art

The Radical Exhale (a.k.a. Where I've Been)

So, I disappeared.

I had good reason, though, I promise. Or really reasons. Like: new job, change of address, family shiftings . . . and that's all on top of my preexisting #momlife and teaching dance fitness and all things She of the Wild.

Basically, I got really, really tired from all the new changes. Good changes, but still . . . exhausting ones.

And now? I'm trying to rest. To be gentle with myself. To live in the release of the exhalation rather than the active inhalation.

This is not easy for me (is it easy for any of us, really?). It is not my go-to mode. When things get hard, I tense up, muscle up, and try to bludgeon my way through to relief. Which has worked for me . . . sort of. But the older I get, the less effective it is, and I imagine that will only become more true the more years that I accumulate.

So I'm going rogue, taking the radical way -- I'm loosening my grip, unclenching my jaw, and exhaling. Like, a lot.

Last weekend I slept in more than I have in decades -- or at least, certainly since having children. Yesterday I spent a good portion of my day sitting and listening to the full soundtrack of Hamilton: The Musical (yum) -- but without doing anything else while I listened. I took days off exercise when my body needed it. I went to bed early (although you better believe that I'm staying up tonight to watch the newest episode of Game of Thrones).

I've been letting (read: trying to let) myself exhale, rather than holding my breath until some circumstance shifted toward ease. I choose the ease, as much as I could. Imperfectly, yes, but perfection is not the point.

SO. All this to say -- hi. It's me. I'm back, and trying to go gently while not giving up, which I was sorely tempted to do at times. Instead of running, I'm staying, but breathing, resting, exhaling, being.

How do you cope when it's hard and you just want to sleep through the hardness? I'd love to know. And, um, pick up a few tips. :)

p.s. Although I've been living in the exhale as much as possible, there are still a number of exciting She of the Wild updates I want to share with you. Check out what's been going on . . .

Write Yourself Wholly Alive

The Poetry Is e-course has gotten a significant makeover and is now called Write Yourself Wholly Alive. I feel that this better represents the content of the course, and it's just much yummier. :) Also, the price on the course is going up to $150 this coming week -- but you can still get it for $97 until Tuesday, June 1. If you've been on the fence about enrolling, this is your time. Hurry up and grab it before the new price goes into effect! Learn more and sign up HERE (and also enjoy the first full week of content for free!).

She of the Wild Shirts

Dude, these shirts are so comfy I can't even stand it. I'm practically living in mine (photos coming soon, I swear . . . watch Instagram!). Check out the current She of the Wild shirt HERE, available for just three more days.

 

SHE Zine

Issue two is out and issue three is in the works. You can subscribe or purchase individual issues HERE. And if you want to join in the conversation about the zine as you receive yours, be sure to use the tag #SHEzine on Instagram, Twitter, and your favorite social media platforms.

Holistic Creativity, Journaling, and More

SPECTRUM, the holistic creative journaling course that I'm teaching a part of, has gotten off to a delicious start. My workshop made its debut last week, and the students have created some really amazing work in response. Interested in learning about creative journaling with us? Check out all the details HERE.

A New She of the Wild E-Course

I've got something new brewing. I'm not quite sure what to call it (and this title? it's history as soon as I can figure out this new offering's true name). But I do know that it's going to be about developing artful rituals that are simple to access + fit in to our daily lives. When I think about this e-course, I think of quiet, of sacred space. Does that sound intriguing to you? Read more about it HERE, and then let me know in the comments what you think.

The She of the Wild Community

The members of the She of the Wild community on Facebook have been producing AMAZING work in #SheWritesPoetry2016, our year-long writing challenge. Want to be a part of it? It's free! Find all the details HERE.

Whew! That's about it . . . although I do have an exciting announcement coming this week. Tell me what have you been up to? I'd love to know!

How to Make Prints of Your Art -- On a Budget

I get asked two questions ALL. THE. TIME. One of them is how I author published my books. The other is how I make prints of my art.  Today I'd like to [ f i n a l l y ] answer the latter.

Okay. So. You've got some art. You want to make it available in print form. But how? And how to do it without breaking the bank?

First you need to obtain a high quality image of your original piece.

Some artists have their pieces professionally scanned, and others take high quality photographs of their originals. I find the former pricey, and the latter unreliable, so I take a third path -- I scan my pieces myself.

When I first started selling prints of my art, I used a Canon printer/scanner combo inkjet thinger (an older generation of something like this). It served me well for a year or two, in spite of being finnicky and s l o w.

Then I created a mixed media painting that incorporated fluorescent orange paint. When I scanned the original, the scanned image was gray in the places where it should have been orange. After a bit of research, I learned that not all standard scanners are able to pick up fluorescent colors.

I decided to purchase a new scanner. After digging around on the internets, I landed on this Epson Perfection v600 scanner. A couple years later, I'm still using this scanner, and am very pleased with it. It's fast, produces a great quality image, and is easily compatible with all of the computers I've hooked it up to.

Yes, the Epson scanner is twice as expensive as the Canon, and it does not print or copy. But it does what I need it to do, and does it well and quickly. If you already have something like the Canon, I'd stick with that until you find yourself needing an upgrade . . . but if you're choosing between the two and don't need a printer, then I'd say go with the Epson.

Next, you need a way of producing your prints.

When I first started out, I produced my own prints. I made them using the aforementioned Canon inkjet printer/scanner thingamabob, printed on a cardstock-esque paper.

This resulted in endless frustration, not to mention wasted supplies and money. I didn't have the money to buy really nice paper to print on, and I often had to print an image two or three times to get the quality and colors right, which is expensive when you're using an ink-guzzler -- er, I meant inkjet printer.

So I decided to outsource my print-making. I asked around about local printers, but they all wanted to print bulk orders, and I couldn't afford that and wanted to print-on-demand. Searching online, I went with RedBubble.

RedBubble makes really high quality products. They are fantastic. But the profit for the artist is really, really tiny. I'd recommend RedBubble only if you don't care if you make money, or if you have SO many customers that the few dollars you make off each print really add up.

I do lovehow RedBubble offers cards, which come cello-wrapped with an envelope and can be offered in singles and in bulk. However, I disliked how the link printed on the back of the cards is for your RedBubble shop and cannot be customized (which makes sense for them -- I just don't like it). I'm still looking for a way to produce high quality cards without spending an arm and a leg, so if you know of a way, please let me know!

From RedBubble, I flirted with Fine Art America before moving my print-making business to iPrintfromHome, which I continue to use to this day. They offer high quality prints on a variety of surfaces, including fine art paper, and print with a white border, AND drop-ship to your clients. Which means that when someone purchases a print from my shop, I can order said print through iPrintfromHome's website, and they not only manufacture a wonderful print, but also ship it. I never even have to touch it, which makes this busy stay-at-home mama very, very happy. And I've had customers say, upon receiving their prints, that my shipping packaging is the best they've ever seen. I agree!

I also use iPrintfromHome to bulk order prints to take with me to craft fairs, or to accompany my work at art shows. Again, the quality of the prints is always fantastic, and the shipping conditions perhaps even more so -- and you save money on larger orders.

I do wish that iPrintfromHome would offer matting/cello-wrapping of their prints, as well as cards. Also, they don't ship internationally, so if I get an order from a customer outside of the US or Canada, I have to have the print shipped to me, and then I re-ship it to the customer, which is a pain. But those are really the only bad things I can say about IPFH.

Also, a fun thing about IPFH is that you are very aware in the best of ways that your prints are being produced by fellow humans. They're fun to interact with on Twitter, their customer service is fast and satisfying, and they even send you a little card every year on the anniversary of when you created your IPFH account. I love this about them.

There are definitely other ways to produce prints of your art. But this is what works for me and my budget, with my desire to be as in-control of my work and its production as humanly possible.

And I really think that this is the key with print production -- you need to do it in a way that's affordable and sustainable for you.

If your methods are overwhelming or overly expensive, you're probably not going to produce very many prints. Which is also okay (for example, one of my favorite artists, Micki Wilde, doesn't sell any prints, only original paintings), but again -- you get to decide. You don't have to do what everybody else is doing, or says you should, or is what "real artists" (whatever that means) do. You decide, and then own and enjoy it.

If you're an artist, how to you produce your prints? Do you have any recommendations? I'd love if you could share any advice you might have in the comments. And if you're don't make prints of your art and want to, are there any questions you have that I've left unanswered? Share them in the comments, and I'll do my best to answer them.

 

*This post contains affiliate links. I only recommend products I love. Thanks for supporting indie authors + artists!

You are Creative Right Now

I was thinking about you early this morning (yes, you, lovely reader + SHE OF THE WILD community member). I was awake, sleepless, and then my ten month old woke up, too, and could not be consoled. Cradling him in my arms, I paced the room, the two of us, both caught between slumber and wakefulness, needing and wanting a rest.

While I walked, I sang. Hummed, really. It was not meant to be a real song.

But I realized, even through my 3:00 AM bleariness, that it was a song.

In the most unlikely of circumstances, without much in the way of formal training, I was creating music. Out of nowhere and nothing, notes came from between my weary lips and into the world.

In the darkness, it felt like a miracle.

And I thought of you. I wanted to share this miracle with you.

Because maybe you think that you're "not creative" -- which is what we say when we mean that we don't naturally possess near-genius level talent in the arts: writing, painting, drawing, and other fine arts.

But just because you weren't practically born with a paintbrush in your hand doesn't meant that you're not creative.

I think that we are all creative, and my too-early-morning song proves that to me.

I am not a musician. I am not trying to become a musician, either professional or hobbyist. I have not touched an instrument in over a decade. And yet, I sang, without effort, and it was lovely and sweet and sent my son back to dreamland.

Why do we discount such acts of creation? Are they less valuable because they are small, or wouldn't make money, or just done in the middle of everyday life?

What if something like my sleepy lullaby is made more valuable by its smallness, its lack of monetary value, its simplicity, its impermanence?

When did I lose my sense of wonder at such things? When did you?

And -- perhaps most importantly -- how can we take it back?

The only answer I have is to press in to your small miracles even as you chase your bigger creative goals. They are all water from the same well.

An Exciting Announcement! {Giveaway CLOSED}

UPDATE: The giveaway is now closed. Congrats to Melissa G., the winner! You'll be contacted shortly. And thank you so much to everyone who participated! If you'd like to register for Spectrum 2016, head over to THIS LINK. The course is open for registration AND $10 off until February 3rd!

And! If finances are prohibitive, Hali is offering a limited number of need-based scholarships. If you'd like to apply, head over HERE and scroll to the bottom of the page.

Again, thanks so much to everyone who participated in the giveaway! I'd love to see you all in the Spectrum classroom in May, getting our holistic, healing creativity on together.

--

I have some exciting news to share today: I am going to be a guest teacher in Spectrum 2016 this year -- and I have 1 spot to give-away here at my blog as part of the Give-Away Blog-Hop!

Spectrum is an online Holistic-Creative workshop going on its third year, and organized by Hali Karla of Hali Karla Arts. Spectrum 2016 will be guided by 20 NEW featured teachers and more than 20 returning contributors offering a variety of workshops, inspiration and invitations - all intended to empower, nurture and celebrate your innate creative expression, healing journey, and personal development!

There will be weekly inspiration & reflective activities related to mixed-media art-making and journaling, guidance on integrating your creative process and holistic awareness into your day-to-day life, and a variety of opportunities to connect, support and share with others in the growing Holistic-Creative online community.

The themes that will loosely guide our 2016 Spectrum experience are Forgiveness, Shifting Perspective, Navigating Uncertainty, Integration, Alchemy, Connecting with Nature, Honoring Body, Trusting Joy, and Expressing One’s Truth! You can expect a variety of perspectives on these -- and so much more.

To learn more about the details, including all of the contributors and workshop offerings for this course CLICK RIGHT HERE.

The workshop I'm contributing to Spectrum is called Empowering Yourself Through Creativity. Here's what we'll be exploring:

Are you ready to reclaim your power, inner strength, and courage? In this workshop, we will dive into writing and movement exercises to help you tap back into the wild nature that resides within you, powerful and untamed even in the face of all this world has thrown at you. You will learn tips on how to find your words, unleash your voice, and trust your intuition -- all while having a damn good time and creating some luscious poetry.
And don't let the word "poetry" scare you -- we'll be tackling the process in a wholly accessible and empowering manner so that even the rustiest, most dubious non-writer will find herself staring down in wonder at a fresh poem penned by her own hand. Get ready to (re)introduce yourself to your empowered self.

Pre-registration for Spectrum 2016 officially opens on February 1, 2016 (and the program will begin on May 2). So be sure to bookmark this page (or link) so that you can check back to see if you win the giveaway here or sign up just as soon as it goes on sale.

About the Give-Away:

Like I mentioned, I have one spot for Spectrum 2016 to give-away to a lucky winner in our January blog-hop - but if you follow the blog-hop list below, you will have an even better chance of winning a spot by entering the other give-aways as well.

All of the new teachers are playing along -- and quite a few of the returning contributors volunteered to join in the fun, too -- so there are over 30 chances to win a free pass!

To enter the giveaway, enter your email in the form below, then click the blue button that says "Go!" and you are good to go!

Enter the giveaway!

You'll also receive a complimentary copy of 31 Days of Writing Wild. Win!

We won't send you spam. Ever. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

For a bonus entry, share this link on social media, then comment on this post to let me know that you've done so.

I will announce the winner of my free Spectrum pass here on February 1, 2016 -- the same day pre-registration opens for Spectrum 2016!

Just below is a list of the other teachers who are playing along in the Spectrum 2016 blog-hop, with the dates their give-away goes live -- so be sure to visit their site and enter there, as well:

13 January:
Hali Karla http://www.halikarla.com/blog/

14 January:
Andrea Schroeder http://www.creativedreamincubator.com/blog                      
Angelique Arroyo http://schoolformedicinewomyn.com/

15 January:
Bebe Butler http://www.bebebutler.com/
Beth Morey http://www.sheofthewild.com/

16 January:    
Briana Goetzen http://www.orangespiralarts.com/
Carissa Paige http://carissapaige.blogspot.com/

17 January:    
Cat Caracelo http://catcaracelo.com/
Catherine Anderson http://catherineandersonstudio.blogspot.com/

18 January:    
Chris Zydel http://creativejuicesarts.com/
Effy Wild http://effybird.com/

19 January:    
Elloa Atkinson http://www.elloaatkinson.com/
Grace Howes    http://www.redbarn-studios.com/

20 January:    
Gretchen Miller http://www.gretchenmiller.wordpress.com/
Kara LC Jones http://motherhenna.blogspot.com/

21 January:    
Kelly Johnson http://www.wingswormsandwonder.com/
Kitty Oppegard http://handoverheartstudios.blogspot.com/

22 January:    
Kristal Norton http://kristalnorton.com/
Lisa Hofmann http://dandelionseedsanddreams.blogspot.com/

23 January:    
Lisa Wilson http://www.beingbreath.com/
Lucy Pearce http://dreamingaloud.net/

24 January:    
Malini Parker http://www.maliniparker.com/
Meghan Genge http://www.meghangenge.com/

25 January:    
Melissa Harris http://www.melissaharris.com/
Michelle Turbide http://michelleturbidestudios.com/

26 January:    
Petrea Hansen-Adamidis http://www.arttherapist.ca/blog
Rachael Rice http://rachaelrice.com/

27 January:    
Robin Hallett http://www.robinhallett.com/
Shelley Klammer http://intuitivecreativity.typepad.com/

28 January:    
Suki Ciappara Ka'Pinao http://sukihealingarts.com/
Tara Leaver http://taraleaver.com/

Enjoy the blog-hop, good luck on the give-aways, and I hope to see you in Spectrum in a few months!

*this post contains an affiliate link. thank you for supporting independent authors + artists!

A Free Quickie Mixed Media Art Demo: "Moon and Stars"


I've been wanting to do more fast art demo videos for you and, now that I'm getting a bit of energy back post-first trimester, I have!  It's fun to do these quick videos for you, with minimal editing but (hopefully) a good bargain of inspiration for just a few minutes' of watching time.  I really enjoy watching other artists' fast painting videos, and I hope you enjoy this one.  And if you are hungry for more art-in-motion videos, you can find the rest of mine here.

Here is the finished version of this painting, entitled "Moon and Stars" (and prints are up for grabs in the shop here):

https://www.etsy.com/listing/215667527/fine-art-print-moon-and-stars-9-x-12

Thanks for watching!

Five Days of Holiday Yum Starts Saturday! {Holiday Art Specials}

Just popping in here for a moment before heading off to some Thanksgiving festivities to give you the heads up on Epiphany Art Studio's holiday discounts and deals, which start this Saturday, November 29.  Introducing, Five Days of Holiday Yum!  Here's what's going down:


Starting on Small Business Saturday (November 29), Epiphany Art Studio customers get to enjoy five full days of major discounts, bonuses, and freebies.  There will be a new deal each day from November 29 through December 3, and each one is pretty dang sweet.  Stop by the shop to take advantage of what's happening.

 Please note that each deal lasts for 24 hours only, meaning that you can't get Saturday's 20% off on Monday.  Once it's gone, it's not coming back (well, until next year, perhaps). 

And now I shall go eat some turkey and pie.  Well, mostly pie.   You know how it is.

When Art is Everything {Introducing Healing HeARTs}


I'm not sure that I came to art journaling in the usual fashion.  I didn't start with that deliciously freeing, fast and loose visual alternative to handwritten journaling that I hear my friends describing their introduction to art journaling as.  Instead, I used an art notebook of mixed media paper to learn how to paint faces.  I'd signed up for an online art class and needed to practice.  But painting on canvas felt too scary (and expensive), and loose paper annoyed me.


So art journaling it was.  I filled page after page of the art notebook with full-on paintings of women.  I painted for the distraction, to have something to think about other than a dark, dark time that I was enduring in my battle with an eating disorder.


But it wasn't long before I reaped more benefits from painting than mere distraction.  Instead, I found emotion pouring out of the end of my brush, and within a startlingly short amount of time, I was making major forward progress against the eating disorder -- something that I had literally given up hope for.


Painting became self-preservation, self-healing, self-care.  It filled me with purpose, a sense of an accomplishment, and joy.  I could lose myself in painting for hours and hours.  I had never experienced anything like it, and I will never stop being grateful for the powers and coincidences that brought art into my life.  It turned me back into a person at a time when I thought that living as a shell was the best I could expect, and continues to be a healing and illuminating force for me.


So when I heard about what my friend Anna is doing with her program Healing He[art]s, I was more than a little excited, and wanted to tell you about it . . .

www.annameadearts.com/healing-hearts.html
Healing He[art]s is a mechanism to put art supplies in the hands of women who are struggling. The vision is for women to give the gift of art to other women. Because we know that art heals. We have lived it, and we would like to pass along that encouragement to others.
Anna and her supporters are gathering art supplies in order to assemble and donate 144 art journaling kits this holiday season.  Each kit costs $25, and contains some basic supplies, such as paints, pens, papers, brushes, and, of course, a journal.  

I love the vision of this project, because I know the powerful healing effect that art can have.  You start painting, pretty sure this art thing is going to amount to a whole lot of nothing, and then all of sudden you find that you're painting your fractured soul back into wholeness for the first time in forever.  

If you'd like to donate to Healing He[art]s, you can do so here (major credit cards, Paypal, checks and money orders are accepted).  And stay updated with the kits' progress here.

www.annameadearts.com/healing-hearts.html

The Lingering Silence

I sit here and stare into white and wonder what words to fill this empty expanse with. 

This has been going on most of the summer and, with a couple exceptions, this internet space has remained empty.

Even writing this feelings limping, awkward.

Where have the words fled to?  I'm not sure, and I don't know how to coax them back.

So, in the silence, I have been painting again (these).  I have been meditating.  I have been reading.  I have been being a mama.  I have been sleeping.  The different faces of my creativity.  One is not more or less valuable than another.

I keep reminding myself of this, over and over.

* * *

I have no conclusion.  

No "I was quiet but now I'm back so YAY!" resolution.

Just the silence and the unknowing.

So I remain here, without judgement. 

* * *

I made this for you, in the silence.  In silence.  For now, the silence will have to be enough: