Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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Transitions and New Beginnings

It has been some time since I blogged with any consistency. My heart just hasn’t been into it. In fact, I find myself shutting off several forms of connection including Twitter and email. I just need a break.

During this period, I find myself thinking more about what I want to do as an artist and where I want to go with my business. I’ve traveled through a few careers (speech-language pathologist, technical writer) before turning to art and now I feel like I’m at another fork in the road.

The First Stirrings

Some of this started after taking an art doll workshop with Dayle Doroshow in 2007. Expressing my spirit through the creation of interesting characters sparked something inside and set me on a path to learn more. These inner rumblings also created much frustration for me when I had to return to making production artwork. I was realizing that production work wasn’t holding much meaning for me.

The world opened for me when I started participating in the Paradise City Arts Festival shows. I witnessed the impact my Spirit Messengers had on customers. How the faces and colors attracted their interest, drew them into my booth and made them laugh. My customer mailing list grew and so did the desire to make more Spirit Messengers.

Sometime during the early part of 2009 I picked up The Creative Entrepreneur by Lisa Sonora Beam. I began to work through the visual prompt questions. My answer to the following question caused me to stop: What does your deepest creative longing look like? What do you want to be doing more than anything else?

My answer: “to combine art and spirituality as a means to developing one’s independence and creativity and goal attainment. I just had a vision of a woman’s retreat center or gathering spot for art, creativity coaching, spirituality; all forms of expression and a means of attaining independence, gaining self-respect and respect from others.”

Sometime after those words appeared, I remember giving my vision a name. A name that encompassed all that I wanted to do with this idea.

Desire Grows Stronger

In July of 2009, I spent two weeks in southern France. (You can read about that here, here, and here and oh, one more, here.) It was a wonderful experience and when I came home I went through a period of depression and withdrawal. I longed to find the same experience, the same feelings here at home. But I couldn’t put my finger on what is was that was missing.

Shortly after coming home I accepted an offer for a free coaching session from Quinn McDonald. Through my conversation with Quinn, I learned that what I missed was the sense of community I experienced in France. I shared with her my a-ha moment with the visual journaling exercise and she guided me through more areas to think about with a set of exercises and more questions.

And then in August I attended a one day seminar on how to get my artwork into galleries. It was an informative session. Between what I learned from Quinn and this one day seminar, I was pumped and ready to move forward.

Alternate Reality

In the later part of the year, reality settles back in. I still need to make money with my art. I return to production work to fill some wholesale orders and meet the holiday needs at my local consignment stores. I participate in a few retail shows which leave me a little depressed. The economy is improving but very, very slowly. Overall, my expenses are greater than my income. And I know I’m not the only one in this situation.

I back burner the vision I had for teaching, coaching and potential retreats. It all seems silly. Who am I to say I can do that? What great experience do I have to do this?  Do I really want to start back at the beginning?

But I can’t shake my deep desire to teach, to coach, and to host retreats.

New Beginnings

Earlier this year I read The Instruction: Living the Life Your Soul Intended by Ainslie MacLeod. As I worked through the exercises in Ainslie’s book, I continued to find almost all my answers leading me to several things: creation, education/teaching, spirituality and connection. And I have a few weakness: difficulty making decisions and a failure to grasp opportunities.

Last year, I told myself I was going to take a year off from retail shows so I could focus on my art and other areas of interest. That didn’t quite happen as I did do one 3 day show this spring. Sales were slightly better but I’m still not covering my expenses.

But recently other opportunities and successes came my way:

  • Artwork that I submitted for use in a book was accepted. My artwork will appear this fall in Four Word Self Help by Patti Digh.
  • I was interviewed on a local cable access program, On the LAM: Literature, Art, & Music in Hudson & Beyond, where I talked about art and our local artisans guild
  • I was given the opportunity to submit more artwork for another upcoming book to be released in the late fall, and
  • I applied to participate in an art exhibit at a local art museum.

And I’ve decided to push ahead on my desire to start teaching and coaching. I can’t wait any longer.

To reinforce this decision, I start Jennifer Lee’s Right Brain Business Plan E-course on Monday, May 17. My focus is this new beginning; to teach, to coach, to host retreats.

I’m also writing class and workshop proposals and plan to offer classes this fall.

I’m clearing out old inventory to make way for new art.

I’m embarking on a new beginning.


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Monday Reflection

I am your constant companion.
I am your greatest helper or your heaviest burden.
I will push you onward or drag you down to failure.
I am completely at your command.
Half the things you do, you might just as well turn over to me,
and I will be able to do them quickly and correctly.
I am easily managed; you must merely be firm with me.
Show me exactly how you want something done,
and after a few lessons I will do it automatically.
I am the servant of all great men.
And, alas, of all failures as well.
Those who are great, I have made great.
Those who are failures, I have made failures.
I am not a machine, though I work with all the precision of a machine.
Plus, the intelligence of a man.
You may run me for profit, or run me for ruin; it makes no difference to me.
Take me, train me, be firm with me and I will put the world at your feet.
Be easy with me, and I will destroy you.
Who am I?
I am a HABIT!

-John Di Lemme Motivational Speaker & Life Coach (via Lori McNee blog post on Overwhelm & Habits)


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Blues and Transition

Hmm, does the name of this blog post sounds a bit like a folk album title or something similar? My first idea for this blog post was the very original “Post Vacation Blues” as a title. See what happens when you let an idea percolate in your head for a few days?

Blues

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Yes, I’ve definitely had the blues these last few days since returning home from Southern France. I know the post-vacation let down is a common occurrence. I’m sure Eckhart Tolle has a name for it. But these blues seem to be heavier than others. It is one reason why I haven’t returned to blogging.

Our time in Southern France was awesome. The ladies in Dayle’s workshop were great; we got along well, shared a lot of laughs, and worked well together. I think we all wanted to take in as much as we could; to simply absorb everything.

Dayle introduced us to a number of artists from the United States, England, and France. We visited the Farmer’s Market, the Vide Grenier, Albi, Revel, Soreze, art galleries and artist studios, and even included time to make some art!  And after that Eric and I toured around some more, taking in a stage of the Tour de France, visiting Foix, and exploring Toulouse.  The weather was great, the food awesome, and the scenery spectacular. I have close to 900 pictures to review and edit.

No wonder I’m in a bit of a funk.

Which brings me to…

Transitions

A friend on Twitter commented that she couldn’t wait to see what changes this trip would bring about once I returned. Naturally, I assumed this would refer to my art. And in some ways it might.

But what I’ve been thinking about these past few days since coming home is what direction I want to move with my art and my business.

Now I know this probably sounds like a broken record on my part. I’ve talked about this periodically for some time. First it started with separating my functional art and fine art into two distinct websites. Then it became focusing on my fine art instead of my production art.  And now I’m wondering about art all together.

Let me clarify that: I’m now wondering about the aspect of selling art versus the making of art; more specifically, the making of meaningful art, creativity, teaching, coaching, and spirituality.

That makes for quite a bit of stuff bouncing around in my head.

creativeentrepeneurbk-1 A while back I started to work through Lisa Sonora-Beam’s book “The Creative Entrepreneur.” Through a series of exercises and prompts, Lisa guides you through the visual journal process. One section in particular, “Pathway of Heart and Meaning” and the questions “What does your deepest creative longing look like? What do you want to be doing more than anything else?” revealed an interesting answer.

I was stunned and felt a very strong sense of excitement when I read my answer: “To combine art and spirituality as a means to developing one’s independence and creativity and goal attainment.” “…a women’s retreat center or gathering spot for art, creativity, coaching, spirituality; all forms of expression and a means of attaining independence, gaining self respect and respect from others.”

CEVisualJournaling

This idea, the possibility of teaching and coaching other women, has rattled around in my head for a few months. Of course, so has the thought of “who are you to think you can do this? What experience or expertise do you have?”

My experience in France has made this idea run even stronger.

So that is where I’m at; in a period of transition. I have started to ponder giving up retail shows for a year so that I may focus my energies on the development of an art/creativity/spirituality program. I won’t say if that is a good idea or not; we never know where our decision will lead us. However, I do believe that when one door closes, another opens. We just have to be aware and ready to receive it.

Speaking of doors, I took several pictures of doors, windows, and other portals during our trip. Certainly the doors, windows, and portals in European countries are inviting in their colors and design. I wonder, though, if my attraction to them this time around was even stronger because I feel something stirring deep inside. Maybe I’m looking for the right door to open and for me to walk through. Perhaps I’m looking through a window and wondering what I’ll see reflected back at me.

WindowInRevel


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Creativity Coaching

I mentioned yesterday that along with my spring show season ending, the Creativity Coaching training workshop I took with Eric Maisel also ended this week.  I am happy to announce that I successfully completed the training and am now ready to move forward with creativity coaching as an adjunct to my art business.

I participated in the training class last year as a free client when I was trying to decide if coaching was something that I might be interested in pursuing.  This winter, I decided I wanted to learn more about the coaching process and dove in with both feet.  The class was great and a wonderful learning experience. And I learned a bit about myself in the process while helping and coaching clients toward their goals.

During this time I also started working with Lisa Sonora-Beam’s book The Creative Entrepreneur. Using Lisa’s prompts in my visual journal, I came to realize that I’d love to host retreats for women that focus on art, creativity, and spirituality.  I’ve even jotted down a name for these potential retreats.

Would such a retreat be of interest to you?

For now, I’m targeting the fall as a time begin offering my coaching services. If this might interest you, let me know.

New Websites

Over the last few months I began working on two new websites for my art. I decided to separate my functional, production art from my fine art. These two lines are quite different and often target two different audiences.   I felt that having  both lines on one website was confusing to potential customers.  And frankly, I just didn’t like the way it looked.

Here are the links to these new websites:

Amy A. Crawley Fine Art

Moonroom Crafts

I’m also working on accepting payments for orders via PayPal and plan to have that information added to both sites shortly.