Category: Creative Living Podcast

Artists of Devotion: Creative Living with Jamie eps 289

Creative Living with Jamie Episode 289:
Artists of Devotion

What happens when you decide to embrace yourself as an artist? What is different when you make your creativity the centre of your life. These are just a few of the questions answered by an inspiring panel of creative artists, all of whom are graduates of my program, Devotion. We also talk about dispelling old beliefs, moving through the world as an artist, growing self-trust and self-confidence as an artist and the power and problem of creative dabbling.

Resources & Mentions

 

Making Art Friends: Creative Living with Jamie eps 288

Creative Living with Jamie Episode 288:
How to Make Art Friends

As adults, it can be challenging to make new friends but finding others who share your love of art is worth the effort.  Having art friends that not only ‘get it’ but who are are also ‘in it’ is incredibly important on the creative journey. The thing is, these art friends are not commonplace; they’re precious.  It can take a while to find them! That’s why today I’m sharing six strategies for cultivating friendships over the shared love of art-making.

Resources & Mentions

Transcript

Introduction

Welcome to Creative Living with Jamie. I’m your guide Jamie Ridler and on this podcast you and I are going to go on a great many adventures together. We’ll explore all aspects of what it means to live a creative life and we’ll embrace ourselves as artists. We’ll get curious, we’ll wonder and we’ll follow inspiration. We’ll wrestle with tough questions and we’ll brave challenges and sometimes will ask our friends for help. Along the way we will discover our courage, our confidence, ourselves and one another. We’ll come to know our artistic hearts and from there we will create. And that’s when the magic happens.

Episode 288: 6 Ways to Make Art Friends

Hey there,

You know, we all have little ‘tells’, little ways we know that there is something in a moment for us to pay attention to. For me, one of my primary tells is tears. So much so that the first show I ever directed the cast and crew called me the ‘crying director.’ I always knew that when tears welled up, we were on to something. That’s still one of my top signals that there is something here.

Years ago I stumbled across a music video that had me bursting into tears. The song was called Pandora’s Box and the artist David Francey. I’ll leave a link in the show notes but the truth is it wasn’t really the music that made me cry. It wasn’t the song. It was the scene. It was the scene of a bunch of artists playing music together around a kitchen table. Coffees picked up on the way. Dishes on the counter. A shared creative experience. It awakened such a longing in my heart, a longing for creative community.

In response I started hosting what I called Journal Jams at my place. I was honestly a little sensitive about the shabbiness of my space but I finally came to realize (it was a bit of work) I did come to realize that ultimately it wouldn’t matter. People wouldn’t remember my cat-clawed carpet as much as they would remember the camaraderie of creating together. So, I pulled some tables together and I tacked up some twinkie lights. I put out containers of crayons and markers and gel pens and scissors. I put on some chili and I invited over some friends, telling them to bring their journals. Sometimes there were three of us. Sometimes there were more.

We’d spend time doodling and we’d spend time cutting and gluing and chatting. We’d laugh and we’d wonder and we’d share. We’d talk about books and resources. We’d have a bite and a cup of tea or maybe a glass of wine. Sometimes we had some pretty spectacular desserts. The most important thing we made were the memories.

Now one of my greatest joys is how creative community shows up in my Devotion program and in the mentorship circle that follows. Together as artists we dance with creative questions, realizing we are not the only ones wondering, “How do I get past self-doubt?” or “How do I know when a piece is finished (or if I’m just afraid of wrecking it)?” We work side by side in co-working afternoons. I just love it! Creatives of different mediums starting by declaring how they’re going to spend the time and then diving into the work. We have viewing parties, followed by great conversations that expand our horizons and deepen our learning. The highs are celebrated, the lows are commiserated, and over and over each artist is reminded, “You are not alone.”

One of thing I’ve learned over many years – through theatre, through dance, through choir, through art days, through journal jams – is that friendships rooted in art are deeply nourishing. Having friends who not only ‘get it’ but who are in it too buoys the creative heart. So, how do we make art friends? I want to share a few tips with you today to make a good start. I originally shared this in the letter I send out from the Studio every Sunday. If you haven’t subscribed yet, come on over to openthedoor.ca and get on the list. You’ll be the first to know of any events or classes, and you’ll get a 10% discount on classes and also on the Studio Yearbook PDF. By the way, the fall yearbook will be coming out in just a couple of weeks. Right now you’ll receive a series of 5 Creative Practice lessons – such a good way to get your creative mojo going for this fall.

Okay, let’s talk about how to make art friends.

How To Make Art Friends

  1. Engage in Something Creative & Communal

Take a class. (Online classes absolutely count, as long as there’s an opportunity to connect with others.) Join a choir. Volunteer at a theatre. And when you do, remember the operative word here: engage. Don’t hang back or sit on the sidelines. You know what I’m talking about, right? Don’t sneak in quietly, do your thing and leave quickly. I have done that 5 million times and sometimes it is so necessary. If you are trying to do the thing and take care of your energy, it is 100% encouraged but if you are going because you want to make friends, let yourself be a little awkward. Yes, let it be uncomfortable. Trust that other people are also feeling awkward and uncomfortable. Take a deep breath. Meet someone’s eyes. Smile. Say hi.

2. Make No Assumptions.,

This is so important in so many ways. I hear people say it all the time, “There are no creative people around me”. That may be true but also nearby artists may simply be keeping their cards close to their chest just like you! This often happens because creative people don’t self-identify as artists, “Oh, sure, I only dabble in pottery… Oh, well, yes, I’ve been doing it since I was about 12.” “Oh, this? Yes, I made it myself. I’ve been designing my clothes for years. My kids’ clothes too. Oh, and all of the costumes for all the school plays for, like, ever.” “Well, I do love to write. I even have a blog but I don’t tell anyone about it. It’s just a little thing I do. It’s nothing really.” Do those voices sound familiar? So many of us think of our art in this way. You just might be surprised by how many hidden creatives there are in your sphere!

3. Be Yourself.

One of the reasons the artists of Devotion end up connecting so strongly is because in the circle, they risk being who they truly are. They express their feelings, their fears and their hopes. They share their stories and inevitably, no matter where they are in the world, no matter their age, their background, their medium, they start to see themselves in one another. Be brave enough to share who you really are and what you really love. It’s the surest way to connect with like-hearted souls.

4. Offer the Initiative

When you sense a spark with someone, maybe you’re curious about them or you like their energy or style, take a risk and reach out. Tell someone you appreciate their work. I’ve made so many friends that way. Share a resource the person might find helpful or interesting. If you find that turns into chatting easily and often, extend an invitation. Let’s have coffee or maybe a Zoom tea. Maybe we’ll walk together to the bus after class. Keep it light and stay unattached. Just keep creating opportunities for magic to happen.

5. Do Not Be in a Rush.

You may not make a connection right away. That’s okay. It doesn’t mean anything’s wrong. Art friends are not commonplace; they’re precious. It can take a while to find them. You may have tried a hundred things and then one day you’re in art class, you’re drawing leaves and mutter, “I am a leaf on the wind… watch how I soar” and the person next to you looks up and says, “Wait, what? You know Firefly?” and there you go. You’re off to the races.

6. Remember, Art Is Your Friend

No matter what happens, remember that art is always with you. Cultivate that relationship with love and care. You can always grab your camera, reach for your journal, sing to yourself and dance. When I used to go to choir, I mostly went by myself. The “regulars” knew each other well and it could be painful to be on the sidelines. But one thing I knew was that once we started singing, not a one of us was alone. Not one. The music and the shared experience brought us together just as it had those artists around the table in the music video that made me cry.

In the end, art brings us together.

I hope you find these tips really helpful. I hope you put them into practice and make lots of wonderful art friends.

Let me tell you about one way that art can do just that in my three-month creative immersion program Devotion. I’ll tell you all about it in Studio News.

Studio News

There is a magical creative world that exists between the poles of art as “hobby” and “play” and art as “paid” and “professional”. Do you know it?

It’s a place of deep passion for colour, design, dance, music, poetry, textiles, film, book-making, sculpture, illustration, any and all of the arts.

It’s a place of reverence for the entire creative landscape: the tools, supplies, skills, secrets, books, works and artists in the field.

It’s a place where time moves around you while your whole being focuses on making.

It’s a place your heart longs for whenever you are not there.

You probably know this place if you have been hurt or offended by someone saying, “Oh, it’s good to have a hobby.” You’ve probably been there if you’ve ever felt guilty for wanting to spend so much time creating. You’ve been there for sure if you’ve lost a beloved art because it wasn’t going to make you a living. You’ve definitely been there if, despite limited time and energy, you have hauled yourself to rehearsals, stayed up late painting, woken up early to write or some version of the same.

This is the path of artistic devotion and it is valid, significant, meaningful and real.

In devotion, you embrace yourself as an artist and deeply commit to your art because you love it, because it is the way you understand yourself and the world. You commit to it because it calls to you and won’t let you go, because it is quite simply who you are.

It doesn’t mean you don’t sometimes muck about and play.

It doesn’t mean you will never be a pro.

It simply means that making art is essential to the well-being of your creative soul. For that reason, and that reason alone, it matters. It matters.

If this has resonance, if you recognized this place of devotion, if you feel called to that passion, that reference. I hope you’ll consider joining me for Devotion this fall. You will spend three months living, breathing and moving in the world as an artist immersed in your creative work. You’ll learn 12 principles of Devotion that will support you during this season and for many seasons to come. You will create art that is uniquely your own based on your own vision, not the fulfillment of a teacher’s – your own. And as you deepen your creative roots and spread your artistic wings, you will be transformed.

Here’s how artist Anne Hallcom describes it…

Hi, my name is Anne Hallcom. I’m a visual artist. I work in watercolour, pastel and oil. Boy, when I signed up for Devotion last year, as Jamie knows, I just felt stuck in my art. I just felt sort of ambivalent and stuck in my art.  I think part of it is because I had all these misconceptions about what makes an artist. I thought, it has to be technique. I have to learn to do more of this and that. What I really learned in Devotion is sure, I can always improve ( I mean, there’s so many things technique wise that I still want to work on) but what I really learned in Devotion is that being an artist is up here and in your heart.  It’s not just the work you do. It’s your way of being. It’s who you are. And when you honour that about yourself and see that, you’ve always been an artist. It’s not how someone else defines being an artist. A lot of my crazy ideas were really crazy about what I should be doing so.

In Devotion, with Jamie’s help, with the coaching and the prompts, and the discussion of this wonderful community, I really discovered and validated for myself why I’m already an artist. I gave myself permission to live in that space, and I do live in that space. It’s just how we’re wired. It’s what we love and what we love to do. This group has just been amazing. It’s a very supportive art community, non-competitive. It’s all about each individual transforming themselves with the help of the group.

Thanks so much, Anne!

When you join Devotion, you really do become a part of a community. Many of the artists who go through the program stay in touch with one another. Last season one of the members organized an amazing Mail Art exchange  – thank you, Gouri! You also have the opportunity to join an ongoing mentorship circle and I host events a few times a year for alumnae to keep us connected and inspired.  Come on over to openthedoor.ca and click on ‘offerings’ to find out about this intimate and immersive creative program.  I can tell you without doubt, when you spend three months devoted to your creative work, you cannot help but be transformed.

I hope I have planted some seeds of inspiration with you today. I want you to know that I am thinking about you all the time, imagining all the ways the work of the studio can support your creative life. There are so many good things to come. Here’s to your creative  unfurling.

The Path of Artistic Devotion: Creative Living with Jamie eps 287

Creative Living with Jamie Episode 287:
The Path of Artistic Deotion

There is an undiscovered country that exists in the arts, a world between play and professional – and there is magic there. If it speaks to your heart, you just might be called to the path of artistic devotion.

Resources & Mentions

Transcript

Introduction

Welcome to Creative Living with Jamie. I’m your guide Jamie Ridler and on this podcast you and I are going to go on a great many adventures together. We’ll explore all aspects of what it means to live a creative life and we’ll embrace ourselves as artists. We’ll get curious, we’ll wonder and we’ll follow inspiration. We’ll wrestle with tough questions and we’ll brave challenges and sometimes will ask our friends for help. Along the way we will discover our courage, our confidence, ourselves and one another. We’ll come to know our artistic hearts and from there we will create. And that’s when the magic happens.

Episode 287: The Path of Artistic Devotion

Hey, everybody, 

I hope that your summer is unfurling beautifully, that the plans you made when we journaled together for the Summer Solstice are starting to come to fruition. Maybe listening today is a good little nudge to check in on those plans and see if it’s time for some course correction or adjustments based on, well, you know, life and the new things you are discovering each day. I really believe in the magic of setting our direction and making plans and I believe that ultimately, they are meant to be nourishing supports that shift and grow as we do and as life progresses. So when you refer to your plans, let them be a reminder of what matters to you not a tool for pushing or beating yourself up.  

The point isn’t to follow the plan.  

The point is to live a life you want to be living. 

Speaking of which, if you are here, I know that one of the things that matters deeply to you, one of the things that is a central part to the life you want to be living is your creativity. You are an artist at heart and that may show up in a million different ways from writing songs to planting seeds, to teaching workshops to designing your home, to doing improv to documenting life.  

Because I know this about you, I want to share with you one of the most meaningful concepts I’ve ever shared, one I’ve been working with intimately for the past two years – the concept of a middle path in the arts, a path between play and profession, a deep and meaningful third way that I call the Path of Artistic Devotion. I’ve actually created an amazing immersive artist-in-residence program based on this idea and I’ll be offering it again this fall. I will tell you more about that in Studio News but first I want to share with you one of the first times I shared this concept. It was in a Behind the Scenes episode over on YouTube. I’ll link to it in the show notes too but I’ve lifted the audio for you here today. I hope this introduction to the concept of Devotion speaks to your creative heart. Here we go. 

The Creative Magic of the In Between  (Behind the Scenes) 

Hey, everybody. Welcome behind the scenes here at Jamie Ridler Studios. I am Jamie and I’ve got two of the studio kittens with me here today. So, we have Escher at the window there, intently looking at something and Shibumi. Hello, Shibumi. She doesn’t like noise, so she’ll probably be out of here soon. 

I have been thinking about something, something that has been so present in my work as a creative coach, something that has been so present in my life as a creative being and something that goes so unnamed in the world and I hope I can name it today.  

I’ll be very curious to hear your response to this, to hear your experience with this. It seems to me that most often the arts and creativity are kind of pushed into two ends of a very opposite spectrum. On the one hand we have the arts over here, where they are playful and fun, where getting to do some creative stuff feels like recess. It feels like being a kid again, feels like play and it’s a hobby. It’s for fun. It’s an extra. It is a light and lovely part of your life. Maybe you recognize that as a way that you relate to the arts and creativity. 

On the other end of the spectrum is the professional world, the world of excellence, the world of achievement, the world of fame maybe or at least acknowledgement within a certain community. We have the professional ballet dancers. We have artists who show their work in galleries. We have writers who are published.  

Those are the two ways that we relate to the arts. 

One of the things I want you to know. Is there is this whole secret world in between.  

I noticed that with my clients, with people who have a creative spirit, who are called to a creative life who want to devote and dedicate their time, their energy, their resources to bringing art to life, any kind of art, they want to, with great passion, develop a skill of painting, of playing the piano, of singing, of writing poetry, of writing memoir, of watercolor, of oil painting, whatever it is. 

You can see how this doesn’t fit necessarily easily in either category. 

It is different than play because there’s this passionate intensity and a desire to improve, a desire to create (not just practice) and desire to move into projects, maybe even to share it with the world.  

And there’s a way that the concept of professionalism is a barrier (we talked about this a bit last week) where somebody else has to let you in let you into the school, let you into the facility, lets you into the program, lets you into the publishing world, the performing world. That is open to such a small percentage of the creative population, even the people who have dedicated themselves to that pursuit. 

And then again, there is this magical world in between. 

What I’ve seen in my clients as I have done creative coaching for many years now. I see in my clients  this frustration that their passion, their devotion, doesn’t have a road because it’s not play and maybe it has been for years and their family understands that it’s, you know, it’s cool that once a month you get together with your girlfriends and you do art journaling or it’s cool that once a week you focus on your knitting circle or whatever it is, but you know this is a hobby. It’s something that it shouldn’t take up too much of your life or your days. It shouldn’t be so present or take away from the rest of life. It certainly shouldn’t take you away from your family or your work or your responsibilities because it’s just for fun, right? 

So there’s that. 

And then there’s people who come there like, I really love doing this thing, and I want to do this thing all the time so I need to make money off of it. I need to step into that professional realm because when I make money at it, then I’m allowed to spend time on it. Then I’m allowed to spend resources on it. Then it makes sense that it can take up so many hours of my week because I’m making money. I’m a professional. This is what I have to do.  

So, Limited scope, play, only limited time or resources. 

Paid professional, all your time and resources, open to very few. 

What about all this in between? 

What about the people who wake up every morning to work on their memoirs for 30 years? 

What about the people who are quilting, that learned it from master quilters, who learned it from master quilters and who will pass on their skills to people who will become master quilters? 

What about artists who dedicate themselves to learning the medium of watercolor, who have stacks and stacks and stacks of work, who feel most alive when they are sitting down to paint? 

This is a valid road.  

This is a road that is unrecognized, a land that is not acknowledged in the world of the arts, the land of the passionate devotee, the person who is an acolyte of art. A person who. Is committed to art or many arts. It’s about themselves in a very personal, in a very sacred way, but also about the art in a way that is about honoring it, about mastery, about engaging, about understanding ourselves in the world better through the arts.  This is a valid real pursuit, worthy of respect, honour, time. It is your soul. It is your spirit. 

It may encompass the other ends of this spectrum. You may have days where you play and delight and laugh and mess around on the page with no intention other than to have fun. And you may, out of all the work you do in a lifetime, you may perform. You may publish. You may show your work. There may be that piece too. You may get paid for what you’ve created.  

All of these things can be encompassed and rarely get left out, but this piece in the middle, this piece about pursuing your art out of the passion and truth of your heart, out of honouring the work and honouring your soul, I’m here to tell you today it is a valid, noble and worthwhile path. 

And if you are on it, I support you. I cheer you on. I recognize and share with you that this is a place that so many people who have come to me live.  

You are not alone. Your arts belong to you. 

Please tell me if you relate to this, if you recognize that distinction between “we’re allowed to have art as play,” and “we’re allowed to have art as profession.” But this Gray area in between, we don’t even know how to name it. And yet, it’s truthfully where our artistic heart thrives and creates. 

*** 

So, do you recognize this third way? Does it call to your artistic heart? I hope that listening today has opened up some possibilities for your creative path. One of those possibilities might be joining me for Devotion this fall. Let me tell you a bit about it in, Studio News! 

Studio News

Imagine three months immersed n your creative work, fully embracing yourself as an artist. Imagine being a part of a supportive artistic community and having me as your creative coach. Imagining creating a body of work and making tangible progress on your artistic path. Imagine deepening your creative roots and unfurling your artistic wings.  

That is what you will do in a season of Devotion.  

I designed this program to help you forge an unshakeable relationship with your art, whatever your medium. When you step into Devotion, it is your time to stop struggling to believe in yourself as an artist, to stop pushing and proving and striving. In Devotion, you learn to trust yourself, to show up for the work and to create what only you can create in this world. 

I created Devotion because I want you to know what it means to simply be the artist you were always meant to be. 

Here’s something Sam Tucker had to say after a season of Devotion… 

I couldn’t even envision the specifics of how this book would unfold. I had been writing it, putting it down, knowing that my story was still being lived, right? Within one week of Devotion, I had a full table of contents. I had everything listed out. A few of the stories are still unnamed but I had a structure that works. I had clarity immediately. So I’d say the very first thing, because it was foundational and to where I got to and where I am now is about 60% done with the book. That was in 3 months! 

Without Devotion, there’s no way I would be where I am today. Absolutely. Yes, I did the work, but it extracted it out of me. It magnetized myself to my work and that magnetized me to living more fully, more authentically, looking at the places where I had been trying to please other people and not myself. It was 100% on “this is my dream” and no one questioned that. 

Artists have done amazing things in their season of Devotion. They have worked on memoirs, novels and music. They have created sculptures, illustrations, sketchbooks and surface pattern designs. They have worked in oil, watercolour, pastel, paper-cutting, collage, textiles and much more. They’ve also broken free of perfectionism, ruts and creative blocks. They have learned to say yes to themselves and their art (even when it meant saying no to others). They have exponentially grown their creative confidence and they have come home to who they are – an artist through and through. 

Early bird registration for the fall season is currently open for the wait list and open registration opens August 7th. This is an intimate program. I want to be sure that every artist is seen and heard. And yes, that means this isn’t a place you can come and hide. It’s a place to be seen and recognized, finally, as the artist you were always meant to be. If that calls to you, come on by openthedoor.ca and check out Devotion. I’ll have a direct link in the show notes. 

Maybe you and I will be spending a season creating together. I can hardly wait. 

Journaling for the Summer Solstice: Creative Living with Jamie eps 286

Creative Living with Jamie Episode 286:
Journaling for the Summer Solstice

As we celebrate the arrival of summer, let’s journal together to find the joys of the season and explore the magic of fire!

Resources & Mentions

Transcript

Introduction

Welcome to Creative Living with Jamie. I’m your guide Jamie Ridler and on this podcast you and I are going to go on a great many adventures together. We’ll explore all aspects of what it means to live a creative life and we’ll embrace ourselves as artists. We’ll get curious, we’ll wonder and we’ll follow inspiration. We’ll wrestle with tough questions and we’ll brave challenges and sometimes will ask our friends for help. Along the way we will discover our courage, our confidence, ourselves and one another. We’ll come to know our artistic hearts and from there we will create. And that’s when the magic happens.

Episode

Hey, everybody,

Happy summer solstice. I am sending you such bright and warm blessings on this, the longest day of the year. May the sun shine upon you and all your hopes and dreams. 

I wanted to do something a little special for the occasion so I created a little journaling workshop for you, one that will help you connect to the kind of summer that you want to create and also tune you in to the powerful energy of fire. 

This is another crossover episode with Creative Living TV so you can either participate with this podcast, as you are, or you can head on over to YouTube and participate with the video. Whichever you decide is absolutely perfect. I’ll leave a link to the YouTube channel in the show notes. 

Now, grab your journal, a pen and 20 minutes and dive into this creative time of intuitive self-discovery. Let us journal our way into summer.

Summer Solstice Journaling Workshop

Hey there, it’s Jamie Ridler from Jamie Ridler Studios and I wanted to come by today and do some solstice celebrating with you. The summer solstice is right around the corner, and whether you decide to save this to do on the day or whether you join me in this moment when you have discovered this video or sometime thereafter, trust that this is on your path for a reason, that there is some magic to be uncovered in this journal practice we’re going to do today.

Now, celebrations for summer feel to me like we’re doing something rather introspective in being in our journals, but I really encourage you to celebrate by some lively creative expression. I encourage you to sing for the Solstice. I encourage you to dance on the Solstice (maybe I’ll even leave a link today). One of the things I truly love is to first spend time in my journal doing some creative practice, some introspection, getting in touch with my soul in this moment and the spirit of this season, and then once I have discovered that wisdom, once I’ve unearthed what wants to be revealed, then I want to dance it into my body, into my cells. I want to dance and release out anything that needs to go. I want to sweat out that feeling of release, acceptance, joy, whatever it is that has come up for you.

So I encourage you to spend this time with me, to get in touch with yourself and then, boom, to step into the summer fire and let yourself move or sing or shout or run or just use your body in some way.

Summer is the season of fire, so that includes waking up your inner heat, embracing it. I know, I know, I know. Not all of us are fond of summer heat, myself included. My mom used to say that she melted in the summer and I feel the same way, but one of the things that I always want us to do is to find what is special about this time of year. What is unique to this time of year? How can we embrace it? 

If that means sweat and slowing down, then maybe we find a way to not try to push through that and treat it like every other day, but to say, “Hey what would it mean if in the summer I slowed down? What if that were possible? What if it were possible for one day out of the week? What if it were possible for one hour out of the day?”

Okay, so first grab your journal. You just need something to write with and something to write on. It could be a journal and a pen. It could be some loose paper and a pencil. It could be a gel pen in a beautiful color. It doesn’t matter. All you need is something to write with and something to write on, and we’re going to journal together. If you need to put me on pause to go grab that, please do and then come on back and we’ll get started.

Okay.

One of the things I do in all my classes is I always start with lighting a candle. It’s a way for us to bring all our energy home. It’s a way for us to create a sense of focus and intention. I love it, in particular, for right now, for the summer solstice, because this is the season of fire. Let’s really know that as we light our candles (maybe you have one too) that we are honouring the fire of summer. As we honour that fire of summer, the fire that is the sun, the heat that is showing up, let us also honour the fire that is within ourselves. I’ve got my summer solstice candle for today. I’ll put it here so we can all see it.

Let’s grab our journals.

We’re going to explore two different themes in our journals today. One is more about summer and how you might enjoy it, how you might open up to the pleasures of summer, and one is more about fire and energy. So let’s start with summer.

Our first question is what is there to love about summer?

What is there to love about summer? I’ll be doing this with you.

You can write in sentences or you can write in point form. 

If your first answer is “Nothing!” write that and then keep looking. What is there to love about summer?

And if you get stuck, think back over past summers of your life. Think about when you were seven, when you were 17, and when you were 70, if that has been a part of your experience, and think about what are the things you have enjoyed about summer?

On that note, I want you to cast back over your life and think about one favourite summer memory.

A Favorite summer memory. It doesn’t have to be a big deal, just something that you think back and go, “Oh, that was wonderful. I loved it”

It is so windy here today. I don’t know if you can hear it, but wow.

Okay, let’s look over what we’ve done so far. If you need to put me on pause, if you need more time, go for it. 

If you look back over the things that you know are lovable about summer and your memory of summer that was so treasured, how can you create some of that feeling for yourself this summer? 

That can include indulging in some of those specifics. So, for me, for example, one of my favorite memories about summer is spending lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of hours reading, and so I’m going to try to work that into my summer. Also, I’m going to make sure I have some fudgsicles!

Give yourself some time to figure out, like “I want to make sure that this summer I…” If new things come to you that you haven’t written down yet, of course you can include them. Let’s make a summer promise to ourselves.

Okay, let’s switch over to a bit of an exploration of fire. That’s the element of summer. It is a time to think about fire. We already have fire going here. The sun is shining. So, what I want you to consider is…

What lights your inner fire?

What lights that fire that the sun is calling this summer, what lights that up? What lights you up? What lights your inner fire?

What are you feeling proud of right now?

I’m just thinking about the sun that way too, the way the sun shines with great vigour and a sense of self. What are you feeling great about right now, proud of right now? What would you give yourself a pat on the back for right now?

Now, one thing we don’t tend to think about too much when we hit summer is that as soon as we hit that solstice, which is the longest day of the year, then we start to have shorter days. Ever so slightly over a long period of time, days get a little shorter. 

Let’s think about what we want to release, what we want to let go. What is it time to burn in the fires and say bye-bye? What is it time to release?

One of the things you could think about here is you could write out these things you want to release and literally release them in a fire. Safely, of course. Outside and in a good container. Use fire to help you let go of, release, burn away whatever is no longer serving you. This is its season, so lean in.

Another thing I want you to really think about is leaning into your passions. 

What passions do you want to pour yourself into? Where do you want to be all in?

OK, drawing that to a close and coming back together.

I hope this has awakened some energy and some inspiration for the summer ahead and given you some ideas how to make the most of it, how to embrace it, how to let summer be the best time ever, and also how to connect to that energy of fire and how it can be a powerful part of our path.

Some of these questions were a part of the Studio Yearbook, which is my fill-in-the-blank seasonal guided journal. This summer we are doing our last official season and I invite you to join us. It’s not too late to come get your PDF, get it printed and start this creative journey. It is rich with creative practices and it is designed to help you connect to your life, your creativity and this beautiful energy of the year as it passes and moves.

I’m so glad to spend this time together with you. I also encourage you to take a look at a video I have about planning your creative season. You can use that four times a year as you come to the season to really make a plan for how you can make the most of the season in your creative life.

Thanks so much for spending this solstice time with me. I hope you have a magical summer come on by openthedoor.ca and join the studio. I’d love to have you as a part of the community. 

OK, let’s close our time together officially.

Oh, before we do, I just want to say thank you to my sister Suzie for this memento of summer. This is a rock that came from a beach close to a beach we used to go to together when we grew up. So this is one of my summer memories encapsulated in a piece of magical jewelry. Suzie, thank you for that. You can check out Suzie’s jewellery at Wear Your Altar. I’ll leave a link of course.

Thank you so much for this time together. I am sending great blessings to you this summer.

Bye everybody.

Conquering Your Fear of Facebook Demons: Creative Living with Jamie eps 285

Creative Living with Jamie Episode 285:
Conquering Your Fear of the Facebook Demons

Sharing our creative work on Facebook and other social media platforms brings up all kinds of resistance and fears. In this episode of Creative Living with Jamie,  Jamie addresses a listener question, “How do you face the Facebook demons?”

Take It to Your Journal

  • When did you learn to hide?
  • How does hiding support you as an artist?
  • How does it get in the way?
  • What would support you in coming out of hiding?
  • How can you build creative safety on your own terms?

Resources & Mentions

  • Our Ask Jamie question this week comes from mixed media artist Allyson Gunnel. You can find her on Instagram and at her website, The Magenta Door.
  • Allyson was one of the first graduates of Devotion.
  • Do you have a question you’d like to ask a creative mentor? Send it to askjamie@openthedoor.ca.
  • Join the Studio and get access to 5 free Creative Practice Workshops

Transcript

Introduction

Welcome to Creative Living with Jamie. I’m your guide Jamie Ridler and on this podcast you and I are going to go on a great many adventures together. We’ll explore all aspects of what it means to live a creative life and we’ll embrace ourselves as artists. We’ll get curious, we’ll wonder and we’ll follow inspiration. We’ll wrestle with tough questions and we’ll brave challenges and sometimes will ask our friends for help. Along the way we will discover our courage, our confidence, ourselves and one another. We’ll come to know our artistic hearts and from there we will create. And that’s when the magic happens.

Episode

Hey there, everybody,

I hope you’re having a great time and feeling inspired in your studio (and remember, your life is your studio). This is the time of year when my studio starts to extend out into the garden. To be honest, for the past several years we’ve kind of ignored it. During the reno, it really got smished and afterwards we were so focused on getting our house in order that we didn’t quite make it to the outside. We had imagined we’d do a bit of a reno back there too – new fence, stone instead of grass, maybe a new deck – and what’s funny is that thought of what we might do ended up making it so we didn’t do anything at all. Have you ever had that happen?

This year Justin and I made a different decision, that we weren’t going to just leave the garden on pause and oh my goodness, it felt so good! So good to clear away all that was dead or dying, to uproot all that was unwanted or out of place, to make room for what would be beautiful. It felt respectful. It felt like honouring this the little patch of land that is ours. It felt like hope.

And so now the peonies are blooming and the twinkie lights are shining. The birds and squirrels are visiting and the latter not so welcome when they’re stealing my bulbs but still, but still, but still, I’m glad they’re there. I’ve planted a new clematis and it’s so wee. The first night after we put it in I was thinking about what it’s like when you go to bed for the first time in a new place and I hoped this little life would feel right at home. And today it is pouring and I don’t mind a bit because I know that rain will nourish it all.

What would nourish you this week, dear listener? What would make you feel at ease?

I know something that definitely doesn’t create that feeling and that is Facebook Demons, which is what I’m going to talk to you about today. I received a great question from artist Allyson Gunnell about how to not let these baddies get in the way of participating. That’s what I’ll be answering in this Ask Jamie episode but first, I want to share a little bit of Studio News.

Studio News

Though we are still immersed in the joys of spring, summer really is just around the corner and that means it’s time for the summer Studio Yearbook! This fill-in-the-blank guided journal was designed to take you through an entire season of creative practice. You’ll learn to look for inspiration in every day. You’ll gather words and images that touch your creative heart. You’ll have a place for your gratitude practice and also learn to celebrate and appreciate every day. You’ll set intentions under the new moon and dream under the full moon. You’ll learn to focus on what truly matters to you.

Now, before this summer edition came out, I announced that this would be the last Studio Yearbook. Since then, I’ve been inundated with stories about what this journal has meant in the creative lives of so many yearbookers. For many, it has been a road back to themselves, a bridge to a creative life that they have only dreamed of. I must admit that hearing these stories gives me the wobbles about drawing the yearbook to a close. Even the people who have written about how they’ve been starting to move away from the yearbook, moving into new-found ways of journaling, even they make it clear how essential their time with the yearbook has been, how it has given them a safe and encouraging place to build their creative confidence, to get to know their artistic self and giving them the power and motivation to try, say, art journaling for the first time. Even for myself, I was working in the yearbook this week, catching up on some pages that I had missed and I thought, “Oh, this feels like home.”

It is amazing what can happen on the pages of a journal. It’s amazing the magic that can be awakened page by page, day by day, as you develop a creative practice. I hope you’ll join me for the adventure this summer. I’ll have a link to the Studio Yearbook in the show notes.

Okay. Now it’s time for Ask Jamie.

Ask Jamie

Today I have a question that came in from mixed media artist Allyson Gunnell. Allyson was one of the very first graduates of the Devotion program here in the studio. It has been an absolute joy to witness her deep commitment to her creative work and the way she and her work simply shine. I’ll leave a link to her website in the show notes. Be sure to check her out. I am delighted to be able to address her question today. I know it’s one that many of you can relate to!

Allyson asks…

I have a question for you as mentioned in the newsletter. (Oh, by the way, this is Jamie, not Allyson’s question, if you’re not getting my letters from the Studio, come on over to openthedoor.ca and sign up. You’ll also get a free mini series of creative practice workshops! Okay, back to Allyson’s question)

How do I face the Facebook demons? I’m part of a 10-week course where the instructor suggested not hiding (something I do quite well) and joining, posting, and commenting in the Facebook group. In the past, posting my artwork in Facebook leads me to check and recheck for likes, being disappointed when they are few and getting caught up in other posts with some negative energy (which is why I stay away from social media in general.) 

I would like to participate in this class’ Facebook group and would appreciate some ideas on how to contain/work with/ remove myself from the Facebook demons.

Allyson, thank you so much for sending in this question. I know it is something that so many people can relate to, whether it’s sharing on Facebook specifically, on any other platform or, honestly, sharing in any other way. Sharing our creative work brings up all sorts of stuff, often triggering our hurts, memories, needs and desires. So first I really want you to know you’re not alone. I am guessing that if I asked everyone listening to this podcast to raise their hand if they relate, just about everyone’s hands would be up. In fact, I’m just imagining everyone doing that exactly where they are, raising your hand if you relate. I’m looking around the grocery store or the laundry or your neighbourhood while you’re walking your dog. If someone else raises their hand too, you know they’re listening to the same podcast!

Let’s talk about hiding and then we’ll come around to how to face those Facebook demons so you can share. By the way, I’ll also post some Take It to Your Journal questions on the topic of hiding. There will be a link to that in the show notes.

Hiding is such a powerful and familiar strategy for highly sensitive creative people. We use it for a reason. If I was to ask you about your personal art history, it probably wouldn’t be too hard for you to tell me why you learned to hide. We’ll all have different stories but our desire to hide ultimately comes from a deeply human drive – the drive to be and to feel safe. This is absolutely reasonable so I don’t want you to give yourself a hard time about hiding. You’re not only allowed to but encouraged to create safety for yourself and hiding is one way to do it. Now what we want to do is just expand the range of tools that are available.

Let me say too that hiding can be a powerful gift that we give ourselves and our work. Perhaps we can reimagine it as sheltering. When we shelter our art from forces that might (even unwittingly) do it damage, we are being a good steward to our work. There are times in our creative process when it is so important that we nourish our work and our relationship to it without the winds of outside opinion, which brings us back to sharing.

The first question I have in return for you, Allyson, and I want you and everyone listening to put the show on pause and either take this question to your journal or really think it out before you go on – why are you sharing? When you put your work into a Facebook group, what is your motivation? Knowing the answer to this question will help surface the best approach for facing those demons. So, put me on pause and with list out all the honest and true reasons why you are sharing. Then come back.

Okay, I’m going to address a few common reasons why we share our work, including one that’s right there in your question. I hope it will address some of your reasons and give you some great strategies.

The one reason you’ve made explicit in your question is simple and clear: you’d like to participate. This is a warm and wonderful motivation. Our desire to be a part of something, to have a shared experience, brings human beings together and that is a beautiful thing. The wonderful thing is that participating is something you have 100% control over. It’s entirely up to you. If this is one of your goals, you can put something in the Facebook group and give yourself a big gold star of success. You did it! You may also find other ways of participating like supporting other artists, asking questions and sharing resources.

Another reason we might share in a classroom group is that we want feedback. Now, here we need to make a distinction between feedback and validation, which I’ll talk about in a minute. At the very core of taking classes is our desire to learn. When we’re developing new skills and learning new methods, it can be helpful to have the instructor or other students provide feedback. This can help us identify where we’re on the right track and where we could use some further growth.

If you’re posting because you’d like feedback, make that clear as a part of your post. Tag the instructor, ask specific questions, create clarity about the kind of responses you are looking for. This might look like, “In this piece I tried the blending technique from lesson 3. I feel like I was able to achieve a good blend with the pastels but then I noticed it was less effective when I was working with the blue and red in the bottom corner. Any advice on getting a more consistent blend? Does the colour choice make a difference?” That’s a request for feedback, the kind of feedback you’re looking for and that will help you further your learning and grow as an artist.

Now, let’s talk about validation, which is where posting often gets sticky The truth is that every person who shares their work in a group wants to get those likes. We want to be seen and appreciated. We want other people to like our work – of course we do! It’s exciting and encouraging when we post something and we see that other people respond, preferably lots of other people and preferably with lots of love for our work. When we receive that, we bask in that joy. We made something and it struck a chord. That is a truly beautiful thing.

The problem is our believe that if it doesn’t strike a chord – right here, right now, in this environment, in this form – then there’s a problem, that that somehow signals that there is something lacking or even wrong with us as artists or with our work. This can be devastating and it can also be a total disconnect from reality. Not getting likes can be the result of something as random as posting at a time when something major happens in the news or on a day when the weather is spectacularly nice so people are outside. It’s just not an adequate measure of the power, beauty and value of your work.

But the deeply insidious part of that response is that it seeps into the cracks. It seeps into the cracks of our creative confidence, all of the hurt places where we are looking for validation. We are vulnerable to this when we’re looking for a sign that our art is worthwhile and when we’ve internalized the idea that what makes it worthwhile is someone else’s response to it. This can be hard to see because it’s such a fine distinction between the sincere desire to be seen and to have our artwork appreciated and the exhausting diminishment that comes from the ongoing need for external validation.

So, how do we tell them apart? Well, one fills us up and the other gives us a temporary high that keeps us craving more and more and more. One like is never enough. Our need for likes is bottomless. It’s more akin to an addiction than a connection.

So, if you find yourself going back again and again and again to see if you have more likes, stop for a minute and give yourself the validation that your creative spirit is seeking. Remind yourself of all the reasons that you are creating. Celebrate your artistic heart, the way it shows up to make something in this world. Recognize the creative you have always been and always will be. It is your nature. It is who you are. And one like or one million likes is not going to change that.

Step into that Facebook group knowing who you are, an artist with an unshakeable relationship to her art. Be aware of why you are sharing and then share with an approach that honours that. And if those demons give you the wobbles, step away from the container and have your feelings. Soothe your jangling nerves. Let the storm pass. What you’ll start to see is that the storm aren’t going to stop you. Though you may like the likes, you don’t need them to show you up as you are. More and more you’ll see that useful feedback gets you excited about growing as an artist, true resonance with the work gives you courage and the things that used to trigger that need for validation impact you less and less.

Keep creating. Keep believing in yourself and your work. Nothing’s going to stop you now.

And that goes for each and every one of you listening. You are here because your creativity is calling. Show up for your work. It will be the adventure of a lifetime.

I’ll see you soon.

How Do You Find Creative Joy: Creative Living with Jamie eps 284

Creative Living with Jamie Episode 284:
How Do You Find Creative Joy?

Where did you lose your creative joy? For many hidden artists it was when assessment came into play.  Someone’s criticism shut us down and made us believe that the arts were outside our reach. This is never true. Let’s look at the ways we can bring back that joy – along with another secret ingredient you might not expect!

Take It to Your Journal

  • What were you doing the last time you felt creative joy?
  • What steals your creative joy?
  • What gives it back?
  • What were you like as a creative kid?
  • What would that creative kid say to you right now?

Resources & Mentions

Transcript

Introduction

Welcome to Creative Living with Jamie. I’m your guide Jamie Ridler and on this podcast you and I are going to go on a great many adventures together. We’ll explore all aspects of what it means to live a creative life and we’ll embrace ourselves as artists. We’ll get curious, we’ll wonder and we’ll follow inspiration. We’ll wrestle with tough questions and we’ll brave challenges and sometimes will ask our friends for help. Along the way we will discover our courage, our confidence, ourselves and one another. We’ll come to know our artistic hearts and from there we will create. And that’s when the magic happens.

Episode

Hey there, everybody. Well, it looks like I am slipping into a bit of a biweekly rhythm with the podcast. Honestly, I’m kind of breaking all the rules here and settling in to create when I have a moment. I am trusting that as this show starts to take root, it will begin to take up more and more space and will find a regular home in the Studio.

This is a bit odd for me because the truth is I love consistency except for when it gets in the way.

Consistency is a great way to establish trust and a sense of safety. It’s a great way to honour your work and your commitment to it. Consistency is a great way to find a rhythm that will hold you even when your energy is bucking with the wild horse of resistance. Consistency is a gift to your creativity in so many ways. If you are a part of the Studio, and I hope you are – if not put me on pause and run on over to openthedoor.ca and join – and if you are, you’ll know that I generally like to run things with consistency. My newsletter comes out at 6:00 am EST on Sundays and has for well over a decade. I love knowing that I’m spending Sunday morning with readers and that they are starting their day with some creative inspiration and something to ponder, that we are sharing that moment of connection. Consistency really can be a gift.

But it can also be a roadblock. How often do you not do something at all because you’re not sure you can do it always?

Always is such an unreasonable expectation, especially when you are doing something new. How do you know you’re going to thrive with a daily drawing practice until you’ve tried it out? How do you know the time and energy it’s going to take to make a show on YouTube every week if you’ve never done it before? You just don’t. So you make a start and see what it feels like. You give yourself permission to make adjustments as you go. You do what you can because showing up to your creative impulses is far more important than showing up to an arbitrary schedule.

So here I am. And for now, I’m going to think of the newsletter as somewhere you know you’re going to see me every week and the podcast as something you’ll be delighted to discover on your doorstep whenever it arrives. And then we’ll see where this particular adventure leads.

Today it’s leading to joy.

I want to talk to you about the power and importance of your creative joy. I want you to think about it for a moment. Cast back into your creative life and ask yourself, when was the last time I felt creative joy? It might have been puttering in your garden or arranging tulips in a vase. It might have been throwing a dinner party. It might have been giving yourself permission to doodle for hours. It might have been yesterday. It might have been a long time ago.

When was it for you?

As creative people we sometimes expect that every time we do something creative it will be a joy. Has that been true for you? It hasn’t been for me.

I can tell you that one of the heartbreaks that so many of my clients have been through is that when they finally give themselves time to do their art what they feel is anything but. They find themselves weeping or frustrated or full of resistance. They wonder, “What happened to my joy?” They worry, “Will I ever find it again?”

They will. They do. And so will you.

One of the ways to do this is to call on the wisdom of your little kid artist.

When we were little, if we had the freedom and the opportunity, we loved to create! We would draw monsters and dinosaurs and bears and castles and you name it. We wiggled to music before we could walk. We built sandcastles and made up games and conjured costumes. All of it with great seriousness and joy.

Did you notice I said seriousness? I want you to hold onto that thought for a moment.

But first let’s talk about joy. When did we lose the joy? When I talk to recovering artists, it is almost always the moment assessment or critique became involved. It’s when someone said you couldn’t sing. Or someone told you that you couldn’t dance. Maybe someone laughed at your clay pot or criticized your drawing or painting. When that happened, you took in that destructive notion that you were somehow not good enough, that art wasn’t for you – even if it brought you joy. Joy simply wasn’t enough. Joy was for children. Now that you were 9, 12, 17, 42, 72, if you want to be an artist, you better demonstrate aptitude, talent, some skill or move on to something else.

What utter garbage!

But we take it in. We leave art behind as a childish love or maybe, maybe we let it find some space in our lives as a hobby. And that’s often how secret artists find their way back to creative joy. They start knitting or calligraphy or scrapbooking or photography. It lights them up in a way they haven’t felt in years. Was that you?

When that happens, that spark of joy starts to rise and it is awesome!  Suddenly they are taking classes, buying supplies, taking up space and feeling inspired. Ideas are flourishing and there just isn’t enough time in the day for them to do what the love to do. The artist and the joy are present, awake and alive.

And then, at this point, because we instinctively know that part of the reason we got shut down in the first place was assessment and criticism, we decide to throw it away. We simply refuse to engage in that approach. We embrace the process and release ourselves from the pressure of a precious outcome. We want to bring back that childhood joy and we just want to play. And playing is awesome. Every artist needs it. Creative play gives us a gorgeous sense of freedom, joy release, and often innovation and originality, until it doesn’t.

Because at some point, for some artists, it becomes hideout.

You see, if we declare that what we are doing is play and that we don’t care about the results at all, we are safe. No one can say we aren’t good enough because we’re not trying to be good enough. We’re just mucking about. And if something we make happens to be “good” well, isn’t that a surprise? How amazing! How unexpected! Then we can say, “Hey, everybody, look at this. I wasn’t even trying but this is pretty good, isn’t’ it?”

We do this is because the world has taught us that we can either play at art or we can be a professional and nothing in between. I’m here to tell you this is absolutely and totally untrue.

Let’s go back for a moment to that thought I asked you to hold onto earlier: that little kids create with joy, yes, but also with seriousness. Think about the kid you were. Think about the kids you know. Can you see their sweet faces deep in focus and concentration? I can literally see my sister Suzie with her hand on her forehead.

When you see a kid making a fort or putting on a play or creating a sculpture, that kid is often trying to make something great or cool or epic or amazing. They aren’t thinking of it as ‘little kid stuff’. That’s our projection. That’s our judgment. And when we foist it on them, we perpetuate this cycle.

What the little kids artist in our heart is teaching us about creative joy is not just about freedom and play – though it is certainly that – it is also to give yourself over to what you are making. Dare to dream. If you don’t know how to do something, improvise. Give your art your all and believe in your ability to create something wonderful.

Criticism, assessment and the velvet ropes have convinced us that the only way we can find joy is to engage in the process and let go of our art but I want you to know that you can have both. Creative joy is available to you as you wiggle and giggle and doodle and paint a mess. Creative joy is also available to you as believe in your artistic vision as you bring it to life, as you learn and grow every step of the way.

Have you heard this tale from Howard Ikemoto? Here’s what he said: “When my daughter was about seven years old, she asked me one day what I did at work. I told her I worked at the college – that my job was to teach people how to draw. She stared back at me, incredulous, and said, “You mean they forget?””

Never forget, dear listener. That artist is alive inside of you and creative joy is right at your fingertips. Make something this week. See what magic might be unlocked if you embrace the alchemy of joy and seriousness.

Have a wonderful week in your studio and remember, your life is your studio. I’ll see you soon.

Creative Boundaries: Creative Living with Jamie eps 283

Creative Living with Jamie Episode 283:
Creative Boundaries

How do you politely set boundaries around your creative time and space? In this first ‘Ask Jamie’ episode, I offer some advice to a listener who is creating a unique studio space and share a few reasons why people so often tread heavily on our artistic hearts!

Take It to Your Journal

  • Growing up, what did you learn about art and artists?
  • How much space and time does artmaking take up in your life?
  • How much space and time would you like artmaking to take up in your life?
  • Where would it be helpful to establish creative boundaries?

Resources & Mentions

Transcript

Introduction

Welcome to Creative Living with Jamie. I’m your guide Jamie Ridler and on this podcast you and I are going to go on a great many adventures together. We’ll explore all aspects of what it means to live a creative life and we’ll embrace ourselves as artists. We’ll get curious, we’ll wonder and we’ll follow inspiration. We’ll wrestle with tough questions and we’ll brave challenges and sometimes will ask our friends for help. Along the way we will discover our courage, our confidence, ourselves and one another. We’ll come to know our artistic hearts and from there we will create. And that’s when the magic happens.

Episode

Hey everybody

This week I am excited to bring our first Ask Jamie episode with a great question about creative boundaries. Plus, I’m going to share some big studio news and an important takeaway I want you to have for when creative containers come to an close.

So first, let’s turn to a listener question in our very first Ask Jamie segment.

MUSIC

Today’s question comes from mixed media artist Lola Yang who recently graduated from Devotion, my three-month artist-in-residence program at the studio. Lola has taken on the amazing project She is transforming a minivan into her own artist studio. I’ll share her Instagram link in the show notes so you can follow Lola’s creative journey. She is absolutely magical!

So here’s what Lola asked:

“Since I moved my studio from home to the minivan, I feel freedom and spacious, more connection to the outdoors, but somehow I feel there are so many disturbed moments: people passing by or getting curious (some I know, some I don’t).

For me, this space represents sanctuary, me time, my cocoon. I don’t feel I want to invite everyone to come in and take a look and explain why I am doing this, at least not now. (I am still arranging the space to make it feel more me and it takes time and I don’t want to rush). It makes me feel not generous when I make excuses to tell people why they cannot come inside. I dreamed this space will be only me and my people and what I enjoy doing inside.

Any tips for politely saying no in this situation?”

So, Lola, first of all, I want to celebrate that you have created this sacred space for your art and your creative heart. This is the precious unfolding of a dream come true and of course you don’t want to rush. You want to bask in it with all the freedom and spaciousness you have been longing for. This is a special time for you.

Creating boundaries around our artistic time and space is a familiar challenge for most artists, especially as they begin to devote more and more time, space and energy to their work. Often it follows this route of expansion.

First, we go through the process of learning how to let our art take up time and space in our own life. We have to get out of the way. We have find ways to get over our fears, our resistance, our procrastination so we can get creating. We find ourselves starting to choose creating over other things, whether that’s TV or scrolling or laundry, and we start to let artmaking become a part of our life. We let it take up space.

Then, as art starts to take hold in our life, it begins to expand and then we face some new challenges. How do we hold the line and let art continue to grow, taking up more time, more space, more resources even if it impacts others? We find ourselves starting to saying no more ofren, including to other people, because we want to say more yeses to our art. If we live with others, now we start negotiating for more creative space and more creative time.

Next, as the influence of art in our life grows and grows, starts to spill over into more public spaces. Maybe you’re wearing clothes you’ve sewn yourself. Maybe friends or family come over and they see your art on the wall. Maybe your neighbours hear you playing the piano. Now you’re not only dealing with your own responses to letting your art take up space or those of your friends and loved ones, but you are also now dealing with colleagues, neighbours and strangers.

Each step of the way you are learning to hold that line for your art in a deeper and stronger way – and not only for your art but also for art in general.

Because here’s the thing. Most people actually don’t know how to respond to artists. In part because societally we’ve done this horrible thing of separating people from their own artistic nature so that we grow up believing that art and artists are some rarified thing. Plus, making it even harder, we’re generally taught to see art and artists from the lens of being a consumer. So, if art is available, it must be for me – it must be longing for an audience. And then on top of that, because art is often viewed as a commodity, then I’m also not only allowed to view and consume it but also assess it and assess it in the same way I would a shirt or a bicycle that I see at a store. That’s why people will so casually say things like, “I’d like it if it was blue” or “Wow, I just don’t get it. I just don’t get the appeal.” Most artists who have worked in coffee shops or done something like urban sketching have found their work being commented on by strangers or had people stare over their shoulders to see what they’re creating.

Of course, there is also something beautiful happening here: the absolutely genuine human response to the power and allure of artmaking. And again, because so many of us have been separated from that impulse to create, we are profoundly curious about it and deeply drawn to it. The only thing is we often don’t know a way to engage that honours the artist and honours the work. chances are, Lola, that’s you’re responding to that beautiful impulse in people and that’s the part that makes you think, “Oh, I feel badly that I’m not sharing.”

But here’s the thing. Whatever the motivation – curiosity, admiration, nosiness – no one has a right to your work or your space unless you grant it to them. And Lola, as a graduate of Devotion you know, it is incredibly important that artists have time alone with their art, time to develop a strong and unwavering relationship with their work, before they share it with others, if they ever choose to do so.

Navigating people’s responses to your work can be incredibly difficult, especially while you are still in the discovery and birthing stages. This is the time when you need to listen to your instincts, when you need to listen to the work, including the work of creating your own sacred space, This is the time you need to listen to your own heart to discover what wants to emerge without the influence of even the most trusted companions never mind strangers.

So, let’s come back to the very practical and tangible answer to your question.

All of what I’ve said so far is to affirm that it is completely reasonable for you to keep your new studio space to yourself for now or for forever, whichever you choose. It’s also to say that people generally don’t know how to be around artists and so this is a great opportunity to show them how they can be around you.

My very simple solution is to create a sign that says, “Artist at work. Please do not disturb.” This gives you an opportunity to honour your role as an artist and to invite other people to honour it too – and it shows them how they can. Find language you feel good about and also know that as you do this, you are being a legacy. You are helping people understand that not only is art and an artist space compelling but it is also sacred.

In that spirit, you can also work on creating energetic boundaries around your studio space. Start to identify your space not at the front door but several feet in front of it.  Imagine a sacred, beautiful and private bubble around the minivan itself. As you do this day by day, you will start to notice that people sense it too. You can enhance this by finding gentle ways to mark a perimeter around your space. Just placing some stones can make all the difference.

As you settle in you may find there are ways that you do want to share your space, like video tours on Instagram or YouTube videos about setting up a studio in a minivan. Maybe you’ll decide to invite dear friends into your studio for tea or have an art show that includes people being able to see the magical space you’ve created. Or not. Maybe it will always be your private sanctuary, a special place just for you, a place to fill your well so that you can keep shining and keep creating. You and the work will know.

Lola, may you find peace and freedom, joy and magic in your creative studio. I have a feeling you will. And thank you so much for sending in the very first Ask Jamie question.

Now, let’s have a little bit of Studio News, including that one thing I want you to know.

Studio News

The big news in the Studio is that not only is time to order your Summer Studio Yearbook but it’s time for me to let you know that it is going to be the last one.

For over four years I have been offering this seasonal fill-in-the-blank journal that is designed to bring your creativity to life. The Studio Yearbook brings together creative practices I have developed over a lifetime, practices I have shared in my classes and with my clients. It is a creative practice studio in a journal and I am proud to say that it has impacted thousands of lives.

So why draw it to a close? It’s a balance of many things. There are practical considerations like the rising cost of paper and shipping but there’s also something nipping at my heels, that next thing that wants to come through me and into the studio to awaken creative magic. So, I am trusting that and leaning in.

This summer I intend to treat the last season of the Studio Yearbook as a grand celebration! We’ll have our kick-off on the Summer Solstice. I’ll host an inspiring ephemera exchange and make some contributions myself. And, for the first time ever, at the end of the season we will send off all participants with a selection of yearbook pages that you can print out again and again and again so you can continue your practice with ease.

If you have been wanting to check out the Studio Yearbook now is the time. Immerse yourself in these creative practices and then, whether the yearbook is available in print or not, the practices themselves will support you for a lifetime.

I do hope you’ll join me for this last round of the Studio Yearbook. Print copies are only available until Monday May 9th at 10:00 am EST. After that, PDF copies will continue to be available and, if you join the Studio, you’ll receive a 10% discount. I’ll have all the details for you in the show notes.

The Studio Yearbook is an incredible support, a powerful guide that takes you on a creative journey but what I want you to know is that the power is in the practice and the magic is in you. Of course, it is.

Have a wonderful week in the studio and remember, your life is your studio. I’ll see you next time.