Painted pottery this weekend: Aunties, Bubs, Uncle Brandon, and mommy. We had a blast & some much needed down time. Painting + breakables + frozen yogurt = one happy little boy.
So, I’m working on this painting, and Keian works next to me, usually painting a pirate ship or birdhouse.
(My son and I paint together a lot. He’s three. He really likes to do whatever I like to do, and I really like to paint.)
I work on several paintings at once, because I am impatient, so while one layer is drying I move onto something else.
I leave the table to grab the next painting but I can’t decide on just one. I spend maybe 30 seconds deciding, and Keian says, “Mommy!”
He has a paint brush loaded with green paint in his hand.
“One minute baby,” I tell him, trying to pick another painting.
“Mommy!” He insists.
I’m trying to be quick, so I grab all the paintings, but 45 seconds is too long.
“I paint a dinosaur. High five?”
High five, little man.
*I put the stack of paintings down, away from the green paint brush.
This week the synchronicity has been crazy.
Everything lined up about Support and asking for help that I couldn’t ignore it anymore. There were giant signs in my inbox, twitter feed, and hovering around Facebook clubhouses.
What is a girl to do?
Let go of the fear.
See, I’m not exactly the best at asking for help. I’m a stubborn lady.
Its too much to sit with alone, inside my own head all day about my business. I need help. And as soon as I thought about it, I started to really dig inside and think about what it meant to ask.
First I thought about what I wanted: clarity about the direction to take my art bizz.
I have this art adhd and I just can’t focus on one thing. I frantically jump from project to project looking for the next best thing, the next fun thing, the next great thing to offer: I can paint and I have a lot of trust and faith in my abilities to paint, but I am caught in this comparison trap. Too many blogs and pinterest, too much visual information. I see so much other great work then I think I need to go in another direction, I need to make stuff like so and so and paint like this other person. I have too many options.
So many options, so many ideas.
I can paint anything! Do I paint only what I like? I like a lot of stuff! I paint in my downtime, whether it is for fun or profit. Painting is what I do. I paint with my son, I paint with my mom, I paint for my sisters. I give gifts of paintings. My son and I, we make art most days, or we do crafty fun things. We pick out wooden pieces at Michaels – pirate ships and bird houses. He loves birdhouses and pirates.
We slosh paint all over these guys, over and over. The cutest thing is this windchime bird house he loves. “Mommy, lets draw painting my jingle house.” Green and blue and red and black, then he paints it all over again. My son loves his painted pirate ship and jingle house so much he takes them to bed. Kei has this pair of cowboy boots that are way too big for him, he wears them everywhere even to bed. He has a stuffed dog, Max from the Grinch, and he takes him everywhere too.
I am completely immersed in art stuff. I’m so concentrated on making it work as a business that sometimes I forget to enjoy these little parts. I’m learning to relax about it again. I’m learning to find the fun in art again, just by watching Kei. We built houses out of cardboard cereal boxes, he loves creating and painting as much as I do.
Art is what I know: its what I do it is what I am ridiculously good at.
but…WHAT THE HELL DO I FOCUS ON?
Then the tweets and emails and etc came pouring in.
Ask for help
Ask for support
Don’t be ashamed or scared or feel too small just to ask for help.
Big giant Yes, please.
If you are an internet lurker like me, you just yell a giant YES in your brain like I do when something clicks so hard in your brain you want to give the person a hug and then ask them how they figured you out so concisely without ever talking to you.
Does this happen to you? So many people in my life, ghost friends, have this amazing x-ray vision deep into my brian and heart and guts and they know what I’m going through at this exact moment that it is too uncanny for me to simply ignore.
So I did that: asked for help. I wrote a
book scholarship application to the wonderful Michelle Ward and I won membership in the When I Grow Up Clubhouse.
It was exactly what I needed: a Community of amazing support.
And that was only the beginning of the giant snowball of fabulous.
I wrote e-mails to people, telling them how great I think they are. (They wrote back! Squee!) I joined twitter chats about life and art and mommy guilt. HEY, I’m not doing it wrong! A lot of other women, even rocket scientists, have these same fears. A Rocket Scientist worries about the same things I do, that just made my brain go, “What?!” before it exploded.
Why its been hard for me in the past:
Aside from being Capital S stubborn I’m also someone who feels like they are out of their depth in social media.
I don’t use it like I think I should, or like I see other people using it, or like how I read people telling you how to use it. ETC.
I feel like I don’t use the internet like other people do. A lot of question people ask me about my computer usage end with me going, “Uuuuhm, well, you know, I use the internet as my own personal image caching system… and to check in with my little sisters on Facebook, turn on Pandora and flit away to paint into the night.”
I was Queen Blog Lurker. I follow people religiously that I love, through RSS feeds, looking forward to my daily email to read while working out or on my lunch break or long car rides etc. I didn’t really connect unless I wanted to send a crazypants fan love letter to someone.
I didn’t really think about connecting as a conversation. I thought about it like writing into a magazine. Everyone on the internet was smarter, funnier, more creative: everyone was a celebrity.
Comparison, its a trap.
Juxtaposition that for a minute with this:
I am not like this offline. Often, I am a giant exuberant ball of puppy-like unbridled enthusiasm. My two favorite things to do when I’m painting are Karaoke and dancing. KARAOKE… in strange bars and pubs and lounges and restaurants. Singing terrible songs terribly in front of complete strangers and a close-knit group of friends. In the city I would sing at the top of my lungs in the middle of my store while I was working. I would wrangle my customers, employees, and managers into Top 40 duets and Classic Rock ballads.
I was equally fearless on the dance floor. I have no rhythm. None. I would leap into the fray during Salsa night and just make it up. Okay, I did know two basic steps. Two. No hyperbole here. It was all in the sense of good fun. Everyone had a blast.
I am tone deaf.
I can not sing on key if my life depended on it. But the fear never stopped me.
My livelihood never depended on it, like it does in the art business. Connecting, conversing, engaging and interacting. I love it, I really do. But there was an enormous black cloud of fear surrounding it. The black cloud of the fear of doing it wrong.
This week all the stars aligned, the moon was full, a million people wrote about asking for help, asking for support, and being fearless and abundant.
I’m so clear about what I want out of my life and business. I want to be able to have fun and make art, but stay professional. I want this to be my life.
I want to live fearlessly
I feel all fired and inspired and supported by a lovely community of ladies + 1 in the When I Grow Up Clubhouse (Thanks Michelle!) Plus a bunch of great people who interact with me on twitter (Thats @Kat_McBride if you want to say hey.) I’m so grateful to the wonderful people who (gasp!) responded when I e-mailed or commented and left my comfort zone to reach out / be social.
Bye bye black cloud.
It’s not that scary. I just hate asking for help because I don’t want to feel needy, or look desperate. It’s silly, all it requires is a shift in thinking. I’m not being needy, I’m connecting with like-minded awesometastic peoples. I’m finding my tribe.
And they are awesome.
For real though, catch me on twitter. Its where I hang out while I’m painting and I love to chat.
Doing the work : a meditation on fear, stagnation, and mediocrity.
I had a very ambitious plan to finish an entire desk full of art this week. Six paintings and two drawings, to be exact. Many of these paintings have sat around in their ‘ugly’ phase for too long. I’m ready to stop obsessing over these paintings. To paint as much as I can until tonight, then call it a day. Done! Clean off my desk and for better or worse never paint on these canvases again.
I make a lot of excuses for not finishing a painting. My favorite is the, “I’m not ready to finish this piece, yet.” I think that means I’m not good enough.
Truth is, I think I might be scared to finish a painting.
I’m not sure if it is an Aries thing, an artist thing, or a Kat thing – but I have the worst time focusing on one painting. (Alternatively: Lizard brain, the critic, resistance thing.) “It’s not perfect,” I tell myself, “this isn’t how I envisioned this painting.” Frustrated, I put it aside and I start a new one.
…get 4/5ths of the way finished (or less) and move on to the next shiny new idea.
I always need to be working on two or more at the same time… to hold my interest and to keep the same feel and connection in a series. And this idea works, until it doesn’t.
When it doesn’t I am left with an entire desk full of paintings that are about 80% finished. Am I avoiding the hard work? The last 20% of a painting can take longer than the entire first 80% of the same painting. I doubt it: if anything working like this is harder and creates more work for me.
I’m afraid to let go. If I share works in progress everyone sees the roughness and mistakes, everyone understands that it is all part of the progress. It is supposed to look imperfect. I’m afraid of not being good enough. I’m more afraid of producing mediocre work. I am aware of the irony, that stagnation and fear create mediocre work. If I am afraid of finishing a painting I am stuck painting the same piece, over and over, because I can’t let myself let it go. I am doomed to fail and repeat the same mediocrity because I am afraid of creating mediocrity. In this loop I obsess over the work / I am unable to finish. I obsess & can’t finish, I obsess because I can’t finish, I can’t finish because I am afraid. The painting stagnates, I fret, and obsess some more; I worry about getting nothing done because I’m afraid of finishing… Lather, rinse, repeat.
Doing the work, for me, means letting go. Accepting failure, and moving on. Success for me would be not looking back.
I’m finishing these paintings and moving on to the next Shiny! New IDEA! Fear and mediocrity be damned.
See you Monday, clean beautiful desk & new ideas.
Talk to me: do you have a thought loop that trips your work? How do you overcome it?
There was an art show at a nudist resort, a new studio & office, a truckload of learning, tax filing, and creative mojo; new ideas, direction, and focus.
No resolutions for this year, but a lot of rethinking and re-framing. New option for the stacks of to-do lists I compile, pile, and forget. I made a wall of goals on post its (because I love office supplies more than to do lists) and with every new idea, I add another post it. Better system because it keeps me focused and doesn’t interrupt the flow of a list. I don’t have to do anything, its a wall of ideas to guide me when I am creating.
February is here and I’m excited for new creative ideas (why do they always hit at 2am?) with paper clay, gourd art, portraits, jewelry, and paper. I have new paints, a new sketchbook, two new types of clay, and a stack of new canvas ready to go!
In the time between my last post and now I’ve had an entire gallery show, moved to a new state, and painted more than I’ve ever painted. I really feel like I’ve grown as an artist/painter. Every piece presents all these little problems to solve. Sometimes I look back later and I’m amazed that I was the person who created this piece. Sometimes everything clicks.
Acrylic on canvas
16″ x 20″
Bitumferous is my favorite piece from the group show I did at Big Car gallery in Indianapolis, IN. I can see all the growth from a year and a half of painting there in one piece. I’m amazed. I’m always drawing and painting faces, always perfecting expressions. Sometimes I can look back and remember the lessons I learned with each piece, looking back I can see the inspiration behind these pieces.
I’m always experimenting… and experimenting some more.
Acrylic on Canvas
Acrylic and pencil on paper
Acrylic on Canvas
11″ x 14″
Acrylic on Canvas
18″ x 24
Acrylic on Paper
8″ x 10″
2010 was an incredible year of productivity and growth. It may be February, but I am hoping to continue with that energy for all of 2011.
The clouds were white and fluffy floating in an impossibly blue sky. The trees and grass were miles of bright green set against this perfect backdrop, everything was like something out of a movie.
The sky just seemed to go on forever.
I spent almost an entire week preparing, for the trip… and then I needed a couple of days to unwind. Vacations are supposed to be relaxing, or so I’ve heard, but I was taking a two-month-old and a lot had to be coordinated.
I was in charge of photography, which worked out great because I like being behind the camera. I took over 600 pictures during the three and a half days we spent away from home.
I took a lot of photos at night, and the camera setting did fun things with the light.
The camera effect and lighting make the water look like it is on fire, a really nifty and unexpected find.
It was blistering hot outside so the water was warm enough to feel like bath water, but most of our vacation was spent in the pool. Because of the Solstice the sun didn’t set until almost 9:00pm.
i was laughing
all the while
and how could I be surprised after some
nine odd months
you sprung from me
three hard impossibly painful
thrusts into life
you were born into laughter
as if you couldn’t wait
another moment to meet
the source of that laughter
you were born into the bright
bright impossible light
of that room
and the excited
nervous voices faces pacing bodies
your fathers perplexed
as he holds you
after nine odd months
surprised you are here
and on your pinched
old-man baby face
tiny toes and fingers cupids bow mouth
and I have nothing wise
witty or poignant to say
instead I’m laughing
all the while
on my favorite purse,
taken in the blue evening light.
My jar of paint brushes
Paints waiting to be used
Paintings waiting to be finished
But those will wait,
its bath time.
These moments go by so fast
my tiny baby boy
is almost too big to fit
in the sink and be bathed
and he hates bath time
so I try to finish quickly
so he can be warm and dry
air guitar baby!