Bird & Sunrise photo

Bird & Sunrise photo
Because "someday" is today!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Tape Loop

"Tape Loop" 4x4 proportion digital art ©2015 Tina M Welter, artwork for the first song in my album, "The Upside of Down."
"Tape Loop" digital art ©2015

Grief. Stage One...Shock & Denial

July, 2013-I'm standing in my parents bedroom taking pictures after Mom's death. Dad died the year before. I have to leave to travel far away soon and I know that everything will be changed. I am taking pictures because I know it will never be the same. I am thinking of how we leave a record of ourselves, even in where we choose to leave our “stuff”. Mom always hated letting go of things and it shows. But I don't care. It's a part of a record of her, and it will soon be gone. Her plants, Her cluttered dresser tops. Dad's spare change jar, his collection of missionary name tags. 

Everything. Gone. 

I can hardly stand to think about it. This room has been my place of refuge since I was a little girl and I used to climb in bed with them when I had nightmares. I used to watch for their car headlights from their bedroom window. Waiting for them to come home from a rare evening out together. Waiting for that one car to turn down our long lane.  I would go to their room to talk to them when I came in late from high school activities. When at age sixteen, I got my first driving ticket, I came to them in tears. In college, I would come to kiss them goodnight. My room was nearby and I could hear their low muffled voices at night, making me feel so safe as I drifted to sleep. In my middle age, I climbed in between them after they had each had strokes. Knowing then that daybreak wasn't going to take this bad dream away.  No, I don't want to change anything. If everything stays the same, I can believe that they might still come home.

April 18th is their wedding anniversary.

Mom & Dad, this song is for you... and for all of us who have lost someone irreplaceable.

Tape Loop- click this link to hear the song on soundcloud 

Love, Tina

Thanks to everyone who encouraged me to face my anxiety and finish the songs.
Image, lyrics and music copyright 2014-15 Tina M Welter
all rights reserved.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Twinks loves Easter

"Twinks Loves Easter" oil on gessobord © 2015 Tina M Welter  Grey and white striped cat with a happy face in an Easter basket.
"Twinks loves Easter" 10"x 8" oil on gessobord
Twinks is a pretty little cat I had the chance to "cat sit" for ten days for a neighbor.  She is a cat after my own heart, since she is shy and a bit of a 'fraidy cat too.  After she decided I was all right, there wasn't enough ear scratching possible, which is why I took my camera to catch her rubbing her ears on her basket.  I find her smile irresistible. 

This is a fairly new style for me to try, since I added a lot more elements than are in the original photo.  To help myself, I actually created a digital collage first of what I wanted the finished painting to look like.  It did help, but I still encountered a good bit of creative anxiety in dealing with the complex weave of the basket and the grass texture had me worried too.

Even more powerful was the huge dose of the discouragement tar on my soul that was really slowing me down.  This last month I have finally had to admit that financially, I need to go find another job.  I have been putting all my energy this last year into getting my on-line art business up and going. I am maintaining a regular presence on Etsy, Fine Art America, Instagram,Twitter,Pinterest, Facebook and Blogspot, plus launched a newsletter, but it just isn't enough yet.  It's been hard for me to come to terms with.  I always think if I just work harder, the money will happen, which may be true, but in this case it just isn't happening fast enough.  Since I was so focused on achieving this particular goal, job hunting feels like I failed and that is a distracting emotion. Plus, I get this awful little voice in my head telling me "why paint and push yourself so hard, no one really cares if you get it done on time or not".  This may be true, but it isn't a particularly helpful or motivating voice. 

In thinking it over, I am actually proud of myself for fighting through the discouragement sludge and getting this painting completed, even if I missed my deadline.  Twinks really is adorable and that doesn't change.  I hope her smile is contagious for you too, no matter what time of year it is. 
What do you tell yourself to get out of the discouragement tar pit?


ps. I'll be sharing my digital collage with my newsletter subscribers in the next issue. If you are interested,please sign up and get my latest newsletter about "To Fear or Not to Fear" as well.

If you would like to see an example of one my newsletters, here is one I posted on LinkedIn.  Fear Equals "Real" Artist? (click to read)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Solo vs. Duo

"A Time to Dance" 7"x 5" oil on gessobord, ©2014 Tina M Welter.  Two Swallowtail butterflies dance in the sunshine.
"A Time to Dance" 7"x 5" oil on gessobord
I really debated about writing this post or not.  Is it a good thing to show the "behind the scenes" goofs?  Does it take away the magic and mystery of art making if I do so, or does it help others to know that not all creative ideas work out perfectly?  Since I have publicly declared my desire to question my own perfectionist inner voices this year, (RE:Is Your Best Ever Good Enough?)I decided to share this even if it makes me a little anxious to do so. 

"A Time to Dance" was inspired by a lovely pair of swallowtail butterflies flying in the sun with a wall in shadow behind them.  The green bar on the left of the painting wasn't there at first.  When I had finished painting, I just felt something was off. I showed it to Jeff and he mentioned that the proportion of the photo I was working with was different than the 5"x 7" gessobord I was using.  Good grief, I couldn't believe I had missed that!  I added the green bar to adjust for my mistake.  It is an o.k. solution, but I felt the whole painting just didn't capture the movement and joy that I had envisioned.  Sigh.  I set it aside and went on to other things.

"A Time to Dance Solo" 8"x 10" digital detail of the original oil painting, ©2015 Tina M Welter  A single yellow swallowtail butterfly with sunlight on it's wings.
"A Time to Dance Solo" 8"x 10" digital detail of the original painting.
Recently I had a chance to learn how to better use the Pixelmator program on my computer and that started me thinking about this painting again.  What if I took a new photo, cropped it, and figured out how to add my signature to the new image?  It took some doing, but eventually I had something I was really pleased with.  I like the larger brush strokes and the butterfly just feels less static to me.  The other great thing is that I can make nice prints from the new image, so in essence, it is another piece of art in it's own right.

So what do you think?  Do you prefer the "duo" or the "solo" dance?  Does it ruin the mystery of a piece of art to tell the secrets about it's creation? Let me know what you think in the comments here or on facebook.

Happy fear-less creating!


If you would like to see how "A Time to Dance Solo" looks on a card, canvas print or pillow, click here to visit my FineArtAmerica site.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


"Lucky" 7"x 5" oil on gessobord ©2015 Tina M Welter- Black kitten sitting in a field of clovers
"Lucky" 7"x 5" oil on gessobord ©2015
Oh those moments, when it is hard to believe that what I do affects anything or anyone and I struggle with believing in myself. Sometimes it seems easier to freeze and not make a decision, especially when I don't expect to find a solution that will work for me. When I stopped and really asked myself "why" for this post, I was surprised to find that underlying all of these beliefs is the feeling that I am trying to avoid the pain of disappointment.

I have lived 26 years with a person who amazes me because his approach is so opposite to mine.  Over all these years, I've been able to see for myself whose approach gets the better results. :0  I have lost track of how many times I have heard people tell Jeff "oh, you are so lucky..."  I've tried to learn from him and for today's post, I am going to share with you some of Jeff's thoughts on luck.

Jeff''s basic recipe is:
Luck = preparation and awareness

His steps are:
-Decide what he would like.
-See what is available.
-Analyze resources.
-When the right combination comes together, don't hesitate.

Seems simple enough, but what people don't see but I do, is the hours and hours he puts into doing these steps over and over.  It's like he has all these possibility puzzle pieces in his head and part of his fun is testing out all the ways they could fit together.

Other key aspects I have observed:

An optimistic outlook.  Jeff expects success, he sees the world as full of possibilities.   I, on the other hand, can immediately see everything that can go wrong.

Flexibility.  This includes considering unconventional solutions and an ability to allow a plan to change.  I can get so fixated on only one possible solution, that this one plan is all I can see.

Accept that there will be big disappointments!  I was stunned when he said this, since this is my underlying fear that I mentioned before.  Somehow it never dawned on me that he takes that part of it into account.

Getting a step closer to your goal is great, even if it isn't your perfect solution.  I want the whole perfect answer in one nice package!

Have these two different view points ever caused friction in our marriage?  Oh baby, yes!  I think we could have lit a few cities with the energy released in some of our discussions, especially early in our marriage.  But my point of view was always considered and ultimately we made the decisions together.  I've just learned to appreciate better what Jeff so naturally does.

 Tweet: Luck grows in the garden of action.#feelinglucky #luckykitty @TinaWelter grows in the garden of action.

Obviously, I'm not saying we can control everything, and we are genuinely grateful every time a plan falls into place.  I'm just recognizing that there are actual mindsets and actions to increase the odds of finding that four leaf clover!

>^-^<  Tina

If you are interested in a greeting card of "Lucky", please Click here to visit Tina's Fine Art America site

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Upside of Down

"The Upside of Down" 5"x 7" oil on gessobord, ©2014 Tina M Welter, my first album of songs.
"The Upside of Down" 5"x 7" oil on gessobord, ©2014
Today I want to share with you my scariest goal ever.  Boy, I hope I don't regret this.

I had an experience that really spoke to my heart when I was about nine.  I was a big fan of Karen Carpenter and loved to hear her music on the radio.  I was alone in the kitchen one summer evening listening to "On Top of the World" (1973) it made me so happy, I just had to go outside and sing. I used to make up songs all the time when I was a kid and I decided right then that the best thing in the world I could ever do was to sing my songs on the radio and make people feel happy.

I never completely forgot this dream, but as I got older I could see it wasn't that simple to do.  Add to that being super shy and doubting my ability, I didn't tell anyone what I wanted.  I would make up songs on the piano, but I didn't know how to write them down properly.   I was taking piano lessons, but not composition. I didn't really believe that I could learn to do such a thing. 

I mentioned in a recent post that both my parents passed away within a year of each other, my Dad in 2012 and my Mom in 2013. They weren't just my parents, I felt they were two of my dearest friends. They were people I felt really safe with and whom I knew would always love me.  I dreaded the day they would die. When that day finally came, it was just as bad as I imagined it. Worse.  I didn't know the emotional pain would be so intense and last so long.  I didn't know I would wake up in the middle of the night for months with that pain of missing them. 

Experiencing Grief is hard for anyone and it has been a long process for me. I discovered that when I was having a really hard time, writing music seemed to help, either take me out of the pain or help me process by clarifying what I was feeling into words. 

Last year, January 2014, I made a promise to myself, I was going to complete those songs for each stage of grief I had experienced and dedicate the album to my parents.  It was a huge goal.  I had just finished two on-line courses, one on song lyric writing and the other on how to use a DAW (digital audio workstation) to record and mix music. Years later, technology was finally made up for my limitations in music making!

The question is, should I ever share this album?  

I went round and round in my mind about this decision, and I found three reasons to share.

1-I want to show that I am not just telling people to face their inner 'fraidy cat, that I am actually willing to do it myself. I have improved on facing the fear of sharing my artwork, but sharing my music terrifies me to the core. I feel like I am such a beginner and I know I am so far from knowing what I am doing. Since it is such a personal project, being open to possible criticism feels extra risky!

2-Reading about other people's experiences with grief on the facebook page "Second Chances" has been helpful to me, so I thought perhaps I could do the same for other people in my own way.

3-I have also discovered that as I am beginning to feel better, it is easy to run out of steam on a big project like this and by telling other people, it helps me be more accountable to finish it.

It's been a year since I set my goal and how am I doing?   I have completed the painting for the the album cover and I have the title, "The Upside of Down." I have about three songs close to being finished, three more roughed out and number seven, the last step, isn't written at all.  I'm not sure I've really experienced that step long enough yet so that I can write about it.

If there is interest, I will commit to sharing the songs as I complete them with those who have subscribed to my "Confessions of a 'Fraidy Cat newsletter.  Baby steps, right?  Let me know if you are interested in hearing them by signing up, or by commenting here or on facebook.

Facing the fear...
>^-^<  Tina  

Monday, February 2, 2015

Got Anxiety? Find a Friend!

"Best Friends" 8"x 10" oil on gessobord, ©2015 Tina M Welter  Grey and White cats together on flowered pillow and red violet background with hearts.
"Best Friends" 8"x 10" oil on gessobord, ©2015
This post is in honor of those friendships and loves that push us to go beyond what we think we can do ourselves.

I mentioned in my original 'Fraidy Cat post  how "love doesn't cast out all fear, but it helps."  I really wanted to illustrate how much that has been true for me.

Here is a list of examples of fear producing situations I know I faced because of Jeff.

- Facing the anxiety of boxing up all my belongings.   
   (I had never moved everything I owned before.)
- Driving a stick-shift truck and facing the uncertainty of using a clutch on a hill.
- Driving all the way to Alaska with no cell phones or GPS.
- Practice calling people I don't know well on the telephone.
   (I had a terrible phobia of this when we were first married- goofy, I know!)
- How to take action when you want a really big dream to come true.
- How to face disapproval of your dreams from others.
- Selling our first house.
- Moving to Montana and living in the woods with all those trees and bears. 
   (I'm serious, the trees used to make me feel claustrophobic!)
- Learn all about living off grid and generating our own electricity.
- Facing the fear of drinking lake water.
- Practicing how to have faith and move forward by letting go.
- Learning how to make stained glass art.
- Moving to the mountains of New Mexico. 
- Learning I could drive 700 miles successfully by myself.
- Building a house from scratch on bare land.
- Learning how to snowboard.
- How to organize, produce, and perform in our own play.
- Facing my fear of flying.
- How to let go of a dream that we have worked 15 years to achieve.
  ( face the fear of change and let go again.)
- Living in a foreign country and trying to learn the language.
- Dealing with my insecurities to keep writing music and painting.

It's not that Jeff isn't afraid, but it usually hits him later than sooner and by that time I can encourage him.  The idea is to help each other and eventually both of us feel better. 

I heartily recommend to anyone who is looking to overcome a fear, find a friend or someone you trust, who is a little bit less afraid than you are that you can be accountable to. This has made all the difference in the world for me to really dig deep and get the motivation and practice I needed in facing my fears.

So, when facing anxiety, keep these three things in mind: 

1.  Anxiety? Find a friend who is a little bit less afraid than you are! (click bird to tweet) Tweet: Anxiety?Find a friend who is a little bit less afraid than you are! #fraidycat #creativeanxiety @TinaWelter

2. Be willing to try.  Jeff always told me that my willingness to try always made a difference.   I know that mindset does help me. I am often frightened, but usually willing to try.
3. Bonus!  Keep in mind that this is one way the questionable habit of people pleasing can actually be useful!  :0

Happy Valentine's day Jeff,  

I know I would have lived a completely different life without you. 

>^-^<   Tina 

If you would like to purchase a print or greeting card of "Best Friends" for yourself, please click here to visit my Fine Art America site.

Why does it seem that I don't learn I am capable from my successes?  

I delve into this question in my "Confessions of a 'Fraidy Cat" newsletter from last week, "Walking the Tightrope?"  If you would like to read what my answer was, fill out the subscription box on the right and I will send you last week's issue.

'Fraidy Cat Walks the Mental Tightrope" original drawing ©2015 Tina M Welter  Cat walking over a shark tank on a tightrope.
'Fraidy Cat Walks the Mental Tightrope" ©2015

Sunday, January 18, 2015

All About Babe

"Babe" 8"x 6" watercolor on 200lb coldpress paper, ©2014 Tina M Welter  Portrait of a Great Pyrenees dog.
"Babe" 8"x 6" watercolor  ©2014 Tina M Welter
Babe is a beautiful 7 year old Great Pyrenees who belongs to my friend Carol in Kentucky.  Carol is also an artist and when I shared with her my painting of Kirk (click to see Kirk), she asked about a commission for her dog, Babe, whom Carol says is the "best dog she has ever had." 

I started to feel my inner 'Fraidy Cat start getting nervous & fluffing up her fur.  I was fairly confident about painting Kirk because I was able to take the photographs myself, could I paint a good portrait from someone else's photos?  Could we communicate well enough through e-mail if I needed to make adjustments?  What about packing and shipping original art from New Zealand to Kentucky?  How to get paid? Plus, white fur!  When painting white, it means you use a lot of colors to give the illusion of white, it is tricky.

Babe at home. photo © Carol Bowles  The "best dog she ever had" Great Pyrenees dog.
Babe, "the best dog she ever had" © Carol Bowles
Here is the original photo from Carol's phone that she sent me.  This was her favorite photo of Babe.  It was quite small and I wondered if I would be able to work from it. 

What helped me calm my 'Fraidy cat the most was how much I wanted to do this painting.  A strong desire plus dealing with one anxiety at a time.  It feels like such an honor to be asked to paint a beloved pet.  I know it is a painting that will be loved and enjoyed, and that means a lot to me. 

Facing the anxiety:  I could lighten and enlarge the photo using the preview tools on my Mac computer.  Using the larger photo, did sketches to move Babe's favorite toy forward.   Looked up postal shipping rates online. Found Saachi art had a great tutorial on how to pack paintings to ship.  Did palette and small watercolor sketch tests to figure out the colors.  E-mailed a photo of the completed painting to Carol.  Carol wanted a small adjustment to the eyes, and I was able to do that too.  I was a bit anxious waiting the three weeks it took to arrive in Kentucky, but it did make it just fine. Paypal took care of the payment.  Success!

The lesson I am trying to remember when my anxiety fur gets raised is this:

Just because I haven't done it before, doesn't mean it can't be done! 
(click icon to tweet)
Tweet: Just because I haven't done it before, doesn't mean it can't be done! #creativeanxiety @Tina Welter

This seems simple, but for some reason I often forget this lesson, even after I have been successful.   I don't know, but I hope writing about and sharing it will help me to lock it in.

Happy fear-less creating.

 >^-^< Tina

P.S. Would you like to read my 'Fraidy cat newsletter from last week, "Getting on the Airplane", which was only sent to my subscribers? Then subscribe to the newsletter on the right and I will e-mail you last weeks news letter...
"Fraidy Cat Get on the Airplane" 2.5" x 3.5" graphite on paper ©2015 Tina M Welter, illustration of my fear of flying featuring my 'Fraidy Cat avatar.
"Fraidy Cat Gets on the Airplane" 2.5"x 3.5" graphite on paper
Here's an excerpt:
Getting on the Airplane

Now this is something that is probably going to sound so goofy to some people.  Remember,one man's fear is another man's idea of fun. ;0

Many, many years ago, the year 2000 I think, Jeff decided he wanted to take a trip to the Big Island of Hawaii.  Great, I had actually been interested in seeing Hawaii myself, but there was just one problem, I was terrified of getting in a airplane.  Not the flying part so much, I believed all those statistics that said flying was more safe than driving on the freeway in your car.  It was the claustrophobia of getting on the airplane with all those people, the lack of control.  Just the thought of it would send my heart racing.

Jeff being Jeff, he was determined to go.  I could choose to go or not to go as I wished, but he was going.  What was I going to do?....