Scary reasons not to pursue your art and how to overcome them

Scary reasons not to pursue your art and how to overcome them

7 Scary Reasons Not To Pursue Your Creative Path And How to Make Friends With These Monsters

Following your creative passion can be a damn daunting thing to do for many reasons.

I put it off for the longest time, but when I finally did face all the scary reasons not to do it (by tackling a daily painting challenge), I learned how to make friends with the fear instead and, that if you let it, your fear will teach you a thing or two.

As a Halloween Baby, I put a little halloween spin on these creative learnings. Halloween (or Samhain for any fellow witchy women out there) is after all one of the only times in the year where we embrace “the scary” and celebrate it.

Reason #7 not to pursue your creative path: Being Dead Broke

Being strapped for cash while you try to make a go of your creative dream and possibly ending up dead broke down the line is a legitimate reason why we avoid taking the plunge.

I decided if Zombies can get by ‘dead’, then I’ll figure out how to get by “dead broke”. As it turns out artists can feed off of brains too. Brain fuel that is – ie. using your brains and being resourceful. I’m making it work with various side gigs, accepting help when offered (this one was rather hard for me) and living with a LOT less (not as hard as you’d think).
Tada – the undead artist is born.

MAGIC SPELL: DON’T GET SPOOKY, GET SPUNKY!
Drop a comment if you also had or are hustling side jobs to feed your art.

Reason #6 not to pursue your creative path: Being Judged For Being “Behind”

Being judged for not being “where you should be by now” can hold us back for ages and ironically, just makes your fear deepen as it seems to come more true.

It’s hard deviating from the publicly accepted norm. I worried that if I jumped in now at age 32 to pursue a thing I felt could be my thing (because when is there ever certainty) and got off the corporate ladder that it would mean putting a definite and maybe even permanent hold on the ‘maybe house’, ‘maybe kids’ and or occasional travel.⁠

But what would any of those structures in my life mean if they weren’t framed around a life I wanted to be in?⁠

So in asking myself where exactly it was that I should be I tapped into the powers of the werewolf, a much-maligned creature, that often finds itself transforming when it’s less than ideal to do so. ⁠

How can the creative pursuit benefit from this?⁠
By becoming an ‘awarewolf’.

Deep down you know what really matters to you. If you let that awareness guide you, you’ll be less in the orbit of other deemed important planets, and far happier traipsing around howling at your own moon.⁠

Aaarooooooh🐺⁠

MAGIC SPELL: BEHIND TO YOU IS ME NOT HAVING REGRETS ‘ IN HIND SIGHT’

 

 

Reason #5 not to pursue your creative path: Am I wasting my life?

Having “wasted time” or worse “wasted your life” pursuing something that might never become anything more is a real thing.⁠

We often feel this way – if things don’t progress in a chronological upward curve (who’s curve btw?) then it was a “waste of time”.
But the Grim Reaper will tell you the true death of your life was in the time you spent putting off pursuing your creative curiosities and carries the ultimate penance – regret. And that’s grim indeed.⁠

.⁠
Besides, as John Lennon says it (and I’m paraphrasing here) time you’ve enjoyed “wasting”, is not wasted time after all.⁠ 

MAGIC SPELL: THE DEATH OF CONVENTION IS THE BIRTH OF MY PURPOSE

 

Reason #4 not to pursue your creative path: What if I have no potential?

Bumping up against a wall (or multiple granite plinths) of self-doubt and/or realisations of being potentially potential-less can halt anyone’s creativity in their tracks.⁠

What sounds like self-pity to an outsider can be a crippling thing to face if you have ‘perfection’ tendencies. The worst part is – the more you repeat it to yourself – the bigger and more real a fear becomes.⁠

You know who else makes good use of repetitive phrases? Witches. While folklore may attribute their magic to potionary of sorts – witches are in truth a very literal and sometimes exaggerated manifestation of individuals who aren’t afraid of using their powers; powers of persuasion that is. ⁠

So instead of casting yourself some dooming spells, repeat good magic phrases to yourself – again and again until you believe them.⁠

I went with “With every day you’ll be better than you were yesterday.” That way I was reminding myself that ⁠
1) in order to improve I have to start⁠
2) the only person I’m comparing myself to is myself⁠

This kind of repetition quickly turns insurmountable granite plinths of self-trepidation, that you think someone else put there (but really it was you) into granite pillars of self-worth realisation.

You’re doing your thing for only you. And You Can. You can. You can. 

MAGIC SPELL: I AM THE SOURCE OF ALL MY CREATIVE SOURCERY

 

Reason #3 not to pursue your creative path: What will I miss out on?

Having to say ‘no’ to all the social life stuff (and the hidden sub reason – not actually having the discipline to control your fomo)⁠ does sneak into the mix.

This is probably not so much a scary reason or legitimate internal creative fear as a vapid reason your ego manufactures as a reason because the previous reasons are too scary to deal with.⁠

Luckily the daily implementation of pursuing your creative path will, in a weird way, solve this hesitation one for you. You soon won’t have the funds to splurge on your social life.⁠ (ha!)

And no bucks in the bank essentially forces you to have the self discipline to say no. 

You quickly realise what’s essential.

But there’s no way around it – pursuing your creative path can be a fairly lonely road to walk.

Don’t think of it as killing off your social life – you’re just mummifying yourself for a while.

At some point, you’ll be able to unravel your cocoon again. The hibernating internal transformation will all have been worthwhile. And true friends will understand. 

MAGIC SPELL: I’M NOT SAYING NO TO FUN, I’M SAYING YES TO MY FUNDAMENTALS

Reason #2 not to pursue your creative path: What if I Fail Miserably?

What if I can’t pull it off and somehow fail miserably and publicly at that?⁠ A definite concern, especially if you’re posting your challenge daily on Instagram (like I did)

First off – define failing for yourself. For me it wasn’t not posting a painting a day – my commitment and self-determination levels to do a thing, once decided upon, are pretty intense. ⁠

For me failing meant posting a painting that I did not think met any standards of ‘good’. I have stupid AF standards of perfection – crippling at times. Those are hard for me to accept, but also good for me to practice kindness to myself over.⁠

Here’s what I realised. If I or you should ‘fail’ and in the case of something like a public daily challenge, fail in front of other people, reality’s response would be different to the fear in my head.⁠

Fear in my head says hundreds of humans are going to point and laugh and ridicule your pathetic attempt. (awful but sound familiar?)⁠

Reality is by far more awesome.⁠

In reality, if you ‘fail’ or just decide to stop because it’s no longer for you (which is also hella cool and hella brave), then hundreds of people will have seen you try something.⁠

We all just want to be loved and acknowledged and recognised for who we are.

You sitting up to do your creative thing – no matter how far you get or how it unfolds, will not ever lead to public failure. It will lead to public truth.

You sharing your journey of creative pursuit will cultivate a two way street of inspiration – and it really will not matter which branches fall off in the process. ⁠

MAGIC SPELL: THE RISK TO FAIL IS INSPIRATION IN A HALLOWEEN COSTUME

Reason #1 not to pursue your creative path: What if the tedium kills me?
This might sound like a strange one at first, but let me share 2 quick things about me that will help you understand where this fear came from.

1. I overthink things to a very deep level – and thus I can sort of envision or live quite far into a scenario before any of it has actually happened.2. I get bored very easily. Not in the ‘there’s nothing to do sense’ – there is ALWAYS so much that could be done. Rather in the ‘once I’ve gotten a sense of something or figured it out’ I want to move onto the next challenge.

So I foresaw the pockets of time where it would just be a matter of sticking to it and plodding along, itchy feet be damned. And that was scary for me – not being able to bolt in another direction.

But tedium doesn’t kill. Dracula does a lot of waiting around, also in a fairly confined box. But you know what does kill him? A stake through the heart. The stake being the less fulfilling job you stay in wishing you were in the box of your craft. Because even when you’re dealing with some tedium at least its a tedium of your choosing.The super macabre analogy that gets you through it is drinking up the blood that is your creative life force. I think that’s kind of cool – you keep you alive. You doing you keeps your heart beating.
MAGIC SPELL: MY VISION IS BIGGER THAN THE TEDIOUS POCKETS OF TIME IN BETWEEN

And that’s it – those are my 7 halloween inspired reasons not to pursue your creative path and how to overcome and learn from these scary buggers instead!

Go do your creative thing! Do a 10 day challenge, a 30-day challenge or heck – go all in and do a 365 challenge.

The trick is doing you daily. Everything else is just boogiemonsters under your bed!

Header Image Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

Art Print Packaging Tips | The 2 Most Important Things To Consider In My Book

Art Print Packaging Tips | The 2 Most Important Things To Consider In My Book

Art Prints Packaging | The  Two Most Important Considerations in My Book

Packaging is quite a thing for me, hey.⁠

I spent the longest time grappling with not wanting to do prints of my art because I felt like it would loose all heart and sentimentality. How I finally came around to doing the prints is a story for another time.

Now, when I get stuck into an aspect like packaging I have only 2 concerns:⁠

1. Can I make it beautiful?⁠
2. Can I make it kind?⁠

 

1. What makes your packaging beautiful?

By beautiful, I mean it must be lovely to look at and to unwrap. I’m talking tactile, soft and crisp to the touch. But it must also be a pleasure for me to package.⁠ (a lot of consideration – and dare I say unnecessary bucks – go into the ‘customer experience’ – and I’m all for that stuff for the most part. However since the customer will experience what I experienced while creating or wrapping the item – the makers energy transfers – why not make the work beautiful for ourselves as far as we can first and foremost?)

2. What makes your packaging kind?

For kindness, I consider the cost – the cost for the environment and then the cost for my budget. So all my options for aesthetic choices come down to asking, “how did this item/ string/ ribbon/ paper get here and where will it go?⁠

 

These are some of the environmental kindness questions I ask myself:

  • Were toxic chemicals used in the dying or printing of this?
  • Is there a film, veneer or a wax or a glue on it that makes it non-recyclable?
  • Is it essential? (even if all your bits and bobs are on eco paper and eco ink and eco stickers – it’s still using resources at the place of creation, like water and electricity⁠)

The truth is, it doesn’t matter how beautiful you make your packaging, for the most part it will probably be disposed of.⁠ I have found in the past that when there’s so much really expensive boxing and packaging, I feel guilty throwing it away and force myself to find a purpose for it. But that’s not a burden I want to place on my art buyers.

 

art print packaging

My art print packaging choices

Here’s what I chose in terms of product and process. I hope they help and inspire you to make the best considerations for your product.

1. Hand written thank you stickers

At this point I’ve chosen not to go the bulk-branding-stickers route just yet. Bulk stationary is higher in cost and likely higher in secondary resources and at this point I’m still small enough to get by, by being scrappy and hands-on.

Being tiny has its perks and I’m enjoying giving my stationary a handwritten attention to detail⁠.
⁠The stickers have a water soluble glue on them and they’re necessary to hold the paper wrapping together. I write the ‘thank you’ in a silver pen, and I’m okay with each one looking a little different.

 

2. Better plastic

Art prints need to be sold in such a way that the print itself doesn’t get tarnished or stained. I sell mine in compostable clear Good for The Ground sleeves. How lucky are we to be living in an emerging time were better options other than PET plastics are becoming available? Good for the Ground sleeves are made from PLA (Polylactic Acid), a polymer derived from starch.

 

3. Upcycled backingboard

Prints also need to be supported against something firm so that they don’t bend before being framed. I didn’t want to buy cardboard that would literally be tossed once it arrived at it’s home. I’ve gone the up-cycled route. The framing store The Framery, where I have some of my frames made, keep their off-cut pieces for me (they would ordinarily be discarded and recycled). Luckily my art is miniature so I can go this route.

So, all my prints that go out have varying colours backing board. I go with whatever I get. Some are grey, some rust red, some white, some plain brown. I also get some upcycled backboard from photographers who are tossing out their damaged board. I trim the water-damaged edges and bob’s your uncle.

Sure, in an ideal, aesthetics-only world, they’d all be black, I guess, if I wanted it to match my branding.

But I’ve chosen to release my brand’s identity from over-curation.

I like that my growing brand has room to breathe beyond the confines of colours and font and can define itself by its intention too.


4. Simple wrapping

For presentation and wrapping, I’ve gone with unbleached, white tissue paper (so yes, again the white leans off-white rather than crisp, which visually I would prefer but this falls into the above thinking). No bleaching, no inks, can be recycled or composted.

When all is said and done environmental kindness is the coolest colour.

 

5. Eco twine

I use eco twine to wrap the tissue paper. I almost went with black raffia but I decided that the length of twine, being long enough to be repurposed, would be more useful to the buyer if it was also sturdier. Twine can tie a great many things, curtains, plants, hair, dried herbs and flowers to name but a few and if not, I know it will definitely decompose.

 

6. Handwritten thank you notes on recycled paper


My little thank you note, along with the miniNature header on it, is handwritten on recycled paper. It takes a bit more time than if the headers were already printed, but each one feels like a practice in gratitude. Doing things the slower way is also part of my brand story now.

I hope that when you buy a miniNature print, you enjoy all these little eco aspects as much as I enjoyed putting my heart and thought into them.⁠

And I also hope that you feel inspired to give love and thought to every aspect of what you make, even if that is ‘just the packaging’.

As I said before, for the longest time I felt like selling prints would lack authenticity, but I now see that I can put as much of myself into all these other aspects too.

In the end, Le Corbusier was right, form should always follow function first. The function of packaging is to keep the item safe, add a little beauty and then to slip quietly and kindly out of our lives, not, I believe, to do all the leg work of making your brand look and feel impressive.

Let your actual art do that.

 

Beautiful header image from Helena Hertz on Unsplash

Instagram numbers affecting your creative enthusiasm? This mindset will help.

Instagram numbers affecting your creative enthusiasm? This mindset will help.

Instagram numbers affecting your creative enthusiasm? This mindset will help.

Creative Challenges

Instagram numbers crushing your creative vibe? Here’s how to change that.

I stumbled upon a mindset that helped me detach my creative motivation from those pesky Instagram numbers – the follower growth on IG that plagues any digital endeavour. Since this is a challenge that many artists who begin sharing their work publicly deal with, I wanted to share this analogy with you in hopes that it may shift you into an ‘appreciation of’ mindset over a ‘validated because’ mindset.

 

 

“While you’re still building your art house it seems like the rain matters more because you feel like it affects your progress to build.”

Top Pic by Anna King on Unsplash

Left pic by Georgia de Lotz on Unsplash

 

The beginning of that toxic relationship with Instagram number

When I began my journey of painting daily, I watched eagerly as the numbers of people following my work climbed. I remember wanting to check my account first thing in the morning to see if the painting I had posted the day before had gained me new followers. It was a dirty little addiction and I didn’t enjoy the way it felt.

For many artists, myself included, there have been periods where, if the climb wasn’t happening rapidly enough, the motivation to paint just wasn’t there. The ‘who cares anyway’ thought would come to lurk on my shoulder.

I call this a ‘validation because’ mindset.

I would only feel motivated to paint because the external validation was pulling me to do so.

Why a commitment to self helps break the cycle of IG numbers feeding creativity

It was the decision to paint daily no matter what  that eventually helped break my addiction to validation. My commitment to my own challenge was more important than whether many followers latched on or not. Instead of stopping to paint, because of the unsatisfactory follower count, I pushed myself to paint through the feeling, paint in spite of the apparent low validation.

Then things shifted.

With daily work, the momentum of the art snowball takes on a life of its own. Once that happens the numbers stop mattering.

Your mindset shifts too.

I call this stage the ‘appreciation of’ mindset

Here’s the analogy I tap into to explain how daily work will break your attachment to the social media numbers:

With daily painting, that looming number on Instagram, the people following your account (ie your creative work), begin to appear like whether it’s raining outside or not.

While you’re still building your art house it seems like the rain matters more because you feel like it affects your progress to build.

Light rain or no rain (no new followers) = “eh, I can take it easy for a day, I can build slower. There’s no urgency to build the house because no one is coming inside. No one cares.”

Now, if you keep making despite light rain, hard rain or sunshine then suddenly you have a house to keep painting in and you care not for nought about the numbers. They’re just there. Pitter pattering on the window panes of your creative palace.

 

Now, about that shallow self-talk, when we feel like the numbers matter

 I don’t believe that in the heart of an artist, the numbers matter. That’s not initially why you sat down to paint, or to undertake a creative challenge. (and if it is, honestly, I’d suggest asking yourself if you really want to be an artist or if you just want recognition somewhere)

 When creatives look at the numbers, we think they matter, because we think high numbers = you’re a good artist.

 But what you’re really looking for is not approval, it’s signs of growth. 

That’s WHY you started painting. Somewhere deep inside, you, like me, are hungry for growth of self. We’re all just hungry for inner expansion and connection to our purpose. 

Here’s a beautiful Hopi Creation Story about the magic we can only find hidden inside

But it’s in the continuation of painting that we begin to see where the visible growth is happening. It’s in us. And it’s on that canvas or paper.

Stay committed to your creativity.

Before you know it, the numbers won’t matter.

What will matter is your art. And it will matter most to you.

Header image credits:

 

QUICK RECAP

MY METHOD TO STOP INSTAGRAM NUMBERS FROM AFFECTING YOUR CREATIVE MOTIVATION

1. Decide why you want to paint.

2. Commit to painting daily.

3. Painting daily switches your mindset around Instagram number growth from ‘validation because’ to ‘appreciation of’

4. Through painting daily you create a momentum and accountability to self.

5. The growth you’re looking for in the ‘Instagram follower increase’ is really a growth of self.

If you liked this post, please share it with a friend who could use some creative inspiration. I’d be grateful and I’m sure, so would your friend. x

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Lessons from the Dandelion: How to navigate change

Lessons from the Dandelion: How to navigate change

MINDFUL MININATURE

Lessons from the dandelion: How to navigate change

I have a feeling that conventionally we view ‘change’ as the BIG unknown and ‘acceptance’ as this little thing we eventually have to give into in order to make the change less uncomfortable.⁠

But what if there’s a different way of looking at it?⁠

What if ‘change’ is this really little unknown and ‘acceptance is the BIG known we can reach to every time a possible change of direction arises?⁠

Change is happening all around us on micro levels. Our hair is growing. The plants are blooming. The leaves are going brown. You meet a new person you didn’t know yesterday. You hear a new song that shifts things for you. ⁠

It’s not that change is the divergence from the consistent ‘normal’ routine. It’s that we tend not to notice the little changes, give them that little nod hello.⁠

I made some sense from it by observing and painting this dandelion.

Here’s how you could view Change
many unknowable little things you can’t control like the seeds of a dandelion⁠

Here’s how you could view Acceptance
one consistently available thing you can tap into to smooth your experience of the ride, like the warm breeze all around you⁠

Every time I see a dandelion – I’m reminded of this ability to focus on the warm winds carrying the seeds rather than focusing (and trying to control) where all the little seeds will land. ⁠
.⁠
Puts a whole new perspective on having an ‘Easy Breezy’ nature, hey?⁠

 

“Every time I see a dandelion – I’m reminded of this ability to focus on the warm winds carrying the seeds rather than focusing (and trying to control) where all the little seeds will land.”

Leave me a comment if viewing change this way could help your art process, or other perspectives and thoughts you might have on change.

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Earth Poem: An ode to the beauty and the suffering

Earth Poem: An ode to the beauty and the suffering

MINDFUL MININATURE

Earth Poem: An ode to the beauty and the suffering

Which Earth do you choose to believe in? Which Earth do feed belief into?⁠

I used to believe in only the green, lush and growing Earth, but having painted both, I ‘m coming to understand that we cannot deny the dying Earth amid the living Earth.

I’m still trying to find a way to hold space for this duality in my heart – continue doing and believing and creating towards the beauty and overcoming, but holding with peace that there must always be suffering.⁠ Each new encounter with death reminds me of this.

I wrote an Earth Poem recently to try to speak into these feelings.

Dear person whose name I do not know,⁠
in this community in which we grow,⁠

Dear maker in-spite of all your inflictions,⁠
being creative amidst these restrictions,⁠

Dear giver despite burdened limitations,⁠
feeding, sheltering and providing sanitations,⁠

Dear birds that fly away at dawn and return at dusk,⁠
urging me to discover the things I must,⁠

Dear afraid and hungry, doing the best you can,⁠
along cynics and sceptics, also doing the best they can,⁠

Dear glorious breath I get to draw every day,⁠
Dear ache, dear pain that feels here to stay,⁠

This Earth, will pulse on, no matter what,⁠
She too does the best she can with what she’s got.⁠

There is always sun while there’s moon,⁠
somewhere nourishing rain, yet somewhere monsoon⁠

We’re not in this together in exactly the same way,⁠
But together we are,⁠
There’s no other way.⁠

~ EarthDay 2020⁠
.⁠

To view more paintings inspired by our living planet check out the full 365 gallery.

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