Moving Forward

I read this article today, and it is exactly what I needed to hear. This is something I have always struggled with. I often wonder if I am giving something up because its the right choice, or its just pesky resistance rearing its ugly head. It has taken me over a month to wrap my head around all that's been on my mind, but some things are clearer now. First, I have to be honest, the art fair last month was a huge disappointment. I felt like a failure and for weeks I crawled back into my shell of "not good enough". In the midst of planning a wedding and buying a house the realization that I have to get another full-time job hit hard. I blamed myself for not doing well enough in my art career to do it full-time. I dreaded thinking about working yet another job for 40 hours a week that I hated and that took time away from my dreams. I struggled. I avoided my art desk and made only one small painting.

What it's taken me the past month to realize is that no matter what is going on in the outside world, I have to be committed to my goals. Resistance always has an excuse as to why not. I knew (although secretly hoped it wouldn't be true) that my time of painting all day and starting my business wouldn't last forever right away. Most people who have a similar career to the one I dream of worked full-time for a year or two while they ran their business part time. I knew that when I quit my job. I didn't think (okay, maybe hoped) that I would have a successful business that payed all the bills overnight. I don't regret quitting my job, because it truly drained me and was not a good fit. I am so thankful for the time off I've had. It was truly a luxury and I made a lot of progress. It is still my dream to be a full-time artist, and its something I intended to keep working towards. These past couple weeks have made me realize the practical and realistic side of things, and I know now that finding a full-time job in a good environment (for me that is working days and where it is bright and quiet) will free up a lot of worry and anxiety I've been feeling. I can use that energy towards my dream career.

Letting go feels like moving forward. I feel like this weight has been lifted and I can truly keep moving forward with life and my dreams.

<3 Hilary

Now

Right now it feels like fall outside and that makes me so, so happy. I don't want to wish summer away, but fall is just my favorite. The candles, the fall drinks, the colors, the weather, and of course the wedding:).

Last week after the art fair I had to do some soul searching. Up until the engagement, wedding planning, house buying began, I was able to give myself 100% to my art and business. In those early months I would spend 12 hours at my studio table a day sometimes. It felt like what I needed to be doing at the time. Since July 4th I have been trying to go at that same pace, and last week I just flat out crashed and burned. After a day or two of recuperating by watching Netflix and painting just for fun, I realized that my priorities for the moment are shifting. I realized that this is one small, short season in life that needs my attention. Not only do I need to be present to get things accomplished, but I really want to fully appreciate the now. I will never have another season of engagement, first house buying, wedding planning, and wedding. My art and business are always there. Of course, my business isn't going anywhere. I am still running my Etsy shop and adding new prints from time to time. I plan on posting here at least once a week too.

I guess it is all a lesson in trust. I trust that I am right where I need to be. That the hard work I've done up until now won't disappear just because I am doing other things. It means taking on some part time work and relieving some of the pressure I am putting on myself to make money from my art. Yes, that is my goal and I am getting there, but I can only do so much and have patience with the rest.

Overall I just have the feeling that all is well. That life is good, and that it's all okay.

P.S.

John's dad took our engagement photos over the weekend and here is a sneak peak.

 

 

My First Art Show- Festival of the Arts

This past Saturday I participated in my first Art Festival. It was tiring and a lot of work but a great experience.

My sweet fiance is my biggest helper and supporter.

My sweet fiance is my biggest helper and supporter.

It meant so much to me that our friends were there to support us.

It meant so much to me that our friends were there to support us.

John and I set almost everything up on Friday and finished the set up early Saturday morning before the show. We had a lot of help and support from our  family and friends too. It was kind of surreal to be standing inside my own booth. I would go to craft shows and think, "I could do that", so to actually be doing it was really neat. It is one thing to present my work online, but I felt really vulnerable having my art (my heart and hard work) hanging for everyone to see. I met some nice people and many people had some really nice, encouraging things to say. We learned that the craft shows are probably not the best fit for my work and shows focused solely on art will probably be a better fit. It was all a learning experience. Although we about broke even with the entry fees and supplies, it was still worth it. It made me excited thinking about doing more shows next year. I have to say that I felt really proud of myself of doing it. Like everything I've been doing since opening my business in April, I usually have no clue what I am doing, but I just keep moving forward and figuring it out.

I think I also realized this past week how I need to be 100% committed to my dreams and not get sidetracked. I sometimes fall into the trap of doubting myself so I say yes to things that are not in line with my goals and then end up sidetracked and frustrated. I am thankful for all the lessons I learned from this and I am excited to keep moving forward and taking new leaps with my dreams.


Whirlwind

These past few days have been quite a whirlwind! John and I got engaged on July 4th!! It was one of the best moments and I am so happy and excited to get to marry my best friend.

Teary eyed happiness.

Teary eyed happiness.

I looove my ring:)

I looove my ring:)

We decided we want a short engagement. We dated for 6 years so now that we are ready we just don't want to wait longer. In the past few days we've (my mom and I) managed to get all the vendors booked. The date is October 25, 2014! Everything is working out, and I am thankful. With that said, in all the excitement and planning, I haven't touched a paintbrush. The art show is only 10 days away so now that the major wedding stuff is planned, I can get back to work.

I have three paintings that need a few final details before I scan them and make them into prints. My goal is to get them in the shop tonight.

I am thinking about doing a weekly wedding post. Mostly because I love reading other peoples wedding posts and I think it would be fun to look back on. Maybe wedding Wednesday?

My mom and I are off to meet the florist and then I am spending the afternoon working. Life is good:)

Lately

Lately I've been trying to find some balance. Balancing working on my goals with giving myself free time, balancing taking care of a new kitty while making sure the other cat feels loved, balancing creating from my heart with thinking about the business side of things. Lots of juggling and overwhelm these past couple days.


I'm not sure there is a secret to balancing everything that happens in life. Some days are quiet, some happy, some sad, some busy. Life ebbs and flows and I am doing my best to learn to flow with it, instead of fighting it. Right now that means giving myself an hour to sketch and paint with watercolors for fun.  It means turning on Netflix and drinking coffee in bed. It means accepting all my feelings. It means allowing myself a break- a day to feel it all instead of charging ahead. 


Life is good that way. As my favorite Beatle said, "All Things Must Pass". The bad, the hard, the challenging, but also the  happy. It comes and it goes, and it is all well.


Balance

I've been feeling pretty quiet this week. With only three weeks until the art fair, I am working away on a couple different paintings. My motto this month has been "Dreams don't work unless you do." I've been working hard to meet all my goals.  I have been staying up too late and not going on walks enough, but it is worth it. Maybe that is what balance is all about. Sometimes things have to be sacrificed in order accomplish other things. I am learning that its okay. I can only focus on what is most important right now, and leave the rest.

 

Here are two of the pieces that I finished this week and added to the shop.


Begin Again

 

A New Day.

A New Sunrise.

A Fresh Canvas.

I am thankful that each day gives us the chance to begin again. Today started with a strong cup of coffee and making a mess on canvas.

I am reminded again, as I sit down in front of my easel, to keep moving forward. To begin again in each moment. To keep creating and growing. I want to create without worrying about the end result; to just show up and let my heart be seen.

I am thankful that at this time in my life I am able to have the time and space to create so freely and often. I know that life is always changing and it won't always be like this. I want to soak it up and bask in this season of life.

 

The Truth

There are days when I wonder what I've got myself into. I miss that nice paycheck that came every two weeks. I miss working with John. I miss the the "sureness" of everything I gave up. On days when I feel defeated or  worried about the future, those thoughts take over. Eventually I am able to get past my fears and remember why I did what I did. Why I chose to take a risk instead of staying in a life that didn't feel like my own. I could pretend that everyday is amazing and that I have it all figured out, but I don't. I'm human, I have fears, and some days they roar load and clear.

And then I sit down at my art table, and my mind quiets a bit. I take a breath and remember the truth.





Progress

I am finally beginning to feel more settled into this new life as an artist. Its been three months since I left my job, and over two months since I opened my shop. I can feel the momentum building and the doors opening. It is more work than I imagined, but I am happier than I imagined too. I love getting out of bed in the morning. I can't wait to sit down and get to work. And this is huge, because three months ago, I used to drag myself out of bed and count the days until the weekend. I am just so grateful for these past couple of months. The more progress I make, the more I learn. I spent some time this weekend re-organizing supplies and the shop. Here's what I've been up to:

I created this painting a few weeks ago, but wasn't happy with the lettering so I re-did it the other day. I think it looks more pulled together now. I also created a new watermark. I hand-lettered it and then finished it in Photoshop.

I rearranged the website a bit, and decided to make this my new logo. I also ordered a banner for an upcoming art fair using this image. I might make it the image for my next round of business cards too, because I love it.:)

I bought some $4 milk crates from Target to organize all my shipping supplies. I love how everything is organized and easy to grab, as opposed the big pile it sat in for three months, oops.

Today I stepped way out of my comfort zone and created a girl painting. I've never painted a face before, but I just felt called to. I had this background sitting around for months, but was always too intimidated to try. I still have some details to add, and words, but I love how she is coming together.

And with that, its 8:00 on a Monday which means Bachelorette time! Is any one else watching this season?

See you Wednesday:)

 

My day in screenshots

I woke up to find I had another Etsy order. It's always exciting to see that little notification.

Registering my business for sales tax.

Submitting a short essay and my artwork to an online magazine. I'm not sure if anything will come of it, but this month my motto is to keep saying "yes" and embracing opportunities, even if I have no clue what I am doing.

 

And with that it's Friday. I am so looking forward to going out with John tonight. Craft beer, food, and a cute boy. A pretty good night if I say so myself.;) Have a good weekend!

Monday

I spent last week in Tennessee and Myrtle Beach with John and his family. The weather was great this year, and it was so nice to spend a week of quality time with John.

As much as I love vacations, I am always ready to come home to my bed, my routine, and just normal life. This year I was excited to get back to painting. When I got home on Saturday I browsed the aisles of Michaels and found a cute little set of drawers that I am using as a jewelry box. I made a jewelry box a few years ago, but wanted something different. I had fun collaging and painting it. Now all I have to do is get felt to line the drawers.


June is a month I am looking forward to. I have so much on my to-do list for my shop and the art fair in July. I am not a type A person by any means, so making a very detailed list is a bit hard for me. Even though I don't like too much structure, I am realizing the importance of it when trying to create a successful business. Today I planned an entire month of goals. First I made a list of everything that needs to get done in June and July, and then broke it down into small daily and weekly steps.

My new motto (via John C. Maxwell) is "Dreams don't work unless you do." So, so true.

One of my monthly goals is to blog every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I have some ideas for blog series and posts that I am going to implement this month. On that note, see you Wednesday. :)

Dreaming

The day I opened my shop I taped this quote to the wall in front of my art desk. It serves as a reminder to believe in my dreams.

These days I feel like I am making progress. I am finding my style the more I listen to what really calls to me. These days it's bright colors, detail, Micron pen, and imagery like birds, dreamcatchers, and flowers. This is my favorite painting as of late.

 

Prints available here

Prints available here

I just love dreamcatchers.

Prints available here

Prints available here

I've been busy working on new things for the shop and an upcoming art fair. My back might be permanently hunched over from sitting at my desk, but its worth it.:) I'm excited to see what unfolds this week. The more time I spend creating, the easier it gets. I'll be back on Friday with a new post. Have a great week.:)

Celebrating the Now

Often times I keep moving forward without giving myself credit for how far I've come. I realized this last night as I was looking at my calendar. Sure, I completed one new painting and listed it on Etsy, but was that enough? Did I take enough action towards my dreams today?

As I got in bed  I flipped through my journal. I opened to a page I wrote a couple of days ago. I don't remember where I got the idea, but I wrote a letter dated 12-31-14. A thank you note of sorts. Imagining myself where I want to be by the end of the year. Imagining it as if it already happened. Imagining my how grateful I felt. It may sound a little crazy, and I felt a little silly doing it, but it was really powerful. I know where I want to be by the end of the year, so why not write it down and give those dreams somewhere to land?

Last year at this time I had a lot of dreams. Mostly daydreams of everything I'd rather be doing that what I was doing. I remember how I felt last May; overworked, bored, tired, frustrated, and antsy. I had dreams, but they seemed so far away. It all seemed too overwhelming, so I stayed where I was.

A turning point came last June. I just got back from a great vacation at the beach. I had 7 days off in a row, was well rested, and felt like myself again. I still remember the first night back at work. I cried before going in. I felt in my heart that I could not do this anymore. That something had to change. I finally realized how unhappy I was in that situation. Not just my job, but in not living  the life I knew was possible for me. From that point on I was never more committed to my dreams. I made a plan. I had no time frame or exact details, but I just took one baby step at a time. I was motivated by my misery. I realize how melodramatic that sounds, but the pain of living a life that didn't match up with my heart's deepest desires was miserable. I knew if I wanted more for myself, that no one was going to change it but me.

I sometimes feel like I haven't yet earned the right to talk about dreams coming true. I keep thinking that unless I am earning a living from my art (which is  my goal/dream) than who am I to have any authority on the subject? But I know that I am a girl with lots of dreams. I may not have it all figured out, but I have come a long way. I have taken risks and worked hard, leaped, and spread my wings. I am living my dream. Waking up and getting to rise with the sun, drink coffee in bed, spend my days creating, and writing from my heart- that is my dream. Never could I have imagined one year ago that I would be here. And so instead of being hard on myself for not being where I want to be, I am celebrating the now. Celebrating how far I've come in the past year, month, and day.

Prints available here :)

Prints available here :)

I would love to know, what is something you are celebrating now? Where do you dream of being at this time next year?

 

 

Seasons

I've always had a love for trees. I don't think there is another part of nature that so beautifully represents the seasons. Trees are a symbol of change, transformation, and stillness for me. There is something so magical about watching a tree go from fully bloomed in the summer, to watching the leaves change in the fall, to observing its stillness in winter, to finally budding again in the spring. I believe trees also mirror the seasons in our lives.

Last fall I created my first mixed media tree. I spent hours cutting out tiny leaves, painting layers of the background, and gluing everything together. I fell in love with mixed media and started to find my voice again. At the time I knew the tree represented surrender for me, but I was just creating without really knowing it would turn into an autumn tree.


A couple months passed and I struggled. I was creating and dreaming of opening my Etsy shop. As much as I wanted to quit my job and pursue art, I knew it wasn't time. I found myself creating another tree, no end goal, just trusting my heart. I ended up calling it Winter.


I kept trusting the process and taking action when I could. A few more months passed and I knew it was time to take the leap. I felt full of possibility and hope. I painted a canvas, created buds and leaves, and before I knew it, Spring was born.

 

 

Last week my sister and I were taking a walk and she suggested that I sell my tree prints as a set. At first I didn't know what she was talking about. She said, "You have one for each season". I honestly didn't even realize it until that moment. I told her that was a good idea, but I didn't have a summer tree yet.

As I was journaling  yesterday I realized that I've turned a corner. The past two months were such the beginning of something. So much hope and possibility, but also so much unknown. Each day I moved from feeling excited and hopeful, to completely consumed by fear. Everyday I just kept moving forward, no matter how wobbly I felt. Something changed this week. I feel less wobbly, more confident, more at peace. Maybe the initial uncomfortableness of change has wore off, or perhaps I am slowly trusting my wings.

So, yesterday I pulled out a painting that I began last month. I happily glued leaves, painted layers, and breathed a sigh of relief.


Time changes so much. When I see how far I've traveled in the past 8 months, I feel so grateful. I am thankful to be in the season I am in, and for the seasons that come before this one.

I decided to sell my trees in a set. Thanks for the idea Emily:)


Prints available in the shop:)

Prints available in the shop:)

Inspiration

There are days, and sometimes seasons, when I feel like inspiration comes easily. When the weather is changing or I am going through a big change, for example, I find myself jotting down ideas in my sketchbook or pulling out my paints. Maybe it's different for you, but I always seem to be motivated and inspired by change. Other times though, I get stuck. When I was busy working full-time and trying to start my shop on the side, I often felt uninspired. It was really hard for me to go from working 40+ hours a week in an uninspiring job, to feeling creative on my days off. I am an introvert, and being around people constantly was really jarring for me. By the end of the week I felt totally zapped of energy, with no room for inspiration. It was honestly a struggle until I quit, but I did find ways to help get me unstuck. I've learned (am still learning) that sitting down and having the intention to create is the first step, even if I don't know where it's headed. Since beginning my art journey I've gathered some tricks and tips that help me find inspiration when I am feeling stuck. 

1. Look around your house. In my case (my bedroom/studio) is a source of inspiration. I can see what I am naturally drawn to when I look around; bright colors (yellow walls), floral (lamp, painting, and bedspread), intricate details (I love picture frames with intricate details), and quotes painted on my walls. These details in my personal space show up in nearly all my paintings; not by plan or design, but because that is what I am naturally drawn to.

 

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2. Peak inside your closet. I got this tip from Kelly Rae Robert's E-course. She suggested seeing what you are naturally drawn to; looking at colors and patterns as inspiration for paintings. When I look in my closet I see simple things like jeans and t-shirts in blue, turquoise, purple, pink, green (some of my favorite colors to paint with) but also things with small, pretty details like lace, pattern and ruffles. I love earrings and necklaces with feathers, leaves, butterflies, and intricate details. I actually hung one of my favorite necklaces by my art table. I love the color and detail, and have infused that in more than one painting.

3. Pinterest! When I am feeling stuck, I go to there and usually am inspired by a quote, color, or another artist's work. I have a board to keep inspiring quotes that often end up on a painting. I also have a board specifically dedicated to color, and another board where I keep work from other artists.

4. Music. I love music and it is one of my favorite ways to get unstuck. My favorite way is creating playlists on Spotify. It is free and has almost every artist you could think of.

5. Get outside. One of the (many) things I love about John is his love for the outdoors. I didn't grow up as an outdoor girl, but have come to love walking through the woods and dipping my feet in a creek. Almost nothing inspires me more than nature. There is something so calm and quiet about being outside that allows me to quiet my mind. Some of my favorite paintings were inspired by my time spent in nature.

 

I think the most important thing to remember when searching for inspiration is to honor what speaks to you. I am still learning this. For a while, all I wanted to do was paint trees. I have always loved trees and have been painting them for years. Somewhere along the line though, I began to talk myself out of it, thinking that I had to force myself to make other things. What I am learning though, is to trust what you love. There is a reason you are drawn to what you are and people will see that reflected in your work. Learning new things and expanding your work is important, but being true to yourself is key.

What inspires you and how do you get unstuck?

 

 

Loving Now and Looking Forward

Hi Friends! Are you ready for a new week? I am especially looking forward to this week. There is nothing big going on, but sometimes those are the best. I am working on creating some new things for the shop, working on marketing, and have a weekend date night with my lovey and our best brew friends.

I thought it would be fun to share some things I am loving now and looking forward to.

 

Loving now:

 

The weather has been so nice here. Finally shorts weather! I love sitting outside during the day, and I justify it by reading a marketing book. Marketing does not come naturally to me, but this book has been really helpful so far.

The weather has been so nice here. Finally shorts weather! I love sitting outside during the day, and I justify it by reading a marketing book. Marketing does not come naturally to me, but this book has been really helpful so far.

When I  was 15 I got my first job at Ritter's (I can't believe that was 9 years ago!). My sisters and brother in law went over the weekend. I always get a little sentimental because that is where I met my boyfriend John. I have good memories of coming home smelling like waffle cones and thinking about that cute blue eyed boy.

When I  was 15 I got my first job at Ritter's (I can't believe that was 9 years ago!). My sisters and brother in law went over the weekend. I always get a little sentimental because that is where I met my boyfriend John. I have good memories of coming home smelling like waffle cones and thinking about that cute blue eyed boy.

I have been loving reading for fun again. I just finished this book, and am working on this right now. My goal is to read one book, for fun-not business, a week. I started journaling when I was 18 and have kept it up ever since. It is kind of my catch all for thoughts, quotes, and notes. My favorite are large, hardcover, ruled Moleskines. I am almost finished with the one I started in January, so I ordered a new one from Amazon the other day. 

I have been loving reading for fun again. I just finished this book, and am working on this right now. My goal is to read one book, for fun-not business, a week.

I started journaling when I was 18 and have kept it up ever since. It is kind of my catch all for thoughts, quotes, and notes. My favorite are large, hardcover, ruled Moleskines. I am almost finished with the one I started in January, so I ordered a new one from Amazon the other day. 

Healthy snacks, specifically apples with peanut butter or Nutella.  Since I have been home during the day (not working nights) I am eating healthier which makes me feel better and my skin is getting clearer each week. What is not to love about that?

Healthy snacks, specifically apples with peanut butter or Nutella.  Since I have been home during the day (not working nights) I am eating healthier which makes me feel better and my skin is getting clearer each week. What is not to love about that?

Looking forward to...

Myrtle Beach! I am going with John and his family the first week of June. It was one of my favorite memories of last year and I am thankful we are going again.

Myrtle Beach! I am going with John and his family the first week of June. It was one of my favorite memories of last year and I am thankful we are going again.


We went canoeing a couple of times last year and loved it. Its a good way to spend quality time outdoors. I am looking forward to a couple of trips again this summer.

We went canoeing a couple of times last year and loved it. Its a good way to spend quality time outdoors. I am looking forward to a couple of trips again this summer.

Carb Day. John loves Indy Car racing and goes every year to the Indy 500. We've been going to Carb day for the past 5 years. Last year was not so fun because we worked overtime the night before (note my tired eyes!) This year I am looking forward to being awake for it.

Carb Day. John loves Indy Car racing and goes every year to the Indy 500. We've been going to Carb day for the past 5 years. Last year was not so fun because we worked overtime the night before (note my tired eyes!) This year I am looking forward to being awake for it.

Time in my studio- aka my bedroom. So far I would say starting a creative business is 75% business stuff and 25% creating art. Creating art is my favorite part, although I know the business stuff is necessary, so I love my time at my art table. This afternoon I plan to get an iced coffee, and plant myself there.

Time in my studio- aka my bedroom. So far I would say starting a creative business is 75% business stuff and 25% creating art. Creating art is my favorite part, although I know the business stuff is necessary, so I love my time at my art table. This afternoon I plan to get an iced coffee, and plant myself there.

I would love to know, what are some things you are loving now and looking forward to? I will be back on Wednesday with a post on how I gather inspiration for paintings. Have a good Monday:)

Taking Stock

I saw this on one of my favorite blogs, and the original came from here.

 

Making : New art for my shop.
Cooking : Chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast:)
Drinking : Dunkin Dounuts iced coffee and La Croix lime or orange sparkling water. Everyday.
Reading: "The Baker's Daughter"
Wanting: To sit outside and read today.
Looking: Forward to the summer. Eating outside at our favorite restaurant. Canoeing. A trip to the zoo. Sundresses. Walks outside. Sun-bleached hair.
Playing: With paint and color. Having fun and stretching my creative muscles.
Wasting: Too much time worrying about how it's all going to come about.
Wishing: For patience.
Enjoying: Springtime.
Waiting: For it to all come together.
Liking: Quiet mornings with coffee in bed.
Loving: that it's warm enough to wear shorts today.
Hoping: To be accepted to an art fair I just applied for.
Marveling: At how much my life has changed in 2 months.
Needing: More sleep tonight.
Smelling: Fresh air outside my window:
Following: my heart.
Knowing: That even though sometimes I spend too much time thinking about the "how's", all is well.
Thinking: Positively.
Feeling: Grateful.
Opening: my heart to possibility.

 

Yesterday

Yesterday was one of those days that made me think of this song.


 

The day was nothing out of the ordinary, but I found myself appreciating everyday moments. A morning spent creating new items for my shop, some business stuff, Dunkin Donuts iced coffee and munchkins, a sweet kitty napping on my bed while I worked, painting while watching "Say Yes to the Dress" on Netflix, and taking a drive with the windows rolled down.


I will be honest and say that sometimes I struggle to appreciate the good. I think it mostly comes from the belief that I don't deserve it. That voice that says, "How dare you be happy", "Why should you get to live your dreams?". It's the voice that kept me spinning in circles for a long time, and I am finally beginning to see that it's not true! That I do deserve to be happy and live my dreams, just like everyone else. So maybe that's why yesterday felt so good. I feel like I am on the cusp of a new beginning. I am getting used to this transition and believing in myself more and more everyday, and yesterday it began to sink in.