I've been questioning whether or not to remove myself from facebook for a long, long time. I love the community connections I have made on it, being able to support not only the arts community but also my local community, but I disagree with so many of the platform's actions and policies that after a period of deactivating my account, I have decided to remove it altogether. At this point I am still on instagram, a platform of beautiful imagery that really resonates with me, but I wish it had never sold to facebook and was the same as it used to be. I wish that anything considered pornographic or violent in any would be removed entirely and the users blocked. I'm also finding it more difficult to navigate lately but, unlike facebook, I never leave feeling violated or attacked on my personal account in any way but rather feel supported and able to support others. I have found a sense of peace since I went off facebook that has replaced the anxiety I had been experiencing. What a liberating feeling it has been. I know that I need to be informed of what happens in the world, but also know that there are untruths and just plain meanness out there that makes my life much better if I remove myself from it. Finally, I realized that I don't need to know everything, that the world continues on without me, and there is a sense of flow and just allowing things to be that comes with it. And there is a sense of that I will know what I need to when I need to. That's a good feeling.
With all the workshop prep I've been doing lately I've had a lot of time to think and something I read about recently was Abundance Mentality. It's all about collaboration and how sharing ideas begets new ideas. Rather than working with the fear of having ideas or work copied or stolen, or the reverse belief that we might not have something to contribute, knowing that collaborating and sharing ideas makes connections in our brains so that we get more ideas and experience more success. That old adage that a group or a whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I am definitely believer in this as I have experienced it first hand over and over again. It's such a great experience to succeed as a group and to be involved in something that is so much bigger than me. And yet I still need to work in plenty of solitude to let my ideas ruminate. I wonder, does anyone else feel this way?
When I work with children, these are a few tips I like to share. I also find that there are times I need these same reminders myself:
1. Everyone is creative - it just takes practice...like riding a bike.
2. To keep colours vibrant & colourful, don't mix all three Primary (red, yellow, blue) or Secondary colours (orange, green, purple) together.
3. To keep things interesting, use some Warm (colours like the sun - orange, pink, red) and some Cool colours (skies/grass/water - blue, green, purple).
4. When an image does't 'feel' right to you, try looking at it from a different perspective - step back to view it from a distance, turn your drawing or painting upside down, or look at it in a mirror.
5. Use thin layers of colour & let each layer dry in between because mixing all the colours together will make brown.
I recently read about a list of questions for artists to request feedback and though I thought that some of the questions were a little unusual, there were some interesting things to think about…like asking how the colours of your painting make a viewer feel, how might another artist create a certain texture, does anything make the viewer uncomfortable? There are other questions which focused on the elements of design such as composition, positive/negative space, balance, form, contrast, value. Even questions about title of the artwork. But my favorite was what story does it tell you? I always love hearing others interpretations of my paintings.
Every year, instead of making resolutions I choose a word to set an intention for the year. This year my word was Orenda which is an Iroquois term for a spiritual power or "a mystical force present in all people that empowers them to affect the world, or to effect change in their own lives." The word reminded me to be brave and to share more of myself this year. As I look to the year ahead I've been considering my new word...I think it may have something to do with kindness or letting go. Does anyone else follow this practice?
I am thrilled that the Alberta Minister of Culture & Tourism has proclaimed January as the Month of the Artist. When our local radio station contacted me to discuss it, I hadn't yet heard so I was very excited. They will also be offering an annual Artist Residency which is wonderful for arts & culture in Alberta. To read the story visit AIR 106.1 here.