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”

Paint Til You Drop??

This has been a whirlwind week of activity.  School started this week and I have a ridiculous number of classes.  This is my last semester so I want to make the absolute most of it.  Currently I have 9 classes: Painting 2, Life Painting I, Life Drawing 2, Ceramics 2, Bronze Sculpture, African Art History, Horticulture, Tennis, and Golf.  I am having a ball but sleep has been scarce.

It may seem crazy, but I believe in saturating yourself in something if you really want to learn it.  I think of it as the immersion process, like when you’re trying to learn a new language.  You will never become fluent in French, for example, by taking a class or two and practicing for an hour a couple of times a week.  If you really want to learn French, go to France and speak nothing but French, no matter how painful, until you start to pick it up.  Now I realize that this is too painful for many people, but this is the only way I know how to be – and it seems to work for me.

I have gone from someone with almost no experience in art to, a couple of years later, someone who is considered quite competent.  I don’t think this would have happened for me if I hadn’t soaked myself in all things Art.  I don’t expect to burn the candle at both ends forever, but until I get to where I want to be as an artist, I will continue to work hard and make the most of every opportunity.

No matter what you’re interested in, if you treat it like the most important thing in the world, it will reveal its secrets to you.

Have a great week and follow your bliss!

The following are some photos I took of a beautiful tree I saw on campus.

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Holy &%**! I’m an Artist!

I don’t know if famous artists always knew they were artists or if it hit them one day.  For me it came this week.  I don’t often refer to myself, verbally, as an artist. I’m not sure what the hesitancy is – perhaps the fear of being compared to far more accomplished artists.  In any case, while working on one of my latest paintings I thought to myself.  Oh my God, I’m an artist.

This revelation did not come to me as a result of anything extraordinary about what I was working on.  The feeling, I believe, can be more attributed to how I’ve been spending my time.  Every day, and for most of the day, I have been reading about and/or practicing my art.  I could easily lounge around, or go out, or do any number of other things with my free time.  But what I choose to do is art.  I want to do it more than I want to do anything else.  That is what makes me an artist.

The skill will come in time.  I am getting better little by little.  But what we love and are committed to is revealed through how we spend our time.  Commitment precedes results.  Whatever it is we say we want to get better at – whether it’s being better artists, being better partners, being healthier, etc. – we have to put our time where our mouth is.  Time is the only commodity we can never get back so how we spend it is really important.

May we all use our time wisely this week and do what is important to us.  Now go follow your bliss…

This week’s work…

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What To Do When You – and Your Artwork – Suck

THE artist’s life is a lot like the spiritual life.  There are periods of growth, moments of pure joy and ecstasy, frustrating plateaus, moments of boredom and restlessness, and times where everything just freaking sucks.

I believe that the proper response to any of these periods, whether talking about the spiritual life or the artistic life, is just to let it ride.  Even if you are going through a high point, you have to just observe it with a sense of non-attachment.  These moments are precious, but they are just as transitory as the tough times.

This week I felt as if I sucked.  Nothing was good enough.  All I could see were flaws.  I had the strange urge to hurl my latest painting through the window then jump out after it.  In the end, it was just an Artistic Moment; and it will pass.

So, artists, whether you’re going through Artistic Ecstasy or a Creative Dark Night of the Soul, remember that all of these things have come to PASS, not stay.

Have a great week and follow your bliss…

Old People Actually Know Stuff

(pictures of work in progress at the end)

As a full-time student starting a second career I tend to see things much differently from my classmates.  Many of them are in college for the first time and trying to plan the rest of their lives.  My life drawing teacher, Mr. Storms, was attempting to tell one student in particular how stringent the requirements are for his first choice college, Cal Arts.  Since Mr. Storms knows both the student and the requirements for Cal Arts, you would think the student would have been taking notes.  Instead, he was basically blowing it off, nodding vacantly and interrupting – but clearly not listening.  Even worse, he hadn’t even started the application process, which is time-consuming to say the least.

In a separate incident, the same teacher was telling us about an art gallery opening featuring an artist whose work fetches up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.  He was trying to get us to visualize where we want our careers to end up.  Immediately the girl next to me rolled her eyes, made a dismissive noise and blew it off.  “You need to be realistic” was her only response, under her breath of course.  The odd thing is that the teacher was being realistic – he was giving us a real-life example.  The “reality”, though, is that this girl’s mindset will always make her play small. Negativity prevents people from even formulating a dream, let alone achieving it.

How many times do we do this in life?  We are so focused on our own perceptions of reality that we miss the gifts and opportunities that are right in front of us.  I think it’s important to take time out regularly to give thanks for what we have, which includes the wisdom of the people around us.  This may come from age and experience, but I have learned that old people actually know what they’re talking about.  Go figure!