Deep in the Steep

This week will be short and sweet….because I’m deep in the steep. Like a fine cup of tea.art workshop steep

Nine art-infused days with over 60 other artists, four magnificent teachers, exploring direction, artistic voice and refining our processes. And it’s…

In magical Taos, New Mexico!

Intensive Studies Seminar, also known as ISS is an art intensive that is highly personal, yet social and very supportive. No one can give a critique like the very accomplished, very sensitive ISS instructors. It’s a one-of-a-kind safe environment for artists to find their unique and authentic artistic voices. AND I am blessed, because after 20 years of offering their gifts so artists may find their own, the instructors informed us this year the tradition is coming to a close.

ISS 2015So, I guess you can tell, my dance card is full. I’m learning more about art, exploring the direction of my own artful practice and making some wonderful friends. It’s pretty much the stuff that happens when you take a great art workshop.

If you are looking for information about the business of art you can find useful posts by clicking here. If you’d like to maximize your time management skills, leverage your efforts or just plain give yourself a break, you can find help here Should you want to share, the buttons at the end of the post remove all the guesswork.  If you’d like to leave a comment….just post below, like always, I love to hear what you’re doing.

I’m sure I’ll have more to share when I come up for air.

Finding myself (again),

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Michelle Andres is a writer and artist. She writes this blog to share tips for a well-lived life and a finely run art business…just for you!Writer, Artist, Coach

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Chills and Thrills – Why You Should Do What Scares You Most

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 7.00.23 PM
The Scream by Edward Munch

Cheap thrills, chilling thrills, new thrills, known thrills…I’ll take ‘em all.

Sometimes you have dreams of thrills, sometimes thrilling dreams – but stepping off the edge from time to time makes us feel ALIVE.

It’s fun to push your boundaries. If you’re not a risk-taker, you still might stretch just a little – in a “mostly safe,” but somewhat thrilling way. Safety is a drug that stifles fear AND creativity. It feels cozy and comfy and s-t-u-c-k. Neale Donald Walsch said, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

We rest quietly in the clutches of comfort…letting it seduce us into its predictability, and as we marinate there, we find it ever so more difficult to venture out. We get stuck in a rut, become depressed, agoraphobic, stagnant. We know it isn’t right, we can feel the rub. Still, that fear will stop us in our tracks and we don’t forge new territory – at. all. Do you have a safety habit? Need a 12-step program?  Continue reading “Chills and Thrills – Why You Should Do What Scares You Most”

You’re Cracked – The Kintsugi of You

"Kintsugi bowl made by Morty Bachar, Lakeside Pottery  www.lakesidepottery.com
Kintsugi bowl made by Morty Bachar, Lakeside Pottery www.lakesidepottery.com

I love the look of Kintsugi. You know, the Japanese pottery with the intentionally decorated crack in it? The ceramic vessels have an incredible, gold streak adorning them, boasting their history and celebrating their imperfections.

People should be more like that.

There’s a theme that keeps popping up this week – the quest for perfection and the almost impossibility of attaining it. Some people believe it’s a “go-nogo gauge.” Whatever it is –their life, their work, their children, their relationships – it’s either perfect or a fail. That may be true if you’re talking manufacturing tolerances for pacemakers, but in most things…no.

An artist friend is preparing for a solo show and can’t seem to get his work “perfect.” I wonder why he tries so very hard. What I like best about his work is the interesting, varying, marks that make it unique. Some would call them imperfections – I just call them interesting. It’s what makes the work breathtaking.

I’ve yet to trust anything that I perceive as perfect. (click to Tweet). For me, that sort of glossed over, mass-production, lipstick, superficial crap is just not worth a second look. It’s esthetically unsettling. Show me some drips and bubbles and blemishes…there we go! And, if we’re talking about someone’s character or past, I have to wonder if those people who can do no wrong have plans to run for public office. I prefer people with a history…a couple unique cracks. But, maybe that’s just me. Continue reading “You’re Cracked – The Kintsugi of You”

One in the Can

Film in canI’m writing this on a Wednesday. It’s the day I usually write the post for this blog. If you’re a regular reader, you know I’ve “Gone Fishin.’” In other words, I felt the need for a little break and took a two-week “Blogcation.” Still, here I am, writing on Wednesday.

Is it simply a matter of habit? Have I been so steeped in ritual I can’t take a vacation, enjoy a break? Nope. I just looked at the April calendar and realized it’s very busy and, well….

I need a couple in the can.

I’m not talking about delicate toilet habits, here, and certainly not the garbage. The saying comes from the film industry. Having wrapped filming and editing, they‘d put the product in a metal tin. For me, “in the can” is like building upon previous efforts, stockpiling, even. Hey, just look at all the links in this article that’ll take you to related topics. It’s smart to recycle…or up-cycle. Easy. Efficient. Here are a few examples:

  • Recently I taught a “Pain-free Business for Artists” workshop at Blue Line Arts in Roseville, California. (Psssst….there will be another in May and you can register here!). This full-day workshop was a compilation of smaller, 90-minute workshops I’ve taught over the years. I had to do a little editing and massaging to make it happen…but not much. Most of it was “in the can.”
  • A couple weeks ago, I got a call from a curator asking me if I’d do an art show in May. Well, I was quite happy for the offer and even happier I could say “YES!” because I have inventory in my studio. Since I paintIn the Can on a regular basis, I have a body of work to show on demand….in the can!
  • A friend was thrilled to reached an agreement with a prestigious gallery in a fantastic art market. She found herself up against a deadline trying to meet their demands and was frazzled because they wanted more pieces. Everything she painted was a disappointment to her, because she was forcing it (sound familiar?). It was very, very stressful for her to get the work together to deliver. I found her bedraggled and tense in the grocery store where she looked me straight in the eye and said, “This is NEVER happening again! I’m going to keep working even if there isn’t a deadline or a project.” Yes – she realized the value of….you got it! The can.

So here I am.

On my “Fishin’ break.”

Writing,

because I think you might find life a little easier if you have some of your work “in the can,” too. Do you make a practice of staying one step ahead? How do you do it? Feel free to share it with us, by leaving a comment below.

You CAN!

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Michelle Andres is a writer and artist. Michelle in Studio Chair CroppedShe writes this blog to share tips for a Well-Lived Life and a finely run art business…just for you!

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