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Everyday Life: 10/16/2017

I’ve become a little obsessed with house shopping. Not that I’m in the market for a house right this moment, but I mean, sort of. You see, I want to move out of Vegas in the next year. And I’m trying to figure out exactly where that move should take me. So as it stands, I’ve started researching the housing market in various cities and states. One thing keeps popping out at me. I LOVE historic homes.

I never thought I would want a historic home. Because, to me, that basically just meant old. And old houses need work. And just, no. But I am so drawn to them. The woodwork and the large rooms and the fireplaces and all the details. They seriously make me swoon.

I can see myself renovating a kitchen and painting a living room and decorating a dining room. And just writing that made me lose track of what I was doing and continue my search for a minute.

But back to writing.

Researching homes and daydreaming about buying said homes has filled my mind this past week. I don’t know if I will end up buying a grand historic home, but I do love the idea. So if it happens, I won’t be disappointed.

Other things filling my mind? School. I kind of want to go back to school. Perhaps start working toward my PhD, a task that will most likely be slow and somewhat painful, but let’s be honest people, I love being in school. And painting. I’ve been brainstorming about which painting class to film next and trying to decide what would be the most fun. I have a list of classes to film, and I simply need to decide…preferably in the next two days, as I need to order supplies! Ha. No pressure. 😉

And with that, I’m going to get to work. Have a lovely Monday, friends!

xo,

Everyday Life of a Working Artist: 10/9/2017

There were about a thousand things I could do this weekend. Mostly work related. But I forced myself to relax and take the time for myself. And although I’m starting Monday feeling a bit behind, I also feel really good about that choice.

It’s nice to have time to reflect and just breathe.

One thing I want to accomplish as I tackle this unknown year is taking the time to really evaluate where I am in life and what I want. The last few years, I have really questioned what I want. I went from feeling like I had it all figured out to feeling like I have little figured out. That’s the way it is with life, I suppose. It ebbs and flows. Sometimes it all feels brilliant, and other times it all feels like a cluster.

So I took the leap of leaving the security of my job to explore. Plenty of people thought I was absolutely nuts and voiced their opinion. Others thought I was nuts and kept it to themselves, with the exception of the confused looks on their faces and dread in their voices. Though I was scared, and half agreed with the skepticism, I did it anyway.

And here I am.

What I didn’t realize was although, technically, I left the security of my job to build my art business, this change would lead to so much more. It would give me time to evaluate and really think about what matters. It would force me to make big decisions about where I want to live and how. It would make me face my relationships and how much time I give them and what they mean to me.

And all this comes down to time. In ordinary life, there is little time for evaluating. Sure, you may decide you’re happy or unhappy or somewhere in between, and you may feel like you’re thinking about it all the time, but the reality is, a large portion of your day is dedicated to someone else. You have responsibilities to something bigger than you, namely your job, and although you would love to really meditate on your place in the world, you really can’t.

But now I find myself with just that. Time. Which is odd because I spend many hours working on my business, and I’ve set myself up with a workweek that usually rivals the work hours I put in as a science teacher. Yet, I still have more time for thought. More time for looking in. More time for myself.

Sometimes all that thought is uncomfortable, having to admit to myself that, in fact, I am a little lost. Other times it feels absolutely perfect. Thoughts and ideas and knowings come to me all at once, and I realize I am on exactly the right path. It’s equally inspiring and daunting and somehow just right.

I’ve adopted the phrase, “This moment is my destiny,” as my mantra. Oh, I need to tell you about that! I’ll save it for later this week, as it will take a whole other blog post.

I’ve picked up hobbies once thought lost. I’ve daydreamed about my next home and where it will be. I’ve started to come to terms with my fears about money (oh boy, do I have some hangups!). I’ve thought a lot about the lifestyle that’s important to me and the work that matters to me. And how I would like to set up this business in order to be content. I’ve thought about what else I need to feel I’ve contributed to the world in a meaningful way. About whether or not I will continue my art business full time next year. About who I want to help and what would make me feel good.

And I’ve realized that life is really complicated. And there are about twenty different scenarios that would make me equally happy, maybe more. And it’s all good. Because as long as I’m consciously thinking about these things and working toward things that give me joy, life will be good.

xo,

Everyday Life of a Working Artist: 10/5/2017

Yesterday, instead of writing my usual post, I finished writing a letter to my legislative officials regarding the shooting in Las Vegas. I felt like I needed to do something useful. When something like that happens, you feel a little helpless. So even a small act like writing and sharing a letter feels helpful in some way.

And although yesterday started slowly, I did finally get back into my work and feel like I was able to be productive and mostly focused.

I finished filming my second project for my online class! I still have to edit the videos. I started editing for that project, but there’s still a good amount to complete. Today, I’ll start filming for the final project and finish editing. I had hoped this week would bring me to complete all the editing and projects for the class, but it looks like, at the least, there will be some editing required next week. And that’s okay. It’s been an emotional week. I’m just happy to be moving forward.

In other news, I’ve been looking for another creative outlet. Something entirely different from painting. I have my photography, and that’s amazing. But it often requires me to stare at a computer for hours, which hurts my eyes or requires me to have something to photograph, which I don’t always have. It’s great sometimes but isn’t great always. I need something in the evenings that helps me escape the every day of my new artist life (because even my little designed-by-me business just feels like work sometimes). And guess what? I may have stumbled on the perfect hobby.

Nearly ten years ago, I decided to write a book. I spent a year (maybe more, it’s hard to remember) writing the rough draft of a novel. By the time that year was up, I was exhausted, my life had fallen to pieces, and I found myself rather busy in an attempt to glue it back together (a story for another day). In a nutshell, I just didn’t have time for the book anymore, and I lost interest.

Fast forward to today.

While walking my dog and listening to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic, I was reminded of that book. And I got curious. How much had I actually written? What the heck was it even about? I mean, I remember the gist. But all the details have escaped me at this point. And then I got kind of excited. What if I pulled the file up and printed it all out? What if I started revising? What if it might be just a little bit good?

I now have 288 pages sitting to my left. My novel. My book. I WROTE 288 PAGES, PEOPLE.

I have no idea how to go about revising a book you don’t remember the plot line to (the last time I touched that file was in July of 2010). But I’m going to try. I guess I’ll start by reading it. And then figure it out from there.

Crazy. Fun. Kind of exciting. And it doesn’t even matter how it turns out or if it gets published or what happens. I don’t want to make a career out of writing books. I just want to enjoy the process and be open to the possibilities.

Pretty cool, friends. Pretty cool.

xo,

Everyday Life of a Las Vegas Local: 10/3/2017

I was supposed to write yesterday. But I couldn’t. There were no words.

You may not know this, but I live in Las Vegas. About a 10-minute drive from the scene of the mass shooting. And it’s strange. I wasn’t at the music festival. I know a few people who were, but I didn’t know anyone well. I don’t feel like I was directly affected by what happened. And yet. It feels so close to home. It feels so personal. 

We hear about mass shootings a lot these days. You get a little numb to the news. It’s awful. You feel sad. You talk about it. And then you move on – angry or sad or frustrated – but you move on.

And then it happens down the street from your house.

You wake up to text messages filling your phone, asking if you’re okay. Messages that say, “If you don’t respond by morning, I’m calling the hospitals.” And your heart drops, and you’re confused, and why are people asking this? Then you see the news, and you find yourself doing the same. Texting friends. Checking Facebook. Looking for signs of life. Or tragedy.

And all you can do is read the news. Over and over. Scrolling. Looking for pictures. Looking for details. Looking for an explanation.

And all you can feel is tears.

By afternoon, I realized I wasn’t going to accomplish much, as I couldn’t stop obsessing. I allowed myself the grace to feel what I was feeling and sit with it. I allowed myself to read all the news articles and the Facebook updates and watch the press conferences. I spent extra time on the phone with my partner and texted with friends. I spent time in nature, reminding myself to breathe.

In the evening, I worked with a friend, drafting a letter to my U.S. representatives. We feel strongly about the need for gun control, and together we researched and fact-checked and wrote. It’s a small thing, to write a letter, but it feels important.

Today, I start again.

I still cried this morning when I read the New York Times article about the victims of the shooting. I still allowed myself to read more morning newspapers than usual. And that’s okay. But now I’m working to move forward. With a little more resolve. A little more love in my heart. A little more concern for my neighbors and fellow citizens.

Everything feels a little broken. More than before.

Everyday Life of a Working Artist: 9/29/2017

I put in a lot of hours yesterday, and I’m happy to say I’m caught up with video editing! Sort of. Seeing as how I create new videos to edit every day, and there really is no end.

But I’m super happy with my progress. Project 1 of my next online class is completely done. Videos created, videos edited, project done. I’m in the middle of filming Project 3. I skipped Project 2 but will be returning to that next week. Hopefully, by the end of today I will be done with Project 3.

This class will have a warm-up exercise and three projects, and I think I’m going to be super proud of each of them.

I’m really pushing my boundaries with this class. The projects are easy to follow but not easy to film. I find myself saying…am I capable of this?…a few times every day. And it’s a really good thing. Because I am capable. This is just new territory for me, so it feels a little uncomfortable.

Setting goals just a little bigger than I’m comfortable with and then achieving them…it feels damn good.

All that to say, I had a really good day yesterday. And it’s Fri-yay! I’m feeling extra excited that I’ve decided to return to my regular weekend schedule. I love that Friday is on Friday, and I’m not making any plans to work on the weekend.

In other news, I’m really enjoying a return to my photography. Over time, I realized that photography is a passion I want to keep just for myself. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to share my photos. I love sharing them! I just don’t want to do it professionally. I love keeping this art form for my own personal work.

For a while there, I simply didn’t love photography anymore. I barely wanted to pick up my camera. Now I want to pick it up all the time. I’m even enjoying editing! Granted, the enjoyment in editing has really come from the fact that I’ve stopped a lot of the extra editing I used to do. I like a more photojournalistic look to photos, and often that means they need to look a little raw. Real expressions, real skin, just real.

It took me a lot of years, but I feel like I’ve finally found my style as a photographer. I struggled with style for SO long. I bounced around between editing styles and shooting styles. I finally got frustrated and gave up. And it seems as soon as I decided I didn’t care, it came naturally. Funny how that works. I think I’ll expand on that idea more another day because I know the idea of finding your style can be about the most frustrating thing in the world, whether your art is painting or sculpture or photography. And after many years of my own struggle, I think I have some insight on the topic.

Take care, friends. Have a beautiful weekend!

xo,

I’m Heather, a mixed-media artist with a love of turquoise and whimsy. My passion is helping women begin their creative journeys through teaching painting, yoga, and meditation.