Making the world better…

How can bullying start in kindergarten?  This morning I heard about a 5 year old being put in a headlock by another 5 year old and pulling his glasses off his head.  My first reaction was WTF?  And it has been on my mind all day.

What does a child that age know about bullying? Why would a child that age do that? The sad part is that the bully is probably bullied at home and thinks it’s normal behavior.  Is he destined to be a bad person forever?  I believe being mean is learned, so I think it can be changed.

What if someone could show this child a different way to treat people?  Does he think that this is how you treat friends?  Does he think that is playing?  What if another child tried to talk to him and asked why he did that?

I would like to think that it’s worth a try.  So far, answering to hate with hate has not been shown to work. Just him only getting in trouble for the incident is probably not the answer.  I hope the other child talks to him and shows him there’s a better way to play.  There’s a lot of pain hidden behind bullying and hatred and I think the pain only grows without love. What if we tried to reach these children, sooner than later?  Could we change the direction they are headed?

I”d like to think so…

“Transformation #2″ 12″x24” Acrylic on Canvas

 

Believe

Sometimes everything feels so hopeless, and we are not sure what to do to make things better. I think one of the most important things is try to change how we look at things. What if we looked for the silver lining? The positive in the negative situation. There are times that even that may seem too difficult. I found that I had to change my outlook toward life. I found that when it was hard to see the positive, I would have certain things that would guide my thoughts to a more positive place. For me, that was thinking about something I love to do, a photo of a place I love, a family photo, or something that made me smile and reminded me that everything would be ok. Slowly we do believe. We can learn to heal ourselves and find what we love, and when we do that, slowly things get on the right path again.
Now I can look back at the big picture and realize that everything is better than I ever imagined it could be, and I know there’s more to come.
Love every moment and believe…

“Believe #6″ 8″x8” Acrylic on Canvas

“Believe #7″ 8″x8” Acrylic on Canvas

“Believe #8″ 8″x8” Acrylic on Canvas

“Believe #9″ 8″x8” Acrylic on Canvas

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Learning Compassion

Is it impossible to change our minds? I know personally I used to think quite differently about several things, until I learned to see things from another perspective. When you are able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, you realize that things are not as simplistic or black & white as people have made them out to be.
What does it take to make people notice what is really going on? When there’s frustration and you notice that no one is listening and everyone has their head buried in their thoughts or belief systems, how do you get attention on your plight? Your suffering and the suffering of others? That is one reason people protest. To get attention to their plight.
I guess I would love to know if there’s a way to help someone find compassion inside themselves. To really feel what someone else is feeling. If people could truly feel the suffering of others this world would be a much different place.
I guess some of my big changes in perspective came when I started painting. I often say that I don’t know if painting led to my personal growth, or if my growth led me to my painting. I feel that the act of painting, for me, is meditative. I reach a space where the energy of feelings and emotions come through on to the canvas. I have also had collectors tell me that my paintings are more about feeling and energy than anything else. They get it, and that makes me grateful for my gift. I hope my paintings touch people enough to awaken them and start to see things differently as well.

“Compassion” 16″x20″ Acrylic on Canvas

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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!!! 🙂