New Painting & Poem

I intend to link my two loves – fine art and poetry by creating a new poem to accompany each new painting.

This latest one is called “I Smile Back”

 

I Smile Back

 

Sunshine, loved

One sleeping,

Unexpected smooch,

Child’s bubble bursting

On heavy-lidded nose,

Spring day grass mowed,

Noticing,

Noticing

Old woman’s smile,

Horoscope matching

Perfectly.

Being noticed,

Hugged and hugging.

Tidal ocean love,

Like smelling salts

Scary thanksgiving,

I pay attention,

Mind blinks clear,

So grateful. Grateful.

Life smiles at me,

I smile back,

Today

I smile back.

16″x12″. Acrylic on canvas. “I Smile Back”

Back in the Game

I can’t believe it’s been over 3 1/2 years since I’ve added to this blog!

In a nutshell, looking back, I allowed others to discourage me from my true passion, which is, and always will be, fine art. I never completely stopped, but I gave up on the inside. When so much of our time is devoted to making money, and if what we do to earn money is not our passion, then, oftentimes something gets lost.

Either we feel we are not doing enough to make money, or we’re making money but are unfulfilled inside. Some are lucky or savvy enough to earn all the money they need while doing their passion. The rest of us have to play a balancing game.

We have to devote some time to each. We have to have a career that brings in a stable income and we have to do what our souls yearn to do.

I’m going back through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, which was a lifesaver when I first read it, and is proving to be a lifesaver for me again.

In the intervening years, I got married, got a master’s in writing, drove for Lyft, watched my son’s become legal adults, and am now studying for a real estate license.

How is all of this going to come together for me? How will I do the career vs. art balancing act? I don’t know for sure. But what I can say is that I will never let anyone’s opinion about my art keep me from making it ever again. That, I can say for sure.

All the love,

Raven

Untitled Abstract. watercolor on paper

12″ x 16″ Acrylic on canvas. “The Forest Has Secrets”

The Power of Focus

Focusing is not something that comes naturally to me.  I tend to juggle, multi-task, and exhibit other sub-clinical ADD-like tendencies.  However, I truly believe in the power of focus.

Almost all of the greats in every field (with Leonardo da Vinci being the first exception that comes to mind) mastered their particular fields by focusing intensely on perfecting that one discipline.  Ford had his cars, Edison had his inventions, Disney had the creation of fantastical worlds.

My problem has always been my love for – and competency at doing – many different things.  But more and more I am coming to appreciate (and reluctantly embrace) the power of focus.  Because I can do a lot of things competently, I have had trouble narrowing my focus to just one thing.  However, in 2014, my intent is to focus.

My plan is to take the first three or four months of next year to decide what I should focus on.  The rest of the year will be implementing a plan to master that specific something.

Wish me luck!

Peace and blessings.  And until next time…follow your bliss!

20" X 25" white colored pencil on black illustration board.

20″ X 25″ white colored pencil on black illustration board.

Where Spirit Leads, I Will Follow

Life is interesting right now as my artistic life gets off the ground.  Although I have always been a long-range planner, my decisions evolve as I gain more information.  Sometimes my plans change so radically, they bear no resemblance to what I started out with.  However, the process of planning is still important.

The problem with planning is that whenever you project into the future, you are dealing with a set of unknowns.  In algebra you have to narrow a problem down to one unknown and then solve for it.  In life there are many unknowns.

When I began to get close to graduating from El Camino I would imagine my life as an artist.  I figured I would get some sort of a day job, hopefully in the art field, but I didn’t really care what field it was in.  I figured I would continue to take evening classes and do my art at night and on weekends.  I didn’t know when any of this was going to happen.  But I trusted Spirit to guide and provide and just did the things I knew to do.  Well, a little over six weeks from the end of my final semester, and my life looks exactly as I hoped it would.  I have a full-time day job and I do my art at night and on the weekends.  I plan to take painting classes at Otis and West L.A. College this fall.

Although I took classes in sculpture, ceramics, drawing, and painting, I have decided that my primary focus is painting.  I find myself expanding my mediums and have been working more with acrylics and gouache.  I am also exploring my literary past.  I graduated the first time with an English degree but did not do much writing after that except for the occasional poem, and a TV pilot I wrote in a film class.  But lately I am feeling that old flame being rekindled.  I have always loved literature but never felt that confident about my writing.  Finally, I am ready to explore this avenue with a class or two this fall and see what comes of it.

This rekindled love for literature, after studying art for two years, came as a surprise to me.  But life is exciting and never boring when you pay attention to your intuition and follow the leading of Spirit.  In looking at past journals, I see a recurring theme of wanting to write, of feeling an urge to create stories, but things happen when the timing is right.

So, if I were to give some tips on how to live an intuitive life filled with exciting twists and turns, I would say the following:

1)      Spend a good deal of time alone so that you can shut out the chatter, opinions, and agendas of other people (including the media) and get in touch with your authentic Self.

2)      Develop a meditation practice that encourages mental and spiritual strength, depth, and wisdom.  Meditation teaches you how to see things from an expanded perspective rather than getting sucked into the minutiae of the day-to-day.

3)      Read.   Read lots of different types of things – magazine, books, newspapers, blogs, etc.

4)      Watch.  Watch lots of different types of things – movies, plays, YouTube clips, live events, channels you don’t normally watch, etc.

5)      When you get an intuitive hit, do not argue with it, reason with it, or ignore it.  Spirit speaks softly whereas Ego shouts.  Spirit shows up where it is welcome, although it is always present.  Ego forces itself on you and commands attention.  You have to lean forward and incline your ear to hear Spirit, but it speaks clearly.  Ego manipulates your emotions and exploits your fears.  Spirit says things that feel right to the soul.  Ego says things that stir up the passions and cause anxiety and confusion.

You don’t have to be “spiritual” to live intuitively.  Spirit, as I said, manifests where It is made welcome.  It is the “still small voice” within that wants only your highest good.  It is full of love and grace, not only for you, but for everyone. It uplifts, motivates, and is the energy behind the creative spirit.

May we all make Spirit welcome this week and follow Its Dear Voice to the path towards our highest good.  Peace and blessings.  Now go follow your bliss…

Artists Need Each Other – Don’t Go It Alone!

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As artists, it is very easy to go it alone on everything.  We come up with our own ideas, we use the medium we’re comfortable with, we do our own marketing.  All this autonomy can make us forget how important other people are.  Community is essential not only for personal happiness and satisfaction, but for practical matters like advice and assistance.

I joined the 48Days community last year and I feel a sense of camaraderie with the spirit and intention of the people there.  Most are entrepreneurial and positive.  I also enjoy the camaraderie of my fellow artists and activist friends on Facebook and Twitter.  Many of these people I have never met.  But just knowing these folks are out there, encountering many of the same struggles and victories as I, is comforting and motivating.  ArtBistro.com is another wonderful community for artists, complete with career-oriented articles and information.

As the job market and economy continue to evolve, it is more important than ever to have a support system.  And, remember, don’t just be a receiver.  Giving is not only Karmically important; it is fulfilling and helps prevent depression.  Always be ready to help a fellow artist out, or give a compliment or word of encouragement.  As tragedies continue to happen around the world, it is more important than ever to appreciate those around us.  We can no longer afford to wait around for things to get better; we must embody the Love we wish to see in the world. Together we can create the kind of world we want to live in.  But it starts here; with us.

Have a great week and go follow your bliss!