I haven't wanted to write here lately. I think mostly because I haven't been too inspired in the art making department. I feel a bit stuck and a bit tired of the things that I'm making. I know it's a cycle. I know it will change at some point. Most of the time when I feel like this I keep showing up at the art table and make anyway. But lately I've been finding that I want to read instead of make art. I got a new book that I'm excited about. It's called The Paper Garden, about a mixed media collage artist named Mary Delaney who lived in the 1700s and didn't really start making art in earnest until she was 72. Maybe this will be the inspiration that I need! I'm still going to make myself show up at the art table now and then but I'm going to try to take the pressure off of myself and allow time for things like reading and watching old seasons of Parenthood (which I love!). Things are shifting and I just need to let it happen. xoxo
Today I'd like to share an interview with Sarah Leondard. Sarah is an artist, blogger, and creativity coach living in the UK. We met through the Facebook group for students of Kelly Rae Roberts' business e-book Flying Lessons. From my interactions with Sarah I can tell that she is a strong creative force with the desire to encourage others to lead creative lives. Thank you, Sarah, for giving us insight into your creative life!
K.L. What’s your art background?
S.L. I don't really have an art background as such to be honest. When I was at school I was convinced I wasn't good enough at art to do anything with it. I was always drawn towards it but never had any confidence in my abilities. I was (and am still) a keen musician so I channeled all of my energy towards that. It's only in recent years that I have allowed myself to make art. It began with a painting holiday in Spain, then an adult education class locally and it has grown from there.
K.L. How would you describe the type(s) of art that you make?
S.L. I would describe my work as coloufully whimsical with a touch of minimalism. I love to draw faceless girls and anything kitty related.
K.L. What part of your process do you enjoy most?
S.L. I love all of it! I love the planning and the idea gathering but I also love just getting on with it and getting started drawing and sketching away.
K.L. Is your process structured or do you jump right into making without a plan?
S.L. Mostly I just jump right in. If I am working on a custom item that requires a little more planning but mostly I just go for it!
K.L. Do you have any rituals around your creative process?
S.L. I always light a candle, then put on lipgloss and hand cream before I begin. It seems indulgent and it leaves me feeling valued and loved before I begin. I also make sure to have a drink of some kind on hand (most often a cup of tea) to keep me nourished whilst I create. Although I have to confess it often goes cold before I remember to drink it. I get a little carried away!
K.L. Do you pursue any specific themes in your work?
S.L. I would say I follow the theme of whimsy and delight in all of my work. I am focused on uplifting and inspiring others pretty much at all times. I also have the feline theme too which works it's way into almost everything!
K.L. How has your practice changed over time?
S.L. Over time I have become more trusting of myself and more forgiving. I am also much more open to experimenting and trying new things. This is often where the best ideas come from in the first place - the unknown. I try not to get too caught up with the end product any more and just allow things to happen and unfold more naturally.
K.L. What do you do when you feel stuck creatively?
S.L. To be honest, pretty much never! I always seem to have more ideas than I have the time to make them!
K.L. Where do your ideas come from? Or do you know?
S.L. I sometimes get inspiration from other artists in community groups I am a member of. I take online classes with inspirational artists too. Often my ideas though just seem to appear as I go. I might start out with one idea and end up with something different. I've learned (and am still learning) to trust that process.
S.L. Kelly Rae Roberts, Tamara LaPorte and Bonnie Christine.
K.L. Do you remember when you first became interested in art? What is your earliest memory of making art (any kind)?
S.L. I was always interested in art (as I mentioned above) but lacked confidence. I used to spend hours colouring and imagining fairy worlds as a young girl. I had a whole set of fairies who lived in flowers, trees and mushrooms all with matching colourful clothes.
K.L. Are their other artists in your family? If yes, who are they and what do they do?
S.L. No artists in the family I'm afraid. My younger sister is a keen photographer though.
K.L. Do you feel like you worry about your art being liked by others?
S.L. I do sometimes. The hardest thing I find is being noticed. Online sites and sales pages are such a crowded resource, it can be really hard to have anyone notice you at all. I have found that local fairs are much the same too - so many people trying to be noticed by a smaller and smaller group of potential customers. I think we often equate people liking our art with whether they might purchase it, which isn't always a valid thought. People may love your art work but their budget just doesn't allow for it.
K.L. Is there a type of art that you would like to pursue but haven’t yet?
S.L. I am looking to get into wool weaving. That will be my September project.
K.L. Anything else you’d like to say about art or anything or everything?
S.L. I think my over-riding message about art is to have a go. Try things. Experiment. Make a mess. Ruin lots of pictures. That is the surest way to finding your own style and making your own way in the world.
I couldn't live without art in my life now, as I find it a healing process and a wonderful way to express myself and be more creative.
I'm trying to do this, to pick a path with heart. I know my path is one of art and making and exploring. But until the day comes when I can make a living off of making my art I also need to pick a path that will bring in some income! Some days I'm relaxed and confident that something good will turn up, other days I'm nervous and feel like I will never find a job that I like. It's hard looking for work, and I hope something good turns up soon. I guess this is one of those times that I need to work hard to find something but also trust that the universe will provide. Hard.
I've been working in the studio making some holiday ornaments and banners. We are having two holiday events at the coop in November so I need to have some holiday merchandise ready soon. I'm selling the ornaments for $5 each and banners are priced per panel ($5/panel). I'm toying around with selling the ornaments in sets- maybe a set of 5 for $20. We'll see. I sold the "peace" banner for $25 to an old friend yesterday! The banners are customizable- so you can pick the word and the color palette, and whether you want it to hang horizontally or vertically. I'm taking commissions! :)
I went for a nice walk this morning. I've missed the pond! I haven't been walking since the wedding, time to get back into it. I walked down to the edge of the water to get a picture of the stream and I looked to my left and the heron was RIGHT there. So beautiful and quiet.
I collected leaves, twigs, and berries to make a nature mandala. Something I've seen people doing on Instagram. Here is my version.
I'll leave you with some more wedding pictures. Our photographers, Matt and Marianka, did an amazing job and I can't wait to see more of what they captured.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Full of creativity, exploring, walking, beautiful leaves, and love.
We are having a warm fall weekend here in Syracuse. High 70s and sunny. It's beautiful. Tyler and I went for a nice walk yesterday and I hope to get out and walk again today. The leaves have really started to show some color this week and that is one of my all time favorite things.
And I put to use some new fall candle holders. I love fall decorations, probably too much.
I played around in the studio a bit too which felt great. I'm hoping to get in there again this morning.
A big breakfast then some studio time. Yes, that will be a lovely morning. And help to keep me relaxed - 5 days until our wedding!!
I picked up the latest issue of Where Women Create Business today. Such an inspiring publication. I'm not even half way through and I've read informative and insightful articles by Kelly Rae Roberts, Holly Becker, Lilla Rogers and others. And it's really making me feel like I need to kick it into high gear and get clear and focused with my blogging and business goals. I am totally unclear and unfocused right now. I just feel like I'm not putting my best self forward here on this blog, like I'm not working enough to develop this space. Same with my Etsy shop. Not that I'm being dishonest about anything, certainly not, just that I'm not digging deep enough. Yes, that's it- I feel like I'm not digging deep enough. BUT, I'm not going to beat myself up about it.
Reading Where Women Create Business on the front porch this evening with the sun and a glass of wine!
I started 2014 with a lot of creative energy and drive. I started this blog, created my website, and reopened my Etsy shop. I'm very proud of the work I've done and made, it's been a big year for me. I've sold more pieces art than I ever have before (although it is still a very very modest number of pieces) and I was even published in Somerset Studio! I set some goals for myself at the beginning of the year and I've accomplished a lot of them. I'm proud!
But then spring came and we moved, traveled the country, found a new place to live, got new jobs, and have been planning a wedding all the while. Don't get me wrong, all of the aforementioned things are good things, GREAT things. But I've lost some of my drive to develop my blog and business. I know that the number of transitions we have been experiencing the last 5 months have been many and that it is totally reasonable that my focus and energy have shifted. And, like I said, I'm not going to beat myself up about it. I just hope that once we get married (2 weeks from today!) and settle into our jobs (by November maybe?) I can regain some of the ambition to develop my artistic voice and business vision.
Playing around in the studio this morning, trying to get out of wedding mode for at least a little while!
Ahh, it felt good to get that all out! It's yucky to feel like you aren't working hard or digging deep for something that you are passionate about and I'm glad I could express that. I'm glad, too, that I realize that it's ok right now. That life is full and busy and good and that I need to deal with all of this transition and experience it fully. I'll get back on track. I'm very grateful for all of the people I've met through blogging and through the art groups that I am a part of on Facebook. Good people, good support, and so much inspiration and I know they understand what I'm saying. If you are reading, thanks guys! xo