Learning how to Play

Recently I was asked how did I know that I wanted to take my art from a hobby to earning a few dollars from it. Honestly, I'm not sure how that evolved, probably with friends and family encouraging me to sell at shows and then people suggesting I teach classes. However, I do remember saying that I hope it never gets to a point where it was no longer fun. That's the pitfalls of taking your hobby to the next level. Besides creating the art, there is the whole business end of it: promoting, blogging, social networking, submissions, deadlines, teaching, traveling and more. It can be extremely rewarding and you meet many amazing people. And no doubt, it is always a thrill to have someone say, "oh, I know you from your blog" or a stranger shares with you that she "just loves my jewelry".

Maybe after such a long winter, but I'm feeling sort of challenged in my direction. Where am I headed with all this? Am I getting anywhere? Am I just spinning my wheels? Granted, I've got some new changes coming up in the next year (Dillon leaves for college and Tucker leaves the school system and enters the world of the "adult program") I don't like change and I'm not ready to send my little baby boy off to school as I will miss him terribly. These are factors that I incorporate when trying to understand, why the melancholy feeling?

It's also not uncommon for other women my age to feel this way, so I know I am not alone with these feelings. We give so much of ourselves as wives and mothers, that we lose a bit ourselves and I think we start to get this stirring feeling as we approach the time our kids are growing up and leaving the nest. We begin to question, "who am I", or "where is the girl I use to be?" I'm still here, I just need to bring her to the surface again.

I'm not saying I'm not having fun anymore, but where I use to have so much time to sit and play, now it's deadlines and more. I'm spending so much time getting ready for the next thing I have to do (the future), that I'm missing out on present. A lot of it is self induced, I like things organized and planned out. You want your classes to be a positive experience for your students, so you try to get everything perfect. Well, we all know what happens when we try to make things perfect! Perfectionism gets in the way and causes a lot of stress!

The other thing I wanted to add is that in these days and times, we women need to be supporting each other. I've seen alot of what I like to refer to as "the dark side of art" lately; just nastiness, pettiness, jealousy, betrayals and more and it's draining. I don't like that sort of stuff, I can't stand drama and I feel there is no place for it in the art realm. It's taking the beauty away from creating and replacing it with shallowness. I don't need to be a rock star or someone famous and I don't want to have to "watch my back". I don't have those sort of goals. I just want to create, educate and have fun.
We need to be reaching out to each other; keep an eye on one another. We all could use a guardian angel looking after us. Wouldn't it be nice to see our forces as nurturing and caring women come together in a positive way? I was so taken back by all the internet art drama lately, that I had to visually put something in words:

A friend recently professed frustration that certain art girls seem to get all the attention, have successful art careers, while others seem to languish in the background, unappreciated and unnoticed. I'm not sure why this is. Being in the right place at the time? Do they have more finances to back themselves? Luck? Good old fashioned hard work? I try not to get caught up comparing myself to others. It is self defeating and I'll never accomplish anything if I am a green eyed monster! Sometimes, monetarily, I feel I can't accomplish things I'd like to do or give back. But what I can offer, FOR FREE, is encouragement, support and loyalty. I think this is a better gift than money any day.

So my point, (yes, there is one!) is that all the feelings are being stirred and after reading a post by my friend, Kristen Robinson, about playing- it hit me. I'm just not playing enough anymore. I need to get back to the main reason that I started creating things and that was, for fun, for me. If something good comes out of it in the meantime, that's great; but otherwise, I'm removing the pressure I place on myself.

So with that said, I wanted to share with you, Kristen's new online class, "Project Play". I'm here to offer my support and encouragements of her endeavors and I'm sure in the meantime, there is much I can learn. Stop by and take a peek. Maybe you could use a play date as well?

I leave you with one of my most favorite quotes, from "Kung Fu Panda". I just love it. It always makes me reflect:

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery. Today? Today is a gift. That's why we call it the present.