Healthy Boundaries for Creatives: Art's Sake Project

When I am passionate about something I have a hard time setting boundaries and not throwing my self all in...and I mean all in. Sometimes when I have an idea that I am excited about, or a new project that I am inspired by, I get tunnel vision and I have a hard time focusing on anything else. I think this is very common with creatives. It is part of how we turn passion and vision into something tangible. We can't always control when the flurry of inspiration will strike and when it does we feel we need to embrace it before it goes away! I think part of this is just the way it works being an artist. It is something I will always have as part of my process, it is embedded very deep. Now that I have a child though I need to find ways to shut it off when I need to be focused on her. I have been trying to figure out how to balance the passion and the drive that makes up my core, and the little person that needs my attention seemingly every moment. I have realized that it is not very good to try and do them both at the same time. At times I have resorted to increasing my childcare when I am in a mode that I feel I have to stay in until it is complete. This way at least she is getting the attention she deserves while I power through my inspiration. Other than that I don't have an answer for you to this one, and if you have one please let me know!

The other type of boundaries that I wanted to show with this week's art, involves only taking on what you can handle. It feels to me sometimes that opportunities all come in waves. One minute nothing is happening and the next you have 4 different opportunities to embrace as well as several people that need your help with something. Do you take on all of them? Do you feel like you can't say no? why? Which do you say no to? I am working on realizing that I am not doing anyone any good when I try to take on too much. I am learning that I need to choose my opportunities that I want to pursue the most, and make sure I am also having some time to still help and serve people as well. Sometimes if we are struggling financially we feel that we have to take any and all work that comes our way, no matter what that means to our sanity or the quality of our work. I learned over time that having balance, and being able to put my best energy and creativity into less projects takes those projects to a level they would never reach if my time was spread too thin. This ultimately makes the project, and myself as an artist, more successful.

 

Edited with Actions from The Shoppe Actions & Designs

arts sake week 25

 

 

 

Anonymous Damage: Mike Wolfe American Pickers Art Series

This is another image from the series I shot of the personal picks of Mike Wolfe from American Pickers on History. This series is about my journey to learn from the past and how we can make our world better today. This one is about how easy it is for us to do damage to others and to our world when we are anonymous. This could be anything from what we throw in the garbage to how we treat each other online. When we don't have to come face to face, or look in the eye the one we are doing damage to, it is easier to be disconnected, and not think about the consequences of our actions. I am going to try and be more intentional, and have my actions be the same when I am anonymous as they are when I am in the spotlight or face to face.

EDITED WITH ACTIONS AND PRESETS FROM THE SHOPPE

anonymous

 

Convenience vs Creativity: Holistic & Inspired: Blogs for Artists

I am excited to have shot the personal "picks" of my friend Mike Wolfe American Picker from American Pickers on History this week! Mike and I share a love of history, texture, rust and stories. I love incorporating antique items as props in my images. This time, however the props were the subject. I wanted to so a series of fine art prints that told a story simply with the objects in a symbolic way. This first image is about learning from our history to value simplicity in our entertainment. The timeless joy of playing a banjo around a campfire with good friends... Simple toys for our children that require imagination and effort. The little scattered items around on the floor are small children's toys, clickers, mini spinning tops, etc. At my daughter's preschool here in Franklin TN, their toys are not plastic or high tech. They are mostly little wooden pieces the children have to build things from on their own. They also have dried gourds, bark and other things from nature as toys for the children to do whatever their little creative minds can come up with. Instead of dress up clothes, they simply have fabric and clothes pins. The children have to use their imaginations, create things on their own.  I have fears of the consequences of us always in search of more comfort, more convenience. The result I believe is less gratitude, less motivation and endurance of inevitable hardships and disappointments. I hope I can pass on to my daughter a work ethic, a love of getting dirty and sore from hard rewarding work whether it be mental or physical or even spiritual.

 

Follow my journey to learn from the past for the sake of our future, and live holistic & inspired everyday...more images of Mike's "picks" to come!

EDITED WITH LIGHTROOM PRESETS FROM THE SHOPPE DESIGNS

 

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The Success is in Your Story: Tips for Photographers and Artists

Success is in Your Story

 

We all want to be "successful". As artists success can be a bit of an ambiguous definition. Some days I just want to make great work and be proud of it and that is success to me. Other times the priority seems to be that I just want people to respond to it, and pay me for it and I have to compromise to make that happen. It is a struggle we all go through if we are trying to make a business out of our art. But what if we could do both? What if we didn't have to compromise? 

 

We as modern humans often tend to try to fight our surroundings. We want to go bigger and better, we want the things we don't have, the things we can't have. We want to eat strawberries in the winter so we find a way to do so even if that comes at a cost to our world. I am not saying this to put us down as people, our drive to make things better than they are has brought us a long way as a society as well. However, I also think it is important to be aware of what direction we are pushing up in. Are we going against the grain of the wood or with it? If you ever took Karate and tried to break the board, you know that when we try to break the board against the grain it can make it much harder or even impossible than going with the grain.

 

We do this as artists and business owners as well. We tend to look at what others have, what they have accomplished, or how they are better than us. We may try to be like them, or do what they did to get where they are thinking the results will duplicate the exact same way for us. Chances are, unfortunately, that it will not duplicate for you in the same way, or even close to the same way. They are a completely different person, with a different story, different passions, and different strengths. From the start they were formed differently, and each experience in their life has made them who they are, just as your own story has made you who you are. And you have strengths that they don't have, and something to say to the world that they can't say.

findmystrengths

It is important to find our own strengths and work with those, make the most of who you were made to be, and not try to be who someone else was made to be. Great how do I do that?! Finding those strengths can be difficult. You would think we would know ourselves better than anyone, right? Those around us that love us, look at us everyday. We hardly ever are looking at ourselves. So they probably see things we don't see. So ask them. Ask the people around you that love you, how they see you, ask them what your strengths are. Write that down. Then ask a stranger. Maybe it is a friend of a friend, or someone on Facebook that you are "friends" with but they don't really know you. Ask them to look at your work and tell you what they see. You will get 2 very helpful answers, one is the objective view of what your work is expressing, and the other is a bias view based on someone that knows you well. These are both so very valuable. One will tell you what you are currently showing the world, and the other one, the one that loves you, will probably give you some insight on where you need to go, what direction you start heading "up" in.

 

It is then time to take that feedback, and see what resonates with you, put it all together and then meditate or pray on what speaks to you about the feedback you received. You will probably need to start just making some more art at that point, get out and shoot, more often than you usually do. Then see what emerges, comparing it to the feedback you received. Put it all together, the new and the old, and look at the progress, look at any change.

 

I still struggle with this and am currently working hard on finding my strengths and putting all of my upward energy into them. It is a bit of a journey but one I really think we have to take in order to really be successful artists. When you are pushing upward in the right direction, success is inevitable. I can not guarantee exactly the kind of success you will have, and it may involve adjusting your view of what success means a bit as well. We all have different roles in the bigger story. I think we tend to forget that creating work that brings people joy and that we are proud to show the world, is really the greatest success we can ask for as artists. It is why we were given this gift and why we do share it with the world.

 

If anyone wants me to be your objective view I am happy to help! I might ask you to give me your thoughts in return as well. :)

weel21web
This week's image to me shows what I mean by the beauty that can emerge when we don't fight our surroundings, we don't fight who we are and our strengths. When we be the main character in our own story, instead of trying to be in someone else's story, the rythm and beauty will be undeniable. I believe this is how we are made, and how we can thrive...
xoxo Meghan Aileen

Learning From the Children: Innocence Out of the Darkness: Blogs for photographers

Learning From the Children: Innocence Out of the Darkness

Lately I have been thinking a lot about how much we can learn from children. As I watch my daughter grow and change every day, and watch her experience so many things in life for the very first time, I learn more and more about life and about myself. I believe we all have innocence inside us. There is that child like part of us that is always there. As life gets harder, and experiences in our lives and throughout our story hurt us, we built up walls and defenses around it. We put it away in the dark part of ourselves, making sure it does not see the light and is not seen by others.

 

We all have our different ways of protecting it. Some do it with defensiveness, snapping back when there is even a hint of pain. With others, it is comedy, making people laugh and always keeping things light. For some people it is anger or hatred, even violence. The idea is that I will hurt you before you hurt me. Others, like myself, it is control. I tend to always think that if I can control enough of my life I can protect myself.

 

Children on the other hand, their innocence is right out there for all to see. If they are feeling weak or sad, frustrated or lonely, they will show it for all to see, even if that means all of Costco on a Saturday morning! I think we as adults can learn a lot from this. I am not saying we should all have melt downs in Costco ;) But if you are like me, maybe you could stand to open up a bit more. Maybe showing that innocence to some the people in your life would bring those relationships to another level. When we show that part of ourselves, it lets others see us for who we really are. Which in turn, allows them to really love us well. This might seem scary, it is for me, yet at the same time I long for it, for that connection, for real community. These connections help us to learn more about ourselves, and to grow from what we learn.

This weeks image is about this, the child like part of ourselves, that innocence and vulnerability, being brought to light for the sake of growing and being loved. It shows how we are used to hiding it in the dark and the fog, and when we shine a light on it, we sometimes cover our eyes. We remember our defenses we have built around it and the walls we have put up. But we peek through, hoping to see someone that will come through for us, someone that will show us it was not a mistake to reveal our vulnerability, someone that will love us really well.

 

EDITED WITH ACTIONS AND TEXTURES FROM THE SHOPPE

 

xoxo Meghan Aileen