Friday, May 30, 2008

Synchronicity

This book appeared in my email box this morning - Standing at Waters Edge. It was in an email newsletter I get from Creativity Portal (excellent, BTW). Like I need another book. But of course this one was very timely and the fact that it appeared right after yesterday's blog post, well I had to investigate. So I read an excerpt on the Creativity Portal website and there it was WHAM! - words meant just for me:
"I suppose that I have sacrificed my career somewhat by choosing to prioritize my wife and kids. Maybe I would produce more art if I isolated myself into my work.”

“Loren,” I said, “maybe you have chosen to prioritize your family because you have the strength to connect with them as well as with your art. Some artists seclude themselves in their studios because they are unable to immerse in relationships. They are too frightened of intimacy. I view your lifestyle as a sign of your strength, and I believe that your relationships with your wife and children support and enrich your ongoing capacity to create"
It brought tears to my eyes. Just as Coach Alyson Stanfield said to me, family trumps all.

There are also some very moving comments you are leaving in response to yesterday's post. Again, Blogger doesn't provide me with your email address, so I cannot respond to you individually, but do know that they are most appreciated and helpful. I am not alone on my journey. I am beginning to realize that I am doing exactly what I am meant to be doing right now. I am actually finding the creative bone in this process of cleaning, paring down, subtracting the essential from the mounds. What I have is over 10 years of things I acquired while searching for myself and my voice. These things I needed, or thought I needed, have done their job and it is time to pass them on. They are still of value and importance, but they have finished their work here. I brings me joy to pass them along, with a secret wish that they will do their magic with you, just as they did with me.

Here are more Fragment words from 1999 - eerie - they could have been written last night...
Ever since I was a girl of 10 or 11, I have had the feeling that there was something really important I was supposed to contribute to this lifetime. For the last 35 years, I have been in complete mystery as to what i was supposed to do. I have worried that maybe I missed my chance, or maybe I am already doing it and don't recognize the worth of my actions.

In the last year or so, I feel like I am getting a lot closer to this important thing. In my journey to find my purpose, I have realized what is meaningful and real and true for me. I have discovered what the important things are in my life. I think that sharing what I have learned brings me closer to my authentic gesture. It feels right.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Giveaway, Ebay Auctions, Art and More

First the giveaway. You see I'm still cleaning (this may take months ladies) and next to go are the zines. Not that I've absorbed all the knowledge in them, or finished being inspired by all the art they hold, but it's time to clear my space and my mind, so out they go. So here's an extra copy of The Studio by Teesha Moore. You just can't get these anymore. So leave me a comment and you'll be entered to win this issue #14. It's got 4 full-color pages, contributions by Lynne Perrella, Nina Bagley, Anne Bagby, Linda & Opie O'Brien and more!

Now if that leaves you wanting more, or just in case you do not win, I have even better news. Hop on over to Ebay where I am auctioning off the likes of 20 issues of The Studio. And - Play, Studio Reloaded, Art & Life, Artitude, Dog-Eared Magazine, LK Ludwig's Memory & Dream and many, many (some rare) more.

In a continuing effort to bring you more art, here again is another 1999 Fragment. On the back I have written:
OK, I've been working (playing) at writing down these thoughts about each Fragment and I've just had a really moving revelation. I still can't put it into words yet, but something important is happening during this process. Strangely enough, this physical feeling occurred inside right before I laid eyes on this piece and when I saw it, it really expressed visually what I was feeling at that moment. I may need to keep this one. It may have more to say.

Now, almost 10 years later, I know what that feeling was. I know what this Fragment was trying to tell me. I had found my voice. I had found what I had been searching for for over 40 years and it was staring me in the face. I had created what was in my soul.

Now, after 10 years, this voice wearies, has grown hoarse and weak. I still love what it says but I am ready for more. I know that it will not take another 40 years for my voice to emerge again, but it does take time. I think I am doing exactly what needs to be done ~ even the cleaning. The process of finding and going through and sorting the accumulations of the past 10 years, the notes, ideas, journals, art and materials that have accompanied me on my journey is for sure a step on the way to my next revelation. These revelations don't come to you if you just sit and wait for them. As I have known all along, you must keep moving, taking the next step, even though you do not know why or where it leads.

I am making some major changes in my life. Actually the changes are exactly what I wrote down as goals to achieve, changes that I wanted to occur. But the changes will occur in a completely different manor than I thought. Rule #1, be very, very specific in saying/visualizing what you want. What I find amazing is how much the 1999 Fragments echo the journey I am on now. Looking them over is like reading a guidebook, a trusted guidebook.


"Will you choose Door #1, Door #2 or Door #3? It's a scary decision. Choosing the wrong door could limit your future options, take you down a path you don't really want to go. But what if you could open every door? Unlimited options, unending possibilities. Unless you really are a game show contestant, there is no one stopping you from opening every door you come to. And you have every right to explore what you find behind each and every door.

Do you? Do you open every door? Have you stopped opening doors, looking for new experiences? I have always opened every door. Most of the time I can look right inside and tell I don't need to go there. But I have to open them all to know. I've always been open to new experiences, new ideas. I love coming across new doors to open. I will always seek them out."

Thursday, May 22, 2008

More Art, Already!

Page for Karen Michel's Alphabetica journalThe general consensus has been that you all want to see more art. I agree, I want to see more too. I want to see it pouring out of my hands, paint and fabric flying, colors lighting up the sky, work that makes my own heart swoon. But alas, it's the art of mothering, or actually grandmothering that I'm wrapped up in right now. But I am counting down the days...just 4 more weeks!

One thing I am able to do in short spurts or while entertaining Riley at my side (she LOVES attention, like any almost 4 month old does), is clean, sort, file, organize and when she sleeps, read. One of the things I came upon this week was a file of color copies of the pages I created in everyone else's Alphabetica journals.

Do you have the book? It is a true visual feast but it contains only a small fraction of the over 200 works of art created by the 14 participating artists. This is the page I did for Karen Michel's book. Simple, classy lines, texture, color, image. It was one of my favorites. I'll show you another one - it's there, right above - the new blog banner! Once I spied it I knew it would be perfect. That's the spread I did for Judi Riesch's long journal. It was the first journal I received in my first collaboration. I was petrified! These were the True Colors people, would I measure up? And look at it, I love that page!

Diving even deeper into the stacks, the layers and layers of papers, folders, notebooks, flotsam & jetsam, that piled up so quickly while I was off gallivanting all over the country spreading the word, the art word that is, was another rare collection of images. I found a fat folder of copies of my first Fragments. What struck me were their freshness, the looseness of them. They looked so very joyful - the creation of someone who had finally found a source of expression.

I am reading Thomas Moore's wonderful new book, A Life at Work. I get shivers every time two things coincide in my life, a divine intervention, a colliding of seemingly unrelated activities that combine to bring that sweet taste of wisdom. "A calling is the sense that you are on this earth for a reason, that you have a destiny, no matter how great or small...A calling is the sensation or intuition that life wants something from you."

Here is what I had read the night before, "Up until now, I felt I was waiting harder. I have always had this feeling that there was something I was supposed to be doing, something significant, my creative purpose. I read, took classes, I thought deep thoughts. And it was hard waiting, because I wanted to know. But life reveals itself on its own schedule. It wasn't my time yet. But now all my preparation has paid off. My impatient waiting time is over. My creativity is spilling over. The time is now."

Page for Lesley Jacobs Alphabetica bookThe first words are Thomas Moore's, the second, my own. What only a handful of people know (if they even remember), is that when I originally started making Fragments, each one came with a short narrative, a verbal Fragment. I really wanted people to read the words more than see the art, but I figured no one would be interested in my words unless I first caught their attention some other way, with pretty colors, textures and images. Those were the words on the back of the large green Fragment you see above. The quote on the Fragment reads "It's just that it's not quite time to write them...What shall I do while I'm waiting?...Wait harder, it said." written by James Hillman, author of (get this) The Soul's Code: In Search of Character and Calling . The Fragment and quote are circa 1999. Now, almost 10 years later, after finding and living my calling, I am back examining my calling. But according to Thomas Moore, that is exactly what I should be doing, and that's great news.

Back in 1999 I never dreamed that my words would be as popular as my art. This whole blog phenomenon has enabled women to share their voices, their words. It has connected us as never before. And we are listening. But just as I suspected back in 1999, people want to see the artwork too. Over the next few posts I will share more 1999 Fragments and the word Fragments that accompanied them.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Expert Advice & A Chance to Win a FREE Book!

Wouldn't we all rather be in the studio all the time? It sounds like my idea of heaven, or the perfect vacation. Yet, just like we cannot forgo family, food and forty winks, we cannot forget about the business side of art. A good plan is to dedicate one day of the week to business-related art activity, but what do you do if you have a bazillion business things you need to do and all you really want to do is make art?

It's pretty overwhelming and can leave you doing NOTHING - trust me I know. So I went to the expert - Alyson Stanfield, author of I'd Rather Be in the Studio -The Artist’s No-Excuse Guide to Self-Promotion. Today Alyson is here as part of her blog tour to help promote the book and is also giving away a free copy. She’s invited me to ask a question related to the book, so here goes . . .

Alyson, I've been a successful artist, teacher and author for several years. I am taking this year off to get back in the studio to do some art just for ME. I thought that was my #1 priority, but after years of neglect, I also need to update my website, as well as redesign my blog, design a marketing campaign for my next book and a new product, continue to create art and articles for a magazine I contribute to AND spend time with my grandchildren. My question is - what do I do first? I can't seem to get my priorities straight with so much to do. HELP!


Lesley, I can certainly understand your frustrations. As a solo entrepreneur, you must wear a variety hats. And there are so many different tasks to stay on top of. I can’t tell you what to do first. Only you can set your priorities. I can, however, give you a series of steps that will help you and others set those priorities.

1. Be very clear on what you want and what you need. I mean crystal clear. Is it immediate sales? Is it recognition by someone or some place new? Is it self-discovery time? Only you can answer this. (See pages 9-12 in the book.)

2. Write down everything you need to achieve what you want: time, skills, equipment, etc.

3. Make a list of everything you do that someone else could be doing. List the value or cost of each. I’m not asking if you have the money to pay someone else. Just make the list. What can you let go of? Every time you think you’re saving money doing something yourself, consider what your time is worth. When the stars are aligned you will find the means to turn over those tasks to someone else. I’m also asking that you prepare to release control over every aspect of your art career and accept that things might not be done exactly as you would have done them, but that they’ll get done to your satisfaction. Having someone else on your team will make you a stronger artist and businesswoman. There should be no shame or guilt in asking for help. We don’t get far when we consistently work alone.

By the way, after you make your list of the tasks you can let go of, be sure to keep a running description of the type of person you would like to assist you with each job. Send it out to the universe and I’ll bet you trip over the right people just when you need them.

4. I mentioned this in this week’s Art Marketing Action newsletter and it’s worth repeating. I think it’s critical to keep a list of everything you need to do. Keep it constantly and look at it in the morning before you start to work and in the evening in order to set your priorities for the day. (See Action 3 in the book.)

5. When you set your priorities for the day, keep the list of must-dos to 3-5 items. Tackle those things first. You’ll be tempted to check your inbox, but don’t. Take pride in the fact that you are 100% responsible for your actions (that’s one of the 6 Principles in the book) and that means paying attention to what is most important.

Having said all of this and looking at your list--which I know is much longer than your question reveals--I would ask you to consider getting help with your website and blog. I would also remind you that art should always come first for the artist (above the marketing). But family trumps both.

Thanks, Alyson. My first reaction is that the remedy (listing and prioritizing) will take up my precious time, but I didn't really think you were going to offer me a quick-fix or some well-kept secret to expand time and energy. It's clear to me that family is #1 on my list right now, so it's #2, 3 and 4 and so on that I will have to figure out. I could start by asking what my dear readers are interested in?










So, readers, do you have a similar problem, or need to devote some attention to the business side of your art? I highly recommend you get yourself a copy of the book. Or even better...how about a chance to WIN A FREE BOOK? If you are interested in winning a free copy of I’d Rather Be in the Studio! The Artist’s No-Excuse Guide to Self-Promotion? Visit this site, read the instructions, and enter. Your odds are good as Alyson's giving away a free copy on most of the blog tour stops. You can increase your odds by visiting the other blog tour stops and entering on those sites as well.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Guess Who's Coming to Art Heart

Alyson Stanfield is making a stop here on Friday as part of her worldwide blog tour to promote her new book, I'd Rather Be in the Studio. If you haven't already heard, the book is full of wonderful info, amazing insight and practical help for those of us who need to stay on top of the business side of art. I have read the book, but I still have one question that's bogging me down. Fortunately Alyson will be here to answer that question this Friday. So please stop in. It just may be the answer you are seeking too.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

And the Winner Is....

(I tried to get Riley to pick a name, but she wasn't cooperating.)

There were 188 entries (including the 3 that came to my email) - an amazing number of entries. I was so touched by what many of you had to say - about my Mom, your Moms, Mother's Day and the generousity of the giveaway. Thanks to everyone who entered.

And the WINNER is...PAM KIRSH - "How very kind of you to share. Happy Mother's Day to you. Enjoy all the blessings you have in your life."

The surprising news is that I found 2 more CDs as I kept cleaning, so we drew another name. DIANE L. of DIMac's Doodles & Heirlooms is also a winner!!! Send me your address, girls, and I'll mail your goodies off this week.

And if you did not win this time around, please check back often as I am still cleaning and will have more giveaways in the future. I'll still do the big box lots on Ebay, but I just love the joy of the giveaway.

On another note, the interview I did last Monday night is now archived on the ZNE Circa Arte website so you can listen anytime, with your morning tea, or to lull you to sleep with creative dreams.

I'm still working on the website for the new transfer product, so hang tight!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Mothers Day Giveaway

In honor of mothers - yours, mine and your children's - I am having a Mothers Day giveaway. I have 13 image CDs that were given to me and I am now ready to pass them along. It's my way of giving back to the givers, the moms. I read a lovely article this morning in the Washington Post, Her True Calling: My Mother's Last Gift that reminded me a bit of myself (or at least how I want to be remembered): "Above all, even when intent on the journey to find herself, she had always made time to be a wonderful mother to me, never failing to wipe away my tears and ease my pain. It was the one role she could see through to the end."

This is a huge collection of images from Red Castle that will keep you busy for months...years! How do I win you ask? Just leave a comment! One of my daughters will draw a name at random on Mother's Day. It's that simple.

PS Speaking of images, we are days away from my big announcement regarding my new inkjet transfer product, so stay tuned!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

LIVE! Podcast Monday May 5

Yes, it's Cinco de Mayo and I'll be celebrating on the air! I will be the Featured Guest on ZNE BlogTalk Radio at 9:30 PM Eastern time. You do not need to be a member of ZNE to listen and you can text and call in questions too! Hope you will join us!