Saturday, January 3, 2009

fresh starts and chasing dreams...

Easter Lilies
8"w x 7"h, coloured pencil on Stonehenge
copyright Teresa Mallen

For me Easter lilies are a sign of spring, new beginnings and a symbol of hope. I think we can all use a new beginning, a fresh start now and again. What better time than on the threshold of a brand new year?

I love new beginnings. In fact I look on the beginning of each month, the start of a new week or even the morning of a brand new day as an opportunity to have a fresh new chance at things.

So as we enter this new year let me ask you this: What do you want for your life? I'm not talking about winning the lottery but something deeper...are you happy with your life? If twelve months from now your life were to be exactly as it is now, would that be okay? Or do you long for more? Again, I ask, what do you want for your life? At first this may seem simple, but actually a lot of people don't know what they want. They go through life getting up everyday, going through the motions, dealing with all the stuff that comes up and then they go to bed to crash, so they can get up the next day and do it all over again. Survival. Yes, we have all been there, but life can be so much more! But first you have to determine what it is you want.

To define what it is you want, start by looking at what your dreams are, your daydreams, the if onlys. What are you passionate about?

As someone who is reading an art journal blog, I would guess that your dream might include being an artist or perhaps being a better artist. The great news is that you can! All you need some forward momentum...

Perhaps you don't believe me...well hopefully my own art journey will inspire you. I didn't do any art as a child. I didn't draw all my waking moments, in fact I didn't draw at all. I had no desire or ability. I coloured in colouring books and I painted some paint by number kits. That was it. By the time I was a young adult, I started going to art galleries, museums and shows. I became aware of a longing. An 'if only' I started to try. I quickly discovered that oil paints were difficult for someone who didn't have a clue what she was doing. I read books, I tried acrylics. I was frustrated so I eventually gave up. But the desire didn't go away. By now I realized I had no talent or natural ability but I gave myself permission to try drawing just for fun. One Christmas holiday I picked up a pencil and did a sketch on a piece of scrap paper of a candle centerpiece on my coffee table. I erased a lot but at the end of the evening it looked like a candle in a centerpiece and most importantly, I had enjoyed myself. The next morning I tackled drawing my coffee cup. Lots more erasing but in the end it looked somewhat like my mug. Then I drew another cup and then a rose that I went out and bought. Yikes, that one took a while. But I was captivated. I was enjoying this. I bought a sketchbook and I started filling it with one image after another. That is how I got here!

I never started following my passion in order to sell originals, or to develop and teach classes or to have a website and an art blog. I did it because it gave me pleasure.

Perhaps I am a good example of a late bloomer. I hope that my life's journey will inspire you to start chasing your dreams. I know you will be surprised where following your passion leads you.

Dare to dream a bigger dream.
Allow for incredible possibilites. Stop thinking about it, talking about it and just do it - whatever your 'it' is.

Will it all be smooth sailing? Probably not...I had to work quite a while to get my coloured pencil work to look decent. Be tenacious. Don't quit and give up.

So, do you know what you want? Why not make 2009 the year you start going for it? Set yourself a goal. For me, I grew tired of just filling a sketchbook. I decided that I would go for a really BIG dream - having something I thought was good enough to frame and hang on my wall. I looked at a calendar. My birthday was nine months away. It looked like a good deadline. I coloured and coloured. I studied books and I practiced and practiced. It was close but I made it. By my birthday, I had created a small coloured pencil picture that I was satisfied with. I stuck it in a store bought frame (I even painted the frame) and I put it on the wall in my dining room. Talk about gratifying. I was tickled...and now I was unstoppable. Less than two years later I was juried into my first big show. Don't be afraid to start small! Just start!

It is never too late to start living your dreams
...please feel free to write me and let me know what you have decided to chase. I will happily cheer you on.


Rose Welty said...

Such a good message Teresa! I can completely agree...I did draw as a child but decided to study something practical in college. Later, when I had 3 babies in diapers I decided I needed to give myself 15 minutes a day. I choose to sketch with that 15 life has changed and I like it alot more! Thanks for writing about yourself, it's fun to hear.

Teresa Mallen said...

Hi Rose, thanks! The way your art and life has changed over time is such a wonderful inspiration to the rest of us. You go girl!

Vic said...

Great post Teresa,one to make you sit back and think about where one is going.

Christine said...

Thanks for this great post! Just a few days ago I was pondering the same subject and thinking about a dream I had to give up on years ago, because of various reasons. I felt you were talking directly to me with this very timely post. I'll revert back to this message often to keep reminding myself that my dream can come true. Thanks again for the message!

Teresa Mallen said...

Hi Vic, thanks for you comment. And yes, stopping to think is all it takes to realize whether or not we are on track to our desired destination. The good news is that if the circumstances in our lives has shoved us off our track, it usually isn't too hard to start heading back in the right direction - we just need to realize we have come off the track in the first place! :-)

Hi Christine, I am delighted that you found this post helpful. It sounds like your dream is calling you. I think it is time you started chasing it! I know that dreams can come true because they have in my life. And honestly, if I can do it, believe me anyone can! Don't give up and don't be afraid of the effort that may be required. I have no doubt that you can do it. If it is a dream you can share, email me and keep me posted. I am so excited for you. I wish you all the best as you chase your dream!!!

Paula Pertile said...

What a good post Teresa, lots to have a think over. Its good to consciously stop and take stock now and then, instead of just rushing through, day after day.

I'm so glad you followed your art dream, because look where you are! Your work is beautiful.

Teresa Mallen said...

Well ah shucks and golly gee Paula...aren't you just the nicest? Thanks!

Jan said...

Great post, Teresa. I feel as if I've been in a rut but, as you said, I'm not sure of the direction I want to go.

You've given us a lot to think about - thanks!

Ana Tirolese said...

What a wonderful message, Teresa! Thank you.

This is going to be my year to start my art business in a serious way. I need to make a living, and I may as well make it doing something I love.

I like that you did art for the love of it first and foremost. That is how I feel too.

If I did not need to eat, have a roof over my head, and pay bills, I would not even think of doing art for money. However, we cannot live on my husband's income alone. So, this year, I am going to seriously start marketing myself and my work.

I have to sit down and do some goal planning and work on some objectives. Then, I will tackle it, one bite at a time.

You are an inspiration. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Teresa said...

Thank you for your honesty and encouragement! As someone who has little formal education in art (an art class or workshop here and there) it's encouraging for me to read of artists who are self-taught. You've reminded me that it's "doable". :-)

Teresa Mallen said...

Hi Jan, Thanks for stopping by. I think one way out of a rut is to do something fresh and new. In the process you will probably find ideas for your new direction popping up. Have fun discovering what you want!

Hi Ana, I wish you all the best with your art business! A lot of artists dislike the type of work involved in running a business but I hope you find it enjoyable. I see running a business as just another creative thing I do. For example marketing is a very creative thing to do, especially if you are the one designing your media cards, business cards, website etc. Sounds like you are keen to get going and I look forward to seeing what you get up to.

Teresa, I believe most things are doable - it just depends on how badly you want something. Becoming accomplished at anything, takes lots of time and effort and many folks give up. As for being self taught, there are lots of us out here so be encouraged!!