement that began 171 years ago.  We are the latest rebellion of women who maybe have been a bit in denial within our own movement, about how much progress had actually been made.  Or maybe we were just plain tired of the fight. Or perhaps after joining the workforce, yet still retaining the bulk of homemaking responsibilities, we were just simply exhausted in a general sense. Whatever the reason, it seems possible that we thought we had come further than we actually had.

Maybe rebellions such as ours come in waves with periods of rest in between.  I don't know. What I do know is that the fire has definitely been sparked, once again, and like most of the women I know, no matter their age, a psychic change has occurred, and things will never be the same.  I know that my thinking on these matters today is vastly different than the way I thought on this same day, a year ago.  Once I saw, I couldn't un-see.  

Picture this: I got out of the shower yesterday and pulled on my daily work uniform of yoga pants, long sleeved t-shirt, and baggy hoody (fancy, I know).  I brushed my hair and my teeth and stood back to look at myself in the bathroom mirror.  I immediately liked what I saw. Immediately after that, I felt guilty.

But there was a change.  Instead of clicking the light off and slinking away from the mirror in shame, I said forcefully and out loud, "JUST LOVE YOURSELF ALREADY. YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO."  And just like that, the spell was broken. 

It was my enlightened adult self speaking to my ashamed child self, who had only known one story: you don't have a right to feel beautiful That's not my story anymore.  As the infinitely wise Lady Gaga once said:

Don't hide yourself in regret
Just love yourself and you're set
I'm on the right track, baby
I was born this way

Frankly, I think I finally just got tired of feeling bad about myself due to being afraid of feeling good about myself.  I am who I am.  I am what I am.  I do what I do because of why I do it and really, I don't need to explain myself to anyone, except myself.  I understand my need to feel good within my own skin.  I understand my want to live as a humble person.  I guess I never thought those two things could go together but I now realize that they can, one hundred percent.

Thanks to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, Lady Gaga, Tarana Burke, Daisy Coleman, Alice Stone Blackwell, Susan B. Anthony, Gloria Steinem and countless other amazingly strong and revolutionary women, we are where we are. We have a right and more importantly, a responsibility to continue to stand up.  ALSO, we can be fabulous, both inside and out.  All of us.  Always.  

This is my new story.  I feel myself settling into my skin in a new way.  I feel insecurity doesn't have a strong hold on me anymore.  I see my current art as processing this juxtaposition of beauty and the challenges that come right along side of wanting to also feel beautiful.  The complicated, gorgeous, vulnerable, scared, sometimes shy, sometimes outspoken woman who is standing in front of the mirror, asking for...no...demanding love from herself. 

  

The photo above is a work in progress that for now, I am calling, "A Lovely Mess".



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.

 

 

 

 

2019: The Year of Being Face-to-Face.

In an effort to bring alignment to who I am as a person, an artist, and small business owner, 2019 will be more community and socially focused.  And I am NOT talking about social media.

 

Happy 2019!  Is it just me, or did 2018 roll by like a high-speed train?  I spent the holidays in my birth home of New Orleans where I promptly got sick, so I spent much of my trip moaning on my Uncle’s sofa.  My trip to NOLA was pretty much a perfect picture of NOLA: Challenging, interlaced with beautiful shining moments.  It was a great reminder of why I loved living there and why I chose to move away.

 

After my locals’ holiday sale and my December online pop up shop, I was wore out, Y’all!!!  I took about 3 weeks off from work.  I’m sorry I’ve been MIA, but I felt I needed to reassess some things before diving into the new year.  The fact is that I’ve been working really f-ing hard over the past 2 years to grow my art biz, and the hard, cold truth is that many of my efforts just aren’t working.

 

I realize that the way I’ve been going about “speaking” to people isn’t making me happy.  In fact, it feels forced, in a used car salesman sort of way.  Unauthentic and definitely not something that is rising above all of the other noise that we are all bombarded with on a daily basis.  Specifically, I’m talking about the noise of social media.  However, after spending much time reflecting on my Uncle’s sofa with the Facebook app deleted from my phone, I realized that what’s bugging me goes beyond social media and actually dives into who I am as a person and how I want to participate in life.

 

I have spent the last 4 years educating myself in 21st century marketing. 

 

Unless you’re hiding in a cave somewhere, you know that these days, social media is a big part of marketing and delivery of information.  All of the courses that I’ve taken and all of the business coaches that I’ve worked with, have social media at the top of the sales funnel, making me believe that it is a mandatory part of running a business in this day and age.

 

I’m calling bullshit on that.

 

People who like social media for personal use say that it’s an intimate way to stay in touch with friends.  That may be a nice part of social media but there is a darkness there as well that I feel social media supporters ignore.  It’s in the form of data sharing, fake news, trolls, and staying in touch with only the parts of people that they want to show on their timelines.  On the business side, there is the cold hard fact that unless I pay, only 5% of my followers see what I post.  5%.  That’s it.  But I can boost that post for only $20 and more will see it.  Nice, Mr. Zuckerberg. Real nice.

 

I had a back and forth about this with a friend on Facebook that ended when I suggested that he call me and we talk about it.  Silence.  It makes me sad that people would rather engage with a screen than in an actual dialog in real time.  In the past 2 years, I have made posting content every damn day a priority in my marketing plan. I have had some friends make purchases from my posts on my personal Facebook page, but nothing from my business page and Instagram has yielded nothing in the way of sales.

 

Then there is the ugliness that people feel they are entitled to express because they are hiding behind a screen.  I got to experience that first hand after I published a controversial essay to my blog.  I have not had one person say anything negative to my face, but with fingers to a key board, and the anonymity of the internet, they say all sorts of horrible things.  I find that pathetic. 

 

What feeds my soul is to participate in my actual life rather than in a virtual world where much of the time, only people’s “good sides” are shown (both physically and emotionally).  I don’t want to see only a person’s best of reel.  I also want to see the pain and struggle that leads to beautiful growth and fragility.  Not just the stuff that makes one appear strong, but a vulnerable expression, which in my opinion, is more foundational to building true strength.

 

I don’t just want to see my dear friends’ baby’s pictures on my phone or laptop.  I want to hold those babies, smell the top of their heads, wipe milk spittle from their mouths and feel them grow heavy with sleep in my arms.  Getting on a plane and visiting a good friend who while pregnant was terrified of motherhood, be with her new son with a natural confidence she didn’t know she had was one of the most beautiful moments of our friendship.  I saw her become a mother.  I can’t feel that on a screen.

 

So why on earth did I think that social media would be an effective voice for my art???  This seems so simple now.  I find social media to be life manufactured so it only makes sense that in trying to talk about my art, the expression that comes from my soul, it sounds fake and forced on social media.  Especially when I’m having to come up with new content to post daily.  What if I simply don’t have anything to say that day or that month?  Why should I “have” to do that?  I believe that this disconnect is why my efforts to grow my art business online has not worked.

 

Now I know what you’re going to say: “But you shared this blog post on social media…”.  You’re right, I did.  I did it because today, I have something to say. One glass of wine a day is good for your heart, while two bottles a day can be detrimental to your health and a sign of deeper issues.  When I was drinking, two bottles were never enough. Social media is addictive and a slippery slope for me, and just like alcohol, it can turn into an attempt to fill the holes within myself that will never be filled by reaching out, only by looking in.  "Thank you Sir!  I'll have another dopamine hit!" Ugh. It straight up depresses me.

 

I believe when social media becomes our #1 way of communication, when we use it as the most walked path to connect with people, we are missing out on a large part of life.  It is only a partial connection, absence of the part that is messy and beautiful all at the same time. The part that makes us vulnerable humans. What makes me sad, is that we've gotten used to it and this partial connection is seen as normal.  It's not.  We need to physically be with other people...or at least, I do.

 

So, going forward into 2019 my motto is: MORE FACE TO FACE, LESS FACE TO SCREEN.  I’m going to participate more in my community.  Not only is that where 95% of my sales come from, but it makes me feel like a complete person.  This year, more think tanks with beautiful creatives.  More vision board meetings with inspiring ladies who refer to themselves as “Visionistas”.  More participation and volunteering in beach clean ups, surf competitions, silent auctions and teen workshops. More coffee dates.  More connection.  It is the disconnect that is making us sick as a society, effecting our ability to empathize, and is riddling young people with anxiety.

 

If you’re a person that doesn’t get negative feelings from social media, enjoy!  If you are the one living in a cave, please send me the cave address and I’ll be by soon with homemade brownies.  I ask you…where will your time be best spent this year. Fingers on the key board or fingers digging in the sand?  I want the sand.  Bring on the warm, beautiful grit. 

 

The photo at top is a work in progress from a new series that I'm working on called, "I Choose to See the Beauty".  Stay tuned for more updates on this series.  It's all about perspective, 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 Show Fatigue: Taking care of myself on the downslide

My locals' holiday sale was a success! But the crash was as emotional as my worst hangover and 3 times as long.

As most of you know by now, I don't drink anymore and I haven't for a couple months shy of 6 years.  That being said. I'm still plagued by a different type of hangover.  The hangover and recovery that comes post art show. I've even had a dang headache all week.  

I hosted my first ever private, locals' holiday sale last Friday and Saturday and for a first sale, IT WAS AWESOME.  I sold 23 paintings and a bunch of ocean inspired note cards, hats and hand made-ornaments.  I also had 20 people join my mailing list, which for me, is the largest number ever at one time.  It was a total success...and yet, I've spent the past 2 days in a depressed mood with about as much energy as a sloth.  

23 PAINTINGS!!!!  That's amazing and I want to give a huge shout out to the collectors. I'm totally stoked about that.  So why, might you ask, would I be depressed?  Well, there are a few reasons.

marigny goodyear art whales reclaimed heartI mean with collectors like this cutie, what could there possibly be to be depressed about?

I told you last week that this show was different for me in that I hosted it.  I didn't work with another business or gallery.  From the work offered, to the lighting and set up, to the marketing, it was all me, and I liked that just fine.  I was less nervous and there weren't as many "what ifs" in my head as there are when there are other people involved. I thought that because of that, my show hangover wouldn't be as bad.  Well I thought wrong.

It's worse.  Amplified by the fact that after the sale, I didn't get to simply walk out the door the way I would have been able to if the sale had been at another business or gallery.  On Sunday, I put the house back together, took inventory and set up my online December pop up shop, all of which only took about eleven hours.

On Monday I launched the pop up to my mailing list, organized and inputted all of the new additions to said list, and started the arduous process of financial reconciliation of the event.  Monday night, I was supposed to drive to the coast but was so crosseyed from tiredness, I backed out of my surf time.  Yup...I was that dang tired.

On Tuesday, I sat on my ass.  I watch first two of The Maze Runner trilogy and ate way too many left-over Christmas cookies (damn you, Trader Joe's!). Wednesday I worked a half-day and finished off the third movie.  

By Thursday, I was depressed.  In retrospect, I'm not sure that going from a hundred miles per hour to zero overnight was the best strategy.  I didn't go for my walk or do yoga.  I chose to eat poorly and sit in front of the glowing screen of death for hours and hours.

I knew yesterday afternoon that I had better get out and take a hike or I was going to get worse.  By the time I got to the trail head, I was filled with doubt about how the sale had actually gone.  Despite the fact I had sold 23 paintings, it some how wasn't enough and I should have sold more. I still hadn't figured out how to most effectively market my online shop. How was I going to make my goal?  Maybe I would never make it?  And just like that, my anxiety brain was off to the races.

Then I started hiking.  I practically ran up and down the trails and hopped over little creek crossings.  It made me smile and my heart beat strong.  It made me breathe hard, all of that pent up energy finally getting out.  

Today I'm a little bit better.  I worked a full day but I'm afraid the cold gray day outside has made it hard for me to get out.  Maybe I'll do a little yoga. Maybe I'll eat more cookies and watch another movie.  I'm in that apathetic part of the hangover where if I were still a drinker, I wouldn't feel good enough to go to the gym, but recovered enough to have a beer. The only good thing I can say is that at least with a show hangover (as opposed to an alcohol hangover), I actually remember the show.  So there's that silver lining...

This is the time in the process where I have to make a decision.  To simply accept the cycle and do what I know I need to do in order to come out the other side.  Take care of myself.  Get daily exercise. Eat healthy.  Get sleep.  Keep up with my to do list.  If I lived on the beach, I'd be surfing, but sometimes I just have to stop and do only the necessities.  

The holidays are upon us.  We need to make sure to take care of ourselves so we can show up on the days when family and friends gather.  So with that, I think I'll go out to the movies instead of plopping on the couch tonight.  At least I'll get an outing and maybe even some inspiration. 

But if I don't, I'm just going to continue to be kind to myself and do what needs to be done to keep the ball rolling.  Right now, a slow roll is just about all I got left in me.  Re-fuel, renew, repeat.  

 

 

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.   Join me on this crazy beautiful artventure.  

In response to my letter, I Was a Promiscuous Teen: An Open Letter to All the Men from My Past, I created a series of work called Reclaimed Hearts.  

Each Reclaimed Heart painting has a paper heart, ripped up and then reassembled onto the canvas to signify the power I've taken back and the self love that I have reclaimed. Freedom is ours. Reach out and take it. CLICK HERE to see the series.

 

 

How Trying New Things is a Great Way to Discover More About Our Fear

Experimenting is not only fun, but a great way to discover the reason behind certain fears.

I am hosting my very own art sale this weekend.  I've never done this on my own before.  I've had shows and participated in holiday sales at galleries, restaurants and interior design firms and found that shows are...well...um...difficult for me.  

In the past, I have done well while preparing for shows.  Creating the work is amazing.  Marketing and contacting media, I actually find quite fun.  Packing up and hanging is also highly satisfying for me.  And then comes the day of the show. 

I'm usually a ball of nerves by mid-morning.  Anxiety builds throughout the day sending me into fits of tears and panic.  Then the show happens, and it all goes fine.  The world does not end (although I usually can't move for about three to four days afterwards).

The experience of setting up my house for a private locals' art sale is a new one for me, but the fact is, that last year most of my holiday sales were from people calling me up and simply coming to my home studio to pick paintings out.  So I figured, why not take the process in house.

It has been a JOY!  Sure, I put on the show day tiara today because no matter what, it is just such a great confidence booster.  But I didn't really need it the way I have in the past, and I know why.  It's because everything is up to me and my responsibility.

Don't get me wrong, I have had and continue to have amazing experiences doing shows with other people and businesses.  However, I am a little bit of a control freak, so there is always a bit of anxiety when it comes to worrying about if others are doing what [I think] they should be doing.  I, of course, know that this is my own neuroses and I think I'm pretty graceful about trusting that others are, indeed, capable human beings.

The other part is the only person that I can let down is myself.  Have I ever let down any other business owner before?  No, I'm pretty on top of my stuff.  But I do have (and have always had) a people pleasing habit and so I feel pressure when there is someone else involved in the process who I want to like me and my work.  (These people also make me tent to blurt out words at inappropriate times a bit louder than they should be, and sometime act like I've drank too much coffee, but I digress.)

This show is all me.  I can't write long because I still have a million things to do.  I just wanted to share that if it weren't for trying things in different ways, I wouldn't know that an extra layer of anxiety is created for me by working with other professionals, many of whom I respect and look up to.  Will that discovery stop me from working with them in the future?  Not likely.  They are great opportunities and I learn a lot.

Because I decided to experiment with this show, I now know what is going to make me nervous in those other situations and I truly believe that the more we know about our own fears, the more we understand ourselves.  That understanding creates compassion for ourselves and compassion will turn a fearful situation into one that can be handled with confidence.  

And I'm off.  Here are some pictures of my house turned gallery for my Locals' Holiday Art Sale.  Still a little more to do and people begin to arrive in 2 hours!  Wish me luck!

Marigny_Goodyear_Art_Tiara_show_day
Tiara time means it's show day!!!!

Marigny_Goodyear Art Holiday Sale Notecards and HatsNotecard and Whaler Hat display with some little 8" Reclaimed Heart Paintings.

Marigny Goodyear Art Holiday Art Sale Original Art RaffleOriginal art raffle at my Local's Holiday Sale.

 

The photo at top is my flock of Reclaimed Heart Paintings inspired by my essay, I Was a Promiscuous Teen: An Open Letter to All the Men from My Past.

 

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.   Join me on this crazy beautiful Artventure to receive early access to my December Pop Up Shop, where I'll be offering some paintings from my Reclaimed Hearts series, one of which is seen at top. 

Tasty Waves and Flying Bullets: Staying Grateful in Reality

It was a beautiful and moody Pacific North West beach day, where the waves were glassy and peeling and the fog was hiding a gun fight.

Happy day after Thanksgiving!  Last week I told you how my head fell off and I needed to go get in the ocean in order to screw it back on.  Well I did that, and it worked in that the stress level surrounding my holiday sale and online pop up shop has been brought down from DEFCON four to a manageable two, however, an active shooter situation on our beach brought the current "gun culture" reality in this country out of the fog, and into broad daylight.

I'm from New Orleans.  The majority of my friends had been mugged, car jacked or held up before high school was over.  How I escaped NOLA without ever really experiencing this is beyond me.  I had a gun kind of drawn on me once by a scared kid who seemed to regret it immediately, and ran off before he had even pulled it fully out from behind him...but that's another story. 

My point is that, being a native New Orleanian, perhaps I was already a bit desensitized to gun violence.  Combine that with the fact that there has been a mass shooting for nearly everyday of this year and I suppose I could sadly say that it's just our new normal. 

I've actually been thinking about my desensitization to guns ever since a New Orleans shooting happened in the middle of my street while I was just standing in my kitchen, sending a text.  I had all the windows open and a clear POP POP POP POP seemed to happen right outside.  I stopped texting and thought to myself, "If I hear another POP, I'm hitting the deck."  The shots stopped and I just returned to my text.  Not another thought given. That was in 2007.  Now, it seems, we are in a whole new reality where we are being referred to as a "gun culture".  Which leads me to my story of de-stressing in the ocean last weekend.

We paddled out early. It must have been about 8:00am.  The waves were the best they had been since we arrived the day before.  It was sunny, but the marine layer was closing in fast.  I kind of like surfing in the fog.  It's mysterious and it usually means that hardly anyone else will paddle out because they, A. can't see the waves from the beach and so have no idea if the surf is good or not or, B. decide that the air temp is 50 and the water temp is 52 and without the warmth of the sun, forget it.

It was just us out there having a blast, when a helicopter started circling above. Then another surfer paddled straight up to me and said, "Uh...I think we should all paddle in."  My first thought was, "There's a big fishy out here", and my husband told me later that he thought perhaps there had been a tsunami warning.  But no, it turns out a cop sent him into the water to get us because there was an active shooter situation on the beach.  

Here is what apparently was unfolding as we were blissfully riding the waves: Crazy dude held up a store 60 miles South of us.  Crazy dude was confronted.  Crazy dude fleed the scene and proceeded to take the cops on a 60 mile high speed chase up the 101.  (If you've driven on the 101, you know how cray cray that sounds on its own.)  Cops deployed a spike strip about 1/2 mile from our surf spot which stopped crazy dude's car. He jumped out the car and started shooting at the cops who returned fire. Crazy dude ran into the office of the motel in front of where we're surfing, barricaded himself in and took a motel employee hostage.

So while we were in the water, unable to see the shore due to the fog, and totally oblivious to all of this drama, I was thinking, "Gosh, it's amazing out here.  I wonder why no one else is in the water".  In reality, the highway had been closed  to traffic for about an hour both North and Southbound and so no one could even get to where we were.

Frankly, we felt safer in the water but a park ranger was waving us in from the beach.  When we paddled in, he met us at the waterline and told us that there was a "guy barricaded in that building right there with a rifle" and with the fog clearing up (which it was), we needed to get out of there immediately.

So there we were, standing on a vast beach with nothing in between us and the shooter but our surf boards.  Needless to say, I started walking very quickly to our van where we pretty much threw our boards in, got in while wearing full, wet, wetsuits (which if you know my husband is enough to give him moldy smelling nightmares), and got the hell out of there. 

As it turned out, the shooter couldn't see us on the beach from where he was, nor did he have a rifle, but a shotgun, and I don't think he ever had a hostage, but I can't seem to get clarity on that from media outlets.  Does any of that make this situation better?  I'm not sure.

A few things occurred to me as we were hanging on the jetty waiting for the police to reopen the beach:

I felt inconvenienced.  Our surf had been interrupted and then the wind kicked up which meant we probably weren't going back in.  The fact that we were bummed about not being able to surf has been messing with my head.  I mean WTF really? A guy has a gun, we thought we were in the line of fire and that he had a hostage and I was bummed about not being able to paddle back out?  Something is wrong. 

My default was to joke about being homesick.  I know it common that many people default to humor when in horrible situations but the fact that I said, "Well, I was just feeling homesick for New Orleans so a guy running around with a gun really makes me feel right at home", is really fucked up.

I didn't feel surprised. When the surfer paddled up to me, and told me what was happening, I thought to myself, "It was only a matter of time" and then I started imagining what the water and sand would look like when struck by a bullet.  Would I hear it or would I see the water splash or the sand spray first?  It was all very logistical.

As my week went on, I thought more and more about it.  We HAVE gotten desensitized.  Guns being waved around is common place in our country.  I never thought it would happen on my beach, but why wouldn't it?  Why would I think for a minute that we were immune to our gun culture?

It's the week to be thankful, count our blessings and hug our loved ones, which I did with enthusiasm yesterday.  But the truth is that we need to do this everyday.  My passion for what I do increases daily because of the hardships that people are enduring all the time.  I figure my role is to keep creating beautiful art and writing my truths because frankly, we need to be inspired right now, just to simply keep moving forward.

My truth this week, is that I'm glad I didn't get shot.  I mean, we could have gotten to the beach just a bit later or had a leash break and needed to get out while a gun fight was happening.  I'm sickened by this being a nearly every day occurrence and I also realize that we only really hear about the instances where people are shot and killed.  Situations like this one where thankfully, no one was hurt, doesn't make the national news.  How many situations like this happen every day?

Damn...I don't want to bum everybody out, but I also refuse to candy coat this shit.  This was my week and so it's on my mind.  I'm going back over to my parents' house tonight for a different New Orleans tradition (I mean...besides ducking bullets) of turkey gumbo the day after Thanksgiving.  Plus, I just want to give and receive more hugs and eat that extra piece of leftover pie without regret.  I suggest you all do the same, because in this reality, you simply never know what will happen minute to minute.  

Frankly, I would have preferred the shark.

 

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.   Join me on this crazy beautiful Artventure to receive early access to my December Pop Up Shop, where I'll be offering some paintings from my Reclaimed Hearts series, one of which is seen at top. 

What To Do When Your Head Falls Off

When there are so many things to do, that I can no longer keep track...well...you know what they say about the chicken and its head?   I'm pretty sure my head just fell off.

I have a list of things to do.  Ok...that's a lie.  I have five lists of things to do.  I am excellent at making lists.  I make a list and then divide those list items into their own sub-lists.  When I finish something that wasn't on the original list, I add it and simultaneously put a check mark by it.  I have a "master" to do list, then my daily to do list, which I make each morning organized into quadrants: important/time sensitive, important/not time sensitive, not important/time sensitive and not important/not time sensitive.

I am a huge dork.

I'm not completely anal-retentive, just a little OCD, and I've made peace with that.  As one who can fall prey to anxiety, it just plain makes me feel better to have everything put into manageable lists.  Oh...and project management software...and I've been known to rock a good spreadsheet out.   So maybe I have more than my share of organizational tools, but hey, it works for me.  

marigny goodyear art quadrant to do listAn example of my quadrant to do list, which I make first thing, every morning.

I am a huge dork that gets shit done.

I'm sure you're wondering where the hell this topic is coming from, so here's a little context:  I had a whirlwind of emotional months leading up to the Kavanaugh hearings which sparked my letter, I Was a Promiscuous Teen: An Open Letter to All the Men from My Past, which as you are most likely aware of by now, went viral.  The aftermath brought correspondence from people all over the world who shared with me their thoughts on the topic, and stories from their own pasts.

Last week, I told you how I escaped to Las Vegas for a break.  I worked my butt off prior to leaving and finished 35 little Reclaimed Heart paintings, which I'm going to offer during my locals' holiday sale, and my December online Pop Up Shop.

When I got back to the studio last Tuesday, I rocked out 10 more paintings, dealt with the printing of thousands of note cards, and have been working down my holiday art sale check list as well as my art pop up shop check list, my show marketing check list and my media check list (because I'm still trying to increase the reach of my letter)... And then my head fell off.

marigny goodyear art all the lists
Five lists plus project management software = efficiency...until my head falls off.

I am a huge dork, who gets shit done and then needs to stop and cry.

After taking care of the to do item, "print out point of sale check list", and started to work on my inventory and pricing check list, I took a break to watch a video on Facebook with the caption, "a real tear jerker".  Well, that was the end of me.  I was ugly crying in front of the computer complete with gasping and snotty snorts. It was at that point I realized that my head had fallen off about 3 lists ago and I had been on efficiency autopilot ever since, which entails completing tasks now and asking questions later.

I am a huge dork, who gets shit done and needs to stop and cry in order to realize that I what I really need is to go surfing.

I know, I know...I'm a slave to the wave.  It's a beautiful yet sometimes inconvenient thing.  I haven't been in the water for just about over 2 weeks now.  It's about my max before I get squirrelly.  I know myself well enough to know that if I don't stop mid-day for a walk outside, I actually become less efficient in the afternoon.  It's the same with surfing.  I need to get into the ocean and stop the hamster wheel in my head for a minute.  When I get back, I know I'll be twice as efficient, plus my head will be attached, once again. 

Sometimes I just have to take a step back to re-energize and gain fresh perspective.  I can get totally sucked into my lists and can feel like I'm not accomplishing enough.  The fact is I accomplish more in one day than many do in a week.  It will never be enough for me though, so I have to force the break.  (And frankly, going to Las Vegas, while it was an amazingly fun time, is not the same kind of break as being in the ocean...go figure.) 

I am one who works best in spurts.  When I'm in work mode, not much will stop me from completing what I feel I need to.  When I'm in the ocean, all of the lists melt away and the stress dissipates. That feeling of letting go will stay with me for about 2 weeks.  That is just my work flow. As one who is fairly new to working from home, it has taken me nearly 2 years to figure this out and to stop beating myself up about taking a day to surf.  It's just a freakin' day!  

The holidays are a stressful time. No matter how much joy they bring, they can also bring overwhelm.  We need to make sure to give ourselves a break this holiday season in order to practice good self-care.  So, take care of yourself and do what you can to keep your head on. I had a little bit of a hard time finding mine this go round, so I recommend being proactive about it.

The lists will still be here when I get back, plus, I know that there is pie to look forward to next week.  So I'll surf tomorrow and then work my ass off again until Thanksgiving. Then pie...  Then a holiday sale...  Then an online pop up shop... Then Christmas...Ho Jeez.  Surfs up!  

 

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.   Join me on this crazy beautiful Artventure to receive early access to my December Pop Up Shop, where I'll be offering some paintings from my Reclaimed Hearts series, one of which is seen at top.