To Be a Flower

To be tender. To be frail. To be a flower: vulnerable and open.

That’s what I tried doing for most of this summer. To write blog posts and make art that mattered to me. That showed you parts and facets – of me. In the hope that, for some reason, those images, those pieces of me, also mattered to you.

A lot of the time it felt like I was just ignored. Writing into this void of the internet, where there’s already too much going on. Posting pictures and images that got few likes. After all that’s what it’s about, right? You liking my writing. You liking my paintings. My drawings. You liking… me. Right?To be a vulnerable flower - creativity

Every now and then I have to hide in a hole. When around people I’m constantly trying to please, to make them feel better, to add something of value to them, to offer something up – even if it’s some of my weirdness at times. So, every now and then, I must hide in a whole to just please myself, and not be constantly evaluating: Do they like me? Was that good? Was that worth their time?

Every now and then I need to hide my art in a hole. To make it only for myself. To bury the piece amidst all the files in my hard drive. To bury it within all the other papers. It’s art that doesn’t ask you to look at it. It’s just asking to exist for a second, only to be hidden and forgotten – it grows best in the dark confines of the earth.

Flower Hope

This is very hard, because in the end, the only way I can survive – to bring in the bread – is if I show my art to you. If I’m tender, frail, vulnerable and open like a flower. And trying to find that balance, between the art that I make for others, and the art that I make for myself, is a complicated one. The art that sprouts out in colorful petals and the art that hides under earth – gathering the nutrients.

 

Right now, I feel drained. My creativity has been flowing over this summer, and it’s running out. I know it can replenish itself, but it needs time. It needs time to allow the water to evaporate, condensate and to come back again. In that soft refreshing drizzle, that smells like summer and nourishes the earth.

If you’d like to get updates when blog posts come out, you can follow my Facebook page, or sign up for the mailing list that WordPress has set up — it’s on the bar to the side I believe!

Hope to see you soon! Or next week more precisely, at 10AM!

 

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Do Something New Every Day

Do Something New - Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

Ok. I exaggerate, it doesn’t have to be something new every day. It can just be every week. Or maybe every month? I don’t know. Just try and do something new, is all I’m saying.

Today (as in 2 weeks ago, when I wrote this) I went to Dinderbeck Studios, here in Grand Rapids (GR), and took a 4 hour long workshop on screenprinting. Before the workshop, I had never heard of screenprinting, or any other forms of printing besides digital, to be honest. And it was so much fun learning something new.

Screenprinting is a fairly simple process. You just make the image, transfer it to the screen, then apply paint and transfer it to your paper, canvas or cloth of choice. Some people do t-shirts through this process.

It’s great for making hand-made prints. It offers you the chance to make several copies of that one print, but each print somewhat unique – or you can make it be. It will always have, at least when I’m doing it, mistakes or small flaws.

I think that’s part of the beauty of it. It’s not perfect, it’s not the same, each one is unique. Hand-crafted. It allows for the artist to be a part of the reproduction process – Marx would appreciate the ability it gives the artist to be closer in touch with the “means of reproduction.” Bye bye alienation.

The workshop was also just great to get to know some people from GR. There were 5 of us. We each worked on our own prints, but at the end we exchanged ours with each other! So I ended up getting some free art for my room.

Below you can check out the prints I worked on. They allowed us to come for another week after, during their open hours, for free.

But the reason I’m sharing this: it’s because it’s one of those “new experiences” that has helped me get pumped up for art again. New experiences change the pacing that you make art and your thought process opens up to new pathways. However, it doesn’t have to be a new art form that does this – although new art forms can be great – but really just about anything new does it. Open up your brain pores to creativity.

You can explore a part of your city you’ve never dared to go to. Or it could be going to a new city or country. It can be going to a new café, or starting a new type of project – like a blog! It can be to go to a new event. Or even to try and recreate one of your old pieces, under a new light. It can be to go be a reading mentor at middle school. Or to help at a homeless shelter.

Anything that gets you thinking in new ways. Step out of your comfort zone. I know. It’s cozy there. But just do it. It’s fun. Sometimes.

If you’d like to get updates when blog posts come out, you can follow my Facebook page, or sign up for the mailing list that WordPress has setup — it’s on the bar to the side I believe!

Hope to see you soon! Or next week more precisely, at 10AM every Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The First Blog Post – Embracing the Uncertain Future

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

Well here we go.

The first blog post.

So I wanted to let you guys know what I’m planning, and I’ll just say it upfront: plans will change. This is just the beginning and as it is with any start, the path ahead is uncertain, things may change.

As far as I know, there’s no true map for when it comes to blogging. It can go well, it can go not so well. I may die tomorrow, or maybe I’ll live and write lots of posts. Who knows. That’s life. But as I wander about, I’ll keep telling myself: “Not all those who wander are lost” (J.R.R. Tolkien).

But the plans. I need to tell you the plans.

I want this blog to be mainly about my journey to become an artist. I have thus far dedicated 8 years out of my 21 to art. Dedication in the serious way, actual commitment – even if I wasn’t always the most productive.

I began drawing classes when I was in 4th grade, and then continued with more drawing classes. I journeyed through YouTube, and DeviantArt, looked at tutorials, interviews, and anything else I could get my hands on. I’ve done a couple of online classes and listened to podcasts. And now I’m halfway through college, and still feel like I only know the tip of the iceberg.

Through this journey I have started to make some small money. This past year through prints and commissions I’ve been able to make more than $500, and I have a goal of making $1000 by the end of one full year. That’s not taking into account freelance jobs done for small companies, or my oil paintings (I couldn’t keep track of the money on those).

I’m still in college, working part-time and dealing with all the drama my emotions bring about. The emotional drama really is the biggest time taker from those. So dedicating myself to art and selling has been hard. And I recognize that it’s a small start, but it’s just that. A start. Life can grow and flow from here on out.

As I move forward I hope to be able to share what I learned and what I’m learning. So I’ll share how I try to stay creative and how I take care of my creative self. I’ll also share some art and artists that inspire me and keep me going. Lastly, I might, if I find the time, share, as well, some techniques I discover along the way, be it in digital or traditional media.

Blog posts will happen mostly every Tuesday and if I have extra posts for the week it’ll happen on Thursdays. You may also notice, for example above on the Tolkien quote, that I have links to products on Amazon. This is a small way I’m hoping to generate some extra income – if you buy something, it’ll give me a small commission. I’m sure you’ve seen this with some YouTubers or Bloggers.

If you’re considering buying something I recommend, please consider doing it through the link I provide. That’ll help me out to keep this Blog going, and to just pay my bills. I hope that whatever I link to can be a welcome addition to your book, art, or music collection!

To end:

For this blog to work well I need your participation, your engagement. It’d be great if you follow my blog – the button is to the side – or my art page for updates.

I want to learn from you: what do you like to read about, what matters to you? And so as I write and post, please share or like something when you feel a connection to it. That’ll let me know to write more on that topic; to dig deeper.

And even more important: comment and let me know what you think. If you feel I’m missing something, forgetting something—throw it in the discussion! I want you to be a part of this newborn blog.

I welcome you to: “I Keep On Dreaming.”