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Should I Give Up Painting?

Yesterday, I found myself grappling with a dark question: Should I give up painting?

Yes, I said it. The dark truth is out there...

Though my paintings exude happiness, life often feels far from sunshine and unicorns. I am living my dream job, and I am incredibly fortunate, but the reality is, I frequently struggle with low points. Staying in a creative space requires constant work on my mindset and energy. This year has been tough for many, and I know we all long for a magic switch to whisk us away to happier, simpler times. The weight of life's challenges can be exhausting, and the lessons I’m learning now are particularly uncomfortable. Yet, I understand that no one else can rescue me; it’s up to me to navigate through them.

I deeply value when other creatives share their whole journey – the highs and the dark, heavy lows – because that authenticity fosters connection, especially in hard times. So, I’m sharing my own struggles and how I’m coping with them right now.

Lately, in the studio, my thoughts have been swirling around the kind of life I envision for myself at this stage. Am I living the life I truly desire? What steps can I take to align my reality with my aspirations, or do I need to sit with this discomfort and see what unfolds? My paintings are a reflection of this process. My goal is to create pieces that embody the emotions I long to feel – a serene garden or a world where peace and joy abound. I hope my art can serve as a virtual switch for you, transporting you to a more carefree and joyful place. Isn't that a worthy mission?

Recently, maintaining high energy and a positive mindset has been a challenge. This year has brought countless obstacles, leaving me questioning not just what I want to create, but whether I should continue painting at all. It's a feeling I've never experienced before! I'm currently preparing for two shows in August and September, but I must admit, frustration is my constant companion. The familiar methods and routines no longer resonate, much like how the old ways of living and working seem outdated for many of us now.

Am I alone in this unease? In the past, I’d seek out books, podcasts, or formulas to fix this feeling, believing someone else had the missing piece to my happiness. But those sources aren’t resonating anymore. My intuition is nudging me to change my perspective and to sit with this discomfort instead of trying to fix it – to truly feel it. Scary, right?

Yet, if we stay present and patient, small joys, signs, and inspirations often reveal themselves, guiding us forward. I’ve started noticing these little moments...'joys' that have helped me raise my energy and keep on creating. I’d love to share a few with you, perhaps they might resonate with where you are right now too.

Recent Small Joys

Joy #1

Podcast episode that changed my thinking A Monk’s Guide To Happiness, Fearless Living & Thriving in Hard Times with Gelong Thubten & Dr Rangan Chattergee. I stumbled across through this podcast episode through an Instagram story and it was just what I needed to here. Dr Rangan Chatterjee is chatting with Gelong Thubten - Thubten is a monk who has written a few books but his latest, A Monk’s Guide to Happiness & How to Thrive in Hard Times, seems an interesting message. You can listen to the podcast episode here. I have also bought the book and am listening to it in the studio and on my morning walks.

Joy #2

Podcast episode that gave me hope for a new direction

Your Secret Superpower from The Gathering Room Podcast with Martha Beck Did you know that you have a superpower you might not know about? In this episode of The Gathering Room, Martha talks about how to tap into the creative impulses at the centre of your psyche—a superpower we all have but may not realize it! episode here.

Joy #3

Podcast that has helped me feel less alone in my art making business

Podcast Recommendation: Sellable Art that Feels Like Me with Michele Luminato

One for the other artists...if you haven't yet discovered this podcast it is definitely worth a listen. Michele Luminato is a wonderful artist who not only makes and sells her own art, she mentors artists through her art business membership, but also very generously shares her experiences and honest tips to create sellable art that feels personal to you. So many of the episodes resonated with me...they were fantastic as a reminder of what we sometimes forget as artists...that we do actually know what we are doing...we just need to do it. You can listen here

Joy #4

Transformative Experience..try something new

Abba Voyage London Show

I was so lucky my sister managed to get tickets to this amazing show when I was in London last month. To be honest I was a little sceptical before..I am a huge Abba fan, but the tickets weren't cheap for what I imagined to be a show on a screen. I am so glad I embraced it with an open mind as it was the best experience I have had for a long time. The venue was purpose built for the show in the Olympic village part of London docklands. I have to admit at the start of the show I felt quite cheated about how it made me feel. The band members have been recreated using avatars, so you feel as if you are at a concert, but know in your head they aren't really there, but you feel as if they are. The musicians and backing singers are all real people. Because the venue is purpose built it was a total 360 degree experience created using amazing technology. The music was fantastic and the crowd...all die hard Abba fans, were totally entranced.

I found this experience so inspiring in the way it demonstrated to me how artistic experiences can be created to generate amazing feelings. Abba was one of those groups who stood out from he crowd in their day...were completely themselves, their music has stood the test of time and continues to generate joy in a world nearly 50 years later. Take a look at the trailer. If you just happen to be in London you need to go.

Joy #5

A practice to lighten your energy for a better day

Letters from Love with Elizabeth Gilbert on Substack

LETTERS FROM LOVE is both a learning space and a spiritual practice. Here, people come together to discover their inherent value and exquisite preciousness, and to learn how to write and speak to themselves from a place of love and friendliness.

For over a quarter of a century, Elizabeth Gilbert has written daily letters to herself from love and it has been the most transformative spiritual practice of her life. She has come to believe that there is a magnificent intelligence in the universe that is kind beyond measure, and that only seeks to know us and be known by us.

Each week Liz invites a guest who share their Letter from Love. This is a practice I have been trying to start when I am having a tough day...when you ask yourself the question 'Love, what would you have me know today?' it is hard to start the day in a negative space. If you are interested you can find Letters from Love here

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