MATS CLass Journey – Part 3 Finding Your Voice Pie

In my last post, we ate some good ol’ Value Pie. Today, we chow down on some Finding Your Voice Pie! Some of the best pie ever!  And the most important too!

Finding Your Voice Pie ~ Creating from your heart and place of happiness is what counts here. And you have to like what you create. You cannot create what you think others like or want or even mimic what you see in the marketplace. That’s being fake. AND you CANNOT copy another artist’s work or style… that’s just wrong! You have to create from within you.

In the beginning of MATS class I created from within. And when I didn’t get those “expected” responses (silly rabbit!), I began to second guess, doubt and change how I was creating my art. My work is different. So I stood out a little. Standing out can be very uncomfortable and feel risky. And it’s human nature to care what others think. We want to be liked. But we cannot let that rule what we think and feel and do.

So in the second and third week of class, I stressed out and created work that was not really me. Maybe a smidge of me, but not my big deep heart. Not what I fully enjoy. I was holding back and playing it safe. It was good work and people liked it, but I stressed out and the work did not flow well from my heart, voice or hand.

Rachel Fontenot ~ Flora Plates

Rachel Fontenot ~ Flora Plates

Thank God (I think it was He who snapped me out of it!), by week three I snapped out of the stressful funk and recognized what was happening. I was able step back, take a look at what was going on and chose to get back in tune with my voice and create art from my heart. I let go of stressing over “likes” and comments (those are great and nice, but they can’t rule) and I got focused on what makes me come alive and what I really enjoy making. And I created from that place. It felt good when I found my voice again. I let my opinion and value of the work be my guide.

Rachel Fontenot ~ Tea Collage

Rachel Fontenot ~ Tea Collage

If you wonder “How do I find my voice?”, a big way for you to find your voice is by creating as much art as you can. Just get into your studio and make stuff. Your voice will emerge. The more work you make, the more you can see. A path will be revealed to you. And when you see that path… take it! Just BE YOU! Be proud! And value yourself, your heart and your work.

I must say, that Lilla Rogers is one of the most encouraging and inspiring teachers I have studied under. She constantly reminded us to embrace where we were, yet to push ourselves just a little past that… and that there’s a place for everyone’s artwork in the marketplace… to not compare ourselves to other artists, but to be happy for their success and to be inspired by them, not jealous… that our work is not finite, we are always growing… and to be ourselves and create from our hearts, because “People Buy Your Joy”.

Part B of Make Art That Sells begins October 7. I am signed up and ready for it… Emotionally and artistically! My only expectations are to grow and learn. I will embrace wherever I fit in and whatever level I am at. I will create from my heart and with my own voice and put my best efforts into the work. I will learn and grow. And I will find value, first within myself (and God, the most amazing Artist of all) and hold others’ opinions lightly. It’s a process and journey to be enjoyed! No more broken eggs here!

So, as you put yourself out into the world and share your art and engage in learning by taking classes and joining groups (which I so hope you are doing!), remember to watch out for crazy expectations (they creep up and rob you of joy) and hold very lightly the opinions of others (because yours matters most!) and be your wonderful self and have fun and enjoy the experience : )

Happy Creating : ) Happy Learning : ) Happy Being YOU : )

Rachel xoxo

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MATS Class Journey – Part 2 Value Pie

In my last post, I shared Over Confidence Pie with you. That was scary… and humbling. But you know, the creative process is, at times, scary and humbling. There is so much to work through and process.. not just the art itself but the feelings and emotions that go with it. So, today we’ll put Over Confidence Pie behind us and move onto the next course…Value Pie!

Value Pie ~ Our MATS class interactive classroom was on Facebook. This is where we would post art work and share our studios and lives with each other. A truly safe and wonderful space!

Well, with 500 folks from all over the world, that’s a ton of constant traffic and FB feeds. So your posts may get pushed far down the line with not many people seeing it (the nature of the FB beast). So, what would happen is, you post your art and wait for the likes and comments to flood in (remember what I said in Over Confidence Pie, I was expecting this to happen… silly rabbit!). And you get some feedback! You get likes and happy comments (maybe not as many as I hoped for.. again, silly rabbit). And then it happens… you get pushed down the line and the feedback stops. And enter stage left… the critical voices inside your head.

And then there were the class art reviews where Lilla would choose about 25-30 (mind you, out of 500, don’t know how she did it!) pieces of art a week to talk about. Of course EVERY student in class wanted to be chosen. I wanted to be chosen (I used to always be chosen). Each week I sat on the edge of my seat watching the video review just knowing my piece would pop up be next. It never was. Not one. Not ever. Not one of my pieces was chosen for review. It was a big blow to the ego and confidence. And once again I was feeling broken. And guess who enters stage left… again, the critical voices. Nasty, nasty little monsters they are.

And silly, human me, tuned in and let those monster voices mess with my head. I let those critical voices speak up and tell me things like, “people don’t really like your work”, “your work is too different and weird”, “you’re too modern”, “you’re not good enough for this biz”, “you don’t know Photoshop, you can’t compete with the ‘professionals'” etc.etc.etc. Lies. All lies. Yet I fell for it.

What happened to me in this class was I had too high and unrealistic expectations (which broke me and made me eat the humble pie). I put all my eggs in one basket and they got broken. I tell ya, expectations (most of the time) is just a set up for disappointment and emotional disaster. I also put too much value in the opinions of others. I cared more about what they thought about my work than what I thought or to get really deep, what God, the giver of my talent, thought (which made me eat some good ol’ value pie).

Lilla told us every week that the pieces that were NOT chosen were still valuable and good. She was impressed by all the art created, she just didn’t have the time review each one. That is totally understandable in a class of 500. Remember, teachers, students, clients, follower’s and fans are just one person with one opinion and outlook and they should be held very lightly. Valued, yes. But held very lightly.

Remember, YOUR opinion of your work is most important. MY opinion of my work is important. And for me, God’s opinion counts most and I know He delights in what we create. I just forgot those little facts once swimming in the deep water of this class!! I should have re-read my own post Go To Your Studio and Make Stuff from March! Funny how we forget the truth. Which is why we must tune into our hearts and live and create from there.

I like what I make! As different as it may be… I like it. And I will continue to make it. And THAT gives the work value. So, by valuing your heart and opinion first, you can create from your own voice and not from someone else’s voice or opinions.

Do you like what you create? …YES? Great! That is all that counts… End of story!

If you are in a place where you are unhappy with your work and don’t like what you are making, then step back. Ask why. Ask where is the work coming from. I bet you will find it’s coming from outside of you. So take a brave and daring dive into your heart and see what’s happening there and begin to create from that place. Cause it’s a good and safe place : )

Which leads me to our last pie to feast upon, Finding Your Voice Pie which we will continue in the next post…

Rachel Fontenot ~ Happiee Zippiee

Rachel Fontenot ~ Happiee Zippiee

Happy Day being happy with YOU : )

Rachel xoxo

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MATS Class Journey… Part 1 Over Confidence Pie

It has been a wonderful and yet crazy Summer (and I’m in shock that it’s over)! For the entire month of June and first part of July, I was dedicated to Make Art That Sells  (MATS)class Part A with Lilla Rogers. As soon as that class ended, I was also working on my entry piece for the Global Talent Search. And for the entire month of August, I was fried like an egg on a hot and steamy street in New Orleans! That’s why you haven’t heard a peep from me since June.

Now it’s September and I am revived and taking a new adventurous class, Daring Adventures In Paint with Mati Rose McDonough. It’s been absolutely wonderful! Tune in later for my posting on that journey.

First, let’s get back to the beginning of Summer… back to MATS class. There is much to say, so I will break it down into a few parts over a few postings. But oh what a ride MATS class was for me! Ups, downs and everything in between. I learned so much about art, the business of art, how other artists work and function and most of all, I learned a lot about myself. Good things and not so good things. Once class started I knew it would make me or break me. It did both. It broke me, then made me. In between it all I ended up eating a few slices of confidence art pie… find your art voice pie… humble art pie… Well, let’s just say I ate a pie or two or three! And now I’ll (with shaking hands and pounding heart) tell you how I was broken and made and what kinds of pie I ate!

Over Confidence Pie ~ I went into MATS Class with the attitude that I would be tops in class and that everyone would love my work and dote all over it with compliments and eye popping love. I was going to be the teacher’s pet. And I would be top of the world happy.

Well… That didn’t happen. Not even close.

So you wonder, “Why would she even think that way”? Well, I thought that way because that is how most (not all) of my past experience has been. I was tops in art classes. I won awards. I was many a teacher’s pet. And people did and do love my work. So what else would I think… why would this class be any different?

Well, somehow it was different. Very different. Good different.

This class had almost 500 students in it. The student level was from brand new beginner to seasoned “making a living” art professional. And I found myself smack in the middle of the two extremes. A place I had never really been before… And it was a good place to be. I mean, really humbling good! It kinda broke my overconfident “I’m tops” attitude. Why? Because this was the first time I was really, I mean REALLY, pushed to go beyond myself. To go beyond my current skill set. “To boldly go where no artist has been before.” Well, at least where I had never been before.

Not being at the top meant that I had a top to shoot for! I had a new level to reach. And that made me want to be the best. Not just assume (which we know what ASSuming does) that I was the best, ’cause maybe for once I was being shown that maybe I wasn’t “the best” and that I needed to GROW! I did NEED to grow. And I realized that there will always be another level to aspire to. Even those that we think are at the top still have a place they want to go that’s higher than where they are. We never stop growing! There will always be someone behind you and someone ahead of you. You just have to keep moving to the next level that’s ahead of YOU. And… be o.k. with whatever level you are at, knowing that you are in the process of growing.

Confidence is good. You need confidence to be successful. But sometimes over confidence can be harmful. It can keep you from growing. And growing was the main reason I took this class! And you know, sometimes we need a push out of our comfy little nest.  And I was quite cozy in my little “top of the tree” art nest. Lilla was giving me a little push out of my tree and helping to open my eyes to a bigger world. I could see other trees that were growing next to mine… and higher and bigger! Desire for growth began to grow in me. And growing was exactly what I was doing… but with a wee bit of growing pains too : )

Oooey… ouch!

Rachel Fontenot ~ Mod

Rachel Fontenot ~ Mod

To be continued…

Next Up… Value Pie.

Hugs!

Rachel xoxo

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Mushrooms and Casserole Dishes

Well, the Make Art That Sells class is AMAZING! I am growing leaps and bounds, being challenged to the max, learning all kinds of new things and being encouraged around every corner to be myself, to create from a heart of joy and to play and explore!

Here are two pieces of art I created for last weeks class.

Rachel Fontenot ~ Vintage Casserole

Rachel Fontenot ~ Vintage Casserole

 

Rachel Fontenot ~ Retro Kitchen

Rachel Fontenot ~ Retro Kitchen

 

One thing from class I have taken to heart and heard loud and clear is to sketch, sketch, sketch and create as much art as possible so that when the time comes for art to be licensed or sold for a product I am ready!!!

Hope you are out there in the world spreading your creativity and joy : )

Rachel xoxo

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My Journey To Make Art That Sells

Hello! Today is the first day of a grand art learning adventure I have braved to take with artist and top art licensing agent Lilla Rogers of Lilla Rogers Studio. The class is Make Art That Sells and it’s full of amazing artists from around the world! I am super duper excited : )

The class is about making art for art licensing. Never heard of art licensing??? Well, in a nutshell, when you go to any store and see anything with art or a design on it, from a package to plates, from intricate paisleys to simple polka dots, an artist had to create that art or design. The company that made the product you see either bought or licensed that artwork from an artist.  And voila… you have a useful and / or decorative product beautified with awesome art! Pretty neato! So next time you’re shopping, take a look around and think to yourself, “Someone had to dream up that design and get it on that cup!”

Well, I’d like that someone to be ME!!! My dream is to walk into Target or IKEA or World Market or Anthropologie or You Name It and see my artwork on dishes, napkins, bedding, stationary, fabric, kids clothes and more!

And that is why I am in this class. To learn about all the various art licensing markets and how to create art that manufacturers need for their products.

I have been making art since I arrived on this planet Earth! And for the past 20+ years I have been selling my work in galleries, group exhibits and juried art festivals. It has been a wonderful and fun journey. But surface design has been calling to me for quite sometime. I figure it’s time for me to dive into these new waters. I have been learning and reading all I can about the world of surface design. It’s an exciting place and I look forward to the road ahead of me!

To get ready for this adventuresome class I tidied up my studio! Have a peek : )

Rachel Fontenot's Studio

Rachel Fontenot’s Studio

Rachel Fontenot's Studio

Rachel Fontenot’s Studio

Rachel Fontenot's Studio

Rachel Fontenot’s Studio

So, I’m off to the land of mushrooms and casseroles!

Happiness to you!

Rachel xoxo

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Modern art from the Bechtler Collection

I discovered a wonderful modern art museum in Charlotte NC… The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art.  A must see for modern art lovers! They have a wonderful collection of well known and not so well know artists. I discovered two “new to me” artists whose work I am in love with! Alfred Manessier (French 1911-1993) and Gustave Singier (Belgian 1909-1984).

There is little published on these two artists in the United States. I am told they are well known and loved all over Europe! So, I am researching and learning what I can about them.

One thing I learned at the exhibit is that the two artists lived and worked in France, were close friends, and worked with one another throughout their lifetime. Their influence on one another is evident in their artwork.

Here are some works from the exhibit by both artists. I hope they inspire you as much as they did me!

Alfred Manessier ~ Composition, watercolor on paper, 1949

Alfred Manessier ~ Composition, watercolor on paper, 1949

Gustave Singier ~ Soleil / Maree Basse (Sun / Low Tide), watercolor on paper, 1956

Gustave Singier ~ Soleil / Maree Basse (Sun / Low Tide), watercolor on paper, 1956

Gustave Singier ~ Les dunes et le port (The Dunes and The Port), oil on canvas, 1951

Gustave Singier ~ Les dunes et le port (The Dunes and The Port), oil on canvas, 1951

Alfrred Mannessier ~ Port du Nord (Northern Port), oil on canvas,1955

Alfrred Mannessier ~ Port du Nord (Northern Port), oil on canvas,1955

Alfred Manessier ~ Printemps Nordique (Nordic Spring), oil on canvas,1954

Alfred Manessier ~ Printemps Nordique (Nordic Spring), oil on canvas,1954

Gustave Singier ~ Mistral - Nait (Minstral Night), lithograph on paper,1954

Gustave Singier ~ Mistral – Nait (Minstral Night), lithograph on paper,1954

Alfred Manessier ~ Les Cantiques Spirituels de St Jean de la Croix (The Spiritual Canticles of St John of the Cross), lithograph on paper, 1958

Alfred Manessier ~ Les Cantiques Spirituels de St Jean de la Croix (The Spiritual Canticles of St John of the Cross), lithograph on paper, 1958

Gustave Singier ~ Prison pour Danae (Danae's Prison), lithograph on paper, 1962

Gustave Singier ~ Prison pour Danae (Danae’s Prison), lithograph on paper, 1962

Alfrred Manessier ~ Untitled, lithograph on paper, 1963

Alfrred Manessier ~ Untitled, lithograph on paper, 1963

Profitez de l’art moderne!

Rachel xoxo

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Say YES To Creativity

Life is busy! And it gets full of “I have to’s” and “I need to’s” and “they need’s” and “they want’s” that sometimes we get side tracked from our art. And then the “I feel pooped’s” kicks in!

That has been me for the past few months. I have been building my art business (which is a super positive thing!) BUT… I let it (and other life stuff) take over my schedule and derail me from my art making. I dropped my doodle a day exercise, my afternoon of painting/drawing and I even quit crocheting in the evenings! That is a huge derailment for me, cause I’m pretty scheduled and together. But I let all that left brain activity and life stuff take over and invade my art making time and I became too tired and overwhelmed for creativity. A boo hoo thing to happen.

So, how do I get back on track?

I rest. Rest is super important for the brain to function at it’s best!

I return to healthy eating habits (especially if I have been off the healthy wagon).

I take walks outside to be rejuvenated by the sunshine and green trees and blue skies : )

I revisit my dreams and goals (this always get’s me back on track and excited again)! If you’ve never written down your dreams and goals, I encourage you to do so now! It will help you get a clear vision of where you want to go and will help keep you on the creative track!

I read art related magazines, books and blogs.

I peruse Pinterest for inspiration and take in all the color and pattern.

I visit an art museum or gallery.

…and I pick up my sketchbook and pen and begin recording all the wonder around me! I play with my watercolors. I explore and let myself be free and the magic begins to happen as though it had never stopped.

Watercolor Sketch ~ © Rachel Fontenot 2013

Watercolor Sketch ~ © Rachel Fontenot 2013

 

But I think the key to conquering busyness is to never let it get in the way to begin with!

I have made a pact with myself to stick to my schedule of business building in the morning and art creating for the afternoon/evening! Cause that’s what works for me!

And I am a much happier and nicer person when I am making art daily : )

So, if life has taken over your creative time, and you’ve been derailed… just jump off that ol’ busyness train and take a walk in the colorful pastures of art once again. I promise it’s worth the jump!

Happies to you : )

Rachel xoxo

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