• Tag Archives motivation
  • Nurturing Motivation as an Artist

    Staying Motivated as an artist


    The Ultimate Blog Challenge is almost over, just today and tomorrow left.   Today’s suggestion was to talk about how we stayed determined and motivated. For me, as far as the challenge goes, knowing that I haven’t missed a day keeps me motivated to keep that record.  However, there are other areas that I have to stay motivated for as well.  Such as to continue putting my art out there, hoping that someone will like it enough to purchase it.

    Its easy to get discouraged.

    It is easy to get discouraged as an artist, especially when you offer to give your work away and no one takes you up on it, such as happened with my give away drawing this past month. Its pretty tempting to be discouraged, kind of like Marlin was in Disney’s Finding Nemo, becoming a “Mr. Grumpy Gills”.

    Clown Fish.
    Don’t let setbacks turn you into a pessimist like Disney’s Marlin.

    Truth is, even though no one wanted that print, I know that people have wanted it in the past and have even paid full price plus shipping for it.  So rather than get discouraged about not being able to give my art away this month, I’m looking ahead now, and I’ll try to think of a good February give away that people might be more responsive to.  I have to…

    Just keep swimming

    Blue tang fish, Even when you don't feel it, Just Keep Swimming, the feelings will catch up.
    Even when you don’t feel it, Just Keep Swimming, the feelings will catch up.

    Sometimes I feel very motivated to continue putting my art out there.  Other times I don’t feel it all.  The key though to staying motivated for me is to just keep moving forward no matter how I feel.  Like my favorite little Disney fish Dory, sometimes you have to just keep swimming even when you don’t feel like it, and eventually the feeling with return.

    That’s all I really have for today.  What do you do to stay motivated?


  • Tuesday Tips #2 Nurture the Artist

    This week’s Tuesday tip is simple.  Nurture the artist.

    I am not talking here about nurturing your creativity by trying a new medium, or by setting up a scheduled time each week or each day that is set aside JUST for your creativity.  I am speaking instead of nurturing YOU.

    Take care of yourself!  Take a little time off!  Make time for some exercise.  Take a walk! Cook yourself a decent healthy meal now and then!

    As artists, it is far too easy to fall into the trap of fast food, TV dinners, and too much time sitting in front of our work.  But nothing stifles creativity and confidence more than feeling out of shape and slightly ill.

    So, while its important to set aside time to work, and if you are trying to do art as a career it is vital that you spend a lot of time working on your art, it is also important to nurture yourself as a person, your whole person including the physical you!

    I am saying this from experience, after being hyper focused on getting three pieces ready for entry in a juried show, and during that time neglecting to nurture myself at all.  Now, naturally I am feeling a little down, not too great physically, and I’ve gained a couple of pounds which does NOT result in a gain in confidence.

    My husband had a wonderful idea to spend yesterday visiting Mount Rainier, and it was a terrific break, and offered many awe inspiring views, but at times, such as hiking over rocks to get to Paradise River, was also a revelation to me at how little I’ve been caring for my body lately.  The mountain was majestic, and I took many photos, unfortunately I have not yet been able to get them from my camera to my computer, so I won’t be showing many of them, however I did take some with my phone, and here is one of them:

    Today, I a feel tired, yet refreshed and renewed, ready to begin the next creative work, and inspired to also balance that with some self nurturing, self caring behavior such as visiting the gym, taking a walk, and starting to eat the way I know I should!

    So, nurture the artist and you will refuel for your next creative session!

    Thank you for reading! I welcome your suggestions on how to make this blog more interesting to you! Photography Prints

  • Stretching Myself

    One of my Index cards from the ICAD challenge.

    Before I first started painting in June of 2012, on those index cards that seemed so innocuous but proved to be carriers of the deadly “art attack” virus, I had no idea how much I had missed art in my life.  You see, way back when, years ago, in Junior High School and some in High School, I took great joy in creating.  Drawing, using oil pastels, markers, colored pencils.  I didn’t paint much back then, though I’m sure at some point I must have used paint a little, I really don’t remember, but it certainly wasn’t a medium that I used regularly… at any rate, at that time I really loved art.  For some reason, shortly after high school, I stopped. Perhaps it was because the responsibilities of adult life left little time for it, and little money for supplies.  Perhaps it was because of other issues I was dealing with that caused me to feel unworthy of something that would bring me joy.  Perhaps I just didn’t get around to it.  For whatever reason though, art was no longer a part of my life.  Occasionally I would do crafts, make Christmas ornaments, crochet baby clothes, something like that, but drawing, or “painting” with colored pencils or pastels, was completely forgotten.

    After starting the ICAD challenge though, I quickly realized I was hooked, not just on art, but in particular on painting.  It wasn’t long before I wanted to move beyond the index cards and onto a canvas.  Since then, I’ve painted and painted and painted.  Having had no formal training, I have learned most of what I know by trial and error, often with many errors repeated again and again (when will I finally automatically paint background objects BEFORE foreground objects???).  I’ve watched a few how-to videos, and read a few books, but mostly I’m self taught… I’ve been learning to paint by PAINTING.  Eventually I might like to go for my BFA, but in the meantime I just continue to paint.

    Recently, the gallery owner where my work is sometimes displayed suggested that I take part in a local juried show.  He felt that it would give me more exposure, and also give me a chance to see how my work compares with other local artists and to get feedback from more people.  I looked over the work I had, and felt that there were many things I had learned recently that didn’t show in those pieces, so I decided to create three pieces specifically for the show, being mindful to apply everything I’ve learned up until now.  In other words, I wanted to really stretch myself to the limits of my current skills and abilities, so that I would be submitting the very best work I am currently capable of producing.

    Here is the first piece as it took shape:

    This first photo shows the work after my first painting session, I have no idea how much time I spent up until this point on it, but it was all one painting session.  I used three reference photos I had taken, but didn’t copy directly from any of them, just used them to spark ideas and give a general outline of what was happening.

    I decided to block in some general darks and lights in the background, so that when I added background trees gaps in them wouldn’t show stark blue sky, because I’ve noticed in some of earlier paintings that sky showing through like that often makes the landscape look flat, or fake.

    Then, here is the second in progress photo, a little more has changed at this point, one back ground tree has been added, and one more foreground tree.

    Then I added the other background trees.  Notice that I made them lighter and less distinct than the ones in the foreground, I’ve been trying to learn to implement atmospheric perspective.
    On to progress picture number 4, here I have lightened the trees in the background more, plus added some more foreground elements. I know that the picture looks very different in color here, but it hasn’t changed.  All but the final two photos were taken with my phone, and it is very sensitive to changes in lighting.  The slightest difference in available light causes a whole different color cast over everything.
    Next I simply added more detail in the foreground, such as some flowers on the bush in the lower right hand corner, and some more reflected light on the pond.

    Then I thought I was done, so I took a good picture with my good camera, but afterward, I noticed that the sky above the background trees looked “dirty” because of all the times I’d painted over to obscure the trees a little more in trying to achieve the atmospheric perspective:

    So I fixed the sky, and then took another picture with my good camera.  I printed several samples to compare the color to the original, and edited until it matched.  And here is the final result:

    So there is the painting that will be my first entry into the juried show.  Because I am keeping it for the show, I can’t offer it for sale yet, however prints of it are available on my Fine Art America page, and if the original doesn’t sell during the show, it will be offered for sale afterward either in my local gallery, or in my Etsy shop.

    Art Prints

    Thank you for reading! I welcome your suggestions on how to make this blog more interesting to you! Photography Prints

  • Why I Create

    All my life, I’ve had a drive to create.

    It has showed itself in different ways at different times.  When I was a child, it often showed itself in play.  Hours upon hours of story telling went on inside my head as I played outside, or inside with toys.  The stories weren’t usually voiced, but they were always there.

    Even when I wasn’t playing, when I was doing chores, or walking to school, or doing any other task, my mind was usually not on what was going on right then, it was somewhere else.  In some other place, telling the story of some fictional person and their life and adventures.  Or, if I was focused on what was happening to me, my mind would play out the possibilities of how things might turn out.

    Sometimes my creativity showed itself in writing, those stories I told in my head would sometimes spill out on the paper. Other times they would show in arts and crafts, clay, playdough, paper mache, finger painting, or even mud pies.

    Trips to the beach yielded sand castles, and a vacation to Utah, provided the opportunity to cave designs in pieces of sandstone.  Hiking near my own California home, I discovered a shrub that when the bark was peeled back, yielded a soft, spongy middle that could easily be carved with a twig or stone.  It wasn’t long before I had a whole collection of miniature “totem poles” to call my own.

    As an adult, for many years it might have seemed as if my creativity was put behind me, but really, it was there all along, showing itself in more practical ways.  I sewed clothes for my first child, I crocheted blankets and booties for all my babies.  As a homeschooling mom I almost always made my own visual aids, and created some for sunday school as well.  I decorated birthday cakes, made pinatas, and sometimes wrote my own homeschool curriculum.

    Then, one day I picked up a paint brush. It was as if I’d finally found the perfect outlet for that drive to create.  I longed to paint every day.  I looked forward to it.  I waited for the chance.

    I haven’t stopped since then.

    I may never be famous or rich.  I may never see my paintings sell for enough to even “pay myself” minimum wage for my efforts.  But that doesn’t matter, that isn’t why I paint. That isn’t why I create.

    I paint because I love it.  I create because its who I am, and I cannot do otherwise.

    Thank you for reading! I welcome your suggestions on how to make this blog more interesting to you! Photography Prints