Saturday, October 30, 2010

Who Else is Scared this Halloween?

"Pumpkin Love"  Watercolor and Pastel  ©Toni Ruppert
Yes, Halloween is here.  And though this is a fun time for some filled with pumpkins, ghosts and scary movies, there is nothing more fear-inducing than being a mommy...and an artist.  Maybe you can relate.

Take this week, for example.

What could I do when my little one Imani wanted to put on her costume--just to "practice?"  You know me. The mom and artist in me said “OK” and grabbed my camera.  As she twirled around and around, I think she thought she’d BECOME a butterfly. 

The next day, my big teen Kayla begged me for help with her Halloween homework for Spanish.  She had to create a full length cardboard skeleton with her very own attributes.  She had already made an amazing outfit by hand out of scraps of cloth I had.  She just needed the hair done.  So there I was -  at 11pm sewing weave(hair extensions) on her Día de los Muertos skeleton. I’m thinking, “First of all, I don't know how to sew weave and secondly, “Isn't this YOUR project?”  Thankfully, we finished it and she was happy with it.

Mommy's work, like artists’ work means hearing and noticing.

This is what I heard this week:

“Mommy can you help me find my doll’s sippy cup?”
“Mommy come and see my transformer - no come and see!(she was holding playdoh and a broken handle from a drawer)”
“Mommy, guess what Nicholas is for Halloween.  No Guess!”

And this is what I noticed:

My daughters are as creative as I am and are actually more fearless than I.
When I hear the word “Mommy” when I’m concentrating on writing or painting, I get edgy.
Actually making art is pretty challenging with my current lifestyle.

It’s that last one that is kicking my behind right now.

With costume prep, taking Kayla back and forth for her skit(she is directing a skit at church--just in time for Halloween), prepping the car for the Trunk or Treat and the school Halloween party--it’s amazing that I put paintbrush to palette at all.

In a recent interview with Darren Hardy of Success Magazine, Paula Deen shares that when she first started out by herself, she sacrificed her relationship with her boys.  I heard that and froze. That scared me.

All too often, Imani says, "Mommy, play with me," and sadly my response is “Hold on, just one more minute” as I type or paint. 

Have you ever had to say that?  Are you developing something BIG and yet have to re-prioritize and perhaps even(gulp) sacrifice what’s actually precious to bring the BIG it into existence?

Yes, Halloween is here.  But there is nothing that scares me more right now than being a mommy...and an artist.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My Ideal Reader

 "Cassandra"  ©Toni Ruppert
With a commitment to building a more vibrant blog, I signed up for the 4-week Blog Triage class with Cynthia Morris and Alyson Stanfield.  Today’s assignment is to describe the people I want to visit and read my blog.  My hope is that by envisioning my Ideal Reader I will get focused and get at the heart of what I want to post about.  

Though I had to imagine my Ideal Reader, I’m grateful to my family members, friends  and fellow artists who have kept up with me through my blog.  I appreciate you.

So here is the assignment.  Using the following questions:

  • Are they of a certain age or background?
  • Do they live in a particular region?
  • What are their interests – including, but not limited to art?
  • Are they comfortable with the blog format?
  • Are they likely to comment?
I imagine that my Ideal Reader: ageless - he/she knows age is just a number.  He may even be like my buddy Gabe who is the father of teen girls which keep him youthful.  My reader might have a rags to riches story in the making - a Paula Deen before she was Paula Deen.  Because of this, my ideal reader exudes light and is a faith-filled person. 

Cassandra.  Yep.  I even “named” my Ideal Reader.

Cassandra might live outside of the big city, but close enough to know where the fun city spots are.  She has made definite choices as to where she worships and where her kids go to school.  She is creative herself--whether singing, writing or creating a life for her family and community.   Therefore, Cassandra is a lover of color and things that are in harmony.   She is a traveler, with a ready passport, often enjoying the smaller haunts to the touristy traps.   

She is technology saavy and is comfortable with a blog.  My Ideal Reader is not only likely to comment, but will ask questions AND comment in an engaging way.  This shows she really supports me. 

Did I mention that my Ideal Reader is likely to comment? (smile)

Thank YOU for being my ideal reader.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

You Can Build It At Your Table

Grandma's Recipe in progress, Oil, ©Toni Ruppert

Yes, tables are made for eating, playing games and other familial events.  But, did you know that inspiration and dreams can be built --at the table?  After spending lots of time lately at my table painting, I began wondering what other transformers--folks making a thorough or dramatic change in themselves and the world - do at their tables.  What are you building at your table?

I believe many good things can come from time spent "at the table."  Artists have birthed new careers, adventures have been written and families have been nurtured at the family table. Over the next few posts, I'd like to talk to artists and other creatives about "table time."

You can use your table to:

1. Build a business.  Sandra Magsamen, artist, art therapist and author, built her business over 20 years ago in her basement.  I recently found out about her and she is now my poster child for artistic success.  While working a FT job, she and her husband's shipping and receiving area was their dining room.  Sandra told her story to Marcia Brixey, founder of Money Wise Women Educational Services in a recent teleseminar.  Many entrepreneurs, like Sandra have built sustaining businesses at their tables.   

2. Nurture a child.  This week we carved our pumpkin to my five year olds delight.  She watched my every move and asked lots of questions.  This "table time" was precious and reminded me of other memorable times.  I remember my grandmother being a great cook.  She often fixed awesome meals--though I was too young to really appreciate dishes like jambalaya and squash pie.  My cousin and my brothers and sisters just knew that when we returned home from school, shortly thereafter we'd sit at grandma's dining room table (next to the piano) and eat whatever she fixed.   

I learned a lot at my grandmother's table.  I will share more about this soon.

"Photo of my table" ©Toni Ruppert

Meals at the table are fantastic.  Selling insurance and financial products at the table can be good too I guess.  Time spent "at the table" can make the difference between something so-so and something truly inspiring being built. 

Please leave a comment on the blog. Can you think of anything else that can be built at the table?  Are you building anything at your table?


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Eeeeck! I'm Almost Speechless!

"Heart Stuff"  12x12  Mixed Media  ©Toni Ruppert
 I'm so excited.  Words can not express how I feel right now.  I will try though.  Eeeeek!  Wow!  Yes!  (see) The words come out like that.  I'm excited because the show is hung at Chicago's Flourish Studios's Envision Gallery.  It took a lot to get here.

A mere few weeks ago, I was floundering with this new direction for my personal artwork.  Painting was flourishing in my commission work, but nothing was coming forth in my personal work.  I knew I wanted to talk about healing from fragmented relationships--healing from brokenness.  But it would not come out like I wanted to.  I was surrounded by prayer, paint jars, glue muslin, wood panels, and etc.  All the stuff I'd use to make my pieces.  Enter my success team.

I joined a success team lead by Eileen Kerlin Walsh.  (Look out world--here comes Eileen!)  My success team encouraged me and one of them literally said "Create two panels this week."  I was like, "Okay." After doing this for a time--my goal was in sight.
"Behind Her Smile"  12x12  Mixed Media  ©Toni Ruppert
In Teamworks, author Barbara Sher says, "A Success Team will keep you going, steadily, step by step, week after week...until one arrive right in the middle of your goal." That's what my team did for me.  Further, when I hit a snag with my frames, one of my team mates personally made them according to my specifications. see words cannot express how I'm feeling. My hope is that whatever you're working on these days will have you so excited --you too will be (almost) speechless!

I invite you to comment (use whatever words you want) on your own creative project or on how you're utilizing a team to making your ideas/dreams happen.