and just like that…. cvp

sometimes you get to a crossroads in your life when you know in your gut that you have to make bold moves, take big steps, into the scary unknown…. do things that maybe terrify you. you have to just trust your gut, go with your intuition, let the universe guide you, because, well, as they say, it’s later than you think.

this is actually the second time in a year that i’ve made such a big decision. to invest in myself. to keep propelling myself forward instead of allowing myself to stagnate, flounder. to take a chance, bet on myself. to keep going. persist.

last fall i took the big scary leap of taking louise fletcher‘s 12-week find your joy online art class… and though it was challenging, it was totally worth it. i learned a lot, i pushed myself, i took risks and was vulnerable, sharing my progress as the weeks went on via my instagram account. i didn’t come out of it some kind of artistic genius with an instant art career but i definitely made progress and (re)learned some valuable and necessary art theory principles and applied them to abstract painting. and i certainly found joy.

i also learned i do better with some structure and instruction; it helps me feel more connected to what i’m doing and forces me to show up in the studio every day. and i really like having a community of artists around the world going through the same things i am, so we can share our wins and frustrations. i learn a lot from other artists, and also how my challenges and disappointments are not unique to me.

well last week i took another free 5 day class, this one from art2life‘s nicholas wilton, who i’ve taken courses from before. (i’ve taken two previous free classes and paid for spark, a 3-week class.) this freebie was the marketing instrument for his 12 week online course called cvpcreative visionary program. you might recall i really wanted to take it last year (it’s only offered once a year in the spring) but the price seemed undoable and this was before i took find your joy so i also wasn’t sure i was really ready for such an intensive art exploration. i applied for a scholarship nonetheless but did not get one. i was disappointed and moved on but then when find your joy came around in september, i jumped in since it was considerably cheaper.

so this year, the 5 day art2life freebie reminded me what drew me to nick and art2life to begin with. there’s an infectious energy and positivity – one could say woo-woo-ness – to his instruction methods and the community he’s built around art2life. i really respond to it, get energized and inspired by it. so though what was being taught last week was pretty much all info i’d heard from nick before, i tuned in every day and painted along and tried to soak up that energy. and i knew the sales pitch for cvp was coming and i still really wanted to take it but initially thought since i hadn’t yet paid off the last class (though i will by the end of this month) and hadn’t made as much progress as i’d hoped in terms of making art that i can sell, that maybe i shouldn’t sign up for cvp. maybe i should just wait til next year.

on the last day of the freebie, they open enrollment for cvp and i saw that the price was pretty much the same as it was last year; it hadn’t gone up, which was refreshing. part of the sales pitch is they show you a little preview of what it looks like inside the portal where the lessons take place and… i dunno, i saw that and realized, hey, i can do this. i did find your joy and cvp is basically the same format, just more intense. i got a lot out of fyj. i made 80+ pieces of art in 12 weeks! i know how these programs work and though my next three months have some blips in them – overnight pet sits, a beloved coming in town and staying with me, jazzfest, etc. – everything is recorded and i can work around these things. i’ve learned how to make art in 20 minutes here, 30 minutes there. i can do this. and besides, you have the materials for a whole year. (i still have the find your joy materials until september!)

the live call on friday when enrollment opened lasted for several hours and i stayed til the end. but i didn’t even need all that time. it was like the universe was guiding my hand and before i knew it, i’d signed up! it just feels like the right time for me, to keep my momentum going. to keep building on what i’ve learned and keep pushing myself.

so i did it. i just fucking did it. and you know what? it felt great! i had the slightest tinge of second thoughts about the financial investment but then remembered they have a 30 day money back guarantee, no questions asked, so i have that much time to figure out if i’ve made a huge mistake and get my money (credit) back. but i really feel like this is the time for me to do this. i need to keep my creative momentum going to see if there’s really any there there. if after this class i still feel lost and like i don’t know what i’m doing, well then maybe i’ll just stop pushing myself so much and definitely stop spending money on classes. but i really feel like i do so much better when i’m taking a class, and i love the way these classes are set up with online communities where you can interact with all the other students from around the world. you post your art, you get feedback from them, you get feedback from the coaches involved in the class, you get any of your questions answered, you see other people’s art that ranges from beginner to accomplished professional – it’s great, especially for introverts like me who don’t really want to go take in-person classes. at least not yet.

so there you have it. i’m taking cvp this year! it’s the preeminent online art course – nick is the OG of online art gurus. there were over 100,000 people taking the free class! so far there are around 1000 signed up for cvp. (enrollment is open through wednesday of this week, i think, so maybe there will be a few hundred more by the time it closes.) if you are someone who spends any time looking at art on instagram, you will have seen artists who’ve been through this program, who started there or who went through it almost as a rite of passage. many artists take it every year to keep refining their craft. (you get a 75% discount as an alum of the program.) it’s akin to taking a college level course all crammed into 12 weeks. it’s a LOT of information. a lot of exercises. a lot of inner work. we’ll work in both a journal/sketchbook as well as on 12″x12″ wood panels. this is intensive. i know i’m going to get behind but i’ll do my best to hang in there and at least show up for all the live content, even if i have to go back through the whole thing once it’s over.

i know some of you will think i’ve lost my mind, that i’m making bad choices, that i’m getting myself further in debt. maybe i am. but i’ve had this dream since i was young that i wanted to be an artist, i wanted to make my living and my life making art. and in many ways i have done the latter – i’ve made a lot of art and craft over the years, however inconsistently – and i’ve even done the former for spurts of time. but not in a way that i could sustain myself and my practice, and not always in ways that i felt deeply connected to. that’s the goal. i’m not getting any younger and i won’t be able to walk dogs for forever – my body is already having a hard time with it and i’m burnt out emotionally with the work. i have no partner or children to take care of me, no savings or retirement money coming to me other than a very small social security which will not be enough to live on, so right now, this is the best idea i’ve got – to focus on my art, hone my craft, and start making money from it, make it a business that will hopefully bring me more income than i currently make walking dogs, so i can pay off my debts and ease into a “retirement” that looks like making and selling art until i die. if i can pull that off, i might actually live longer. and be happier.

but mostly, i really want to feel connected to what i’m creating again. i want to feel less haphazard about my process, gain more clarity about what direction i want to go in with abstract painting. i want to make some work i’m really proud of, and get to a place where that comes more easily.

so. i’ll be posting on my instagram as the weeks go on and i’ll be trying to find ways to raise money to pay this class off. if you want to support me, i still have a studio full of art from the class last fall, from the past few years, and from even before that – i’d love to get some of this stuff out of here and make a few dollars from any of it. let me know if you wanna come over and look around. or if you’re not local, keep an eye on my etsy shop – i’ll keep adding to it as i have time. (there’s also a ko-fi button on this page for direct donations.) maybe i’ll try to come up with some new sticker and t-shirt ideas to fundraise. who knows.

and if you’re someone who’s been with me on this journey over the years – thank you for always supporting me, financially, emotionally, and otherwise. i hope i’ve brought some joy to your life with stuff i’ve made and i look forward to continuing to do so with even bigger and better art. and if nothing else, i hope my quest, my ongoing artistic journey, my chasing of my dream however inconsistent, i hope it inspires you to keep after your own dreams… before it’s too late. we only have so much time in this realm and the clock is always ticking. do the thing… now, while you can. so you have no regrets.

jump and the net will appear – that’s what i’m doing. it’s scary… but also exhilarating!

here’s to finding my joy!

i just posted about this on my art instagram page but figured it was worth blogging about as well. i’ve been working this past week on a free taster course (yes, yet another one) this time from artist louise fletcher, who is this lovely british woman and brilliant painter who is about my age and only recently in the past several years became an art teacher and successful artist and now teaches this yearly online art course about (re)discovering your joy in painting (or whatever medium you create with). i have thrown financial caution to the wind and signed up for the full course.

if you’ve been following my art insta or reading this blog then you know i’ve been listening to louise’s podcast art juice (which she does with artist alice sheridan) for quite a while now and i joined louise’s monthly art subscription group called your art tribe about six months ago. louise offers so much free content on you tube and via art tribe there are monthly masterclasses on various topics and techniques, art challenges, studio tours from members of the group, and there is a very lively facebook group specifically for members. it’s been well worth the monthly subscription charge and being an art tribe member got me a good discount on the 12 week find your joy course, which made it easier to take the plunge.

my biggest issue with my art is that i’m too much in my head about it and i psyche myself out a lot, i think. i can’t get out of my own way. which, frankly, has often been my problem in life in general. and a lot of what louise’s course is about is mindset and just remembering what it was like as a child to play with abandon with paint, to learn how to keep that free-ness and suspend self-judgement and not allow that negative voice in your head to limit you. and that is exactly what i need.

as many of you know, i’ve been a maker and creator of various kinds of art and craft and design for most of my adult life, having finally in college come to the epiphany that i didn’t need to be innately gifted with artistic talent (by societal standards) to be an artist. i will forever be grateful to my art professor marilyn murphy for that and for setting me on what would be my lifelong journey as an artist.

i’ve had varying levels of success with different things i’ve done. i’ve sold a LOT of work over my lifetime and have had a lot of people support me, for which i am so grateful. but in the past few years i’ve felt like i came to somewhat of an impass and though i’ve kept painting and making art off and on, trying new techniques and styles, i haven’t been satisfied with any of them and haven’t really felt like i’ve had anything worth saying with my art. hell, most of the time i don’t even finish what i start working on. it’s been an endless process of trying new things, starting pieces but not finishing very many of them or not being completely happy with what i do finish. and frankly, most of the time, not really knowing what it is i’m trying to accomplish or say with my art.

so i have decided it’s time for some help. i’ve done so many free online classes over the past few years with various instructors and while i’ve learned a lot in fits and spurts, i need a deep dive. when i did the paid spark course from art2life last year, i thought that’s what i’d be doing but it wasn’t deep enough for me apparently and i couldn’t afford the more expensive CVP class that went deeper following spark. so i’ve been puttering along. when louise’s free taster course came up, i knew i needed to do it to see whether i thought her longer course would do me any good. i didn’t go into it thinking i would take the longer class. but, after just the first exercise, i was ready to sign up! no hemming and hawing this time, no worrying about how i will pay for it (i mean, i am worried but i didn’t let it stop me). i just signed up and i’ll figure out how to pay for it in due time.

i’m still trying to complete the exercises from the 8 day free class as i was dog sitting last week and wasn’t able to spend time in the studio as i normally do. but i should have time in the next few days to finish that up and get to the pre-work for the paid class, which officially starts on the 18th. so stay tuned as i’m sure i will keep posting about it either here or on my art insta as the 12 weeks progress.

and as i mentioned in the insta post, if you feel moved to support me on this journey, there’s a ko-fi button on this page or feel free to just use venmo or paypal. i’ve already taken the financial plunge so it’s not dependent on people supporting me but i know i have folks in my life who like to support my creative journey so if that’s you, i will humbly accept any financial support anyone wants to offer.

here’s to doing scary things! whew!

post mardi gras update

now that mardi gras has passed, it’s back to business as usual, which for me has been all about my art. (you can see more pics of my mardi gras adventures on my personal instagram, or if you follow me on facebook.) the chaos and whirlwind that is carnival sort of caused me to pause on my actual painting, save for some sketchbook playtime, in favor of costume prep. but i was able to continue to follow along with the live calls on the free art2life workshop in the lead up to the beginning of CVP. (if you don’t know what i’m talking about please go back and read the last post.)

so, i made a decision about CVP. as much as i really want to take it, i could not put myself that much in debt given my current financial status. it just wouldn’t be prudent and would stretch me really thin on a month to month basis in terms of covering my actual expenses, even on a 12 month payment plan. but i discovered a few days ago that they do have a scholarship program for those in financial need, so i applied. i don’t know if they will consider me to be in enough need to give me a scholarship or not, but i really do hope so. i get that there are probably plenty of others with greater financial need than me who are more deserving (folks on disability, or seniors on a fixed income, etc.) but i’ve pretty much been low income my whole life and right now i’m lower than i have been in a long time. i have no way of knowing how many folks they give scholarships to each session, or how many apply, so i don’t know my odds. but i had to go for it.

so it’s in the hands of the universe now. i turned in my application on sunday. (yes, in the midst of total carnival chaos!) the deadline was today at noon. CVP starts with a welcome call tomorrow but they don’t let you know if you got the scholarship until monday, so even if i do get in i will be playing a bit of catch-up. but that’s ok. i will be so elated if they do allow me in. (i didn’t ask for a full scholarship; i offered to pay 25% which is about all i think i can reasonable pay off over the next year. though if my finances change, i’m happy to kick in more.)

so wish me luck or if you are so inclined, visualize me getting in so i can continue this deep dive i’ve started into my creative expression and all the things that have blocked me over the years from truly succeeding as the artist i’ve always known i am. as i’ve mentioned before, last year started this new phase for me, with the (wo)manifesting of the extra rooms in my house which afforded me a studio space in my home. (this is something i never thought would ever happen and i willed it into existence last year!)

and then i took the art2life breadcrumbs challenge in the late summer, which was a free workshop that introduced me to how nick wilton and art2life approach teaching art. i immediately resonated with what he was saying, how he taught, and was convinced to take the paid Spark class in the fall. i feel like Spark really gave me some a-ha moments and started breaking down all the nonsense i’ve been telling myself my whole life about art and my abilities. i feel like i discovered some threads… that i really want to keep going with, pull harder on, dive deeper on. which is why i did the most recent free workshop and want to continue with CVP. i feel like i have momentum. and that now is the time. i fear if i don’t i’m going to have a hard time on my own keeping it going. like, i’ve been introduced to the principles that art2life teaches but now i need to really integrate them into how i paint. the structure of the classes, the recordings, the lessons, really help me.

anyways. i am accepting all woo and good wishes for best outcomes. and thank you. especially to all of you who have supported me over the years in my art journey, by listening to me talk endlessly about this stuff, or who’ve read my blogs about it, who’ve bought my art and craft, supported my patreon when i had it, or who’ve just generally encouraged me when i haven’t felt confident about what i was doing. i feel like i’m finally on the verge of figuring it out, of gaining that confidence i’ve lacked, so i can finally have a self-sustaining art practice that is meaningful to me and hopefully others.

for now, it’s back to the dogs and cats and to clean up this MESS of a house and studio post mardi gras costume making and general carnival life for the past few weeks. i’ll post again when i’m notified about the scholarship.

the holiday whirlwind…

one of my small abstract paintings that i feel sums up the chaos of this time of year

yep, here we go. thanksgiving is now behind us, black friday is still happening all the way through small business saturday and cyber monday, and the endless holiday art and craft markets and parties are upon us. it’s the holiday whirlwind. before you know it, it will be new year’s.

i haven’t much participated in recent years in the holiday marketing of my wares. but as i look around this year, i’m realizing i have a LOT of stuff accumulating in my house and shed, and it would be nice to get rid of some stuff. and hey, maybe some of you might like some of it?

so. for the first time in a really long time – seriously, years – i’m doing a couple of holiday markets. as some of you know, i’m taking a vacation this next week out to chico, california. (yes, 10 minutes away from paradise, the town that burnt to ground by the camp fire recently.) and it just so happens that one of my friends i’m visiting is a maker of things, an upcycler of all kinds of cool stuff. and she signed both herself and me up for a holiday market next saturday out there. artist christine mac shane has a studio and apparently does a holiday market with other artists every year, so thanks to southwest airlines’ generous baggage allowance, i will be carting a suitcase of my stuff out there to sell. mostly tshirts and stickers, but i’m scheming to see what else i might be able to fit. here’s the link to the facebook invite for the event, in case you know someone in chico or who lives in northern cali and wants to take a little roadtrip to see me.

then a week and a half after i come back, i’ll be doing my only new orleans holiday market at treo on dec. 15th. here are all the details and a list of the vendors. i’m excited and will probably be lugging a bin of my bargain t’s and other printed things (assuming there is space). maybe some prints. maybe some paintings. (again, it’s about space.) but it’s always fun doing markets in bars where folks can drink and eat and hang out while they shop.

and then we’ll see how i’m feeling, how much stuff i have left, and what my pet biz schedule is like. if all the stars align perhaps i’ll do another back yard sale last minute before xmas. or maybe not. we’ll see.

in the mean time, i do still have stuff up in my etsy shop and am adding designs all the time to my teespring store. (but get those orders in early on teespring, by december 11th if you want it for christmas.)

and as always, message me directly if you have any questions or if you want to swing by the house to pick something up.

happy holidays, everyone. don’t forget to slow down and enjoy it!

why do i even still have a website?

i really don’t know. i am HORRIBLE about updating here. really – if you’ve stumbled across this page and think you might be interested in what i do, please don’t rely on this website for your means of information about me! it’s been MONTHS since i updated here. (scroll down to the bottom of this post and i’ll list the other ways you can follow me more in real-time.)

 

 

 

but just cuz i don’t update here regularly doesn’t mean i haven’t been doing stuff. let’s see… since the “educate agitate organize” shirt design, i made a “dyke witches don’t play” button on a whim, and then i made a more generic “witches don’t play” sticker with the best hashtag ever – #youVEXweHEX. and then i even cut a stencil so i could print off a few tshirts of the “dyke witches” design so my friends could have them to wear at voodoo festival.

yeah, they are kinda silly but in these past few months, what with the protest and outcry about the kavanaugh hearings and every crazy thing 45 does and the midterm elections, i’ve just really been feeling the power and fierceness of the witches in my life and wanted to make a little something for them/us. i mostly have given the buttons and stickers away and sent them out to my patreon supporters, but maybe at some point i’ll sell a few. i do have a few tshirts on hand of the “dyke witches” design and both designs are up on my teespring store for sale.

the other big development is that in a completely surprising turn of events, i’ve been experimenting with abstract expressionist painting in my living room. small canvases for now, cuz my living room is really small (!), but i put a dropcloth down and work on several canvases at once… and it’s been really fun! and i did post a few pics on social media and folks seem to like them! i haven’t gotten to the point of feeling comfortable enough with this style to want to sell anything yet, but well, the holidays ARE coming up so maybe that’s the perfect time to try to get rid of everything that’s piling up in my living room studio! stay tuned for announcements about that.

i’m trying to get myself together for the holidays, but it’s so hard when my day job gets so much busier at this time of year too. at this point, i only have one holiday market scheduled and it’s not even in new orleans – it’s in chico, california on december 1st! i’m traveling out there to visit my best pal and her partner, and they signed me up for this bazaar at an artist’s studio. so i’m trying to figure out what to bring out there, what i can fit into one suitcase. more on that when i have more of the details.

i guess that’s it for now. but if you want to follow my art adventures in a more timely fashion, please follow me on: facebook, instagram, and/or patreon. oh, and etsy.