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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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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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.

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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.