Lessons from a One-Year Old

GratitudeToday is the First Birthday of “The Art of a Well Lived Life.” Time for a party! Bring in the clowns, the ponies and let us consume copious amounts of CAKE (preferably chocolate)!

Setting out to simply share some thoughts and be a solid resource for creatives by using my corporate chops, a year ago I committed to writing a weekly blog and publishing it – every Friday – for at least 12 months. Family and friends supported me. They safeguarded my already ruddy reputation by making sure I didn’t breach the line…much. I only want to sprinkle mischief dust; I don’t intend be hurtful (click to Tweet). As I said in the beginning, one of the things I love most about people is, when we are being genuine, we have interesting wrinkles and shortcomings…it makes us human and I am thankful, because those imperfections add perfect colour to our world.

My readers have responded to the shares. I’ve discovered an enormous sense of community through “The Art of the Well Lived Life.” I’ve had an opportunity to share my knowledge, and in turn, you all shared your wisdom. I’m grateful for your shares, your feedback, your words.  People have gotten naked with me in conversations – bared their souls, their pain, their hopes…I am humbled. 

I work for free, but should really be paying you, dear readers. Here are a few of the priceless lessons I’ve learned while penning “The Art of The Well Lived Life” –

    • People are kind
    • After over a decade of business writing, the writer I was born as has rediscovered her voice
    • I’ve written over 52 stand alone posts – a cohesive, though short, body of work
    • I possess self-discipline – I don’t need a boss – I’m the boss of my own, bad self
    • Older people have incredible stories, philosophies and wisdom to share – they are reluctant to share them on a blog , but they rock it in private groups
    • Creatives need a community – while we may work alone well by nature, we get lonely from time to time
    • Showing my own scars and faults has hopefully given us all “permission”
    • Everyone is insecure from time to time and in their own way – if they aren’t they’re probably a psychopath
    • Even people who rail against structure want structure – let’s just dress it up in lace and call it something else
    • Spellcheck cannot be overrated – evher
    • People love to have fun. They like to laugh and poke, but they want respect and reassurance – so I give them permission to laugh at me
    • WordPress is relatively user friendly
    • Our souls were designed to express our essential selves. When the outlet is blocked we react with negative behaviours and behave poorly (click to Tweet this one)

This is a deeply emotional birthday for me, like the ones that end in a 0 or 5. I’m actually crying as I write this, it must be hormones or a lack of chocolate. It also may harken back to  this first post.  Above all, I am awash with gratitude that you keep reading, keep commenting, keep laughing and sharing your wisdom and questions.  Thank you, thank you, thank you….

Make a wish…

Coaching

 

 

Michelle Andres is a writer, artist and coach who nudges, nay, shoves, her clients in the direction of their dreams, 
Writer, Artist, Coachhelping them to overcome non-productive behaviours and enjoy more success in their lives. 
 
                                    Follow her on  Facebook and on Twitter

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Hold On To Your Hat

Wearing too many hats Sometimes, life gets crazy. You know what I mean. We artists have to wear many hats. Of course, we want to stop the “Glorification of busy.” It seems to have become either a disease or a badge of honor in our society to be “too busy.” Well, I say, “Poop on you people.” Are you the same grouchy, inflated, overworked egos that don’t have time to enjoy these beautiful spring blossoms or take a moment to swing at the park? Please, please, don’t get so busy you forget how to be civil or have a run of fun now and then.

Seriously, this week I’m busy…mad as a hatter. I’m in the middle of moving a studio, preparing for a couple art shows, an open studio event, and I have an April vacation scheduled, so I can’t drag my feet. But, 

Today I picked up the keys to my new studio space. The professionally crafted sign was picked up. I scored a cool wall decal, compliments of my friend, Tony. Everything is going to be very nice…then…I noticed the walls. Being an “art studio” the walls were full of holes, and scabs where they had been repeatedly patched. They were dirty. I’m preparing for a studio warming in this space. What’s a girl to do?

After much, well, some, no, a little thought, this girl added ONE MORE THING TO THE “TO DO” LIST. (click to Tweet)

That’s right. Tomorrow morning, I’m painting; because presentation is everything. Remember – quality of work should not suffer for an overcommitted schedule?

What is your work as an artist?

Wearing many hatsCertainly the medium of your choice is your work. You wouldn’t produce shoddy artwork and expect people to respect you. But, your work involves so many aspects beyond your art. As I said, we wear many hats. Your work includes the presentation of your art, how you manage your “Gallery” in your studio and online, how you handle monetary transactions, how you follow up purchases and handle commissions. Your work includes marketing, research and getting your tax receipts together…yes, it’s March 21st and yes, I did say that. (If you’ve already file – hats off to you!) Your work involves photographing your treasures, cataloguing them, managing your inventory and keeping an eye on the calendar for upcoming events and submissions. You are a project manager, a program analyst, a public relations expert and an accountant. Your work includes the environment you provide for people in your space (event planner) – while you may or may not agree, it does. Your work includes the quality of interactions you have with potential collectors and gallery owners (sales guy/therapist).

If you cannot afford to hire someone to do the tasks above for you…responsibility for that work falls squarely on your Studio beforeshoulders. Are YOU busy yet? By the way, if you’re having an open studio see my tips and make it an “event.” If it’s old hat to you, don’t bother to read it.

Sure, spring fever has me tightly in its grasp and I’m dying to don my sun bonnet, but because I produce my best art, I must show it in the best way possible. I must practice the same diligent eye for detail I have in my artwork with the rest of my business. It doesn’t take a lot of money, just some attention and <sigh> time.

Sometimes you just have to suck it up and go the extra mile…because it’s the right thing to do. In the meantime, the swings will have to wait and I’ll sniff a bloom or two on my way to grab the paint can and roller.

It’s beginning to feel like old hat now, 

Coaching

 

 

Michelle Andres is a writer, artist and coach who nudges, nay, shoves, her clients in the direction of their dreams, Writer, Artist, Coachhelping them to overcome non-productive behaviours and enjoy more success in their lives. 

Follow her on  Facebook and on Twitter

For a free gift that will help you boost personal productivity “Join the Tribe” and subscribe to this blog!

 

 

20/20 is Hindsight

I remember, years ago, asking my mother the benefit of getting older. I was sure there must be a big payoff for Guide dog puprelinquishing one’s dewy youthfulness, a prize like a parade or Clearing House Sweepstakes. After all, the exchange for creaky knees and wrinkles does seem somewhat inequitable.

Nada.

That’s what she told me. I remember asking, “Isn’t there something? A richness that comes with aging?”  Her reply was a flat, brutal. “You just get older.”

I’ve thought about that conversation many, many times. I’ve also promised myself it wouldn’t be like that for me. Now, in Mom’s defense, perhaps she didn’t know what I was looking for, or maybe I caught her on a bad day. But, the fateful conversation stuck with me and I’ve spent my years determined to take the deep dive into any small grain of gain, any wisdom, any understanding, any peaceful, embryonic, Jacuzzi bath of reparation that might exist…ready to snatch it up in a second.

What you look for you usually find. Wouldn’t you agree? If you look for the bad in someone…you’ll see it. If you look for possibilities, they emerge. If you look for the happy, rewarding moments in life, they magically appear. I like to say,

“Stuff grows where intention flows.”  (click to Tweet)  I do believe it’s true.

So, as I careen into the “deep” years of my life, I do so with eyes wide open, darting, searching for the golden ring. I’m not all that creaky yet, but when the creaking comes,  I want to know what I traded up to.  So far, here’s what I’ve discovered:

That’s right. I can no longer read the print on the bottom of the lipstick tubes and shampoo bottles. Why do they even bother?  It’s my understanding that eventually lips and hair disappear anyway. Why do I have to wear magnifying glasses when I paint? I’ve been assured my eyes are fine…I’ve been adjusted to 20/20.

Yes, I’ve noticed lines forming on my skin. Things that hurt take longer to heal. I’ve noticed some changes “inside,” too.

For my age:

  • My heart is more steady.
  • My soul has learned to listen.
  • I am selectively inspired by those who have gone before me.
  • I don’t jump to conclusions, but have ratcheted it back to a modified “hop.”
  • I look for the “why” with people’s behaviour.
  • I am slower to condemn.
  • I mind my own business more.
  • I am more inclined to enjoy my own company.
  • I look deeper for the possibilities.
  • I enjoy “watching.”
  • I am more immersed in the practice of gratitude
  • My creativity has blossomed.
  • I seek to be of service.
  • I want to leave something behind rather than take more than I need.
  • I work to keep my soul “right.”

Like I said, as we age our eyesight fails, but our vision becomes more acute. That certainly is something to lean in to, something to, pardon the pun, look forward to. There is much terrain to be explored, through another set of eyes, through a more open heart, through a gentler character.

To be fully disclosing, and you know I am, I must set the record straight…I’m not all the way “there.” I still get irritated by some of the “going ons” in day to day living. I still find it easier to forgive character flaws than stupidity. Stupid should hurt. But, I am on the rails of my chosen track  and looking forward to the trip. I’m grateful for it. I’m learning to see differently. (click to Tweet).

What has time given to you? What have you gained as life moves along? Feel free to share here…we’re all friends.

 Choose to be farsighted,

Coaching

 

 

Michelle Andres is a writer, artist and coach who nudges, nay, shoves, her clients in the direction of their dreams, Writer, Artist, Coachhelping them to overcome non-productive behaviours and enjoy more success in their lives. 

Follow her on  Facebook and on Twitter

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Series-ous Directions

Having the vehicle and directions to get where you want to go is priceless.The Weaver's House

But, what happens when we’re in unfamiliar territory?

Recently, I came to a crossroad and didn’t have a map. No stinkin’ Garmin…no road signs. Nada. Sometimes, as we’re traveling the path of our natural, creative evolution, we get lost. It may be we follow our curiosity deep into the woods and can’t find the way out.  Perhaps the shiny eyes and voices in the night murmur, ”Come this way.” “Not that, this is better.” “Since you asked my opinion…” and we actually listen to them! It’s the way with the world today.

If we tried to pay strict attention to all the information that claims to be “useful” to us, we’d  be in an over-loaded, slack–jawed, dead–fish eyed, stupor.(Try Tweetin’ that!)

Enormous loads of information bombard our consciousness daily. In the confusion of looking for a map, we’re accosted at every proverbial street corner.  I don’t know about you, but I’m unwilling to have my art career carjacked by any ol’ yahoo waving an “Pistol Of Perspective” (click to Tweet).   Lots of people claim they can provide directions…but sometimes they send you down a treacherous alley, or a dead end street.

I was stopping to ask directions when I bumped into San Francisco Artist and Acrylic Diva, Tesia Blackburn. To my delight, not only was she familiar the terrain, she honored my free will to choose my own mode of transportation.

Her advice to me – choose one design element you’d like to study. Create 50 paintings. Do nothing else. Nothing else. Explore that element, get intimate with your subject. You’ll free your mind from other bothers and you’re bound to produce some very good paintings.

Huh?

It sounded so simple…yet time consuming. It smacked of….ahem….self-discipline. What’s a lost girl to do?  Rather than straying deeper into the woods, I sought civilization. I set out to explore my element in my new series titled “Villages.”

Promo for FB Villages WMWhy “Villages?” Because my abstract landscapes held my interested, but I needed a little bit more. I want to ensure I’d stay engaged during the learning process. I wanted to tell stories. Villages…small communities where people live their lives. Families. Characters. History. Epic tales. If you’re looking for direction, start a series, as Tesia Blackburn suggests. Here it is, from the horse’s mouth (sorry, Tesia).

Artist, Kesha Bruce has her own flavor of advice to begin a series. Kesha draws quickly and with abandon – in one sitting, 100 drawings, 3 minutes each. She swears it will take you out of your mind. Something original, fresh and exciting will evolve.

Kesha Bruce uses this technique to begin all her series. It’s a potent prescription to find direction or even discover new lands. Learn more here.

Not all who wander are lost, but if you are, or if you’re seeking new direction, try a series of paintings or drawings. You might discover new lands! I’ve found success. The journey has deepened my understanding, experience, confidence and my work is improving.

So trust yourself. Let your muse be your guide.

Take your art series-ously,

Coaching

 

Michelle Andres is a writer, artist and coach who nudges, nay, shoves, her clients in the direction of their dreams, Writer, Artist, Coachhelping them to overcome non-productive behaviours and enjoy more success in their lives. 

Follow her on  Facebook and on Twitter

For a free gift that will help you boost personal productivity “Join the Tribe” and subscribe to this blog!