June/July 2016 Newsletter: Becoming Stronger
In 2013 I gave myself three years to develop a strong following as a workshop teacher. I love teaching and sharing what I have learned over the years with students who truly want to develop their skills and to discover themselves through their art. At the end of those three years I had developed incredible connections with artists across the country, friendships that I believe will last for decades. As a teacher, I have been thrilled by the successes of my students and I will continue to teach … less frequently.
By the end of 2015 I found myself spending more time coordinating workshops and dealing with the business of teaching than time at my easel. I still drew and painted every day but I was not working on serious work in my studio. I was not developing the ideas, concepts and series of works that were piling up in my mind from my travels and my constant sketching both urban and rural. I found I wanted to travel more and to travel to less-traveled areas where teaching workshops was unlikely. Not too many artists want to hike three days into the mountains to paint and pay an instructor to be that uncomfortable.
Traveling and exploring with pen and brush is a priority for me. I decided that I will teach three or four multi-day workshops each year and the rest of the time I will invite artists to join me on adventures as peers, artists inspiring one another and sharing our personal journey as artists. In 2017 I will be venturing on a work cruise to the Dominican Republic and I will invite artists to join me. I will also spend a reclusive month in a medieval village in France to nurture my spirit and the artist within my who wants to continually grow stronger.
Thus, my decision to begin a new business, a business to deal with the financial needs of my desires. The only business I can possible consider at this point in my life is one that fits like a glove with my ultimate life goal of helping to enhance the lives of others. I have always done that through art, through exposing artists and non-artists to a way of seeing the world, of seeing beauty in the minuscule as well as the majestic. Privately, I practiced healing through natural remedies, homeopathy and plant-based diet. Without mental, physical and emotional health, we rarely have the energy to express our love for live, the beauty we find in the people we love and in our surroundings. Teaching drawing and painting has been my path to open the door to health and well-being for others. After spending a week with the national vice-presidents of Arbonne, as well as the head chemist, in Maui last January I realized that becoming an independent consultant for Arbonne could fit beautifully into my life as a healer and an artist. I thought I would feel like a misfit among glamour and instead, I found myself surrounded by very down-to-earth people who were extraordinary only in that they wanted to become stronger, better people and they wanted to do whatever they can to make the world better. What a surprise!
Still, it took a while to sink in and to reconcile becoming a network marketer with my life as an artist. On May 24th I made the leap, not an easy leap, but one I don’t regret in any way. On May 25th my creative juices were flowing like the water over Niagara Falls. I realized how my personal work had become stifled by my worry over workshops being canceled, having no retirement as I look at turning 65 this October and my wanderlust that only grows stronger.
I am back to high energy, sleeping only five or six hours each night and leaping out of bed in the morning. I am making wonderfully ugly paintings because I feel free to experiment and take that chance of them being only worthy of the dumpster. I know that beyond those ugly paintings are new tools, stronger tools and exciting work that will lead me in even more new directions. I can feel the light-globe within beginning to radiate again as it has in the past during times of growing as an artist.
I will continue to share my journey through my fewer workshops and through my newsletter, blog and social media. It will appear slightly different than what you have become accustomed to. It will suit some, and not others. That is always the case.
Thanks for following my journey up to this point and I welcome you to continue … if you wish. There is such an unlimited world of people, nature, civilization and space to explore!
Self Portrait 2003 – Watercolor and Pastel – Without constraint of acceptance