not only, but also

the existential crisis i was kind of vague about in previous posts was regarding my work. i’m so dramatic. it’s amazing what a few weeks of perspective can achieve. even in these several days, i can look back and see where perseverance and vulnerability to change has gotten me over a hurdle into the centered environment i have longed for myself. what i’ve tried to articulate in previous posts is that i was passionate about my last job. i felt important. those brands resonated with me, because i took ownership and responsibility of all i could. i value the people i worked beside every day. 

for five years i had the same bosses. for five years i had the same career responsibilities. for five years i had the same mental projections about the future based on those essentials. again, i’m framing this very dramatically. i sought the ends to all of these things. even though i still get to do some part-time work with my old company, i can’t be as immersed i once was. for me, when i transition into a new role, i’m all in. my mind begins to soak in and soak up. i start noticing the world from that perspective, and the old point of view fades. it’s still there somewhere. it’s just not in the forefront. 

to be real and raw, it all just happened fast. i knew my marriage was ending far before papers were filed. we both did. that’s how we’re able to be friends now and raise our daughter together. but right after i filed, i decided i was moving to a new, clear space. and to a school zone for V’s future. then, i felt a prompting to look for jobs. i applied for two. i got called for this one, and i prayed for a specific offer. i told my mom if i got that, i was accepting it. and here we are.

that kind of faith leaves room for doubt, and it got to me for weeks. i picked up and left a lot of comfortable knowledge and command behind. for weeks, i only saw my parents and vayda. i didn’t even really tell them about work because i was too tired to articulate what i was learning. we finally got to the week before i moved and packed up the whole house, my mom, dad, and grandma. that was the turning point for me. it felt so light to give away all that burdened me, organizing it beautifully into a place that is mine and Vayda’s only. without realizing it, i was performing all my tasks with my own flair at work and feeling like a team member. i had gotten through a big event and two grants while maintaining my marketing functions. 

i was doubting myself in certain moments, but ultimately i knew in my core that my belief in myself and my values is what landed me in this position. in the past month since moving and having this realization, i am overcome with more peace than ever. i wasn’t suffering in unrest before. i was simply enjoying solitude while i meditated on the right direction for my life. but now that i have this peace, i find my productivity has increased tremendously, and i attract great opportunities in areas that i desire. i have several commissioned painting projects in my queue which brings my heart so much joy. i have graphic design clients i work on in my free time.

and i simply love my career. my job with the agency is something i am passionate about. it’s fast paced, i design all day, write grants, talk to the press–there is always something going on. it’s something that makes me proud. i can visualize a future now that makes me prouder than anything i previously imagined. 

wanting for nothing feels excellent. blessed is really all i can say about my life.

i need rules.

it’s easy to be really involved with a creative idea in the beginning. ultimately a road block appears where the project is avoided. it just isn’t fun anymore or it’s too complicated/time-consuming to complete at the moment.

the most disappointing part is, i rarely pick it back up. and if i do i wait forever to finish it. life has changed gears for a season, and my aim is producing more with my time. producing more of whatever it is in that moment for me. producing an intentional and finished product. one day, it’s a random craft with repurposed bottles. rearranging our den as a playroom for V. the next day, owning a task at work. organizing a junk drawer. designing a gallery wall. i’ve penned lists in my notebooks: projects at home to conquer, and project tracker with goals for work.

in order to be intentional about working through my grandiose list of possible design projects, i have defined some new personal guidelines…or something like that.

1. choose one project from the list only. enjoy thinking about the project in advance and divide the project into clear-cut steps.

take one of my latest piece for example (pictured). i wanted to do something a little different and fun with V’s birth announcements. don’t ask me why, but i had 12 different cards printed that i wanted to collage on a canvas with some sort of handpainted work included. i started by ordering the cards, obviously, and picked out canvases from my stockpile to use. then i took time to envision the piece and imagine the arrangement, colors and tools i would use. after planning out the timeline, i felt confident and excited about my upcoming craft.

Canvas with paper cards, acrylic paint and modge podge.
Canvas with paper cards, acrylic paint and modge podge.
Canvas with paper cards, acrylic paint and modge podge.
Canvas with paper cards, acrylic paint and modge podge.

2. house must be clean and all work-related tasks completed before i start to art.

my OCD mind will wander to what’s unfinished or undone, and then I’ll inevitably be juggling 15 chores with my designated project. making sure things are in the order before i step into my realm of peace with the piece.

3. communicate with the art.

quite possibly the lamest way to put it, but the most enjoyable part of any creation for me. it sounds nuts (and maybe it is). for years i have pondered God as an artist and how He must delight in the artform of nature, space and humanity across decades and dimensions. could you imagine…? i don’t [think i] have a god complex, but i appreciate the idea of imagining my blank canvas as a creation i’m breathing life into as i work.  so, i enjoy “getting weird” while i paint. fluid patterns and strokes that follow the imperfections of a specific tool. mixing colors to massage their best pigments and making sure they feel good on the canvas. that no stroke or pen mark feels completely awkward unless agreed upon between me and the brush. call me crazy, but those are my favorite pieces. they get the most of me in them.

4. let the stuff sit out.

the house is clean, so i intentionally leave my craft necessities out in a designated, but obvious, space until i finish the project. ‘not wanting to drag the supplies out’ can’t be the excuse not to finish. barring a visit from important company, i allow my supplies to get some fresh air mid-project. why not? my living room, my life. and who ever got much done without getting a little messy? (these questions aren’t rhetorical. i have to motivate myself that a little of art supplies gathered by the bookcase and gallery frames on the table are not the end of my clean house.)

 

so those are my new four rules for myself, the ultimate procrastinator. this lazy artist with all ideas and not much product to show for it lately has been churning out some stuff recently.

the creative process ebbs and flows, of course –but i’m maturing my processes to get the most out of my creative time, at least until Baby V is stealing the paintbrushes out of my hand.

image(which she can totally get away with being this cute.)

 

oh yeah,

i know i disappeared for half a year. i started talking about how I had a blog at work and then realized I haven’t posted since april, the month i: got a new job. i absolutely love it. i’m planning events AND managing marketing, which is essentially my dream job (after being an actress, but there’s always time for that later). i am working a lot of hours again like i did at my other event planning gig a couple of years ago, but i am really managing it well and i am working for such wonderful people. like, i can’t even explain how cool my bosses are. not like, i hope my bosses will one day read this and see how much of a kiss-up i am, but like i truly like and respect the people i work for and am learning a lot and enjoying it.

i feel so fortunate to have this opportunity. someone asked today how i am always smiling and nice (though i do get flustered sometimes!) with all the constant demands in the hospitality industry, and i got to thinking about what is motivating me. i think it is that i have gained another chance doing what i love at Stewbos & Merry Acres after coming out of a year of uncertainty after losing a job i loved so long ago. i have more confidence in my own gifts and abilities, and i am more eager to listen and learn in areas i am unfamiliar with. plus, my job is just plain fun and that is freeing and exciting in itself.

work is really my focus right now, and i am having a lot of fun with that, as nerdy as it sounds. i haven’t painted in about as long as it’s been since i’ve written, but i have really been craving it lately. hopefully i will do something new to post soon. justin and i are still dating. a year and a half next month, which is the longest relationship i have had. he is still entertaining and charming after all this time, so that must be a good sign. we both love our work about as much as we love each other, so we stay busy–but again, we love it that way!

that’s all for now!

fingerpainting

here is a mural i fingerpainted on my bedroom wall growing up. i’m so grateful that my parents supported my creativity and allowed me to paint all over their home. this piece really means a lot to me because i painted it over the course of several years. it doesn’t have a lot of intrinsic meaning, really, but each fragment of the piece came from some song lyric i enjoyed or a memory i enjoyed musing over. then my friends started adding to it with notes and drawings, and i never even had the opportunity to feel alone or unloved when i had my friends’ colorful stuff on my wall and my parents down the hall. it really means a lot to have a family who supports the arts. thanks, mom and dad.

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hobby shmobby

i got an aa in fine arts a few years ago before i went on to get a bba in marketing. it’s only been recently that i have realized how much i didn’t appreciate that time fully. i was always annoyed with being forced to create, and it would frustrate me into making pieces that weren’t truly my best.

i don’t know if age would have helped me at all. however, now having a full-time day job that doesn’t offer me a lot of room to be creative throughout the day has put a big strain on my ability to be creative. i’m struggling more to find inspiration now that i must maintain focus on mundane work tasks, bills and chores than when i was forced to look for a muse at every turn in art school.

that’s the interesting thing about having art as a hobby. if art is in your soul, if it at the root of your passions–it’s hard not to admire the daily aesthetics. but seeing life in that beautiful and unique way for many years over time allows you to push away the urge to interpret that visual beauty into a work of art. i could push my art away for months or even indefinitely and still survive. but in doing so, my life has lost so much joy and i have fallen into that inevitable rut that keeps me from being myself–an artist, a creator.

i’m telling you all of this because i don’t think it’s so remarkable. most of us, as artists, are not fortunate enough to support ourselves on art alone (kudos to you that are that fortunate. ps: i hate you). we will always juggle the necessity of the day job to pay our bills and that yearning desire to create something from our wild, vibrant imaginations.

i’m also telling you this because it’s where i am right now. i started seriously painting–i define “seriously painting” as something beyond a sticky note sketch, something i would take care not to crumple up in the mess of my life–about a year ago. i’m like a baby artist. i still know all my techniques. my hand knows how to interpret with ink, lead and paint what i am intending on the page. but my brain and my hand seem to be at war. the once flawless duo has stopped doing what it used to do.

and that’s just where i am. i swallow my pride and my insecurity, and i just start making things. and i share them with people even if i’m afraid. i keep my art supplies out even though it makes my open studio apartment look like a total mess. but i don’t care. i don’t have the luxury of focusing all my time and energy on my creations. i don’t have the convenience i once used to in school of creating by deadline.

even if my brain and hand don’t get along like they used to, i think that now, with the passing of time and the inspiration of things i have seen and experienced, i am a better artist. an artist more aware of her flaws. more humble and willing to laugh my way through a piece. more hopeful that someone will relate to a creation of mine. and most of all, more “me.”