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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Inspiration Trail : South Lake Atalanta

“Let’s stop Mom,” was the demand I pretended was a request as we neared the southern trails of Lake Atalanta.

He thought it was a playground but I explained we were at a walking park. After a few minutes of walking the paved park trails we found our way to the trails I think of as the “mountain bike trails”. But they’re not. They’re trails. For everyone. 

And though my brain knows this {the same brain that has read the trail signs that say, “Bikers should yield to hikers,”}, I forget. I think, “I’m not a hiker. I’m a mom in a dress and flats. I’m not sure that counts. This really isn’t my place.” 

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 But it is my place. The leaves over my head and the smell of dirt in my nose something a little bit mysterious in front of me on a trail and I’m in the same curious and utterly free headspace I’ve inhabited since I was young. 

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This is my reminder to self that both of us, my son and I, need that smell in our noses and that mud on our shoes as often as possible. 

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Inspired by : Katherine Kellgren

If you’ve known me longer than 15 minutes you’ve probably heard me praise audible and how audiobooks allowed me to become a reader again after being “too busy” for too long.

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However, it was just this week that I realized that now I’m a true audiophile because it’s an art form in itself. The Royal Spyness series is my best example of this. A little British murder mystery, a little Royal Family fun, a splash of history between the two greats wars : this series will never land in the tomes of great literature but they are perfect fun.

I was {excuse me while I count} ten books into the series when I found out the narrator had died of cancer. This past week I listened to her narrate the eleventh book and cried when I realized that these characters that I have come to love will never sound the same again. The slightly prissy main character, her scandalous best friend, the dark and handsome Irish rogue... all voiced by the same person, all with totally different accents and manners of speech. {I am only slightly ashamed to admit I was/ am partially in love with her Irishman Darcy.}

Voice acting: this wonderful soul Katherine Kellgren had whatever “it” is that makes a successful voice actress. And I mourn the fact that this earth no longer has her beautiful talent. 

Learn more about Katherine Kellgren here and the Royal Spyness series here.

The Business of Art : Social Media Sins

I’ve decided to be bad at social media. Let me explain.

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Since starting a blog in January of 2012 I’ve been learning how to best “do” social media. What platform and what type of media. Video versus photos. Should I post at morning or in the evening? Blogs, SEO, Twitter, Facebook regular, Facebook groups, Facebook events, newsletters, instagram, YouTube, podcasts. I took online classes and went to conferences literally across the nation. All while asking : What’s the best way connect with people? Will this increase my following? How do I best let people know about my creative activities?


At the risk of sounding overconfident, I was good at it. So much so that I eventually got a job running the social media of a large local nonprofit.


Then I had Sam. This didn’t effect my knowledge base as much as it curtailed my proximity to the source. I wasn’t around it as much so I didn’t have to keep up with all the new. And the felt good. I could learn about things on my own timeline but I didn’t have to do all the things.


Except, in a way, I was still doing all the things. I still had the rules and procedures  that I had been absorbing for three years running through my head. And it created a pressure that I didn’t know was there until I took a month long break from Instagram.


Finally starting to hear my own thoughts after being inundated with those of others. And my biggest takeaway is that I need to simplify and give myself parameters.


I will:

post all my things on either this blog or my newsletter and occasionally Instagram and then push it out to the other places.

{This is social media sin number one. One is supposed to have “unique content” on every platform. But if I were making something different for every platform I would have no time to actually make art.}


I won’t answer on mediums that I’m “not looking at” and I will tell people “if you need to contact me do it here or here.”

{This is social media sin number two: having a billboard instead of a two way radio. But once again, time.}


I’m going to stop talking to strangers.

I have built a small but incredibly supportive community. In the past, my posts were, in part, attracting the attention of others who didn’t know about me. Now I realize I enjoy social media most when I I’m taking directly to my people. And I’ll keep making it public in the hopes that someone else will see what’s happening and want to join in on the goodness. {Not having “growth” as a top priority is social media sin number three.}


I’m giving myself the same rules I would give to myself as a teenager. You can post and check your notifications right before you finish up your work day. My addiction {our society’s addiction} to social media has a biological basis. We get a shot of dopamine every time we see a notification come up on our phone. “You are seen. Your existence is validated.” is the message our brains unknowingly send to us when our devices buzz. Knowing that, and seeing the negative effect the constant scroll has on both my mental state and productivity, I choose to treat my social media craving self as a teenager: with respect and parameters meant to be insure health.

{not being constantly available is social media sin number four.}


My goal with implementing these “sins” is to focus on making more. Because that was the whole point when I started creating a blog six and a half years ago and it’s the reason I continue to post now.