“Everyone is living a myth, you just have to figure out which one you are living in” – Romanyshyn, Author and Professor
I remember the first class in my Doctorate program and the first thing my professor said. This quote above were his words. I also remember being so puzzled by what he meant. Now, 20 years later, I still think about this.
It seems we are all living out our mythologies steeped deeply in our upbringing whether we realize it or not. I recently hired an art coach. Instead of critiquing my art, she has me looking at my inner narratives; those things I say to myself while in the studio. I have been getting reacquainted with my Rebel Self, the part of me that grew strong in spite of a highly dysfunctional family. This rebellious voice, or self, has been absent in my work in the studio. Although I have found her in other ways and grown to appreciate this part of me, unfortunately, it hasn’t been with me in the studio.
Instead, the Good Girl has been in there. She is the part that wants to please other; to do pleasing art. She is the traditionalist..doesn’t want to cause waves. I have an artsy friend who dyes her hair purple, pink or sometimes turquoise. My rebellious part just loves this friend because she has no fear of expressing herself any way she pleases.
These 2 parts are players in my mythology ; they are my inner narratives born out of my past. They are alive and well, even though I have worked with them in other ways, they are now in the front seat fighting over who gets to drive when it comes to painting.
Consequently, I haven’t been producing much art. This incubation period to put it in another framework, has been rich with self assessment, daily writing ( The Artists Way style) and uncertainty. According to Bayles and Orland in their book Art & Fear, uncertainty is a good thing. We just have to learn to tolerate it. To stay in the uncertainty means not knowing where you are going… its hanging in there even though its not the ‘comfortable’ place.
Reading Art and Fear was actually homework assigned by my coach. At first I thought, “no way, I am fearless in my art!” But that was only what one part thought, but the truth is, I have been in a stuck place with my art ( hence the coach). The truth is… well, I am not so sure what the truth is…
I have posted these 3 pieces before… but what I have realized is that they were painted by my Rebel ( she must have snuck into the studio). These are her titles, and as I thought about them, I just now recognized it was that part of me that was in the studio painting that day. Notice the titles of these pieces: “Never Mind, Out of the Box, and Playground”.
I am thinking I will imagine a new mythology for my inner artist…one that plays Outside the Box! I may just invite her, whoever she may be, in more often as well.
Until next time,
“Every day is a canvas waiting to be painted” – Craig Sagur
Do you have enough time? Of course you don’t have enough time to do it all! No one does.
I have been procrastinating getting to my “to do” lists… after the December rush, January came and I hit a wall. I met all my deadlines with the holiday shows and all else it entailed and guess I just needed a bit of time off, mostly from working in the studio. That is ok, we need to be able to give ourselves “time off”.
However, now that February has arrived, I am feeling the need to re-prioritize my intentions and goals for the year (I usually like to do this in January). With this in mind, I got out my journal for organizing my time and setting my intentions, and thought I might share a few important keys to be successful when setting intentions.
Freedom. I used to wish I had more time when I was working full time as a psychotherapist. Ironically, I got more done then with the time I had. I had to be much more organized to be able to manage everything. But now that I have more freedom (and more time), it is actually harder to have the discipline needed to plan my goals and keep them. Yes, it is a luxury to be able to say, “I will do it tomorrow”, but that can get in the way of meeting goals.
Art that inspires me in my work
Goal setting. Create a goal and be sure you are 100% committed to it. Whether its weight loss, a new exercise program, or carving time out in your studio, evaluate your commitment on a scale of 1-10. I find the things I am not ‘that’ committed to just don’t happen. Ask yourself what may be the underlying reason. Perhaps you have a goal to write a book, then you plan to write every day…but are you committed? Maybe you really don’t like writing after all!
Procrastination. Being busy all the time is a form of procrastination, an excuse not to arrive at the goals or plans you have made. I get an A+ for this one…I always used to say yes to everything else when I finally realized by saying Yes, I was saying No to myself. Which brings me to the next important step: setting boundaries.
Boundaries. I absolutely have to set boundaries around my time in order to carve out the time I need in the studio. If I don’t do this, it just doesn’t happen. Seems silly to have to be structured about free time, but for me, it’s vital to give myself this in order to reach my goals in my art business. This is true for all goals…you have to make time to devote to that plan of action to meet the goal. Any successful person has found the balanced equation between being disciplined and have freedom of mind
Art that inspires me in my work
Accountability. I need to be accountable to myself and to do that I have a support team that helps me. I have an artist friend that that helps me keep my goals. We trade with in order to help each other stay on track. A support team is so valuable to help you no matter what your goal is.
Motivation: And last, none of this will be helpful unless you feel motivated! So, figure out what motivates you. Is it a you-tube video, a class, a group of like minded people. How about making a vision board? Perhaps this should be the first thing on the list – but if you have this one thing, the rest become easier with that determination driven by motivation; the engine that gets you going. I hope this has been helpful.
*Some of these ideas have been borrowed from art coach, Alyson Stanfield.
Until next time,
” An artist is only an artist on the condition that he (she) neglects no aspect of his (her) dual nature. The dualism is the power of being oneself and someone else at the same time”– Charles Baudelaire (Parentheses mine)
Recently, I was invited to place art in several businesses in Sacramento. The problem though was that I didn’t have enough art in my inventory as it was already in other places. So, yesterday I had time to be in the studio – all day. I had waited for this week and day and was excited to finally have time to get out there and paint uninterrupted. I also had an envisioned an idea of what I wanted to paint. As I began to put that idea into action…it wasn’t looking so great. I re worked it to no avail. Finally, I got frustrated and thought, “Never mind!” Then I began thinking about that phrase.. yes, good advice: Never mind!
How many of is live our lives minding the other, minding the rules, the societal norms, etc? What does it mean to step out of the box, to not mind the inner judge and ruler? My inner critic tells me that I am not weird enough to be an artist. I lack the Jackson Pollock extremism that makes abstract art a question instead of an answer. Yes, my critic thinks she an art critic! I have to mindfully not listen to her. How many times do you listen and believe your inner critic? Perhaps yours is telling you lies as well.
That inner voice may be trying to keep us from feeling embarrassed because it has rules to keep us safe. The critic is formed when we are small in an attempt to stay in line, not get into trouble, or feel ashamed. Problem is, it’s not so helpful in the studio when creativity needs to be unleashed. Take the axiom: Never Mind with you when you need that crazy unleashed freedom to play, experiment and imagine that comes with creativity. An art teacher I have studied with, Robert Burridge, calls this “Fire in the Belly”.
Get out of the box, just play. That freed my imagination and I was then able to move into that zone where the muse shows up and painting happens…I just happen to be on one end of the paint brush!
So, it’s time for me to head back out to the studio…. I am taking with me the thought, ‘Never Mind’ while I play. How will you play in your playground?
I was juried in to the Old Town Gallery in Auburn. I will have a wall there soon. TBA. Look out Pollock Jackson!
Don’t miss the annual Placer County Art Tour, Nov. 11, 12 & 13. If you let me know ahead of time, I will hold a brochure for you that has a map of all the artists and their studios. I will be located in the IQ Gallery in Rocklin, 3700 Midas Ave. The hours are from 10:00- 5:00 all 3 days. I am showing with 2 other fine art artists. Gini, owner of the gallery, has wonderful gifts in her gallery as well as Trisa, who makes one-of a-kind glass plates, jewelry, scarves and more. Last year, we had lots of people who came through, loved the gallery and shopped for Christmas! To get a taste of what is in the gallery, click the video here.
Until next time,
“The past is not dead; it’s not even past” William Faulkner
I started painting a series recently called Honoring the Ancestors. It was born from a prior series called Artifacts in which I was exploring the idea of how and why we are fascinated by what archaeologists find in their digs from long-ago civilizations and what they leave behind. I am intrigued by what it is that is important to us with regard to these ancients’ sites and relics.
I began to wonder if the people who lived in and at these ancient sites were our ancestors. Who were these people? How do they shape our lives and psyche today? These questions have seeded my imagination. I have been wondering how our ancestors inform who we are now? And, perhaps more importantly, how do we pay homage to them?
On a sacred journey one year to Egypt, I remember being greeted by the guide. He said, “Welcome home.” This became a familiar greeting all over Egypt. It is said that Africa is the cradle of all humanity, therefore the foundation of all our roots. Homo sapiens have been around for 3.2 million years and perhaps science will someday confirm that we all have roots from the ancient past in Africa.
Malidoma Some (pronounced Somay) wrote a wonderful book called Of Water and the Spirit. Some, a West African of the Dagara people and teacher, told how his elders are honored once they have died. He described a scene in his own household in which his family would set the table for ‘grandfather’, the most recent elder who had passed. They believe that the elders are not gone but, in fact, are even more available for counsel with daily family matters. Some said that Americans are lost because we have forgotten our ancestors; the very thread of who we are has been broken. We are, he says, bereft of the richness of our collective and cultural roots.
Along these lines, I have been reading a thought-provoking book called Jung and the Ancestors; Beyond Biography-Mending the Ancestral Web, by friend and colleague, Sandra Easter. She asks these same questions by exploring the foundation of who we are now by reaching back into our ancestry. It is not just our personal ancestry that is important but how our collective roots shape us as well. I love this book and highly recommend it if you are interested in this rich topic of how we are who we are because of those who lived before us.
My sister-in-law gifted a family member with a test to trace her ancestry. This niece was surprised to learn that her DNA showed an entirely different lineage than that which she was told. As a result she now knows herself better. I have also decided to trace my ancestry through ‘23 and Me’. I can’t wait to get the results!
Until next time,
New You tube Videos!
I have been making you tube videos called Tips and Techniques for Painting. Please go to my You tube channel and subscribe. It’s under Connie Rodriguez Art. Here is a link to one of them. Hope you enjoy it!
“I dream of painting, and then paint my dream” – Van Gogh
We live with symbols all around us; some are universal, some are personal. Symbols can be things, such as an animal, or ideas such as a Journey. For example this painting is a Mandala symbolic of the Self. A circle is a symbol of wholeness and is seen all over the world.
Sacred Portal: Throat Chakra
Earlier in the month I was on a women’s retreat in a gorgeous lodge up near Tahoe with 8 wonderful women. Our topic we chose to work with was deep. It was on the subject of Grief. All kinds of grief, not just death, but other losses as well. We all chose medicine cards to help us with our personal journey with grief. I picked ” Wolf”. Wolf is symbolic of many things including the teacher. Wolf totems include Loyalty, Compassion, Communication, Creativity, all which I relate to.
Spider is another personal symbol I have. According to Native American lore, She is the weaver of all life: the web of life. These are personal symbols that I could use in my art and would be meaningful to me. Perhaps they would have meaning for others as well depending on their experience with these symbols, but more important is the symbolism they hold for me.
Symbols that have universal meanings Carl. G. Jung called archetypes. These symbols hold meaning for everyone, everywhere.
Between Heaven and Earth
This is what Robert and Sara say in their blog called the Painter’s Key about symbols:
“I guess there’s about a billion paintings of sky, mountains, trees and water. Beneath these basic and universal elements lie symbols that may empower our work.
For example, the sky may represent infinity, eternity, immortality, transcendence or inspiration. As the traditional residence of gods, the sky may suggest omnipotence. The sky may also be symbolic of order in the universe.
Mountains are thought to contain divine inspiration, and are the focus of pilgrimages of transcendence and spiritual elevation. Mountains surpass ordinary humanity and extend toward the heavens. They symbolize constancy and permanence and at their peak signify the state of absolute consciousness. Mountains can also signify danger. Climbing a mountain may depict inner elevation. Trees may invoke struggle, rebirth, and other traits such as barrenness, complexity, productivity, fecundity, and the presence of the sheltering mother.
Tide Pools - SOLD
Water — by way of river, lake and ocean — may be suggestive of ambition, tranquility and life-force. Ocean, in itself, suggests the beginning of life on Earth, and symbolizes formlessness, the unfathomable, and chaos. The ocean can also be seen as a symbol of stability as it has existed largely unchanged for centuries. The ocean is considered to be boundless, a place where one can easily be lost, and can therefore be seen to represent the boundless span of life and the way one can become lost on life’s journey.”
I couldn’t have said it better. So you can see that there are so many symbols that we can photograph and paint in our art. I am sure many of you love butterflies, hummingbirds, dragonflies, etc. and have a story that echoes why you love these symbols. Let me know what your personal symbols are and why!
Until next time,
This painting, ‘Changing Seasons’ was awarded first place in a juried exhibit in Folsom, Ca! It will be hanging at the Bag Lady downtown Folsom beginning Oct.3rd. Its beautifully framed as is for sale.
Coming soon! Youtube videos with tools, tips, and short demos.