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Women With The Growing Trees amyoes.com

I learned a lot this weekend on the beautiful streets of Ridgefield.

Ridgefield Art Walk was an amazing chance to get outside, get painting, and get messy.

For art, work, anything – it’s always great to change up your environment.  This change alone might be enough to shake off an artist’s block that’s been keeping you stuck.

Brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand, trying left and right brain exercises, taking an easel outside, sometimes you can discover a goldmine of new inspiration when you do things differently.

This was (sad to admit this) the first time I’ve ever really painted on en easel!  And also outside, on the street, in front of a bunch of people.  I discovered art as my own therapy, to express my own emotions – but there’s only so much you can paint from your internal life!  Sometimes it just helps to get outside of yourself – not just for painting, for feeling good.

A wonderful site ArtProMotivate lists 20 great ways to shake up some inspiration when you’re in a rut – listening to music, reading a book, getting outside – as artists, we have to remember that often our external lives enrich our internal ones.  Sorry tortured artists – happy, connected artists can make great art too!

Painting outside, it wasn’t the beautifully sunny sky or the lush landscaping in this quaint town that stimulated me.  It was the interactions with the shoppers who passed.

One thing I noticed was how children really gravitated towards my work.  There is a childlike, innocent quality to my art.

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And as we know, kids are fearless, free and oh so honest.  (You don’t wanna know the things that came out of my mouth as a kid!!!)

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Who – ME?

I call myself an artist because I like making art.  For me, it doesn’t matter where I’ve shown my art, what “techniques” I’m using, or who I’m selling it to.  Art is my aliveness brought to fruition in a way that others can see and hopefully spot their own aliveness in as well.

In my studio, it’s just me and my creations.  It’s the one place in life where I can ignore my inner critic  because I tell myself I am just making a “beautiful mess.”  When I made the decision to start showing my work elsewhere, I accepted that I’d have to grow some thicker skin.  Everyone’s got an opinion.

 

But kids will be honest about theirs.

So there I was with my easel, painting outside my storefront with my art proudly on display.  I chose to work on a collage using old paints, newspapers, and whatever I grabbed on my way out.  As an artist, I love being a scavenger. I really don’t care what ends up sticking on my collages – cardboard, old lids, plastic wrap, napkins – once it’s covered with paint, it can all look beautiful! For me, it’s about the process.

In the middle of my “process”, one child came up to me and stayed peering over my easel for lengthy period.  He  looks at my art, and says “I could do that! That’s just newspaper and scribbles!” The mother was clearly embarrassed, but I was thrilled.

Yes – this is exactly what I want people to come away with after seeing my art. If you call me an “artist”, then you are as well. Anyone can create. It just takes the guts to put yourself out there. That kid gave me the best possible compliment. So, I hope whoever sees my art walks away with the confidence that YES! They can do that too!

I love that children can make those impulsive, honest comments.  Once we lose the ability to speak those thoughts out loud, it’s more difficult to hear those truths within us.  That child realized he was capable of creating anything in that moment.  In that afternoon, crowds of passerbys looked over at my art, and because I was the “artist” – I was doing something that they “could not”.  Mind made up – been there, tried that, failed, over and done.

Would you have been ashamed to tell me my “mixed media artwork” was just newspaper and scribbles? 

The truth is, if adults could be as brutally honest as that child, they would also be able to consciously acknowledge this truth for themselves – they CAN create if they just silence their inner critic.  It’s easier said than done, but maybe we just have to start with that honest child in us.

 

If you think you’ve already “grown up” remember, it’s never to late to “grow down.”

Let’s all think like children for a bit and recklessly create what we’ve never seen, but have sensed, wanted, or just felt like.  Don’t know what to start with?  Start with newspaper.  And scribble on it.  Let’s keep revisiting our childhood memories, the feeling that anything was possible with a newspaper, silly putty, a slinky or a cardboard box.

Think about the last interaction or moment in your life that meant something to you.  How simple was it?  Maybe your special someone ripped out an article from today’s paper that he knew you’d like.  Maybe he doodled on your daily planner, wishing you the best day ever.  Because thoughts that are true, inspiring and from the heart are usually the simplest ones – straight out of an art project that a kid could do.

My art at Piccolo Restaurant – part of Ridgefield Art Walk 2015

…easier said than done, I know, I know…I’m human and my critic is LOUD.

But I’ve also got thick skin – I’m an actress, remember?

So the next time you see art in a gallery, an advertisement, a tee-shirt believe that you are capable of creating art.

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My art at Discovery Museum

When you learn about what happened to me, I hope you don’t feel sorry that anything like that had to have happened in the first place.

When you read that I learned art recovering from surgery, walk away knowing that you are powerful enough to conquer any odds in your life with a bit of creative thinking and working with what you’ve got – even if it’s just newspaper.

When you read or hear of loss, pain, anger, frustration, joy, gratitude, fear, uncertainty, love and life, I hope you connect with that experience on a primal, intuitive level, and are even inspired to share YOUR story with someone else.  Even if it’s a blank page for now.  Or a blank canvas, whatever works.

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Thank you art, thank you children, thank you detours.

With every blotchy “mistake” on your “canvas”, be empowered with the confidence to be innovative and think of a way to integrate the mistake into an even better design.

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Let every very “insult” from a kid empowers you with the satisfaction that you have possibly inspired a future creator.

Let every “detour” prompt an unexpected interaction with a new opportunity, a new person in your life, and a new direction.

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Here’s to navigating our beautiful detours with a brush in hand, and our inner child as the lantern that guides us home.

 

What doesn’t kill us makes us awesome.

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I’ll be leading more and more mixed media workshops after this.  Getting crafty in and out of my studio has helped me gain some craftiness in the art of everyday life.  Teaching art is teaching people how to create their own story – and creativity is power.

Here’s to navigating our beautiful detours with a brush in hand, and our inner child as the lantern that guides us home.

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P.S. – if you’re really stuck, just google cool creative art ideas – I just found Cool painting ideas that turn ceilings into a statement and 40 unique ways to use chalkboard paint – oh the wonders of the internet…

P.P.S. – This was a pretty observant kid.  He also asked me what the tracheotomy scar was on my neck and I couldn’t think of quick answer – any creative ideas?

To see more pictures, video and fun stuff about Ridgefield Art Walk, check out this page!

for more updates, workshops, pictures, DIYs and stories!

 

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