I can hardly even say the word--how can I be it? (My lesson in being a badass.)

A year ago, my husband and I did a road trip of Washington state. That week’s trip changed my life in ways that I’m still coming to understand. In addition to fueling inspiration for many of my abstract and landscape paintings in the past year, the trip took me to a little independent bookstore in Winthrop, Washington, where two brightly colored books stood out on the shelf to me. I tend to be drawn to a good book cover like a magpie to something shiny, so I picked them up.

Shiny Books!

Thus began my journey with Jen Sincero’s You Are a Badass and You Are a Badass at Making Money. If you haven’t read her books, Jen is all about getting out of your comfort zone and going for whatever it is you really love in life.

I’ve read similar books—even done a lot of workshops with that theme—but there was something about Jen’s wit and irreverence that really spoke to this 50-year old. I had been doing a lot of the same things my whole life—dreaming of being an artist full-time and yet not doing that. Jen’s books were a key part of what inspired me to take The Leap into my life as a full-time artist that begins in just a few weeks.

My Boubella BADASS (yes, that's the word!) Tee Shirt

As an ode to Jen and the impact of her work on my life, I bought my BADASS tee from Boubella, a start up clothing and lifestyle company co-led by a dear friend, Amanda Bouza. For me, it was one thing to read a book that said badass on the cover—it was another thing entirely to wear a tee that said BADASS outside of the house.

Getting Out of My Comfort Zone

See, I don’t think of myself as a badass. The word makes me feel really uncomfortable (it's even hard for me to say!). It says 'bad' and even has a cuss in it. And I don’t, for example, ride motorcycles, or go skydiving, or surf. I’m just a middle-class, middle-aged lady who wants to paint things that bring people joy, coach artists to be successful in their art business, and make sure everyone has a chance at a decent life.

But one of the things I have realized in all this is that to do those things, to make those things happen, I have to get out of my comfort zone. I have to grow my confidence and practice getting uncomfortable to make those things happen.

Being a Badass at the Market (well, sort of)

So I gave myself a challenge to wear my new Boubella BADASS tee to the market. It was so interesting to see what happened. I’m used to being sort of invisible at the grocery store, but when I wore the Boubella BADASS tee—people moved out of my way, looked at me and nodded, or stopped before stepping in front of me. It was kind of magical.

And while I don’t see myself riding motorcycles or skydiving any time soon—maybe surfing?—I can, in the meantime, keep wearing my Boubella BADASS tee and keep practicing getting a little out of my comfort zone so I can make some good happen in the world.

And as always, remember to look for joy. I promise it is there.

 

That’s me. Trying to be casual, taking a selfie in the veggie aisle with my BADASS tee.

That’s me. Trying to be casual, taking a selfie in the veggie aisle with my BADASS tee.

I am taking The Leap to be a full time artist!

I am taking The Leap to be a full time artist!
That’s right, as of Thursday, September 19, I will be a full time artist!

I’m taking The Leap.
A leap of faith. A leap of daring. A crazy leap. A brave leap. A courageous leap. A leap for joy.

How did this come about?
About 20+ years ago, I was doing some research and reflection to figure out my ideal job. The answer that kept coming back was: Artist.
Spoiler alert: There’s no clear career path for a fine artist.

So, I made a pledge to become a full time artist in 20 years and have been working on that—building my skills and finding my voice and style—while pursuing a career in communications. I became a certified facilitator, training designer, and learned how to coach performance management, write, edit video, and more. I was juried into scores of shows, painted hundreds of paintings, had multiple solo and group art shows, earned a certificate in graphic design and my MFA in Visual Arts. I also divorced, happily remarried, and moved to the West Coast.

Bringing Joy
And here in Seattle is where it’s all come together. One evening, I asked my friends on Facebook—What 3 Colors Bring You Joy? And that’s when all the years of work and training came together.
I was meant to create art that brings joy to people’s lives.

With this Mission, I Thee Paint
Over the past two years, this mission has become profound and urgent. We are in dark and chaotic times. It’s become clear to me that the forces of darkness and chaos want us isolated and in despair.
The only antidote is joy, because with joy comes resilience and connection.
In the past year, my Joy mission has expanded to include supporting artists in reaching their business goals through one on one coaching, webinars, Artist’s Way workshops, and mastermind group facilitation—bringing together my training, certifications, and passion for helping others.
I did all of this—growing my art and artist coaching business—while I was working full-time.

Deciding to Leap
Recently, it became clear to me that it was time to make The Leap and follow my passion.
Art changes lives and makes the world better. It brings meaning to our lives. It connects us as people. I believe deeply in the power of art to make things better and that’s why I am fully committing my life’s work to art and coaching artists.

Thank you
I want to close with a profound thank you to you my followers, my subscribers, and my collectors. YOU have helped make this dream come true through your support and investment in my work.

I am here to bring you joy and look forward to doing that for decades to come.

Taking The Leap.jpg

The Artist's Way and "Our Fragile Earth"

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron is one of the most powerful books ever written. Essentially, it’s a workbook of exercises you can do to recover your creative spirit and follows a 12 week model, which doesn’t sound overly powerful UNTIL you start going through the exercises each week.

When I was a kid, I loved using workbooks at school, so when I heard about Cameron’s workbook about 20+ years ago, I was immediately drawn in.

One of her best tools is Morning Pages. These are three pages of stream of consciousness writing done first thing every morning. It’s not so much writing as taking dictation for whatever the brain wants to share in those early morning hours. Cameron encourages asking the pages what you like/don’t like, what you want more of/less of and to listen to what the pages have to say back. It’s a fascinating process.

This painting, “Our Fragile Earth,” was a breakthrough in process for me. Each morning, I used my morning pages to listen for instructions. I listened and I wrote. I asked what do I do next and wrote out what I heard back. Later, in the studio, I would paint as the pages had instructed. When i got stuck, the next morning I would ask the pages what to do next. The pages always had an answer.

The pages always have an answer.

You can see the 48”x48” painting “Our Fragile Earth” at the Women Painters of Washington Gallery in the Columbia Tower in downtown Seattle (it’s up through late September).

If are in Seattle this fall and you’d like to do The Artist’s Way, check out my upcoming workshop at Studio Life. First workshop is Monday, August 19, 2019—register by August 12 for a special early registration price of $395. The workshop includes snacks, email support, a bonus orientation week, and a special dinner that I host for participants.

PS — Here is what one participant said about the spring Artist’s Way Workshop:

“I rediscovered my passions and interests in a supportive environment in The Artist’s Way workshop at StudioLife. As I worked through the course with Sarah and a small group this spring, things holding me back fell away. Immovable boulders became pebbles, and faded dreams bubbled up into active projects. The commitment to each week’s exercises - in and out of class - created a rewarding, positive feedback loop. The daily and weekly practices in The Artist’s Way are now fully incorporated in my life and I’m not looking back.”

Register today on the Studio Life website.

Our Fragile Earth.jpg

Failure, Resilience, and the Women Painters of Washington

I’ve got some exciting news! I’ve been juried into the Women Painters of Washington!! This prestigious group has a rigorous selection process and I really pushed my work as a painter to get in. I am in the “Blue” show hanging now at the Women Painters of Washington Gallery in the Columbia Tower in downtown Seattle (it’s up through late September 2019). Please stop by the show (and take a selfie!)

There’s a little back story here too…I had submitted to join this group last year and got through the first round but not the second. I asked for feedback and they said I needed to work on my design and composition—a punch in the gut after 20 years of painting and an MFA.

I took a breath and regrouped and then started wishing for/manifesting some sort of art program or workshop or SOMETHING that would refresh me on the elements of composition and mixing colors in acrylics and improving my ability to critique my own work—without having to do a bunch of rando weekend art retreats. I wanted to go deeper in MY style, not someone else’s.

Fortunately for me artist Amira D. Rahim was listening to that wish I put out in the universe and created Better Than Art School. It was a big and humbling leap to take but dammit if that wasn’t one of the best decisions of my art career. If you’re interested in learning more about Amira’s breakthrough 8-week online program, check out the Better Than Art School webinar. Amira’s teaching helped me get the refresh I needed and to find my way deep into my own painting point of view.

It’s been an upward and magical climb since the disappointment of that rejection. It’s worth it to face the hard stuff and keep persevering. Joy hard won can sometimes be the best joy. Have you ever faced rejection and turned it around? I’d love to hear about it—tell me about it in the comments below.

WPW Hooray.jpg

Fear or Excitement: Who Decides?

IMG_9640+%281%29.jpg

"I'm so nervous about doing this."

I hear that a lot as an Artist Coach. In fact, I hear about it so much I wanted to write to you about it because we all have those moments in life when we feel scared of what's ahead or where we are at.

Excitement or Fear? A Tool

Over the years, I've picked up a tool that's really helped me when I'm nervous or fearful about doing something and I wanted to share it with you.

So here's the secret--fear and excitement feel roughly the same physically. Our breathing is more rapid, our heart might pound a little, our nerves feel nervy--I even have a weird metallic taste that comes up whether I'm really nervous or really excited.

What we do with that physical response can affect our perceived reality. When I feel those sensations, I’ve started doing a quick analysis of the situation. If it’s not life or death and if I’m not in actual danger, I’ve been saying to myself, I'm so excited about this!” Suddenly, instead of being subject of my fear, I am agent of my own adventure!

Agent of My Own Adventure

As agent of my own adventure, I’m making a choice to do this thing (whatever it is)—from open sea kayaking, to a sprint triathlon, to leading an artist’s workshop, to traveling by myself to visit my Mum and a dear art friend to see Hilma af Klint's breakthrough art show in New York City (where the photo up top was taken).

The tool--labeling the fear as excitement--gets me over the hump and out the door to my adventure. And oh the rewards of doing that--being able to stand in front of the world's first abstract artist, Hilma af Klint. Seeing porpoises swim 30 feet away as my nephew and I kayaked together. Being a part of my workshop participants' journey to increased self-expression. Even tiger paddling my way through the swim leg to PR in my bike leg and run respectably and not finish last in my first sprint triathlon. Taking that first step to see what I can do has meant having experiences that make my life richer, more fun, and more filled with joy.

So try it out. Next time you are feeling nervous about doing something and thinking about maybe not doing it, try saying to yourself "I'm so excited!" and take that next step.

Courage

Courage is not the absence of fear, but feeling the fear and doing it anyway. This tool is one you can use to help you take that first step.

Have a great day. And remember to look for joy. I promise it is there.

Joyfully,
Sarah
Sarah C.B. Guthrie, MFA
https://www.artistgu3.com/

Oh and here's a little Joy for you--"My heart flutters" 12"x12" Acrylic on paper. Click here for more information about the piece.

IMG_7416.jpg

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.

IMG_8702.jpg