Easing back to the easel
I am so grateful for the new miracle in my life-- my daughter. A new whole person. A life I am responsible for. It has been not only a wonderful learning experience, but also an exhausting journey that makes you wonder, "Will I ever get to do the things I used to?"
Big life events happen to us all-- whether it's a birth, moving, getting married, or getting a new job. It is important to give yourself space to enjoy the newness.
When my daughter was born, I did not think I would have the motivation or concentration to get back to my easel. As we all know, newborns do not stay newborns forever, which is bittersweet. It makes you hold tight to these moments because they will not be babies for long, but some self sufficiency would help you get some rest or at least a break. Now that she is four months, I feel more rested and focus with a little more free time to pursue my passions.
To be honest, this new positive and flexible perspective really had not come along until I built and birthed a new human. Needless to say, I feel like I accomplished a lot already, so anything extra is like sprinkles on the sundae.
Also, I realized the hardest part is starting. We get so caught up in results that we scare ourselves away from even starting. I take solace from the Dahli Lama's quote: "Go easy on yourself. Whatever you do today, let it be enough."
Let others know your goals. Not only does this get others to cheer you on, facilitate, and hold you accountable, it is also a way to help solidify and visualize your goal, passion, or dream. The more you say it, the more you can see it, the more it will happen.
Chit chat it up. When people ask what my hobbies or passions are, I always say art, which always gets an eyebrow raise. I am not sure why. Perhaps, I do not look or act like a "typical" artist, but I digress.
Look for opportunity
While entering art shows and contests is a no-brainer for displaying your work, I know sometimes people, like me, do not have the confidence and disposable income to enter with the high probability that you will not win and have your work shown. To boot, you will also be out money if it is a fundraiser for the local chapter of whatever art association. So, I try to look for other opportunities, which may require money, but there is closer to 100% chance to have your work seen by others.
Showcasing my work has always been a bit of a challenge for me. I tend to create and not say anything or show it to anyone. This is one of the reasons I created this website-- to share my work and works in progress. While I tell myself that my audience is anonymous, I know that they are likely the people I have told about this project, but the veil of anonymity makes me feel more free to post works and blog entries. If you like the idea of using the internet to showcase your work, but don't want to build a website, which is definitely a tall task, post using social media outlets.
You can also look for businesses to showcase your work, which helps stretch your comfort zone. While I did not get any pet portrait sales by exhibiting my work at the vet office, I did overcome my fear of the open public being able to see my paintings.
Another tip to help make this happen is to have business cards made and carry them around wherever you go. If you are eating out in a restaurant that displays your style, then strike up a conversation with the waiter (or manager who comes around to ask how everything is). If there is a natural progression of the conversation to plug your artwork, then you have a card with your contact information. To increase you chances even more, have samples of your work on your business card. This detail may impress (or not) the manager if they like your work, so they are more likely to contact you. Remember, make yourself memorable.
Get creative (or efficient)
If you feel like your life is just too hectic to carve out time for a specific passion, then look for ways to include your passion in the things you are already doing-- build on it. For example, I obviously enjoy art, hence the art website, and now I have a daughter, so I am going to look for crafts and the like to do with her. If I want to go to art exihibits in downtown Wilmington on the weekend, then I can take the stroller and make it a walkabout with the baby, too. That activity would also count as exercise, so bonus points!
To help get my creative juices going, I have gotten into photography, and my subject, the baby, of course. These pictures also make great photo gifts for the grandparents-- winning!
Waiting at my doctor's appointment or the hair salon can be efficiently used for blogging or sketching.
The point is, look at how you spend your time. See how you can accomplish the same end with your passion built on to this time.
Don't wait for the perfect time
Just start. Create. Live your passion.