How to Start a Painting?

I had a fabulous, meaty question from a subscriber recently who wrote to say she had recently switched from a 30-year graphic design practice to painting and was finding it tough.

She asked “How do I start a new painting? My paintings have no consistency.
Do I just let it flow? Or does in need to have a set direction?”

This is the question that comes up when we begin to take a more focused approach to painting. When it becomes for us more than a pastime or hobby and becomes a passionate pursuit or profession.

Usually, it’s not the painting that’s tough, it’s the thoughts that come up – the judgments, the inner critic.

Here are some things I suggested she try:

1. Create a studio journal. Writing before starting a painting. Blurt everything out.
2. Step back from the thoughts that are coming up. Become aware of what the quality of the thoughts you have while painting.
3. Set a timer during your painting process and step back, pause every 20 minutes or so and notice what is going on. Check in with your body, emotions, thoughts.
4. If the thoughts are not supportive, replace with more supportive thoughts.
5. Take out all your paintings completed thus far and look at them as a group. Journal about them from a curious, non-judgmental perspective. Don’t worry whether you love it or hate it. Just get curious. Write down from a neutral voice what you are noticing.
6. Think from a broader perspective about what the paintings are about. What are they teaching you? What are they showing you?



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Artists & Money: Interview with Financial Therapist Bari Tessler

I had the pleasure of sitting down for a video chat with dancer, mama, financial therapist and mentor Bari Tessler last week.

Artists and Money – it’s a hot topic.

When I was young, I somehow picked up from the culture that being an artist meant struggling financially.

I was willing to make that sacrifice (at least when I was 23 years old!).

But, I hear time and time again that many creatives were discouraged from pursuing their dream because they were told they would never make any money.

Another cultural myth is the stereotype that artists are flakey in general and specifically with money. We can’t handle it. We spend it too quickly. We don’t keep track. Our heads are in the clouds. We never have enough money. When we do have it we spend it too quickly. We are unrealistic. We aren’t good with numbers.

While these stereotypes are damaging and unfair, they have may have some basis in all those qualities that make us so wonderful. Creativity is centered in the right hemisphere. It accounts for our immense capacity to vision and dream, but it’s the left hemisphere that plans, projects, analyzes, calculates, handles figures and so forth.

The bottom line is many of us – artists or not – have a lot to discover about our relationship to money.

What is our story around it?

What is our family history with money?

What are we neglecting in our financial lives?

What are we very good at?

What do we still need to learn?

What about budgets?

Can we fulfill our dreams on our income?

Where do we have shame around money?

Bari Tessler is a wonderful guide on this journey. I took her Art of Money course in 2013 and was so enthusiastic about it that my sister signed up the very next year and one of my dearest friends has signed up to  take it in 2015!

If you are interested in learning more about Bari’s comprehensive holistic approach, please click here.

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