Slowing Down for the Better

The first week of January is almost up, and it is hard to believe 2019 is actually here.

If any of you follow me on my Facebook page, you’ll know I announced an official pause on accepting new clients and am slowing down my work-train a bit. We’ve had an eventful few months, and unfortunately it isn’t all good news (but also, there is good news).

In early December I was in a pretty bad car wreck, in which my new 2019 minivan was totaled. The injuries I sustained compounded an existing condition I have with spinal stenosis and degenerative discs. I’ve tried to remain positive and sludge through all of it, but honestly—my body and my spirit have taken a minute to recover here.

face-sketch

I decided to be kind to myself and focus on my current successes: my growing body of art and building my portfolio; preparing for the semester ahead and learning new stuff; and focusing on the blessing of my current clients that I happily work for monthly.

I am excited to build my business and do more, be more, make more…

but what does that mean? Where does that leave me, personally, as far as balanced and rested?

I am grateful for what I have. I want to find my strength and balance with the blessings already in my basket. Why add more if it isn’t sustainable?

cats_coffee_books
What I’m focusing on these days.

This way, when I put out a call for new clients, I’ll be doubly sure I’m able to provide quality writing services, quality art instruction, and top-notch illustration freelance.

I’m grateful for a manageable workload in which I feel I can offer quality freelance to other small businesses, while taking classes and being a mom.

We hear so much about leaning in, crushing goals, taking on the maximum to make the maximum. But after the car crash and all the things this holiday season brought, I think I realized there is value and potential in perfecting the smaller goals before greedily piling on more, more, more to a list you can’t see the end of.

Moonphase in Holiday Mode

Priorities around the holidays feel like a game of Jenga—one wrong move and my whole tower of time management and work-life-balance threatens to topple. I have a feeling I am not the only one feeling the holiday crunch.

cowgirl_progress_moonphaseart

For me, my creative process is part of my self-care, and I find myself wanting to escape to the studio to find my inner-peace and let my creative energies heal and generate happy. It’s always my hope that my pieces will inspire a sense of happy and calm for others, too, which has been an integral part of my philosophy as I solidify my style and approach to art sales.

There was a time when I worried that what I like to paint and draw wasn’t “edgy” enough or didn’t make some kind of “big statement.” The older I get, the more I don’t care, and the more I want to embrace my inner-child and simply paint my way to happiness and content.

flowers_for_mother_moonphase

As I build my illustration portfolio and work for an output of art pieces that are aesthetically pleasing, I find the questions I ask myself are less, “will people buy this?” and more like, “does this make me happy?” or “does this do something to inspire someone?”

There is a lot of thought that goes into any piece, but now it’s more about making a statement of happy rather than a statement of an artist’s assertion. The more I let go and let it be, the happier I am—and the more my painting and art skills grow.

I’m applying the same approach around the house and with my kids. I’m letting simplicity rule the roost. With every exclamation of, “I want THAT,” when they see the new toys and fancy marketing gimmicks aimed to make them want more, I breathe in my peace and remind them of what beauty lies all around us.

Wanting more is what we are trained to do, and that isn’t always bad. It’s something I’ve wrestled with as I build my art sales, even; how can I expect people to buy my art when I myself avoid frivolous purchases that ultimately create clutter rather than a peaceful space?

My conclusion is more is fine if it is adding to our happy. I make mindful purchases, just like I make mindful art. I paint what I believe in, and I purchase what I believe in. My kids won’t be getting lots of cheap plastic toys, just like I won’t be filling my cart with cute but cheaply made ornaments and knick knacks. Instead, I’m filling our home with quality toys, quality pieces of art and décor that inspire the core of my heart-and-home attitude.

mother_child_bonding_moonphase

It’s all about simplifying life and focusing on the art of being content—in life and in studio practice—and so far it is working!

5 Artists Inspiring Moonphase RIGHT NOW

I’ve been super busy building my skillset and planning some stuff around Moonphase Creative headquarters—and with holidays fast approaching, I thought, why not add one more thing to my pile of crazy.

Because that “one more thing” excites me, and that is: connecting with you.

I want to make it a habit now, before Christmas dinners and Fall potlucks steal me away entirely. I love family and friends, but—and we’ve all heard it, rarely honor it—we need to take time for self-care. My number one passion in self-care is largely browsing Instagram and being inspired by some amazing artists.

As I make a Holiday Pact to connect more, both on and off the social media screen, I wanted to share with you what drives me to be passionately rooted in a personal creative practice. The following five artists are just a few of many who inspire my own personal and creative practice. I’m linking them all so you can explore what I mean!

 

  1. Willowing aka Tam

 

Whimsical, bright colors are a staple in this artist’s work. She has life mission that she describes on her website as being “to help make this world a better place.” I found Willowing on Instagram, and now I even own one of her printed books! Her style focuses on self-expression with lots of color and layers, with a mixed-media approach that is meant to go beyond the purely visual and speak as a sort of creative therapy and journaling experience.

 

As I struggled to find my place in the world of creative living, this Willowing was definitely a voice I tuned in to help hear my own inner-voice calling to me. My work is decidedly different, and for now my creative path has me less in the classroom and more in the studio—but certainly, the way I envision art as a healing tool, and the creative process part of a journey bigger than ourselves, is something I find echoed in the work of Tam.

 

Her work is widely celebrated, and she offers classes, workshops, and (as I mentioned) her Life Book is an amazing thing to keep around for your creative perusal and delving into the creative side of self-help.

 

 

  1. Terri Foss

 

I’m not sure when or how I found Terri Foss on Instagram, but I’m so happy I did. Her work is ethereal and mysterious, and she seems to tap from such a place of soul-sweet authenticity, it’s always a treat to soak in her wonderful images.

I had to include her here, if nothing else because it is the time of year when we are particularly tuning in to the spiritual and celebrating pumpkins, witches, and the harvest magic—all of which Foss delivers with a particular finesse and artistic skill.

I think her artistic voice particularly inspired me to create for the sake of creating, experimenting for the sake of creating, and not feeling I had to figure out “what sells” when it came to subject matter. Her ample reserves of followers is definite proof that doing what you love best can garner success and visibility. That authenticity she possesses translates into her work with passion and soul, which is ultimately what any artist can hope for.

 

  1. Simone Grunewald aka Schmoedraws

 

As a mom, I sometimes feel like it’s hard to get out the paint, or ink, or clay—because Little People. My little people want to help, they want to play, they want to… spill stuff.

I love @schmoedraws because her Instagram feed of personal art is like a hilarious comic of life with a little person. She has great energy and amazing storytelling in her Instagram, which never fails to ring true to me on some personal level.

I’ve learned so much from her posts and helpful tidbits. Moms are artists, too, and even though her day job is doing other stuff, I love that she is finding the time and energy to capture the daily joys of parenthood for the pleasure of social media.

 

  1. Lois van Baarle aka Loish

 

Known as Loish, Lois van Baarle is basically all things #goals for so many artists. Her work is total eye-candy, with masterful use of color and a really strong sense of composition, storytelling, and character design. A freelance illustrator and animator, she take the age-old craft to a new level with her mix of classical control and digital art pioneering.

I’m not much of a digital artist and generally prefer fine art, but one of the things I love about her work, is the way she uses digital as a tool, not a crutch. That is to say, I feel like looking at her sketches and drawings are like looking into the sketchbooks of artists in history. There is a fine looping and scrawling of gestural lines, an exquisite capturing of energy and movement that I feel is usually best caught in traditional media. However, when she renders digitally, she manages to keep the traditional 2d feel often times, and enhances her painting with digital effects, lighting, and other tools in a way that doesn’t compromise the soulful nature of her subjects.

 

  1. Laia Lopez

 

I think I found @itslopez from following Loish, whom I discussed above. Her new book Gleaming is coming out soon, and although I don’t even speak Spanish (just enough to embarrass myself, really), I probably need to reserve a copy. I love her adorable character and animated style.

Spain-based illustrator, Laia Lopez, creates adorable characters full of emotion that really fits well with the tween/teen demographic that her work largely caters to. I feel like her personal love of art is so fresh and apparent in her work, her catalog of characters could inspire me for days.

I chose artists that are largely diverse in their style, application, and purpose in art. It’s so important to fill our pages with experiments and new things; it’s just as important to look beyond the familiar and seek out all types of inspiration.

I would love to know—who or what is inspiring you along your own creative journey?

Moonphase Updates

26069149_1822308011113104_7549956626900320256_n
This is me. I’m excited.

I am excited to share updates and information about both my sales AND classes I will be teaching. I’ve updated my Etsy shop, and would love to ship some art to a good home. A lot of my art has been not only a joy to create, but a joy to share, and the process itself has inspired the classes I will be teaching in March & April.

26864123_554952854869408_6995133919834144768_n
Art for sale in my Etsy: http://etsy.com/shop/moonphasecreative

In addition to creating these darling little paintings that can sit on a desk or mantle, or find their way into gift bags and gift boxes, I’ve created the framework for some classes that I am REALLY excited to share with you.

26151927_469345680133859_4544542867703463936_n
This is an example of what we will do in the 2 hour workshops that happen on Saturdays at Cottonwood Center for the Arts.

I want to inspire people to creatively take the helm of their daily lives. How can we use art and writing to delve deeper into our personal growth? How can we use words and art to be unique in our self-expression?

 

I’ve also been exploring some fine art projects/hibernating writing projects; it has been wonderfully busy around Moonphase Creative, and I’m very excited to keep sharing the developments on several projects I’m taking on.

Please email me or find me on social media if you’d like more information on the Art + Writing Class Series or the Illustrator’s Alley series that will start in March at Cottonwood Center for the Arts.

Let it Go

As the year winds down, and our lives slip into a colder state of being, I find it is the perfect time to focus on introspection. This is largely why I’ve chosen to focus on aspects of Moonphase that give me joy, and bring the buzz of energetic passion. I want to grow my business from the root of joy—rather than the root of “everything that I can possibly do but don’t have time for.”

The other day, my kids made getting out the door difficult. I mean—really difficult. Like the average one hour ordeal turned to three hours after my three-year-old unzipped my gym bag, dug out my shower bag, unzipped my shower bag and the interior pouches, pulled out some face soap, and slathered her little legs with face soap.

She used enough soap, I think, to wash the faces of every single Miss America contestant post-production. Before the soap incident, I was trying desperately to get everyone out the door—and it was not working. In fact, the more I admonished, pointed, prodded, pleaded, begged, explained…. the more they dilly dallied, dawdled, diddled, and didn’t.

After the soap, though, I thought. Why rush? What will fall apart now that we are three hours late anyway? I mean, really, the time to rush had long since past. Being timely was clearly not going to happen; so why keep rushing and pushing when it made everyone—especially me—so stressed out?

I had a sweet and funny conversation with the three-year-old about soap and skin and mama being so careless in leaving the gym bag out. And we talked about her favorite movie, Frozen. We left the house, without tears, and… my day got a lot worse. But that is neither here nor there, because I had a wonderfully useful revelation:

If it does not serve you, LET IT GO.

Fairy_Progress
The work I love.

That’s what I plan to do as we spiral forward into a new season, a new year, a new cycle. I plan to let go of all those endeavors and expectations that did not serve me. Because of this, I hope to have time to share a bit more regularly on my blog, and offer some useful classes that tap into what I love most about being an artist and writer. I also plan to expand and update my line of little whimsies, while honing my focus to better suit the art that makes me joy-filled.

 

What have you decided to let go to better live your life? What have you been hanging on to that may not serve you? Feel free to send a message or discuss in the comments!

Moonphase_Door
Thanks for stopping by Moonphase Creative!

Making Stuff

I am a creative freelancer: writing, fine art, and design. It is a passion to help clients achieve a vision that may not be conventional. I believe bringing creative thinking to the practical world is the key to success and thriving beyond “just surviving,” and that kind of unconventional creative approach is what I strive to deliver to clients.

My work has included blogging, illustration and commissioned fine art, as well as freelance professional and creative writing. I have also taught writing, art, and needle arts collectively for somewhere near a decade. Check back here for information about classes, events, and opportunities, as well as creative updates to a smattering of my artistic endeavors.