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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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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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Contemplating Success

This statement is bouncing around in my head today as I prepare for my first ever load in of an individual showing at a local business. I feel very blessed and thankful in regards to having this opportunity. I also recognize that the opportunity didn’t just present itself, I sought it.

Taking the proper steps in any business requires a certain air of discomfort and uncertainty. Stepping out on your own to pursue possibilities for “success” is a bit unnerving. How will I be received? Will they like my work? What will others think of where my work is placed? Will I sell anything? Questions and overthinking are normal for me. I often spend more time than necessary mulling over every possible question and an equally possible solution. Getting over myself is the largest obstacle when it comes to my personal and professional “success.”

So the short and sweet of it…get over yourself and worry less. Explore options and search for ways to be successful. When one or more opportunities fail, know that there are multiple ways to achieve “success” in your art journey and always have your eyes, ears and mind open!!