Today is the day.
It is the day I write a blog for the first time in over a year. I'm splitting this update into two parts: (Life Update & Art Update). If you want to skip ahead to the art commentary, just keep scrolling my friend.
I’ve started a few updates over the past 15 months or so but the longer I go without writing, the more challenging it is to summarize developments in my life. So because enjoy making lists (and it seems like a simpler way of bringing you up to speed), please enjoy the following list of the “Generally Major/Cool Things in My Life Since July 2020”
The final thing I want to share I have no natural segue for because I am mentally fatigued; such is life. So here it goes, I am ready to run again (I hope)!
That’s right ladies and gents! As of today, I am dusting off my running shoes and starting a 12-week couch to 10k training plan. At the time of writing this, I am optimistic, well-rested, and motivated so, we’ll see how this goes. If everything plays out like it is supposed to (fingers-crossed), I should be running 6.2 miles on Christmas Eve! That is the goal anyway. It has been a very long time since I’ve been able to do any kind of regular running so I’m hoping my body is able to adjust to the new routine.
With regards to my art (which lets be real, may be the only reason you're even looking at this website), I've not put much effort into it since getting sick. It has only been recently that I've painted.
The above painting "Chronic" is probably the first piece I am actually legitimately proud of painting in this year so far. Working in gouache, I have found it intimidating to do any portrait work. To simplify things, I focused on limiting my palette to a double split complementary color scheme. I find that limiting my color choices ultimately makes me more creative and thus more satisfied with the end result. This time around was no exception.
From an emotional standpoint, I was feeling pretty dang sad midday last Saturday and thought, "Ugh fine, I'll just paint it out." So I did. I painted my feelings of frustration paired with just wanting to expose my fleeting moment of weary hopelessness without making myself feel pathetic. Sometimes using words just makes me feel too embarrassed and vulnerable. I don't want to sound like I am complaining, taking something good away from the world when I let myself become a broken record of "woe is me." But with art, I feel like I'm getting those feelings out and contributing something at the same time.
I straight up love self-portraits for this. Looking at this painting, I can see exactly what I was trying to express. I get to expel the uncomfortable feelings without saying anything I would wish to take back. Without feeling weak. I fully recognize being open about how you feel is the opposite of weak. I do not want to dissuade anyone from being open with their feelings to a safe source (my therapist is fantastic and deserves all of the gold and chocolate in the world). I would simply like to emphasize how art is a path that I often take when I want to express something in a way that feels safe to me. Nine times out of ten, I feel better when I complete the drawing or sketch.
Anyway, there you have it. She’s sill chugging along.
The last time I wrote to you all, it was early February and my life was on a completely different trajectory. I was earnestly following my goals to both draw and do yoga every day in 2020. I knew there was a distinct possibility that I might give up but I was hopeful that I could keep it going. I don’t think any of you will be shocked to know that I chose to let go of both those goals (womp womp). Still yoga-ing and painting...just not every single day.
I don’t think any of us could have predicted how 2020 would turn out. We’re half-way through the year and already it’s unlike any year I’ve been alive to see on earth. I thought COVID-19 would fizzle out before it reached the US. At their onset, SARS and MERS never impacted my daily life, so I believed COVID-19 would be the same.
And yet, As I write this post, I’m wearing a mask and contemplating how I intend to social-distance for the rest of the summer. Who am I comfortable being around? Should we be sitting outside? Should I be going to restaurants at all? Am I too old for Tik Tok and did I peak with Vine? Did I already have the “rona” back in March when I was coughing non-stop for a couple of weeks? That would’ve been my only symptom. Is there any way to know?
While so many of my peers have embraced the cultural changes that have come with wearing masks in public, it has been surprising to see so many (or perhaps just the loudest voices), so vehemently opposed to wearing them in public. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised given the state of this country, but it still amazes me that physicians are covered in PPE, working long hours to protect the lives of those in danger of dying from this illness, and Jessica from high school won’t put on a mask to go to Aldi, because THIS IS AMERICA.
I’ve come to the realization that it may always be this way in our country. God, I hate that prospect. I’m not sure how stopping the spread of disease became a political stance but here we are. Speaking of human life, Black Lives Matter. I’m hoping to spend the rest of 2020 learning more about how to make steps towards becoming not just sympathetic but truly anti-racist.
One of the podcasts I listen to added an episode called “Anti-Racist Thought Work for White People.” One of the main concepts I gleaned from it was addressing the argument that many white people make about how we were raised to be good, non-racist people. Case-closed. Not racist. When in reality, even if our parents set a perfect example (they didn’t) and educated us to treat others equally regardless of their race or ethnicity, our parent’s influence is just one influence of many.
We live in a society built on the oppression of POC, especially Black people. The influences of this system are around us all the time and I’ve learned it takes active work to both identify racist messaging and correct behavior caused by these beliefs. We can’t just say, “we should love each other more,” and be done with it. Because while the sentiment is on the right track, love is shown through action, not words. As many of us know well, words of love without action to back it up is just bullsh*t disguised as an ice cream sundae.
I’m really just scratching the surface here, and I’m hopeful that I can learn more and be humble enough to own my mistakes: the ones I’ve already made, and even the ones I’m probably going to end up making as I move forward. It's my biggest weakness but without humility, change just isn’t a possibility.
One other disappointment of 2020 is the end of my relationship. It’s challenging to write about this topic without feeling like I am disclosing too much or too little. For some reason, I feel that I should address somewhere so I’ll just say this and leave it: I believe we parted on good terms, and I wish him and his family all of the happiness in the world.
So here we are. July. My birth month. I always view it as a second chance to make new year resolutions. Reassess where I am on them. Last post, I lamented about my many student loans. How I didn’t believe I’d be able to even pay one of them off this year but hoped to try. Well, I’ve done it! Another one bites the dust. Much of this is due to your patronage of my art. So, thank you, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for getting me one small step closer to being debt-free. I have many steps to go, but I am hopeful I will continue making progress.
This is a time of transition globally, nationally, and personally. Everything around me is changing, from how I go to the grocery store, to how I connect with others. It’s easy to feel a bit lost in it all, like I’m wandering around a maze blindfolded. However, I think the important take-away for me is just to keep putting one foot in front of the other one. Keep waking up in the morning with optimism. Keep taking steps towards being a better person than I was the day before, and keep believing in people.
We’re only halfway through 2020. We can turn this year around if we all do our best and maybe sacrifice a little bit of comfort for a while (aka. Wear your dang mask).
Before we part, take a moment. Put your hand over your heart. Feel your heart beat and remind yourself that you are here. You are loved. You are capable of all things. You can do this.
Now that it’s February, I think we’re done saying Happy New Year. The invigorating sense of new beginnings is behind me now. I’m left with the nitty gritty daily commitment to be better than I was the day before.
Most days, I feel satisfied that I’m doing all I can to be a better “me.” I’m even satisfied on days I spend not actively working towards a goal.
I’m still waking up early for morning Yoga. Still drawing every day. Still trying to get adequate sleep. I’ve upped the frequency of my attendance to my Muay Thai classes. I’m drinking Banana Wave (Side note: I don’t know that this is actually healthy. Fooducate gave it a C+. I’m pretty sure that it’s full of sugar, but it makes me feel happy to have a small cup after workouts).
It’s at the point where I’m depending on the routine I’ve built to provide the framework that will allow me to achieve all I wish to achieve, while also giving me the flexibility to have grace on myself for when I fall short of perfection (which is often). This gives me a sense of peace in knowing that all things work out for the best.
Still, sometimes it seems like the mountain I’m trying to climb is just too enormous. I know that just putting one foot in front of the other is better than staring at my challenges dumbfounded, but that’s often where I find myself. Gulping down air nervously like a novice hiker, attempting to climb K2 without any training or the proper equipment. I just feel in over my head.
If I pause and evaluate what all needs to happen next, I feel hopeless, even with all of the effort I’ve been pouring into it. How will I ever be the artist I want to be, when I don’t even know how to get better? Seriously, how to all of these artists (Felicia Forte, for example) make their paint look so thick and luscious? Why is mine dull and muted?
How on earth am I going to pay off the thousands and thousands of dollars of student loans I owe (over 30K)? I’m sure I sound like a millennial broken record, but it is so disheartening to consistently pay my monthly bill (more than I’m asked) and yet I still owe more than what my parents originally took out on my behalf. I never imagined going to college would make me feel weighed down. I’m lucky, more privileged than so many, to have received a college education. At the same time, I am also left with a burden I didn’t understand when I started school.
Yes, there is more nuance to the issue but from a purely emotional, standpoint it’s discouraging at best. It impacts my daily life and it’s also one of the greatest reasons why I’ve never gone back to school to get an MFA or another higher-level degree; the cost is too scary.
In the end, I can’t change what has already happened, and I accept that this is the situation I find myself in today. I don’t like it, but I’m legally obligated to deal with it.
That being said, my goal this year is to pay off the smallest loan with the highest interest. As of today, that loan is at $1,899.53. I’ve budgeted in a way that will allow me to carve off an extra small chunk of it this year from my own 9-5 income, but I’m financially unable to contribute any more than that.
So, here’s where I’m at. I need to sell more artwork (cue sales pitch):
*Transatlantic Accent* You there!
Have you been eyeing anything I’ve created? Do you have an idea for a commission you might like? Is there an aching in your soul for something priceless and artsy?! Do you simply like the cut of my jib?
Well, step right up and please reach out to me. I will work with you and your budget to provide you with exactly what you’re looking for. Custom, one-of-a-kind artwork can make truly special gifts (Valentine’s Day, Birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, etc.).
Check out a sample of some of my work below. As of right now…they're all available! Prices for the below artwork range from $45 to $450 but I'm open to negotiation. I can also provide more specifics on sizing upon request.
And, if you’re not in a place to purchase anything. It’s all good. No worries pals.
It still feels weird to promote myself sometimes. I don’t want you to buy anything if you actually don’t like my work. I’m not really interested collecting pity. I do want to make sure I get my work out there and utilize all of my skills to be able to tackle this debt. Intrinsically, I believe I can provide something different that may fill a space missing in your life (or at least that space above the toilet in your guest bathroom).
It’s really interesting how time and money changes your perspective on things. There was a time early on in my art career where I felt crushingly intimidated about sharing my services. I was afraid of not living up to professional standards and selling my art felt like cutting off a limb.
I view my art differently now. I know I’m working at a standard I can be proud of. And while the work itself is still precious to me, selling it feels less like losing an arm or leg, and more like sharing my heart. The more I do it, the more comfortable I feel doing it again and the more I have inside me to share.
That’s about all I have to share today. Thanks for reading this far! If you did make it this far, comment the word, “What?” to prove you’re a true follower. Lol! Or don’t. Exert your free will.
I don’t feel like being kind to myself today. This is the second day in a row that I’ve had to beg myself to get out of bed in time to do yoga before work. And truly, the yoga has helped, but I’ve just been tired and a bit sore all day most of the days this week, and that makes me grumpy.
The deal is, I’m trying to push myself to get to Muay Thai more frequently and its a pretty serious workout. Maybe my body is just adjusting to the extra training, and/or maybe I’m just pushing myself a little too hard too soon.
And all in all, I’m just feeling somewhat despondent at the moment. A significant part of me just wants to go home and be alone. Cry into a pillow. Hold my kitty. Eat ice cream. If you’d have asked me on Monday if I was going to feel this way this week, I would have told you it was unlikely. And yet, here we are.
What do I do when I hit the wall like this? Tonight is date night, so I’ll go spend some quality time with Taylor, but that leaves tomorrow. What is the plan? Well originally, I’d planned to go to the gym after work, maybe spend 20-30 mins on the elliptical.
But now, I’m considering just staying home, taking it easy, and possibly just reading something. I can maybe go for a walk or do some light stretching, but I need to find a way to be gentle to myself while I’m feeling burnt-out this week.
I foresee a lavender scented bubble bath in my future.
P.S. – So far, I've been successful on my resolutions to do yoga and draw every day. Despite my exhaustion, I’m proud of myself.
I’ve made it over a week and have (so far) kept my resolutions.
Some days have been easier than others. I have particularly enjoyed the early mornings after I’ve gone to bed at a decent time. The yoga is so rejuvenating when I wake up rested; it has actually been a joy, something for which I've been sincerely excited.
After late nights, like last night, it has been slightly more challenging to peel myself out of the covers, and onto my mat. Still worth it, but challenging.
Luckily, I know as long as I can get myself out of bed, I can find the kind of yoga to fit whatever space I am in (physically or psychologically). Some days its intense, static, muscle strengthening. Other days, it’s meditative, flexibility and breathing focused. This morning, I chose the latter.
I love that I can choose how I want to start my morning. I have the option to ease into it slowly like a swan gliding over a still pond or alternatively, jump in head first with gusto!
This week has been my first full week back to work, so Its been all the more important for me to strive to keep my goals while I get back into my routine. My intention has been to set the standard for how I want to create this habit for the year. And while it would have been feasible for me to do the yoga in the evening some days, I really wanted to establish a morning practice whenever possible.
So far. So good.
I’ve also kept up my drawing. As with the yoga, some days I have been able to be more involved and detailed than other days. Regardless, it has been fun.
Yesterday, I was at the ComedySportz Indianapolis holiday party with my boyfriend and I knew it would be the only chance for me to sketch all day. In the past, not having dedicated time to draw at home or alone would have deterred me from creating at all. However, I reminded myself that I was committed to keeping this promise to myself. So, I went to the party and made some quick gesture drawings on the back of some of Taylor’s old/outdated resumes.
Are they the most polished of drawings? Um. No. clearly.
However, I find these quick drawings train my eye teach me more about drawing with accuracy than some of my dedicated private drawing time. I can’t remember the last time I practiced drawing in this way, and it makes me happy to know that I’m connecting with my creative spirit.
Touching on a completely different process, I painted a gouache painting this week along with my other sketches. It accomplished the task of drawing for the day (I consider painting a kind of drawing), as well as creating a little gift for my boss’ milestone birthday.
The more I work in gouache, the easier it flows. I really enjoy the process and it’s taking time, but I sense that I am improving ever so incrementally.
So, overall, I’d say I’m doing pretty well. I’m satisfied. Right now, my focus has shifted from pushing myself to giving myself a little grace. I want to keep the habits up, but I don’t want to push myself too hard. In addition to yoga every morning, I’ve found time to get to the gym for some more intense, cardio-based workouts this week, and I’m planning on going to my Muay Thai class again tonight.
I need to acknowledge, however, I tend to push myself harder than is beneficial, and I know I need to do all I can to care for myself gently as a compliment to the intensity. It can be challenging to strike a balance when all I want to do is see positive changes in my life. However, I’ve learned that the best positive outcomes are usually a result of patience and a gradual shift in behaviors over time. That’s how it is for me anyway.
I will get stronger and be able to hold more complicated poses…not within two weeks, but perhaps with consistent practice, a matter of months. I want to be able to draw with more accuracy and speed, but that’s not going to be immediately perceptible. It’s going to happen in its own time while I keep up with my daily habit. In the meantime, I'm seeking to enjoy the individual sessions for how they make me feel, not just for the outcomes I wish to see.
Along those lines, it often feels like the stressors in my life are overwhelming and I want to do everything I can to take away my anxiety and fears. I do all of the things I know to do when I am overcome with negative emotion: Take my meds daily, exercise, practice mindfulness, get quality sleep, etc. but I’ve accepted that often it just takes time to get past challenging times or situations. I can be doing all of the right things, but emotional pain does not usually sink away down the drain with one relaxing bubble bath. It takes consistent care. I have to make peace with the pain in the meantime, and accept that eventually I will get past it.
So, I say this to be an encouragement to you. Maybe you’re going through something and you’re barely making it. I’m sure there are many of you out there experiencing pain I can’t even begin to comprehend. I know that you are strong, and it may not get better today, or tomorrow, or the next day. But if you keep trying to care for yourself (whatever way that may be), you will get through it. You are resilient.
It’s day two of trying to keep my resolutions for 2020. I’d like to start out by saying this:
For those of you who sent encouraging messages to me in response to my previous blog entry, thank you. It really means a lot to me that so many of you expressed care. It wasn’t necessarily my intent to garner sympathy but you guys were there for me, and I won’t soon forget your pep-talks (but I probably will eventually. That's just how memory works).
I do, however, want to emphasize that my goal with the last post was to fire me up to make the positive changes I’ve been contemplating making for a while now. I think it may have seemed like I might have been ignoring previous accomplishments or being too hard on myself. To that aspect, I will have to disagree, and you’re just going to have to trust me on this.
I am proud of the ways I’ve grown in the past decade. I’ve overcome some huge hurdles and I’ve become a person that I think is generally pretty cool. I’m simply ready to take on the next decade with fervor. I want to see what I can do going forward.
That being said, I have identified a few, specific steps/goals for the next year that I hope will keep that fire burning.
As you can see, I'm doing all I can to avoid wearing those squeaky, shiny, tan orthopedic shoes that you might find on the gnarled feet nearly every resident at any retirement community in the country. You know the ones...
Along those lines, I also purchased some new running shoes, and new sports-wear. There’s just something about a new sports bra that makes you want to jump up and kick-ass. Amiright ladies?
This is a big one for me. I’ve never done anything like it before so I’m a little nervous, but when I break it down, I don’t think it’s going to be too bad. In fact, I have a feeling its going to be a lot of fun!
I’m not saying I’ll be drawing a mega-masterpiece, magnum opus. I’m talking about just sketching. If I can do it in 30 seconds, it counts. Of course, I’d hope I can do more than just a 30 second drawing but the point is, developing consistency for my creativity. I believe this practice will enhance my drawing skills and make me a better artist. I’m also hoping it will lead me onto creating bigger and better things.
Now, what do I need from you? I am asking you to hold me accountable (unless you don’t care. If you don’t care, please just move along with your day). I’ll be posting my sketches to my Instagram daily, and I may occasionally post one or two here. If you notice that I have stopped posting them, feel free to pester me about it.
That’s right, I gave you permission to try and annoy me (notice how I didn’t say “harass”). Studies show that having accountability increases the likelihood of the person meeting their goals. So here I go you guys!
Here I am. Smiling. Hopeful. In Aruba for goodness sake! You'd never know there was an inner war going on in that head of mine.
In my last post, I briefly discussed some art goals for 2020. They’re pretty modest, and I think it’s because I’m legitimately doubtful I could handle anything all that challenging. Yes, fear of failure has crept back into my life and dug it’s claws into my psyche.
What does failure look like to me? It looks like being a joke. I don’t want to be the "wannabe" artist that I fear I am. People, especially in the Midwest, do not want to tell you how much you suck. We’re obsessed with being accommodating and kind. So, there is a significant part of me that wonders if any compliment I get on my work is just a fellow Hoosier being polite, when what they really want to say is, “Wow, I can’t believe you wasted all of that student loan money on something you really have no talent in.”
Failure for me looks like being easily winded and unable to live the active lifestyle I want to live. It means I have to spend hundreds of dollars buying another, larger wardrobe. And while I believe beauty is what lies in our hearts not in our jeans, I really don’t have the money to throw at Old Navy. And truly, in my specific case, I’ve let myself become lazy and ignore my physical health. It’s a very personal thing, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.
And while I sit here snuggled in my new flannel sheets, dissatisfied with my 2019 decisions, I revisit an alternative version of me that exists in my imagination. This Angela, has a studio in a building with other local artists (not in her home) She gets to collaborate and forge real friendships with these people. Alternative Angela wears more black, has redder lipstick, and is always on top of bleaching or waxing her upper lip hair. She spends much more time creating and much less time eating mindlessly in front of her television. This version of Angela sells more work, shows and more prestigious exhibitions, and is self-assured that she has the mutual respect of her peers.
She exercises regularly and eats food that fuels her body and makes her feel good inside and out. She’s working to start her own business, a local art supply/framing shop. It will succeed; she’s not afraid that she doesn’t have enough money, or that a traditional brick and mortar store wouldn’t work in this economy. She’s well prepared. She’s going to make it work, and work well.
I sigh and glance up at the ceiling. How much of this fantasy is a possibility and how much is truly unrealistic? How much am I holding myself back from doing what needs to be done for me to live up to my potential?
Can I tell you the truth, the disappointing truth of it all?
I am my own greatest obstacle. While I’ve worked very hard to learn love myself, I don’t like myself very much at this moment.
Everyday I wake up and tell myself that I am going to do better than the day before. I am going to choose foods that well help me be able to lose some weight (yeah, controversial, I know), so that I can run, box, and garden to best of my ability. So that I put less of a strain on my feet, which after a summer of taking long walks in cheap flats (glorified pieces of cardboard surrounded by fabric) and gaining weight have created the perfect condition for me to develop plantar fasciitis. And yes, admitting this makes me feel so old. I feel more ancient admitting my feet hurt in the mornings than I did when I turned 30.
In addition to neglecting my physical health, I’ve completely pushed my artistic soul off to the back burner in my life, and it makes me sick (not like, ebola sick, more like the common cold sick, but still, unpleasant!). How will I ever progress as a creative, if I never make time for it anymore? Why have I let this stop being a priority? Time and time again I’ve complained to you on here about how I’ve lacked the discipline to get myself into my studio regularly.
The unfortunate matter at hand, is that not only have I neglected my art, but now I’m realizing that I’ve stopped challenging myself in more than my creativity. I’m not challenging myself physically. I’m not pushing myself professionally. The only thing I can think to do is to intervene in my habits before I steer this train straight off of a cliff.
Here’s what 2020 is going to mean for me. 2020 is a year for me to develop discipline once again. I’m going to commit to my art, my fitness, and my work in addition to my relationships. I am going to challenge myself to fight laziness tooth and nail, as long and as hard as it takes. I am better than this. I can do more than just settle into a life of coasting by, when I know I have it in me to excel. I want this year, this decade, to be the beginning of a renewed sense of self. I am going to do my best to live this life I’ve been given with the volume on max.
I'll end this entry with a photo of me from Summer 2010. Excited and also a little scared for what the future would hold. A time when of a lot healing and pain, but also a time of investing in myself. I'm hoping to grasp that energy, and channel it again into 2020.
Hold me to it, beautiful people.
Hello Loyal Readers,
Loyal you must be, if you’re still reading this. I always tell myself I’ll be better about posting consistently…but you know, life is what it is. It’s a process of gradually filling your calendar with more things: dinner with so-and-so, dermatologist appointment, holiday shopping, holiday cooking, filing taxes, and so on….until all of the sudden you realize you’ve become your mother (though it’s really not a bad thing in my case 😉)
Anyway, you don’t need the excuses. I’m here and I’m ready to spill some tea. Well, maybe not tea…I’m sharing some relatively tame info, so maybe you could say I’m spilling the…almond milk? Can that be a thing? Someone tells you a boring story, instead of “spilling the tea,” they’re “dripping the almond milk?”
Alright. I’m here to drip the almond milk, so get out your bounty paper towels, cause it’s gonna be sticky (oh, ew. What have I done?).
It’s the time of year where I obsess over my progress, or lack thereof, and start to ideate on what I should focus on for the coming year. That’s right, it’s resolution time, baby! I’ve mapped all of my resolutions out through my super awesome project management platform, SmartSheet.
Sidenote: SmartSheet rocks my world. I use it for practically everything now. Groceries (check), Christmas list (Check), RSVP lists (Check), and now resolutions. I’m addicted. I don’t know how I did anything before having it in my life. Not getting paid to say that, I just love the software.
I made a few creative resolutions:
I thought they seemed like fairly “smart” goals.
I’ve made quite a few gouache paintings over the past few months, but I’ve been neglecting my first love, Oil Painting. I’ve got a couple of incomplete paintings that are, I hate to admit, over a year old. I want to wrap those up in a shiny red bow and officially finish my work on them, anything additional to that I will happily take, but I want those two paintings to be a priority.
I just don’t like loose ends, you know. It feels sloppy.
Of course, I saw this adorable resolution list on Instagram the other day from @coco__glez:
Sigh, it completely dwarfs my piddly analytical list. I mean look at it! So adorable. And the goals, they’re fun. I especially like #1. What a clever idea to create work inspired by different books. Obviously, stylistically, this artist is very different…but that could be a really fun idea.
So here’s my question for you, If you would want to see me paint anything based on a book, which one would you choose, and why? I think this idea would bring some much needed creative-joy back into my work. I’d be interested in your suggestions.
At the end of they day, I need to find a way to feed my spirit in 2020. I mean, It’s important that I work on paying my student loans, and succeeding professionally but I can tell I’ve let my creative-self diminish and slither into the creepy/forbidden recesses of my mind where I keep my memories from middle school and my unyielding adoration of the power rangers.
Here’s to you 2019, you silly lil’ beeotch (I only wrote this to seem cool and relatable, like I haven’t lost my quirkiness to “the man,” but in actuality, I was to afraid to write the actual b-word because a). I don’t want my parents to be disappointed in me, and b). I like my job). You’ve been an interesting year.
P.S. Oh hey, If you are interested in seeing something REALLY cool. You should watch the airing of S12 Ep4 of “The Dead Files” on the Travel channel.
I’m not saying anything more about it; just watch it. Trust me 😉
Going into the summer, I felt worthless as an artist. I was burnt-out on making things and having them just stack up in my studio, taking up space and suffocating my creativity. I was getting sick of painting things no one seemed to want to purchase. Somehow, I let my fire go out.
February through May, I consistently made the choice to avoid sitting down in front of my easel. Boxes, old shirts, empty cans of sparkling water (my drug of choice), and all kinds of random things began to make their home in the corners of the studio. It was like I knew I didn't want to be in there, so I made it less comfortable.
In my teens and twenties, I didn't have this problem; I just made work I felt was satisfying in some way. I did it because it was fun and made me feel like I was giving something back to the universe. Youthful-20-something Angela created art to share, and if she sold something, it was just an added perk. She wanted to paint meaningful subject matter and pour her bleeding heart out into the world.
So, by the end of May, I was considering throwing in the towel on art. I had one commitment I had to honor, a three-month show in the Garfield Park Arts Center. After that, I was going to burn my collection of work in an angry bonfire while softly humming Fleetwood Mac's Rumors album. Okay, maybe not but ultimately, I was just going to try to get through the summer show and let my art take a back-seat in my life.
And then it all started to turn around. I made sales in my art show. shocking. More than I was anticipating. I was contacted about an opportunity that....I can't tell you guys about until sometime in December, but it was a wonderful experience AND it paid.
In addition to this financial success, I scrounged for some extra cash and went to my local money-hole: Michaels, to purchase some brand-new materials. A type of paint I'd never used before: Gouache. It's pronounced like "Gwash" (Rhymes with squash). This might have been the smartest decision I made all summer.
Let me tell you, I love this stuff. Painting with it has been like opening a door that I didn't even know about. The process is so fun and quick. I feel good painting with it, and even better with the end result. It re-lit the little flame in my heart for creating. As they say, boo-yah.
Not only that but you guys, Your interest in my work and continued encouragement keeps me going. Being an artist is not a simple/straight forward thing. I didn't just graduate from college and go to the art company for an art job with impressive benefits and a 401k. I can't trade a painting for an appointment to my gynecologist. I have to carve my own path in this world, and it can be burdensome and discouraging. Knowing I bring even a smidgeon of joy to your lives can sometimes be enough motivation to start on a new project.
(I cuss in the next part of this blog...sorry Mom).
Of course, I miss the days of college when I made shitty paintings I thought would be my "magnum opus," late into the night, while sipping latte's and listening to the Sleigh Bells with Melinda. I felt like I was so unique (bahahahaha!).
Art just came so easy back then. I don't know if it was the "blessing" of taking studio classes, and the regularity of the time I spent in the art building, or what...It's funny how memory works. I know I experienced anguish, heartbreak, and frustration just as I do now, but my heart only clings to the good times, and feeling like I was basically the best artist to ever live.
I miss feeling like God's gift to the art world. I laugh to myself writing that, but I was naïve and so full of bubbling potential I was convinced I could be the most celebrated artist on the planet...if I could just find an "in" or make it into a juried show. Hell, I guess it could still happen. I'm not dead...but it's also no longer my dream. Or perhaps, Critical Acclaim just isn't as important to me now.
I don't go around telling people I'm the reincarnation of Michaelangelo (just because my name is Angela Michele)...and yes. I used to do that, jokingly, but yes I did that. Cringe away.
My dream now, is to just be me. I will paint because it feels right. It makes me feel good.
So the good news is, I'm reinvigorated to create. I'm ready to pick up my brushes and make some new work for you. I'm reaching inside of me to find that young, hopeful, lil' artist gal and get excited again. Here's to that *clinks invisible glass*
Btw, I turned 30. GASP. So I guess my youth is gone. Long ago are the days of zero injuries, and skin-elasticity. Woe is me! Woe is me! *Cries into pillow*
Its been a while. Sorry I've flaked out on you. I hate it when I do this (I always do this), because how can I sum up activities for the past five months?
The artwork has been a little slower coming these past months. I think I bit off a little more than I could chew this summer when I had my portrait special. I was incredibly humbled to have had so many of you interested in my work. I had no idea how popular it would be. But wow, that created a lot of work for me!
I was committed to getting these drawings out to you, and at the same time, daunted by how many orders I'd racked in. This summer project took me a lot longer than I'd anticipated, and by the end of it, I'd realized I had no energy left over to make my own personal work.
Commission work is very important to me, and I take it seriously. However, in order to create quality work for the individuals who commission me, it is vital that I also have time to feed my soul with art I make just for me. This was something completely impossible to do with the amount of work I'd chosen to take on.
Since then, I finished one more commissioned piece and took a break from making work. I've been a bit burned out. It's caused me to reexamine how I take on commission work. Here's what I'm committed to doing going forward.
Outside of the commission world. I've recently had a First Friday show at New Day Craft. It was a huge encouragement for me to have friends and family come out in support. I even sold a piece on the opening night! Here's to hoping I sell more before the show ends at the end of the month.
If you'd like to stop by to see my work, make sure to support this wonderful local business by grabbing a tasty mead or cider before leaving. You won't regret it! They have these delicious new spritzers that taste like the fountain of youth (or so I'm told).
I've had at least one major change to my life in the past few months. I would love nothing more than to tell you all about it, but out of respect for the privacy to another individual involved I'm going to keep my lips zipped for now. Just know, I'm happy. :)
Over New Years Eve, I was able to visit one of my best friends, Amanda and so many other friends in Bradford Ontario. I brought in 2019 with a bit of a cold, but was still able to have a wonderful time with my all of my Canadian friends over delicious craft beers and fresh poutine.
My being able to enjoy myself, despite coughing incessantly is mostly thanks to Buckley's, an amazing cough medicine that tastes like liquified pine needles, melted-down cough drops, and lighter fluid. I drank a whole bottle like a drunken sailor because it works pretty damn well. In fact, I bought an extra bottle to have at home because stupid America doesn't sell it. We're too busy trying to build an idiotic wall.
I'm always shocked by how much happens in a year. January last year, I was a crumpled mess. I felt lost and frustrated but hoped the year ahead would bring a renewed joy. Well it did. In addition to all I've already mentioned, 2018 was the year I took responsibility for my mental health. To be completely transparent with you, I started speaking to a therapist, and have begun taking an anti-depressant.
I mention this despite being a bit self-conscience about it, because I think it is important for you to know that it has been such an incredible thing in my life and if you think it could help you at all, I would encourage you to look into it. I feel more like myself than I have in years. I feel more in touch with the Angela I was as a girl. It is a major relief.
So in 2019, my goals are to carry on taking care of myself mentally, physically, emotionally, and artistically. I want to create more art, and strengthen the artistic voice that's been hibernating the past few months.
Here goes nothing!
Angela DeCamp is an Indianapolis based artist. who enjoys the finer things in life: black coffee, carnival tickets, the sound high heels make when they clickty-clack on the sidewalk.