The Comfort Zone…

Comfort zone. Sounds safe, predictable, familiar… and boring. Sure, some people may be happy in that zone, but what if you were brave enough to go outside that zone?
The unknown is scary. Why? Why are we wired to be afraid of what we don’t know? All those “what if’s” will keep us from truly living our life.
What if I fail? But, what if I don’t fail?? What if I succeed?
What will people think? But, why does it matter what people think??
All our life experiences shape us, our childhood experiences make us crave security or freedom, depending on what we go through. My whole life I have craved that security, to be safe and taken care of. But really, ‘Life’ was telling me something else all along! I always felt different and alone, shipped off to different relatives at a very early age. I just wanted love, comfort and security, but it seemed that when things were comfortable life had different ideas for me.
I believe that the universe was preparing me, because it knew that I would be independent, take care of others and be strong. It wasn’t till my life turned upside down a few years ago that I was able to see that all the roles I played, the person I thought I was and what others saw, were not the real me. I had to have my mind stop in order for my soul to show me the ‘real me’.
All I know so far is that every ‘unknown’ I have experienced the last few years has been anything but scary in the long run! They have been the best experiences and decisions I have made in my life! It makes me wish I would have known things sooner!! But even knowing that, making big decisions are still scary. But I am glad I now know to just look past that fear and just keep taking those leaps of faith.

Leap Of Faith 30″ x 40″ Acrylic on Canvas

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Crazy World…

“…something very beautiful happens to people when their world has fallen apart: a humility, a nobility, a higher intelligence emerges at just the point when our knees hit the floor.” ~ Marianne Williamson

Sometimes it feels like nothing makes sense anymore. From the political climate, to mother nature, it feels like the world has gone mad. Why is all this happening? I believe the universe is screaming at us to wake up!
I think everything (really everything) has gotten out of sync. There are too many people so deep in their heads, so unconscious to what is truly real, that the only way they will wake up is for their world to fall apart.
Why do we as humans have to reach a point of falling apart before we awaken?
We are at such a divided place as a country. People are being manipulated like pawns in a game, being played by people with power-hungry egos. What can change people’s thinking at this point, when we are so afraid to admit we may have been wrong? We are so afraid to admit that what we believed our whole lives was wrong.
Catastrophic things happen. Disasters are equal opportunity. Disasters don’t care about your race, social standing or money. In the middle of a disaster everyone is at the same level.
In the middle of chaos, the mind stops. When you can’t think anymore something else takes over. Your inner being, inner voice, your soul. THAT is the real you. Listen to it. Experience the world from that place, not with your mind.
Notice that at that moment that people that you may have judged, condemned or hated are still willing to help you and show you compassion. Talk to people, get to know people different than you, love people. THAT will change the world. LOVE.

“Crossroads” 30″x30″ Acrylic on Canvas

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Well…. Hello there!!!

Wow, I can’t believe I have not written a post since 2014! A whole lot has changed for me, and life is great!

I have learned a lot over the last few years and as I collect my thoughts I will try my best to share.  One thing I know for sure is, doing what you love definitely helps you align with your true self, the person you were born to be.  And when you do that, you really and truly notice the universe working with and for you!!!

I have been painting a lot and traveling some the last few years.  It’s what I am passionate about.  I used to tell my friends that when I paint, magic happens.  And it does!  When I noticed nothing was really happening for me “art-career wise”, it was because I was not painting.  As soon as I started painting I got invited to do a show this summer, be a juror for a statewide competition, and I have two shows lined up for 2018!  When things like that happen, I know I am doing what I am meant to!

“A New Earth” 12″ x 12″ Mixed Media on Canvas

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30/30 Daily Painting Challenge- Challenge Complete!

Wow, got my 30 paintings done! It was tough to really get paintings done every day, life does get in the way.  But I was determined.  I did find that I was more willing to try new things since I had to finish so many paintings, which I loved because it really expanded my creativity.  And also found out some things worked & some didn’t, but you have to be willing to mess it up in order to find that perfect ‘something’.

Here are the rest of them:

(23/30) Nature's Symphony 12"x12" Mixed Media on Canvas

(23/30) Nature’s Symphony 12″x12″ Mixed Media on Canvas

(24/30) Mini Ruins #14 5"x7" Mixed Media on Paper

(24/30) Mini Ruins #14 5″x7″ Mixed Media on Paper

(25/30) Supernatural 12"x12" Mixed Media on Canvas

(25/30) Supernatural 12″x12″ Mixed Media on Canvas

(26/30) Mini Ruins #15 5"x7" Mixed Media on Paper

(26/30) Mini Ruins #15 5″x7″ Mixed Media on Paper

(27/30) Somewhere in Time 6"x8" Mixed Media on Canvas

(27/30) Somewhere in Time 6″x8″ Mixed Media on Canvas

(28/30) Whispers #2 6"x6" Mixed Media on Canvas

(28/30) Whispers #2 6″x6″ Mixed Media on Canvas

(29/30) Whispers from the Earth 6"x8" Mixed Media on Canvas

(29/30) Whispers from the Earth 6″x8″ Mixed Media on Canvas

(30/30) Jeweled Mystery 12"x12" Mixed Media on Canvas

(30/30) Jeweled Mystery 12″x12″ Mixed Media on Canvas

Close up detail of Jeweled Mystery.  I added some iridescent paint just for fun!

Close up detail of Jeweled Mystery. I added some iridescent paint just for fun!

Is Web Presence for Artists Important?

I think having a web presence as an artist in this date and time is very important.  I really is the best “store-front” we have to show out work to anyone interested.  I know there are a lot of artists out there that are intimidated by the idea of doing much on a computer (I know a lot of artists that do not like anything technical!) but it does not have to be scary.

There are many “art website” companies out there that have the template set up specially for artists and all you have to do is plug in the information and images.  The first one I found out about is Artspan.  An artist friend of mine still uses Artspan after many years and still likes it.  A few others that I have friends using are Zhibit and Fine Art America, which you may be limited in what you can do or add to the site, but if you want easy, simple & basic these work.  Also with Fine Art America you can sell prints of your work straight through them.

There are also non-art related ones like Wix, Weebly and even blog sites like WordPress.com and Blogger.  Again, there may be limitations, specially on the free or inexpensive versions, but it gets you on the web.

My Website!

My Website!

I feel the fastest & easiest way to get your work out there is Facebook!  You can easily set up a “page” for your art and sharing with the public is very easy.  People do not have to have a Facebook account to be able to view your work on a Facebook Page, they just won’t be able to comment, etc.

Now, lots of artists are afraid of having their work stolen or copied off the web.  My feeling on it is you can keep your work hiding at home and no one will see it, or have as many people see it as possible!  I feel it’s not much safer hanging in the public either with everyone having cell phones, so worrying about it will just keep you from ever showing it.  There are certain things you can do to make it more difficult for anyone to steal your work from the internet.  First, you can post images that are too small for anyone to make a copy or print of.  You can make them under 800 px and 72 dpi.  You should also add a watermark across your image.  I believe some of the art websites have a feature that you can automatically add a watermark to your image.

Of course there are many more sites I did not list here.  You can always hire someone to do a website or set up Facebook for you, you do not have to do it alone.

FYI- My website www.gretaolivas.com is built with WordPress.org, free web software, but you do need to get your own domain name & webhost.

Anyone have good suggestions for websites!  Please post on the comments and hopefully it will help someone!

Blog Post 12.26.13 (My Favorite Art Blogs)

As a self-taught artist, I have had to do a lot of research about the business side of the art world.  Along with many artist friends I have met mostly through the Creative Arts Society here in Austin, we get together often and discuss how to sell our work and do a lot of research online to figure things out.  We have slowly come up with several blogs that we refer to often for information.  I thought I would share a few of my favorites!

I came across several of these either through friends, through other artists and on Twitter (I think it’s a great resource), or on Facebook.

Be Inspired, by my friend Maria Gatling.  She has the best ideas to spark your creativity.  Whether you are an artist or not, she has ideas that you can use every day.  She also teaches creativity workshops!  Please check out her blog and contact her if interested!

Skinny Artist, I came across Drew 1st through Twitter (He’s a great person to follow!)  I have found great posts that have been inspiring, made me think and I have even made their ’21 Artists to Watch’ list for 2013! (Which I was quite honored and surprised by the way!)

Artpromotivate, they have lots of posts on selling art, to websites, PR, and have great featured artists.  You can also as an artist submit your information to be one of their featured artists!  (And that’s where I got the idea for this blog post! 🙂 )

Fine Art Tips with Lori McNee, she has great information on creating art, art business and social media for artists.  Lori is also a great person to follow on Twitter!  She was ranked as one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women on Twitter and always shares great info.

The Abundant Artist, their goal is ‘Dispelling the Starving Artist Myth’.  Lots of resources on marketing, websites, etc.  They want to prove to us that we CAN sell our art!

Art Biz Coach is Alyson B Stanfield, she holds workshops, events, bootcamps, coaches and wrote the art marketing book ‘I’d Rather Be in the Studio’.  I also learned about Alyson through Twitter and is a great person to follow!

Red Dot Blog, has great art marketing and art business info on their blog.  It’s run by Jason Horejs with Xanadu Gallery.  They also have podcasts and hold workshops.

Artists Who Thrive, has great info from artist copyright to pricing artwork and more.  Very informative articles!

If you have any favorite blogs I did not mention please share them here!  I may have forgotten some also, so if I did I will add them under comments!

I hope this helps you on your way to making Art your career!

Blog Post 10.12.13 (Testing Technology)

I am extremely grateful & honored to be going to photograph a surgical mission trip to Guatemala. I am going with Dell Children’s Surgical Global Outreach and I am very excited!
I am now testing out the technology so that I know how to make it work while I am there. This is my first time doing a whole blog post from my iPad (with links & all). And I did not want to take a laptop, so I am trying to get everything to work w my iPad mini.
First I had to get my photos from my Canon 40d to my iPad. That turned out to be way easier than I thought! I bought a ‘lightning to USB camera adapter’, which I plugged my camera into and all my images show up on my iPad! I was worried that my raw format would not be viewable, but they are! I can import the images I want, then I can work on them with my photo apps. I did figure out that I need to convert my images to jpeg, which I did with a new app I got called Leonardo.
So far I posted an image to Facebook without any problems, so now I am trying it on WordPress!

20131012-161029.jpg

Lets see if it works!!! 🙂

Blog Post 5.19.13 (Teaching, Sharing & Inspiration)

People that know me, specially artists, know that I LOVE art.  I am in love with the process of making art.  I find so much joy creating art that I automatically share details freely with my fellow artists.  I think it comes naturally for me to share, so that maybe others can find the same joy I feel doing it.paint closeup 2

I had several friends tell me I should teach, that I am a natural at it.  Well, I can tell you that I never thought of myself as a teacher of any kind!  I guess the difference is that sharing something you love does not feel like teaching, so it does come naturally.  So I finally decided to give it a try and did a small test workshop.  I invited 4 friends to take part (several that encouraged me to do this in the first place), so I could figure out how to structure it for other students.

paint closeup 1I thought about what to name it and how to describe my workshop, and it’s so hard to put into words what I would like to teach.  Mostly I want to share fun techniques, tips, and play, to inspire those that are too afraid to “be” an artist, or remind those artists that lost the “fun” and “joy”, why they became artists in the first place.  I want them to come out of the workshop with their creativity wheels turning, ideas running through their heads and inspiration overflowing.  I feel it’s those little surprises that come out during play and experimentation that excite us and allows us to come up with something that no one else has done before.paint closeup 3

I also love working with other artists.  The inspiration you get from working with others is contagious, and in teaching others you come up with new ideas while you are explaining a process.  I know also that many artists do not share their ideas.  They are afraid that someone will steal or copy them.  Well, with the age of the internet I think that can happen anyway, without teaching someone!  Also I have seen that when you have a group working on an art project, each person has their own artistic vision in their work, which makes it different from the others.  I believe true artists want to come up with something uniquely theirs, that makes them stand out from the rest.

 

Blog Post 3.31.13 (Artists, Artists, Artists…)

Stevie Nicks at SXSW 2013

Stevie Nicks at SXSW 2013

A few weeks ago I volunteered at SXSW and was able to attend a couple of interviews with musicians (Depeche Mode and Stevie Nicks).  It was fascinating to listen to their answers about their artistic process.  They were asked about how they come up with the music and songs, their inspiration, and do they struggle with ideas, and they had a lot of the same answers as painters would come up with.  That got me thinking that I needed to get a dancer’s perspective as well, see if it was the same, so who better to ask than my father (Eugene Slavin)!  He was a ballet dancer, and choreographed many dances in his career, and a lot of his answers were the same!  I found out that ideas, inspiration, creativity is very similar no matter what your artistic outlet is.  Here are several of the answers I heard:  I play the music and the lyrics just come out, I read or watch movies for inspiration, I look at art and listen to music to get inspired, I see a dancer or hear music that inspires a dance.  I think when the creative brain is engaged, when we see or hear ‘it’ we just instinctively know it.

It was interesting asking my Dad about his artistic process (I had never spoken to him about it before).  The one difference it seemed was that a lot of the choreography was dictated by the talent the dancers, or what their strengths or weaknesses were.  I guess if us painters were limited to just paint with specific materials it would be the same thing, or a musician only able to use specific instruments.  Getting creative with what we have is what we have to do when the creative bug strikes!

Blog Post 3.1.13 (It’s going to be a Great Year!)

So far this year is starting out pretty good for me.  In January I started out with my first really big solo show.  I set up this show about a year ago as a way to force myself to create a good size body of work, so I can start submitting to different galleries around the country.  As it got closer to the date of hanging the show, I started panicking, wondering if I had enough art!  Well, the amount of work turned out to be just perfect!

"Beyond Limits" North Hills Gallery 2013 Panoramic photo shot with my iPhone 5

“Beyond Limits” North Hills Gallery 2013- Panoramic photo shot with my iPhone 5

At this event I sold 3 paintings, and was pretty well attended, which was just wonderful!  I had lots of positive feedback on all my work, from artist friends as well an others that I did not know.  (I also got a video of the show but have not done anything with it yet. That will be a new project for me to learn how to do! 🙂 )  Once the show came down, I decided to take one of the most popular pieces to my office at my ‘day job’.  Well, it did not even make it up on the wall before someone decided they had to have it! (see it below)

SOLD- Desert Ruins Under the Stars 30"x40" Mixed Media on Canvas

SOLD- Desert Ruins Under the Stars 30″x40″ Mixed Media on Canvas

Then yesterday morning, during a break I pulled up Facebook and I noticed that SkinnyArtist.com posted their yearly 21 Artists to Watch in 2013 list, which I love to look at every year (I find great artists to follow on Facebook and Twitter), and to my surprise I saw my name on the list!!!  I feel so honored to be mentioned with so many wonderful artists (and thank you so much Drew for the wonderful words and support)!

I am now preparing for the West Austin Studio Tour, which will be taking place over 2 weekends this year, April 27-28 & May 4-5, 2013.  I hope my momentum just keeps going, I am ready!