Thursday, April 17, 2014

a journey of authenticity: re-evaluating my creative life

Over the past six months, I've spent a lot of time re-evaluating my creative life and my family life. Being a mom of three instead of two, with a baby in the mix has definitely changed our routine and my freedom to create. But I started to realize that it wasn't the change in our family dynamic that was stifling my creativity. I am actually my own worst enemy.

I realized that I was spending more time looking for inspiration than actually creating. And I had painted myself into a little box where I was stuck creating what I thought people expected to see from me, instead of what I actually felt like creating in the moment.

I spent more time thinking about what I should create next than actually creating anything. I spent hours planning. Possible blog posts, what to post on my Facebook page, what I wanted to list in my Etsy shop next, what I was going to create for the magazine and what I should teach at The Art Studio. 

My mind was whirling 24/7 but my hands never got a chance to do anything. And I had to take a step back. Actually, a few steps back. I made the decision to leave the magazine and decided that I would not be teaching at The Art Studio. I decided it was time to stop looking for inspiration and just start creating what mattered to me. I decided to stop trying to define my style and just have fun.

During this whole internal creative struggle, the one thing that I absolutely knew was that going forward, I wanted to focus on authenticity. Being true to who I am and letting other people see me without filtering myself, my art or my life. Because I am actually pretty awesome, even if I am a little weird :)

Quite a few years ago I started on this amazing creative journey and I've enjoyed every minute of it. 

But I'm not entirely proud of the fact that a lot of my creativity has been forced - catered to the needs of other people, whether it be creating for specific topics/magazine calls or creating class material, not because it was necessarily what I wanted to teach, but because it was what students expressed a desire to learn. And don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at SNR and my time as a teacher. But now it's time to focus on me and why I started creating in the first place - because it brings me peace and makes me happy. Because there's nothing I like better than sitting in my studio and just letting it happen - seeing a piece of artwork come to life under my fingertips organically.

So here I am, embarking on a new journey. One of authenticity. Keeping it real.

A recent self portrait art journal page - Luminarte Twinkling H2Os, Liquitex Soft Body Acrylics, Daler Rowney gesso, Stazon inks, Sharpie pens, handmade stencils.

Monday, April 14, 2014

monday color inspiration: purple and turquoise

Purple is definitely the color I hardly ever reach for in my inks and paints but I've been trying to stretch my color boundaries lately so I've been working with shades of purple a little, experimenting a little with different color combinations. 
Turquoise and teals are the colors that I have to replace most often so I've been loving the combination of deep purples with vibrant turquoises. Whenever I'm trying to use a color that I don't often use, I always try to pair it with one of favorites so that I'm not too far out of my comfort zone :)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

my life this week: saying goodbye to the winter blues

A nasty flu bug has been stalking our whole family for the past two weeks, we seem to be passing it back and forth but never getting rid of it. But despite that, we tried to enjoy the couple gorgeous days we had this week that gave us a small hope that spring is actually coming. Sometime. It's Newfoundland, it's impossible to predict when spring will arrive and stay, but we'll take what we can get.
I feel like we're finally heading out of the funk that seemed to hit us shortly after the Christmas holidays. In January our three year old was diagnosed with epilepsy and started on anti-seizure medication over an adjustment period of six weeks. It was a tough few weeks. He's done really well on the medication and it's amazing now that he has adjusted to see our happy, energetic little boy back after several months of him being exhausted and extremely irritable and moody due to the number of seizures he was having. But the medication adjustment period was a bit challenging and we kind of lost our routine and I lost all of my get up and go and everything just kind of fell apart from there. 
But, every day, our whole family is finally getting back to a great routine and despite this flu, my energy level is definitely back to normal. 
So these days, we're more like our normal selves. We're enjoying lots of play time, the house is clean, mealtimes are back on schedule and our bath and bedtime routines are back as well. I think that's what I missed most. We stagger bedtimes so that each of the three children gets some time alone with mommy before they go to sleep. So the baby gets a book and some cuddle time for thirty minutes before she goes to sleep. Then I read books and snuggle with our three year old for thirty minutes and then I spend an hour with the oldest. He gets a little bit longer because before bed is really the only time during the day that he gets me all to himself since he's at school during the day and nap times are over by the time he gets home. We either read, or recently, we started playing crazy eights. Anyway, while we were struggling with our winter blues, our bedtime routines suffered and I really missed it.
In addition to finding our old routines, we've also been developing new ones. A couple weeks ago I seriously decreased my technology use. I'm usually pretty conscientious about my technology usage when the kids are awake because I believe in being present and not constantly distracted from them, but sometimes you get caught up in something when you're just checking in so that's the behaviour I've been avoiding. I've been limiting my laptop use to 15 minutes in the morning, a quick check-in while I'm prepping lunch and then I use my cell phone to check in on social media or jot down inspiration notes while we're waiting in the car to pick up the oldest at school. In between answering the three year old's usual twenty questions :) In the evenings hubby and I usually cuddle up and catch up on a couple tv shows, but when he's working night shifts, I make sure I have all the housework done by the time the kids are in bed so I can head into the studio guilt free. Yes, I have housework guilt.
I've done some serious re-evaluation of my creative life and priorities and have been making changes to my routines there as well. I've got another separate blog post in draft about that, but I'm making time for me. Because this girl needs paint on her hands to be content :)
So it's been a productive week in the studio, I've managed to squeeze in some creative time in the studio every day without resorting to ignoring the kids or hubby :) And I'm loving what I'm creating more than I ever had. I'm having fun. I'm not stressing out about what to create next. I'm just doing my thing and feeling happy and fulfilled and brimming with inspiration.
And then here I am blogging again. Because this used to be part of my creative routine too, before I started over analyzing and over planning every part of my creative life. But that's a topic for another blog post :)