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Creativity {Block}

Creativity {Block}

"We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down." Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

 

One of the hardest parts about being an artist or creative is finding yourself in a slump. No matter what you put down on canvas, or even into words, you question or even throw a can of paint over. As if artists didn't question themselves enough, during this time we are even harder on ourselves wondering if we should give up the paintbrush (or pen) and move onto something much less heart wrenching. It's a struggle you guys!

 

When I was about 8 years old, I convinced my parents to get me a horse. I mean, I was in LOVE with horses. It's what I thought about all day everyday. I drew them, I painted them, I used to think about them before bed in hopes that I would dream about them all night long. Literally! Then, somehow, with some act of God (and years of persuasion) I landed Trado, the white Arabian.

 

(Pictured: Circus Point my Quarter Horse/Thoroughbred who came after Trado and on the right Trado the White Arabian)

Nicole Gaitan Horse

Now, unbeknownst to me and my family, Trado, was a very naughty horse. But because we weren't really horse people we didn't know any better. The first day I rode him he just took off running full speed. Instead of trying to pull on the reigns, or maybe, you know, try to stop him, I just bailed immediately and fell to the ground. Luckily, unscathed. 

 

Weeks went by without any real tragedies, until the Memorial Day parade that Trado and I were to ride in. As you can imagine, there was a lot going on that day. Crowds, loud noises and commotion. What do you think my little white Arabian did? He took off with me in tow. This time, I held on a little longer, but I dropped the reigns. I still flat out gave up and let him take control of me. He ran and ran and ran until we almost ran into a road full of speeding cars. I was able to grab the reigns and pull him to a stop just in time. It was an act of God and it was a moment I'll never forget for the rest of my life.

 

After that, my parents knew it was time to sell Trado to a more experienced rider and I don't blame them now. But at the time, I had developed a love for him despite his wanting to run me into oncoming traffic. ;)

 

The point is, I learned that you can easily bail or give up on hard times or you can literally ride them out. Giving up can get you hurt. If I hadn't landed safely when purposely falling off of Trado the first time he took off, I could have been seriously injured. A broken bone, a dislocated shoulder or even worse, a head injury... but I took the chance because I was scared. I think about bailing almost every day in my career because I'm scared. We all go through it and we all go through blocks. Being scared and being willing to give up so readily is not the answer. It's learning to fight to hold on through that fear that keeps us going.

 

 

Teton Raptor Center {Donation Based Art Show}

Teton Raptor Center {Donation Based Art Show}

Supporting the community is probably the most important thing you can do as an artist. To find a purpose in your work is to find purpose in your life.

 

Come out for my donation based art show this Memorial Day Weekend at the Teton Raptor Center. This weekend, 10% of my original art profits will go to supporting this amazing organization. Check them out online to see what they do, or better yet, stop by Friday or Saturday this week to see it in person. 

12:00PM - 5:00PM BOTH DAYS!

From their site: http://tetonraptorcenter.org/about/

Teton Raptor Center began in 1991 when two field biologists working in Grand Teton National Park began caring for injured raptors out of their home. Now we care for over 130 injured birds per year at our full equipped rehabilitation facility, and have expanded our mission to include education and research programs. Read more about Teton Raptor Center's history and the people who made it all happen.

Contact us with questions about raptors, TRC, or any other inquiries.

If you have found an injure raptors, please call us at 307.200.6019 and visit our Found an Injured Raptor? page.

Setting Up Your Workspace {Art Studio}

Setting Up Your Workspace {Art Studio}

"I knew I wanted to go full time, I just had no idea that the conviction was so strong." If you don't believe in yourself, who will?

About two months ago I wrote down in my book of goals that it was finally time for me to find a space outside of my home to paint. The oversized canvases, boxes and drawers of paints, thousands of paintbrushes, and tables were literally taking over our small town home. The problem is, if you know anything about Jackson Hole, finding a place to run a business out of, much less a place to live, is like finding a needle in a haystack. So, my goal read something like this: I will be painting in an art studio and not in my home sometime in the next three years. 

 

I had no idea that my conviction was so strong that something would come along in just two months! And it's perfect! For me, that just goes to show that writing your goals down is an absolutely integral part of getting to the next step in your business. But that's not what I decided to write about today, I wanted to write about setting your workspace up to help you work smart. Even when I felt cramped in my home, I still had designated certain areas in my home where I worked and felt creative. I knew what I needed to be productive. What are those things for you?

 

First, I know that I need to wake up early to be productive. Setting the alarm for 5:45am makes me feel like I'm going to conquer the day and get things accomplished. Maybe that doesn't work for you. I'm a morning person, no matter how much I fought that when I was young. The mornings are quiet, no one is around and I can focus most when there are no distractions. I'm not getting text messages or calls to get coffee or go to lunch and I can focus 100% on tasks at hand.

 

Second, when I'm in work mode, I know I need caffeine. My business is about 15% painting and 75% administrative, marketing, shipping, blogging, and socializing with past, present and future clients. Being alert helps me to tackle these tasks. 

 

Third, I need a clean workspace. Have you ever noticed when there is clutter around, you have a hard time focusing? Make sure that you designate an area of your home that is for work only. It can be a corner of your living room with a small desk or, if you have the space, an extra bedroom set up as an office. Just make sure it is clear of clutter and has everything you need to successfully complete what you need to do. I even work in the kitchen at the bar when writing blogs... because hey, it has unlimited supplies of coffee! In my studio, I brought an electric tea kettle and a french press. What are small things you can do to make your work space work for you?

 

Fourth, I need good light. When I arranged my new studio I made sure that I set myself up to face the window. I brought in extra lamps to highlight my paintings, but I needed to face the natural light. Being able to look outside is inspiring and keeps me motivated to stay longer hours.

 

Finally, is your space reflective of you? Fill it with bits and pieces of your personality. I brought some of my favorite books and plants with me to my new space. Bring photos, make it personal. But remember, don't over clutter.