As artists we are challenged to find a way to get our work out to others while still enjoying the process and not compromising ourselves. While everyone has a different journey with this and relationship to their work, their self-value as an artist, and the timing of their releases, not all artists find it easy to make a living at what they do right off the bat and not all artists may hit it big in having their work discovered or desired by every gallery or person. So, artists are left with wanting to be able to do what they love, not compromise their integrity, remain authentic to the style they enjoy, but also still be able to enjoy that connection that happens when someone purchases and takes home a piece of their work.
In many cases, this is why some artists may opt for offering commissions and take on custom work, as it allows them to still be an artist, while helping to support their ability to keep creating.
Some artists simply prefer doing custom work because they truly love that one-on-one connection and intimate relationship they create with the person they’re creating for and it allows them to challenge themselves with continued new subjects and ways to create.
They love the interactive quality of the work and having something new to work on every day.
For some, it’s more consistent work than trying to sell original pieces.
Then there are artists who purely love creative freedom and not having to create something someone else tells them to, not have to be concerned if it’s exactly what that person wanted, and simply love to work from that impetus of creative energy that moves through them when inspired and not on a timeline or schedule.
And then there are the artists that like a balance of both and find they compliment the process of being able to do what they love and tempers the right balance of compromise and variety, while helping them live and work as the artist they see themselves to be.
Where do I fall into all of this?
Well, having done all three levels, I find myself back in the place of truly feeling the call of full creative freedom at the doorway of my heart.
That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed the process of commissions in the past, as I’ve met some dear souls through that work, was able to challenge myself in many ways, and did enjoy that intuitively intimate connection and relationship channel during the process of creating – this was both with paintings and sacred tattoo designs.
However, I much preferred total creative freedom and found that when, in some cases, I was being dictated by every little part of the process and was at the mercy of someone else’s feelings around something I may have spent hours working on, it really could be a very stressful process and put a damper on creativity.
I adored the times when I was handed creative license with commissions and found that those pieces came out the best.
Custom work can, in essence, have the potential to be an interruption to an artist’s flow of their own planned work, unless it truly is an artist’s joy and perhaps first love, to create commissioned pieces.
I can even remember when I created my first mural for an investment firm I worked for and several large commissioned paintings I was hired for in the beginning that I had to work at convincing the very left-brained people who hired me with proposals and long explanations of what I envisioned, supplies needed, logistics, and how long and how much it would cost, as well as having to provide a sample sketch even when I knew that the magick happened during the process of creating. I then felt like I had to stick to that plan and wouldn’t have any room for inspirational flow in the unfolding of its creation. It became too much of a business and my need to make someone understand a right brain process with left brained explanations.
The connection can potentially get lost in the translation of this.
Luckily, those paintings went really well, although were stressful and tied me up in things I ended up rather not be involved with, but the mural wasn’t as much embraced even though they agreed to my sketch.
While they liked it, they didn’t love it. I found out that it lasted only several months before they painted it over. Not a surprise, as my heart saw a potential for them that the financial people there just didn’t quite understand. They were stuck in the old ways and this new vision was a bit too uncomfortable.
I was grateful to all of them for my very first opportunities to get my business going, which ironically allowed me to quit that investment firm job in the first place, and was still proud of myself for being able to acquire some really huge projects without any resume behind me.
These experiences may not have been my perfect fit, but at the time were my perfect reflection for what I needed to learn and what I called up for growth.
Then there were the many wonderful fits where harmony and synergy were in flow.
I think this is key if you do choose the custom work.
It really depends on the individual and what feels right. It’s important to align yourself, as well as put out intentions of the type of clients you want to work with, be willing to say “no” when something doesn’t sit right, and not take something on just for the money if at all possible.
The theme of this post actually was inspired by my continuing to get requests for custom sacred tattoo design commissions and people finding me online and even sharing my work with others, which happened twice already today. Even though I’ve removed my website and these offerings, there’s no way to remove the world-wide web of your past work altogether and those phantom pages that float in the ethers, so I take it as opportunity to feel grounded in my choices and able to say, “no” with gratitude.
I think these are key things for any kind of work we do and not just as an artist.
There isn’t one right or wrong way with this, but there are things to weigh and options to look at to see what feels right and where you’re willing to compromise or not. Or in fact, what doesn’t feel to be a compromise, but maybe just a shift in perspective that can open you to more possibilities.
You may even move in and out of these choices over the course of your artistic journey.
My professional artist life began as all commissions, then turned into a mix of custom and originals, and now is solely original-based creations.
This has all moved me into the new creations I’ve been inspired to paint solely from my inner child’s joy, imagination, and love.
I had hoped today I’d be sharing the first of these little paintings with you, but Spirit has something else in mind, as this past week has been very full and so I won’t have the last two of this first group done until next week.
Astrid feels next Wednesday is the day to reveal them, so stay tuned for Whimsical Wednesdays on 12/12 – no surprise there that alignments have it falling on this day.
Until then, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
If you’re an artist of any genre, where do you find the greatest joy?
Is it in creating custom pieces, your own originals, or a mix?
Is there something you could tweak that would make your current path more enjoyable?
How do you hope things to evolve and what steps do you plan to take to make that happen?
In love and creative magick, I wish you the most heartfelt journey with your art.
Do you take yourself too seriously? Have you forgotten how to have fun, let go, and be silly? Chances are if you feel stuck, uninspired, blocked, up against a wall, or like everything is just hard work and routine, you might have forgotten the spark of passion and joy you once had and the reason you started creating in the first place. Whether you’re a painter, writer, musician, sculptor, architect, chef, or even a stay-at-home mom or dad, entrepreneur, business exec, student, or in the service industry, you may experience those moments or long periods of drain and monotony because you somehow lost that spark.
How can you get it back?
By allowing yourself to be ridiculous sometimes.
Why is it that we’ve embraced the idea that masterpieces and success are born of suffering and torment alone?
It’s true that these emotional journeys take us to the darkest depths that create a rich overlay to our work by reaching into the shadows and bringing them to light.
But it’s overlooked how key having fun is to our process and that by inviting more uninhibited behaviors into our life, we will not only enjoy it more, but find our work igniting a new layer of imagination and possibility that will spark the same in others we touch through our work and interactions.
AND, we’ll look forward to it more each day, enjoy the journey, and find inspiration comes far easier to us.
Somewhere along the lines you were taught to believe that if you didn’t take everything seriously – including yourself – then you were wasting your time.
This begins to make everything, including the things you love, become a chore, you might have a hard time starting, and you find yourself pushing things off as much as you can.
What you love, you begin to avoid.
But what if you decided that you were going to be serious about having fun?
Meaning, fun was mandatory and needs to be woven into your day and process.
The less you worry and tighten your thoughts and feelings around how to create the perfect thing or be the perfect person at what you do, the more the perfect expression unfolds.
And we can invite this in more by engaging fun!
Whether you skip on your walk, sing in the shower, laugh at yourself, make up stories, entertain the ridiculous, allow yourself to be goofy, giggle at the little things, dance when the music moves you, throw some paint on a blank canvas you designate the “free zone,” play, take a day off, make up a story while you go through your process, and reconnect with why you started creating in the first place – what it means to you and how it makes you feel, you will find yourself opening up more to flow again, rediscovering your passion, and experiencing more sparkle in your life and work.
Going through the motions isn’t going to be sustainable and definitely is NOT why you were born here.
It may eventually, even, cut you off from doing the very thing you love because you lose the connection with your heart’s joy and trusting it.
Having fun is serious business.
It’s what creativity is all about and how you’ll discover infinite layers of imagination that will enrich all aspects of your life and work.
Balance is the key to life and while there is a time to be serious, there’s also a time for serious fun.
I’ve seen this shift my own experience with things. I mentioned this before, but I’ll expand a bit as it demonstrates the journey.
For example, my art has gone through a huge metamorphosis because of my “letting go.”
I used to create very VERY detailed, tight paintings and drawings that felt more like a soul pattern I was unconsciously falling under a spell with. They took me months sometimes to create and while it triggered remembrance of work I used to do in other lifetimes that felt good on one level, it also felt so grueling and was more like becoming numb to the idea of suffering through the process.
It took me a while to break the spell and wake up to the joy of painting again and having fun with it.
That I could actually paint what I wanted to and not what someone else told me to or that I thought I “should.”
That I could evoke feeling by pure expression, rather than meticulously thought-out and researched weaving of symbolism.
That I could simply paint what I saw in my heart and visions and not worry about being scrutinized for my technique.
In fact, I haven’t painted for several years, except for the Magick Stones I created on our Magick Bus RV adventure – yes Nature brought me back to the nature within.
And the creatures of the forest here keep reiterating this message to me daily, as I watch the squirrels and chipmunks – especially – outside my office door reflecting that perfect balance of work and play to create serious fun!
Little by little, my work evolved and will continue I’m sure.
And I find myself truly enjoying painting in all ways now, for the very first time.
Because I’ve allowed myself to have fun.
Pure, uninhibited fun with it.
And to paint what I love, alone, without any plan or mission.
I can’t tell you how quickly the ideas and implementation of bringing them about is going.
All because I remembered my “why” and surrendered to dancing in the fun of what it means to me to create – to be a child of the universe experiencing everything with wonder and sharing that wonder with you.
Reinvention is a way of life for me and, in general, I feel that as innately creative spirits there is a constant propulsion to continually evolve. Creative energy is just that, it’s energy that has a momentum of finding ever-new ways to express itself. And as we do so, this is the natural evolution of creative love unfolding.
If you are an artist – be it of painting, illustration, music, wood work, jewelry, writing, gardening, flower arranging, building, dreaming….this would be the artist’s journey. However, as I’m known to say, this is also a way of life….life as art.
There’s no end to creativity and even if you revisit some of your older ways of doing things, you revisit it with a new perspective and infuse a spark of growth and understanding to it that will take your work and expressions to another level.
Creativity is a process without an end result. Every moment is mad genius and something to savor.
And this constant reinvention is a necessary part of life and being. It is the alchemy of transformation. Nature reflects this so powerfully to us and shares how creativity is both necessary and beautiful in every phase of the process.
The boundless quality of creative energy mirrors the eternal spirit and so it is through creativity that we learn about the mysteries of the Cosmos and the journey becomes a wondrous adventure of both personal evolution and collective unfolding.
For me, painting is a way I enjoy this exploration of deeper inner journeying as a way to know both myself more and the world around me.
I never felt drawn to taking classes outside of the ones we either had to, or had as electives, through elementary, middle, and high school. For some reason I felt inclined to keep this part of my life raw in its nature and didn’t want to feel controlled by rights and wrongs. I wanted simply to bring forth my visions without boundaries. Having everything else in life feeling so controlled, this let me have one little sacred piece to myself where anything goes.
A way for me to creatively evolve as a natural process and feel where the energy was guiding me to travel as an artist and as a pilgrim of the Cosmos.
At times that may be to bring forth feelings and experiences I’m going through, convey messages of the heart, bring through visions from other worlds I dip into, capture a frequency that acts as a key for unlocking something within the viewer, or simply is a reflection of the beauty I both see around me and imagine.
My own artistic evolution has gone through more than one metamorphosis over the course of my life.
When I was a child I would simply draw the things I loved, which was mostly animals and nature and there wasn’t any technique about it except to bring forth that love. This was a reflection of me feeling free and most naturally myself.
Then I was all about the detail and it would take me hours to work on just a few inches of canvas at a time. Interestingly, this was during the deepest work I was doing, research, and dissection of myself, and trying to define or understand things.
I then found joy in a looser and more flowing way of painting and bringing forth energy like an aurora borealis exploding in blended harmony. This came as I let go more and more and was relaxing into being.
My art evolved into expressing a very ethereal and surreal quality.
And although the love of painting animals, nature, and Otherworldly mysticism still remain my favorite, I currently am drawn to fantasy and a whimsical, Faery tale way of telling a story or imparting an energetic imprint in your heart through my latest work.
There’s a return to my origins – that child within – taking place with the evolution of my painting and creative journey.
A spiral effect that infuses something new to something remembered.
My style of painting and even personal style of clothing, as well as my life and the work I feel drawn to, keeps evolving and I imagine will continue, as I change.
Creativity asks of us to leap into the unknown and explore and experiment with variety.
It’s like a musical composition you get to compose from the improvisation of your heart.
With every vulnerable stretch you discover a little more of the Great Mystery within and without.
And you’ll experience the vitality of its force that never stands still.
It’s through creative evolution that we forge new realities and create more of the experiences we dream of.
How has your creative journey evolved? Be it, through the expression of your artistry or your life as art?
Do you notice any tie-ins between things you’ve gone through with personal growth and how your artistic expression and life reflect this?
During last weekend’s private immersive retreat we spent a morning engaged in soul expressive painting outdoors with Faery music to guide and support us.
This was a time for us to channel the express inner child and just feel into how things wanted to come through without any focus on rights and wrongs, or how things “should” look.
It was all about feeling and it was so fun, as we sounded and sang along with the music and let the energy move through us.
In doing so we created personal windows or mandalas from the uninhibited, raw place within to symbolize and help us move into the next leg of our journeys, while also connecting our essence for what we want to create from here forth.
These paintings would become our activation windows to meditate and gaze upon, helping us to integrate the new, and remind us of who we are and what we are creating from here forth in our lives.
I helped Kathleen to receive her symbols through guided meditations and then she went within and saw how that wanted to be when tied in together. For her it created a window into this magickal realm, each piece expressing a message, and together telling a story.
I went within while listening to the music and received my symbols. For me, it was a personal mandala where my symbols came alive as I painted and saw the images reveal themselves to me. Some I knew from the get-go while listening in, and others I had to “see” in my paint strokes, so that came without forcing, but continuing to put the rest together and allow what wanted through to show up when it was ready.
And so we played.
We kept feeling into the colors and allowed the brushes and imagery to create themselves.
I encourage everyone to try this form of expression, which will evolve over time when you start listening to yourself more and get more comfortable with trying different things.
Just sit down or stand up and dance, while you put on some music, and then let it happen….let the energy move through you.
Your inner child will reveal the rest ❤ And you’ll feel freer and lighter….and more you.