How to describe the climbers’ magic? To persevere, to embrace challenge, to un-puzzle rock, to conquer fear and reach uncatchable vistas and beauty. Adventurers who explore their inner-life landscape with earth’s stone-maps. An ultimate union.
Watercolor 7″ x 12″
This painting will be available to buy at Art in the Park in South Lake Union May 7th, 2015 from 11-6 with a frame. $100
9′ x 12″ prints will be available. I will be able to customize the background and highlight with gold, silver and iridescent colors for $45
Tomorrow, the family is heading to Costa Rica for spring break. We expect lots of sun, beach, relaxation, pool time, monkeys, maybe a zip line or horse back ride and definitely a lot of exploring. We are going to Playa Flamingo, Guanacaste. It is hot, it is beachy and the jungle literally spills into the ocean. There is nothing like a change in scenery to shake off the winter grime.
So trapped here, voluntarily and blissfully. What will I take?
I took these to Mexico. The brushes hold water in the stem and I can paint on the plane pretty easily with them. From Seattle, this is going to be around 10 hours of travel time. Though I don’t love them, they are packable.
The pan watercolors are not my favorite. I have a lot more flexibility with tubes. But they are portable. Plus, I have this huge set of new ones, not even opened.
I used up my watercolor paper journal and the art store didn’t have any. So I grabbed some small Arches Watercolor blocks.
This time maybe I’m going to take some high chroma QoR tubes, my silver and gold watercolor, and nicer brushes and one palette so I can do some real painting. My husband is going to think I’m crazy. The last time we were in Costa Rica we were robbed – maybe not. But I can’t bare to part with them!
Oh yeah, and a sketch book and pencils with pencil sharpener.
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.
It is interesting to me how the practice of art is a melding of personalities and roles. The artist is the giver and the receiver is the subject or client or both. But somewhere in this process, I feel I’m gaining a very precious gift and our roles are reversed. I am grateful.
My daughter wants me to paint her turtle drawing (this is absolutely necessary since I finished Daire’s Dragon).
Daire’s dragon in many ways reflects him. It is all energy, desire and a frenetic wanting of everything without compromise. My son is 5, almost 6.
This turtle is calmer and more grounded, like my daughter. We saw baby turtles in Mexico this winter and large green turtles laying eggs in Costa Rica a couple years ago. It was magical, of the real life kind, both experiences were awe-inspiring. Unlike a dragon, turtles are a real life story. She draws what she sees and learns, she is very scientific and loves the natural world.
When she saw my progress, she was clear she wants more stimulating colors like the dragon – a golden head for example. This surprised me a little. She wants, in many ways, more of me in the painting. She also expressed the knowledge that I was only just beginning, and had confidence the end would be a lot different. She pays attention that way.
What I’m noticing is that through art, the giver and receiver express their relationship and that relationship matures in the process. It is very intimate and so wonderfully human.
I feel this in all the paintings I have done for others, but witnessing it being expressed from my daughters point of view is very touching and expanding. She is 8 almost 9, and really defining herself as a person. In doing so she is also defining me as her mother. She is making sense of me.
And this is in part what this painting is about, a mother making sense of her daughter and her daughter doing it right back.
Something we will do for the rest of our lives I suspect. I am grateful for it.
This painting is inspired by a friendship and her vision. To know her, is to know someone embedded in a journey with peace, not just of her own but to those most suffering. And in her journey, her deep strength unseen, her soothing calm beneath the surface. She carefully tends to herself as she rushes to tend yours. Her ability to do this is awe-inspiring.
Through the echoes of death, love, blood, fear and sad slow tears we rode this goodbye learning that being lost in the unknowable, uncontrollable, unimaginable only brings wordless awe for the mystery of life.
All things happen for incomprehensible reasons. Souls were meant to meet. This soul needed a fleeting chance to feel our love and a name to be complete.
watercolor 16″ x 12″
about My Miscarriage
In 2008, I miscarried. I sensed something was wrong and an early 7 week ultrasound proved the pregnancy was not viable. Adrian had not developed past 5 weeks. We grieved; our already-named baby, our hopes, our plans for our kids and our imaginary family.
I waited for the miscarriage to happen naturally.
Week by week went by and nothing happened. I still felt pregnant, I was nauseous and irritable. My confused body still wanted to tend to the Adrian’s lifeless form. I felt weak, tired and sad in my waiting. It was a time of intense numbness and many tears.
After 4 weeks, I began to miscarry and it went terribly wrong. The bleeding was too heavy. At the ER waiting room it went from somewhat concerning to intense and scary. I passed out. A black, cold, viscous faint that sucked my life force and took away my capacity to think. I lost far too much blood.
I was revived and received an emergency D & C. When I woke from the operation, I was enveloped in a deep sadness. Adrian almost took me with him. I felt stuck and empty from the violent parting. My capacity to create life had almost taken my own life.
It is not a coincidence that I became pregnant with my son the same month that Adrian would have been born. It was our last goodbye and parting blessing.
Miscarriage is a silent and common grief many women bare. At least 10% – 35% pregnancies are estimated to end preemptively.
This painting was featured on the cover of the German magazine raum&zeit May 2016 issue.