Dream Big, My Friend

 In The Artist Date, Weekly Forum Discussion

After years of collecting bits and pieces in a bag, and then sorting through them almost a year ago while purging, I finally created a vision board…AND hung it on the wall to see from my workspace, to remind me of what I am striving for. Sharing the wall space, is art from artists that I admire and aspire to be like in one way or another.  My studio actually has more of other people’s art on it than my own, most of the time.

My vision is to inspire people to use art as an emotional oxygen mask, while encouraging play, growth, discovery and healing through pausing to “smell the roses”, to feel the paint on their fingers, and to admire the beauty of what is, while learning to accept every mark that encompasses their unique beauty. This is not just about painting a pretty picture. This is about playing, trusting intuition and allowing one step to lead to the next in order to express oneself. My hope is to teach people to recognize the necessity of self-care and give them permission to practice this through creativity and play.

If my vision were my Valentine, what would it bring me? Conversation candy hearts, colourful valentines with inspirational phrases telling me how amazing I am, and beautiful artwork that reminds me what I am aspiring to become. This is the love I need from my vision board.

I have postcards from an art swap a few years ago, that inspire me to “dare to dream big”, and “spread your wings”, along with cards that encourage me to “shine: let your imagination out to play”, and “listen…your heart is calling”.

I have reminders hanging on my vision board of amazing things I have attended or accomplished, including a 261 Fearless sticker from when I ran in the New York City Marathon, a ribbon with Donna Downey’s signature, and a Davenpeep sticker from my adventure to North Carolina to meet and learn from Donna and Jane in person, and a recent local newspaper advertisement with my paintings on it.  These amazing positive experiences in my past are reminders of times when I have been fearless, empowered, independent and have followed my heart.  They also led into amazing aspirations for my future, in that I want to be successful and well known enough to justify having my logo on a ribbon, or wrapping paper; creating the welcoming experience of art retreats and workshops hosting various artists, and traveling to share my techniques and talents with others.  It reminds me that it won’t always be easy, but the key is to keep moving forward, and put one foot in front of the other. Just because you can’t see the finish line doesn’t mean you’re not moving in the right direction. Trust your heart.

Surrounding my vision board, and a huge part of my inspiration is art by other artists, who are at various levels of success in their art business journey. Immediately above my vision board, a gorgeous giclee print from Julia Veenstra, a Hamilton artist with her own studio on James Street North…the centre of the local art scene. She is known internationally for her amazingly colourful Canadian landscapes, and cows.  I love the freedom, movement and feeling each piece evokes.  And I LOVE her colours!  I admire her fun-loving and helpful character – she is always interactive on social media, and willing to answer questions. I am inspired by her “celebrity” status. She paints BIG canvases. This print reminds me what is possible if you love what you do and push through the hard times. If you look up, and see the potential for growth. Reach for the stars. Play and enjoy what you do. An artist’s life doesn’t have to be filled with scarcity, it can be full of abundance and opportunity!

The angel to the right…this is an original by Katrina Koltes, in Italy. We met in an online course, and quickly became fans of one another’s styles.  She is the sweetest lady, a mom of two boys who are younger than my own, and she not only makes the time to create, but she creates  often with them by her side. There is a gentle, soft, whispiness about everything that she does, and I am in absolute awe. She also creates from a space of being connected to all things divine and earthly and heavenly and magical. She blends her techniques and her visions so elegantly, that everything she creates provokes emotion. I aspire to be as I perceive Katrina, connected to the universe as I create, confident in trusting myself and my visions and skills, and free flowing to not second guess what I have put out onto the canvas.

The two small pieces are unique and fun and gorgeous, in different techniques that I currently use and have not yet experimented with. They remind me to go with the flow, trust the process, and remember that there is always more to learn, explore and discover in art.

My vision board valentine gift is the constant belief that I can do anything my heart desires. It is the inspiration to move forward, and the validation of the great things I have done so far. It is a map to show me where I have going, as well as where I have come from. And it is the reminder that there is not a clear, straight path to my dreams, but many suggested possibilities.  My Valentine’s message this year? Dream big, my friend!

Written by: Liz Chamberlain; Lizzielou Mixed Media

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