Bird & Sunrise photo

Bird & Sunrise photo
Because "someday" is today!

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?....

Monday, January 5, 2015

The 'Fraidy Cat Appears

"Fraidy Cat-updated" 3"x 3" graphite on paper, © 2015 Tina M Welter  Pencil drawing of a wide eyed cat.
"Fraidy Cat-updated" 3"x 3" graphite on paper ©2015
 October, 2013.  It was an intense time.  My Mom had passed away in July, Dad had died the year before in August.  Jeff was graduating with his Masters Degree. We would be moving again soon, we didn't know where.  Along with the grieving, I felt very anxious. Change does that for me. 

All that year, I had been studying about how to start a business.  I really wanted to find a place for my art in the world, to do something good with it, but what?  Everything I read talked about creating a "brand", something that identifies you and your business.  Something that is uniquely you. "Good grief", I said to myself, "what could that possibly be?"  I don't really have a stunning artistic vision.  In fact, I often questioned whether I was a "real" artist.  I happen to like to paint flowers and cats most of the time. Occasionally a landscape, oh my, truly shocking, innovative stuff, I know. I thought about this question for weeks. 

One afternoon, I remember lying on the bed and just thinking about it.  What in the world do I do better than anything?  Then it hit me.  Fear.  I am the complete Mistress of Worry.  I am pretty much anxious about everything. Permanently.Terminally. Anxious. Since I was about six, the world has often seemed a scary place to me.  Anxiety attacks were standard, I just didn't have a name for them until I was 21.

I thought to myself "I am a complete "fraidy cat.".  I always hated being teased about that, but I decided I was finally going to "own it".   I did a quick sketch.  This little drawing reflected exactly what I felt like emotionally then, especially with all the new things I was facing.  I thought, I can talk to people about being afraid and what I have learned about moving forward.  Especially when it comes to creating.

"Fraidy Cat-original" 1.5"x 1.5" pen on paper ©2013 Tina M Welter  Thumbnail drawing in my sketch book of ideas.
My"Fraidy Cat-original" 1.5"x 1.5" pen on paper ©2013
  I can hear y'all saying.  "What are you talking about, Tina?  You've traveled all over, you've lived off the grid with no running water and built your own house for pity sake."  Yes, and I was often gut-wrenchingly frightened a lot of that time.  If I hadn't met and married Jeff, there is a pretty good chance I would have never left my parent's house.  Love doesn't completely cast out all fear, but it certainly helps!

So, that was 2013 and now it is 2015?  Exactly.  It has taken me that long to work up the courage  to open up and talk about this and maybe if I am lucky, I can help myself and some other people along the way too.  I believe creative expression in any form is a key part of being happy, at least it is for me. 

Disclaimer: Now, I know, there are truly horrible things that happen in the world when people have every right to be terrified.  I am not talking about those things.   I am talking about anxiety.   I realize I am not an expert or psychologist, but I have read and learned some good things from people who are.  I truly know that I don't know everything. ;0  Although, helpful suggestions are always appreciated.  :)

If you would like a list of the topics I am planning to cover this year, subscribe to the Confessions of a 'Fraidy Cat newsletter there on the right side of this page.

Happy Fear-less Year!  Thanks so much for reading.

>^-^<  Tina