Planting Heart Whispers

 In The Artist Date, Weekly Forum Discussion

Written by: Liz Chamberlain; Lizzie Lou Mixed Media

Oh my goodness, my life garden is so full of wildflowers right now…it’s like I can’t make decisions and I want to do everything. I love the colour and the variety and I want them all! I am not yet experienced enough to know which are flowers and which are the weeds…so I am cultivating them all, and waiting to see what happens.

With leaving my job at the hospital recently, I have basically planted a new garden for the year, for my art business. It is no longer a hobby, but a full-time investment. I invested and participated in a business strategy program called BLISS, which supported me while I created a business plan for 52 weeks! Awesome! But as with anything in life, opportunities keep arising and paths twisting and turning and changing directions, while always moving towards the desired goal. So it is a fluid, adaptable plan, which is amazing.

Interestingly, in my family life, we have planted a vegetable garden from scratch for the first time, in what used to be our sandbox. It was difficult to make decisions because everyone wanted something special that they liked to eat, and our space is very limited. So we planted what we could, after some research on what would be easiest to take care of and hardiest in the cool spring we are having. And things are looking good already. Green and growing. Stable. Happy.

In my business life, I have planted seeds with respect to products and paintings in shops. Currently, 3 shops that have my art are open, and another two plan to open June 1st, 2019. The hope is that these 5 shops will sell enough that I can easily cover my rental in each of them. Of these five shops, two are in different cities than mine. This broadens my market, which I am quite excited about. Paintings, journals and cards in three different cities. It is a very exciting and validating feeling; I am on the right path.

I have also planted seeds with respect to workshops. One shop has a workshop space that I will be running programs out of once a month. I have also made contact with a yoga studio and a café for other workshop offerings. These will be my income — my backup to selling products, and my growth in people knowing who I am and what I do, as I share my story and my experience with art. I love the idea of teaching people how to experience art. It’s not about the finished product…it really isn’t. Art is therapeutic and uplifting because we learn to be mindful of the journey. We learn to allow one move to lead into the next rather than remaining rigid in the steps we take. It’s like a dance of colour and strokes on the canvas. It is happy-making and rewarding to create. Even when it’s not as we expect it to be. Especially when it is imperfect — that’s what gives art its style and character and emotional connection.

Finally, I have planted seeds by investing in myself, by signing up for training and coaching. I recognize that I am not an expert, and I need support and guidance from someone who has been through where I am now and succeeded far beyond where I aspire to be. It can be hard to admit when we need help. I have confidence that I can make my business dreams a reality, in time, with patience, and by asking for help and learning from the professionals.

I am very excited to nurture and support my garden, both the vegetable garden in the back yard and my garden of heart whispers that are feeding my business, which nourishes my soul. I am so lucky and excited to see what the harvest will look like. Will I get to go to a retreat in July? Will I be doing 3 or more workshops a month come fall? Will I still have product in all 5 shops or will I downsize and focus on where the sales are? Will more opportunities present themselves to me that I won’t be able to resist? So much excitement and so much to look forward to. Happy planting!

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