This is a fairly old self-portrait that I based on the lyrics to a song called “Me and My Bad Attitude”. It’s a tongue-in-cheek song. It’s cute, but it was also a pretty accurate description of where I was at the time. A friend bought it at the show it was created for and she enjoys it as a reminder of our time in a painting group.
At that time, I was very politically active and the primary focus of my art was to express my political views. I know some of the ladies in our group were not fond of my work because it was very editorial in nature. Others liked it, because we shared the same perspective. I enjoyed having discussions with members of varying views because I like to know why people have such different beliefs.
Several years later, my family and I moved to the country and I lost touch with the painting group. As I adjusted to a slower pace and began to focus entirely on my art, I started to shift from editorial work to more symbolic subjects. My work was still primarily political or patriotic, but much more subtle.
One day, I realized most of the people I spent time with were angry and intolerant and it was affecting my behavior. I was becoming a conversational bully. I didn’t like this about myself, so I began making changes. The first year, I committed to giving up complaining. Though I sometimes fall off the wagon, I am much more positive than I once was and I am much more aware when I do start to complain.
The next year, I decided to work on being more grateful. Even when I wasn’t complaining, I was wishing I had this or that thing rather than what I do have. I wasn’t wanting more things, so much as I was disappointed because we weren’t able to buy a farm or a historic house, when I should have been happy to live in a nice house in a beautiful neighborhood. I was disappointed that we have too many trees for a vegetable garden, when I should have been happy that I finally got chickens.
So, this year, I decided to double down on gratitude and become more focused on intentional behavior. I’m really looking at our home to see what makes it wonderful and planning ways to make it personal. That means lots of painting, taking down wallpaper, trim work, and a ton of shrub removal before the real gardening begins. It means getting rid of hand-me-down furniture and considering what fits the space and our tastes before investing in pieces we want to keep forever. The upside is, there is no deadline. My husband says we’re never moving again, so I have all the time in the world.
Within the last year, I shifted my focus to Inspirational work in order to start cultivating a positive world view. I admit, I thought the self-help and inspirational quotes were a little trite at first, but I kept at it. Now I have a composition book dedicated to inspirational quotes and I am developing a workshop series based on positivity. You can read about the first workshop here.
I will cross post from my art blog as the workshops develop. I have been getting a lot of interest and positive feedback from people about the concept, so I hope it becomes something I can do to finally bring in steady revenue. I would eventually like to purchase a historic building for my studio so I can get it out of our house and offer public access. It would definitely be a great way to expand the workshop series to a wider audience and open up the possibility for a small gallery and merchandise space as well.
I have many talents, but dreaming big is probably my primary skill.
What are some ways you seek out and express positivity?