Thank heavens for these reminders. A notification pops up on our car dash, a text message from our salon reminding us of our next appointment (although with my very short hair, I am always looking forward to my next haircut!), the envelope from the IRS shows up reminding us of quarterly tax filing, or a calendar notation pops up on our phone to remind us of an important birthday next week. There are many ways we are made aware throughout our daily routines that maintenance of some sort is required.

But how do we recognize that maintenance is required in our art practice? What are the signs?  Some can be real,  IN YOUR FACE, look at me reminders!  I often try to put something down only to find every available surface is covered with art in progress, collage or gelli print work, last week’s unemptied pallets or piles of reference material. Maintenance is definitely required in the form of cleaning (not buying more tables!).

Other signs are very subtle.  A lack of enthusiasm over a current series, or an avoidance of a particular task.  Maybe you sigh when you enter your workspace, or start painting only to feel as if you are just going through the motions.  These too are signs that maintenance is required.  But unlike an oil change or haircut, this is maintenance only we can perform!

Once we recognize these signs, we can start to work out why we are feeling this way.  Sometimes it comes easily once acknowledged.  More often it requires some focused thought or soul searching.  Some will discover answers through a meditation practice.  Others will journal about it.  Getting some exercise, or getting out in nature, can get us on the path to a resolution.  Asking a series of “why” questions may get us an answer.  Regardless of the method, or the time it takes, achieving an awareness will help us grow into ourselves and improve our ability to practice and play at our art.

So the next time you are feeling less than happy to get in there and play, take a moment to see if Maintenance is Required.

Why am I doing this?  A website…..really?  A blog…….what?  

 Sometimes, we do things without quite knowing why before hand, right?  Not always the best way to approach life,  but there you have it.  Some of these are small things,  like eating a bag of potato chips, while others are huge, like pulling up stakes and moving cross country!  Here I sit, on the lower end of that scale, with starting a website about artistic journeys.    [Well, MY artistic journey to be exact].  What on earth was I thinking?

Who cares about my journey?  I am no one of renown, with no art education to speak of.   My childhood was not traumatic and my adulthood has been unremarkable.   There is nothing about me that could not be said of a gazillion other people.  

And there in lies part of the story.  You, Friend, could be just like me. We are not special.  We are just finally admitting to ourselves that somewhere within us  lies an “artist”!  (Some would call it a “creative”.)  The urge to express ourselves through any creative medium is finding its way to the surface and we want to embrace it!  

But that can be frightening for many reasons.  It can feel out of reach.  It may seem selfish.  It might go against everything we ever believed about ourselves. The list goes on! Trust me, I know!  

But it can also be fun, exciting, inspiring, surprising.  This list also goes on and on! Just as important, it can be healing, soothing and so good for our spiritual and mental health!  

So yes, I jumped into having a website because I thought I should?!?  It has been challenging on many levels.  Even though I have hired a new artist friend (who also does marketing) to do the bulk of the set up, I also must contribute and that has tested my patience! As I try to use and understand social media, I find there is much to dislike! Why am i doing this again? 

Here’s why…….I want to encourage those of you who are feeling “the urge”!

In sharing my ups and downs, my insecurities, the things I have learned and accepted about myself, I might make it easier for you to grow on this journey!  I believe art and it’s creation can be such a positive experience in our lives.  If I can help you in any way by sharing, then that is a win for both of us!

Oh, and I want to share my art with lots of people!

Thank you for joining me.

I found this journal entry from October 17th last year. “My art room is stressing me out. But really I guess the stress is that I don’t know what to do with my art! I have such a difficult time finishing something. Lord, if I could just find an intention!” 

And there it is! I had taken the 2nd in a series of online courses designed to help me find my VOICE in art making. The first course did as it suggested and helped me find the JOY in art. It was awesome to break free from my normal precise portrait work and start just playing with color and mark making. 

But my VOICE eluded me, in fact it still does. Part of that voice was to set our intention. It could be simple, such as just exploring the many shades of a certain color, or as grandiose as expressing the pain of Mother Earth as we abuse the ecosystem! I angsted (this is a new made up word that means stressed!) for days over an intention. It held me back, Nothing called to me! AACK! 

Now, almost a year later, I have come to accept that my intention, for now, is simply to paint with joy, and my voice can be ever changing, Besides, as Artist and Filmmaker Robert Longo points out “An artist can have an intention, but the viewer has their own subjective experience.” 

Intentions can be a guide and inspiration for many artists, but they are not required! Approach your art practice with the plan to have fun, experiment and find out what you love about being creative, and it will serve you well!