Mandalas, Doodles and being employed…

Art this past few weeks has consisted mostly of doodling. My doodles are mostly in the form of mandalas or start in the form of a mandala and then grow from there. I have done no painting or mixed media art and I’m feeling the absence of it in my life.

I’m on my fifth week of having returned to being employed. It is a part-time position which should pay enough to fill in the gaps financially which is a welcome relief. Part-time means I work anywhere from 20 hours to 24 hours with the occasional request to add more hours if I want when they need someone to fill in. My previous work was very sedentary. This position has me on my feet for the whole time except for breaks and lunches. I find myself extremely exhausted if I work 8 hours, but still tired after a 4 hour or 5 hour shift. In my 3rd week, I contracted a cold which hit me pretty hard, and I had to miss 4 shifts. I am still recovering but at least able to work.

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I have found it a bit difficult to switch my mind off after work and get into the mindset of doing any art.  This is why over the past few weeks I have only been able to produce pieces like I have pictured in this post of the mandala/doodles. I come home exhausted, my feet too sore to be on them any more than a few minutes, so I sit with them propped up while trying to decompress as I stream videos on cravetv or netflix and doodle in my journal. It is my hope as I become more comfortable with my new job and my body becomes more accustomed to the work, that I’ll be able to turn my focus towards my art.

Today and tomorrow are my days off and though I was given the option to work an extra four hours today, I turned it down. I knew I needed some self-care time for these two days to help further my recovery from my cold and I feel a deep need to do something more than doodling, possibly work on a mixed media piece for a class I haven’t had the motivation or time for these past few weeks.

My journaling has also taken a turn from expressing my concerns over finances to expressing my experiences and concerns over my new job. It is interesting how satisfying one concern can quickly turn into a different concern and need for journaling in order to get it out so we can focus on the things we need to.

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My new position is very public. I speak with probably a hundred or more people every day. Every single person is in a different frame of mind, some happy, some sad, some angry, some criticizing, many are a pleasure to talk to and can uplift in just the few minutes we interact together. I have no doubt this will eventually come out in my creativity in one form or another as I become more comfortable in what I’m doing.

In another aspect of my life, I live in a strata which has recently been doing some work to improve the appearance, making repairs and so forth. In one area of the yard some landscaping was done to cover some gaps under the fence where our dog could get out. Some earth was used to fill it in. Today, I noticed the earth that was used was taken from a corner which was elevated and in the spring tulips and daffodils would bloom. They apparently didn’t realize this and when I looked there were bulbs lying on top of the earth that had been dug up when they took some of the earth to fill in the gaps below the fence. To me these were little treasures I took and have now stored for the fall to replant. Hopefully, they will survive and bloom in the spring in their new location. I have hopes of adding a few small gardening plots around our patio and these will be a nice beginning and possibly inspiration for some art pieces in the spring next year.

I miss the many hours I had free to play with my art supplies and spend time on classes or watching videos to learn new techniques or skills. However, I am very grateful for the job and hopefully the end of my daily financial worries. My period of not working, being challenged financially, gave me some incentive to find alternatives for the more expensive art supplies. It also challenged me in ways I never expected and I am learning things about myself. Things I wanted to learn and things I never wanted to learn.

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Those things we never wanted to learn about ourselves, at least for me, are things which make me feel vulnerable. They make me feel helpless. It doesn’t mean I am helpless, it just means it makes me feel that way, if that makes any sense. At least until I find a way around it, or what I can do that will take that helpless feeling away. The most vulnerable thing to learn is when you find out you have a breaking point. The most strengthening thing to learn is when you find out you have a creative mind that will allow you to do what you need to do to avoid the breaking point.

When I felt like I had no structure in my life, when things felt chaotic and out of control, was when I found out focusing on art with structure, such as mandalas, or something with geometric shapes and structure, helped me to gain back a sense of control. I am only beginning to understand how art connects me with understanding myself and the world around me. It is an amazing thing to witness.

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Selling art….

My journey as an artist had begun with just wanting to awaken my inner artist. This journey started by simply learning to doodle by following some simple step out instructions on tanglepatterns.com . This was simple enough and soon expanded into learning how to draw mandalas.

I couldn’t stop there and soon developed into a full fledged adventure into all different mediums in the art world. I learned about mixed media art which appealed to my inner artist because, and to be quite frank, I’m just not a one medium girl. Even though I had some preconceived ideas that some mediums wouldn’t get along with me very well, I was soon to discover those ideas had no foundation to stand upon.

I ventured into all sorts of mediums and found some I am falling in love with. Acrylics and watercolors are probably my top two favorites right now. I’m also learning I love abstract painting as well as portrait painting. Who knew the two would get along? I sure didn’t when I first started this adventure of mine.

There are other things I am discovering along the way. As the saying goes, when one door closes another one opens and that couldn’t be more true in my case.

When I lost my job of 33 years, I was devastated. I worked in a field where the youngest in our field were all of retirement age. I thought this gave me job security since I was one of the youngest. I soon learned this wasn’t the case. Finding a job in the same field meant moving, uprooting, and still facing the same job insecurity.

I wondered if I could earn any money from my artwork. I was doubtful. I wasn’t a fool to believe my art was anything close to being a master piece or even desirable to be mounted on someone’s wall. That didn’t stop me from continuing to do my own thing and create art the way I wanted to. I had to have faith that something would work out for me.

The harder I worked at finding a job in mainstream typical employment world, the more I found rejection and disappointment which fueled my desperate mind. Even the government services couldn’t help me in my present situation. It has to get much worse before they will step in to help. So, I began looking at alternatives.

Once I agreed to make an important step into devoting the rest of my life to my creativity and artwork, things started happening. I wanted, really wanted to be able to sign up for Ever After 2016, an art course put together by Tamara Laporte. She is a phenomenal artist. Her style is whimsical. When I first came across her, though I loved her work, I was sure it wasn’t my style. But, I decided to take one of her free courses. Mostly because she also believes in using artwork to help heal emotional trauma. I had blocks from way back in my childhood I had trouble getting past and I thought, why not, it couldn’t hurt. So I took her Art, Heart and Healing course. You can find a list of her classes here, including her free courses.

I was blown away by the class. The amount of content she offered for this free class was amazing, so I signed up for some more classes. While I was still able, I signed up for Life Book 2017, thinking it would be the last class I could ever pay for until I had some steady income coming in. I also thought it would give me something to focus on for 2017, something good and uplifting, if things didn’t go well in the job search.

Then I heard about Ever After 2017. I had heard a bit about Ever After 2016, bits and pieces which at first had not appealed to me, until I had actually completed the Art, Heart and Healing class. Then while doing the lessons in Life Book 2017, I became hooked. The more I learned about Ever After 2017, the more I wished I could purchase the course. What I love about Tam is once you purchase her courses they are available forever. You can download all the videos and files and have access to them forever. Plus they will be available online in your account for as long as the site is kept up and running. The point is, I can download them and have them even if she chooses to close up shop.

I wanted Ever After 2017. I didn’t see how I could afford it. Tam is a generous entrepreneur. She gathers a lot of different artists to participate in Ever After and each instructor was given the opportunity to give away a free seat in the class. They did a blog hop to promote the course and to give away the seats. I decided to follow the blog hop and for each instructor, I followed the instructions required to enter the give-away.

When one door closes, another door opens, AND IT DID! I WON A SEAT in the course.

Then as I continued to work on my art and research ways to promote my art, I discovered something else. I discovered from some posts in a Facebook group I am a part of, a discussion about a few websites that allow you to post your art and sell it on their range of products. I looked into a couple of the sites but focused on Society6.

You may have noticed the picture on my sidebar of a t-shirt with Society6 across the picture. The t-shirt is covered in my artwork. This is my actual handmade abstract artwork that can now be purchased on various products on Society6 . I have other artwork available there as well. It isn’t just clothing. They sell, phone covers, art prints on canvas, framed or not framed, pillows, comforters, shower curtains, on and on. Go check it out. I am blown away by how well my artwork looks on the t-shirt and leggings, as well as blankets and pillows and so much more. I would love to buy my own but that will have to wait until I am earning an income.

If you love my artwork, please share this post, and my Society6 store with anyone you know and tell them to share it too if they like it. Here are two pictures of t-shirts with two other designs.

   

~Patti