Posts tagged artmaking
5 surprises, since becoming a working artist

I have been an artist, making art about 30 hours a week for 2.5 years. What an honor. #blessed.

When I think back on it so far, I have made quite a bit of progress in some surprising areas. There have been a few things that I didn’t expect, ways that I have grown and truths about art making that I have learned since being a practicing artist.

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Abandoning Perfectionism:

I have not made a perfect piece of work in my years of making. I have made some decent work, some good work, a few great pieces, but nothing perfect. I cannot expect this of myself. I should have high expectations and standards for my work that I call finished, but I cannot expect perfection. I wouldn’t make anything if that were the goal.

making before I had any ideas:

Where do you get your ideas? Someone asked me the other day. I remember just starting out painting again and not knowing where to even start. I painted nests and birds, landscapes, and portraits, I bought art supplies and canvas sizes and shapes that were on sale, to just start making again.

I have found that the ideas come when we start, and they keep coming if we keep making. When I don’t know what to do in the studio, just some color mixing, tidying, canvas prepping, collage material clipping, or other such studio tasks usually give me the time to come up with some great ideas.

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Process based art making:

What keeps me sane as an artist, is focusing on expression, play and experimentation in the studio. I just love working with materials and getting into the work. I love adding layers, pushing fluid paints, writing stream of consciousness. My work’s energy is in the making of it, the finished product is secondary.

Sales can be service:

This has been one of the most surprising things.

I am noticing that painting hasn’t only brought me healing and insight, but it has also spoken to others and brought them some beautiful reflection too. I was not expecting that such a selfish act, as painting for myself, could actually end up being an act of service to others.

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Addicted to the studio:

I am also surprised by this. When I was teaching art, my own artistic practice was near non-existent. My art would call my name, but I would ignore it because I was so out of practice, didn’t know where to start and felt so out of touch with my artist. Now, if I am out of the studio for 3 days I start getting pretty antsy and have to get into the studio, even if it is just for a short time during my child’s nap.


Thanks for reading lovelies,

Anna (Olive Green Anna)

What is your biggest struggle right now, when it comes to art?

Outdoor Studio Before/After
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This summer I was in my beautiful outdoor studio at least 3 days a week. Dom and I are splitting the work schedule, taking time for our creative practices and taking time for Vigo, our baby boy. At the start of summer we took a few days and cleared out our bike shed and transformed it into this lovely outdoor studio space. Here are a few shots of the space before. 

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before

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after

We had a budget close to nothing, so we cleared it out, painted some banisters, removed some disintegrating plastic sheeting and voila' I had a new studio space. 

It's been great to work outside. because I have been incorporating spray paint into my work. I began using spray because I did a small public work for Metropolink urban art festival in Heidelberg, and was commissioned to paint a few bike frames for Ruprecht Rides. Spraying outside is always good.

But also working outdoors has been wonderfully influential to my work and process. I paint when it is light out, my day has a bit more of a natural rhythm. I also have left a few paintings out in the rain, and the wind has blown leaves into the wet paint, etc, which just adds that extra bit of wild to my work. 

My current work is about wild and influence, chaos and control. I've had a beautiful summer in this studio and can't wait for warm days to come back for me to really be able to enjoy it again. 

My time in my beautiful outdoor studio is coming to an end for this year. It's getting a little bit too cold. I'll be moving inside soon. 

I'll be sharing some exciting news about upcoming artistic adventures so stay tuned! I actively share my work on Instagram and studio sneak peeks. So if you'd like to head over there,

 

Thanks for reading lovelies, 

Anna

The Artist's Way: 5 Ways I've changed
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I've been reading and working through this book called The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. It's an artist recovery program. It's supposed to take 12 weeks. Whoops. I started it in august last year and am on "Week 11" now. It's been an incredible journey to recover my creative self. I would recommend this course/program to anyone who feels blocked as an artist. Anyone who wants to take time to make and discover/recover your artist.

One of the tasks for this week is to list 5 ways I have changed since beginning my recovery:

A painting is never finished- it simply stops in interesting places.
— Paul Gardner
  1. I have practiced making work consistently. Before the program I was making, but I hadn't been making consistently since college, 8 years ago! Yikes. This is because my day job has fallen away and I have taken the time to make. I also have been diminishing my inner perfectionist, and seeing my work as a practice, without the pressure for perfection. Calling works done when they reach an interesting point.
  2. I now call myself an artist. I have never been able to call myself an artist. I was always a creative person. I was an art teacher. I was an art major. But never an ARTIST.. Now, I can say and believe that I am an artist. It's a big step. You other artists know what I'm talking about!
  3. I have sold over 15 works. I hadn't sold any work for 8 years either and this past 7 months I have sold over 15 paintings. That's something to be proud of. It's an honor to have people start and add to their art collections with my work.
  4. I have begun nurturing my artist. In this 12 week (step) recovery program Julia Cameron encourages us to do morning pages, 3 pages of writing, and taking our artist on weekly "artist dates." Artist Dates are special times where you do something with and for your artist. Taking quality time for your artist and pampering her. Before the program and often still, I am quite cruel to my artist. Saying negative things and doubting myself. But nurturing this artist and speaking kindly to her, has really helped me to begin to flouish. (haha. so cheesy but seriously!)
  5. I have been feeling less guilt about living the life I want to live. I have major guilt about being an artist. My whole life I have had immense pressure, mostly from myself to be altruistic. I always believed that being selfless is the best and most rewarding way to live. It turns out, for me, that nurturing myself and living the life I want to live as an artist is nothing to feel guilty about, because in turn I am filled up enough to give back.

I am by no means finished with my recovery. I have however made amazing progress. I doubted I would even finish this self-help book/program. Writing my morning pages is something that I love to do and has become quite meditative. It has unblocked me in many ways. Seeing the change in me throughout The Artist's Way has kept me coming back. I have one more week to complete the course and I am proud I have made it this far, but most proud of how much I have changed.

Five ways I want to change further:

  1. prioritize making art above house chores.
  2. be open to new medium for making my work and avenues of selling and getting my stuff out there
  3. continue doing morning pages, first thing in the morning
  4. actually take my artist on frequent dates
  5. Believe that being a prolific and brilliant artist is the best thing for me, my family, freinds, and the universe.

Thanks for reading lovelies.

Anna

P.S. Thank you Julia Cameron for your inspiring guidance!

Why Guilt is Fruitless




















For me guilt is far more nonproductive, than it is motivating. I struggle to bounce back after feeling
guilty about something. Especially when it comes to goals or creative things that I want to be doing.


I've been trying to encourage myself recently saying,
"No feeling guilty, Anna. You haven't been in the studio for a few weeks, no worries. Just go back in and do something."



Guilt is negative; it focuses on failing, rather than successes. Negativity is poisonous. Often the negative thoughts about myself or a situation are exaggerated and are lies. I'll think self-destructive thoughts like, "I'm lazy. I'm no good." Rather than the truth which is that, I haven't been making art because I've chosen to rest and hang out with friends the past few weeks instead. I easily slip into these negative thoughts about myself, which are destructive.






Feeling guilty substitutes favorable action.  Guilt gets me into a selfish/self-loathing mind set, which makes me want to escape it instead of overcome it. Frequently, instead of going back into the studio, I sit around and surf the web on my phone, just trying to avoid feeling bad. A more healthy response would be to actively pursue the good that I want to be doing. It's good to feel good. It's good to think positively about me. Guilt takes the place of positive action. I don't want to give it that power anymore.

How do you stay positive and disregard guilty thoughts and feelings?




Thanks for reading lovelies...

Anna


Being a Creative Risk-taker
Time and time again I tell my art students, they should be ready to take the risk of creating something, with the chance it could turn out wonderfully or terribly. I tell them there is no having successes without the risk of failing. 

This summer I took on my own challenge, which honestly was scary. I had built up a lot of pressure because I haven't created art intentionally for 6 years, pretty much since art school. I'm also an art teacher, so man the pressure it on!!! 

Here are a few things I learned to keep in mind and hope to carry on through out this school year, as I continue to make art. 


1) Once you have an idea, act on it right away. 

A few times this summer, I had a spark of inspiration which somewhat made sense with my theme (ish) and just went with it. It felt so good just to dive into the making without thinking. Just making felt so good. It's hard to stay motivated. So, when you have the inspiration, utilize it or as the Germans would say, "Nutz es aus!" 

2) Take time to make.

I had the luxury of taking 3 whole weeks to create art here at our home in Heidelberg, Germany. I know many of you don't have this much time or space. But, oh man, it felt so good to designate time and space for my creative work. 

Throughout this school year, I am hoping to take at least 4 hours a week for my art. I have long days at school, but I have a few days off a cycle which should give me some time for my art. How much is realistic for you? 


3) Keep the inner-critic at bay. 

I was creating new work this summer, trying new things. It's only natural that I wasn't a master at it in my initial attempts. My mind flooded with critical and discouraging thoughts.

The most eye opening things I noticed when creating this summer. Having a critical discouraging voice in your head while creating is detrimental to the beginnings of the creative process. I am so used to being critical. I have been teaching art for a few years and it's my job to give kids feedback and tips for improvement. Shutting off that inner critic was super tough. If I would have let the thoughts take over, I wouldn't have created anything this summer. There is a time to be critical, but when just beginning something, it's best to be open and just make. 

4) Share your progress. 

For me, sharing tidbits of what I'd been creating on instagram.com was a real encouragement. People's comments and likes helped me to see that people were enjoying seeing me create and were liking my work. I was surprised at the reaction a few times because again, my inner critic had won a little bit and I thought everything I created was shit. Share what you're doing with others, whether it be family, or friends in real life or on the inter-webs. 



I hope to keep these things in mind as I continue to be a creative risk-taker this coming school year. 

Thanks for reading lovelies!

Cheers,

Anna