My 2017 Word Is Steady

Had you told me that 2016 would be the year I would burn out, take a month long vacation, spend part of said vacation in Santorini floating in the Aegean sea on my back so I could keep the salty water from stinging the stitches I would get after that near death motor bike accident, and quit my crazy but secure six figure salaried day job for my beautiful no-where-near-six-figure dream job, I would’ve said “GTFOH, who me?”

But then it all happened. Twenty sixteen will forever be known as my LEAP year!

 

Adjusting to my new normal - full-time artist and creative entrepreneur - hasn’t been easy. In fact, it’s been really hard especially managing my mood, being a team of one and dealing with inconsistent cash flow. No book or blog prepares you to leap from the known into the unknown. Sure these tools help with business basics - business models, marketing, and branding - but they do little to prepare you for the non stop emotional rollercoaster.  The constant anxiety, the loneliness, the always wanting to throw up, the sleepless nights, the 15-hour work days, the feelings of nothing being enough, and the never ending to do lists.

Nothing really prepares you for all of that. Knowing why you made the leap in the first place and keeping your WHY squarely before your eyes helps tremendously though.

As I start this new year and my fourth month of making art full-time, I need an anchor, something that I can wrap my whole self around as I chart these new to me waters. I can’t remember the last time I chose a word to ground my year, but it’s time to resurrect the practice. And after lots of prayer, mediation and stillness, my word arrived. 

My 2017 word is STEADY.

Steady adjective | \’ste-dē\

1 a: direct or sure in movement
   b: firm in position
   c: keeping nearly upright in a seaway

2: showing little variation or fluctuation

3 a: not early disturbed or upset
   b: constant in feeling, principle, purpose, or attachment

   c: not given to dissipation

And yes, I’ll take ALL of the definitions. Thank you Merriam-Webster. I love that my word isn't pretentious or full of great expectations. Sure, I'm expecting to thrive in my art practice and business this year but I'm not putting any unrealistic pressures on myself. None of this six-figures in six-weeks non-sense.

When I started my public health practice after getting my MPH in 2006, I earned $51,500 dollars a year as an analyst. When I left my job four months ago, I left as a Senior Director supering growing teams of Directors and junior staff. I earned $112,000 dollars doing so. I say it not to boast, but to remind myself that at the beginning of every new career there's a starting point, a bottom of sorts.  I'm ok with that. I'm OK with the fact that at age 36, I decided to start over, to start a new career as a professional artist pimping her wares and services in-person and online.

My ultimate goal in a nutshell is to have a thriving, prolific and profitable art career and business where I lead a small team of creatives that make fine and commercial art goods that inspire and instigate social change. 

Right now though, I just want to settle into a grove where I’m present in each moment, focused on my own artwork and business, and not comparing myself or my work to anyone else’s. In this new year, I want to be clear about what I’m aiming my art and art practice at, open to new partnerships and opportunities to hone my skills and grow my business, and steady, come what may.

in love and art,
cd

p.s. the art print shop launches on 1/15 with new collages alike the one above. yay #fineartforeveryone and every budget ;)

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye is probably a household name now thanks to Solange's A Seat at Table album, but many of us art lovers and art makers have been crushing on her for years now. I can't quite remember when I first discovered her work, but I do remember the first piece of hers that pulled me in. It was Mason's Yard. The colors, the composition, and the brush strokes just makes you want to stop and stare.

And if you're a people watcher like I am, you can't help but wonder what's on this woman's mind. Is she thinking about her partner being late for their date or the sermon Pastor preached that morning?

It's up to you to fill in the gaps of the story. 

In a 2010 interview with Nadine Rubin Nathan in the New York Times Magazine, Yiadom-Boakye described her compositions as “suggestions of people...They don’t share our concerns or anxieties. They are somewhere else altogether.” This lack of fixed narrative leaves her work open to the projected imagination of the viewer. (Jack Shaman Gallery | Artist Profile)

A R T W O R K  F A C T: Each of Lynette's paintings are completed in one day. Doing so helps preserve the mood and the artist's stream of consciousness. Two words: prolific. genius.

And then there's Complication, the now extremely well-known Lynette Yiadom-Boakye piece that inspired Solange's Don't Touch My Hair song from her recent album A Seat at the Table. Read more about artists inspiring artists over on the CRWN blog.  

in love and art,
cd

Basil Kincaid

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Instead of squirreling this incredible artwork away and promising myself to whip up a tidy blog post soonish, I'm sharing it now. Basil Kincaid's work seized my attention today and for that I'm grateful. Good art will do that to you sometimes. It will seize your attention and get you focusing on what's most important. 

Creative entrepreneurship is taking it's toll on me emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I question even if I'm cut out to do any of this. Is my work good enough? How will I make money? Should I just get a full time job now instead of later? What the hell am I doing trying to be a full-time artist at 36 (soon to be 37 in a few short days)? I feel sick most days.

But then I take some deep breaths and get back to my work. Underneath all the uncertainty I'm feeling, I really do believe that I can do this, that I can figure out how to live a full and fully supported creative life.

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in love and art,
cd

My First Art Show

peace the passes all understanding christa david collage

And so it begins: my first art show!

My artwork will be a part of a really important and timely show opening in Vermont tomorrow as part of the Awaken Collaborative. Big thanks to my friend and fellow artist A'Driane Nieves who recommended my work to artist and curator, Sabrina Leonard. Bless you both! Having my work be a part of this important exhibition, this important conversation at this particularly point in history strengthens my resolve to keep making art that communicates a clear and honest perspective. 

I can be mad all I want to about the state of things in America, the world, or I can roll up my sleeves and DO MY DAMN WORK. As an artist my work is create things that make us pause, ponder and repent (as in to change our minds), especially if doing so brings us closer to affirming our shared humanity and divinity.

Here's the press release for the show. If you're anywhere near Vermont, do go see the show for me. #onward #thereismoreworktodo

press release
Controversial Artwork on Racial Injustice opens at Johnson State College this weekend.
Underhill artist and Vermont native Sabrina F. Leonard, announces the opening of her community-based art collaborative “AWAKEN: Exploring White Fragility and Criminal (In)justice” at 3pm this Sunday, November 13th, 2016 at Julian Scott Memorial Gallery.
Leonard says, “Just because we’re the 2nd whitest state in the nation, we do not escape our culpability to participate in a conversation on race. I was drawn to speak up publicly on this issue when I got tired of seeing Black men murdered on my computer screen. I didn’t know what to do, but I had to do something.

“My ancestry is poor, immigrant farmers who achieved middle class status here in Vermont, and I spent my teen years thinking that my background wasn’t privileged because I knew how to work hard. Participating in social justice work showed me that just wasn’t true. After the Dallas shootings this summer, I decided that since there weren’t any clear avenues for me to participate in activism, I would make my art my activism, and take as many people with me as I could.”

The project grew from a small group of (Johnson alum) Leonard and two professors at Johnson, to include two dozen volunteers and 30+ donors from 8 states, as well as featured artists from California, New York, and South Carolina. “This was intimidating” admits Leonard. “I very quickly exhausted the few artists of color in my local network. They’re busy with their own work, and they’re hesitant to touch this subject because most white people are just not equipped to engage in an effective way. Here’s the reality, though: White people need to do the work of turning toward our discomfort, examining our implicit bias, and preparing ourselves to be of service in a Black-led movement. This work won’t be easy, but we need to do it anyway.”

The show opens this Sunday (November 13, 2016) with a second opening for Johnson students on Monday, and will remain open during gallery hours until Friday afternoon (November 18th).

Contact:
Sabrina F. Leonard
sabrinaf.leonard@gmail.com
802-734-5535
Awakencollaborative.com
https://www.facebook.com/awakencollaborative/
Sabrinafleonard.com

Sunday Summary: Creative Entrepreneurship Uncensored

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It's midday and I'm sitting in my home studio checking things off my to do list like a BOSS! Because, well, I am the boss now. I'm officially a full-time artist and creative entrepreneur (yep, I wanna throw up and cry tears of joy right now).

I QUIT MY DAY JOB!!!

I know, crazy pants.

I gave my notice on July 26th (and submitted my official letter on July 27th).  My last day in the office was September 2nd. August was one big emotional blur. The hardest part of quitting wasn't the actual quitting part, it was the long process of reconciling my feelings about my decade long public health career and saying goodbye to all my friends and colleagues part.

Lots of tears...most of them happy.

Now that I am officially settled into the grove of working from home and for myself, I can get back to writing and sharing some of the finest works of art I can find and see up close. 

Don't worry, I plan to share this crazy beautiful creative entrepreneurial journey I am on as well. Each week, I take to Facebook Live to share the week's happenings - the uncensored version of quitting a secure six-figure day job and diving head and heart first into entrepreneurship. You can catch up here - Sunday Summary - and watch weekly on Facebook Live at 9pm EST.

Do join me!

in art and love,
cd
 

Olivia Pendergast

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There is something so familiar about Olivia Pendergast’s art. The colors, tones and expressions of her subjects are just memorizing. Sometimes art catches me and I am like “WHOA now that is dope,” or “Artist Z is so talented, how she do that?” And then there are other times when I experience art and am lost for words. I simply settle in and stare at myself staring back at me.

What art offers is space – a certain breathing room for the spirit. – John Updike

in art and love,
cd

 

ruby onyinyechi amanze

ruby onyinyechi amanze
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I love it when I stumbled upon artwork that makes me stop, stare, and think and if it includes assemblage (collage) of any kind, I am pretty much smitten. The work of ruby onyinyechi amanze (lowercase: artist's preference) definitely has me smitten and contemplating the importance of space - empty space, negative space, breathing space - in telling a story. She describes here ongoing series aliens, hybrids and ghosts as...

"Exisiting somewhere between constructed reality, fantasy, memory and imagination, these creatures and their adventures reflect the layered experiences of people who live in-between worlds and whose fluid identity is not grounded in a singular geography or permanence-based, notion of home. In this space, creatures find authenticity, wholeness and freedom in their ability to simultaneously belong nowhere and everywhere. In this world, they play."

Aaaah PLAY! Now that's my kind of world. What about you? Share your thoughts on ruby onyinyechi amanze's work in the comments, I would love to hear them.

in art and love,
cd

Kerry James Marshall

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I saw this beauty up close recently at the MET Breuer and one word - OMAHGAWD! Just breathtaking. Mr. Marshall's uber black figures are like magnets - they hook your gaze and pull you in! It's all intentional according to Marshall.

In an article I recently read of on ARTNews, Mr. Marshall remarked:

“There needs, at some point,” he said in his MCA talk, “to be a critical mass of images in the museum that have [black figures in them], so that when you go there…[i]t’s not something that is the exception to the rule, it’s part of what you always expect to see. That’s success to me.”
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Artist on a mission. #dope #gamechanger #boss #IwannabedrivenlikeMarshall Ok, I will quit the hashtaggery and leave you will a few more of brilliant works of art made by Kerry James Marshall.

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A major museum survey of Mr. Marshall's work is currently on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA) and will be heading to NYC's Metropolitan Museum of Art this fall (YAY **emoji praise hands**) followed by a final show at the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles in the spring of 2017. If you're anywhere near those cities, RUN don't walk to see Marshall's gorgeous and heavy work.

in art and love,
cd

p.s. special thanks to my bestie who joined me at MET Breuer and snapped the picture of me ooohing and aaaahing Marshall's work.

30 Days of Printing by Hand

30 Days of Printing by Hand Artwork Blog

For 2016, one of my goals is to complete six 30-days creative challenges learning new things and improving other things. In January, I spent 30 days drawing because rendering objects and people realistically confounds me. I wanted the practice. I needed the practice. And after 30 days, I still need the practice LOL.  My resistance to drawing, however, is gone and I have 30 days of showing up to the blank page and sharing my marks to thank for it.

In March, I reconnected with and rekindled an old flame. Collage propelled me down a whole new road of storytelling, taking my art practice in a new and exciting direction. More on that later. In the meantime, you can view all the collages here and purchase a few soon. Got any favorites? I would love to know what you think. 

May starts in a few days and so does the next 30 Days Creative Challenge. YAY!!
I'm looking forward to exploring with all types of stamping objects - food, found objects and of course stamps carved from linoleum blocks! The beautiful thing about challenges and play, nothing is off limits. The freedom to explore and see what happens is what I love about these 30 days creative challenges the most. No rules, and only one expectation - to grow.

I would love for you to join me for all or part of the 30 Days of Painting by Hand challenge. You can do all the days, some of the days or even just one of the days. Your inner kid will love you for it.

To help get you started and keep you motivated to keep making, I made an artsy little guide, a daily tracker and a handy dandy checklist of all the supplies you'll need. If you've signed up to take the FREE Gratitude Daily Course or are a member of the Artwork Community then check your in-box for the goods.  If you want your 30 Days of Printing by Hands Challenge Guide and Tracker, click the button.

Have you ever tried your hand at stamping by hand (HA)? Tell me all about it.

In Art and Love,
CD

Friday Favorites

Friday-Favorites-Artwork-Blog

It's Fridaaaaaaayyyy. Yasss! You made it. Don't think about Monday, stay in the moment and let the weekend wash over you.

This weekend I will be taking in all the gorgeous sun that is fixin' to hit New York City. I plan to take longs walks, snaps some pictures, get a pedicure, and hang some art in my newly configured living room.  Oh, and yes, make art! Last weekend's trip to the museum still has me reeling and my creative juices flowing. 

How about you? What's on deck for your beautiful weekend?

Here are my Friday Favorites found round-the-Internets. I hope they inspire you to create or at least take a walk! 

painterly, printable jam labels // super cute and no paint required.
diy abstract painted ring holder // a simple painterly diy to try.
: illustrated cities // i'm planning my vacation now!
: painterly picture frames // a simple way to level-up any gallery wall.
: make some pop art // so much FUN! here's my take on it. 
: artsy + art for your ear // my two FAVORITE art podcasts. 

In Art and Love,
CD

p.s. If you haven't signed up already, the Gratitude Daily course is getting rav reviews! This is the one practice that has changed everything for me. It's a FREE course. Sign up today!