Want more joy, creativity, and fun in your life? I can help!

Well it’s been ages since I’ve but rest assured, I’m still working away in the studio, still making Joy. I’ve added new paintings to my website so you can see some of my latest works over there. In addition to painting, I’ve got some news on what I’m doing to create more Joy in the world through my coaching and creative practice--and how I can help you add more creativity and fun to your life!

Shows
Two shows are coming up—both in Seattle and it would mean so much to see you at both or either of them! These shows are centered around Joy--the luscious, vibrant colors you've come to expect, strengthened after a year of painting every day in 2018.
Saturday, April 13 at Locust Cider in Ballard, Seattle (near where the Ballard Market takes place). This show will be the debut of my City Joy series! I'll be there from 6-9 pm. Come see what happens when Joy meet maps of Seattle, Ballard, London, Boston, and more. (PS--The Cider at Locust Cider is the best I've ever had--just one more reason to stop by!) Details

Saturday, May 11 at Classic Consignment in Ballard, Seattle. I am SO EXCITED to have been invited to show again in the beautiful gallery in Classic Consignment in Ballard, Seattle. This show will feature the latest works from my What 3 Colors Bring You Joy? series—including a many new pieces! I'll be there from 6-9 pm and it will be a super fun opening--would love to see you!! Details
Teaching
Have you wondered how I paint Joy? Would you like to learn...while also sipping a delightful cocktail or mocktail? Then sign up for my Canvas and Cocktails: Cherry Blossom Edition class at Studio Life in the Ravenna neighborhood of Seattle. Perfect for couples looking for a fun date night or a get together with your friends or coworkers, this one evening class will give you the supplies and training you need to create your own Joy—Cherry Blossom style! (And because you are reading my blog, register with the secret code BLOSSOM to get a 5% discount!) At the end of the class, you will have enjoyed a new cocktail or mocktail and will leave with your painting, step by step handouts—plus a stash of art supplies so you can keep practicing at home! Spaces are filling up--register today! Class is $105 (before the discount) and takes place Thursday, April 18, from 7-9 pm! Register
Coaching and The Artist's Way Workshop
I have had the great joy to coach more artists on building their practice, their business, and their confidence—through one on one and group Mastermind coaching. This is my heart’s work and I love empowering artists to grow their creative self-expression and business! If you are an artist and curious about online/virtual coaching, please let me know. My individual spots are filled until summer, but I still have one or two spaces in my Advanced and Intermediate Mastermind Groups that meet online weekly. The groups are really affordable ($200 a month) compared to most professional Mastermind groups and include a host of additional benefits. To find out more, send a reply message for details.

If you are in Seattle, clear your calendar on Monday evenings and join my 12 Week Artist's Way Workshop at Studio Life in Ravenna, Seattle! Julia Cameron's book changed my life forever and I am thrilled to bring her wisdom into the room to help us navigate what it means and how to live life more creatively! As a professional, trained facilitator who knows first hand what it's like to be an artist, or wanting to be an artist, I am pleased to offer this workshop $425 (includes a copy of Cameron's book, refreshments at the weekly workshop, and a professional facilitated community of fellow creatives). There are just a few spots left and the 12-week workshop begins Monday, April 15. Don't miss out! Register today!

And if you're not in Seattle, that's ok. I'm working on a Virtual Artist's Way Workshop for later this year. Message me if you want to be part of that group!

City Joy | Boston 20"x24” Acrylic painting on gallery-wrapped canvas, wired and ready to hang in your home or office. $975. Price includes shipping. Add to your collection.

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Uncertain | Voting

Since I have been eligible to vote, there have been maybe just two or three elections I haven’t voted in. I am a naturalized American citizen—I was born in England and we came to the U.S. when I was two years old.

My parents were politically active in England and used to go door to door, canvasing for their candidates. We lived in the States for fourteen years before they became citizens and could vote—so they instilled in me the urgency and importance of voting. Every. Single. Election. I vote in the big elections, in the local elections, in the mid term elections. Hell, I even overnight mailed in my absentee ballot from England, where I was studying my junior year of college. It was that important (and, yes, I had procrastinated that much).

In 2016, the people who could but did not vote decided the outcome. About 47% of registered voters in the U.S. didn’t vote. If they had voted, the outcome may have been different.

I have since 8 pm Pacific time on November 8, 2016—when Florida went red—had a rough, woolen blanket of anxiety wrapped around my solar plexus. It goes with me everywhere. It makes me feel vaguely nauseated every day. It can keep me from breathing deeply. For two years. Feeling like I need to puke and can’t breathe—for two years. It’s like a dull terror. What will happen. What will happen. What will happen. Can I breathe. Will I breathe. What will happen. What will happen.

And it’s the height of privilege that I’ve only had this blanket for two years. Millions world wide, and here in the U.S. have lived with this dull terror every day of their lives as subjects of systematized racism. Much of my work for the last two years has been to learn them how you go on. How you function when your blanket of anxiety is squeezing you, keeping you from breathing.

I’ve learned you take action—whatever action you can. You get out of your comfort zone. You stretch. You talk to others. Create community. Have real conversations about what matters. Check in on your gay, lesbian, trans, black, brown, Jewish, and marginalized friends. See how they are doing. You exercise. You breathe deep. You meditate. You find some way to express yourself creatively. You eat more vegetables and less sugar. But you keep taking action.

We need checks and balances back in our system—which means having at least the House of Representatives or Senate go blue—and right now I’m not sure we will get them. And if we don’t, it is very dark what comes next.

There it is. The blanket of anxiety wraps tighter the closer we get to next Tuesday, November 6. There are times, I’m not sure I can manage it. Manage the anxiety. The dull terror. I am new to this. By virtue of the accident the life and skin color I was born into, I am new to this.

We have seen the erosion of norms I had taken for granted as a white, middle-class, suburban child growing up in New England. I had taken for granted that the U.S. would always be a democracy. Taken for granted that, as a naturalized citizen, I would always be able vote. Taken for granted that, as a woman, I would always be able to vote. It was naïve. I know that now. There is nothing we can take for granted. All of it is at stake.

It is uncertain.

#UncertainDispatches #NaNoWriMo

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Uncertain | Mory and the Raccoon

Before a week ago Wednesday, I was knew one thing: if anyone ever tried to attack me while I was walking my dog—a gorgeous, earnest, and funny Golden Retriever Chow Chow mix—he would overwhelm them. A sweet, playful, and cuddly Retriever indoors, Mory turns into a barking tornado outdoors. All sorts of things set him off—squirrels (natch), bunnies, crows, pigeons, cats, other dogs, kids with backpacks, kids on skateboards, bicycles, any form of public transit, trucks, and even babies in strollers. We rescued him as an adult dog, so my work with him has been to mitigate the torrent of barking as much as I can with Rocco and Roxie’s beef jerky treats.

At first his behavior exhausted me, but over time I came to understand this was his Chow Chow side and he was protecting me. As a petite woman, having a dog with guard dog instincts suddenly gave me more confidence. I felt really safe with him. While still sensible, I felt more comfortable about taking walks on my own, as long as I had Mory. I knew he would at least raise an alarm and give us a chance to fight back or get away if we were in peril.

And then we were attacked.

It was late in the day, almost 11 p.m., and we went out for our usual last quick walk of the day. We were just outside out our front door when Mory saw a raccoon in the cedar tree in our front yard. We’ve seen raccoons there before and never had a problem--he barks; they go up the tree; we go on our way. No problem.

This night, as usual, he started barking. “You tell him,” I said—not knowing. Not knowing how dangerous raccoons could be if they felt threatened. Not knowing until seconds before that there was an adult baby raccoon up in the tree and this was its mother who was going to protect it. And then in a flash I knew. The raccoon stopped, stared, adn then ran at Mory, attacking him viciously—biting and scratching. I was screaming, trying to pull Mory off the path and back into the house. The force of the attack pushed them into our driveway. Mory was screaming. I was screaming. And in that moment I noticed I was alone. No one was coming. We were alone.

I kept pulling and pulling, and screaming and screaming, trying to get us back into the house. I got us closer. And then I heard my a voice in my head say calmly, “Kick it.” I did. "Get off my Dog!" Again and again. I got the 40 lb. beast off of Mory. We ran to the porch and got part way up the stairs. The raccoon followed and kept attacking Mory’s feet and tail. Mory was screaming. I was screaming. We were alone. I kept pulling and pulling. Screaming and screaming. I unlocked the door. I pulled him in. I closed the door…on his foot. Mory screamed. The raccoon was still on his foot. Chewing his foot. Its nose was over the threshold. “Not in my house. Not in my house. It cannot come in my house,” another voice in my head said. I got a glancing kick at its head and it was enough. It startled, let go, I pulled Mory’s foot in and slammed the door.

We were safe. He had bites and scratches, but did not need stitches. His thick Chow Chow coat and his grit protected him. He protected me from getting bitten or scratched. I got him to safety. He protected me at his own peril. I made sure he and the house were safe.

But for both of us, the incident has left us uncertain. We are even more alert when we go out. I carry a bright flashlight and something I can throw. We don’t go on a morning walk until the sun rises. I don’t assume I am safe anymore. I am jumpy. Mory is jumpy. He is more reactive to the squirrels, bunnies, cats, and people on wheels and buses.

We are uncertain.

#UncertainDispatches #NaNoWriMo #roccoandroxie

 

Mory in his cone, the day after we were attacked.

Mory in his cone, the day after we were attacked.

Turning Fiddy

I turned 50 this year. Well, I like to say I turned fiddy as that sounds much less AARPish than “FIFTY!!” I’ve been thinking a lot about what that means for me, for my family, for my peers.

I am proudly part of the cynical, sarcastic GenX generation. We were kids in the 70s and early 80s. On Amazon Prime/Netflix, my peers are Paige in The Americans and Lorelei Gilmore (the second one). I used to go to my friends’ houses by walking or riding my bike. Long distance phone calls cost a lot of money. There were maybe four TV stations. I rode the school bus and had no after school activities, other than occasional Girl Scout meetings. I was part of the first wave of “latch key” kids because my Mum began working full time when I was about ten or so.

I had access to a suburban U.S., middle class white girl’s generally typical childhood. With two notable exceptions:

  • I was (and am) an artist, and
  • I am an immigrant, now naturalized citizen.

I’m going to start writing more about turning 50 because for whatever somewhat random math reason, it’s a milestone number and that has an effect on how we approach the world. Well, at least for me it does. Maybe it’s just me? I’ll post here and on my blog. If you want to follow along look for #SarahFiddy

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New horizons in "What 3 Colors Bring You Joy?" (literally), Part I (from August 11, 2018)

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you know that watercolor landscapes have entered into the What 3 Colors Bring You Joy? series--although now that's called What 3 (Landscape) Colors Bring You Joy?

How did that happen?

The summer road trip my husband and I took was a great adventure for us and changed my paintings, at least for now. I’m still painting What 3 Colors Bring You Joy?—but now I’m playing with 3 color landscapes.

I love living in Seattle but hadn’t yet visited much of the rest of the state. Back in June, we decided rather last minute to go on a road trip around Washington state. The drive was gorgeous. If you haven’t been to Washington state, there are all sorts of climates to experience--from Alpines, like Switzerland, to temperate rain forests, to high deserts like New Mexico, forests, farms, canyons, and on and on. And it’s all beautiful.

As we drove past all these scenes, my desire to return to landscape painting grew. By the fourth day of trying (and failing) to paint the scenery with my Fluid Acrylics, I knew I had to make a change. To get the paintings to come out the way I wanted, to my surprise, I realized I needed to go back to my old friend—watercolors.

Okay, I'll pause there. More on that story in my next blog!

And remember, wherever you go this week, be sure to look for joy. It's there. I promise.

("You Matter," the painting below, is On Reserve.)

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Creating art vs. rendering (from July 31, 2018)

“Making art is not simply rendering.”
—Barbara Earl Thomas

I was lucky enough to hear Barbara Earl Thomas talk about the intersection of her work as a museum director and her process as an artist recently. There was so much that resonated for me, particularly this—that as an artist my job is not to render. Rendering is not making art.

What that meant to me is that my job is to bring myself, my own reality to what I am seeing, thinking, feeling, and or experiencing to what I create.

Photos and copying machines do a better job at rendering than I ever could. And replicating what is seen, for me, is not the point of what I do.

I want to communicate with you, to share with you.

And so I change the reality of what I see when I make art. I am doing the work, the labor of making something that never existed before, because until I made it—without me—it *cannot* exist.

I am curious about how what I make affects YOU—what do YOU see, what do YOU think, what do YOU feel—when you see my work? What does it evoke for you? I most want you to feel lighter, to feel joy, to have some respite. It may not always do that but that’s what I want...more joy for you.

I want to show you my process, so you can see the choices I made and how they differ from the source photo--and get some insight into the enormous number of decisions that goes into each work. I normally would shy from showing you the source, because what I painted is different. But a life without taking chances is far less interesting.

So here we go. On the left, the inspiration photos. Then, on the right, the paintings.

Take gentle care of yourself. Look for joy. I promise it is there.

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