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My 2020 “Acrylic April”

AA_2020_week1

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

 

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Green Flash

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.

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“Green Flash at Dawn/Dusk”,  12″ x 24″,  Original $285

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)!!!

Art HUGS to all you be-you-tiful peeps!  ~Tammy

 

 

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Covid-19, WHAT??

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.” FORD_02_Making Ripples

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!

~Tammy

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Believing is also an action

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 quite believe 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.

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Studio Truths

First, let me say, I’m blessed to be able to pursue what I love.  Second, know that life gets in the way of our pursuit and it’s okay to pause.  Passion will bring you back.

My studio is overflowing with pieces in various degrees of completion.  I will finish them over time (who knows exactly when, some of them I tinker with for months).  The reality of so much in progress would have caused anxiety in years past.  It could be overwhelming and daunting to think about what to do first or prioritizing tasks.  Mostly, I think, because of societal conditioning to follow through with what you start in a timely manner.  I’ve talked about perspective before, how you view your circumstances, etc.  In altering perspective I opened myself up to growth and I was amazed by the result.

Because I was a regimented, scheduled soul for so many years (like 20+) the concept of not working on an individual piece to completion was foreign.  What I have noticed in changing perspective is one project often sets forth another idea, sets forth another, etc, etc.  They commence within and without addressing that inner voice, it could be lost or forgotten.  Now, when that inner voice nags at me to explore something, I listen.  In doing so, my anxiety was reduced and I am able to literally ‘create’ stress away!  What a great concept!!  It is completely refreshing to explore, experiment and choose a piece to work on based on inner voice instead of exterior deadlines.  Profound concept, I know.

One step further; this applies to most everything we do in life.  As human beings we start out as an idea, if you will, hardwired with a basic design.  Given our individual circumstances, that design is slowly developed by family, faith, friends and community.  We have a basic understanding of what we may want our finished outcome to be and then exterior influences beyond our community make an impact on our being and we morph/change.  In my 42 years here, I’ve experienced this numerous times.  Changing and improving with each phase of our ‘life project.’

Viewing my art in this manner allowed me freedom of choice  When I step into my studio and often before I allow myself the guilty pleasure of quieting my soul to hear what is being said.  I know which pieces will need attention or detail, which ones aren’t developed enough and which ones are ready to impact somebody else on their journey.  As humans, we aren’t meant to be complete until our journey has ended and I would say the same of my work.  My art will live on in the viewer, it will change/morph and inspire someone else in a way uniquely personal to them.  For this reason, and the pure joy of creating, I choose to continue the pursuit.

Happy Art-ing all you Be-YOU-tiful peeps!