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.

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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.

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Greek Orange Grove

“Greek Orange Grove” was inspired by a college trip to Crete. I was lucky enough to be studying abroad in England my junior year.

After growing up in the States, I wanted to spend a year in my home country to have my own experiences of English life. So with some friends, I took a break to Crete for spring break. It was an incredible trip filled with sunshine, crystal clear water, the freshest of food, and, one one occasion, the skinniest of dips.

On an afternoon walk, we came across a little traffic circle that had orange trees growing on it. They were at peak ripeness and we couldn’t resist trying them. I have never before or since had an orange THAT GOOD.

We were mid way through enjoying the sweetness when suddenly we looked around and realized we were in the middle of a private orange orchard! We screamed and ran back down the road, the taste of orange still honeyed and the pang is guilt growing.

Decades later, I memorialized that magical misdeed in this 36”x36” acrylic painting on gallery-wrapped canvas. The edges are painted with the front of the painting so you don’t need to frame it. The painting is valued at $3500 USD and that includes US shipping, and some special gifts from me! Add to your collection


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Fear or Excitement: Who Decides?

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"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.

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Stage Fright, or What Eminem Taught Me about Fighting The Nanas

A few weeks ago I opened my sixth of seven solo art shows in the past 18 months. You would think with that many openings that it gets easier, that I improve my process, that I am—if nothing else—less nervous about it.

But you would be wrong.

The week before I was so stressed. Working late hours to get ready, trying to get through my to do lists. Trying to remember the things I remembered and forgot to write down. My breath tends to be shallow. I’m nervous. Shaky. Intellectually, I know I will be fine—but my physical self is on high alert. It’s hard to unwind. Harder to sleep.

So I’m in that space and I’m driving late one evening. My phone is plugged in and randomly going through all my songs, which ends up with unusual juxtapositions like the Kelly Willis and Black Eyed Peas and Christmas Songs and Kendrick Lamar and Mozart. And then it landed.

Eminem’s “Lose Yourself.”

I turn it up. All the way up. The truck thumps as I drive through the dark and rainy night.

“Look
If you had
One shot
And one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted
In one moment
Would you capture it or just
Let it slip?”

He asks me. He is speaking to me. This show is a great opportunity. It’s a popular shop. My work will be up for at least a month—not just a one night art walk. It was the opportunity. But then his words come back. The reality sinks in. Yes, this opportunity and all of a sudden

“His palms are sweaty—
Knees weak—
Arms are heavy
There’s vomit on his sweater already—Mom’s spaghetti—
He’s nervous
But on the surface
He looks calm and ready
To drop bombs
But he keeps on forgetting what
He wrote down
The whole crowd goes so loud
He opens his mouth
But the words won’t come out
He choking how
Everybody’s joking now
The clock’s run out
Time’s up
Over blau.”

That’s me. That’s me with a Case of The Nanas. Getting ready to walk into a gallery. To meet other artists. To give a talk. The Nanas. It’s stage fright. It’s the most brilliant text I’ve read about stage fright. The lived experience of it. They way the mind can go blank as your body fails you, betrays you. The pressure overrides your mind. Few artists talk about it outside the performing arts. So many visual artists are introverts, which is partly why this medium has such an appeal. It’s a place for us to hide, to restore, to refresh with just the rhythm of the brush on the canvas, the feeling of joy that comes from seeing a work of art emerge from the layers of self expression.

Don’t get me wrong. I know Eminem is misogynist AF but this song. This song is incredible. It gave me a way out. A way to fight the stage fright. He told me exactly what I needed to do.

“You better
Lose yourself, in the music, the moment,
You own it
You better never
Let it go.
You only get one shot,
Do not miss your chance to blow
’Cause opportunity comes once in a lifetime
You better
Lose yourself
In the music
The moment,
You only get one shot,
Do not
Miss your chance
To blow
Cause opportunity comes once in a life time
You better
You can do anything you set our mind to, man [sic]”

The answer was right there. I needed to lose myself in the music, the moment. To get out of my head, out of my body, and into the zone—connect beyond myself—where the music is. And in that moment “Lose Yourself” became my walk up song.

What’s a walk up song? In professional baseball, there’s a tradition of batters getting a song played each time they walk up to bat. It helps set the mind, shake off nerves, gets them pumped, and ready to connect the bat to the ball. It was just the technique I needed.

Now when I feel the Nanas approaching, I put on my headset and turn up the volume and lose myself. Works like a charm.

 

“Lose Yourself” is written by Jeff Bass, Luis Resto, Marshall Mathers

 

 

See—this is why the walk up song works. Get lost in the music and then I’m ready for the show! Thanks to Classic Consignment in the Ballard neighborhood in Seattle for the show opportunity.

See—this is why the walk up song works. Get lost in the music and then I’m ready for the show! Thanks to Classic Consignment in the Ballard neighborhood in Seattle for the show opportunity.

Green purple dark blue

The works in "What 3 Colors Bring You Joy?" are inspired by suggestions from people in my life and those who follow me on social media. I ask for inspiration and in return I paint images designed to refresh and restore. The works are small and prices for collecting multiples. Comment below and let me know what three colors bring you joy!

What 3 colors bring #joy? One person said green purple dark blue.

This 5"x7" piece is 95.00 (includes mat and shipping). PayPal accepted. Comment "WANT" to purchase or comment "MORE" to commission your own 3-color work and I'll message you.

"We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure, but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world. To make injustice the only measure of our attention is to praise the Devil."--Jack Gilbert, Refusing Heaven

Green purple dark blue. Acrylic on paper 5"x7" 95.00 (matted and shipped) 

Green purple dark blue. Acrylic on paper 5"x7" 95.00 (matted and shipped) 

New in the store: MT. RAINIER

After weeks of previewing my work in progress on social media, I'm pleased to announce that Mt. Rainier is complete and available in the store!

Mt. Rainier has a power and vibration like no other I've known before. When I first visited Seattle in 2012, I found the mountain (actually a volcano, but we'll stick with mountain for this story) kept popping up when I least expected it. Almost every time, I screamed or startled when I saw it on the horizon. I couldn't decide if it terrified or thrilled me. A believer in signs, I had no idea how to read this one: what did it portend? I decided in the end that it foretold a great adventure--a decision I made just as we made the decision to move to Seattle. Every sunny day in Seattle, I see the mountain and it brings me joy. This painting portrays the emotional impact of this beautiful mountain.

April Challenge!

I'm getting ready for a solo show in May. I have 25 paintings but I need to paint at least 75 What 3 Colors Bring You Joy paintings to get to an even 100! And I NEED YOUR HELP WITH INSPIRATION!! Please post what 3 colors bring you joy in the comments below. Share with your friends and ask them to post too. Thank you!! #aprilchallenge #75paintings #💯

Yellow pink red 5" x 7" Acrylic on paper (c) 2017. 95.00 USD matted and shipped in US. 

Yellow pink red 5" x 7" Acrylic on paper (c) 2017. 95.00 USD matted and shipped in US.