Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Watercolor to Music

On Saturday, March 17, I had the pleasure of attending a class called Realms of Expression, taught by the dynamic duo of Cheryl Kaldahl and Rena Brouwer at the Brown County Art Guild in Nashville, Indiana.

The topic was fascinating - What is the brain connection between art, color and music and how can our creation of art be enhanced by music?  Cheryl has been studying the science behind color and music and spent some time explaining the connections between the two.  Rena is a renowned watercolorist who led us through activities in color and design to help us see new ways of organizing our paintings. 

We spent time painting to different types of music; we talked a lot about how different types of music sparked different reactions in us.

One of the most interesting parts of the day for me was listening to a piece of music and just letting my hand guide the brush to a color then the paper and then just letting it dance.   No plan, no mistakes, just let the brush dance across the paper to the music.  It was bliss.   

The gallery's spring show is up and it is spectacular!   Every few months, every artist brings in new work for the walls and they rearrange the entire space.   It keeps things very fresh and allows for a new way of looking at each artist and each piece.   Visitors are allowed to come and sketch or paint as they are inspired by the works displayed. 

In addition, this month there is a special exhibit of watercolor works in the upstairs galleries.  So much to enjoy and learn from.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Two Kinds of Support

© Robin Edmundson, 'Ironwood tree under snow', photo.

Hello my lovely friends!  We've been talking about the people who are in your tribe.  How have you been doing with that?   Are you finding wonderful people to add to your tribe?   Have you been able to release people who are no longer supportive of you?  Remember: tribes are dynamic.  It's OK if there's some coming and going.  You are changing.   Your needs are changing.

There are two very important types of tribal support that you're going to need as you make changes in your life. 

The first type of support is validation.  You need someone who is very supportive of where you are right now.  Someone who validates your feelings, understands where you're coming from and who steps up to defend you from the villains in your life.  This kind of person helps you feel safe where you are.

The second type of support is reality check.  You need someone to call you on your bullshit. Someone who doesn't accept your excuses and who doesn't let you off the hook.  They help you accept responsibility for your life and remind you that you have the power to make the changes you need to make.  They are the ones who help you think and act differently. They make great accountability partners.

Sometimes you can find both kinds of support in a single friend [Keep that person, but be clear on what kind of support you need when and be able to communicate it.  They can't read your mind.] 

Most of the time you'll need to identify different members of your tribe for different roles.  When you need validation, you can talk to Ann or Zoe.  When you need strategy, you can talk to Betty or Yvette.

Get support in a helpful order.  In general, when things get scary or dramatic, you're going to need validation first.  You want enough validation to feel safe, loved and capable but you don't want to wallow. When you feel safe, move to  reality checking, accepting responsibility and making changes.
Who in your tribe helps you feel validated?    Who in your tribe gives great reality checks?  I would love to hear about the people in your life who have helped you in these ways.  Please leave a comment and tell me about them.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

A Smile and an Open Heart

Last week I talked about Tribe and I asked you to make a list of the people who are already in your tribe.  Did you do it?

Some of you may be feeling like your tribe is a little smaller than you'd like it to be.  I've been there.  It's a lonely place.

But here's the deal.  Tribe is a dynamic thing.  You can find new people for your tribe.  And you can get rid of people who are no longer supportive.  Tribe is awesome that way. 

If you're looking to expand your tribe, then you need to find other people who are supportive.  This means that you will actually have to talk to other humans, some of whom you don't know.   This also means that you may actually have to go to places to meet new people.  That you will actually talk to.

[Some of you probably just had a full body negative reaction and are shaking your head mumbling, 'No no no no no. Nope. No freaking way.'  I understand.  It's going to be OK.]

So we'll do this in baby steps.

1.  Be OPEN to the idea of having supportive people in your life.  You need them.  You deserve them.  You are worthy of them.  It doesn't matter if you make mistakes.  Tribe is about loving you as you are, not loving some perfect image you're projecting.

2.  Make eye contact and smile when you see people, even complete strangers.  On the way to class.  At the grocery store.   It doesn't have to be all the people.  Just some of the people.  You don't have to say a word.  You'll be surprised at how powerful this can be in making connections.  Make it a game - smile and make eye contact and see how many people smile back or say, 'Hello.'

3.  Wave to people you see frequently.  That person at the desk across the room.  The bank teller across the lobby.  The neighbor who gets the paper in the morning.  You're acknowledging that they share an experience with you and you're making a quiet connection.  When we moved way out here in 1994, I made a decision that when I was outside, I would wave at every single person who drove by.  That's maybe a dozen or so cars a day, but the same dozen, day after day.   I didn't care if they saw me or waved back.   I just waved and smiled in their general direction. When I started walking every day along our road a few years ago, I'd smile and wave at every car that drove past.  And since I was right there on the road, people started to stop and introduce themselves and talk to the dog and wish us Happy Holidays.  And sometimes we talked for 20 minutes right there in the middle of the road - about coon dogs and muddy cows and quilting and Parkinson's disease.  [I heart rural America.]  And once, when someone else drove up on us chatting, the first drove off and the second stayed and chatted for a bit. A couple of these people became good friends of mine and then became part of my tribe.   Because I waved.  

4.  Say, 'Hello'  and smile.   'Hello' is not a commitment; it's a friendly gesture.  

5.  If you have a minute to chat, say, 'I'm so happy to see you!  How are you?'...and listen.

6.  Talk about stuff.  If you want some great tips on how to make small talk, I highly recommend this book: The Art of Mingling by Jeanne Martinet [affiliate link].   She's funny and wise and full of great ideas.  

7.  Be patient. With yourself.  With the process.  If you go out in the world with a smile and an open heart, you will find your tribe.  Give it the time you deserve.

What are some other ways you get to know new people?  I'd love to hear.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Shed & Redbud

© Robin Edmundson 'Shed, Redbud & Chickens', watercolor, 10 x 14 inches.  $375, framed.

One of the great things about being an artist is that we get to - [we are encouraged to!] - change reality so we get a better painting.  I love doing the same scene in different ways.   

You saw the first version of this in the previous post.  I decided to put a redbud in behind the shed because redbuds are *everywhere* out here.  They mean spring is in full swing.

A little secret about my chickens.  I come from a family with a lot of girls.  6 chickens is me, my sisters and my mom.  5 chickens is me and my sisters.  3 chickens is me and my daughters.  Whenever you see chickens in my artwork, you know I've put my family in there.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Silk Dyeing Class

CLASS:  Dyeing Silk Fabrics 

March 24, 2018
1:00 pm - 4:30 pm

If you've ever wanted to make your own hand-painted silk scarves this is your chance! Hand-dyed silk scarves are a sure winner for gifts of all kinds. You'll have time to dye 6-8 scarves and they will be ready to wear home.

Using safe dyes, I will walk you through the entire process from prepping, to dyeing, overdyeing, rinsing and pressing.  This is a small class taught at my home studio of no more than four people.  Plenty of individual attention.

There are just a couple of spots left, so register soon!  For all the details and registration, go HERE.

You can see all of my classes HERE.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Chickens & Sheds

© Robin Edmundson, 'Shed, Willow & Chickens', watercolor, 9 x 12 inches.  $375, framed.

Our willows are starting to green up and I've been looking at them a lot. They sprout up wherever it's damp, which is just about everywhere. There are a few of them on this farm a couple of miles aways.  They have a lot of chickens, guineas and peacocks that roam in and out of their shed.  I love the gold chickens on spring green grass. 

I'm not done with this scene yet.  The next  version will have a blooming redbud instead of the willow.  And maybe a plowed field next to it.   And then I might do one with the shed door mostly closed....maybe....we'll see.

Sunday, March 4, 2018


I'm going to get right to the point. 

You need support.  The best support will come from your tribe. 

I tried for years to skip the support/tribe thing so I know what the rest of you introverts are thinking right now.  And I totally understand.   Yes, you can go it alone.  Yes, there are good reasons not to trust some people. Yes, it makes you stronger.   Also tired-er.  And grumpier.  And gives you tunnel vision because you're too close to things.  You lose perspective.  I know because I did all of this. 

You need support.   You deserve support.  Because we're not just talking about getting by here, we're talking about living your Best Life.  Not just an adequate one.

So your challenge this week is to consider your tribe. 

Your tribe is that group of people with whom you are able to be your lovely, honest, imperfect self.  They love you any way you show up.  And they bring out the best in you.

Did you get that?  Your tribe does two very important things:  They love you as you are and they bring out the best in you. 

Sit down for a minute and make a list of the people in your life who do both of those things.  It doesn't have to be a long list.  They don't have to know each other.  They don't have to be your besties or already know all your secrets. 

Write down those names and as you write, feel the love with every stroke.   These people are your tribe.  They already love you.  You don't have to prove anything to them. 

Now set a timer and spend five and a half minutes just sending them love. 

If you're an over-achiever, like I am, send them a little love note.  Email, phone call, note card, text, whatever.  Just touch base so they know you're there and thinking about them.  That's enough.  Because they're your tribe and already love you the way you are. 

[If you feel very stuck with this, please know that I am your tribe. I love you exactly the way you already are.  I'd love to hear from you.]

Want a few more people in your tribe?  I'd love you to join our Best Self facebook group where we can talk freely about becoming our best selves - and all that that entails.  In addition, I have another group, The Well Balanced Artist, for artists and creatives of all kinds and in all stages of their creative lives, who are trying to balance their art, business and personal lives.  We'd love to be your tribe.

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