We've had two large snow storms back to back here...we are now absolutely buried! My painting cravings have moved back to florals for a bit and here is one I've just completed and made available in my shop. Truthfully, I kind of want to keep this one for myself! I'm already itching to make the next one...
Happy Holidays my friends!!! Whew, did this year go fast or what? Whenever December rolls around, I like to reflect back on what happened that was good or what needs improvement as I figure out what my priorities and wishes are for 2017. This past year my biggest goal was to zero in on what I most love to paint and I’ve happily accomplished that! I’ve also built and tweaked my website and shop and have really put focused attention on how I can help my collectors and potential collectors. I’ve seen a lot of growth this year; so THANK YOU for that! For 2017 I plan to focus on translating my new abstract landscapes on paper into larger works on canvas and panel... lots of variety in sizes and price points. I also plan to increase my commission slots as I work to get more healing art into the hands that need it! With the turmoil going on in our social climate these days it is more important than ever to surround ourselves with beauty and positivity.
Have you determined what your plans are for the coming year? Feel free to share them with me in the comments!
Here are some of my priorities for 2017:
- Become a more engaged mother for my children when I am not working
- Focus a bit more on making our home a cozy sanctuary for my family
- Lose 20lbs and get fit while gaining lots of energy
- Get more of my soothing abstract landscape paintings out into the world!
What was successful about 2016? Feel free so share your wins with me in the comments!
For me it was:
- Being chosen by Improper Bostonian Magazine as “Best of Boston: Wedding Keepsake” for my custom wedding bouquet paintings
- Getting featured on the Glitter Guide giving advice to work-at-home parents (as well as a studio tour!)
- Having a write-up about me and my work in our local newspaper The Nashoba Valley Times
- Having a feature in the December issue of artMAINE Magazine
- Getting to create several paintings-turned-prints exclusively for Maine Cottage Catalog.
- Selling my work at various boutiques; especially the online shop Loom & Kiln
- Figuring out my favorite painting style and subject-matter…knowing what makes me most happy to make.
- Getting to create custom commissions for so many special people…making work that is meaningful and special for someone else is a real honor!
I encourage you to reflect back on your wins of the year and celebrate them. It’s all about the journey and we need to enjoy all the little things along the way! That’s what life is all about! Thank you so much for sharing in my journey this year...I have felt so much support and encouragement from this community and I wish you the happiest holiday and New Year! Enjoy, be well, and stay positive!
I'm so proud and excited to tell you I've written an article on balancing work and motherhood for Glitter Guide! It's a topic close to my heart and it's something I juggle every single day. Wanting to be the best mother I can be can sometimes clash with my desires to be a highly productive artist. Each day the balance and focus changes with my goals and it's simply not easy! But I've learned a lot in the past almost eight years of parenting and I'm sharing my discoveries with you!
The article also features an exclusive look at my new studio space! Woot Woot!
Check it out my tips for balancing work and motherhood here!
I'm digging the direction my work has been going lately...abstract but looks like a landscape...I try to convey a sense of time and mood through my use of color. They are like vignettes or memories of a space in time. When I sit down to paint I am usually in a peaceful state where I just finished meditating and I continue that peaceful energy into my painting practice. I look at my colors and then start with whatever I'm most drawn to. I don't plan ahead usually; although sometimes I will see a color palette I love in an inspirational image and I will aim to use those colors. I like to just let intuition take control and see how the piece unfolds on its own. Sometimes working this way makes me nervous, but it's my way of practicing faith...faith in my intuition and in my vision.
Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the tiniest tasks. Like the stack of bills waiting to be paid and dealt with. UGH. I also owe sales tax to the state and have to tackle all my business tax stuff. But I've got so many questions, which leads to stress and worry. "Just call an accountant and get some help!" I tell myself. sigh. I guess it's just the point of it. I have to pay MORE money to sort something I wish I could just figure out for myself for FREE. These types of things send me into a tailspin into moodiness and panic. I real trigger for my depression. What can I do? Well, I suppose I can try to research my questions on my own and see if that makes me feel better. And I can have my husband help my daughter with her big school project because I can't help her AND do my research. Every day as a business owner and a parent means making choices between one thing or another and it never ends. Bottom line: I refuse to let my bookkeeping concerns keep me from creating my work and following my dreams. I'm going to break down that wall and get good at this stuff, darnit! Positive mindset, positive mindset, positive mindset.
The other day I bought some acrylic inks to experiment with and I'd say I'm in love with them. It's the joy, permanence and vibrancy of acrylic paint, but the flow of a watercolor. They take some getting used to so far, but I think they are satisfying my artist spirit perfectly. Monday (today) is the day I get a lot done since the kids are in school or with a babysitter until 3:00. So, I have a few hours where I can focus on creating and doing business stuff. I got to sit and paint...just BE so I could work out some ideas that have been collecting moss in my brain. This painting is one of those. I even found time to list several new pieces in the shop and boy, does it feel good to add fresh work! I feel like I can breathe again now that I've cleared out the cobwebs inside myself.
I heard a phrase today for the first time: "It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog." It's just so true isn't it? At least we like to hope so if we're the small but scrappy sort. Building a business as an artist requires fight. I lot of fight. You need to know who you are and what matters to you. You need to be unapologetic about what you bring forth into creation. And then you need to bravely put it all out there...share your vulnerabilities and let others in. And you do this over and over and over again all to hope that someone will "get" you. Then you know that you have a voice and maybe someone relates to that voice. We are all just reaching out to each other to prove we are here and that we matter.
Since I've decided to make work intuitively, I've found that color from my mood influences my work. Kind of like when we wake up feeling like crap and put on our easiest "go-to" outfit...comfy...tried-and-true. I have my "go-to" blues and greens which never fail to soothe me and put me in a sort of relaxed trance. Like being at the lake on a summer evening. On days when I'm buzzing with energy and high vibes I like to mix in some brighter hues like pinks or oranges or rusts. Today I made this piece (pictured) and found if I pulled the paint up a little it looked like trees on a hillside near a pond or coastline. It's so interesting that one little flick of paint can turn a blob of paint into representation of a memory. My first vacation with my now husband was to Bar Harbor, Maine where we enjoyed the fall foliage and went on hikes along the various trails. It was pure magic. Enough so that we ended up getting married there two years later. Maybe you have a memory of being amongst nature that was healing and special experience for you? I know that I need to incorporate more hikes into our lives...my kids need to be making these same fond memories out in the fresh clean air.
Lately I've been living in my head so much that I feel like I'm going to explode. So, I've decided to try and do a small daily journal to get out my thoughts and inspirations. Will it make me feel better? Who the hell knows? I'm just gonna do it!I've been struggling with my style and making art that makes me "blissful." Is that the goal of creating? Do I create so that I can be in a state of bliss? How selfish. But, it's also so necessary. I suffer from severe depression and making art is a wonderful meditative process that calms me and soothes me. I get so sick when I'm not creating. I started trying to sell my work a few years back and I've been bouncing around experimenting with different subject matter as I explore what makes me feel most whole and relaxed. You know what got in the way? Worrying about "what would sell." Always wondering what other people wanted to purchase and bring into their homes. It's a lot of pressure! I got away from the point...to create something that makes ME happy. To make something that comes from my SOUL. I've started painting whatever comes to me at the time...bright fusions of color and light. I'm not out to make anything representational...I'm simply playing with paint and color and composition to make something that is pleasing to look at. Sometimes I get insecure and think I have to prove myself by painting things that look realistic. But I've been there and done that. It leaves me feeling stressed out, tired, and empty. But painting abstracts in an intuitive way GIVES me energy. It fills me with joy and purpose. I can't explain why, but I'm just going with it.
This month I’m thinking a lot about how I was so scared for many years to create original art and try to sell it. “Nobody will buy it and then I’ll feel like a loser,” I would think to myself. “I’m not in galleries and nobody will think I’m any good,” was another prevalent thought. I was operating under the assumption that unless I was represented by a gallery, then my work held no value for anyone. It meant that my work wasn’t good enough and therefore it was a waste of time to try and be a “real artist.” This “permission-based” assumption is all too rampant in the art world…heck…the WHOLE world! We wait to be told we’re good at something before we believe we really are. I know that all of this was simply assumptions living in my own mind. Fear created these thoughts as seeds, planted them, and they took root. I allowed that! Who gets to decide when we can finally live our authentic vision? Who decides whether we are worthy of becoming what we most want? Does the opinion of ONE gallery director really decide if I’m a “real artist” for all eternity? I have learned the hard way that we cannot give away that kind of power. Our fears live inside our minds and our limits are placed upon us BY ourselves. I’ve learned that artists sell through many different avenues…many of which aren’t galleries. When we let one person or one small group of people decide our worth, we are giving away our power and our sense of faith. The truth is, EVERYONE has an opinion and they are ALL different! We can only truly please ourselves and trust that our tribe will resonate with what we are doing. Nothing is for everyone! When we make peace with this, Fear becomes less powerful and we can move forward in faith knowing we are fulfilling our own unique purpose. I stopped making decisions based on what I thought MIGHT happen and made decisions based on what I MOST WANTED to happen. I chose to have faith in my talent and my purpose and you know what? It’s working out just fine. Opportunities are flying toward me. My encouragement to you is to go after the thing you have been shying away from because of fear. The only opinion that matters is your own! The universe will guide you through the rest…and you can relax knowing that all is truly well.
I’ve never thought of myself as brave until recently when I decided to create abstract paintings that are made intuitively…raw paintings that are made with bright colors and shapes that call to me as I create them. Unplanned. Chaotic. I used to hide behind creating representational work that showed off my skills but didn’t show off my heart or soul. I say “hide behind” because it’s easy to do the things people expect you to, right? Doing work that may not be as popular/easy to understand with the majority of people; or maybe isn’t as “marketable” is risky. You set yourself up for criticism you might not have gotten from a well-executed painting of a more typical landscape.
It’s more painful when your personal work is criticized; but it’s SO much sweeter when it’s complimented! Deciding to make what you want to make is like stepping off a cliff without knowing what is below. Will people like it? Am I proud of it? Can I make more of it? Will it sell? Fear has always kept me from venturing into this unknown abyss…until I decided life is too short to play it safe all the time. We each have something unique and special to offer; it’s our duty to “put it out there” and share it with the world. If we censor who we are, we are doing a disservice to ourselves and to our greater purpose. I’m excited to be “putting myself out there” and that you are here to share the experience with me. Is there something you’ve been hiding behind? Is there something about yourself you’d like to share with the world but you have been holding back? Feel free to divulge your dreams and secret wishes in the comments below!
Yesterday, I was featured in an interview on one of my favorite blogs, The English Room. I'm so excited to have my work be recognized there. I hope you will check it out HERE. Have a great day!
The magazine "The Improper Bostonian" awarded me with the "Best of Boston, 2016" award for "Best Keepsake" in their "Weddings" category. You can see it here.
My custom wedding bouquet paintings have made a splash! We went to a fancy launch party and got to meet with other winners from different categories...it was a great time and a true honor. What a blessing to be recognized!
Hi friends! If you follow me on Instagram (@megan_carty_art) you will see I've been participating in the 100 Day Project where I post a small painting study every day for 100 days. I'm learning so much about my art and what I love to make...it's been so eye-opening and valuable! Here, you can take a tour of the sketchbook I filled up the other day. I've had to start another one! Enjoy taking a peek!
My floral bouquet paintings were featured recently on seasoned New York City event planner Roey Mizrahi's blog "Little Blue Book" ! You can view her post here. Thanks so much for including my work in your wedding keepsakes list Roey!!!
Getting back into the groove of painting regularly has been a true source of peace for me. It's funny how something that is called "work" is really so restorative. I'm working on this floral commission in my new studio space and I am just delighting in all the natural light! I loved my old space, but the lack of light was frustrating at best. Working on a painting for someone else can seem daunting, but I've found it can be an enjoyable process when I concentrate on the lifetime of visual joy I am serving to others. I feel like I'm using the gifts God has given me for a greater purpose and there is so much personal joy in that. How lucky am I??? When we frame our work around helping and serving others, we find the joy in the process. Cool, right? Today, there is no room to paint as I must serve my children and family....laundry, cleaning, bills, and errands await! Not so fun, but I can delight in serving others and find the joy. Again, I am so lucky!
Hey Guys! You HAVE to follow me on my Facebook Page! I'm going to start doing LIVE video broadcasts over there so you can see what I'm up to in real time! I'll be bringing you the "behind the scenes" look as I make my paintings, show you my space, give you tips and tricks about art, and Q/As. I hope you enjoy watching them and getting to know me! Join me over there and subscribe so you can be notified when I go LIVE!
My art studio space is almost done! We still need: The heater, the lights and outlets, and the granite detail by the window-seats. I can't wait to move in and create amazing new paintings! Here's a video of how it looks at this point. Enjoy!
This is my son, Noah. He's 4 years old and he's got the most sensitive soul. He feels so deeply and absorbs everything around him. He's also my little imp; he's incredibly stubborn and sneaky. He's just the best and I'm lucky to be his mom. He's always rooting for me saying "you're a great artist Mom! Let's sell some paintings today!"