Journaling with Lisa Sonora

I am a huge fan of Lisa Sonora and her work. Picking up her book The Creative Entrepreneur changed my life. It was the first time I understood that I could turn what I loved doing into a sustainable way of life. What a journey I have been on since then! 

And speaking of journeys, each year Lisa also generously creates a set of journaling prompts which she shares for free! This is my 4th year working with them, and every year my experience gets richer! This year I am a bit behind as our youngest has been receiving treatment at the Cleveland Clinic and life has been a bit chaotic, but I have been working on the prompts in the hotel. Here’s a glimpse at my journey so far this year, once again I decided to use my page meditation method to work through my ideas.

I have a lot coming up in the next month, so I am looking forward to a week at home getting caught up with housework and grading for my students, and a little studio time too I hope! 

I’m planning to scan some of these and put them in my redbubble portfolio if anyone is interested in prints. And if you want to join the thousands who are journaling with Lisa Sonora you can find more about the project here.

Where did January go?

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Over the holiday break from school I sat down with the checklist from Alyson Stanfield‘s Art Biz Blog and tried to analyze my studio practice from a business perspective. I was pretty happy with the results, except in the area of communication. I really have a hard time connecting with people – even people who obviously care about and support my work. I collect emails, and I think about creating a newsletter or something to connect with others, and every year I don’t follow through. I reach out to curators, which is terrifying for me, and then after the first contact or two, I loose momentum. I realized this is really holding me back, and I know over the years I have let opportunities slide through my hands. This year I am resolving again to try and work on this a little more.

Then I saw that SARK was giving away a week long seminar on succulent business practice. FREE – SARK. Yeah I was blown away. So I signed up for that too. On the second to last day there was a session on money. Like many artists not only do I struggle with connecting with people, I also have a love/hate relationship with money. I have to say that the week long seminar has really shifted my attention. I had a really powerful experience during that money seminar. I hope that I can keep building on the energy of that experience. And in what I am sure is really a coincidence but sure feels like divine manifestation, an unexpected series of checks showed up in my life this week. (Unexpected only in that I rarely check in with galleries who carry my work, and I had sold some work at several of them over the holidays – yeah those people skills again). I decided to invest a little of that money in one on one business counseling through the seminar. And yes, I am terrified!

As usual over the holidays I also got way less work accomplished than I thought I would. I really need to manage my time better this year as I have two solo shows and several group shows with new galleries or artist groups coming up. (Again, maintaining those relationships, those people skills need to be a focus) I also want to spend part of my summer back home in the UK, so I have taken on a lot of workshops and an extra course at the college where I teach to help offset all the costs of traveling and the lack of summer income. Just writing that is making me . queasy.

Okay. I really have to get back to work now! If you have any tips on connecting with the people who support your practice, send them my way. And as part of this “people” revolution this year – I pledge to actually post a little more often. Or at least to try.

working with paper

I have work in a new exhibit which opens this Friday (Working with paper, Center Gallery in Olean, NY, 6-8pm). Regular readers have been sharing my struggle to get this work completed, so I thought I would share this moment of resolution with you too.

This is that monigami scroll which almost ended up in the bin

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And here are all those little tea bags I saved obsessively and then printed on

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It would be wonderful to see some of you at the opening, but I will also try to post some better pictures once the show is finished and properly lighted.

Thanks to everyone who encouraged me through the dark days and helped me reach this moment.

book of hours

a tiny book with embroidered covers and pages

Many of you may remember the map of hours I have been working on for AGES now, well here is a baby version – a tiny book of hours, each little page embroidered in the same way as the larger work by listening to the paper and following its lead, sometimes in circles, sometimes in completely new patterns. Here’s a little glimpse inside…

tiny embroidered page made of kozo paper IMAG1448

Want to own this little gem? It is headed off as a donation to the Morgan Conservancy for their annual benefit.

back view of the tiny book

I am especially pleased with the beetroot dyed silk covers.

So glad to have finally finished something! And now back to grading and housework with a sense of accomplishment!

Still finding my roots.

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It has been a slow art week. In addition to gearing up for classes, I am also away from home taking care of one of my children who had surgery earlier this week. I have been working in a tiny portable project and falling behind with my journaling. Here are some new images.

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Hopefully I will have something new to share soon!! Thanks for stopping by all the same.

coming or going?

simple abundance july 25

I was driving my youngest daughter back to camp earlier this week when we passed a truck just like the one we were riding in – “watch out” she said, “we just passed ourselves going – we’re in a time paradox!” Too much Dr. Who in this house maybe?

But honestly that is pretty much how I have been feeling all year. Somehow I cannot seem to get grounded at all, and although some incredible and splendid things have happened, I feel they have all slipped by half-appreciated in a blur. I have been far too busy living to have a life. All of my good intentions seem rather tattered and I am feeling glad that a new school year is just around the corner (and a little freaked out about how much work I HAVEN’T done on my new lectures) and with it a fresh mental start.

I am trying to be gentle with myself – but I am frustrated by the fact that so many of the projects I had hoped to complete this year are still unfinished in the studio.I have made incremental progress on a few – the signatures for women’s work are almost completed – but I didn’t finish it in time to enter it in the Rochester Art of the Book show as I had hoped. I know it WILL get finished – and probably pretty soon, but I feel as if I have let myself down yet again. I know the only way forward is to pick myself up and renew my efforts, but I honestly just feel a bit tired. I’d like to just take a nap – in the woods away from everything.

never done....

never done….

I have signed up for the August round of the root 30 day journal project – just to see if anything comes to the surface. Obviously something is holding me back from following through with my commitment to myself, to make more time for my own art, maybe by going back to my journals I can figure it out. While I am waiting for August – I have decided to reread Simple Abundance and journal about whatever that brings up – maybe by staying in the pages of my journal where it is safe to make mistakes I can rekindle my energies and get back to work.

Now back to my coffee and preparations for the upcoming Bookfest at WNYBAC

community

OK so it is not Thursday – but here is my throwback thought for the week. It’s about community and how important it is as an artist to have a supportive tribe to rely on. I am thinking about this for many many reasons this week, but here are a few of them.

As many of my readers know I work part time with the Cattaraugus County Arts Council as a creativity consultant to their business program for artists ABLE. Last week was out last monthly meeting with this great group of creative people, and although our support for this group will continue on indefinitely, this intensive part of the program is coming to an end. As part of our wrap-up we talked about what we had learned from the program, and one of the artists said that something I had said at the very first meeting had profoundly changed the way he thought about his work. He had said he was reluctant to share his photography in case people didn’t like it, and I had said who cares? And I meant it – our work is our own given only to us, if we don’t do it it never manifests in the world. I really believe our job is just to do the work, not to make judgements about it, just to do it and put it out in the world. I was glad something I had said had encouraged a fellow artists to stay on the path and keep on working – that is such a great feeling! Bringing this program to a close made me think about my NYFA Mark experience, and how powerful it was to be acknowledged as an artist and be taken seriously. (If you are new to me and my blog you can read about that here). But also it is about seeing that others are in the same place as you – that even the most seasoned and accomplished veterans wrestle with the same problems.

The second incident was when a past student dropped by to visit – she has been in a bit of a bleak place in her life and wanted to reignite her creativity and work her way back to emotional health. I sent her off with a long list of recommended reading, and I hope that along with a chat over coffee I was able to help her a bit! I remember “beginning” as an artist, and I told her that right now I still struggle with the same thoughts as then. Doubt assails me less often, but doubt still comes, and that for me I have to remember to just keep working and wait for the work to find its own way. So many people support me when doubt creeps in, and my blog readers especially have become such an amazing support network of people, most of whom I only know through this cyber-space connection. It is good to be able to pay that feeling forward.

Also this week I read this post over at Tattered and Worn about balance – and I felt refreshed and reassured and able to get back to work with less concern about how out of whack my life has been lately – I just decided to drop the pie on the floor and eat it! (Now you will have to go read the post to see what on earth I am talking about!). I read this blog almost every day with my morning coffee – I hope you have time to read at least this one post this weekend – you will be glad you did!

This blog has been a catalyst for me in meeting and making my tribe. Through it I have met so many amazing generous artists willing to share their talents and advice. Being online and reading other blogs makes me feel less alone, inspires me to get up out of my rut and go back to work, fills my mind with the splendor of their work, and encourages my inner child to get up and go play again. So I am very happy to say that I was contacted this week by Jill Zaheer from Jazworks to be part of a blog-hop. Jill and I met as paper swap partners through LaWendula’s amazing and FREE paper swap. (I encourage you to go check it out and sign up – it is really FREE). So next weekend I will be posting my answers to her questions and linking to the next blogs in the hop. I hope you will go and visit Jill’s blog and look at her incredible work, which has such a unique signature style, and then backtrack along the hop and check out the other artists who are playing. Maybe on the way you will find a little something to help you today. Thanks for visiting – and I’ll be back with a new post in a few days. blogging it turns out is much like riding, when you fall off you just need to get back on and ride again!