I got an email from Sadie Valeri, a great artist who I have had the pleasure to study with, about Inspiration. But it is about much more than that, as she was telling my story.  Now I understand myself better and know how to move forward.  This really impacted me, so I wanted to share. Check out her work at: www.sadevaleri.com
“If you are like me you have tried lots of ways for many years to get organized and disciplined to find time for more ART in your life…. and if you are like me, you have found that enormous pressure and attempts at “discipline” don’t work!

Especially for us artists, who have a strong tendency to be expert procrastinators 🙂

Many years ago, the life I live now: Directing a 3,500 square foot atelier teaching studio in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, showing my artwork in galleries and museums, being invited to judge national art contests, having a beautiful north light painting studio all my own… all seemed like impossible dreams, too scary to even try to plan or wish for.

I mostly just felt bad about not making art, and especially bad about possibly making bad art. I knew all I had to do was “get in the habit” and work hard every day… but I had no idea how to start! Because I’m really, really good at yelling at myself and pushing myself hard, but for a delicate things like art…. yelling and shoving don’t work so well.

And you know what also did not work? *Making New Years’ Resolutions did NOT get me to my dreams!*
Focusing on “discipline”, “motivation”, or “daily practicing” did not help.
Setting huge goals did not help.
Setting tiny goals, just “10 minutes a day”, did not help.
You know what worked?
Focusing on *INSPIRATION*. Focusing on what I love.

I focused on what I loved, without judgment. And I learned a lot about what does work to help me build my life around art. I noticed what I liked and allowed myself to look at it, collect it, and give myself time to enjoy it.

And when I was ready, I signed up for art classes. I had not taken art classes in many years. And even though I had an art degree, I was really scared! But after more than 2 years of doing tiny little art projects at home, like collages and little hand-stitched sewing projects and cultivating a goldfish pond, I decided to sign up for an art class… after 2 years of working up the nerve to do it!

I was lucky in that art education had changed a lot since I had last taken art classes. The Internet allowed me to look up living artists and find their classes, and there was a whole new world there waiting for me. I found incredible teachers who inspired me, who had things to teach me, actual practical steps for how to make a drawing or a painting…. and day by day, step by step…. my whole life changed.

I still struggle, all the time. Art making is not easy! But I know what works for me. And the only thing that works is being gentle with myself: Noticing what draws me in, what pulls me forward, and what feels fun and interesting.

In this week of contemplation and planning, of taking stock of past events and future dreams, I hope you too will enjoy looking at something you love, allowing it in, and just enjoying a moment or two of pure inspiration :)”

Happy New Life,