Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

Today is plain and simple. A Thank You to all the many servicemen and women who have given their lives to make our lives possible. You  might not personally agree with what sent them into any battle but the fact that you did not have to fight and that you are sitting where you are today should make you stop long enough to give thanks to them. They leave behind families and friends who miss them greatly. They leave behind total strangers who owe them a debt of gratitude. They leave us free to be right here right now. Happy Memorial Day!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Cultivating Abilities

My last post mentioned my discontent at sitting on the side lines of creativity and a set of "whirlwind events" which led up to my having 2 pieces of art in a group showing. I felt that this post should describe those events in a bit more detail as Saturday was one of the major highlights of my reality.

I have always been artistically inclined. I love to sing. I did voice overs for and performed in school plays. I also love to draw. When I was younger I drew in pencil and it was primarily jungle scenes. Maze upon maze of swirling, entangled leaves of varying sizes filled all the pages of my sketchbooks. As I grew and changed so did the pages of my book. I replaced pencil with pen and leaves with lines and curves and mazes.

I was the child that could be set in front of an etch a sketch at dawn and would be there when you returned at sunset. Drawing took me into a space less complicated than where I was. It helps organize the constantly swirling thoughts in my mind. It calms me. It inspires me. It makes me happy.

Art is personal as well. It is an extension of yourself that you want to have accepted by others. It is that part of you which you don't always feel will be allowed to roam free. It is essentially many pieces of you floating around. Usually your friends will accept it even if they don't understand it but others, others may not.

My friends have always accepted and appreciated my work. They have often told me to let it loose upon society and I have smiled but not quite believed I could or should. It is with their confidence in me and a growing confidence within myself that my new journey into the creative side of me has begun.

In December all of my friends, without previous discussion, gave me materials for art. From carrying cases and pens, to easels and gift cards, all aspects of the art supply were covered. The biggest push that Christmas, was the book  2012 Artist's & Graphic Designer's Market and the words "Do Something!"

In January The Whole 9 Gallery in Culver City held a seminar titled "Get Hung" which was my book come to life only with an actual gallery owner and individuals in the field to guide and answer questions for you. February offered up birthday gifts and gallery study. March offered a volunteer opportunity which brought me to the Art 4 All People Gallery in Malibu. While volunteering I became aware of a Call for Artists on the theme of the Mother Archetype. I applied. At the end of April I was informed that 2 of my 3 submitted pieces had been accepted into a group show. On the first of  May my work was hung in a gallery. On the 19th of May I attended my first ever Artist Reception which included my first ever artist talk.

I am still in a dream state. Focusing on something despite the voices in your head telling you "NO" is incredibly difficult. Taking that first step towards your dreams is the most difficult. Continuing down the path despite adversity is tricky. Cultivating your possibilities requires confidence in yourself, your gifts, your abilities and a strong support system. I have the strongest support. My friends are the greatest and I appreciate them dearly. I am thankful for that enormous kick in the backside they gave me for none of this would have started without it. I am going to continue down this path. My journey is just beginning.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Shameless Self Promotion

I was the first individual on either side of my family to go to University. It was never a question of If  I go to college but a question of "which college will you attend?". Along the way a phrase was born which I feel, although I understand the reason behind it, limited the scope of my reality. That phrase was, "You will get a real job."

My creative abilities were encouraged. I was told that art makes you a more well-rounded individual and that art was very important. My family listened to music from all over, attended cultural events and enjoyed trips to the museum. There however are no working artists in my immediate family. Art was not a "stable" aspiration and therefore not in the realm of "A real job".

I have discovered that there are many displaced artists in my family tree. I am not content to sit on the branches with them. I have discarded that phrase from my reality and have invested in the artist in me. Fortunately I have fantastic friends who also support me in this creative endeavor. Since December, a whirlwind course has been set in motion leading up to the fantastic culmination of me having 2 of my pieces selected to be a part of a group exhibit in the Art 4 All People Gallery, in Malibu! Today officially launches my website complete with ways to keep up with me on my journey by both Facebook and Twitter. This Saturday is the official Artists Reception. Find out more about this event and join me on my Journey as I experience this amazing adventure. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Discipline Train

dis·ci·pline- 1.(n) training to act in accordance with rules; drill: military discipline.
                   2.(n) activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training
                   3.(n) punishment inflicted by way of correction and training.
                   4.(n) behavior in accord with rules of conduct; behavior and order maintained
                         by  training and control
                   5.(v) to train by instruction and exercise; drill.
                   6.(v) to bring to a state of order and obedience by training and control.

I want it NOW! How do you learn to appreciate what you have if you are just handed everything? I need the latest technology be it laptop, notebook, or phone. I must have that cookie, cake, fancy dinner. I need those shoes, that car, a flat screen television. I deserve a trip to someplace I've never been. I need it. I want it. I deserve it. Give it to me now. Where did this attitude start? Let's go back in time.

"When I get older, I am going to do what I want." "I can't wait til I'm a grown up so I can do whatever I want." "Adults have it easy they can do whatever they want." "when will I get to do what I want to do?"

Sound Familiar?  Words you've heard by pint-sized complainers;words spoken by you in the past (or not so distant past). These are statements that  have complicated truths. I AM older and for the most part I do what I want but in order to do that I have to be disciplined enough to do what I need to do. Society, these days, seems to be heavy on the instant gratification  but light on the discipline that goes with long term satisfaction.

Discipline is not a natural state. If you notice each definition has train or training as a part of it. Constant conditioning is an on-going life-long process. Those who are truly "having it all" learned this lesson long ago. Think of the habits you have and then think of the world you believe you should live in. Is one keeping you from the other? An honest assessment might shed some life on your reality.

It's more difficult than you ever imagined to be an adult. If you are responsible for more than just yourself it is even more of a world of discipline in which you must live. If I wake up on a Saturday morning, decide to stay in my PJ's and eat cookies all day, that's me but what kind of example does that set for others if you are in charge. If I leave my clothes all over the  apartment, that's me. If I invite someone over, how comfortable will it be for that person? How comfortable will I be letting that person in?  The list goes on.

I HATE eating oatmeal (unless of course it's in the form of an oatmeal, chocolate chip, walnut cookie). I have high blood pressure and oatmeal is good for helping to lower cholesterol and maintain a healthy heart. I eat oatmeal. I don't want to exercise. I do want to be comfortable in my own skin. I balance a small amount of exercise with eating well and portion control. Do I have off days? YES, everyone does. Do I slip? Of course! Do I continue to do what I know I have to do even though it's not what I always want to do, YES because that's what a REAL adult does.

We need to start training the younger generations in the fine art of discipline. We need to start revisiting this skill as adults as well. You are not always going to like not getting what you want but do not consider it a punishment. Only one definition of discipline is about punishment. All the rest are about the ways we can use this sadly lacking ability to train ourselves to do what must be done in order to have real and well deserved fun in our lives.