Realizing your dreams…what’s the secret? For me the first step is the hardest: Taking time to dream! Dreaming takes time and space. It takes quiet and reflection. All of these are rare commodities in today’s connected world. And yet, it’s hard to fulfill dreams that are never conceived…let alone nurtured. Having dreams is important, but realizing your dreams takes action. If your dream comes knocking, you may need to get over your fears of failure in order to realize them. When Fear wins, you’ll likely opt to play it safe, keep doing what you’ve always done, and pass on the new (and perhaps uncertain) path. You may think that doing the same thing is safer and less consequential, but every choice has consequences. Even the choice to do nothing, or keep doing the same thing has consequences. You’ll face the potential for regret, stagnation, or worse yet, deterioration. For me, the other very large risk would be boredom. Avoiding these sort of fear-based responses in life is something I strive to do. You never know until you try, right?
It all begins with dreaming or asking, “What if…” I dream constantly. This question in at the heart of my artistic process. I keep a journal at my bedside to record ideas that may come. Many of my paintings would never occur, but for taking that time. Do you take the time to dream? Do dreams play a role in your artwork? I’d love to hear about how that works for you….
In my creative process, I am constantly asking the question “What if?” Whether it’s softening an edge, changing a value, or playing with composition…as artists this is a question we all need to be asking ourselves. Even if you’re a realistic painter, simply copying what you see is not always the best approach. Questioning how an image can be improved, is never a bad idea. Making those changes can feel like taking a risk. After all, it might not work! But if it does work, you may begin to realize the dream of making that image better. You never know until you try, right?
“Risk everything until the last brushstroke.”- Eric Wiegardt
In life, as in art, no matter what we choose you can ALWAYS count on one thing… There will be an “up-side” and a “down-side” attached to any choice we make. Choices have consequences. They may result in the need for corrections. So what? You make a new choice and go from there. Even if our dreams come true we are faced with this fact. You know what I’m talking about. ” Be careful what you pray for…” Its a phrase we all know. It was illustrated very clearly in my life the last couple of months.
My dream of teaching in a commercial space manifested this winter with a move into a shared retail studio. I decided to take the risk and do my best to make it work. I moved out of my cozy home studio into a shared storefront space with high hopes, enthusiastic energy, (and lots of sweat equity!!). The relief from stairs seemed a good thing for my students. That was the up-side. Roomate issues, paying rent, and the need to haul materials became the larger down-sides. That’s how it works, isn’t it? Most things cut both ways. I try to focus on the good as much as possible…counting my blessings and all that. Sometimes it means I resemble an ostrich ( with my head in the sand) or maybe even Cleopatra (you get it, right?…Queen of De-Nile ;-).
The move was the realization of a dream, and an experiment. The risk was public and yet it was something I dreamed of trying. Not taking the opportunity would have left me always wondering what might have happened. Sometimes experiments yield results that are not what we hoped. My experiment helped me explore what it meant to own a business and occupy a commercial space. This time, there was no denying the fact that the negatives outweighed the positives. It was time to click my heels and go home. I relate to Dorothy’s trip to Oz in a whole new way after this experience.
I came back to my home studio with a sense of exhaustion and some degree of disappointment, but I had no regrets. I realized the dream and I don’t regret trying to live it out. In doing so, I gained a new appreciation for what I already had. There is truly no place like home! Having put things away, I’m feeling a renewed love and appreciation for this space I call my studio. In case you’ve never been in the space, here’s a link to a little video tour! Just click the blue lettered link below.
My home studio is where I’ve spent endless happy hours. What’s best, is that I’ve shared time here with so many creative and wonderful souls. Its almost as if they’ve each left a little trace of their sweet spirits behind. I know it contributes to the atmosphere and sets a tone for what can happen here! In every class I see risks being taken, and the growth that results. <3 Check out these recent student works…I’m so proud of each and every one of my students. Every one is doing their personal best, reaching toward their dream of becoming who they want to be. What more can we ask of ourselves?
This week my family and I will be celebrating the wedding of our youngest daughter, Haley! Some of you know her, as she was assisting me in the studio for a time this winter. By the time you read this, she and our immediate family will be in the midst of wedding madness! I will not be having classes between April 12 and April 19, so that we can focus on this happy occasion. Classes will resume again on April 20 for the remainder of the month.
If you have artistic dreams, I’m a firm believer that you can make them a reality! Dream those dreams, and take advantage of opportunities when they arise. Ask yourself, “What if?” and experiment with your process. Don’t let fear paralyze you, or get in the way of your progress. Open yourself to the idea of taking risks with your art. After all, it’s only a piece of paper or a square of canvas.
It’s never too late to start realizing your dreams of being an artist, and I promise that when you do, you’ll find this to be true: Making art simply makes life better!
Joy and Love,