July 10,2015
Getting It All Done

Many artists, actors, writers, musicians and performers can’t yet make a living from their art and need to have other jobs or parallel careers to support themselves and their families. With more than one job, it can be a real challenge to get to our creative work.

In my own case, I have been trying to set aside time to write and paint on a regular basis. But, I am not there yet. First, I need to catch up on some other priorities and also clear the space to have a place to write and paint. I have a painting studio, but I fear that it may need to be temporarily reassigned to a writing space. 

I just don’t know how I will get it all done. But, I guess there is no rush when we are doing our life’s work – the important part is to do what we can every day.  When we are doing our life’s work, the Universe supports us and helps us to find the time, space and energy.

One of the ways that I discipline myself to find time to paint is by volunteering. I volunteer to do a few shifts at my artists’ guild gallery with a friend, and while we are there, we paint. I also volunteer at a senior’s residence to paint with some of the residents.  Another thing that I do is take painting workshops – a two day weekend workshop every so often is ideal for me as it gets me painting for 2 days in the company of other artists. Having artists as friends is also a good way to stay motivated and inspired.

As for my writing, I write everyday for my BLOG. I write while I have my morning coffee. But, sometimes, that writing turns into private journaling, and hence, there is not a BLOG every day, but there is writing every day.

I am a goal setter and a list maker. I always have a plan. I do a lot and I work to priorities and this works relatively well for my paid work. It does not seem to work as well for my creative painting and writing activities because they don’t always rise to the top of the priorities list because they don’t earn me much revenue. It is also difficult sometimes to create on demand. I need quiet serene time in which to connect with my creative spirit for inspiration. It needs to come from my heart instead of my head.  Probably, all work should come from my heart instead of my head, but our world doesn’t seem to compensate us for that very well. My clients and employers want deliverables – output, and they want it fast! They want quality but they don’t allow time for high quality heartfelt masterful work. They want good work fast. That is different from creating art. I guess there are some artists who can put out a lot of good work fast, but I feel that I don’t want to create it if it isn’t heartfelt and inspired and masterful and that takes time, inspiration and dedication.

I am very grateful that my parallel career is related to creativity and that I am able to express myself creatively in my work, art and writing.  Over time, the connection and relationshp between these activities has become more solid.

© 2015 Dr. Carla Weaver

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July 04,2015
Artistic Disappointments

Despite the fact that we become experienced artists who apply for juried shows and sometimes we are accepted and sometimes we are not, it can be devastating to be declined.

I have been painting for about 25 years and I usually don’t get too upset when I don’t get accepted into a juried show. I would say that my acceptance rate has been pretty good.

I have observed the jurying process and found it to be professional and I learned from the experience that whether your work gets accepted depends on a few things, such as how many paintings were submitted, how many they are selecting, who the jurors are, how they feel while they’re jurying, what the other submitted work is like, how well your work is photographed, and how well it actually reproduces in a photograph, what was viewed immediately before it, what kind of show the jurors envision, and then all the stuff by which the jurors evaluate a painting – composition, color, texture, brushwork, drawing, subject matter. Does the painting stand out in a crowd in a good way?

Well, on a recent application, none of my three submitted paintings made the cut – they did not stand out in the crowd in a good way. Had I not worked so hard to produce what I thought were good works, I would not be so disappointed. But, I spent several days creating what I felt was some of my best work. That’s what’s disappointing.

Over the years, I have transitioned to painting more abstract work and less representational work, and sometimes, I find it difficult to judge the abstract work – is it good, or not? Apparently, this time, maybe not.  But, then maybe it is and it just didn’t appeal to the particular jurors or didn’t fit with the show they were selecting, or maybe, there was better abstract work … ??

Usually, I don’t submit my abstract work to these shows for the very reason that I often don’t know how to judge how good it is. However, I have had fairly good success at being selected for the abstract shows at the Federation of Canadian Artists gallery, and a few years ago, I remember not entering a juried show because I only had abstracts, and then when I attended the show opening, I thought to myself that my abstracts could have held their own beside some of the abstracts in the show, so I filed it away in my mind that I should enter my abstracts next time. 

I’m pretty disappointed because this was a show in which I really wanted to be included. I imagine that I am not the only one who is disappointed. It’s no different from being a writer whose book is declined by a publisher, or an actor who auditions and doesn’t get the part, or a candidate who interviews for a job and doesn’t get it, or a singer who auditions for a talent contest and doesn’t make the cut. As artists, we also need to learn to deal with disappointment and rejection, and not let it discourage us from pursuing our creative outlets. We need to paint the next painting, attend the next audition, or try another publisher and keep moving forward.

© Dr. Carla Weaver

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July 03,2015
Avoiding Isolation By Seeking Help

People who are alone do not have someone at home with whom to discuss their problems, concerns or worries. When we are able to share out worries and fears, we are more able to let go of them than if we are alone and just let those worrisome and obsessive thoughts roam around in our heads. It is amazing how the quiet acknowledgement form a spouse or the knowledge that one is loved and supported can turn one’s mind toward more positive thoughts and lift the worry. But, people who are alone do not have that same support at home, so they may continue to think or worry about their problems making the problems bigger and more troublesome than they actually are. They may take their obsessive worries to friends and this can place strains on outside friendships. Too much obsession about a problem can also place a strain on relationships at home.

People who are the victims of abuse or harassment also feel  isolated because  abusers often threaten their victims if they tell or the victims become afraid that no one will believe them if there is no hard or obvious proof or evidence of the abuse or harassment. If the victim is not believed, then the situation becomes more dangerous.

These times when there is no one to listen are difficult; isolation is painful. At these times, one may need to seek help from a clergy person, a spiritual or psychological counselor, or a support group. When we take our troubles to these appropriate places, we do not burden our closest relationships, and we also get better advice or support.  In fact, these are often safer places to share our concerns than in our friendships or families because professional responses will be more appropriate.  Good friends listen, and we listen back, but to avoid straining relationships and to get better support for our most troublesome worries, we may need to get the help we need from professionals.

© 2015 Dr. Carla Weaver

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