ORDINARY OBJECTS THAT LOOK LIKE PSYCHEDELIC ABSTRACT LANDSCAPES

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Marisa D. Aceves. Inter-dimensional Vodka Dream: Space Warp 1. digital photography

Random colors scatter and disperse as the suburban dining room peeks through the veil.  The translucent, viscous atmosphere bubbles then folds in on itself.  We are traveling from one dimension to the next, losing what we thought we knew yet discovering the unfamiliar is surprisingly familiar. David Byrne of “Talking Heads” fame said it best in his lyrics to Once In A Lifetime, “..Same as it ever was…”

My sister charitably saved this particular object from garbage can death as she was cleaning out her cabinets. She presented me with the object one weekend when she and my brother-in-law came to visit. “You’ll know what to do with it…” she chuckled. Shortly after they left, her prediction came true. I began to turn the object around, examining it’s unique shape. However, I didn’t take a shot of the object until three days later, when I could appreciate its photographic potential.

Extreme Nature Series: Abstracted Sky and Trees

Extreme Nature Series- Sky and Trees

Marisa D. Aceves. After The Rain: Refuge In A Parking Lot Tree. Feel free to check out more of my work at acevesart.com

The rain had lifted. Streaks of grey clouds covered the suburban landscape as a flock of birds sat patiently in a large parking lot tree. A soft halo of light crowned the natural specimen in a temporary glory. I lifted my new LG G3  smart phone to the above scene described and gently tapped the camera icon. The phone made a triumphant popping sound as the scene was captured. Some added filters, saturation and mild sharpening later, the desired mood was set; the photo was complete.

It was a friday afternoon and Mom and I had settled on the idea of visiting our favorite Wing Stop restaurant. She decided to stop for money on the way, so we visited our local H.E.B. grocery store. When we pulled into the parking lot, I spotted the tree with its cargo. I knew I had to stay behind while she went to the ATM. This was a chance to use my new phone. I must report that I was impressed with everything the camera on this phone has to offer. It’s a smart buy, light weight, user friendly and has an excellent camera with a variety of filters and effects. For all you on-the-go camera enthusiasts, if you forget your DSLR or subcompact at home, the LG G3 is an excellent alternative.

Aqua-Marine 5: Abstract Photography Inspired by Bodies of Water and Land

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Marisa D. Aceves. Aqua-Marine 5. digital photography http://www. acevesart.com/

If you long to live somewhere near the ocean, or you just want to take a visual and mental vacation from the present cold snap then feel free to join me once again in some meditative abstraction. . .

Blue is a beautiful and calming color that evokes meditation, mindfulness and inner serenity. When I found this series of objects, I just couldn’t resist making references to the countless number of maps that I had seen over the years. While my eyes surf through the supporting colors, my heart says, “Let’s do this again sometime.” So in the spirit of relaxation and tranquility, I am wishing you all an awesomely restful Sunday.

7 Ways To Stop Living In The Past Before It Kills Your Future Art Career

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Marisa D. Aceves. Pigment Landscape 3: Wave

For more digital photography and painting check out my site at acevesart.com

You know that feeling when you desperately want to move forward with your art career, but you just can’t seem to push those nagging insecurities, irrational fears and unsavory past events out of your mind.

“It’s ridiculous,” you tell yourself.

There is no apparent reason why the past should get in the way of the present, but inevitably it does.

Cleverly covering up your pessimistic view of the world, your art and the people in your life, you naively push your discomfort and general dissatisfaction down so that no one sees that you are effected by a crippling career killing enigma that few people understand, yet many experience, getting stuck in the past.

The daily pattern generally begins with comparing your present earnings with those of other artists working in the same medium.

You then bemoan the fact that they have probably finished their series before you have; yours is taking so much time to complete that you are not really sure exactly when it’s going to get done.

 Breathing heavily as you sigh with the passing of each ego deflating thought, you finally begin to give your precious studio time to mentally reliving all the career mistakes you have made and all the negative interactions  you’ve had with past clients, professors, friends family and acquaintances.

Does your future have to look like your past?

Can you ever gain the respect and recognition you want so badly.

Will you ever move beyond the vicious cycle of negativity that keeps you trapped in a way back machine with no exit door in sight?

There is a door that leads to the present, if you choose to dwell here, but you have to make an honest effort to leave past land behind.

Stepping into the present after you have mentally lived in the past is never easy, but by strategically addressing those areas that steal your peace, sleep and overall confidence, you can learn to stay focused on the things that you need to do to make your career happen.

1) Don’t Marinate In The Past, Plan For The Present So You Can Have a Future – There are few things that can make you more anxious then not knowing which activities you need to finish first.  Lack of structure can cause you to feel confused and hurried. As a result, you can’t enjoy the art you love to do or gain the exposure that you desire because you have never made a decision to write down the goals that you wish to reach in each area of your art business. There are some areas you will need to address immediately before you decide to tackle larger more complicated projects. An added bonus to making a list of all of the goals that you will need to meet to give your art business a better chance at success, is that after you reach a goal, you can check it off your list. This will give you a feeling of satisfaction as you can see in real time that you actually are moving forward.

2) Stop Hiding And Go Seek – While you might prefer to spend all of your time creating art, you need to reach out to your local arts community as well as looking for appropriate venues to showcase your art.  It is easy to worry about not having the skills to take the opportunities that you see around you.  Don’t aim for the opportunities for which you are not yet qualified, but do seek out those opportunities that are within or appropriate to you specific level of ability and experience. Remind yourself this will change as you grow in skills and experience.

3) Move It Or Lose The Day To Negativity – An overabundance of negativity can eventually lead to procrastination and inactivity.  Instead of beating up on yourself every time you feel that you are not moving fast enough or planning is taking too long, consider the things that you can get done at the moment.  For instance, if one of your paintings is taking a long time to dry because of stormy weather, you could tweak your artist statement, research current art world trends, or prepare packages to ship to galleries. What you are working on at the moment may not be what you want to be doing, but at least you are taking care of other important areas of your art business.

4) Study Don’t Worry – Spending hours worrying about whether or not you are good enough to have your own art business wastes time. All the worry in the world won’t improve your skills only diligent study and preparation. There is no easy way to do this, but you can encourage yourself by realizing that over time you will improve your style and technique.

5) Meditate On Criticism That Is Constructive Not Destructive – None of us like to be criticized, but when it gets downright nasty, the sting is often hard to forget. While you may not like people telling you how and in what way you need to improve, it’s necessary for growth.  Focus on positive constructive criticism, the kind where the people that are giving the critique have you best interest at heart not the destructive type in which people tear you apart and berate your artwork  just to make themselves feel better. Clearly, in these particular cases it is the art bullies own insecurities that result in vicious behavior.

6) Eat Your Humble Pie, But Don’t Undervalue Your Abilities- One of the quickest ways to become resentful is to undervalue you abilities and your artwork.  When you make a practice of constantly giving away or undercharging for you work, people will get the impression that you don’t place much value on what you do. Unscrupulous people will gleefully take advantage, while nicer folks will scratch their heads in disbelief and then either forget about what you do or question your credibility.

7) Take A Realistic Not Surrealistic Perspective On The Things That Are Holding You Back- If you are prone to negativity, you probably catch yourself blowing everyday frustrations our of proportion. Throughout the course of your career, you will always find some things that you will need to work on. Make an honest effort to view these daily frustrations and occasional setbacks as they really are not as you feel they are. When you learn to separate your feelings from the actual events that are taking place, you can then come up with a plan to work on and eventually overcome these areas of difficulty.

 The past is called the past because it happened before this moment; it is not happening in this moment unless you decide you want to live there. While the past, although sometimes miserable, is familiar, the present offers new chances to establish better more productive practices that can change the way you function and view your role as an artist.

When Am I Going To Like My Art? Learning to Let Go of Unrealistic Expectations of Yourself and Your Art

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Marisa D. Aceves. Untitled. digital photography http://www.acevesart.com/

article by Marisa D. Aceves

At some point in our lives, many of us know instinctively, that we are called to be artists.

In the beginning, we pour over art magazines, sketch or doodle in our spare time, snap photos of eager relatives, build alien cities with legos, and dance and sing to our favorite music; everything seems possible in the wonderful world of fantasy that we create for ourselves.

Then we collectively come to our senses and realize that we have to learn a specific set of skills to truly be able to express ourselves the way we had originally intended.

The ongoing process of learning is never easy, it’s often an ego crusher.

We stumble, crash and burn as we try to emulate the work of our favorite artists.

Other people laugh and point at our efforts, trying to discourage us from pursuing our creative passions.

No matter what we do, we feel we just can’t seem to measure up and yet we are to darn stubborn to give up our dreams; we will continue even if we have to walk with our heads held low as we soon learn to adopt the title that best suites our level of ability -student.

Everyone wants to be called teacher. No one wants to be called student,pupil etc., but that is exactly what we are at different periods in our lives.

As we push through several how to articles, academia, and instructional videos, we constantly fight our impulse to give in to a perfectionistic view of our work.

We constantly compare our work to the work of people that have had years of training and experience.

We don’t want to hate our work or to feel ashamed of what we can currently produce, but when we see the obvious discrepancies between our work and theirs, we can harbor unnecessary  feelings of doubt, insecurity and shame.

At the very least, we can dwell in our feelings of inferiority, which may lead to an uncomfortable state of melancholy, at the worst we can lose altoghether the joy initially associated with creating art.

Much of our art based anxiety stems from unrealistic expectations about ourselves and our art.

We wrongly equate our performance with our self-worth; once we do that we set ourselves up for self-sabotage.

Before you give up and give in to unrealistic expectations, try to keep these helpful tips in mind:

1) Concentrate On Learning Not Judging – As you begin to learn a variety of skills and techniques associated with your medium, you are bound to run into problems. Don’t let this discourage you. Some things will be easier for your to master, others more difficult. This is the case for almost every artist and has absolutely nothing to do with your value as a person. Instead of judging your work because of the difficulties that you may be having, try to concentrate on learning and improving the skills that you are required to have to succeed.

2) Use Comparisons For Growth Not Personal Putdowns – It is easy to compare your work to the work of others with years of experience and then put yourself down because you fail to create work that is the same quality or reflective of a similar skill level.

If your must compare your work to the work of other artists, do so for growth not because you wish to be them or somehow inherit their abilities through osmosis. Study their strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps there are books or other art related instruction that can help you pick up the skills that you need. Check our where they got their education. Did they go through a special training program?

3) Let Go of The Fear of What Others Will Think of Your Work As You Learn – Sure, your friends, family and collegues can mock your personal artistic struggle as you try to grasp difficult to master skills and concepts, but do they have the courage to attempt the journey that you have presently embarked on. No, many of them do not. Most of the time, they wish that they could brave the uncertainty of the world of creativity, but they are to concerned with what others would think, so they do not even dare to attempt it. Sometimes, you will find that you are your biggest critic. You marinate in what others tell you that you are to believe about your skill level and abilities and then you proceed to criticize yourself. Instead, focus on the fact that you are gradually trying to improve you knowledge and skills so that you can create your best art.

Eventually, you can learn to give yourself permission to be perfectly human.

Human artists like you and I make mistakes as we learn to create, but this does not take away from our overwhelming desire to share with other people the joys and rewards of being artists and appreciating art.

While unrealistic expectations can put a damper on learning and productivity, we can face them with the understanding that like other problems we encounter, there are always solutions.

She Believed She Could So She Did: How Belief Effects Our Artistic Potential

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Marisa D. Aceves. Pigment Landscape: Crevice. digital photography http://www.acevesart.com/

Not too long ago, I caught my mother browsing  the virtual pages of one of her favorite online sites that funds and features innovative art/design related small businesses, The Grommet.

Eventually, she came upon a lady that used her creativity to come up with several unique furniture pieces.

When the lady was asked how she took her present collection from idea stage to a marketable product, she confidently stated, “I believed I could, so I did.”

Whether we are involved with fine art, arts and crafts, performing arts, literary arts or design, we all have to sum up the courage to take our product to market.

No one told this particular lady it was going to be easy.

They probably neglected to point out the many obstacles she would encounter, the costs she would incur, or the motley tribe of naysayers that would try to convince her that she didn’t have the intelligence or the talent to make her idea a reality.

Nevertheless, she soldiered on, either oblivious or resistant to the many challenges that lay ahead until she pitched her product to the right venue.

What is the difference between the lady and her creative counterparts still struggling with the idea of promoting their work?

Unlike her peers, she believed with all her heart that her product had value and was valuable to others.

When you truly believe that you are producing something of value, you make more of an effort to find an audience that will appreciate what you create.

No matter what you like to tell yourself, belief really does play a big role in your productivity and whether or not you reach your true potential.

Despite spending the necessary time it takes to develop your skills, art is largely a subjective experience.

Some will love what you do, others will have a different preference.

Here are some of many reasons why people avoid their creative destiny and how to overcome them:

1)  Operating emotionally instead of rationally – As an artist, you rely to a certain extent on what other people say and do.  However, you should not let your negative emotions about perceived failures, mistakes and disagreements determine your future success.  Sometimes, you have to consider a more rational approach to your business and art making. If you’re not making mistakes along the way, you’re not growing. There must always be room for growth and improvement. Otherwise, you’re dead and your art business is dead.  You’re not your mistakes or career disappointments, they have no power over you unless you let them.

2) Operating your business exactly the way others do – While observing what works for others and applying it to your business is not a bad thing, trying to operate it exactly the way someone else does may not be what is best for you. If you feel that your business and business approach is not your own, the resentment you feel may cause you to want to distance yourself from what you used to love. Never lose what makes you unique, it will set your art business apart from others, but refrain from feeling obligated to lose you individuality in the process.

3) Giving into the opinions of others – No matter where you are in your career, it’s easy to get discouraged when colleagues try to tear you down and belittle your accomplishments. You can be their puppet, letting them guide you to places of greater isolation, lower self-esteem, and overwhelming negativity or you can politely wish them well and use their refusal to be professional and positive to fuel your desire to see your ideas, dreams and visions to fruition. Take back your power and work to make it happen.

In the course of pursuing your artistic passion, you may find your business takes a different direction then you initially thought it would, but at least you can continue with the realization that you didn’t give up.

When you take the time to think about it, that is a victory worth celebrating!

As you explore the artistic potential that this period in time provides, I hope that you not only grow in your understanding of your individual discipline, but also in the confidence it takes to share and communicate with others.

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Why Having A Back-Up Plan Provides Greater Flexibility For Your Art Business

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Marisa D. Aceves. Bubble Landscape 3 (Vivid and Juicy). digital photography http://www.acevesart.com/

Some people give up their dream.

It’s sad, but it happens all to often.

When it does, years upon years of disappointment and resentment build.

Then anything mildly associated with creativity pricks pride and pushes buttons.

Nothing is ever satisfying; life has lost its luster.

Why do many otherwise creative people stop making art in times of extreme adversity while their peers continue to freely express themselves no matter what the consequences?

The answer is simple.

Plan A didn’t work.

What is Plan A?

Plan A is the traditional well-traveled route to recognition and success.

The scenario may start a little something like this…:

An artist may have always known especially when he or she was young that they were born to create art.

During their formative years, other people (friends, family members, casual acquaintances, etc.) told them that they had special talent in their chosen medium (drawing, painting, photography, sculpture etc.).

Then like many other artists, they went to college and read about the lives of famous artists throughout the ages and in their naiveté, thought that they were going to leap out of college with countless galleries begging them to sign.

They imagine that their innovative work will be featured in various reputable art publications.

Why they would even have their own star on the walk of art fame!

Hey, sometimes this does happen, but many times it takes several years of hard work, commitment, and contacts to build a successful art career.

Reality hits for the majority of art students.

There’s plenty of competition in college.

All of a sudden, many artists find that they are no longer the center of attention.

Instead they are second best, third best, fourth best in class or maybe they are the least skilled of all of their peers.

Often with academic endeavors there is a constant humbling, a steady chipping away of their once ample self-confidence.

They begin to find out quickly that they don’t know everything there is to know about art.

The more an artist learns, the more they realize how much smarter Jerry Saltz (a leading art critic) is then they are.

After school artists have to focus on building a strong portfolio, gallery submissions and other art related opportunities.

If an artist doesn’t have a mentor or an art world connection, doors grow heavier and more difficult to open.

Family problems, illnesses and financial difficulties can sometimes make creating art more challenging over the years.

At this point, faced with these odds, many talented artists walk away.

Should you?

This is a sad phenomenon, but it doesn’t have to end like this.

People don’t have to kill there art career, they choose to.

Sure, there are several challenges on the road to supporting a healthy art career, but if an artist really loves what they do they will always find an excuse to create even if it is not in the medium in which they started.

Most people start out with Plan A at the beginning of their lives, then after several years of experience move to Plan B, C,  or D.

This is not failure, this is called adaption.

The people that give up after Plan A fails never realize that Plan A, was only one way (one possibility) not the only way.

Plan A may or may not work out for you, but if it doesn’t, know that you are not alone.

Lack of Plan A success has nothing to do with self-worth.

It has nothing to do with the size of your talent.

It is not an indication of your true potential for making a valuable artistic contribution to the world.

You can have an art career in the face of intense adversity, but perhaps it will take a different path, one that’s a little bumpier, a little bit scarier and a lot more rewarding.

Be open to combing your interests, learning something new and applying a myriad of skills to different areas you haven’t explored.

Here are just some of the many options available to artists today:

1) Be Your Own Boss – A gallery may not come knocking on your door right away but you can use many different social media platforms to promote your work. Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook are all helpful tools for artist promotion. People all over the world will see your work. Make sure that you protect your work by copyrighting and watermarking your images. You may also consider selling work over your website to prospective buyers once you have reached your target audience.

2) Pursue Other Art Related Fields – Sometimes, you can seek internships at galleries, work at places that show art or volunteer for a docent program at your local art museum.  This can help put you in the public eye and connect you with people involved with the arts in your community.

3) Write About What You Love – Writing about art can help you approach art in a completely different way. It can help you better understand why other artists create the work that they do. It can help you understand the different movements, trends etc. that are shaping the art world. It can provide an additional source of income.

4) Apply Your Creativity To A Career Unrelated To Art – You might find that you have talent in other areas besides art. Pursuing a career in business, advertising, marketing analysis etc. may provide you with the steady income that will help you produce the art you have always wanted to without worrying about whether or not you can pay the bills. In addition you may find that you can approach other careers with the same creativity that you apply to your art, offering an original perspective that other people cannot.

5) Diversify Your Income – You can increase your income by investigating the many different ways that you can expose your particular brand of art to the public. For instance, you may pursue licensing, or putting you images on cups, post cards, greeting cards etc. Curating shows may offer an extra source of income. If you are great at photography, you might consider charging a fee for photographing the work of others. The possibilities are endless.

Don’t give up your dream; dream more creatively.

Once you consider the many options and avenues that you can pursue, any perceived career limitations fall by the wayside.

The Key To Finding Inspiration In Unexpected Places

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Marisa D. Aceves. Shredded Paradise. digital photography http://www.acevesart.com/

article by Marisa D. Aceves

 

The closet door is rotten.

Old wood from the roof pollutes the rain water that has been collecting in the pots, pans and storage containers we strategically placed on the porch.

We know the sleeping porch will eventually collapse.

My grandparents house is 114 years old.

Everything in it is falling apart, rusting away and crumbling into oblivion. 

The whole scene might make you cry if you dare to follow us up those leaning cement steps to the front door, yet there is hidden beauty in our pain.

We must prepare the house to be sold as is.

It is the last connection we have to a time when the world seemed less chaotic. 

 Nothing in the house appears to have any value except for its location.

It sits right in the heart of our city’s historical district.

The guidelines require that the front of the house must be preserved, but the inside can be stripped of it’s character and remodeled. 

Do we need this old house?

No.

Do we wish that we could keep it in the family?

Yes.

However, this is not possible.

Some people might say that cleaning an old house isn’t inspiring. 

There’s nothing exciting about it; especially when you know that its the beginning of closure.

Inspiration though is something you you decide to find. 

You have to choose to see what is valuable in each and every situation. 

Recently, I have decided to find inspiration in the hidden treasures that I find as I clean the dust off the antique furniture and floors.

Sometimes messes are potential masterpieces.

The key to finding inspiration in unexpected places is to keep your mind open to the possibilities that surround you. 

No one is going to drop by and tell you, “Yes, this will make a great picture. Take it.” 

Instead, it is a feeling that you get. 

It is almost instinctual.  

There is no formula for knowing what is great subject matter; each artist has to discover that for themselves.

Breaking old patterns and reexamining old patterns can lead to new discoveries.

Look at the things that you do every day. 

Approach them from a different point of view.

For example, in the above picture entitled “Shredded Paradise”, I noticed that there was beauty in the shredded curtains that use to hang in the second bedroom. 

I was sweeping one minute, then snapping this picture the next. 

Today, I challenge you to see what is great in what everyone else considers ordinary. 

You may find that the subject matter for your next photo essay, painting, sculpture, etc. has been sitting right in front of you. 

It has been unappreciated, undiscovered; it is all yours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Our Words and Thoughts Really Can Hurt Us: 10 Strategies For Combating Negativity and The Blues

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Marisa D. Aceves. Glass Bubble Landscape 1. Digital Photography

article by Marisa D. Aceves

Maintaining a positive attitude towards our art and other aspects of our life isn’t always easy.

Past traumas, rejection, career disappointments and failed relationships can temporarily get in the way of happiness.

However, when we constantly find ourselves dwelling on all of the misfortune that we have experienced instead of focusing on our strengths, this practice can not only get in the way of career advancement, it can ruin our emotional, psychological and physical health.

Succumbing to negative thought patterns steals our joy, our energy, and our will to create.

We don’t have to give into negative thoughts, but we often do.

In fact, we are conditioned from birth to think negatively, yet as very small children, the majority of us are essentially positive in our thoughts and actions.

Negative thoughts often lead to negative words about ourselves and others; this vicious cycle continues until we decide we want to change it.

Since the mind has a tendency to keep us thinking about all sorts of things that happen throughout the day, if we remember something negative that happened (something that upset us) this upsetting thought can trigger other upsetting thoughts.

This sets off a chain reaction that seems literally “unstoppable.”

Often worry or insecurities about getting out of our comfort zone in order to reach our goals can paralyze us from taking action in the areas that will ensure our success.

While the mind is trying to protect you and keep you safe, getting out of your comfort zone is essential to your artistic growth.

How do we defend ourselves against our  negative thoughts?

What can we do to set ourselves back on the path to a more positive, healthy outlook?

Here are some suggestions that may help you conquer the current onslaught of negativity:

Carefully Consider Your Present Thinking Patterns – The first step to changing negative thinking patterns is recognition. You have to recognize what types of negative thoughts are influencing your actions. When your are able to identify what types of negative thoughts you tend to entertain and in what areas negative thoughts occur, you can then begin to address the issue. According to Dr. Katharina Star, there are ten types of negative thinking patterns or cognitive distortions that interfere with our ability to think, feel and act in a positive manner. Here is a list with the strategies for combating them:

1) ALL OR NOTHING THINKING – Everything we think about is viewed in extremes of positive or negative. We are either an incredible success or a complete failure.  We are incredibly productive or we get nothing done at all. This way of thinking is extremely inflexible. It keeps us from seeing the step-by-step progress that we are trying to make toward our goals.

Strategy– For each area that causes you to go into black or white thinking, address it with the steps that you are taking to reach that goal each day. You may want to write down the areas that bother you the most. Then take notes of the progress you are making. This is written, visual proof that you are making an effort to move forward.

2) OVERGENERALIZING – When we are feeling down, we make assumptions that situations will always remain the way we once experienced them. We tell ourselves that we’ll never get out of our current situation. This is not necessarily the case, but the words “always” and “never” used negatively limit our view of our lives and potential .

Strategy- Whenever you are tempted to assume or overgeneralize, you should gently remind yourself that the upsetting situation may have been a one time occurrence. One mistake or situation should not determine the outcome of future events. Try to recall pleasant situations in which things did go well to offset thoughts about negative situations, setbacks, or mistakes.

3) MENTALLY FILTERING OUT THE POSITIVE- When we are approaching our lives from a negative point of view we have a tendency to filter out all of the things that are positive in our lives and focus only on the bad or unpleasant things.

Strategy- Count your blessings. Gratefulness helps us to notice what is beautiful and meaningful in our lives.  It helps us to see our gifts and the gifts of others.

4) DISMISSING WHAT IS POSITIVE – When we are discouraged, we have a tendency to ignore what is good in our lives, our achievements and relationships.

Strategy- Remind yourself of all of your successes. Continue to foster healthy, positive relationships by spending quality time with individuals you know love and care about you.

5) JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS – Sometimes we believe misread behaviors in others is due to their dislike of us or their lack of trust in our abilities.  We entertain scenarios of “doom and gloom” believing that every situation that causes us discomfort will end badly.

Strategy- Tell yourself that your fear of peoples’ judgement is often unfounded. You don’t have enough facts that equal proof. Go into each situation focusing only on what is going on in the present.

Stay out of your head and stay engaged.

6) MAGNIFYING AND MINIMIZING PROBLEMS- In this example of distorted thinking, we adopt either a “world is going to end” attitude to every setback we encounter, or we dismiss every opportunity for change that comes along because we believe we don’t deserve it.

Strategy- Discuss your problems and fears with a licensed therapist, a trusted friend or family member. This will help you get a grounded perspective on what you are experiencing.  Reach out to others who can help you see the true nature and amount of attention each emotional episode deserves.

7) EMOTION BASED REASONING- When we are lost in emotion, everything we see and experience  is colored by how we feel.

Strategy- Before allowing the latest bought of anxiety to paralyze you from taking action, you need to remind yourself that emotions lie. Our emotions are lying to us about our abilities and self-worth.  Feelings are not facts, just feelings.  Since emotions are associated with the right brain, engage in an activity which activates the left brain like counting, writing, researching,etc.  This helps to flip the switch on overpowering emotions.

8) WOULD’VE COULD’VE SHOULD’VE STATEMENTS – In the middle of a bad case of the blues, we tend to rehash what we could have, would have or should have done about a disappointing or unpleasant past experience.  This pointless exercise prolongs disappointment .

Strategy- Move on.  Do what you didn’t do yesterday today.  Focusing on changing bad habits that keep you from a more positive outcome.

9) ATTACHING LABELS TO OURSELVES – Low self-esteem and hopelessness contribute to our attributing judgemental labels to ourselves like stupid, worthless, etc.

Strategy- Refrain from labeling. Tell yourself “I know I have to work on this problem, but it doesn’t make me a bad or unworthy person.  There is no one in the world that isn’t touched by something.

10) PLAYING THE BLAME GAME – When we want to avoid dealing with our problems, we resort to self-blame or blaming others.  However, self-blame increases panic and anxiety.  Blaming others for our problems prolongs anger and frustration. It alienates us from our peers.

Strategy – Make plans to address the areas in your life that are frustrating you. Create a chart and write down possible solutions to each problem with small steps that you need to take to reach each goal.

Coping with periods of discouragement can go a long way to improving your creativity. It’s important not to stay discouraged. Eventually, we can conquer the negative thought patterns and words that are holding us back from our best life and creative work.

If There’s No Passion, There’s No Pulse: Why We Need To Take Risks To Create Our Best Art

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Marisa D. Aceves. Corrugated Dune. digital photography

 

If we view our art as a body infused with life-giving ideas and experiences, we instinctively know that when there’s no passion, there’s no pulse. When art is dead, we cry and so do the artists who long to express themselves, but can’t seem to find a reason to speak. Change is threatening.  We know what we are doing; we know what we have done, but how do we make it more meaningful? How do we engage with our art in such a way that it makes others want to engage?

 Sometimes we come to a crossroads where we must make the difficult decision to allow ourselves to experience uncomfortable episodes in our lives so we can truly create great art. Not many of us want to go there. There is where all our insecurities lie. There is full of instability, uncertainty and inevitable disapproval, yet there is where genius lives. 

Inevitably, we must make that difficult choice whether to live or die. Simply breathing and existing is not enough. If we want to make art that has life then we must not be afraid to live our lives. Our lives are our stories. It is from these stories that we can draw inspiration for the artwork that we create. I once read an article by a young writer, Jeff Goins, about living your story. In it he brought up the simple fact that many people avoid living their lives because they are afraid of taking risks. The fear of failure and judgement kill many artists before they begin because they can only focus on all the problems that they will encounter on their journey to success. Instead of allowing themselves to be blindsided by their fear of future events, they need to patiently, and mindfully focus on the prize that individual freedom of expression offers them. They need to complete the journey not give up when obstacles seem insurmountable. Things will not always be the way they are now.  The people that refuse to give up are the people that are holding onto something; they have a vision that they want to see come to fruition . I urge you not to give up, but to continue to see your unique vision through till the end. Find new, exciting reasons to create.  Who knows, maybe we can both inspire and challenge each other to become the artists we were always meant to be.

I guess the question that each and every artist must eventually ask themselves is, “What am I holding onto?”