I Did It!

So it has finally come into being, and I am so crazy proud of myself I just can’t contain my excitement.    If you have read my previous story on this, I had planned to complete this course last year September but had a slight roadblock along the way.   I resolved to start completely over and have never been happier.   So “Artful Inspirations: Floral Abstracts” is finally here – February 1st to be exact will be the day you can access all of the amazing creative soul content.   Sharing my passion and process along with providing inspiration and motivation to approach art in a different way.   I love taking online courses from several artists and have learned so much from seeing their process at work.  This course is everything I have learned along my journey as an artist: from online courses, books, workshops, traveling Europe with an artist group and so much more.   When I decided to leave my 20-year career in finance 2 years ago, it was important to follow on my path as a teacher and guide.   Being blessed to be able to take on this path, it was important to practice good Karma – giving back and sharing.   Being a teacher and sharing my blessings has given me so much happiness and fulfillment in my life and if I can touch just one person in this world with the passionate embrace of my creativity and soul – I have done my job.   If we all did the same – can you imagine how beautiful this world would be?

So check out my new course Artful Inspirations: Floral Abstract – starts February 1st

I offer my very first class free so that I can not only share but give out thanks.   This is only the beginning and I have several exciting courses in the works.   My journey is truly just beginning.  When does your journey start?

Don’t Get Caught Up in the Details

How many times do you see a job description: looking for detailed oriented, multi-faceted worker?   It’s a definition of pretty much every corporate job description and requirement.   It’s actually a good thing to pay attention to detail and focus on the little things in a customer service environment.  However, this mentality becomes ingrained in our psyche.  We tend to focus and dwell on the little details of everything that pertains to our daily lives.   Our focus becomes so great it truly prevents us from going forward through our process, and we become halted, frozen and unable to complete simple tasks.  The tiny details erupt into a bigger context of focus and eventually fear.

I find when I teach, many new creatives bring this mentality to their creative process.   They get caught up in painting a tree with every branch, leaf and small detail associated with it.   They approach a landscape searching for every detail or a mixed media abstract piece mapping out where and when they will apply their marks.   I say, “STOP and let go.”  Forget that you are painting a tree or landscape and replace these mind tricks into just breaking your subjects into simple large shapes.  Don’t think about every blade of grass or fallen leaf on the ground.   You don’t have to paint every grain of sand or every tree in the forest.   Sure there are many artists that painstakingly do this, but YOU DON’T HAVE TO.     A great painting gives the impression that something exists whether it’s a realistic interpretation or completely abstract.  You allow the viewer to visualize the scene.  Giving them the roadmap through color and brushstroke.

Allowing yourself to focus on the bigger picture, allows the anxiety/inner critic to calm itself and you can just focus on creating.    In my pastel and oil landscapes, I will usually start with a quick sketch in burnt sienna of my subject.   I get a big brush and let loose on the canvas, navigating where I want my big shapes to go and emphasizing areas where my darks and my lights will go.   I am just energizing my canvas, getting rid of the blank white screen and creating a simple foundation.   I won’t get into my details til the very end of the painting.   For my abstract paintings, I follow a simple energy activating exercise I learned from a fellow favorite artist, Flora Bowley.   She explains the concept of “activating the canvas”  Allowing quick movement, sound, feeling and whatever feels good at that moment to dictate the beginning.    I love this concept because it allows you to just let it happen and not spend countless hours thinking about what to put on the canvas – you just do it.

 

However you approach your creative process, I feel the less you think about it the better.   Trusting your process and allowing it to be nourished freely allows your art to bloom outward with feeling and inner soul.     You will occasionally step back and say “did I do that” or “how did this happen.”  Like your favorite TV artist, Bob Ross said, “We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.  You just can’t mess up.  You can cover it up, expand upon your creativity or continue to let it grow.   There will be spots and periods in which you are feeling the flow and areas that just aren’t working.  Encourage yourself to build on what’s working and change those things that are not.   I will leave areas in my oil paintings til the very end because I just can’t seem to get it where it needs to be.   It’s ok.   If I look at the bigger picture those areas will eventually create themselves.

So don’t get caught up in the details, open your heart and let go.  Trust YOUR process and let it happen.   Collect visual imagery of your favorite artists, art, photos, etc. and post these up around your creative space for inspiration.   Remember there are no rules and don’t let anyone – artist or not – tell you otherwise.

Are you interested in learning my process and changing the way you approach your art and creative process? Sign up for my very first online course “Artful Inspirations: Floral Abstracts” to see how I approach my abstract floral series.  Better yet, ITS FREE!!!!!

Sign Up HERE

Pick Yourself Up and Try Again

 

So I have been having so much fun with my passion sharing that I decided awhile back to take it a bit further and offer online e-courses of my process and exploration in art.  This is taking me outside of my comfort zone since I hate the way I look on camera and I hate the way my voice sounds.  But what the heck, I decided to go for it.    I spent three long, arduous months and effort filming and developing my first online course – Artful Inspirations: Floral Abstract and was ready to launch September 2016.   It was a great accomplishment, I was proud of myself and hoped people would enjoy it.   But when I went to upload my content onto my e-learning site, my hard drive crashed.   I lost everything – all of my files, videos, and content.   I was devastated.  I cried.  I got angry.  I had a complete meltdown.  I worked so hard teaching myself how to edit and film videos and it was all gone.   I was just mortified of the outcome.   To add to the despair, I didn’t have a large amount of money needed to save my data at the time.   It was just too expensive.

What’s a Girl to do?

After I had sobbed uncontrollably for several days, I gave up on my sorrow and decided to start over.    Unfortunately, my launch would have to get pushed back considerably since I had two solo shows coming up and a bunch of teaching opportunities.   This is a good thing!    So now I am here, January 2017 starting over.   I have talked to my inner self and given it a sweet pep talk to just let it go.   It will be ok just pick myself up and start again.

Starting over can lead to a whole new experience

As soon as I hit the record button, I knew something was different.   I had a different sense of freedom.  I had been here before, but now I could DO THIS!    To be honest, I wasn’t a big fan of the painting I was taping in my first videos but now…..  This abstract floral was moving, coming alive and breaking free.   I am having more fun, and I know what I am doing.  So I am currently on a role, creating, exploring and seeing a whole new path.  I am having fun and have let go of my big fail and moved on.

Follow the journey

My Artful Inspiration: Abstract Floral course is FREE and contains two full demos of my process as well as a workbook and a few other goodies.   This is just the beginning – I will be offering more online courses of my process including my popular pastel course, and a bunch of exciting mixed media style courses to invigorate your creative soul.   This is an ongoing work in progress for me, and I welcome you to follow the journey as I grow and expand Creative Souls Art.

I’m Bored, Now What?

So I have been spending the past couple of months preparing for my first solo show of 2017, “Emergence of the Creative Soul.”  It provides a look into my creative soul and creative journey since I decided to take on this artist thing two years ago.   I am showing some of my older pieces, my Goddesses, my floral abstracts, and pastels.  But I was short work, and I needed to get my creative juices in gear to create quick large pieces to adorn the front area of the space.   I didn’t have enough work to fill the space, and I had already said: “Yes I can do this.”    So I got to painting.  I decided to focus on my landscapes in oil – better yet, painting the dusk and dawn – those two times of the day in which I am entranced by its mystery, its intense color, and aura.   Somehow I got into a serious groove and created some real solid pieces.   I was proud of this creative journey, and the show looks amazing.

But what now?

You know when you get into your groove, and everything is just flowing freely, and then after awhile it all becomes dull, uneventful and its just not working?   The feeling becomes numb.  That intense flow has been overdone, and every piece of artwork after that just doesn’t have that same intensity and spirit.    Well, that’s where I am now.   I created six amazing pieces of work, and now I am bored.

So really what now?

When my “serious” work starts getting boring and stale, I need a creative shift.  This is why when you do see my work there is several different styles.  Almost as though a different artist has emerged each time.   I find news ways to reinvigorate that vigor, that excitement within me.   So I start painting intuitively – this is where my abstract florals and my Goddesses were born – from my boredom of painting my landscapes.   Here I can let go, let loose and just be free.   There is no worrying about getting it right.  No worrying about creating a result.  Just allowing myself to create.

So really where am I going now?

So I bought a large canvas (really big)  and just started moving paint around.   I think I see a different direction in my Goddess series.   I can’t put my finger on it as of yet, but it will emerge at some point.   I will let each layer tell its story, and it will come to me, it will finally speak to me.    That energy will reemerge as I continue to add markings and layers.   I will allow this creative flow to move outward until it has run dry – then guess what?  I move on to my next adventure.

Is it ok to have multiple creative personalities in your practice?

Some artists and critics will say – this shows amateurism and your audience can’t see a solid body of work.   Yes, I get it.  If you do the same thing over and over again, you will get really good at it.  But you can also get bored.   That feeling you once had becomes mechanical and predictable.    I need spontaneity; I need to create with feeling.  If I am just running through the same old motions, what’s the point?   I am constantly renewing myself – recharging that spirit within.  I can’t have one personality/feeling without the other.  Each one feeds each other’s soul – giving all of them the nourishment to add strength and confidence in whatever series I am working on in the moment.   I will experience the peak in this next series and return to my pastels, or my oils at some point.  This could be tomorrow or next month.  I am just allowing this current ride to take me on a new journey through my creative soul.

Want to see my first show of the year?  Click here for more info

My online courses will finally come to fruition after a long fight back from complete failure – stay tuned for more info.

 

 

 

A few ways for me (and you) to Make it Happen in 2017

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Can you believe 2016 is done and over?   It seems as though this past year flew right past me.   Was I able to accomplish all of my goals?  Did I get lost a few times?  Did I stay on task 100% of the time?

The answer – NO!!!!!

As a creative staying organized and accomplishing goals can be difficult.   Your mind is running every which way but forward and ideas swirl throughout as though you on a rainbow journey through OZ.   I can’t hear myself think at times or I get in such a creative funk all creativity stops.   So how can I continue to make it happen in the new year?

 

  1.  Get Organized – I tried to organize my schedule using my smart phone but I am a visual and I like to write things down.   Needless to say, the smartphone just doesn’t work for me.  So I bought a nice fancy planner to write my plan, my schedule, my dreams and goals down.   The goal now is to open it up every AM and PM making a list of what I need to do, What I want to do and When I want to do it.

Starting today – this planner takes action

  1. Get Motivation – I love to read but it is hard to find the time.  I have tons of self-motivating books and fun books but they have collected a little bit of dust in 2016.   My goal – take a minimum of 20-30 minutes a day to stop and read.   Find motivation and guidance through others creativity.

Any good book recommendations?

  1. Get inspired – I always need to be close to the things that inspire me.  My goal – take regular creative field trips – a hike, a walk on the beach, a day trip to a scenic landscape.  One I need painting subjects and two these small trips provide constant inspiration to create.

I must make an appointment in my new 2017 planner to plan my first excursion

  1. Get Going – now that the new year has begun – it is now time to just get going and do it.  Here are a few ways to keep yourself on track:
  • check that planner every morning when you wake up and before bed.  Check off the areas that you have completed or accomplished and move those things to the next day top to this list for tomorrow
  • keep a diary/sketchbook.  Document your daily journey through your words and/or art.   Look back on occasion to see where you have been and where you are going.
  • schedule a meeting with yourself.  Keep yourself on track with your goals and “to dos”   Discuss with yourself what is and what is not getting done.
  • find a partner to keep you accountable and schedule a monthly meeting with them.   Sometimes it helps when an outsider tells you like it is.   They will ask you questions, play devil’s advocate and help keep you on track to get things done.
  • take your creative field trips.   Make sure you have fun!   Invigorate and nourish that creative soul by experience those things that make you happy and inspire you.   It could be nothing at all too.

Let me share some goals I have:

  • to blog consistently  – weekly
  • to provide weekly video instruction on my creative process and journey
  • to create, create and create more
  • to roll out and launch my online Creative Soul courses – finally
  • to sell more art
  • to give back more and share more of my passion with all of you

 

I know these are big goals that I failed to complete last year. But failed is not a bad thing – I still have today, tomorrow and the next day to keep at it.

So make it happen this year!   Set out to be amazing and remember you are where you need to be right now – trust the process as you move yourself forward in this new year.

XOXO

Christa

p.s. you notice my list is all #1 – this is not a typo because every item on my list is a priority – they are ALL important and deserve to be #1.

Give the Gift of Art and Spread Happiness this Season

 

Share Art and creates happiness!

Through December, I will be posting small affordable masterpieces for sale.  Purchase for the special friend  or give to yourself (we always seem to forget about us)   Free shipping and gift wrap is available to make your life easier.   These pieces were made with happiness and positivity and my goal is to spread this out for all to see and experience.

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Here are today’s artful additions:

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Are You Willing to Pull Out the Weeds so that the Flowers Can Grow

You need to pull out the weeds so that the flowers can grow.   This can be an arduous task in itself.  But, do you have the patience and inner strength to get through the tough stuff to realize your goal and passion?  Do you stress so much on the things that get your down during this process that the end result becomes lackluster and noneventful?

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Are you willing to be passed over and rejected?  Are you willing to fail and lose money?  Are you willing to deal with the lousy side effects of pursuing your passion?

If you said yes to all of these questions, you are well on your way to following the path to your inner passion.  It takes a lot of hardcore pressure to stay in the game.  You have to want it so badly that all of the negative stuff just doesn’t matter.   Well, it matters, but it doesn’t allow your inner self to get in the way.   Yes, you will cry, yell, scream, worry, have unlimited anxiety, but you will take a breath, brush the dirt off your shoulder and carry on.   You will shed a tear, but those tears will be your battle cry to get up and do it again until it becomes a success.

If you said no, maybe you need to revisit what got you here in the first place.  Is this passion thing what you were looking for or are you on the wrong track.   Because, if what you love so much causes such pain; when you get to the end result you feel numb; is it worth everything you put into it?

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This passion thing: leaving my safe and comfortable career to pursue my creative soul has been no easy task.  I have lost money, I have been rejected, and I have failed too many times to count.   But I truly love what I do and enjoy what happens when small pockets of happiness and success come my way.   It is worth all of the struggle when I can teach someone to find their passion and creative self.   So yes I am willing to walk through the crap to get there because if I can touch one person along the way and help them, it is all worth it.

So think clearly about your goals and dig deep inside to see how far you are willing to take yourself.  What is your risk tolerance?  Can you endure the pain of failure or will you let it consume you?  If you find yourself complaining about the very thing you love to do, think about what you think you love to do.   Are you truly willing to step through all of the crap to find success?

 

 

Create your sacred space

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Where do you go to find solace?

Where do you go to find peace? Quiet? To connect back with yourself?

What objects around you give you the inspiration to create? Find stillness?

We all need space.  Whether it’s an 11oo square foot studio space, a tiny corner of you living room, a closet or a secret alcove at the park.   We need a space to create, reconnect with ourselves, pray, meditate, and just be ourselves without the outside world’s distractions.   A place to be quiet essentially and find stillness.   We can surround this space with mementos, memories and sacred objects that give us strength and motivation.  We can keep it separate from our everyday life or open it up for all to see.

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Before you begin your creative journey whether it’s painting, writing, or whatever else your path is taking you, carve out space where you can just focus.  Take away the electronic devices or any distractions and allow yourself to just be.   It does not have to be an elaborate studio or office space, it can be a tiny little corner in your living room devoted to your craft.   Don’t worry if it gets messy.  This is your creative process – let it happen.

As your journey expands, so will your space.  My first space started in a corner of my living room and eventually grew to take over my entire house.  I lost the use of my dining room table and my closet door became my easel for large canvases.  I was lucky and blessed to finally secure a separate studio where I could spread out and have an actual home again.

Your space will become your secret garden, your sacred home where you reconnect and rewire.   Make sure it is special to you and allows you to be open and honest with your own creativity.  Try not to style it to please others.

Where do you create?  Where do you go to reconnect?  Take the time today to secure that space and start your own path towards your passion.   You will thank yourself.

The Art of Unfinished Business

 

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Why don’t we finish things?

Why do we get so excited about something and then the honeymoon is over before it starts?   It seems to happen more often than not, and our surroundings are filled with an unfinished wasteland of once exciting new projects, dreams, and desires.

You know it happens all the time.  We can’t wait to go out to eat at our favorite restaurant.  We even starve ourselves to make sure we have room in our stomachs to take in all of the goodness.   Then we take a few bits, and we just can’t finish.  We are full before we got even started.

We start a new hobby, maybe knitting.  We are motivated and excited to knit every sweater, baby blanket, and our whole winter wardrobe.  We buy all of that beautiful yarn and supplies with a list of all of our projects we plan to complete.   Then it happens we get overwhelmed, or the desire just dies down.  Several unfinished blankets, unused yarn and sweaters half way completed lay in a pile.

Our intentions are always good.  We get excited; we get really pumped to start that new project, and somehow it deflates, all of the air taken out never to return.   But why?  Where does the desire go?  Hmmm, our inner critic could be the culprit.   It saps our inspiring passion’s energy quicker than we can recover.

Let’s again revisit our restaurant experience.   Our inner critic could be telling us we shouldn’t eat ALL of that food.  We will get fat, we will get sick, this is unhealthy for you.  We may not even hear what our inner critic is saying, it could be so ingrained in our inner thoughts we are unaware of its existence.   What about our knitting journey?   Our inner critic could be saying; this is a big waste of time.  We should be doing something more productive; we should be making sure our children are being taken care of, or this doesn’t pay our rent.  Yes, our inner critic is our biggest enemy.  Preventing us from completing all of the unfinished business our passionate hearts are born to do.

I am a victim of this blame and excuse merry go round on a daily basis.  I joke all the time with my students about all of the unfinished paintings I have in my studio.  I explain and share my ever emotional roller coaster of my painting process.  It starts with an idea, I am excited, I am pumped.   I begin my underpainting; my process is beginning, taking shape.  I start building layers, and the excitement continues. And then it happens.   I begin to doubt my idea, my process.  I start disliking every new brushstroke I add to my canvas.  It’s horrible, it looks like complete crap.   I should just give up now before I just ruin it completely.  This is where most of my paintings end up in this lifeless pile of nothingness.  The world of unfinishedville.  I let my inner critic get the best of me.  Complete knockout.   I allow it to take over and what gets accomplished?  Absolutely nothing!

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How can we break free from the art of unfinished business?

I have found that breaking through the cluttered mind of disappointment and excuses is not that easy.  But breaking through puts you in a new realm of consciousness.  The concept of accomplishment.   It’s exhilarating – Yes, I have been there.

How did I break through with my creative process?

I enjoy painting landscapes, and I usually paint from the many photographs from my travels.   But many times, my oil painting process is frustrating.  I tell myself it’s not good enough; I have no idea what I am doing, etc. I beat myself up all of the time because I just can’t get there creatively. I give in to the negativity and give up.   I open a new canvas and do it again, but again it happens.   I needed to find a breakthrough, a way to fight off my inner critic.   So I opened my mind to a new and exciting creative process.   I started painting intuitively without any notion of what the finished product would be or look like.   I put on some music, let the paint slip through my hands and fingers and let loose and accepted the freedom.   The process was life changing and therapeutic.   I couldn’t believe what happened.  My inner critic didn’t have time to respond because the music was too loud and it was fooled not knowing what direction or end result it could respond to.   My confidence exploded – the end result didn’t matter – it was the process that was important.  I learned to trust the process, and the end result just magically formed. When I did return to my oil landscape paintings I returned with a new sense of excitement; I felt freer, it felt more natural.  My inner critic couldn’t regroup quick enough to respond because I was too caught up in my process.

So is our inner critic the reason for our unfinished business?

It could be one aspect – I know it’s mine.  It could just be it isn’t our path right now.  Taking a break and letting go of something that is frustrating for you could be the solution.  Don’t get too caught up in something that continues to stress you out.  But learn to listen to your inner critic – if it is berating your process and progress don’t allow it to.   Tell that inner critic to step off and leave you alone – you are trying to create something.

So about all that unfinished art

Since I have been working on silencing that inner critic I have been revisiting some of those unfinished paintings I fought with.   I know I can just pick up new paint and cover it all up.  I can close my eyes and make it new.   These paintings have now become my creative challenges where I can reinvigorate them into new and exciting pieces.  I understand some will fail – but that’s ok.  It’s all about the process.  And, about the knitting, I plan to return to that soon too.

I have a FREE course coming soon (launch date is set for September 15th)  This course showcases my life-changing process – the thing that got me out of my creative funk.  Artful Inspirations: Floral Abstracts is a new course I developed to show others how I was able to break free of my inner critic and allow my true process to emerge.

Click here to sign up and get more info!

Artful Inspirations: Floral Abstract Online Course

This course and many other online courses are in the works to share my passion and process.  I am excited to offer this new tool to all of you and hope it helps you battle that inner critic and follow your passion too!

Creative Field Trip – August 5, 2016

Sharing another amazing creative time out – this time with my husband.  We took a sunset cruise along the Long Island Sound.   This was such a meditative, heart-opening experience for me.  To embrace yourself amongst the vast sky and water – two elements that provide nourishment and inspiration to my soul.    I was in the moment.  Enjoying the show and embracing my inner self.   Take the time to connect with yourself on a regular basis.  Your inner self is important and many times we forget to pay attention to the ME.   It’s not selfish or self-centered.  It is an important part of growth and soul nourishment.