Hello Friends! The summer is flying by and school is starting soon. I can hardly believe that my kiddo will be in kindergarten! Wow, time flies. Well, kinda;)
I'm really looking forward to Janelle Hardy's Personal Mythmaking School which starts August 27th. I took this class last year and was blown away. I love the fact that Janelle offers lifetime membership. This course is joyful deep dive into creative writing, embodiment, and exploration into the stories that shape our lives. By the end of the class, participants have a rough...
It's been a while since I've posted a resource roundup, so there's a lot to share! I hope you enjoy it:
Hiring a VA can be a lifesaver! Here are a couple of places you can check out if you need help with your workload.
Why is it that bringing our best, most important creative work into the world can feel like pulling teeth? WTF?! Thank goodness for Tiffany Han. She gets it! If you're struggling with this...
Hi everyone! I am so delighted to share today's artist interview with Jamie Smith. Not only is Jamie a talented fine artist, but she is also the founder of the THRIVE artist network, and thereby one of my personal heroes! Enjoy:
Where in the world are you located? What is it like being an artist there?
I am located in Vancouver on the West Coast of Canada. Vancouver is such a beautiful city, there is so much nature around to be inspired by and a small but vibrant art scene to contribute to.
I think for a lot of artists, there's a tension between feeling called to be an artist and the pull to have a "sensible" career. Have you always known that you're an artist? How has your art career evolved?
I most certainly did not know! I have always been in this space of tension between the “practical” and “the dream.” I grew up being creative but we did not buy original art growing up and I didn’t really know people that did! I took an art class in my senior year of high school just because I had room in my schedule. It was actually my art teacher that suggested I get a portfolio together and apply to art school. He helped me do this and I was accepted. But of course, hanging onto my practical side I went to a university with an art department so that if I decided to go into a more suitable degree path I could. I did, in the end, complete my BFA and a minor in business (oh so practical). I learned a lot about how to think about art and about famous artists but nothing about how to create an art career for myself. I deeply felt like I would love to take the path of an artist but I had no idea how to do this. So I enrolled in a teaching program because that seemed to be a mix of the dream side and practical side of me. I taught high school art for a few years and during that time I got my own art studio outside of my house and I fell in love!! I decided then and there that I was going to figure out this “art thing” and realized I was actually running a small business so I studied up on the business of art as well. I spend years hustling and juggling teaching and selling my art any way I could. I was very inspired and excited but I was also extremely lonely and unsure of myself. I slowly started meeting other artists and I would go for coffee with them monthly (I fondly called these coffees "lady dates"). I really struggled with the lack of mentorship and community in the arts. As artists, we spend so much time on our own creating in our studios so it is hard to get out into the world. So a few years ago I started THRIVE to support female, non-binary and gender-fluid artists and to create a community that looks out for one another. This has been a huge shift for me in my practice as I feel like I have a team around me! Now being an artist doesn’t seem like a scary impractical path, it seems like a normal choice as I have surrounded myself with “my people.” I am so grateful for this.
Can you talk a bit about your process? How has your work evolved over time? What are you working on right now? What's new or different about it?
My work has evolved a lot over the years. When I started, I was painting large abstract work and had a studio that had space for this and a big sink. Then I moved into a much smaller studio and started doing image transfer work on smaller panels. Now I have very limited time with everything going on with THRIVE so I create work one week a month and paint on paper sitting at a desk. I find this very relaxing and a great way to unwind. I am working on a series of florals at the moment and I am loving using bright colors, they make me happy!
Are there certain themes that show up in your work over and over again?
My work seems to always be focused on memories and the passage of time. I find layering images, collage, and tools like Photoshop allow me to take one image and fuse it together with something else to convey the many stories I am working to express. I always seem to have the idea of “place” in my work and some kind of organic forms. I think this comes from travelling and seeing so many different images, places and people all at once, I think I am still trying to make sense of it all.
What is your studio practice like? Do you have any rituals or routines that help you get into the creative zone? Do you ever get creative blocks? How do you get unstuck?
My studio practice is very scheduled and disciplined, gone are the days where inspiration can hit and I am painting till 3am! I have 4 days every month to create and I try to get some weekends in as well but that doesn’t always happen. I find throughout the month I am mentally collecting ideas and making plans for those 4 days because I want to jump right in when my studio time starts. Sometimes I find this schedule hard but I do think it makes me more productive as I cherish my studio time and have to just show up and do the work! I listen to audiobooks when I paint and I love getting into a book and I end up painting way longer as I am so into the story and process. I also drink a lot of tea while I work!
In addition to being a fine artist, you’re also the founder of the THRIVE Art Studio. Can you tell us about your inspiration for starting this group and how it’s evolved?
As I mentioned above I started THRIVE because it was something I needed, I gathered 6 female artists that I had been meeting monthly. I brought the group together and it was such a special night, everyone shared so openly and gave such great advice. It was magic! We decided to meet as a group for 6 months and I created a schedule and questions we would chat about each meeting. I then started getting emails from other artists to join and started more groups. The program has evolved a lot since then but the values and even the questions we answer at every meeting are the same still today! We now have over 175 members and an online program so we have members all over the world (like the wonderful Jessica Molnar!). I am so excited about where THRIVE is today and we have some big plans for the future!
All Photos by Britney Berrner
If you could give your 20-year-old self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Relax- each win, disappoint, failure and person all lead you down a pretty darn beautiful path. I think my current self could use to remember this more often as well.
Do you have any questions or comment for Jamie? Add them to the comments below!
Photo Credit: Erica Breau
Hello everyone! I'm so happy to introduce you to my friend, Janelle Hardy. Janelle teaches an incredible 4 month online class called Personal Mythmaking. It's playful, deep and transformative. And, by the end of it, you'll have the first draft of your memoirs written. I took this class last year and loved it! It helped me to get out of a nasty creative block and untangle some persnickety psychological funk. Class starts February 19th, payment plans available and when you sign up with code JessMolnar, you'll receive the special bonus that Janelle is offering to my friends: a one-on-one session with her! You can find out more here. Enjoy:
Please tell us a about your business and how you help creative women.
I help creative women by showing them ways to reconnect with their bodies, their creative life force, and how to heal and grow by examining their life-stories and personal histories. The easiest way of describing my work is to say that I help people write their memoirs, but, of course, it's more complex than that, because we as women and humans are complex, and we arise out of complex histories.
Janelle, you have a really interesting professional background in the visual arts, performing arts and healing arts. Can you please share a little bit about how your creative journey has evolved.
Oh goodness. I used to confuse myself so much with my widely varied background and interests. My creative journey arose partly out of a deep curiosity and partly out of a frustration with the limits that people were placing on me to do just-the-one-thing. My personal experience as a creative person has been that I have a creative life force, and desire for self-expression that chooses the medium based on what feels most right for what is longing to emerge. And, by following these impulses to dance - I started learning about embodiment. By following these impulses to write, I learned how to express myself through words and the written language. By following these impulses to paint, I learned how to visually convey what I was after. And by trying and failing and trying and succeeding, I've incrementally honed my technical skills, and I've slowly started to reveal to myself what what my soul and bodypsyche has been longing for all this time.
What inspired you to create Personal Mythmaking School?
I have to say that I didn't really create Personal Mythmaking School. It's a process that revealed itself to me each time I tried to offer courses and articulate what I was wanting to teach and share with others. It originally showed up as an 8 week in person course, then I moved it online and added more to it, then I discovered that the process offers up the rough draft of a memoir (amazing!) and each time I've offered it, to small small groups of truly dedicated people, the Personal Mythmaking process has revealed itself to me a little more. I really feel like I'm offering a process that is asking me to offer it. I can't say I've consciously created it, but that it's been born of me and through me. There is something so mystical and beautiful about feeling like, finally, I'm a worthy vessel and guide, through which this work can emerge, because if I hadn't spent all of those years discovering the creative process, and writing and teaching and doing bodywork and learning about embodiment and trauma and healing and cultural and inter-generational healing as well, I wouldn't be able to offer Personal Mythmaking. So, to circle back around to your question - I wasn't inspired to create Personal Mythmaking School so much as I was willing to let something show up, and keep offering and being open to what arose out of those experiences. Now though, I feel inspired to keep teaching Personal Mythmaking and I feel inspired to really master the art of marketing so I can reach more women who are keen to grow and learn and heal, and write their memoirs too!
Who do you find gets the most benefit out of Personal Mythmaking School?
I find the people who most benefit from Personal Mythmaking are the soulful curious seekers, the creative deep thinkers who are sensitive, highly attuned to themselves and their surroundings, and are not interested in living with the status quo, but are interested instead in growing and constantly becoming themselves.
A while back, I came upon the phrase "embodied creativity" on your website and it stopped me in my tracks! Can you please tell us about what that phrase means to you?
For me, embodied creativity means understanding the creative process as a circular, cyclical process that is much like a pregnancy, in that it needs to gestate, it requires patience and attunement to which state the process is at, and a willingness to make things happen when the creative process moves into the next phase. Embodied creativity also means tapping into creativity from a body-centered perspective. Because our 'western' cultures are so very much based in intellectual rational thinking processes, the body gets dismissed, left behind and left out. Yet, our bodies are our only homes, and when we learn to befriend them and listen to them, and cultivate a sensory awareness that rises out of inhabiting them, our creativity flows and inspires us in very different ways than when we get stuck in the head. As an added bonus, getting into the body and creating from that perspective is the best trick I know for dodging and shift creative block, perfectionism and the terrible inner critic/judge so many of us have.
Do you have any advice for visual artists who struggle to find their voice in writing?
Yes! Remember that you're a beginner and stop expecting perfection. Also, think of words in terms of visual experiences. Try pulling in the vibe of painting/collaging/visualizing, and just think of words as the brush, paints and so on and so forth. Mostly, be kind to yourself, keep trying, and try to be playful too.
Do you have any creative prompts, tricks or rituals to use when you're in a slump?
Yes. If I'm in a slump, getting into nature and into the body and shifting gears is the best solution. A walk in nature. A project completely opposite to the one I'm working on. Cooking. Playing music and dancing. Especially, doing the hand-touch exercise (10 minutes) that I teach everyone I work with. It's pure gold. I hope that helps.
What advice would you give to your 20 year old self?
oh god (dess). It's advice I still need to hear. Stop taking everything so seriously. Stop worrying about money. Learn how to play. Everything flows better when you find ways to relax. Don't worry so much about what others think of you. You're young and beautiful, and I know you don't believe but please, just believe it, then live from that place. Drop the self-doubt, be audacious, and start believe the world is conspiring for you rather than against you. And now that I've reminded myself of these things, I'm going to go enjoy the rest of my day too!
Thank you so much, Janelle! To learn more about Janelle Hardy, please visit her website and you can learn more about Personal Mythmaking here. Remember to use the code JessMolnar to receive your free coaching session with Janelle.
Full Disclosure: I am an affiliate for Personal Mythmaking and when you sign up with my code, I receive a commission. I promise that I only recommend resources that I personally use and love.
Hi friends! I have a new roundup of resources to make your creative journey a little bit easier. Enjoy:
It is super important to have a reliable, easy to use system for inventory. Artwork Archive is a cloud based database for artists to keep all their art related images and information.
Just the word sales gives a lot of artists the creeps. Never fear! Shannon Ward is a sales expert and coach who takes a fresh approach to selling. For those of you who sell products on Society6, you'll want to check out this great article, complete with a step by step plan for increasing followers and sales.
Print on Demand Drop Shipping
Oh, what a life saver! As an artist, solo entrepreneur and mama trying to juggle it all, being able to outsource the manufacturing and order fulfillment aspects of my business to ethical companies in the US who create high quality finished products and ship them out is really a dream come true. Here are a few you might want to check out: Printful, Printed Mint and Gooten.
When it comes to being a working artist, creating the work is the tip of the iceberg. It's also absolutely critical to have gorgeous photos. This is something that I've been struggling with and some artist friends recommended using a small, portable light box like this. I've also heard rave reviews for Nicole' Classes in Photography. I've got my eye on this one.
Do you have any new resources that you love? Please share in the comments!