Thursday, February 26, 2015

frequently asked questions- time management




I get all kinds of email and asked TONS of questions about all sorts of creative things and once in a while I will take the time to answer many of the frequently asked questions here on my blog!

Questions I get asked a lot are- How I am able to be so productive? How I manage my time? And how do I juggle being a mom and running a business? So today I am sharing a little insight into how I manage my time and I've put it all into video format. Like most of the videos that I share, I talk a lot (32 minutes to be exact) so of you don't have the time or patience you can skip to the highlights below!





SET PREDICTABLE HOURS

I've found that setting predictable hours for art every day has been something that has worked well throughout the many different phases of my life. Back when I was working a day job, I only had evenings and weekends to make art and grow my creative business. Even though my time was limited, I was able to predict and plan projects that fit into those hours. After I spent so much time working this way I became very accustomed to being productive in smaller chunks of time. This process served me well once I became a mom. Instead of working 8 hours straight, I am most comfortable (and productive) working in small predictable chunks of time throughout the day. I still end up working 8-10 hours day it just looks a little different.



STICK TO SET HOURS



Sticking to the hours that you set for yourself is something that is key for me- I mean what is the point of setting predictable hours if you don't stick to them? Back when I had a day job it was really easy for me to be flakey about committing to an art making schedule. My day job provided a safety net with steady income while art was just a side gig that I didn't depend on. I learned over time that if I wanted my dream of being a full time artist to come true I really needed to have some discipline with my schedule and sticking to the hours that I set for myself.



SET BOUNDARIES



I've learned that the best way to make use my time is to set boundaries in my life. Now that I am a mom I don't have a lot of free time and the free that I do have, I want to spend with my family. In order to juggle and make everything work with my loved ones and my business, I've had to set a lot of boundaries with my time and how I fill it. Sometimes it means saying no to social engagements, sometimes it even means saying no to family, sometimes it is simply making the choice to go to bed early so I can be well rested. My boundaries always evolve and change with different projects but making a point to set some limits for how I spend my time really keeps me on track.



IDENTIFY YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES



Taking a little time to identify your strengths and weaknesses can shed light on the things that are working (or not working) in your schedule. While it is pretty easy to name the things you are good at, it can be a little harder to focus on failure and weakness. But understanding your challenges and the things you are not good at can really help you grow and better define where you want to put your energy.





GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO BE FLEXIBLE




While it is great to set hours and stick to them, it is also OK to give yourself permission to be flexible. Sometime "life happens" and it's just not realistic to get all crazy about time management and schedules. While I would love to have everyday be perfect and really productive, this doesn't always happen and that is where flexibility and a lot of grace come in handy!




Wednesday, February 25, 2015

updates from the studio

I've got all kinds of stuff going on over here and today it is time for a little update from the studio! 

With the new year in full swing I have been spending a lot of time evaluating and reevaluating my creative business. For the last few years, I had to make some choices about where I should put my time and energy- to be honest this is always changing and evolving. I had to make the choice to cut back on creating handmade items to sell so I could put more energy into teaching live and online classes. While this has been working well for me, I really miss making things. Making and selling handmade is where I started and is really at the foundation of my creative business. So this year I set a goal of trying to find a way to blend making and selling handmade back into my business. 

What I came up with (which I have been trying out for the last few months) is making limited editions of handmade items that I offer each month in the shop. So far it is working great and making smaller quantities of art and handmade goodies (instead of lots) has enabled me to continue to create online classes year round. So those of you who are looking to shop for handmade items- like pottery, art journals, purses and more, expect shop updates with new things each month. I will be announcing when these updates happen via Intstagram, here on the blog and via my newsletter. And know that if you miss out, there will be more goodies in the coming months. 

With all that said- today I have a pretty big shop update today!

Once upon a time (like 10 years ago) I was attending a wedding. I was wearing a little black dress and needed a colorful clutch to finish off my outfit. I couldn't find anything I liked in stores so I grabbed one of my paintings from the wall, ripped it off the stretcher bars and sewed it into a clutch. This moment changed my entire creative perspective and my business forever!! I went on to write a book about remixing canvas, I taught classes on "redefining" your art and I sold thousands of handmade canvas bags. A few years ago I had to scale back on making bags- I just couldn't keep up with the demand . These days I still make them just in smaller quantities and I am happy to announce that I have a big batch in the shop HERE



I have continued to collaborate on pottery with my parents and am LOVING it! You can read more about my history with pottery HERE. My mom and I have another batch of bowls in the shop HEREMy mom makes the bowls and I glaze them with pattern and we fire them in our kiln. I cannot tell you how much I love these pretty bowls! Each one is made with SO much love and creativity. 



I've also got another batch of handmade art journals HERE.

My latest class The Business of Being Creative is in full swing and it's not too late to join in! If you are looking for some inspiration and insight into running a creative business and a peek behind the scenes of my own business- this is the class for you! I've also got a a fun lineup of classes coming in the next few months. For my complete offering of online classes you can head on over to the shop HERE.

I've had a lot of inquiries about whether or not I will be offering live classes and retreats this year in my studio and as much as I love teaching live, I have decided to take a break from teaching live this year. I have not taken a break from teaching since I started back in 2006 and my gut told me it was time for a little breather. Rest assured I will be back and will keep everyone posted about my live teaching schedule here on the blog. In the meantime I will continue to offer all kinds of new and creative online classes


I am super excited to be one of the teachers participating in Jeanne Olivers's class Studying Under the Master III course. Here is all the information about the class:

There is a lost art of studying the works of others to find your own style. All of the "masters" were first apprentices. The apprentice sat beside the "masters", listening to their process, paintbrush in hand, mixing paint, creating strokes that told a story, and stirred their creative spirit.


Have you ever taken an online course, gone to a retreat, purchased an art technique book and were taught an artist's techniques and mediums?  Have you ever been worried about what is your style and what is "their" style?  Have you ever been afraid to create art that was inspired by another artist?  This course is for you!


Join six artists as we become the “apprentice”. Through discussion and technique videos, each artist will share their week with a “master”. You’ll learn who their “master” artist studied under, who influenced their work and what techniques and mediums they used.

An integral part of the artistic process was to “copy” the master artist.  In this course, you will watch as these artists practice using the works of another artist. They will share what techniques they learned and what they learned about their own creative process.  You will then learn as they create art in their own style incorporating the techniques and/or medium of their chosen artist. 

I am crazy excited to be studying and teaching the style of Jean Michel Basqiuat for this class! Basquiat has always been a big inspiration for me as a painter. Basquiat was an American artist who first became known for graffiti during the late 1970's. By the 80's he was exhibiting his Neo-expressionist and Primitivist paintings in galleries and museums around the world. In my early days as an art major, I was painting wild, messy and very influenced by street art. I can remember my painting instructor pulling me aside, insisting that I check out every book I could find on Basquiat. This moment changed my perspective on painting but even more importantly the art world. I am so honored to be sharing all that I can about Basquiat!


Register now for only $49.99 by clicking on the paypal button below. prices go up after April 6th

After you have paid from the above link  go to jeanneoliver.ning.com and register on the site where the course is held. 

To celebrate the launch, Jeanne is having a HUGE art giveaway (worth over $1300!!) you can check it out HERE

Monday, February 23, 2015

a statement wall for Lucy

My long time readers know that we co-sleep and while it has been working well for us, recently Lucy asked for a bed in her room and we JUMPED on it! For the last year we have been using her room as a play room which worked great but since she was the one to initiate getting her own bed, we really wanted to make it happen. We know that the transition from co-sleeping to sleeping in her own bed isn't going to happen quickly and that it fine with us but we want to have a "big girl room" set up and ready for her

I decided to surprise Lucy with a little room makeover. I didn't want to spent a lot of money so I came up with a fun statement wall to make a big impact. You all know how I love a statement wall! Paris, France has become a big part of Lucy's make believe right now- she talks about Paris, pretends she is in Paris and calls herself Faulette a french chef from Paris. So I thought it would be fun to paint a whimsical black and white wall inspired by Paris.

I started by painting the wall black. I then painted a whimsical interpretation of Paris- my goal was to have the design read like pattern.

The entire project took less than 3 hours and the end result is SO MUCH FUN!

I organized the space, moved furniture around and brought in a mattress. We went ahead with a floor bed for now (cause this kid is a crazy wild sleeper). I did a surprise reveal for Lucy and she was so excited!!!!

The space is only 100 square feet but the updates actually make everything look and feel bigger! 


Friday, February 20, 2015

creating with a kid



If you follow me on Instagram or frequent my blog you will know that we spend A LOT of time making art as a family and I get asked lots of questions about our process. Once in a while I like to share my thoughts on "creating with a kid" here on the blog. (Please note that I am not a childhood development expert or a kids' art teacher- I am simply a mom who is an artist!)

Last week I shared a peek into another of our family collaborations and today I thought I would share a follow up post about creating with a kid. As my long time readers know I've been making art with Lucy from day one. From riding on my back while I filmed online classes to letting her create with me in the studio, it's been a priority to share the art making process with my daughter. 




My philosophy is....

As I have mentioned in the past it is important for both my husband and I to incorporate Lucy into as many creative projects as possible. And while it makes no difference to us if Lucy grows up to be an artist, we do want her to be a creative thinker. I believe creativity and the ability to think in a creative way it one of the greatest gifts we can give our children and while I am always evolving as an artist and mama, I am learning so much as I watch her develop her own creative voice. 



I am learning that with every development stage, there are all kinds of challenges and success in our creative process. Now that Lucy is three things have started to feel and look a lot different from age one, two or even six months ago. She is no longer dazzled by paint! I used to be able to pull out the paint and she would be endlessly entertained. Now paint is not so dazzling, instead it's just another supply that she is comfortable using. And while I love this, it also makes the collaboration and creative process a little different. Here are a few new discoveries that are working for us:




INTRODUCE NEW TECHNIQUES




We used to slop paint on a canvas and call it a day but Lucy wants more- more challenges, more techniques more narrative. In other words she continues to develop her creative voice and we have to keep up and find ways to foster it. I've found that showing her how to use different materials and share new techniques has provided the challenge that she is craving.   Things like stamping with all kinds of materials, expressive mark making, painting and drawing shapes, letters and patterns, using different size brushes, painting with a brayer, sticks, hands and feet and embracing all kinds of craft projects are all things that really capture her interst. Through this process I continue to find a balance between teaching and then letting her discover her own way.



MIXING PAINT




Mixing paint is a favorite process for Lucy right now. No matter what the age, there is something exciting about making your own colors and getting to have "ownership" over selecting and mixing colors. When I paint I am always trying to avoid making muddy colors but I try really hard to stay hands off when Lucy is mixing her colors. I show her some simple color combos but most of the time I let her figure it out on her own. The freedom to mix color, without being micro-managed has resulted in making her own discoveries that really get her excited. In the last six months she has discovered, through trial and error, how to avoid making mud.


CREATE A NARRATIVE

In the past six months Lucy's imagination has exploded. She loves telling stories, she plays make believe, she creates characters from her imagination and she even stays in character for weeks. What we know for sure is that a story or a narrative is really important to her. Right now art has become a vehicle for Lucy to tell stories and I want to foster this! Those days of slopping paint on a canvas has been replaced with a story that she draws and paints. Her entire art making process is all about these stories. Often when we are working alongside each other we do a lot of talking about her stories. We ask open ended questions that prompt her to create and expand her creations. As an artist I know how profound it is develop a narrative within your work and to see Lucy doing this at only three years old is incredible!




CREATE HYPE

These days Lucy has a mind of her own and while we love giving her freedom to make her own choices we still want to provide structure within the activities that we take on. When it comes to making time for art I've found that creating "hype" about a technique or a project creates excitement and willingness to try new things- regardless of her toddler moods.  If I make a plan to take her to my studio in the afternoon, we will begin hyping it early in the morning- we chat about what we'll make, what colors she will select and what tools we will use. This process make for a smooth transition between activities.







CREATE TOGETHER

We all really enjoy creating together on our own individual projects. This rhythm has been a part of our lives since Lucy was born so it is natural for our family dynamic. At age three, it seems she is most comfortable and focussed when she is able to be interactive and social while making art. What is really cool is that we are all able to from each other learn simply by observing and working in the same room. From drawing a face to making polka dots to creating shapes- I know that many of the things that Lucy has learned has been from watching Andy and I work on our own art- not from us telling her what to do.  While I know this will change as she gets older, for now it works for all of us and we really enjoy these times together.


PATIENCE, PATIENCE, PATIENCE!!!

The common thread in all of Lucy's creative stages is the need for patience. I used to only need patience for the mess making but these days my patience is wrapped up in her developing personality. While she is the sweetest kid, she can be stubborn, moody, intense and has A LOT of energy. All of this can affect the time that she spends creating. All I can do to stay patient is continue to remind myself that she won't be a toddler forever and this time teaching and fostering her creativity is precious!

To read and see more of our time creating with a kid check out the entire series posts HERE

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