My Journey : The Little Craft Show

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I hesitantly pulled up to a volunteer event for the little craft show six years ago this fall. As the new girl in town, despite both my introversion and shyness, I was here to make friends. {And to help make vendor tags or whatever else needed helping that evening...}

I wasn’t fully aware of it at the time, but I also wanted to be an artist. I wanted to surround myself with people who were making beautiful things. “If I’m not able to, at least I could support those who are,” my inner artist voice whispered, peaking out and hoping this would be a safe space.

And it was.

This year I’m ridiculously happy {and simultaneously scared} to tell you that I will be a vendor at The Little Craft Show at the Bentonville and Fayetteville events. More details to come but until then I will be over here giving my inner artist voice high fives for pushing me to do hard things.

Inspired by : Jimmy Durante

Is there anything more quintessentially New York City than walking through Central Park on a crisp fall day with Jimmy Durante songs looping through ones head? 

As a die hard romcom character wannabe, I think not. Please address all hate mail to Nora Ephron {who, yes, I realized has passed, therefore she won’t care too terribly much about your hate mail. Which is basically my point.} 

Jimmy Durante was such a one-off. In an industry that revolves around good looks and smooth voices and the right clothes, this man made his way by having none of that. He embraced himself fully and wouldn’t we all do better to do more of that? 

Enjoy my shots from our quick NYC “planes, trains, water taxis and toddlers” adventure. Listen to my Jimmy Durante and friends playlist to get in the appropriate mood. 

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 This last one, The Color Factory, gets an entire post to itself. Stay tuned. 

This last one, The Color Factory, gets an entire post to itself. Stay tuned. 

Note to Self : to-do lists and perfect timing

As I sit writing this it’s late. Not like crazy college kid like I used to be staying up until 2 figuring out how to right the world’s wrongs. No. Nowadays “late” looks like 11 when I have frittered away the time between my son going to sleep and now on a bit of writing, a bit of yoga, and a lot more screen time than I might deem wise for anyone else.

My brain is on loop. It’s one of the ways my anxiety rears up. A voice that is overly insistent asks me to look at my calendar again and again. “What are you missing? What are you not remembering? What other things can you pack into this next seven days so that it’s some sort of ‘better’?” 

It’s utter crap. But it’s the crap that, if I don’t recognize, can throw me into a tailspin. 

So, in trying to slow the tailspin this evening, I got out of the bed and went to find my “good camera”. It’s a major component in one section of my to-do list tomorrow and if I can find it maybe {please?} that voice will quiet enough for me to rest.

  {painting by the lovely  Erika Lee Sears }

 {painting by the lovely Erika Lee Sears}

11pm and I’m rifling through the attic and the half dozen boxes marked “studio” that I still haven’t made it through since moving in during June. I’m not exactly sure where it’s at and I haven’t touched it in over a year. “God. What if it’s not up here? What if it somehow got lost in the move? That thing was worth more than... well it’s a nice camera... I can’t just waltz out and buy another one. Paige! What did you do...” 

That voice. The one that orchestrates this overactive to-do liat: she a total bitch and sees the potential negative in things 100% if the time.

I’m in my bare feet, hoping that there aren’t still nails up there, lifting and rearranging stacks of old and mostly empty boxes while trying to push away that screeching nag of a voice. And suddenly there it is. The camera bag. And it’s heavy so it might even have the camera in it. Zipped open: camera and battery and extra lens and charger. I have hit the mental equivalent of a homerun against the voice that was doing its best to beat me. 

As I go to charge the battery, I glance down again at the “good camera” and think about the old whispers of that same voice who is now, thankfully, quiet. That voice threw a fit when I decided to not pursue photography {it’s a stable career choice for a creative!}. She also railed against me when I realized I wasn’t a fashion blogger {but you’ve covered fashion week!} or a food blogger {remember that one post where you got all those gorgeous shots at the farmers market?}.

That voice, this yelling voice who insists that she is right and should not be ignored was shut down tonight. I showed her that all the energy she put into shaming me was wrong. I wasn’t foolish to have put the camera away those times and I wasn’t foolish to have bought it in the first place. Tomorrow I learn how to photograph my art so I can have professional prints made. Tomorrow I get a step closer to becoming a “real” artist.

And tonight? Tonight, I’m learning how much I prefer the soft hum of my husband’s breathing and the whir of the fan to the mean voice who’s been my companion for much too long. 

Event : Art on the Bricks, Downtown Rogers, Thursday September 13th

I’m so happy to announce that I will be at Art on the Bricks in Downtown Rogers at Hark and Herald Co.on Thursday, September 13. I'm so wonderfully excited.

I went to the July Art on the Bricks and saw  amazing art by wonderful local artists but I walked away feeling... {I’m ashamed to even admit this}... angry.  

Angry as in: dissatisfied with my lack of showable work. As soon as I left I felt shame and frustration and scattered: as if someone had gone through my nice normal head space and ransacked it. 

It was a week later while reading through The Artist’s Way that I realized where that anger came from.

“Anger,” Julia Cameron says, “is meant to be listened to. Anger is meant to be respected. Anger is meant to be acted upon.”

And it clicked. My anger was telling me to get myself together. My anger was saying I was a capable and prolific artist. “That could be you,” my anger whispered loud enough for the entire downtown area to overhear, “but it doesn’t just happen. You have to work for it.”

I kept doing my Artist's Way work {for which I owe everyone an update} and a few weeks later Hark and Herald Co.’s owner Cyndie Jacks text me and offered me the space for this pop-up gallery. 

It’s not magic. It’s work. And I’m glad I listened to that anger.  

I will be displaying the mixed media + abstract pieces I was making this past Spring that I call The Opposite of Immersion.

As the heat of the summer starts to decline it feels right to frame these guys up and share the message that being an artist doesn't have to be an all or nothing venture. Yes- one could decide to sell all of her belongings and move to Tibet to make intricate sand paintings... OR one could paint in 15 minute mini-sessions and pay bills and pack boxes and talk to the mailman and write up a grocery list and otherwise do real life. Like me.

There's not one way to "do" art. And that's the beauty of it.

These pieces will go on sale Monday September 10th before they are shown at Hark and Herald Co. The only way to purchase before they are available to the public is to be on my friends and family list. 

 Sign up here.

And thank you for supporting the creative, growing courageous, and occasionally angry me.

The Artist’s Way : The Artist’s Date, Part Two

The last time I spoke about The Artist’s Way I was singing the praises of the goodness of the Artist date. What I didn’t realize that last time was low key: it wasn’t a one time only event, it didn’t really effect my family’s schedule, it wasn’t something where I would be a loner surrounded by a crowd. 

In a word, this time was harder. But bigger. And so much more meaningful.  

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Kishi Bashi was coming to town for a free concert {insert “anime in love” eyes here} and I wanted to go. But responsibility told me to say, “no.”  

It’s the first football Saturday of the season which means your husband will not want to be there. And it doesn’t start until 8 which is Sam’s bedtime. So I’ll have to get a sitter. But then I forgot to get a sitter. Did I want to mess up his {very precarious} sleep schedule? Nope. I sure did not. 

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“So I should be an adult,”  I told myself, “and not go.” No big deal. It’s not like I paid for a ticket. I don’t know many of his songs... even though he is an amazing musician.

The stream of talking myself out of it, of justifying it, was continuous. In fact, it bordered on annoying. 

So the night of the concert happens and after dinner I decide that all that self-talk is happening because I still wanted to go. All the excuse-making was trying to justify my being a martyr.

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In chapter five of The Artist’s Way, Cameron talks about the virtue of the martyr. How the virtue of “being nice” is a form of self-abuse and self-neglect. I found this to ring very true.

Since high school I have actively made it my goal in life to be “the nice one”.  That trap has been a scarily effective way to continually cover-up my own true self. For so long, I pushed my own desires down under other’s expectations or to placate their feelings.

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And don’t misunderstand: community and connection is great. Vital, even, for an artist. But only, I think, when oneself is able to be genuine and true. 

Being a resentful wife sitting on the coach refusing to watch football wasn’t going to help anyone. So, I went to this massive community event and concert by myself. 

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And it was delightful. 

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I didn’t have anyone to apologize to {or carry anyone} when the closest parking was three quarters of a mile away. I didn’t have to stand in a 30-minute line for food that may or may not have been eaten {toddler life}. I could photograph strangers and strange glowing activities and just be another face in the crowd. And I could cry the entirety of the first song and be momentarily be taken over by the power and beauty of one person’s putting their creative story into the world.

This was the beauty of refusing to be a martyr.

This, to me, was the beauty of allowing myself to be myself. The beauty of freedom.

Also: this is not Kishi Bashi post. But y’all. He is seriously SUCH a talented musician. Find on video of him performing on YouTube: his ability and skill is mind blowing. 

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I would apologize for the questionable quality of the photos, but they fit the energy of the event so well I won’t.

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I left while people were still streaming in.

Responsibility, and the knowledge that my toddler refuses to sleep past 6am, didn’t disappear on the sound waves that had originally taken my breath away during the first song. And that was a lesson to, I think.

Not only am I not supposed to be a martyr, but I’m also not going to run away with a wild wolf pack of indie rock groupies and desert the life I’ve built. {Come on. I know I’m not the only human out there who, occasionally, gets lost in the reverie of what it would be like to run away… It’s called escapism and we all do it.} But this evening was a tiny reminder that my life is a good one to come back to. And that is a beautiful gift itself.

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