Today, I found my almost-6-year-old son on this ledge worriedly kneeling over a plant. He turned to me and pointed at it.
“What happened?” He asked.
“It’s dead. Daddy killed it.” I said. I’m sorry Dad. It was a flippant response. Dad has an amazing green thumb. This spot has been a difficult gardening space and the plant has been dead for 6 months easily, probably longer.
I did not expect my son’s response.
Daire choked up and fought his tears from spilling over. He wiped them away, trying not to let me see.
He has teared up like this before. Recently, I described Mt St Helens eruption. We watched a short video and his tears let loose as he learned 57 people died, all the animals gone and the trees completely blasted down. The story hurt him the way it hurt the earth.
It concerns me that he doesn’t want me to see the tears. I gave him a kiss and told him that I loved how much he cares. He leaned over and hugged me, a wonderful vulnerable moment shared openly.
“Do you know what happens when we die?” I asked.
He shook his head.
“We become a part of the world around us. When I die I will become a part of you, and Dana and your favorite places on the earth.”
He nodded, thinking.
“I don’t think it happens that way.” He said finally.
“I think we get old and then we die, then we are born again.” He nodded firmly, very confident.
“Yes. I believe that happens too. We become new beings.” I paused. “Is that sad or scary?”
He was still fighting his tears but he said “No.” Nothing more.
But it is change. Monumental, unstoppable, life-altering change.
Costa Rica Heat from Marika Reinke Original SOLD Limited Edition Print $45 – takes up to a week to ship. I will order and customize in silver, gold and iridescent paint. Pack of 10 5″ x 7″ Art Cards: $35 – takes up to 2 weeks to order and ship
The sea is a literary being. It’s waves finger the sand with hieroglyphs and symbols leaving a puzzle of stories. We have slight moments to code-cipher that which we can’t know with any sense but the heart.
I live for family vacations. Time with my family is life-giving and I love getting to know my kids 24/7. This time I watched as my son flourished in the pool and kicked his swimming skills up another notch. My daughter continually warms us with her love of nature and animals, she explores both thoroughly.
I love Costa Rica too. It is a magical place. It slows me down to the rhythm of my heartbeat and I settle into the slow pulse of the blood in my veins. A wonderful slow dance.
It was hot in Playa Potrero but we had a pool, great whole food, awesome tropical fruit, met some wonderful people and enjoyed some beautiful beaches nearby. We didn’t move fast on this vacation, some mini-golf and horseback riding for the kids and pure relaxation for everyone.
I’ve been back since last Monday. The journey home was tough: delayed departures, delayed arrivals, missed connections, lost baggage, taxi drivers that wouldn’t take our fare at 2 am and a 3 hour drive home from Portland in a rental car for lack of better alternatives.
Seattle has a different speed that I find difficult to adjust to. I’ve felt a little down and lack energy from plane rides, a stressful return and change in weather and food.
Here, I’m being pushed forward at life speed. Things move differently here.
But I’m grateful. Seattle has given me much to report and prepare for! Aside from having a commission already lined up upon my return the following happened:
News #1. I’ve been accepted into a juried art fair Art in the Park at South Lake Union on May 7th from 11-6. I’ll be posting more about this shortly.
This was awesome news already but this weekend, this happened:
News #2.The Northwest Arts Alliance has picked me as their featured artist for May! Yes, I’ll be featured in their May newsletter and in marketing for the South Lake Union Art Walk coming up on May 7th. Already, this site is getting a lot more hits on my gallery and shop, thanks to a preliminary post on their site. What will this bring? The news was entirely unexpected.
It is bittersweet, but for now I bid Costa Rica goodbye to don my many work hats. I’ve got a lot to accomplish in a week and a half.
At my studio party on Saturday, a few people asked me last night if it was hard to let my paintings go. And I answered no. As I’ve let them go one by one I have prepared myself for each sale and it has felt good. I love my new profession.
That night was a good night. Beyond expectations.
Six of my originals sold and all ten original watercolor pendants as well as many prints and scarves and cards. At one point there was a line for sales and our house was hard to move in. My husband commandeered me; no more socializing, I had to help him take credit cards.
After everyone left, I finally had a glass of wine. The next day I tried to let it sink in. There is a strange disconnection that occurs for me as I watch my goals unfold. It takes me awhile to quit doing and just absorb the reality, the lovely reality. I’m flying.
My husband, family and I chatted about what went well and what could go better. I had a goal for 2015 to sell 10 original paintings, I’ve already exceeded this. I need a new goal. My son says maybe I should set a goal to make ten million dollars. 🙂
He knows I like to say anything is possible.
After the Studio Party
As I looked at this bare wall I ached a little bit at this mass departing. In a good way, it is bittersweet and joyful, but there is a little ache. Painting is an act of love and I love each one like a child or piece of me. They are moving on to loving homes.
The sale of the originals are the hardest parting. They carry the handprints of my thoughts, reflection, and the love and ache of painting. And the people who bought them will forever be stamped with the memories and emotions embedded in them. We are merged in some way, some friends and some strangers. That is what makes the parting so sweet and satisfying.
In memory and appreciation the following originals have moved on or will be shortly moving on.
And the watercolor pendants which lived such a short life in my hands! They are all gone! I love them and like children, I’m excited for the next phase of their lives.
There is lots of good news but the best news is I’ve got some serious painting to do!
And I’m incredibly grateful for the support of the community. What a wonderful lift off. Thank you!
A tree and climber tend to each other while conjuring private magic.
One offers height, an ever changing maze, adventure, and endless possibility of another world. The other lays hope before her, curiosity and this secret; to understand what lays in her own hands. With each strong grasp and successful push she learns she is capable, again, again, and more.
In a tree’s magic cradle.
Watercolor 24″ x 18″
Original Sold (Commission)
Customized Limited Edition Prints: $65
This is a lot of work, a lot of mistakes, learning and a little bit of duct tape and cardboard to pull it all together.
Not only is it a lot of work making it look like this.
But it is a lot of work getting myself organized like I’ve never been organized as an artist before.
Usually, I handle details like certificates of authenticity and storycards, personalization, custom prints with silver and gold embelishments and payment as they role in. Getting an art booth ready requires you be prepared for anything. I prefer to be over-prepared but I confess I’ve been flying by the seat of my pants.
If anything, this project has propelled me into a commitment level and preparation level I was too insecure to handle. Now, I’m committed. The fear of not being prepared has committed me. That makes me laugh.
I’m seriously changing my workflow so I don’t have to do so much all at once. Ever. Again.
I’m almost done.
My Goal by this Saturday at 6 pm: A good system in place so my husband can help me at the party while I drink wine.
And hang out with some friends I haven’t seen for awhile. These people are awesome. I don’t want to miss them.
Notice the feathers? Those are my daughter’s addition. As she has watched this art booth emerge, her excitement has mounted as has her “help”.
Every now and then I look up and breath a bit and think “holy cow, I created all of this.” And then I look at my To-Do List and I’m back at it.
There isn’t a way this would have happened without my husband, who is awesome help, wicked talented, and amazingly supportive. This party is going to have the best wine because of him. And he, unlike me, hasn’t broken a single frame. I’ve got him 2 to 0 on that score.
And now, I’m going back to that To-Do List. Hope to see you soon.
This post is a continuation from Part 1 posted last week. In order to be successful with Part 2, Part 1 is required reading. You can’t make magic by skipping steps. Come on, you know that. 😉
Step 3: Plan
Yes, I know, planning isn’t really the way it works in the movies or in fairytales. Unfortunately or fortunately, real magic does not require a magic wand, staff or mirror. And magic isn’t going to happen if you just wish for it or say some magic words. Sorry. Life would be easier wouldn’t it? But then, it wouldn’t be such an adventure either.
Like any good potion though, it does require ingredients, and planning is one of them. So we must add a Plan to our potion.
Remember, you are an apprentice. Like any good apprentice, you will have to work hard, study and learn in order to make this potion work. Think about Harry Potter, he had Hogwarts, a whole school and curriculum to study magic! Even Gandolf the Grey learned, toiled and practiced until he became the White Wizard. Don’t you want to be like him? I do.
If you want to practice magic, you must commit to being a student of magic. You must always plan.
It will help to think of your plan as a treasure map that will help you get from where you are now to your Idea.
You are building a map to attain your Idea. The more detailed this map, the better.
So lets do it.
1. Articulate Your Idea
In words, pictures, writing, song, you must spend time really understanding your Idea. You must know this Idea inside and out. You must create a vision of what the world would like if your idea came true. How would your life change? What will you have accomplished? How will the world be different? What artifacts will have been created as a result of this idea?
See yourself in the middle of your idea. What does it feel like? taste like? sound like? Put yourself there and then describe it, record it, perform it in whatever method works for you.
Be as specific as possible.” I kinda think it will look like this…”, “I’ll try…” or “I hope…” does not cut it! Use direct action words, start with ” I will…”
Paint exactly what your Idea looks so you know it when you get there without a doubt. This is your treasure, treat it like a treasure!
As you learn more about yourself and your Idea, you will come back to this vision, over and over again, adding facts, tweaking and rewriting. That is life. But the Idea is the same, do not waiver from the Idea. You must believe ( see step 1).
2. Create Goals
Goals are the key markers to getting to the treasure. Think about a treasure map. It will take 2-5 years to get to the treasure, but in three days you want to cross the river. Crossing the river is a goal. It is the smaller steps towards getting to your Idea, it marks progress and gives you a sense of accomplishment. It gives you hope. You will need hope.
Magic. Is. Hard.
The bigger your Idea, the more goals you will need. Why? Some goals will be easier to attain and some might come easier than you think. If you have the goal, you will know you made progress. It will give you hope and keep you motivated.
What can you achieve that will mark your path on your way to your Idea? Think about this, research this question, read some books and talk to people. They will have different ways of getting to your Idea and they will be helpful. As you think and research start brainstorming goals.
Write or draw each goal on a separate piece of paper.
When you create your goals make sure they have these components:
What will happen?
Keep creating goals. Brainstorm all the goals you can that will help you feel closer to your idea. Remember you are putting each goal on a separate piece of paper. This is important!
It’s a mess isn’t it? Maybe even overwhelming? Here is a sad truth; somethings must get worse before they get better. (Sorry…suck it up…and keep goal crafting.)
Once you have a good set of goals, let’s make it better. Detangle them. Make a map.
Which goal needs to happen before others? Which needs to happen first? Which ones last?
Lay each goal out from first to last. Some goals can run parallel to each other, overlap a little and some will happen at the same time. This is ok. This is great!
How Will You Know?
Now that you have a Map take a look at the first few goals and ask:
How will I know that I have accomplished this goal?
In other words, how will you measure this? If you don’t know, go back and rewrite your goal. You must have a way of measuring your goal. It is simple, if you don’t, you won’t know that you have achieved your goal.
Because seriously, how can you celebrate if you don’t know what you are actually achieving?
This is the fun part! What is the use of goal if you don’t have fun? You Must Have Fun! Fun is deadly serious necessary business.
Create a reward system for attaining a goal.
You want to make $1000 dollars in a month? When you do, have some chocolate, drink some wine, buy your favorite sweater in that catalogue, ring a bell, dance, do it all and just make sure you do something that makes you feel good.
When you achieve a goal, record it somewhere. Create a book of goals you have achieved, or put it in a fancy box, sing a song or paste it on a poster. Make it colorful. Make it real. Make it feel like your goal really did just happen!
You want to watch the pile of achieved goals accumulate.
This will make you powerful!
The more powerful you feel, the stronger your magic.
As much as ideas define you, goals define the attainment of your Idea. Without goals, a map, and a celebration, no magic.
Strategy is the how, what, where and who you need to make your goals happen.
Think of your treasure map. Are you going to go through the woods or over the mountains? Are you going on horseback? How will you get a horse? by boat? by caravan? running or walking? Will you do this alone? bring your family? what about friends? when will you do this?
Pick 1-3 Goals that you are comfortable starting now. These should be ones at the front of your map.
Ask of these goals:
As I stand right now, do I have what I need to achieve this goal?
Do you need additional
to attain that goal?
You may need to take classes, educate yourself, practice, research, read, meet people, talk to people, develop yourself or stop doing something that is killing your time. You may need people with those skills you don’t have and who want to help you.
If you need more of the above, make a goal to get it and add it to your map.
Refine your goals. Make sure you have everything you need to make them happen. Be honest with yourself.
Are you sure you have the right 1-3 goals to start with and everything you need to achieve them?
Let’s move on.
Think in NOTS.
Ask the following of your goal;
What can I possibly do to make sure this goal does NOT happen?
No, seriously. Try it out.
Here is an example:
Goal: Sell $1000 in paintings this month.
My list of NOTs:
Let no one know I sell paintings. Do not price my work. Do not reasonably price my work. Do not show people my paintings. Do not talk to people about my painting. Do not show any enthusiasm for my painting. Do not love my painting. Do not post my work online. Do not share it on facebook or other social media. Do not contact galleries about my work. Do not contact interior designers about my paintings. Do not ask people if they want to buy my painting or commission my work. Do not actively search for people who like and buy art. Do not seek out ways to provide alternative affordable options for buying my work.
Now try it. Go on, get it out of your system. Give me all the NOTS you can think of. Take your time. It kind of feels good to get negative…in a productive way.
Is it clear now?
The point is:
Plan to Give Your Goals Opportunities! Lots of Opportunities!
I must say it again. A goal will never be achieved unless you plan to give it opportunities.
After you have listed as many NOTs as possible, delete the NOTs and you have the beginnings of your tactics.
Now get specific.
Spell out the when,where and how for each tactic.
Your tactics need to be flexible, this is a strategy. Make sure you have more than one tactic for how to achieve a goal. Why? One tactic will be more successful than another and sometimes it will surprise you!
Here is an Example:
I’ll share my work every week day (when) online on Facebook (where) and twice a week on my blog (where and when) These posts will include a picture of my work, a description, price and a means to contact me (how).
I will contact via email or phone (where) one potential buyer once a week (when), introduce myself and my work and ask for a brief meeting or studio visit to discuss my painting (how).
I will hold an Open studio party at my studio (where) once a year when (March 28th to be exact!) and invite people to review my work, purchase prints, paintings, commissions and socialize.
Now, you have a lot of work to do, don’t you?
I’m tired too.
I’ll leave you to it. It takes time to articulate your Idea, create your goals and build your strategy. And like all the steps, they are dynamic and you will return and tweak them. Over and over again.
But the more time you spend thinking and working on your plan, the stronger your magic will become.
It may seem like we are close to done, but we are only half way there. There are 3 more steps and they are just as critical as the first 3.
Dana is happier with the turtles progress now. The water has pulled in the ideas she was exploring in her drawing. She notices this. She feels seen, she feels important. I have had a small moment of connection and motherly victory. I'll take what I can get. I get a lot of eye rolls and sighs these days too.
I also washed the head in some deep yellow because she suggested a golden head. I'm really going to have to think about the head now. I'll look at some pictures, but as I write some ideas are forming.
So much of painting is looking, studying, thinking. I often take long breaks and photos on my cell phone so I can just look. Before I had my studio, I used to prop my painting at at the end of the bed before I went to sleep, just to look at it and make decisions for my next painting session.
Her original drawing has a nest of eggs. She has told me not to include it now. Honestly, I'm glad to not include it, I knew it would be challenging to design. It will let me focus on the other elements more thoroughly. I think it will also reflect the experience of seeing the turtles more acurately. And in some way, that makes it more magical for me, and less scientific. Is that weird? The turtle just appears and we don't know where it comes from now.
For me, There is a point in painting, when a the painting goes from being a painting “of something” to a reflection of my viewpoint, where I and the painting merge. At this point I internally say “Now, this is me, now I'm heading somewhere,”. It is as if I and the painting are making our ways towards each other.
Ironically, often when I'm done, I laugh and think I must be a little insane. I don't mind being crazy as long as it makes me laugh.
Healing is its own process, not controlled, but guided -like tending to a garden. Healing needs a lot of good things and not too much of any of it; nutrition, exercise, happiness, water, sleep, good company and relaxation. It is organic, non-linear with great days and not so good days while new limits and abilities are discovered. It isn’t a one-way proposition like building with legos or molding with play dough. It is a partnership and dance with the body even when the body feels like a traitor. But this traitor desperately needs love. It is difficult to love a traitor. Traitors make things personal. Traitors make you want to turn your back too. Traitors can make you feel bitter.
I had high expectations for healing when I left on this vacation. I expected this vacation to force my healing into submission. I expected to return a different person than the one that arrived two weeks earlier.
Fall has been difficult. Recovery from my herniated disc has been good, but slow. And as my leg got stronger, my allergies went out of control. My eczema on my hands and face started to spread. My eye even swelled up and broke out and for weeks it wouldn’t go away. I suspect the combination of the cortisone shot, less exercise, sudden change in weather and stress. I was uncomfortable to sit in any room in the house. My face hurt, my hands hurt, I didn’t like sleeping for fear I’d wake up and my eye would be swollen shut. Creams didn’t work. Drugs didn’t work much. It felt like a downward spiral and I could not bounce back.
I needed sun and fresh air. I needed to get away from dust, pollen, harsh cold air. I needed to rebalance my immune system. I needed a vacation. The vacation would fix everything.
I arrived and the rash on my hands were burning so badly I soaked them with a wash cloth. It hurt to be in the pool and my face stung from the chlorine. My leg went numb as an aftershock to long hours of sitting on an airplane. It seemed it all got worse instead of better.
But then it got even worse. I got sick; a killer sore throat and fatigue. My husband included a fever in his version. Our son a hacking, croaking cough. This was followed by a brief bout with Montezuma’s revenge on day 5. Then some other irritants; ingrown hairs, break outs, cracked lips and chafed, bleeding skin. Coupled with the ever present expectation that this vacation was supposed to be about healing, I felt like I was being torn down completely.
It reminded me of remodeling our house. It always got worse before the project got better. Walls are knocked down, drywall explodes, dust flies, beams are exposed, wires everywhere and the mess spreads from the room to the streets. And then the rebuilding begins, and a turning point as it all comes back together, lighter, composed, beautified and a new home from the old.
And slowly, it did turn. My hands completely healed and the eczema receded. The numbness in my foot disappeared. My first run on the beach felt like heaven. By the end of the second week, I realized that my leg felt strong (not just pain-free) though occasionally numb still. My back felt stable to the point that lifting some light weights, including by kids, didn’t feel risky. My husband and I salsa danced! Progress emerged and it surprised me.
I’m not a perfectly done project. 2 weeks isn’t long enough to heal my back, I’ve got another 6 months to go they tell me. And I’ve got a lingering rash on my eye that is actually getting better at home. My comfort level as I write is so much healthier than when I left.
And here is something new for me; vacations are about healing. I love to travel and have many vacations and adventures under my belt. And upon reflection, there was always an element of healing in each one. I return and I feel stronger.
Which means, away or at home, we are always in some state of healing? I’m thinking a lot about this and how much of my art work reflects on healing, even in the prayers we cast.