Being Vulnerable…

“It’s not about perfect. It’s about effort. And when you bring that effort every single day, that’s where transformation happens. That’s how change occurs.”
― Jillian Michaels

Being an introvert is a tad difficult. You enjoy keeping to yourself. Don’t love a ton of company. Have a lot of acquaintances and a few really close friends. You are a perfectionist at times. You tend to have a “I’ll do it” attitude. Which in turn, makes it a hard to be vulnerable.

How on earth does one become vulnerable? It’s one of the hardest things to do as an adult. This is something that 2016 is all about for me. With Growth comes Change and with Change come Vulnerability.

Terrifying but needed.

Throughout the past few months, I have been learning a lot about myself. Most of this occurred after my fiance and I got engaged in January. Let’s list them out:

  • I want to fix everything, including everyone’s problems
  • I have a very hard time asking for help. If I ask for help and I feel that I will look like a failure, a reoccurring feeling in my life. 
  • I tend to do a ton of projects all at once, only to burn myself out with a quickness.
  • I’m a perfectionist that is also a major procrastinator when it comes to anything with numbers. Finances, yuck.
  • I always feel like I am disappointing to people. Yet another reoccurring feeling in my life.
  • I have a fear of pushing my limits when it comes to success. I know what I completely want but I’m afraid of failing not only myself but everyone around me. 

A small list with a ton of things in between the lines. Being afraid of success is such a sad thing. It’s lonely. It’s tiring.

So, I am done being tired of not doing. This year has been amazing. A lot of tears, “eureka” moments, discovery and a lot more. I am pushing myself to do things. Slowly doing them. Asking for help, with small things for now that adds up to a lot.

This is my year to grow. I am growing. The best part is I am ready, aware of my weakness, my fears, my desires and so much more.

So, I am asking you. What is holding you back from grabbing a hold of your dreams? Why are you letting that stop you? 

Looking deeper inward is terrifying. Crack those doors. If some are too painful to open, don’t be afraid to seek help elsewhere. It’s okay! Actually, it’s incredibly brave! Be brave with me. The change might feel slow, but better slow and steady than fast and messy.

Introverts 1

I may be an introvert at heart. But, I am more than ready to challenge myself to show that even us introverts can be vulnerable and brave to the entire world.

Join me, won’t you 🙂

On the Easel:

As a side note, here is the colored pencil African Elephant piece I am working on. A bit of an update. Have any questions on my work? Or interested in this or any other piece? Feel free to contact me on my website.

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Elephant Drawing with Facts

New Work on the Easel:

The newest drawing drawing on the easel is an elephant colored pencil drawing. This is a beautiful African Elephant mother with her precious 10 month old calf.

I got the reference photo from wildlifereferencephotos.com.

This is a large piece and will take quite a bit of time to complete but it is worth every second. The overall size is 17×22 using Faber Castell Polychromos Pencils. Here is the where the piece is at right now:

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Slow and steady with this piece.

Elephant Facts:

In the past few years the elephant has become the face of what extinction is. This is a sad fact. The spike in poaching these amazing creatures is not only alarming but heartbreaking.

There are two main species of elephants out there. The African Elephant and the Asian Elephant. Beside where each species is located, they also differ in size. Asian Elephants are smaller than their African relatives, they also have smaller ears unlike the wonderful fan-like ears of the African Elephants.

Elephant comparisons 1

Why do they matter? As with all wildlife, the elephant is important when it comes to balance of the planet. Elephants migrate, which in turn causes more pollen to be spread through their route. The more pollen, the more flowers, the more life. They also create clearings in forests which break up the forest overtaking areas, letting in more light and life.

As with most animals with tusks, their main threat is people poaching them for their ivory tusks. Natives use this for medicinal use which provides no valuable results when it comes to health. The only creature that needs tusks, is the animal itself. This illegal trade is a massive issue. Not only for the elephants themselves for the locals.

The more illegal trade, the more likely hood of violence to the native people. Which trickles down to a low amount of tourism, something that many of these countries rely on for income to the country. It’s a domino affect. No being deserves such a horrid thing to happen to them.

Together we can shift this trend. Make your voice heard. Donate when you can. Volunteer in your area when you can. One voice grows to many and that is when change happens.

What Am I Doing?

Art has been my biggest communicator when it comes to this passionate topic. Wildlife is a big part of my life, it always has been. Working with wildlife sanctuaries is just one thing. But spreading more knowledge to others about this topic is also another. Everyday I see more alarming stats when it comes to climate, wildlife, trade and violence. It needs to change.

This is one reason why on Earth Day April 22, 2016, I will be holding an art sale. 25% off of all original art on my website. That 25% you save goes to the WWF to help with their efforts in saving not only wildlife, but the planet as well.

My efforts and involvement will always continue and will be growing. It’s time to change the world one piece at a time. One choice at a time. Buying organic when possible. Limiting meat. Saving energy. Recycling. And much more. Spread the world, let’s make a change together.

 

 

 

To Art or Not to Art? Yes, You Should.

“I can’t draw or paint.” “I don’t have time.” “Seems expensive.” “That talent isn’t something I have.”

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At one point or another you or someone you know has said this about doing art. I hear these statements a lot. What’s sad is, all the excuses out there in the world are irrelevant.

As kids we didn’t wring our hands about creating things. It was fun, a way to escape reality, use our imaginations and so much more. But than we grow up and lose that child quality along the way. Relationships happen, jobs, college, marriage, kids, bills, the list goes on. And it Will Continue to Go On!

What I am getting at here is don’t let the habit of art die as life moves forward. Even if it’s just doodling on a piece of paper while you wait for your spouse to get ready, art! The “gift of art as a talent” (honestly, not sure what that means, we all start somewhere) doesn’t matter when creating. And not just drawing but music, dance, writing….all of the creative arts. Use it!

It’s so freeing to let that adult part of you take a nap (we all need one) and allow that inner child to express themselves somehow. Don’t lose that….Ever. It makes life a little bit easier. It’s a healthy stress reliever and it fun!

Whether you paint like da Vinci or a 3 year old, dance like Michael Jackson or your drunk uncle, I encourage you to do it. And who knows, if you do this consistently you may find an inner “talent” in some why.

Discover. Learn. Explore. Create.

And never ever stop. I am so glad I never did. It’s a part of me everyday. Keeps me grounded and helps me escape life’s stressful times.

Adulting 1

Find more about my work on my website or “like” my Facebook Page 🙂

Restarting. Letting Go. Moving On.

Over the past few weeks I have had the hardest time of letting things go. Specifically the concept of fear. Granted, fear is a necessary evil but to let go of fear linking to things that have happened in the past is a little different. Plus, harder to move past.

Not only am I passionate about art but also about health & fitness. They all link together in my life. Although, I have somewhat slipped on the food portion in the past few months. Up and down of to much and to little food. I came to a breaking point a few weeks ago. It was scary but needed.

Binge eating has been a battle as of late. Something many people battle with daily. I’ve touched on this before but felt an update on this was deserved. My eyes have opened to a few more things. For one thing, I don’t say things are ‘off limits’. All that does to us is tempt us even more. Once you get into that ‘off limits’ item it’s as if you are breaking a rule and it’s an adrenaline rush. In that moment it feels good, but that high goes away quickly and the guilt comes in screaming.

By allowing all food to be an option it’s been a little more manageable. I did have a binge episode recently but I didn’t tear myself down for it. Instead, I allowed it to happen and feel what I was feeling. The conclusion was:

  • I wasn’t eating enough food throughout the day.
  • I was bored of what I was eating.
  • And I felt like I was breaking the rules if I was eating certain things.

So, I completely restarted. If I want to have a quick snack in the middle of the day I have one. I pay attention to what I am eating, why and how I am feeling. If I am hungry, showing physical signs of hunger, I eat. Also, I check in if cravings occur to see if it’s really hunger or if something else is happening. Most of the time it goes back to fear of moving on.

Moving forward in my career. Moving forward in my fitness. Work. Family. Everything.

While growing up I felt like if I was to go forward not only would I fail but I would disappoint everyone along the way. I was never good enough to succeed. So, I would go to a certain degree of effort and than stop. I continue to do this.

However, now that I know what is going on within me, I am taking baby steps to move forward. A little everyday. Here is what I do a little of as often as I can:

  • Allow myself to eat when I am hungry
  • No food is off limits
  • Research things for my career at least once a week
  • Research things for my job 1-2 times a week
  • Make ‘to do’ lists for work with times to complete
  • Push myself in terms of my athletic ability each week
  • Slow down in my art, really allowing myself to explore my capabilities
  • Exploring food options
  • And many more small things……

Life is a mystery indeed. Nothing is off limits. But in order to move forward we must get to know ourselves which can be the hardest thing to do. And, if you can’t do that on your own, please reach out. It’s so important to talk to others about deeper issues. I can attest to that personally. It’s worth the tears. 

New Pieces Are Here

Let’s start off with some new work! Been doing really well in the studio, which is a plus! Since going to a four day work week I’ve been able to bust out more work. The biggest thing that I have to work on even more (this isn’t surprising….) is the marketing/inventory/all around business side of it all.

Creative people tend to Hate the whole business side. It’s boring. It’s numbers (eek!). It’s serious.

I’d rather stick needles in my eyes than sit down and be serious. Okay maybe not that but you get what I mean.

But over the past few months, I’ve been taking this side one step at a time. Yes it’s important but for me, and anyone else like me (I know you are out there!) that isn’t really enough to make me want to sit down and do it.

So I have found that taking things in chunks is easier. And finding a way to make it fun is key. In truth this can be ‘fun’. Using images, making the files pleasing to view, putting your personality into it, ect. Overtime, this will become second nature. I am getting there. If I go for the ‘all or nothing’ approach, I won’t do anything because I get overwhelmed and freak out. No fun.

Now, let’s get to the new works 🙂 

  • 2 New Safe Haven Pieces (Taco & Scooter + Steele)
  • 1 New WildCat Ridge Piece (Look Above)
  • And 1 new piece in general (Hawk)

Taco & Scooter, Steele and Hawk are all available for purchase. Also, Taco & Scooter along with Steele are both Safe Haven pieces so 40% of the purchase price goes directly to Safe Haven.

Taco & Scooter; 9.5×8; Colored Pencil on Watercolor Paper; $240 BUY NOW

Tace & Scooter; 9.5x8.5; 240; colored pencil drawing of two macaws for safe haven wildlife sanctuary

 

Steele 9x12 $240 white charcoal and black charcoal on black paper of steele the male bobcat from safe haven wildlife sanctuary

Steele; 9×12; White charcoal on Black Paper; $240 BUY NOW

Look Above 12x9 white and black charcoal on black paper 240 nora the white tiger from wildcat ridge sanctuary.jpg

Hawk 12x9 white charcoal on black paper 240 hawk drawing study using white charcoal

 

Hawk; 12×9; White Charcoal on Black Paper; $240 BUY NOW

When Doors Are Forced Open

In my quest for an amazing 2016, I’ve had to allow myself to be a little more vulnerable. Not only in my work, but to myself.

We all have doors that are scary, painful and just plain terrifying to open. Typically these doors are linked to certain things that happened in our past. Usually childhood. The important thing about these doors is if we don’t open them at some point they take us over or are forced open.

Over the past couple of months, many things have happened. One big thing:

I got engaged to my amazing boyfriend of 8 years. 

Now, anyone that has had a wedding knows the pressures of planning and how taxing it can be on you and everyone around you. What is rather fascinating for me is that this process of planning triggered many deep seeded things in me.

While I was trying to not see these things I was going through a roller-coaster of emotions. Let’s list them off 🙂

  • I sleeping less than usual (I have issues sleeping but it was getting slowly worse)
  • I was depressed
  • Stressed out
  • Although I kept my workout routine, I binged once to twice a week on a massive amount of food
  • Felt overwhelmed
  • And, many other things

The bingeing for me was the biggest problem because it triggered the depression, stress and feeling overwhelmed.

On Tuesday, it all came to a massive erupting volcano. I was tired of feeling so overwhelmed and confused. Planning a wedding should be fun but I was losing my mind. I went to work and let myself feel whatever it was that I was feeling.

It was scary. It was emotional. But, it was necessary and freeing. 

I cried. A Lot. I asked everyone at work to leave me be, let them know I was okay but I just needed to be by myself. I work in a picture framing shop so this was doable and good for me.

When I got home my boyfriend asked me to let it out and I did.

As a kid, there were many times where I felt like I was a failure. I was told this many times. I wasn’t good enough, not talented, not attractive….I wasn’t what certain people felt I would be. Now, as a kid it’s natural for us to learn how to bury those feelings and triggers. Overtime, they come up.

Planning this wedding started to make me feel as if I was putting on a show to prove to many people that I am worthwhile, I am talented, attractive and good.

Long story short, logically I know I am not a failure by any means. But to feel it emotionally within you is a journey within itself. Once I let these words out. Once I cried and expressed how I felt and that I knew what was reality, it’s as if this heavy shadow was lifted off of my entire being.

After that, I got a massive headache. Went to bed, slept great and woke up with a blinding headache again. But it wasn’t a bad feeling. I equate it to that feeling of getting over a cold. You aren’t 100% better but you can function better. Over the day the headache lifted but I don’t remember how long it lingered.

In closing, I wanted to share this story with all of you because I know there are so many out there that are going through this, have gone through it or are scared to do so. If you aren’t strong enough nor ready to open up those intimidating doors alone, seek out a good trusting therapist. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, one day I hope to get therapy of my own. After all, you hired them so if you don’t like them you can fire them.

Another interesting thing that occurred to me to is that my urge to binge has ceased. It’s incredible. And my creative mind feels more peaceful and free. Keep your head up and keep going forward. It’s so lonely to be afraid of things that you aren’t ready to see. It’s scary and intimidating. But, when you crack those doors open and work slowly to walk inside, things will shift and the storm clouds will clear.

I promise. It’s worth it.

New Pieces for Safe Haven:

*40% of the price for these two pieces goes directly to Safe Haven Wildlife Sanctuary.*

Steele 9x12 $240 white charcoal and black charcoal on black paper of steele the male bobcat from safe haven wildlife sanctuary

Steele; 9×12 white and black charcoal on black paper; $240.00

Buy Now:

http://taylorannfineart.squarespace.com/shop/steele

Tace & Scooter; 9.5x8.5; 240; colored pencil drawing of two macaws for safe haven wildlife sanctuary.jpg

Taco & Scooter; 12×9; colored pencil on watercolor paper; $240.00

Buy Now:

http://taylorannfineart.squarespace.com/shop/taco-scooter

New Work:

Hawk 12x9 white charcoal on black paper 240 hawk drawing study using white charcoal.jpg

Hawk; 12×9; White Charcoal on Black Paper; $240.00

Buy Now:

http://taylorannfineart.squarespace.com/shop/hawk

 

 

 

 

 

30 in 30 Challenge: Week 3

Blank.

Yes, the daily painting this week is non existent. Which, I am okay with. This is another lesson to see when you do a challenge like this.

Things happen that change your list of ‘things to do’ and that is perfectly fine! Nothing bad happened. All wonderful things this week. Only one inconvenient thing happened, which I battle with a lot. Which is lack of sleep.

Call it a low grade insomnia that happens to me every couple of months for usually a straight week. I fall asleep, wake up every other hour, or don’t sleep at all, can’t fall asleep….runs the gamut.

But good things out way the inconvenient.

  • Celebrated my 27th birthday on Wednesday
  • Got engaged to my boyfriend of 8 years on Saturday
  • Took a long birthday staycation
  • Slept in!

It goes to show what all can occur in a few days, even a few hours. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get ‘x’ amount of hours into your artwork. It’s okay! Go with the flow, pick yourself up when you are ready and keep going.

Now, here is what I am working on. A colored pencil piece of Shirley from WildCat Ridge Sanctuary.

WIP 1WIP Close up

 

 

 

 

30 in 30: Week 2

Already week 2 of the 30 in 30 challenge. Although I’m not on painting 15, I am happy with what I am able to do. No need to burn the candle at both ends.

This has been an interesting challenge, as it usually is. With each painting I learn to let go a little bit more and let the paint speak through me.

This week, I will be going to my subject passion of wildlife and nature in general. Still life has (and will continue) helped me see light, color and tone differently. I have slowed down more with the mindset of really studying what I see not what I think I should see. And more importantly, what I feel.

Art is a very personally experience. Doing it and seeing it is different for everyone. While one person falls in love with the mystery of da Vinci, another is bored with it quickly and is amazed by that of Pablo Picasso. Everyone is different which is what makes art so powerful, beautiful and mysterious.

Here is what I have done in Week 2:

Number 5; Red Apple; 9x12; oil on gesso board; 240; fuji red apple still life oil painting
Red Apple; 9×12; Oil on Gesso Board; Bid in the auction. Starting at $25.
Number 6; Little Gems; 12x12; oil on cotton canvas; 240; marbles on pink and green paper.jpg
Little Gems; 12×12; Oil on Canvas; Starting bid is $25
Number 7; Healthy Morning; 9x12; oil on gesso board; 240 starbucks coffee cup with a red fuji apple oil painting
Healthy Morning; 12×9; Oil on Gesso Board; Starting bid is $25
Number 8; Shaggy; 12x12; oil on canvas; 240; shih tzu dog face shaggy dog oil painting quick loose brush impressionistic painting
Shaggy Dog; 12×12; Oil on Canvas; Starting bid is $25
Number 9; Figure Study 1; 8x10;180; charcoal on toned drawing paper; nude female figure study in charcoal.jpg
Figure Study 1; 8×10; Charcoal on drawing paper

I can say that my confidence is growing with paint and brush. When you do something that is outside your comfort zone, amazing things can happen. Don’t be afraid to explore, it’s what life is all about!

All, expect the nude sketch, is available for bidding on my Daily Paintworks Page at great prices. Why am I doing auctions on these? Because it’s a way for me to share my quick fun projects at an excellent rate. Everyone should be able to buy art, as everyone should. It’s the best gift to give someone or to give yourself!

For more of my work visit my website

Original work is available for purchase as well as commissions.