Traveling on a Dime

Okay, it sounds funny, traveling on a dime I know, so let me back up a bit.  I once had a very good friend named Deb.  She was absolutely hilarious, beautiful, witty and an awesome wife and mother, etc…   She was a big believer and supporter in my art, and used to say to me constantly, “Oh the places you will go”, she even bought me the Dr. Seuss book.  When she got sick, and passed away 3 years ago, some of her very best friends took her 13 yr old daughter Chloe to New York.  It was a trip that Deb planned on making with Chloe, yet sadly, she didn’t make it.  😦  Her girlfriends took Chloe to Bergdorf Goodman’s and bought her a beautiful dress and shoes, then took her to a Broadway play, and had a wonderful evening.  In New York, they kept finding dimes everywhere.  They thought, “What is up with the dimes??”  They ended up looking up the meaning & it meant something along the lines of “a beloved one that has passed, is with you in spirit”.  Well, that blew them all away and nowadays, dimes are just special!

Fast forward to now.  In November, I received an email from an artist I follow named Nicholas Wilton.  He holds many art retreats and he emailed out that he was holding one in Molokai, Hawaii in January 2015.  My first reaction was, “Oh my gosh, that would be awesome”, my second, “I couldn’t possibly do that at this point in my life” (4 busy kids, family, pets….etc..).  So I dismissed it.  Later that day I went into my basement to workout, and what do I find on the floor?   Strangely enough, a dime!    I remembered Deb, and her comment to me “Oh the places you will go”.  At that moment, in my mind, Hawaii became a viable option.
I thought  a roadblock would be – what my family thought about it.  Me going to Hawaii without them and the jealousy that may cause (they all want to go to Hawaii!).  I couldn’t have been further from the truth.  My family was so amazing at hearing my wishes, and supported me and my oldest daughter said, “Mom, you need to just go!”  It caught me off guard and made me cry.  Many more supportive things were said from them, and it still warms my heart to this day. My husband at first wasn’t too eager about it, as he is fixing cars in the dead of winter, yet in the end he was in full support and knew that I needed to be with other like minded art people.
So I went to Hawaii, and met so many awesome artists (my people), and also had an amazing experience staying at the Hui’ O’olana.  The funny part of it, I didn’t realize it was an art retreat for abstract artists, and well….. I’m a realist artist.  In the end, it didn’t matter one bit and I learned a lot about my own craft through the direction of our awesome teacher and mentor Nicholas Wilton.


So that’s my dime story.  I still miss my friend dearly, yet she is still so alive in my mind.  And I truly feel like her spirit got me across that Pacific Ocean to paradise for a week, so thank you Deb!

Thanks for reading!  Lynn Garwood
    

Upcoming on March 13th, 2015 – the opening for a solo art showing at the Custom’s House Museum in Clarksville, TN.

Joy

Ahhh, To feel joy, when things around you suggest otherwise.  It seems as though that would be quite hard to do.  Yet have you been feeling somewhat normal, and someone tells a joke that you find extremely funny?  In that moment, you went from feeling neutral to happier, in an instant. What happened there?  Your focus was diverted off of neutrality to something you found funny.  Just like when a mother distracts her toddler off of something undesirable by giving them a toy. Refocusing my attentions gives me the power to feel however I want.  Today, I choose to feel Joy.  When my focus gets diverted by the other estimated 50,000-70,000 thoughts I think on any given day,(yes, that does include judging how others carry out their lives).  I choose to grab my focus back. Easy work? Ugh, no!  Simple, heck yeah.  The word of the day for me is……Joy.

Jagger is back!

Jagger is back!

“Old Ford Flatbed”, in the works, by artist Lynn Garwood

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Peace is the word in the underpainting

 

My name is Lynn Garwood, an artist living in Burlington, WI. In the summer of 2014, I painted “Old Ford Flatbed”, (36”x48” acrylic painting). In all of my paintings, I paint a favorite word or quote that has meaning for me. I believe words have a powerful influence in our lives, so I generally will choose a word that I would like to feel more of. The underneath word in “Old Ford Flatbed” is “Peace”.

At this time, our family cat went missing, my family was heartbroken and I too wanted to feel more peace in my life. The scene is staged in my backyard farm field in Southern Wisconsin. A friend of mine brought this truck over, because he loved it and he thought it would be a great subject matter for me. I love vintage trucks!!! This one is a 1937 Ford Flatbed. He left it with me for 2 weeks, and both night & day, rain or shine, I went out and photographed it in different settings. This sunset scene was my favorite and it felt the most peaceful. It took me about 3 months to finish this painting. I first paint my canvas many colors, so that I don’t have to work on a white backround. I then add my word of choice, and then eventually paint over it. My hope is, whoever views it will subliminally feel peace. My thought is, it could not hurt! 🙂 The good news is that our beloved cat “Jagger” did find his way home, yet not before the painting was finished. The truck was sold off right after my friend picked it back up.

http://www.lynngarwood.comme painting Old ford flatbed

"Old Ford Flatbed" 36x48" acrylic painting, 2014

“Old Ford Flatbed” 36×48″ acrylic painting, 2014

Growth is NOT for Sissies!

Holy smokes!  Growth is not for sissies!  At this point in time and space I’m developing an art career.  I’ve been a quiet artist for quite some time, quietly raising my family, quietly painting away at night.  Here and there people would express interest in buying some of my pieces, and I would think to myself “I’m not ready yet, but someday….”  I wanted first to do the job at hand, and the job at hand was mothering.

Fast forward a few years, kids are growing up, and now I’m painting during the day as well.  I’ve decided its time to take it to the next level and try to become an artist who actually makes money.  I took a marketing course and boy of boy did this blast some bricks in my Great Wall of China brain.  I found I have some great resistances to doing certain things, like talking about myself.  (Your reading this, so check that off, done.)  Learning how to work with email responders and Search Engine Optimizers, Analytics……  I have entered a new language and feel as if I fell down a rabbit hole.

Growth doesn’t come easy for me, actually, it’s quite painful.  One of my friends says that if your comfortable, you aren’t growing.  So true, so true.  In this particular learning curve of the moment, lots of bubbles are breaking apart in my head, such as the fairytale bubble.  “One day, my agent will come and sweep me off my feet and take me to a castle and sell my artwork for millions of dollars”  NOT!  No prince charming agent in this story 🙂

I’m glad I’m going through this process, because it is helping me to pull on my overalls, grow up,  and start digging for success.  So I will gladly take my growth with a side of discomfort, and hopefully,hopefully………. the dessert will be sweet.

http://www.lynngarwood.com

"Old Ford Flatbed" 36x48" acrylic painting, 2014

My latest piece, “Old Ford Flatbed” 36×48″ acrylic painting, 2014

Certainly Uncertain

If there ever was a stand out feeling in my life, it would be uncertainty.  It feels vague, yet heavy, and is like a big question mark with a side of struggle.  It’s an ever pervasive feeling that is woven right into the fabric of my everyday being.  I’m wondering often….

mindlessly doodling with no direction

~Am I saying or doing the right thing?

~Am I creating art that is worthy?

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mindlessly sketching.

I’ve read that the feelings we are having right now, in this moment, are the most important ones.  They shuffle in our next moments of reality.  If I’m focused on how flawed someone is, I may likely act out in some form or judge them .  If I’m focused on how beautiful something is, then in the next moment, I will probably overlook someones flaws and refrain from judging their reality.  What can uncertainty bring?  It usually has me uncomfortably reaching for the next idea, or better feeling.  In other words, growing.

Writers write, singers sing, artists paint or draw their uncertainty, yet probably won’t show anyone what they came up with.  It might be messy and disconnected as far as art goes, yet I prefer rolling up my sleeves and  getting my hands dirty anyways, and yes, waste a little time.  It’s a lot more liberating than being frozen or stuck in myself.  When feeling uncertain, I will create bad art and tuck it away for reflection at a different time.  I typically will walk away from the piece before its finished.  More often than not, It’s usually telling me something of how I was living or feeling at the time.  The best I can do each day is ask for God’s direction and go with my gut feeling, and create bad art.

Watch what you say……to yourself!!

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Doodling at Caribou, Lake Geneva, WI

The Huffington Post claims that we have anywhere from 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day.  Years back, this number was about 20,000 thoughts per day.  Either way, that’s a lot of thoughts!  Most thoughts come in the form of questions,

~“How do I feel about that?”

~“Why doesn’t anyone pick up after themselves?”

~“Do I look fat?”

~“Did anyone just notice that I did that?”

Most of these thoughts can fall just below the radar of noticing them;  a mind chatter, or as some lovingly refer to it as the “committee in my head”.

After the birth of my 4th child, I had postpartum depression that went on and on for years.  Medications took the edge off at times, yet I constantly felt that pervasive “LOW” feeling, all of the time.  I decided to take a closer look at my thought life and just observed what I was saying to myself.

Well….. they weren’t pretty.  It was a constant stream of critique, discontent, tiredness, irritation, coupled with low self worth.  Where did that free spirited, positive thinking, independent high school girl go?  Who knows.

What I do know is I was hypnotizing myself with my mind chatter.  I decided it was time to take better control of my thinking, as best as I could.  I began to implant new thoughts ~Gratitude, Peace, Love.  I decided if my mind was chattering with negativity, I would make it chatter with positivity.  It was an action I could take to steer my thoughts back on the road, instead of going on pointless detours, bringing me further away from fulfillment as a person.  It wasn’t easy, it was work, uphill, against the wind, in the rain work.  Yet it worked.

Today, I watch what I hypnotize myself with.  If I’m driving, and I don’t remember going from Point A to Point B, because I’m lost in my thoughts.  I’m hypnotizedIf it is with feelings of gratitude, joy, peace and love, well that’s lovely.  Yet, I’ve found more often, that I need to work at cultivating those feelings by action.  Most of my automatic thoughts don’t serve me well.  Positive feelings don’t come as easily as judgement, irritation, overwhelm, strife & ____________(you name it!).

Today, take notice of what you are hypnotizing yourself with.  If it serves you, great!  If it’s a disservice to yourself, as a person and the world in general, you can choose to weed that thought by planting a better one instead.

Make it a GREAT day!!!!

A Grateful Heart, Makes Great Art.

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Old Lady Mildred’s 30×40″ acrylic Gratitude is painted on underneath

I really believe in the power of thought and the words we use in our everyday lives.  How many times have we gotten out of someones way, because you thought perhaps, this is someone I would rather avoid, for whatever reason?  If I walk around all grumpy and discontented, well, people get it, and generally will head in the opposite direction and avoid eye contact.

Personally, I have struggled with many demons in my lifetime.  I have abused myself with overeating, over drinking, indulged myself with self-pity, discontentment. etc… At times, I thought “What’s it all worth?”  Being on this planet for roughly 50 years has schooled me in many ways, pain being the biggest teacher.   A tool learned that helped me immeasurably is to be grateful, even when the evidence seems contrary.

Years ago, I started writing down all that I am grateful for every morning.  Through the day, I continue the practice.  When feeling discontented about something, I think of what I’m grateful for.  In all of my paintings, I write a word on the canvas before I begin painting over it, oftentimes “Gratitude” has been the word I chose.  What mood I bring to my paintings I feel impacts the art, so my goal is to bring joy and gratitude into my art.  The practice of gratitude truly transformed my life, I became much happier, and more importantly, I don’t take so many things for granted.  They are all gifts!

If your interested in starting your own gratitude process, I will lay out a few suggestions.

  • Get a Notebook, or Sketchbook
  • When you wake up in the A.M., start listing what your are grateful for, write it, doodle it…
  • When feeling harassed, switch your thinking instead to something you could be grateful for.

Good luck!