It’s 6 O’Clock on what I think is Monday. Both my girls are back to being freshman today. (One in high school and one in college.) Our new normal has brought insight to each of us as we navigate our days together; schedules aren’t necessarily parallel, but we’re making it work.
My brain is in overdrive and I’m struggling to manifest ideas into reality. My in-house makeshift studio table has officially cluttered the space between our music/sitting and dining rooms with loads of “essentials” and mediums (from my studio) for small journal work, Acrylic April and mixed media playtime. It has been my outlet space for now. The word prompts for AA are producing introspective work, albeit they are only 8″x 8.” Even with all of this, I cannot completely immerse myself in the process; the distractions are abundant which try my focus. This week I WILL venture to my studio (In a building we own 30 minutes away) to get messy! I’m hoping it will help sort out the brain clutter a bit.
My artwork is very emotionally driven, so all of this Covid chaos surrounding us has really affected me more than normal. Over the years I’ve learned to use meditation, stretching and deep breathing for focus. I go for a walk or bike ride to sort out my thoughts, sometimes listen to classical music hoping to clear out my head, yet there is an underlying feeling that I cannot seem to extract no matter what I do. It is troublesome not understanding what and why it’s out of reach.
It is taking quite a bit of time getting my online store up and functional. I will update it with prints soon and streamline how it shows. What a learning process! The good news is I will be able to use that knowledge for my hubby’s business, as well.
I wish you all a wonderful Monday evening, may it be spent doing what you love to do. Stay safe, wash your hands and get creating (that goes for me, too)!!!
April is Earth month and here we are three weeks into “Safer at Home” orders from the WI state governor, how am I holding up in this new surreal world? Let me share…
It took 25 years to realize what my calling is in this world and I left a 20 year career in Dec. 2018 to focus on building an art business. I was determined to succeed and followed my passion. Now I have to ‘temporarily halt’ my business growth. (Don’t even get me started on the fact that a majority of my former colleagues and friends are forced out of work as hairstylists, nail techs, esthiticians, massage therapists for the duration of this.)
I am free to create with the amount of supplies (I haven’t needed to order anything because I stocked up over winter preparing and creating for all the spring, summer and fall shows), yet the Cultural places, theaters and many business where my work can be exhibited, displayed and sold are now closed, some concerned they may not open to the capacity they were because they are non profit. This keeps my work to an online viewing audience that is momentarily captivated by ALL that is COVID-19 related. Moments of guilt come over me regarding what I do as being valid or essential, then I realize without the arts (musicians, writers, actors, illustrators, creator of all sorts of fine art) society’s extraordinary events would go without a view from those who have experienced them. Those who have lived and felt can emote something intangible into something tangible. Our work is MORE important right now than ever to record how humanity views this pandemic! Stories need to be heard and shared.
I live in the suburban mid-west. Small town raised, we say ‘HI’ to everyone, wave and chat. Now I walk into a store and encounter people with their heads down, glancing yet avoiding eye contact. If you cough, sneeze or walk too close to someone it could warrant a sneer or death stare.. Families (including those who may be single parent households) are told one person, over the age of 16, should shop for the entire family. Temperatures are being taken at big box stores and blue tape arrows designate direction and X’s mark safe distance in line. Limited quantities of items are enforced because people cannot seem to police themselves and are hoarding irrational amounts of items. Heaven forbid you have a family of 5 or more, and have to explain why you need more than 2 loaves of bread, 2 dozen eggs, and 2 pounds of ground chuck. Dairy farmers are being told by cooperatives to dump milk and produce less; there is an overabundance and they can only make so much cheese with the excess. Fresh food is available, yet fear of a proper process to safely clean it creates fear around buying it. Toilet paper might as well be currency, I watched people at a local store load up entire SUV’s full of it three short weeks ago. (Secretly, I hope it was for a group home or assisted living facility, but I’m doubtful. I’m grateful to have a system to maintain certain quantities of designated items in our household, and replenish as needed.)
Then there is the stay home, only work if you’re essential. Who’s essential, you ask? Well, a whole lot more than you would think, yet not enough. (This is a good time to pay attention to all ‘necessary’ areas of our lives and realize the importance of those that make it possible.) Travel isn’t essential, yet we will lift fees for the state parks and trails so you can use that space to get out and be active. Don’t use any equipment though or sit on a bench, throw a ball or frisbee, that isn’t considered safe social distancing, nevermind you’ve told us sunshine kills the virus on surfaces. Do drive like fools without regard for others who are sharing the roadways with you because you think you are above the law and they won’t bother coming after you. Limit your time on social medial, but use Facetime, Zoom and Google hangouts for connecting to others from your home. Stay active and take a nap. My head is spinning from the never ending barrage of contradictory information being thrown at us daily.
I’ve resorted to obscene behaviors in my household I never thought I’d be doing. Sanitizing everything, alot! Having “house only” clothes and “going out for essential trips” clothes that go right into the wash upon entering our home, showers when returning from work or the store. (I’ve not been wearing PJ’s and maintained regular attire during the day, but I cannot say that I haven’t accidentally slept in those clothes after binge watching something on Netflix) I’ve not started wearing gloves or a mask when I go out simply because I may require some serious anti-depressants to deal with anymore of this chaos.
In a nut shell, many of us are NOT FINE and I finally am able to share that fact. We will do the best we can to deal with the ever changing situational day to day events and even those things that may affect us for a lifetime. Some we can control, but most we cannot. Stay as safe as you know how to. Take time to share with others how you feel. We need validation from each other to make it through this epic time.
Look for some interesting art and images when this is all done.
April is Earth month, and I still want to support by donating 50% of the sale of “Making Ripples” to the “Alliance for the Great Lakes.”
Visit my store or message me if you are interested in purchasing.
Big ART hugs to all you be-you-tiful people and thanks for clicking and sharing, you’re the best!
As I rest up today, recovering from the Holiday’s and all it had to offer including sickness, I’m perplexed and unsure of my next move once again. Last year was full of firsts allowing this year with a few less surprises of its own.
There is an urgency in stepping out blindly and pursuing success on your own. It is imperative to be curious, ask questions and seek answers from those qualified to give it yet I am uncertain if there is a “specific” way to accomplish that. Often I end up with more questions requiring more research. Truly my curiosity for the knowledge surrounding a topic often hinders my progress.
This is my second year applying for the Banbury Art Crawl right here in Eau Claire, WI. It runs the first weekend in February and they’ve confirmed that emails will go out this week with the approx 100 featured artisans. I’m excited, nervous and apprehensive at this prospective venture. I believe that if I am not accepted this year, it gives me opportunity to really move forward with my work and have even more experience with booths, etc. Yet again, it is a great way to network and meet others who are successful, promote myself right here in the Chippewa Valley and learn even more. So in the meantime, I wait…
Other opportunities for shows and exhibitions are out there that I haven’t pursued and will do so this year. I remain a rather unknown artist at this point and know that with determination and learning through failure, the right avenue for my work will reveal itself.
Friends and family took time to like, comment, ask about and share my art which makes me exceedingly grateful and I’ve vowed to promote other small businesses (many of which happen to be female led) in that same way. Offering “classes” still has me perplexed. With so many local “paint and sip” options available, my goal is not to compete but offer those who are wishing to improve skills or creativity the opportunity for growth and currently I’m developing lessons around specific skills. Additionally, I’d love to be available for those who may be searching for a creative emotional outlet. If you ever have questions or if you wish to spend time in the studio with me and paint, I will absolutely make time for you and if I can’t answer or help, I’ll certainly point you in a direction to find what you’re looking for!!
Any way I view it, 2020 looks to like another exciting and challenging year in this artists life! My desire to inspire and touch more souls this year is in full motion!!!!
Happy arting to all you Be-You-tiful peeps. Tammy and the ART studio
When you arrive at a destination, did you believe you would arrive? Most often we simply go without anything more than a thought. That is the absolute process in which I started this art journey.
I was diligent in positive affirmation as a way to promote ‘believing’ in my dream, although I didn’t quitebelieve it would actually happen. I merely set out on a mission of action with a notion of what could be possible. I spent day after day putting in hours of work, research, education and following through with a set up. I felt kind of like a hamster on a wheel with no real destination. It was unclear.
This is my exact point. Sometimes we don’t know where we are going until we end up there! I would encourage you to keep to the course and go though struggles, because for me it was in those struggles that the realization of what needed to happen fell into place. I really learned to HEAR what direction I was to go and opportunity seemed to appear as if out of nowhere. I am certain that is where the believing actually materialized and now I continue to listen and follow through.
Making mistakes and learning which pitfalls to avoid is absolutely part of the process. It’s not all rainbows and sunshine, it’s a whole lot of grind, angst and fear that when persevered results in great victory! I am living my dream and believe it will foster others to live theirs. Just BELIEVE.
Currently I’m telling myself to slow down as I rush around taking kids to appointments and commitments, helping organize and attend art events, get work ready to sell and continue to work on my goal of 100 pieces of art. (I think I am in the ballpark of 75 now!) Tuesday night amidst a Menard’s run, my husband and I attempted to take some much needed down time; while he is also busy cultivating the expansion of his business. Hopefully we will get some tonight, as well. Drive time seems to give us the best opportunity to discuss current life events and work out future plans.
I recently discovered a wonderful training resource for artists to help them grow emotionally, and although I’ve been following along with others’ creations, I’ve yet to finish any of the creative lessons to completion. (See paragraph above) It certainly has set my mind in motion as to a direction that I wish to pursue for the studio space. (HINT: it will involve mixed media and creating art from memorabilia-good, bad or otherwise!) My desire to help others as they deal with grief and raw emotion in a positive way, I believe is getting a foothold. Each time I give myself quiet reflective time, the vision becomes more clear of what it is I need to do.
I continue to pursue avenues for selling my original art and getting my work out into this great big world. It is taking up more time currently than I have time for, lol. All good things come to those who wait, they say. Slowly these opportunities are coming at me, now I need to navigate which are the best choices for audience and personal lifestyle!!
This brings me to an update on the studio situation. It continues to be a project that is getting very little of my current time. I am fixated on an opening date of Spring 2019! I’ll be more diligent about posting updates between this blogsite and my Facebook page, TJF ART studio. Live updates, and short studio time videos are happening more often; I’m just figuring out how to use all of this social media most effectively!
I look forward to being at the “Ladies Day” event at the Edge Pub and Eatery on November 17th from 11-4 with some new paintings and prints of some of my popular ones!
Our current world is far more sinister than the one I grew up in, and although humanity has persevered through very dark times, none feel as dark as this. Evil is masquerading about, disguising itself as well-intended and dare I say even “good.” We are discerning right from wrong misguided by people who understand how to manipulate our minds and our decision making. Think you are obsolete from this? I encourage you to read on.
Inherently, we are composed of both good and bad. Our conscience, that when influenced, can sway either way. Knowledge is available in an instant and literally at our fingertips. We are rapidly making choices and decisions without understanding who may be misguiding influence in a particular way. It has been proven that so much of our day to day decisions are not made of our own accord, but by those influences. Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist, offers his thoughts on this particular subject in his TED talk way back in 2008. It is interesting to note that as we have become more engrossed in our high speed, online based lifestyle, we have also forgotten our real need for personal human interaction. A point I will pick up on later.
Fast forward to our world today. The Covid-19 “Pandemic” Why do you think they chose that term? One word, FEAR. Charts, graphs and “strategic” projections based on too many variables making it difficult to comprehend. Why? Could it be to create visual uncertainty? Leaders offering daily repeated messages that seem far to general in offering clear solutions to problems at hand, and proliferating the agendas of those who have ability to influence. I’m quite sure it’s to misguide our thoughts and sway our opinions. Terms like ‘pandemic,’ social ‘distancing,’ ‘infection rates’ and ‘death tolls’ lean focus on the negative. It’s no wonder people walk around like zombies with their heads down while doing their “essential” tasks.
I understand death is subject not talked about simply because of the real fear people have of death itself, probably why that remains the focus. A message of hope in all the despair that is being projected is to step away from the messages of ‘gloom and doom’ regarding death. It is the finality of LIFE, it’s not a new concept. My experience with death is not at all despair or gloom. In fact, what I have experienced with several loved ones dying is it may be sad but also very powerful on a personal level. When it comes to understanding one’s own spirituality, I believe it’s almost not possible unless you’ve experience the joy of first and last breaths. Grief, most often experienced as a negative emotion of death, is the counterpart of love and though it is painful and unpleasant, it is directly related to how much you love someone. (or something.) We actually experience grief in all loss and it is justifiable and healthy to express. Just as you are born, it’s certain you will die; what isn’t certain is how or when, it’s not really up to us. What is also certain is you have a choice over what to do with that life, how you want to influence or lead others and what you want your legacy to be.
We also can choose how, with whom and where to spend our time. There are 525,600 minutes in one day. An hour contains only 60 of those minutes, make whatever you do worthy of that time. It is certain you cannot get it back so use it wisely.
Getting back to the previous comment on personal human interaction, it has become clearly apparent how significantly lonely individuals are, yet we were too busy to recognize it. Families, friends, businesses and communities have supported, without a hidden agenda, and have provided for each other in this time. I’m overwhelmed with emotion when I see how as a human race we have bonded over this recent affair. So many have joined together as humans and responded with hope and extended help to those in need. Seeing beyond the power and greed showcases those that have pure hearts and wishing to lead from a place of love.
I believe the messages presented in our world from those who are leading with impure hearts further cloud common good and common sense. They are clever in their influencing and we may have to pick the ‘best of the evils’ in how our systems operate due to greed and power. It takes far more courage to stand up and speak truth and lead with love than ever and it is certain we are in desperate need of those who will do so and make major change in our world.
It all starts with us and where we choose to lead from. I choose to believe that most people are of good intention, and may have unintentionally been misguided by influential propaganda directly out of their control. Creating change we must remain true to our heart and lead with love. This is an honorable propaganda that needs to be spread worldwide and for the greater good of humanity.
Definitely not my usual art related blog post, yet this was a heart led message that needed to be shared.
Please stay safe, be well and I love all you be-you-tiful peeps! Art Hugs ~ Tammy
I’ll give a brief synopsis for any not familiar with what “Acrylic April” is. Cinnamon Cooney, whom I discovered through my kids, is a YouTube Acrylic Art Phenom! (It was with her online tutorials I rediscovered my love and need to emote through painting.) “The Art Sherpa,” as she is known, teaches acrylic painting techniques for beginners and more recently, advanced artists. It was her 18+ Online Facebook Challenge that encouraged my art business. (You can refer to previous blog posts for more details.) Her mother, Ginger Cook, is an esteemed pioneer of acrylic techniques. Ginger’s paintings would have you believe she uses oil, they are amazing. (think ‘old dead guys and gals’ good!) Combining information from both of them has helped me develop my own style of painting and I LOVE IT!!! Last year, Cinnamon offered a painting a day during April with instruction; introducing more people to the wonderful world of acrylic painting and how daily painting is beneficial for more than developing skill, but our mental health, as well. She has since copyrighted the term “Acrylic April” and evolved the event by creating tools and collateral for those wishing to participate. Her mission, teaching skills and spirit are beautiful. As an acrylic painter, I will participate in this annually to inspire creativity within myself and improve my own skills.
Now that you’re up to speed, you can see I’m off to a great start one week in. Who would’ve thought that a pandemic’s timing could actually be in line with what I am doing. I’m thanking my lucky stars I can use this time to create. The images I’ve chosen are aligned with what we are experiencing. April has 30 days, 30 opportunities to grow, show and reflect my life into images.
A word prompt is available to all who participate. Week one consisted of the following in order from left to right and top to bottom in the photo above: “Glow,” Unexpected Journey,” “Fire and Ash,” Innocent,” “Lighter than Air,” “The Art of Zen,” and “The Spirit of Hospitality.” I take time to reflect and think about each phrase and how I can relay a relevant message. (Skills I often use when doing commission work. It’s important to know and understand your subject work in order to create pieces that are successful.)
Emotions have been running a muck as of late. Up, down, up down, sad, mad, happy, unsure and on and on. Of the emotions, optimism has been a difficult one to grasp. I’ve turned off unnecessary news and media updates of the negative aspects of our world, yet they seem to make there way into our social media sources. I prefer to see and share messages of love and support rather than doom and gloom. Thank goodness most of the people I follow are of the same mindset.
My body is emotionally tired, I know that sounds strange, but emotion manifests itself in our bodies in physical ways and this week it is breaking me. My response currently to our new “normal” would be to go outside and scream at the top of my lungs and release the anger, then I’d like to paint ferociously on a couple large canvases. Then I can focus on how to keep bills paid and build this little art business into something more that can offer an outlet for others who are feeling the pressures as much as me!
Feel free to share your paintings, if you are also doing “Acrylic April” with me. Share how you are approaching this new “normal”, and how you take time for yourself in spite all of this. Stay safe and well.
Big Art Hugs to all you Be-you-tiful peeps! ~ Tammy