artist

The Most Perfect Example Of How You Just Need To Start...

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By Diana Miller

Sharing beauty with the world through my art is what drives me. I thrive on connecting with others through this medium and to inspire them to live their own life doing the things that bring them a sense of fulfilment.

My name is Diana Miller, and I have joined the creative collective to adorn the world with beautiful paintings and art products that express who I am. But it’s more than just about me. It’s about us. You and me. True happiness is when I am able to give some of my own goodness to others and help them to feel the joy too. My greatest desire? To infuse my work with emotion, passion, movement and energy. The result? A unique artwork that offers every observer their own interpretation and feeling - peace, beauty, exploration, love, joy.

"A picture really is worth a thousand words”

MY STORY
A year ago I was living in Brisbane, I had a small studio where I painted from but no career path and little self belief. Today I am represented by Art Piece Gallery in Mullimbimby and Fenton & Fenton in Melbourne and I am resident artist at the Newrybar Merchants in Newrybar in the Byron Bay hinterland. And I am living my perfect life.

How did I make this shift in the short space of a year? You may have heard the poetic words of Claire Bowditch in her song ‘Amazing Life’. ‘You want an amazing life, but you can’t decide. You don’t have to do just one thing, but you have to start something.’

And start I did. But only after the whirlwind that I call my previous life. Here’s my journey from hobby painter to full time artist. Since immigrating to Australia with my Toowoomba-born builder husband 13 years ago we have ridden the waves of life together – (and my life mirrors the layered tapestry of my paintings) filled with change, upheaval, unexpected twists and turns with 22 house moves and as many property deals. Blessed with the highest of highs – 2 beautiful children, incredible friends, opportunities, and returning to my art practise, and the lowest of lows –homesickness, health challenges, losing our life savings and shortly after that losing our house in the Brisbane floods, my life reflects typical ebbs and flows that have informed all I have created so far.

In December 2014 I found myself in a pretty dark and unhappy place. My husband and I had just been featured on Grand Designs for the container home he created. We were enjoying the fruits of that labour by living in it. For various reasons (not exciting enough to mention here), we sold that property and downscaled to a small, dark and hot little rental home while planning our next move. That was the beginning of a period of unrest for me, personally and with regards to the direction I would take with my art making. Not unlike a squirrel scampering around for forage, I was feeling frantic looking after everyone else in my family, running here, running there but forgetting to look after my own needs. My tank was running on empty.

Painting and creativity had become second priority even though it was always the thing that would give me my lease on life each day. In those moments of feeling empty I would yearn to paint, and even more, make something of my art, perhaps a commercial career, but I felt ill equipped and lacking in the knowledge I felt I needed to “make a go of it”. Funnily enough, I had been told by a clairvoyant 14 months prior that I had a brilliant business brain and that I was going to be a successful business owner. I laughed that off believing my own story that I was not capable of that. Lucky for me though fate stepped in and I was able to undo those unhelpful beliefs that I later realized were keeping me chained.

Knowing that my art was essential to my emotional and mental wellbeing and that not making art was not an option, I began to ask myself how I could rekindle my painting habit AND turn my hobby into a business. A real business.

Enter the Universe…. I saw an ad on facebook for the Conquer Club (an online international business course for female entrepreneurs), and it immediately appealed to me. Before I knew it I was chatting on a webinar with Kylie Patchett and Natalie McNeil (the founder of She Takes on the World and the Conquer Club) and before I could say no to myself, I had signed up to both the Inner Circle of the Conquer Club and the Mind Money Mojo course with Kylie.

It was a big financial commitment, but I KNEW I had to do something extraordinary for ME. It was time. Despite the fear of the unknown and the even bigger fear of having to put myself out there I knew I had committed myself to the thing that gave me purpose – my art.

I can wholeheartedly say that without those 2 courses there is no way I would have achieved everything I did in 2015 or seen the growth and opportunities arising so far in 2016.

THE UNEXPECTED
You would think that partaking in a business course would only enlighten you to the pragmatics of the business world – financials, systems, marketing. What I didn’t bargain for was that I was also getting the foundational learning that ultimately determines your success in anything you do. Mindset. Through the mindset work of Kylie Patchett, I was taken on a confronting AND freeing journey to unravel and release emotional blockages that were impacting on my beliefs and thinking patterns. I went from self-limiting beliefs of not being good enough as an artist or business person to transformative patterns of not just thinking, but knowing ‘I can do this.’

With all things good, it was not easy. It took commitment on my part to be honest with myself, to acknowledge my hurts, apply the tools taught to me to move through them and then create what it was that I did want in my life. One statement really stood out for me during the course work and it was this: “The success of a business is directly linked to the emotional wellbeing of it’s owner.”

Akin to a magic spell, things started to fall into place as I experienced these positive shifts in my mindset. I created a vision board with my hopes and dreams for the year, got clear on my goals and wrote them up big and bold for the universe to see. Within 3 months of doing that, the “move to Bangalow” became a step closer as we secured a block of land there. My work started selling more, even though I’d put my prices up, I got invited and accepted into art shows, held my solo show and almost sold out. Opportunities came knocking on my door as I ventured into an activewear and swimwear collaboration and my first range of art cushions. And then the greatest thing of all happened… my husband and another business owner from the area facilitated the creation of the “Newrybar Merchants” in Newrybar, 5 minutes from Bangalow. This was to be my new work space complete with my own studio and gallery space to display my work. Early December saw us make the sea change to the idylic location of Bangalow and I soon got representation with Art Piece Gallery in Mullumbimby. To add to the magic happening all around me, Fenton & Fenton approached me to be one of their artists and I am now represented by them! And all of those opportunities came to me just by me doing what I love to do… paint!

To say I’m stoked is an understatement. I always thought it was a load of nonsense when mentors made it all sound so simple – that all you had to do was do that thing that you were so intensely passionate about. Yet, I am experiencing now the truth of that concept. It is a subtle but powerful shift from thinking you can do it to BELIEVING with utter resolve that what you are doing is worth it. I think the confusion comes when people think you think good thoughts and then sit and wait for good things to happen. No you don’t. You get up each and every morning and work on that thing you love without fail. Just like you feed your body each day. And it’s the work you put in because of the love of what you do that brings more of what you want to you.

In summary, I’d like to share a few key things that I have learnt in my journey from hobby to professional artist, in the hope that it might inspire someone out there to go and grab the life they deserve.

1. You have one life to give your dreams a crack. What are you waiting for?
2. Failure is always a stepping stone to something greater.
3. I believe you need a clear vision or statement that you live by in the forefront of your mind. I live by the motto on my fridge “Whatever you hold in your mind on a consistent basis is exactly what you will experience in your life” Anthony Robbins.
4. Beliefs are created in childhood and can cause emotional blockages in the body. Find yourself a great kinesiologist or a form of therapy that works for you and go and get help to clear them out. It can take a bit of time but you will feel a whole lot lighter when that work is done!
5. Self care is essential to everything! So meditate, do yoga or whatever it is that makes you happy and keeps you centred and at peace. It’s imperative if you want to create an aligned and healthy business.
6. Its okay to put yourself out there. Feel the fear and do it anyway. Its all part of the learning and the journey.
7. Its okay to put yourself first.
8. Ask yourself what is the worst thing that can happen? More often than not you will laugh at how silly the answer is ☺
9. The stuff your parents told you wasn’t necessarily true. I was told “you will never make a living as an artist”, and so I studied Graphic Design instead of Fine Art. I don’t regret any of it… my path to becoming a full time artist has probably been a lot more interesting than if I had studied art! But that belief that “I won’t make it as an artist” certainly got embedded in me and has taken a long time to shift…
10. Be proud of your achievements and celebrate them. Always celebrate the achievements of others around you. You duplicate the wonderful energy that way.

You can connect with Diana, here or on Facebook or Instagram.

The Journey To Believing In Yourself (It's Not Always An Easy One)

Belief-in-yourself

By Jenipher Lyn

One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do (and still have to do all the time) is to believe in myself. Life is a pretty challenging place, especially when you’re going after your dreams!

Believing in yourself with your whole heart is the only thing that will get you through the rejections, the setbacks, and the disappointments that come unexpectedly and often all at once.

Your true self is the part of you that dances when you think no one is looking and sings at the top of your lungs even though you might be a little tone deaf. It’s being the person you always felt you could be if the pressure of being someone else wasn’t so heavy.

Are you hiding your true self or doing things just because you feel like you’re “supposed to”?

When I was a teenager, I felt like I had to be a “girly girl”, so I had days where I played dress up. One of my friends would invite me out with her friends and I’d go.. but I felt SO insecure being myself. So I would wear my girliest clothes, sometimes even makeup, and try my best to emulate what I thought I was “supposed” to be like. It felt mechanical, exhausting, and I felt like a fraud.

At the time I think I really believed that if I tried harder to become someone different than myself, then I would... but I learned that’s not the case. After a handful of pretending adventures, I burnt out on not being true to myself, so I started figuring out what made me “me”.

Believing in your true self (and not the person everyone else wants you to be) will come more easily once you start to truly get to know yourself.

As an adult I now know my style is cute and comfortable, and I’m certainly not a make up girl. I’d rather paint than spend time doing my hair and feel confident in my messy buns and colorful mixed matched socks than trying to look sophisticated or trendy. And for me, this is my true self!

Here are a few tips to help you begin your journey to believing in yourself:

  • Keep trying new things. Then decide what you like the best. Once you know the answer, DIVE IN and learn as much as you can. DEVOUR your craft and you’ll FLOURISH! The more you know, and the better you feel doing things, the easier it will be to believe in yourself!
  • Throughout your life you will try lots of different things; some activities will stick, some will feel like chores. My creative journey took me to jewelry making, horseback riding, making dollhouse food, painting, food photography, fashion design, and FINALLY illustration.
  • Not everyone will believe in you, and that’s okay too!
  • I have been surrounded by naysayers many times in my life. Especially on my journey trying to find my purpose. Throughout each chapter in life, i felt lonely at certain points. (many points to be honest!)
  • When I finally figured out that I wanted to encourage people for a living, little sparks began to form around me. Until then, my family really didn’t trust my judgement to be an illustrator. Something changed in their eyes and perspective when I started encouraging others, though. My family began to tell their friends about me, and people were excited to share my work. Wanting to encourage others changed my life, it made me believe in myself, which made my family and others believe in me too.
  • Try and find someone who believes in you, even on the days you don’t believe in yourself. Someone that helps build you up and not people who make you feel bad about yourself. There’s something really magical when you find someone [a friend, family member, or significant other] who really understands all of you (both good, and messy you!)

My husband is the KING of pep talks for me. I’m very quick to freak out, pile in the cookies, or take a nap. He is often blunt, and very honest, but in a kind way, he builds me up often and I’m so grateful for him in my life. When I was growing up, my GREAT Aunt Kiki was my only 100% confidant. I felt comfortable to share every thought and dream with her and I’m SO grateful to have had her in my life.

My great aunt was my safe place and I miss her every day. She was the person I went to throughout my whole life. When I needed a trusted friend, a listening ear, and a comforting meal. She made me feel heard and loved. Calm and understanding, even when she didn’t understand.  Someone like this, even just one person makes ALL the difference in the world.

Remember that relationships take time, and just because someone isn’t your go to person right now, you never know what they will become, or who else you’ll meet in time. Give others a chance to believe in you, and show them who you really are.

Ultimately, you’re the only one who can truly believe in yourself. The only one who feels the flutters in your belly when you know things are how they are meant to be so trusting your gut is crucial. Over time, believing in yourself will be super easy!!! Except for on the days it isn’t. And those days are okay too! ;)

Jenipher Lyn is a self-taught artist who believes the more genuine encouragement in the world, the better! Her goal in life is to inspire as many girls and women that they are not alone! She accomplishes this with whimsical illustrations and vulnerably humorous articles.She can be found drawing and eating cupcakes in the middle of Florida with her amazing husband and giant cat, Baby.

Working ​With Your Significant Other​​: ​4 Things You Need To Know​

By Gillie and Marc Schattner 

W'v been married for 25 years and making art together for most of that time. Turning our passion of art into our career wasn’t easy, but it has certainly been one of the most rewarding experiences of our life alongside raising our children. 

Don’t be turned off the idea of going into business with your partner; it’s amazing and we couldn’t recommend it more. Here’s a few things we’ve learnt over the years. 

IT CAN BRING YOU CLOSER TOGETHER

Gillie: When we first started we would each create our own paintings and release them in a single exhibition. Ultimately it ended up causing a bit of tension between us depending on who sold more, leading us to begin painting side-by-side on the same canvas so that way we both took sole responsibility for an artwork. 

Marc: It completely changed the way we created; the first year we painted together was also the first year we were accepted into the Archibald Prize. Creating art side-by-side lead us to create our art alter-egos Dogman and Rabbitgirl. Overcoming the tension helped us grow as artists and as a couple. We’ve never looked back since.

YOU HAVE TO LOVE WHAT YOU DO

Gillie: People often ask us how we balance home life and work life and the honest answer is that we don’t; we’re switched on all the time. We live and breathe art so whether we’re out having dinner or at home watching Game of Thrones, if we think of a good idea we aren’t waiting until we’re in the studio to share it. 

Marc: If you love what you do you’ll never get annoyed when you inevitably start discussing work outside of designated work time. We’re always brainstorming and as a result our artwork is constantly evolving and changing. Working outside of standard 9 to 5 hours never feels like a chore, because creating art together is our favourite pastime. 

THERE’S A BIT OF GIVE AND TAKE

Marc: Compromise when it is time to compromise. You may not always agree but you must always acknowledge their ideas and let them happen. Support each other no matter what, you have to respect their opinion in a business sense, it won’t work if you don’t.

Gillie: Where there is passion there is conflict, just make sure you can be mature and everything will work out. Balance the less desirable jobs such as cleaning, finance and admin as well as taking an equal part in the aspects you both love!

YOU ARE GREATER THAN THE SUM OF YOUR PARTS

Marc: Working with your partner is really a case of 1+1=3. With two people thinking creatively around the clock a lot more gets created and the better you know each other the far superior the ideas that are realized. 

Gillie: Unlike a traditional business partnership, you are equally invested with someone who has the same life goals as you, someone who is on the same path right until the end. When you identify what your individual strengths are and are there to support each other no matter what you’ll find yourself doing things you never thought possible.  

Gillie and Marc are husband and wife artists and the creators of Dogman and Rabbitgirl, animal/human hybrids who travel the world as public art spreading the message of peace and equality. Their passions include animal rights, travel and art. Find them on Facebook, Instagram, or at their art blog.


Taking the Leap - 5 Reasons to Start Before You're Ready

By Casey Sibley

If you are reading this post, I'm going to guess that you either:

Have a full or part time day job and are running your blogging or creative business in your free time (and possibly want to take that blog or business full time) or,

Work on your blog or creative business full time and want to take it to the next level.

If either of these guesses are true, keep reading, friend.

You are not alone. There are a LOT of people trying to do exactly what you are doing. I write this not to deter you from doing it, but to illustrate that in order to stand out and grow, you're gonna have to take action.

Here's the really great news: You have a lot of power in this situation. More than you probably realize.

And to harness that power and start allowing big things in your business and life, you have to get comfortable with being a little uncomfortable.

One thing I notice with aspiring creative business owners is that they are timid to take big risks. They don't want to let go of that day job for fear of struggling financially. They don't want to reach out for that big opportunity in their business for fear of being rejected (or even worse, ignored). They don't want to talk too much about their work or ask too much money for their products and services, for fear that they will turn off potential customers and clients, or won't be able to deliver on their promises.

See a pattern forming? Yep, it's fear. Fear of not being ready. Fear of making a big commitment without knowing the outcome. Fear of not being good enough.

Fear of struggle.

Once you can move past the fear and use your intuition--that gut feeling--to make big decisions for your business, you will find that really great things will start happening.

But what if your gut is telling you that you aren't ready to take those big leaps?

Here are my thoughts on that:

1. Spoiler: You will never be ready.

You can plan your next move for years without ever actually making the move. It's fun to plan and research, isn't it? You are learning! You are filing all that information away neatly for the day that you are finally ready to launch. So much fun!

And you're totally protected by the fort of information that you have built around yourself.

But you are trapped. You have to take action, or all that research will go to waste. You might even find that the information you gathered wasn't as helpful as what you will uncover by taking the leap and putting yourself out there.

2. You will figure it out and learn as you go.

I run a product-based business and a couple of years ago I decided to start wholesaling my products to retailers. I knew nothing about wholesale, except that it was a great way to sell more product and get fresh eyes on my work.

One night, I finally decided to start reaching out to shops, and ended up getting a really large order. It was amazing. And so stressful!

I did many things wrong, even after following all the "advice" I had found online. I got paid late and I barely made any money.

But my experience with that order helped shape my entire wholesale program as it is today.

Now? I have regular wholesale orders and the bulk of my income comes from my wholesale business. And I get paid on time!

I threw myself into it and learned from my inevitable mistakes, and now it's no biggie.

3. The money will come.

I've amazed myself at times with how quickly I can make $300 when my feet are held to the fire.

I'm not here to tell you to quit your day job tomorrow, but trust me when I say that you know how to make money on your own. Sometimes that day job (or other job-like commitment) is a financial crutch. You think you need it.

You need money, not a specific job. There are plenty of ways to make money by doing what you love.  

Start figuring out ways to make up that income. Start scaling back your day job hours. Start taking back your time and devoting it to things that you really want to do. Do these things before you can rationalize it (by the way, the only rationalization you need is that you want to do it).

You might be amazed at how resourceful you are, too, when your feet are held to the fire.

4. Now is the best time to start building your experience.

The sooner you put new work out into the world and introduce it to the people that can help you grow your business, the sooner you will build a fantastic body of work.

Your work may not be the best ever the first time you create that new product, or reach out for that big brand collaboration or magazine feature. But if you do it now, and keep doing it over time while taking note of the things that weren't strong, you will improve.

If you don't look back and cringe a little at your old work, then you probably launched too late. Launch early and don’t give up on the opportunities that are important to you.

5. There's no better feeling than doing exactly what you want every day.

Several years ago, I spent most of my time doing all the things I should have been doing and only dreaming about all the things I actually wanted to do.

Now, I get to choose what I want to do most days. Being able to spend my time on things that bring me joy is one of the most empowering feelings, ever.

But you don't get to that place by sitting around waiting for it to happen to you. You have to chase it, wrangle it, overcome adversity, and ignore everyone saying "You know what you should do..."

Focus consistently on your goals, both big and small. What action will get you closer to achieving them? Do that.

And do it as soon as possible.

Casey Sibley is a Reno, Nevada based designer and writer. She writes the blog Leap Repeat, sharing her experiences in pursuing a business and life that brings her joy, and encouraging other aspiring creative entrepreneurs to lead a life by their own design, on their own terms. She also owns Casey D. Sibley Art + Design, a lifestyle brand of accessories and home goods in a colorful, modern style meant to inspire a happy life.

You can find her sharing behind the scenes snapshots of her work on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and a few thoughts on leading a joyful life on Periscope @caseydsibley.

Photo Credit: Casey Sibley

7 day creativity challenge

By Carrie Brummer

Do you remember those amazing choose your own adventure books? Man how I loved to lose myself in those stories and all the choices I could make for my character. The funny thing is we are living one now. Today. But somewhere along the path to “adulthood” we were told to choose responsibility and obligation over creativity and fun. We feel without choice, thus, no adventures.

Despite research that tells us repeatedly that creativity is not only good for business, it actually makes us happier, healthier, human beings we feel guilty for taking time for ourselves to express our creative interests.

I’m here today calling you to make a new choice, a different choice, a better choice. Making time for your hopes and dreams isn’t selfish, it’s actually selfless. When we are at our best, we can give more to our loved ones. When we honour the very real need to take care of ourselves, we model the same example to our loved ones. We can literally make this planet a happier place by choosing to honour our creativity.

Start today with me and commit to 7 days of creativity. Let us honour our inner artist and enjoy some arts based play. While we don’t have all the time in the world, because we do have things like responsibilities, I’m pretty sure we can all find around 15 minutes a day.

Are you ready?

Warning: Actions speak louder than words. Creativity is about doing. Join me. Starting right now.  (Important Note: Each day’s task builds on the next.)

Day One

Find a blank piece of paper, a pencil, ruler and a compass (don’t have a compass? Use the tops of cups, plates, etc. as templates). Make a dot in the center of your paper and draw one large circle that has that dot/point as it’s center. Then make as many circles of varying sizes as you like, but be sure they share the same center point (it’s called being concentric).

Day Two

Use your rule and pencil to divide your circle in half. Then do it again, and again…. and again! At minimum divide your largest circle 4 times. You should create a bunch of “pieces of pie” by doing this.

Special note: You may decide to erase some of these marks later. A simple but often neglected piece of advice: make light marks with your pencil (they are easier to erase than dark marks). You can always return to any lines in your drawing to trace over them if you want your marks darker.

Day Three

Anywhere your circles and lines intersect, place a large or small circle using the intersection as your circle’s middle point. (This is a whole lot easier with a compass than templates!!) Be repetitive and create symmetry by drawing the same size circle all the way around. (Variation: you can decide to use every other intersection to also keep symmetry but make it a bit less busy).

Day Four

Look at your creation so far: are any shapes within your circles large and spacious? Fill in those spaces with some kind of pattern. I actually have an activity sheet for you today. Click here to download and get access to a mark-making sheet to help you brainstorm.

Again, remember symmetry is important: if you make one texture, where can you repeat it in other shapes to create harmony and balance? Fill up as many spaces in your drawing as feels good to you.

Day Five

Do you want your drawing to have more lines, circles, or other marks? Today is the day to refine the drawing and decide whether you are ready for colour. Then go find some colouring tools. Coloured pencils, markers, paint… select whatever feels most fun and exciting to you! Start colouring today if you have time.

You can make it as easy or as complicated as you like: do what feels fun.

Day Six

It’s time to colour! This may take more than 15 minutes so you get two days for sure to work on this.

Day Seven

Today you finish what may be your first drawing since school. You’ve just created an ancient artform, a mandala. They are symbols of the universe, of infinity and of connection. The last seems especially fitting, as you have just reconnected with your inner artist.

I’d love to see your work! Give a shout out to @ArtistThink on Twitter with an image of your artwork. And then go back to the drawing board and make some more. :)

Our life is one big choose your own adventure book. We are our own characters. So make a choice: choose your creative interests. Not only will you be happier and healthier for embracing your creativity, your family and loved ones will also benefit. They will see the happier, healthier you!

Carrie Brummer is an artist, educator and entrepreneur all wrapped into someone who loves traveling, eats way too much sugar in the form of chocolate chip cookies and currently lives in the country of Muscat, Oman. Her biggest passion at the moment is to encourage creative play in the lives of as many people as she possibly can: engaging with your creative interests makes us happier, healthier, more fulfilled human beings. Seriously, what’s not to like? That’s why her company Artist Think is now alive and kicking: it’s her vehicle to art-educate and art-empower. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook

Photo Credit: Unsplash