Wednesday, January 27, 2010

so many visions, only one lifetime!

Well, one of the happy results of getting into this Artist's Way process has been that I've got all kinds of ideas bubbling away and not enough time to do them all.  But that's a good kind of problem to have, at least if you're my kind of temperament.

As I'm looking at a couple of different options, I am getting a really attractive picture of a couple alternatives.  Of course, life throws surprises at us, but I would like to have more of a goal-setting structure for myself too, so here are my thoughts.

Option one looks like this: stay in Austin, find more ways to enjoy my current work and potentially decrease the hours of the job without reducing too much of the income while bolstering the good networking and art opportunities that have started already here.  Take part in EAST, do more figure painting, get even better connected to the dog rescue organizations in town and do more art-and-craft based fundraising for them.  Plan for trips out to California for family time but also fit in some "just for me and my dog" travel.

Option two looks like this: take the interesting new job in San Francisco (which has a lot to do with art - it's all about a product where people create virtual worlds), rent a storefront live/work space in Vallejo (which is incredibly cheap and about to undergo some exciting growth) where I can do my own art and also host events, workshops and fundraisers on the weekends as well as have a bookshop / coffee shop set up if I want to!  I could take the lovely ferry boat right to within a 1/2 mile of the SF office and on the weekends, I'd be smack dab between Marin and Napa, two of my fave places.  Plus, when I checked out AA meetings in Vallejo, I really enjoyed them.  Good peeps.  Plus, my wonderful former painting teacher and artist Gary Stutler lives in Vallejo.

So, it's fun to think about these things.  Wonder what will happen?!  I am supposed to hear from the San Fran people today to set up a time to go back out there for round 2 interviews. 

Monday, January 25, 2010


Yesterday, while my daughter was in Sunday school, I went to Buckies (Starbucks - conveniently close to church) and read and wrote my morning pages. I was struck by a part in chapter 2 where the author talks about being awake to the now - to being open and observant. I think it might help me explain my work. I sometimes struggle with statements because I am not trying to depict things that are great causes, solutions, drama, etc. - I don't have some deep and meaningful reason to paint what I do. The only thing I can offer is that I like to paint what I see, what I enjoy and what gives me comfort. I am just sharing my observations. And in reading this bit, I felt that its a good thing and it is who I am. So while the world might be in chaos, and at home we might be struggling with job, illness, angst, confusion and loss, I can be awake to the simple things, the now, which is all we can really control.

At any rate, I felt that it was something of a vindication for my dislike of artist statements! And it helped me figure out how to explain myself. Having finished there, I went back to church and got my daughter for services at 11. The text was about baptism and it was very interesting... another form of awakening / rebirth.
-- Robin

Sunday, January 24, 2010

at long last

Well, I'm finally back here on this blog at long last. This last few weeks has been full of crazy surprises and my notion of how much time I'd have for Artist's Way work really was thrown. In any case, this little dog is the latest in a series and they are my creative joy at the moment. The colors and fabrics are totally energizing me right now - once I get an idea of how things might go together I get a little obsessive about finishing so I can SEE!

Despite my neglect of the book, the best thing about setting out on this little journey has been connecting with Robin on a regular basis - what a stellar and inspiring and kind person. I think the regularity is, hopefully, training my subconscious that I am taking my artist self seriously enough to nurture and invest in her.

The biggest quandary in mind for me is whether to stay in Austin or head back to San Francisco Bay Area. There are so many things to weigh, including family, cost, jobs, weather, and my artist life. And although I do love my family, the artistic things happening for me in Austin are the kind of things I've always wanted to have happen. Perhaps it's the artsy grassroots nature of Austin itself, helped along by a much lower cost of living. But I think it's also a personality that is drawn to living here - everyone I meet doing art seems to have a proclivity toward collaboration and generosity.

This is the issue I'm doing my best to put in the "God box" and not worry to death. In the meantime, I need to get back to morning pages starting tomorrow.

As for artist dates, I have had some great "camera safaris" with Lulu at various parks as well as great outings to Goodwill stores to look for fabrics and things.
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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

artist's date

Can a pedicure count as an artist's date? I confess to being rather blocked on this book. I think my creative blocks are all external truthfully. So not only am I having a hard time finding the time to read and do the exercises, but when I do read, I feel like its not relevant.
I don't have the negative voice inside telling me that I can't succeed, but I have plenty of interference and indifferent support externally.
My six year old has been really difficult and I am not sure if its the age or the something else going on. My husband tends to see the glass half empty when I have ideas to promote my work or invitations to do things. I feel deflated. I am surprised actually that things are so emotionally trying at home now and that I haven't been able to paint for so long. Those of us with family, kids, significant others, pets, parents, etc. that require lots of support know how draining it can be to creative energy.
The positive side of this is that we caretakers have such influence on the lives of those around us. And nothing is more important (and sometimes creative!) than training my child to be healthy, happy, productive adult. So while the art languishes, I see my daughter making strides in her development. And I can try to help my husband see that glass as more full than empty if I remain positive, right?

-- Robin

Thursday, January 14, 2010

week 2

Kate and I met this morning and had a nice visit. My feelings on this early section of the book is that it seems very geared towards those who might have had artistic/creative leanings but went into something completely different and are maybe now trying to open that door. Not exactly the creative blocks I've had lately.
This week - chapter 2 and "recovering a sense of identity."

Kate? Any thoughts?

-- Robin

Saturday, January 9, 2010

the censor vs. the critic

In the introduction I read about our inner Censor, the voice that says you can't do something, that its a waste of time or energy. Basically the voice that tells us we will fail. But that got me thinking about a possibly similar voice - one that might have negative things to say, but things that will help us grow and improve. The Critic. As a representational painter, I have to be able to look at my work and see those things that don't work or detract from the painting. Compositional problems, bad drawing, perspective problems, color disharmony, etc. Sometimes the Critic might be harsh and find nothing redeeming... but isn't that good too? It challenges me to paint better. To be selective about what I put out there - to create quality and not rest on my laurels. I think as artists we are constantly learning and growing because the Critic is there to push us to improve.

-- Robin

Friday, January 8, 2010

week 1

Kate and I met this morning to get going on this. We’ve both begun the morning pages, but not much else. This week we begin in earnest, and decided we’d go ahead and meet weekly, and do the chapters weekly, though maybe not in as much depth as Ms. Cameron proposes.

This might be irrelevant, but I had an epiphany that I need to BALANCE my life/art better. And I need to not take any of it too seriously. Even if I am a serious artist… I don’t need to be too serious about painting. Make sense?

Starbucks was VERY inspirational though and I sketched quite a bit when our meeting ended. Now will work up a painting. Maybe my hibernation, as Kate so sagely christened it, is at an end?

-- Robin

the workbook

I’m wondering if we should have or use the workbook? Me being the Cliff Notes sort of reader, might benefit from a more obvious path to discovery. At the moment I feel like I am going at this rather blind as I’ve read only the first pages. Kate has worked through the book in the past and we’re to get together later in the week. I will let her guide me!

–- Robin

morning pages

I too have begun my morning “purge”. Its totally stream-of-consciousness sort of things. I am not certain yet how this is to influence or awaken my creativity, but I’m just beginning to read the book for the first time so will give it my best shot. Every night I write a day’s summary in my diary as my memory is so bad. So this will be an interesting contrast to that one day.

–- Robin


My Artist’s Way book should be arriving here to my house tomorrow & I started doing morning pages today. Until I start reading my book, I am fishing from my memory of working in the AW years ago. What I remember is that these morning pages are just free-form, not literature, not even necessarily insightful – they just are whatever they need to be. They can be three pages of “this is stupid”!
So, to make sure I give myself that freedom, I’m definitely NOT going to post those morning pages here. In fact, the main point will be to work through the book and see what I learn, make some positive changes for myself. This blog is just a fun adjunct to that. So just want to set expectations with anyone reading this.

-- Kate

artist's way in 2010

Welcome to the fledgling blog for the journey a couple of artist friends are about to take through the exercises in Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way.”
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