Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Evening Heart

I've had a relaxing day today, after a week of intense activity. I'm needing space to just BE. After days of much communication, parties, events, people... the best I could do today was to spend several hours on the couch in the afternoon sun reading "The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood", which is a whole bundle of fun. The building I live in has a recycling area, with several bookcases next to it, filled with books people have read and are passing on to whoever wants them. When I brought my recycling down today, I went "shopping" for books, and found the Ya-Ya Sisterhood there. It was the right book to begin reading today, a fun fast read.

Last night's event went very well. After an intense energy event like that one, I need to take really good care of myself. One thing I've learned is that the major part of my work as a psychic happens when I am alone, just getting my space. That's the most important time, and without that, I am no good doing the rest. It's more than just preparing for this or that event. Taking care of myself is how I heal every day, how I have energy to create, how I feel well, how I attract great things to myself. It takes energy to create one's life, and creating my life is what I'm all about.

I've also learned that the relaxing days are as important as the painting, posting, and promoting days. My goal is to effortlessly and happily take more days to relax. This relaxation has to also happen on the inside, in all of me. Today, lying in the sun coming in the window, reading something light and fun, it was easy to stop trying to solve problems. Most of which I can't solve anyway, since I didn't create them. What a relief to let that pressure go.

Handling the daily demands that come with living one's life is part of the territory. I used to think all I had to do was dive in, headfirst, and I'd solve it, fix it, do it, make it work. I am learning a bit about grace and finesse, even subtlety. There is an art to living, and I believe one's life can be art. I'm creating a colorful abstract!

"Evening Heart" 2007 14'x13" acrylic on vinyl in reverse
available at ETSY

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Autumn Afternoon

"Autumn Afternoon" is one of the small abstracts I created for my Etsy shop, where you will find it now. A short post today. Tonight is a big event for me, giving readings in Pacific Palisades, and I am fully booked. In order to prepare myself, I am resting, eating well, and of course, blogging.

Yesterday I actually finally added my greeting cards to my Etsy shop. Geez Louise, it took me long enough. There is an unending amount of things to do in terms of promotion, and as February approaches, I am making my February lists. I am beginning with my goals for the month, always with an eye to much bigger goals. The bigger picture, broken down into the present moment, is much easier to handle and manifest. Today I can do thus and such...and so on.

I find this a valuable way to keep sight of the bigger picture, and not overwhelm myself in the present. This also keeps my focus on what I am doing, instead of comparing myself with others.

How do you work with your goals as an artist, creative, human?

"Autumn Afternoon" 2007 10"x10" acrylic on vinyl in reverse
available on ETSY

Monday, January 28, 2008

Sunspot and Sunshine

"Sunspot" was inspired by the energy of the sun itself. I saw some fantastic photos of the surface of the sun at the Griffith Park Observatory last spring, and my Energy Series was born. I was intrigued by the textures, variations in color and depth, and movement on the surface of the sun. This piece was created from my memories of the photos and a few simple line sketches. When I sketch quickly to remember something I see, I make notes: five shades of yellow from lemon to cadmium yellow dark, turquoise, alizarin, cad red lt, and so on. I sketch my little pictures and color notes in my small black wirebound sketchbook which is always with me.

When I began painting in earnest and was learning to mix color, I found it important to write down my recipes for the colors I was mixing.
I make notes in my color mixing sketchbooks, which are just for that purpose and live on my work table next to my brushes. A swatch of the color, with quick notes of which pigments from which brands has saved me enormous amounts of time and trouble, especially when I am commissioned to paint something similar to what I've done. I often see the complete palette of the painting I want to make, and a quick referral to my color books helps me get started immediately. I also have several color mixing books for artists, and sometimes use the recipes in there to practice mixing colors I don't often use. Last year, I decided to make friends with green, with great results. I had been afraid of green, kinda, and needed to get more comfortable with it. Now I have pages of notes on green.

Sometimes, when I'm feeling a bit blocked or stuck, I refer to my color sketchbooks for inspiration. Just looking at pages and pages of delicious colors can get me kick started when resistance has taken hold. And it's all about color! Color is my chosen method of expression. What I paint always begins with an idea of color. A red abstract, a blue heart, a green sky, a gold flower. Color talks, shouts, sings and skips. It dances, meditates, flows, heals, emotes. I am highly distracted by bright colorful objects.

On an energy level, color is one way that clairvoyants see. Energy itself can be seen as color, and color can be used to create healing.

Currently, I am enamored of magenta, red, orange, bright olive green, and rich purple. What colors do you find yourself attracted to?

"Sunspot" 2007 26"x20" acrylic on vinyl in reverse available at kriscahill.com

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Mystical Harvest and Rainy Sunday

"Mystical Harvest" is a recent painting from my abstract landscapes series. I love the energy of the mystic, the mystery. One definition of mysticism has to do with mysteries, and the pursuit of conscious awareness of Spirit.

I understand now that I can use being an artist to answer some questions for myself. Many of my paintings, especially the more recent abstract ones, are to that end, though not always intentionally in the moment. I try to hold onto the picture I have of what I want to create. I paint because I want to see in front of me on a canvas some of what I already "see" on another, inner canvas. I am excited now to begin some new work along the lines of what has been moving and shaking for me recently.

I see movement and stillness in this piece. The energy is moving through the landscape. There is an almost ethereal quality of quiet and calm with it. When I had finished this piece and looked at, only then did I see that quality. Sometimes it awes me, wow! I did that? Then I have to own it and say, Yes, I did. How fortunate am I that I have this opportunity!

Today is rainy. I like it. It brings a calm before the storm that will be a houseful of people at my home in about 4 hours. Noel has gone out with our house guest, kindly leaving me some room to get my space before our Thank You Party we are having for all the people who have helped with Bikini Movie Review, his website. I will use it wisely, finding my own stillness and movement.

"Mystical Harvest" 2007 14"x14" acrylic on vinyl in reverse
available at kriscahill.com

Saturday, January 26, 2008

First and Last

"Red Front" 2005 30"x32" Acrylic on vinyl in reverse SOLD


"The Sea Has Secrets" 2007 30"x32" acrylic on vinyl in reverse
available at kriscahill.com

These two pieces are from a series I began in 2005 and feel I have now completed. I sold "Red Front" first and then was commissioned to make 2 others like it. "The Sea Has Secrets" came later, because I loved working with these colors. It is true that every painting has its moment. Every moment is unique. When I try to recreate one because I loved it, it can be very disappointing if I think I'm making the same painting. This will never happen.

For me, the hardest painting to make is a commission. Though I love and welcome them, and have done many, they take me longer as a rule. I tend to second guess myself more. It is also very hard to recreate one of my own pieces. First of all, it will never be exactly like the first one. That goes without saying. I've got to be in the zone to do this. Plus have a good attitude!

How do you handle the energy of creating a commission? What works for you in this process?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Another Dawn, Dreams and a Mon.key

I was a night owl when I was younger. I loved the mystery and quiet of the night time. I loved to see how late I could stay awake. It was peaceful, everyone was asleep, and I was free to imagine all kinds of things for myself. I'd enjoy the peace and imagine what I'd do when I grew up. I'd read massive quantities of books, or draw, or sew. One summer when I was a teenager, two other girls on my block and I would stay up all night long, until it was light outside. We hung out at one of their houses, and would talk and watch TV, and sometimes play ping pong. I don't know how we were able to get away with this, but we did. I'd go home at 6AM or so, and sleep as long as I was able to with a houseful of other people who had all had a good night's sleep. We didn't do this very often, just a few times, but it was really fun.

I continued in this vein for a number of years. There was something about the deepest part of night that always grabbed me in the deepest part of my chest. It was better when I was by myself, more profound. When I began to drive, one of my favorite things to do was to drive late at night in the very early spring, the first night it was actually warm enough to open the car windows. Which in Chicago is about 50 degrees.

Note: When 50 degrees F hits Chicago after a Long Winter, people actively cheer! and proceed to put on shorts, t shirts, and sandals. When it gets down to 50 degrees F in Los Angeles, people put on winter coats, scarves, and complain that it's cold. It's all a matter of perspective. And a source of unending amusement for me.

Back to the night time. Driving alone, accompanied only by the radio on those early spring nights, was something special. The air smelled tantalizingly like Spring. That smell brought up emotions, memories, longings I couldn't express. I didn't understand where they came from. I couldn't wait to begin living my life!

All through college, I did my best work late at night. I see now that I was able to get some space at night, that the cares of the day were behind me and I could relax. Then I began to really like the day time. Part of it was th
e W word, Work. As in job. Getting up early and such like. Needing enough sleep meant going to bed earlier.

I also began to like my dreams, and will often have a better dreaming night if I am in bed earlier, relaxed. For years I scrupulously kept dream journals, which I still have. I love remembering my dreams and still write them down. I have a few from the last two nights to record, some fun, some disturbing. I learn from them. They alert me to energies I need to be aware of. I love how dreams do not make sense.

Speaking of not making sense, I have been awarded the very coveted Mon.key Award by John Mora from Typos.Daylight.Fate. The criteria for this award is a combination of whim and grace, mostly whim. But I suspect the real reason I am receiving it because I recently included a link for Monkey Mail and John has become addicted to it. I have posted my excellently designed award in the right hand column, just under My Blog Log. John promises to hand more of these out, so if you want one, visit him and let him know you're in the running. Check out his blog and awesome art if you've never been. Thank you John! You Make My Day!

"Another Dawn" 2007 14"x14" acrylic on vinyl in reverse
available at kriscahill.com

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Purple Heart on Blue and Featured Artist

If days had grades, I'd give today an A+. Lovely and good things came forth today. Stuff I'd put out there and worked toward, came back in a positive way. It's so nice when that happens. Often, as most of us know, you just put it out there because that's what you do. And you keep doing it, for the love of it. There is a great joy in breaking through, in being seen, in reaping some harvest. Time to stomp the grapes, woohoo!! Let me take my shoes off!

First, I am the featured artist this week on a blog called Designer's Depot. Here's the link: Designer's Depot. You will see when you visit that you can also apply to be featured artist. This is what I did, and I am happy with the presentation of me and my work. Noel, the writer of this beautiful blog, sent me a list of questions. I sent my answers, my photo, and some jpgs of my work. Thank you, Noel! You did a beautiful job. (Note: This is NOT my husband Noel. Different guy.)

I've been working on increasing my visibility as a psychic here in SoCal. One place I have been expanding my business is Pacific Palisades, where I have been fortunate to have found a space to work part time out of. So that people can meet me and see what I do, I participate in events once a month at which I give free mini readings. Next Tuesday will be the first event in the Palisades, and it was written about in today's Pacific Palisades Post! I had nobody signed up, and now people have been calling all evening, reserving a spot for themselves. There will also be an article coming out about me and the woman whose Healing Center I work out of there. I'll keep you posted with that link when I have it.

Recently I have been featured on another blog I told you about, the wonderful Online Arts Marketing. I was just awarded the You Make My Day award, which was doubly fun in that I got to pass it on to others who inspire me. I will begin working with Shoshana Rose from The Artist in You Museletter in February. She is creating a featured artist video blog and I am her first artist. I have been fortunate to attract to myself opportunities that are delightful and also fun! Another reason to be grateful:

My husband Noel booked his first high profile commercial job since moving out here. It was one he never thought he'd get. He will be playing Abraham Lincoln in a two spot package for Civilization:Revolution, a video game. After being sent out by his agent on over 100 auditions last year, he booked one. He's had several paying acting gigs already, but this one is better. The happy dance has been danced all day.

The scenario: I am in Whole Foods, buying things Trader Joe's doesn't carry, (we had just left there). He is out in the car, parking lot is crazy at the WF in West Hollywood. All of a sudden, he is standing behind me, acting oddly, (which isn't really unusual of him) (actors!) asking me in a strange voice to take him to the White House because he is the president. Behind him, a man who has overheard is looking at us seriously alarmed. Perhaps wondering if he should rescue me from this madman. I am preoccupied with thoughts of Earl Grey and Roasted Tomatoes and where the hell are they? He keeps carrying on, saying he is the 16th President of the United States. "Wait, who was the 16th president?" I ask. "Abraham Lincoln!" is the answer, and I finally get it. Now we are laughing out loud, slapping high fives, and the guy thinks we are both nuts. So be it.

The heart featured in this blog was one of my favorite paintings at the time I made it. There are very few of my paintings I won't sell. This was one; for years it hung in our home. Then one day I was hanging a show and decided it was time to let it go, so I hung it in the show. It sold soon after. Around that time my work began to sell more, and I knew something had cleared up for me. I see now it was in the letting go. The present time looks like that to me too. I have much gratitude for this time in my life.


"Purple Heart on Blue" 2000 32"x30" SOLD

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

It Never Rains in Southern California

But girl, don't they warn ya? It pours....man it pours! Rainy season is here, hooray! It's very wet and kinda chilly. After a bone dry year with the worst fires ever here in SoCal, this is a relief. I was able to stay home all day, working in my studio, cleaning, meditating, listening to the rain. It's rained a few days already this season, but today is the day I decided the Rainy Season had officially begun. Rain is very likely to continue every day, through the weekend, and most likely into next week. I am so happy; the air will be cleaner, spring will be greener, and I don't have to wash my car now!

Yesterday I was hired to do a house healing, for a woman I know whose home has been uncomfortable energy-wise for her to live in. This is the second time I've been to her home, and both times I've met her cat. He and I hit it off very well, he's a psychic cat. Yesterday he was very happy to see me, kept rubbing against me and saying hello. When the time came to read the energy and I sat down at the kitchen table, he jumped up on the table and got right in my face. "Look", I said to him, "I like you very much too, but I need some space so I can give a reading." He understood, immediately jumped down from the table and went somewhere to lie down for the duration of the reading. I was totally impressed with him. The reading went well, and my client was happy and more relaxed.

On the way home, I thought about space. Not outer space, or even inner space, but having space. Cats know about having space, and that cat instinctively knew what I was asking for. He was able to respond in a positive way without taking it personally. Which is more than people are able to do sometimes. Growing up in a large family, in a neighborhood full of large families, space wasn't exactly something people talked about having. One of my brothers moved into a long closet when he was a teenager. He had a twin mattress on the floor, his record player, and whatever else he could squeeze in there. The closet even had a tiny window. He was happy; he had his own room. The rest of us were also happy because he was easier to live with now. That tiny little closet became his sanctuary and gave him some space.

One of the reasons I first began meditating was because I wanted to have more of myself present, to have my space. I really can't imagine living well without taking time each day to do this. It is a creative act, also requiring patience and the ability to let go of needing to be perfect. Sometimes people think they are not ready to meditate because they get all squirmy and filled with silly thoughts. Meditation is seen as a serious, almost studious act. One must be kind of perfectly in a zone or something.

Here's the secret to meditation: it's never perfect. It's funny and messy and calming and also the opposite. Every time it's different. What I find works the best for me is amusement and forgiveness. Who do I forgive? First of all, myself. Next, whoever. The most important thing is that I am taking time off from busy-ness to work on my relationship with myself. That is the most important relationship I have. If that one is working well, I will be able to create my life as I see it.

"Winds of Change" 2006 33"x31" acrylic on vinyl in reverse
available at kriscahill.com

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sunny Land and You Make My Day



I have been honored with my very first award from another blogger. Sue O'Kieffe, from Sacred Circle Mandalas has kindly bestowed upon me the 'You Make My Day' award.

I met Sue very early on in my blogging career. She commented on my blog, said hello to me in a friendly way, telling me she liked my attitude. I went to her blog and was impressed and awestruck by the beauty of her work, her commitment to doing it, and her giving spirit in how she teaches others. Thank you, Sue! You Make My Day!

I would like to pass this award on to a few folks who make my day. I think it's important to let people know one is grateful for them. Since I became a blogger, I have met so many helpful, interesting, and fabulous artists.
So here are the rules: “Give the award to up to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel so happy about blogland! Beware! You may get the award several times!”

I recently met Shoshana Rose through the blogosphere when she visited my blog in a lovely flurry of kindness, validation, and enthusiasm. I am struck by her complete joy of life, her decision to live and create a beautiful life after going through some very difficult times, and her mission to tell the world about it. Shoshana has healed herself through dance, and tells others they can too. Shoshana writes some of the most wonderful things to me about how inspiring I have been to her. Right back at you Shoshana, You Make My Day!

I know she was just awarded this, and I don't want to put any more pressure on her, so Diane Clancy, you can just consider it a double award. Diane found me early here also, and has graced my blog with her thoughtful insights and kind comments ever since. She may not know this, but when I was in Chicago last month for the holidays, she was one of the few people who continued to visit and comment every day, though I was so busy with family and friends I barely posted while there. That meant a lot to me, as well as the generous sharing of information to be found on Diane's blog. She is fabulous at marketing, and shares what she learns. Diane, You Make My Day!

Ever since I found her blog, or she found mine, I feel as if she and I are kindred spirits. We share a similar love of red, lipstick, beauty, and fashion. Whenever I visit her blog, I am in awe of her latest creation, which she makes in an apparently effortless way. She has been through much in her life, and has compassion and grace. Neda Doany, You Make My Day!

Though I don't always comment when I visit, I read her beautiful words and appreciate them. She wrote one of my favorite books I read last year, "Undercover", a story about a teenage girl coming of age and discovering it is possible to achieve her dreams. When you visit her blog, you are greeted with her kindness, compassion, intelligence and grace, as well as her gorgeous photos. She talks about the writer's life, what it's like to be a writer, how she gets inside a character to flesh her or him out. I picture her taking a flat line drawing of the character and blowing it up like a beach ball, then writing what she sees! Beth Kephart, You Make My Day!

I learn something new every time I visit her blog. The first time I went was just at the new year, when she had published her amazing list "Top 101 Artists Blogs". Wow, what a labor of love! And she was still accepting submissions and adding them to a new list. Since finding Kim, I have met a lot of other artists who blog, learned about a fantastic free way to get stats on visitors to my sites, and been introduced to "Wordless Chicken Tuesday", among numerous other bits of fun and helpful information. (You'll have to visit her to get the scoop on WCT.) Kim at laketrees, You Make My Day!

He is a thoughtful, intelligent, and friendly guy. Chris O'Byrne from Online Arts Marketing
writes about exactly that, marketing online for artists. Make sure you check his blog out. It is written in an informative, clear and sharp way. He is concise in his words, and the information he presents is grounded and no nonsense. Unlike some other blogs that exist solely for this purpose, his is also interesting to look at. And he features a different artist every Friday. Chris, You Make My Day!

I love her work, her playfulness, and her ability to get loads of artists to commit to being Creative Everyday. Though this is her second time being awarded in the past two days, I can't help it. Every time I visit her blog, I am struck by her joy and positive attitude about life. Her ability to find the creative in simply living is catching for others. She is presenting a way to live life to its fullest, so I present to Leah Piken Kolidas this award: You Make My Day!

I just found her blog recently, actually both her blogs, and I am blown away. Though we don't know each other yet, I have been to visit a number of times, and intend to continue doing so. From the photos and statements on her banners, to her incredible artwork, to her humor, I feel a kinship for the writer of both The Artful Eye and The Way I See It. You Make My Day!

I find his visits and comments most unusual and fun, and I like that! His words are poetic and colorful, his monkey typing style is like choreography. I am happy he found my blog and began to visit, he always leaves me with something deep to ponder, or an excellent and funny phrase to laugh out loud at. His art is textured and also deep; I enjoy seeing what world he has created next. One of the many treasures I have found as a blogger, John Mora, You Make My Day!

I may be going over my allotted number here, but rules can be stretched and I don't want to leave this beautiful woman out of the mix. Not only are her mandalas gorgeous, her writing is a delight to read. Even while going through some health issues that would challenge any of us greatly, she manages to post to her blog every day. Her posts are friendly and open about her life. It's like visiting a friend for tea. Sweet Irene, You Make My Day!

Thank you as well, kind reader. I appreciate you taking the time to simply visit and read my blog. You, too, make my day.

"Sunny Day" 2006 32"x30" SOLD

Monday, January 21, 2008

Fire Sky and the Courage to Create

This is an excerpt from The Courage To Create, Rollo May, 1975:
"This courage will not be the opposite of despair. We shall often be faced with despair, as indeed every sensitive person has been during the last several decades in this country. Hence Kierkegaard and Nietzsche and Camus and Sartre have proclaimed that courage is not the absence of despair; it is, rather, the capacity to move ahead in spite of despair."

I started art school in September of 1976, at the tender age of 17, and when I read this book the first time, I did not get it. I read it because it was assigned by one of my freshman year teachers. I'm sure I slid through my first reading of it half consciously at best.

I picked it up again, later in my 20's as I was beginning to look for some answers for myself. And again. I woke up today thinking of this book, and not finding it on my bookshelf, I ordered a copy. I want to read it again.

What stands out for me now as I read these words is the part 'every sensitive person'. Rollo May wrote this in the early 1970's, during and just after a time of great social upheaval. Everything was changing, more quickly ever day, as we all know now. He was referring to the courage it takes, in spite of the tumult going on all around, to create a new world. I see it as being more than a painter, or writer, or filmmaker, or musician. It is really about one becoming the artist of one's own life, and in doing so, creating a new reality.

In order for someone to create, to become an artist, it may be necessary to open up, to become even more sensitive. What a challenge now! In fact, I can't think of a time in history when it wouldn't have been a challenge to be sensitive. It's often seen as a negative, as in "oh, don't be so sensitive!" As I've gotten older, I've become much more so, to my delight. There is a deeper and wider range to draw upon. I've had to pull down a few walls to do this. In order to pull those down, I had to get safer, make new rules for my life, stop taking everyone's pain on as my personal crusade. Many people are reluctant to open themselves up, wisely so. Once someone has been hurt, that person understandably becomes a bit gun shy about letting that happen again.
But that is also how we grow, evolve, learn. Not that one needs to seek out challenging experiences. They tend to show up. :-)
(Read About How Joshua Trees Grow Here.)

There is a hilarious but painful scene in Art School Confidential. John Malkovich plays a bitter art teacher, leading a life drawing class. As his class is drawing away at their easels, he is lecturing them; "And remember, only one in one hundred of you will ever make a living as an artist".

One thing I have learned while becoming an artist is that if I wanted to make real work, I had to be able to Get More Real. This doesn't mean I have to paint realistically! It means I have to Be more realistic, ie, more like myself. That means less like you, or her, or him. But wait, I used to wonder, what does that mean? Who am I? Aye, there's the rub! To be me, or not to be me?

What does courage mean to you? Where are you most courageous in your life?

"Fire Sky" 2005 34"x32" SOLD

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Sky Blue Heart, Greeting Cards, & Value

Continuing with the Heart Theme is "Sky Blue Heart". I sold this painting a while ago, but it is still available as a greeting card. In 2006, I licensed 12 of my original images to Arbutus Images, a wholesale greeting card company. They license work from artists all over the world. Go to their website to check them out here.

They are a wholesale company, as I said, so if you want to buy individual pieces, it's best to buy them directly from the artists. Like me, for example! Here's the link to my shop page on my website, where you can see all 12 card images: Buy Cards. I have 6 different heart images for sale, as well as 6 other images.

I am creating more spaces online to market my work, and the cards are one item I haven't promoted very well, until now. Sure, they've been on my website, now it's time to show them in other places too.

In getting so busy with other things I am building and creating, I forgot to value these creations as well as I might. However, today I sold a bunch of them through my website, along with "Blue Chord", the painting featured in yesterday's Online Arts Marketing post. Hooray! The funny thing is, and I do it often enough that it's not really funny but I have to laugh anyway, is that I forget how beautiful some of these things are. I have done them, and moved my energy onto the next 12 things. Then someone buys them, and I'm all "huh? I'd better value those!!" D'oh!

This is what blogging everyday is doing for me: helping me be more conscious and aware of the value of my work. Not just because I get praise and validation for it, heck, who doesn't want that? But more because I get a kind of neutral distance from it. I am becoming more clear about what I need to do, what I want to do, what is working. I write down my work goals for the week and each day. And when I am writing my blog I get to explore some of the spiritual issues I work on as a human being and an artist. Value is a big one.

I was given this lesson years ago in one of my first shows ever, Around the Coyote in Chicago, which is a huge group show and studio art walk each September. I was stuck in a basement gallery space with a guy whose art glowed in the dark. He would turn off the lights when people walked into our space. That didn't last long, as I can be quite fierce when need be. :-) Anyway, Mr. Glow-Art and I had our fair share of visitors, as off the beaten track as we were. I even sold some pieces from that show, including one painting to two of Mr. Glow-Art's friends, which for some reason seemed to irritate him. I also had several more shows as a result of this one.

Two men came in, looked at my work, and liked it. They looked to me like people who loved and bought art. But as they were leaving, one turned to me and said, "Your prices are too low! Nobody's going to value your work until you do." He was actually angry! I thanked him; I was speechless, which takes some doing.

He was right, and I had to begin doing some work on myself about this thing called "value". For artists, value can be such a strange thing. There are all kinds of incidentals that go into pricing work. One of the hardest things I've ever done as an artist is to raise my prices. But it's easier to do so when I look back at the pieces I sold for too little, and realize I value them much more highly now.

I have often told other artists their prices were too low also. I have been amazed at what people were willing to let their work go for. It all comes down to value, and more often it's about the individual being able to value him/herself.

This is where it gets all squirmy and dicey. (Love those words!) Self image, do I really have to work on that one to get a fair price for my work? How about even to SELL my work!

How about you, what do you have to say about this topic?

"Sky Blue Heart" 2005 30"x27" SOLD
Greeting Cards available at kriscahill.com

Friday, January 18, 2008

Sunset Heart

Exciting news today! I am the featured artist at Online Arts Marketing. You can read the article about me here. If you haven't been to this blog yet, and you are an artist wanting to market your work, check it out. Chris O'Byrne has created a well thought out and well written blog, with some very helpful grounded information. I am honored to be his Friday featured artist. Thank you, Chris! You are inspiring me to paint more colorful abstracts.

Today's post will be short and sweet. Here is another heart painting from my Etsy shop. I particularly like this one for its colors. Orange and purple is one of my favorite color combinations, and the title 'Sunset Heart' seems perfect to me.

"Sunset Heart" 2007 14"x13" acrylic on vinyl in reverse
available at ETSY

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Blue But Happy Heart

When and why did I begin painting hearts? I remember I was in total judgment of doing so when I began. Jim Dine notwithstanding, I had a hard time with this image at first. Why? I thought 'serious artists' didn't paint hearts. I painted them before I was very aware of Jim Dine. I wanted to paint them. He just gave me permission to do so. Actually, I gave me permission to do so after seeing his.

Though I have made probably 200? hearts since, I don't get tired of this symbol. My heart paintings have ranged in size from 8"x8" to 36"x36". The larger ones are much more textured and detailed, and sometimes darker too. They become more than just a pretty picture of a heart. There is a lot of detail in each heart painting, no matter what size.

The symbol of a heart goes way back. Seeing as how we are heading into Heart Season, I thought I'd do some research. Aristotle considered the heart the seat of thought, reason, or emotion, more so than the brain. Many others throughout history thought of the heart as the seat of human emotions. Phrases and sayings are significant: a good heart, wearing your heart on your sleeve, cold hearted, black hearted, without heart, it's got heart, deep in my heart, my heart longs for you...and many more. Simply put, we use the symbol of a heart to represent not only love, but feeling, depth, kindness, integrity.

The organ of the heart is associated with the 4th chakra, in the human energy system. This chakra is, appropriately enough, located in the center of the chest. It has to do with affinity, self love, love for others, love for what one is creating. Also, self image. As a psychic, when I look at someone who has a very active 4th chakra, it can mean that person is quite a healer.

Years ago, I had a fascination with reading the obituaries every morning. Right after the comics. (My father used to say, "everyone died in alphabetical order again today!) I read the obituaries to see several things: how old the person was when they died, and what they did for a living. I just wanted to know, and later when I began training as a psychic, I realized why. I was "reading" the obits while reading them. For instance, I noticed how many physicians died of heart attacks. Healers all, their 4th chakras were probably full of everyone's pain.

I learned a fascinating idea in my training: heal the spirit and the spirit heals the body. Wow! How mind blowing that was. I tried it, and it began to work. Once I began on this spiritual path, I wasn't going to turn back. I learned that my true work here on this earth may be a bit different than what I once thought it was. I used to think it was my job to fix and heal anyone and everyone. I tried, my body was in lots of pain. As I changed that to making it my job to heal myself, wouldn't you know it? My body began to heal. It's pretty happy now, and I'm much happier with it.

Many of the readings I give are to people who are trying to heal on some level. Perhaps they are deep in the process, maybe they are still trying to heal the world around them first. The miracles of healing I have seen over the years are really astounding. Here's a thought: when you heal yourself, you create healing around you. Just by being well.

"Blue Heart on Violet" 2007 14"x14" acrylic on vinyl in reverse
available at ETSY

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Amusement, Again

I write about amusement a lot. It is one of my favorite energies. And it'll do in a pinch if you run out of other things, like patience, or money, or clean underwear. Amusement is a very high spiritual vibration. It is healing to have. I have a lot of it; I am fortunate to be wealthy in amusement. Sometimes I am just full of it!! (That was a joke.)

Today was one of those days that had bunches of amusement, or at least I did so things were funny. From songs on the radio:
"He made his home in
that fish's ab-do-men..."
(Heard on KCRW this morning, "It Ain't Necessarily So")

After hearing this, I began laughing, and for some odd reason began thinking about Julie Andrews singing "A Spoonful Of Sugar" when I was a kid. Which led to the next thought, as I'm now driving along singing this out loud and laughing, which was about the comedians who do political satire. Some of them, like Jon Stewart, Steven Colbert, and Bill Maher, understand the value of using amusement to communicate serious ideas. Their messages can be heard more easily this way.

People look to comics, clowns, fools and jesters during difficult and serious times. The Marx Brothers misbehaving in society, making huge messes, being fools and owning it. Monty Python not making sense, being completely silly, or blundering (Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition...). The class clown. Many comics have made a name being inappropriate and offensive, treading on perfect pictures: perfect family, perfect bride, perfect life. The roasting of perfection is a healing because it is simply not possible to live one's life that way.

I am my parent's firstborn child. My mother was, understandably, protective of her new baby, and having had just enough nurse's training to become dangerous, sterilized everything in my nursery, constantly. When people came over to say hello, she made them wash their hands and wear a mask when they held me. I have often joked that I don't tan because my mother bleached me as a baby. Everything was all perfect for a while. Then one day, out of the blue, the boiler in the basement blew up. Everything in the house was covered with soot and ash, including me, my nursery, and all that perfectness. By the time my youngest brother was born, 5 children later, and kids from the neighborhood would come over to see the new baby, my mother said, "just don't drop him."

My sister Betty has an Etsy shop called snappyshop, and I model for her. My alter ego is Katrina. It all started very innocently, she asked me last year if I'd help her out by modeling her aprons so it was easier to sell them. She had been trying to shoot them while wearing them herself and if you've ever tried that, you know it's much easier to have another body there. Since they are unique handmade aprons, we shot them in her kitchen. We thought we'd use kitchen props. Here is my favorite. Yes, that's me with the butcher knife. Props are good. After laughing through our whole photo shoot, we go out to lunch and then go shopping.

Here's a few fun links for your amusement:
Happy Tree Friends Cute, cuddly, and sweet, until things go horribly horribly wrong.
Strindberg and Helium
Monk-e-Mail Send a talking monkey to your friends.

Have fun!

"New Year's Heart" 2008 12"x12" acrylic on vinyl in reverse
available at ETSY

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Butter Heart and Self Promotion

I've been all about marketing and self promotion lately. Increasing my visibility is one goal I have for 2008. I have a number of tools I use to let people know about me and what I do. This blog, my website, Etsy, Trunkt, Myspace, youtube, Boundless Gallery...not to mention all the blog social networking sites. I've been getting plugged into more of them, and creating relationships with people I meet this way. For me, a huge plus in expanding my networks is that I get to meet so many new people. I learn a lot from other artists while making it possible for opportunities to find their way to me.

One of my favorite ways to inform people about what I am doing now and what's new, is my monthly newsletter, 'Art & Clairvoyance'. I usually send it out the first week of the month, but because of the New Year and the holidays, I waited until yesterday to send it out. I use Constant Contact, which is a service you can buy that makes it easy to send out mass marketing emails that are also very pretty. I have collected email addresses for years, and began using this service about 2 years ago. I send my newsletter out to nearly 500 people each month. My email list continues to grow. I collect addresses from people I read at events and parties, people I meet at art shows, people I just meet who might be interested in what I do. Constant Contact is intolerant of spam, so it is important to ask people if you can put them on your email list.

People pass my mailing on to their friends and colleagues, so many more people receive it than the number I sent out. All this for $20.00 a month! I always get more business as a result. Plus it's a fun way to communicate with someone you haven't seen in a while. I got an email today from an old school friend I haven't heard from in years, responding to my newsletter. A nice New Year's hello!

Here are a few blogs I read that have interesting tips on marketing art online:
Online Arts Marketing
This is a sample from yesterday's post:

"This question has been asked of me more times than I can count: How can I survive as an artist?

It is the dream of many artists to spend their day creating and not think at all about the business. I’m not sure if anyone is blessed in such a way and if they are, they must be extremely rare. Even the person who has an agent or a manager cannot just let the business side go completely, there are too many decisions to make."

Diane Clancy's blog is another I go to for tips and information: Diane Clancy
Diane writes a lot about social networking, plus her art is so colorful and beautiful that it's a lovely treat every time you visit her blog.

If you are planning to be seen, it is helpful to be visible! I think so many of us have gone through times of wanting to be invisible. We may have felt very sensitive, needed to be safe, or we were going through something and just didn't want to handle any attention. That's why I recommend you check these guys out. I'm sure they are sensitive and all, but they manage to put on a brave face! They are not afraid of a little attention: Mixed Species
Found them yesterday and I have been laughing ever since.

Speaking of all this promotion and being seen, I will be present and giving free mini readings at 2 events in the Los Angeles area in the next month.

January 29, 5:00-8:00PM in Pacific Palisades at the Cellular Recall Healing Center.
February 5, 6:00-9:00PM in Sherman Oaks at Burgundy Blue.

If you will be in the area and want to receive a reading, please contact me by commenting or email and let me know. I am signing up people in advance, so be sure to reserve your time. Read more here about my readings.
If you'd like to sign up for my email newsletter, send me an email and tell me.

"Butter Heart" 2008 9"x9" acrylic on vinyl in reverse
available at ETSY

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Beautiful Sunday

Today was a fabulous day. Los Angeles was graced with temperatures in the upper 70's, which I know many of you don't even want to know about. Sorry. And, here's the kicker, it was also CLEAR. Meaning I can see forever.

Noel and I went for a long hike in Griffith Park, all the way to the top, which is called Dante's Peak. Many of the hiking trails were closed for months after the huge fire in the park last May. Most have reopened, and we were able to revisit a few today. It felt so good to be out in the sun, walking up a steep hill. We could see the snow covered San Gabriel Mountains in one direction, the ocean in another, and lots of blackened trees along our path. It's unusual to see so clearly all the way to the ocean, no fog, no smog blocking the view. I felt wealthy being able to enjoy so many different elements at one time. It's rained a lot here recently, and we could see the bright green new growth all over the burnt out areas. A gift of a day!

As a new week begins, today was a wonderful separation from last week. A time to stop thinking about time, a time to renew. I want this kind of day more, and love it when I have it. I notice that while hiking, other people are very friendly, more so than I bet they are while sitting in endless freeway traffic, or being in the middle of big city madness. Hiking in these hills, it is easy to forget one lives in the middle of a big mad city. It's silent up there, except for other people's voices, and birds, and wind. People hike in the hills to get space in this sometimes crazy place.
How about you, what do you do to renew, to get some space?

"Green Meadow" 2006 32"x36" acrylic on vinyl in reverse
available at kriscahill.com

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Reality

Reality, as in, get real! - comes in many flavors. I am reminded of this often because I have a great job: I get to give psychic readings to many people and see what version of reality they are living. I say this without judgment. After all, my reality isn't yours. We all see things differently. I am so happy we do - how boring it would be if every band sounded like the Beatles or Nirvana. Hooray for variety. Remember the potato famine!

Yes, variety is the spice of life. As a child, I was endlessly curious about other people and ways of doing things, still am. I couldn't understand how anyone wouldn't be. I was an artist and weird, and didn't fit in well. The neighborhood I grew up in underwent upheavals as a result of clinging stubbornly to its sameness. I was in judgment of the people there who were afraid of anyone who didn't look, talk, or think like they did. I know more now, and can allow them their provincial ways, for even my old neighborhood has broadened its scope. Seems new generations and technology come along and so does...CHANGE!

So in writing about reality, what I am asking is, whose reality are you talking about? Yours, mine, your friend's? So many people are sitting in something that's not even theirs. My favorite examples include the nightly news. What is being sold tonight as "reality"? What are you supposed to feel, think, buy, have, as a result? How does your body feel while watching the news? Frightened, depressed, asleep, interested? Try this: next time you watch the news, notice in particular how your body feels. You can even ask it. Hmmmm....

So again, what are you being sold as reality? This is where creating for oneself comes in handy. It's fun to blog and see what people all over the planet are doing to create something new, a new world, their own realities. If you are creating your life for you, you aren't matching to what others are creating. You aren't buying it unconsciously. Clairvoyance comes in handy here. What do I see for myself?

In my meanderings around the blogosphere today, I found something interesting. A group of Czech artists created a video last summer that got them in a whole heap of trouble. They made a video that looked like a nuclear explosion going off in the Czech countryside. Here's the link to the news report on Art Threat. And here's the group's Myspace page: Ztohoven. What these artists are trying to do is scare people awake. It's an interesting way to show one's art, to say the least. What do you think of their tactics? If Orson Wells were alive today and pulling his 'War of the Worlds' stunt, would he be facing possibly 3 years in prison too?

So again, what are you buying? What did you buy today? We have been trained well to consume. I'm fantastic at it, and intend to become a bigger consumer of shoes as soon as my budget agrees! However, what we each consume can be changed, and instead of being force fed some version of reality that isn't validating, why not create your own?

"Orange Sky" 2006 34"x32" acrylic on vinyl in reverse
available at kriscahill.com

Friday, January 11, 2008

A Present Moment in Time

There's no time like the present! This moment too, shall pass. The times they are a changin'.

If there's one thing we humans tend to do, it's try and hold on to stuff. Many times it's easy to forget and hard to remember the present is a new place. Especially in the last century as change has happened more quickly.

In rivers, the water that you touch is the last of what has passed and the first of that which comes; so with present time. - Leonardo da Vinci

I love my past. I love my present. I'm not ashamed of what I've had, and I'm not sad because I have it no longer.
Colette (1873 - 1954), The Last of Cheri, 1926


Passion kept one fully in the present, so that time became a series of mutually exclusive 'nows.'
Sue Halpern, O Magazine, September 2003

Living in such a fast paced time, with many demands on one's attention, it is easy to get caught up in any place but now. As I mentioned yesterday, I meditate daily, and this is a great big reason why: I want to find myself in present time. I want to bring my attention and my energy back to me. I want to let go of the past. I want to heal those parts of me that are out of whack.

Many people, and I was one once, are so busy that they are running all day long. There is never time for sitting, being, reflecting. Especially in the United States, something about a Work Ethic? People think they are being lazy if they take time to reflect, sit, be. Hell, nobody's supposed to just BE anymore! How many people do you see just sitting on a park bench, not doing anything else? Not plugged in, reading, talking on a cell phone, listening to music, or glued to a computer screen?

One reason I love to travel is that I can shake off the everyday demands to be anywhere but here, any time but now. While traveling, I have the opportunity and the space to see something new. Not just landscapes, but people. I can more easily be in the present, because that's where I am.

What are the activities that help you be in the present? Do you like to be here?

"A Moment in Time" 2006 32"x29" acrylic on vinyl in reverse SOLD

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Shine You Shining Star

More Monty Python goodness for you:
How Not To Be Seen

This is what many people unconsciously think will happen to them if they are seen, famous, visible. As much as people say they want to be successful, often the level of success each can have is dependent on how safe he/she feels. This is something to consider while creating one's business plan! How much attention can you really handle? Are you safe enough to truly succeed the way you want to? How do you create a safe space for yourself?

I had a fun dream last week. I was being chased by something angry and mean, and as I was trying to get away, Jennifer Aniston showed up and whisked me off to a hidden cafe/bar, kind of a sanctuary. She didn't say a word, and was very neutral the whole time. We sat at a small table together in this sanctuary, and I realized this was a place she'd escape to when the attention got too much to deal with sanely. She was showing me a safe place to go to when I needed one.
I was very grateful.

Many readings I give come down to this. Here's a link to a previous post about this same topic.
The energy of safety is a big deal. A good word to use is grounding. Everything starts from grounding. One great way to find grounding is to be aware of your body. Have you been ignoring it, impatient with it, angry because it's in pain? Have you been pushing your body to be all it can be, meanwhile ignoring its pitiful cries of "stop!"?

One thing I have learned to do over the years is listen to my body. It is giving me all the information I need about being safe. If my body is happy, things are good. I am safe, I can create. If my body is angry, I have to stop and listen. I've learned in some not very fun ways that I needed to listen. One way I listen is meditation, which I practice daily. Learning to communicate with yourself is the benefit of this practice. I can't imagine living without it, not well anyway.

I'd already decided yesterday that today's post would be on being seen, and then I was featured on another art blogger's blog today! Leah from Creative Everyday has written something very nice about me and included a link to one of my youtube videos. Check out her blog, she is featuring a Creative Everyday Challenge for 2008.

And here's a link to a lovely idea, the Thank You Project.

"Night Tree" 2005 32"x27" acrylic on vinyl in reverse SOLD

And Now For Something Completely Different...

I am amused by the idea of flowers sullenly hanging around on the corner, smoking and sneering at you as you pass. Must be the punky teenager still inside of me, anyway I am amused at actual teenagers who do this too. Though I am careful to act scared...

Like my trees, my flowers have personalities. They are the closest I have gotten so far to painting people. (Except when I used to paint in a more cartoony style years ago and I may share those with you one day...) I wouldn't by any means call it "figure painting", but they are figures and I paint them...?

These flowers are checking you out. They are looking for your weakness. They also think they look so tough but actually they're just cute and need watering. Storm clouds are gathering, soon they will get their wish. That's a different painting, but in that one they look more wet than threatening.

Amusement is the energy I am working on now, and if it takes being silly, so be it. One of my favorite genius shows in my life was Monty Python's Flying Circus. Here's a few very silly links for you:

The Lumberjack Song
The Spam Sketch

I used to watch this show every week with my family. We would laugh and laugh, and my formative years were enriched by these very silly men who helped me make sense of things by NOT making sense. I am eternally grateful to all of them!

Watch and enjoy these healers in action.

"Stormy Daisy Day" 2006 26"x18" SOLD


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Return of Magic and RSS Hugger

Did you know that clairvoyance is impolite? Well, it is. This is something I've learned over the years. As I turned mine on and began using it, I had to become conscious of the energy not wanting me to see, or speak about what I was seeing. Much of the energy was telling me how rude I was for even looking! It is a powerful thing to see clearly and speak truthfully with compassion.

"To see clearly is poetry, philosophy, and religion all in one."
~ Eudora Welty


In my experience, there is a real return of magic when someone is able to see truth for herself or himself. Then a true choice can be made as to what to do next. It is when we are unconsciously swimming in lies that we get stuck. And that's OK too, it's where one may need to be for a time. However, discover your truth and energy has a way of moving FAST!

It gets more interesting. In order t
o see truth, ya gotta wanna. A roomful of the world's most talented psychics won't see squat if they don't want to. True! And as a psychic, if I can say hello to the beauty and truth of the person sitting in front of me, I am doing my job. It isn't up to me to judge whether someone is doing it "right" or not, so I don't. Believe me, each of us is already better at being in judgment of ourselves than anyone else could ever be! Who needs more? Besides, my truth is different from yours. How dare I impose mine on you?

One of my Life Goals is to be magic. How I do this is to be working from my Truth.


On another topic, I just learned about RSS Hugger, a new way to promote your blog. It's an RSS feed site that also promotes blogs in a unique way. Each person who joins has their own address. Mine is:
http://www.rsshugger.com/kriscahill.com

I visited the site to check it out and was impressed with how it's set up, and how it works. So I signed up, and finally got myself into the 21st century with rss feed. RssHugger works by featuring random blogs regularly, and changing its Top 100 blogs monthly, so there is always a chance to be featured. There are many ways to promote blogs, and I found this site to be user friendly. I like the attitude of the creator of RSS Hugger, Collin LaHay. He wants to promote other blogs while also creating success for himself, a win-win situation. For readers, it's a great way to find new blogs to read. Everything is organized to make it easy to find blogs in topics you are interested in. Check it out!

"The Return of Magic" 2007 32"x40" acrylic on vinyl in reverse
available at kriscahill.com

Monday, January 7, 2008

Happy Thoughts For Mondays

I woke up today with a very happy thought: there are still two more Harry Potter movies to come! A fun thing to wake up thinking about, as I have loved Harry Potter from the first book. I even went as the boy wizard for Halloween about 7 years ago, wig, glasses, scar, and all. I wish I had a Hogwarts to go to when I was a kid. I would have fit in there much better than I did at St. Barnabas.

Color is something else I wake up thinking about frequently. Not always consciously, it's so much a part of who I am and how I see things. I am in love with color. As an artist, clairvoyant, human. Seeing color is one thing I am most grateful for. I think it takes having a human body to see color as we do. After being told as a child that dogs don't see color like people do, I remember thinking, how do scientists know that? Did they actually ask a dog? How did that conversation go exactly? I went so far as to hold different colored objects up in front of my dog, who seemed indifferent mostly.

Working and playing with color is one of the joys in my life. Right now I am attracted to reds, magentas, and pinks. I want to wear these colors, paint with them, and buy new lipstick to match. I recently bought some hot pink wool to make a skirt, with a pink lining. I already know what I'll wear with it: black boots and my black jacket with the red embroidery. Plus I have an amazing sparkly magenta necklace that will be perfect. An outfit like this heals me!

Today I began my first tree paintings in over a year. The trees are deep magenta tones, with reds, pinks, and purples. Though I just have the first layer of color down, I picture the entire piece. Painting in reverse is so funny because the objects in the foreground must be painted first. In this case, trees first, then earth, signature, sky. I picture this piece having an intense sky filled with movement. It remains to be seen, and hopefully posted on this blog by the end of the week.

I am so excited to begin a new tree. After working on these tree paintings in my head and my dreams, now I'm actually doing them. (For some reason, I couldn't paint trees in 2007.) Many of my earliest paintings on vinyl were trees and leaves. My trees are usually solo, mostly bare, dancing in the atmosphere, sometimes kept company by stars, often alone and contemplative. I have often seen them as my self portraits, though not on purpose. It's only after I paint them that I see this, and then I wonder how I missed something so obvious.

Trees are grounded deep into the earth. They stretch way up high, into the sky, reaching for the stars. Some trees bloom with fantastic flowers, others with lovely leaves create cooling shade on the hottest of days. Trees clear the air, they detoxify the air we breathe. One of my favorite books about trees is called The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. When I moved to Los Angeles I was awestruck by the blooming of the jacaranda trees in the spring. You better believe I will be painting some of those this year.

All this talk of trees, and my painting of the day is pink flowers? Yup, flowers are next. Hey, what's your favorite tree?

"Three Pink Ones" 2005 32"x28" Sold

Sunday, January 6, 2008

It's a Wonderful Day

I finished, photographed, and added 10 new original paintings to my Etsy shop tonight. Please check them out. I will be adding more soon. My 2008 business plan includes making full use of the resources I already have available to me, as well as developing more. More news will come as I bring my online galleries and communication into present time.

I paint smaller pieces specifically for Etsy. This is another from my abstract landscape series, "Wonderful Day", 10"x10". I'm painting a lot of smaller hearts too, in anticipation of Valentine's Day. I am ready to paint large again, and have planned some pieces I will begin this week. I made a few sketches during the holidays, and lots of notes as well. As hectic as that time of year can be, I find it refreshing in that I can take a step back from what I've been immersed in, and see it with fresh eyes. This is necessary if I am to allow myself to create from the new place I am in now. I've got to give myself space in order to continue.

One way I've added space into my day is by changing the way I do things. My husband Noel and I have a fairly new morning ritual; days we have enough time to do so, we have coffee and tea in bed. Whoever wakes up first gets up and makes it. This also inspires us to wake up earlier so we have time for our ritual. We read some of the blogs we write and/or find, out loud to each other, while having our coffee (him) and tea (me) in bed. We used to get up and go off to do our own things, and this daily ritual helps us start our day in a really nice way together.

Another place I am looking to give myself some space is in my studio. What helps here is to take the pressure off the demands on myself to produce. I realized last year I just needed time to play, and I was getting caught up in having to create in a certain way. No space, no fun!

Last summer I went through a "crisis" during which I wondered if I even wanted to be a painter anymore. This was the key question, one I hadn't even been able to consider before. Now I was asking myself seriously if I wanted to continue doing something I'd put so much energy into for many years. I even imagined myself giving away and selling my supplies and tools. After about a month of being in this funk, during which time I painted nothing but sewed a few great dresses I love to wear, I began to lighten up. I also gave a lot of readings, and it was at this time that my Clairvoyant Reading business picked up quite a bit. I felt as if I were watching myself go through this, and knew I would be fine. I just needed to know I had the freedom to change, and I had to update my agreement with myself, as the artist. I had to give myself space.

Why create if it's not fun? As the actor's joke goes, "what's my motivation?". I want to sell my work and make a living from it, but that's never been enough of a motivation. If it was, I would have picked a much higher paying field and stayed in it. My work has always suffered when I'm bored, when my spirit wants to be elsewhere. I don't think I'm the only one here!

What makes original art so appealing is the original part. Each of us is unique, therefore it makes sense that what we each create will be original if we are being true to our own unique vision. I will write more on this in future posts, and would love your feedback about how you experience this yourself.

"Wonderful Day" 2008 10"x10" acrylic on vinyl in reverse - Available at Etsy

Saturday, January 5, 2008

A Very Sweet Sale

I'm listening to one of my favorite musicians, Federico Aubele, as I post this. I've been listening to him often since a good friend in Chicago gifted us with his music last year. Last night we saw a film one of his songs is in, "The Namesake", and it reminded me that I've been wanting to write about seeing him live last October.

Federico had a show October 30, at The Troubadour in Los Angeles. I bought tickets, and was very excited to see the show, which was advertised as being him with a full band. Noel and I couldn't wait.

There was an awesome DJ first, Mexican Dubweiser. Finally, Federico came out onto the stage, with Natalia, a wonderful musician and singer. He said hello to a packed house, and then told us all we were in for a beautiful treat, a very special evening lay in store. It would be an intimate evening, kind of like Valentine's Day, because we were to have a special private show with just him and Natalia playing for us.

There would be no percussion, because 2 hours before the show, his drummer received a call about an emergency back home and immediately left to fly there. So he stripped down the 5 piece band to the 2 of them. And sold it to us in this incredible way. I was awestruck at his ability to do this. To let go of the fact that his show, advertised for months as being with a full band, was destroyed 2 hours before he was to go on. And then, cool as can be, he owned it. I applauded him just for this. No freak outs, no negativity, no apologies. The show was beautiful, very special indeed. And so is Federico's music. I urge you to check it out.

I have been tagged by Neda from Papiers Colles, asking me to share 5 fun or weird facts about myself. I just answered one of these tags recently, but apparently left out some of the weirder facts about me so now I have to 'fess up.

1. I was very skinny as a child and teenager. My nickname was 'Twiggy' and I even had her short haircut, so one Halloween I went as Twiggy and really looked the part.

2. I have an FBI file from when I was working in anti-war coalitions and leftist groups in my 20's. I haven't seen it yet, don't really need to. I know I have one because my name appeared on a list published after the FBI was caught spying on some of these groups in the early 80's.

3. In art school, I sported an Eddie Munster haircut for a while, though mine was more feminine and longer. My bangs were pointy though. I liked this because of the added bonus that it irritated my mother.

4. I love puppies and dogs, and am a total sucker for any cute puppy walking down the street.

5. I originally went to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago to become a fashion designer, which I'd wanted to be since I was a child. Once there, I was less than enamored of that world, and after one semester in fashion class, studied other things, including textile design. Upon graduating, I designed and made clothing under 3 of my own labels: Bourgeois Rags, Konfettikids, and Lemmingwear. I had a sales rep for Lemmingwear and sold my designs coast to coast. In 1990, I gave up being a fashion designer to become an artist.

I am not going to tag anyone, as I already have done that recently. If you'd like to tag yourself, please do so and post a comment to let me know.
THE RULES: 1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.2. Share 5 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.3. Tag 5 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

"Blues full of Orange" 2005 32"x28" acrylic on vinyl in reverse, Sold

Friday, January 4, 2008

My First Abstract Painting

As I promised in yesterday's post, here is the first abstract painting I ever made. I used the "test card" method, modeled after all the interesting test cards one sees near all the colored markers, pastels, and colored pencil displays in all the bookstores and art supply stores on the planet. At least I hope they all have test cards. When I go to the art store, even if I am not buying colored pencils, I have to test them anyway. Just to touch and play with color. And to add to the art piece being created by so many strangers. Because it's fun. A day without color is dull indeed.

My version of the test card method is to hang a clean sheet of vinyl on my painting wall, near whatever other paintings I am working on. As I finish using a tool - brush, palette knife, fork, old credit card, finger - I swipe what paint remains on it onto my test vinyl. No over thinking here! Also, no judgment, please. (This is me talking to myself.) (Sometimes I even listen.)

That's how I began to have permission to paint abstract paintings. I had to fool myself, kind of trick myself into doing so. They weren't "serious" enough, much too frivolous indeed. I had so much negativity toward being able to do this, meanwhile I'd go look at other's abstract expressionist works and be filled with emotion, filled with awe, and with an unnamed longing that even as I write this I feel deep in my chest.

I had to deprogram art school right out of me. If I hadn't gone to art school, I might not have been able to begin my work so early. As much as I loved art school, it is after all the place where I got the weirdest haircuts of my life! - I also had to learn for myself that I am already unique, and can paint pretty much whatever I want. I had to learn about my own spirit. Other people's ideas and information do not work for me. I can't count the number of times I heard someone, a teacher or artist say: "you can't be an abstract artist until you learn and master being a realist." I always rejected this. I do not want to be a realist. I know I have done that, in other lifetimes. And this knowing spirit is what has helped me find the nerve to create and continue to create.

Years ago, I had a friendly relationship with a successful and well known Chicago gallery owner. I made fun vinyl objects she bought frequently for her gallery. She also represented more "serious" artists, and when I began to work in my now trademark technique, I summoned up the nerve to show her my fledgling pieces. Which was either a very big mistake on my part or brilliant. I'm leaning toward brilliant, because what happened in our meeting helped me on my path toward what I did next. Anyway, she hated my work. She didn't have a bored attitude, it was all out hate. At the time I couldn't see this was also a success, and that she was actually doing me a favor. She did tell me, "I wouldn't touch these with a ten foot pole." Yikes! I was pretty destroyed for a while.

But here's the thing. I never stopped making them! And I continued, making over 800 paintings since, selling most of them. I am still overcoming my own insecurities about my work, and what I have learned is to have more neutrality with it, not to mother it. That was a big thing to learn, that I am not my work. I am, and my work is, and there will be lots more of it. But only if I don't cling to it and have to protect it from the big bad world.

"Abstract For Noel" 2004 29"x26" acrylic on vinyl in reverse; Artist's private collection