Tag Archives: gremlin

When artists look for validation.

When artists look for validation outside of themselves, things can get yucky.

For the most part, since April, I have been happy with my painting, and really enjoying the process. I almost always enjoy the compliments I get (I say almost because I’m still working on really taking them in, rather than dismissing them).

Participating in the Gorilla House Live Art battles is really giving me something to work on, as my dear friend Tietje pointed out. Last night, after the auction, and after a fun night of painting, instead of being happy that my two paintings were bought by Valda, a lovely woman who was eager to purchase both, I was instantly bummed that my pieces sold for the lowest they ever have (in a total of four auctions) while other works were getting up to five times as much as mine. As Tietje pointed out, I am allowing the purchase price of my paintings determine my self-worth. I don’t care so much about going home with cash in my pocket, but low sale price seems to equal crappy art, which logically means crappy artist, or not an artist. See how my mind works?

Having had a morning to mull it over, I would say that there were a bunch of little things that ended up in me perhaps not turning out my best work: the themes were not ones that I could immediately relate to; I tried something a little different towards the end of one of my paintings; and I had to pack up my stuff about 10 minutes early to get out of the way for the auction. Being the first adult to auction paintings probably didn’t help much, either, but now I’m kind of looking for reasons why my paintings weren’t the problem.

Things to work on:

It’s OK to have bad days.

It’s OK to produce bad art. That doesn’t make me a bad artist.

It’s OK to feel bummed sometimes. I don’t even have to look for reasons why.

It’s OK to want validation, because without it, aren’t we producing art in a vacuum?

Validation, or lack of it, doesn’t define who I am.

“Success isn’t permanent and failure isn’t fatal.”
Mike Ditka (like my brother says, “Art is just like football. You either win, or you lose.”)

Self-Portrait(s) Thursday

Shopping with my daughters. Hanging out in the funky change rooms.

Feeling beaten by the gremlin after a day of self-bashing.

Pre-dance reflection.

Post-dance gratitude. Enjoying the late evening sun.

Parental Advisory: coarse language.

That pretty much says it.

I’m having a really bad painting day. Or, rather, a really good gremlin day. Want to hear what he is saying about me today?

Your paintings are shit.
Why are you doing this?
Eat sugar.
You have no idea what you are doing, do you?
You can’t even sell paintings.
Your paintings are just sitting around doing nothing.
Eat sugar.
Your paintings suck.
You can’t even get the money for the painting you did sell.
Eat sugar.
Lazy ass.

So, yeah. Fuck.

Moving on.

It’s been a downer kind of a day. I submitted my art to a juried art show, and it was rejected. I realize that artists have there work rejected all the time, that I’m in good company, but it still stings. Especially when I have been on such a high, for so long, and feeling really good about my work.

“Moving On”


Today has been a questioning kind of day. Is my art really any good? Does it matter that my paintings were rejected? Will this affect my work? Well, I did add quite a bit of black to my canvases today, but even though that’s because of how I am feeling, I also realized that I was missing black from my paintings before. They were almost too joyful, and they didn’t feel quite like me yet. They are getting there, and I will continue to make art that I want to make. I know not everyone will like them, but my hope is that I there are enough people who do and want to buy them – because I don’t want to keep my paintings for very long after I make them! [As a side note here.. yes, I do also donate paintings for silent auctions or related fundraising events]

Today was made just a little bit harder because my 6 year old son spent a full day at school. It was a day for them to meet their next-year-Grade-9 buddies (Grade Ones get paired with Grade Nines), and spend the full day with the senior kindergarten kids. I was really looking forward to having a full day to myself. Relaxation! Bliss! Quiet!

I was lost.

I almost crumbled to bits every time someone asked me “How are you?”, including the cashier at Safeway. Safeway was the loneliest place for me today, because he is always with me when I shop – he’s been with me for the last 6 years. I’m still feeling pretty fragile. When my girls reached grade one, it was exciting, but now that it’s my son, my baby, it’s heart-wrenching. I’m feeling the first taste of empty-nest syndrome, and it’s not fun. I wandered around aimlessly for some time today, and then felt guilty for not getting anything done. Oh, and lonely.

Perfect time to get a puppy, right??


How do you talk to yourself?

How do you talk to yourself? Would you still have friends if you spoke to friends the way you speak to yourself? This is a question posed by Suze Casey in her book, “Belief Re-Patterning“. I just read this part last night, and wouldn’t you know it, I got to experience it today, BIG TIME.

I had planned to meet my friend Shelley (who happens to be a Belief Re-Patterning practioner) at a restaurant tonight (yes, you know where this is going, don’t you?). Today was a lazy day, sitting around the house, watching a movie with the family. We decided to go out for dinner, and about half way through the meal, my hubby says, “Aren’t you supposed to be out with Shelley?”

Holy CRAP.

I don’t think this has ever happened to me before. By this time, it was already 15 minutes after we were supposed to meet. Thankfully, Shelley was very gracious, laughing at the situation, and happy to have a quiet meal to herself. But during our phone call, I was able to hear (in that external watching kind of way) the way I was talking about myself.
“How could I be so stupid?”
“I can’t believe I did this.”
“I want to make it up to you.”
So many ways to put myself down before she had the chance. And no, I don’t talk to my friends this way, so why should I continue to talk to myself like this? I am so grateful to Shelley for being an amazing friend and helping me to see that it was a just a mistake, and doesn’t reflect on who I am as a person or friend. I did end up meeting her at the restaurant, an hour later, and had an incredible dessert and great conversation! Thanks, Shelley.

What little things do you say to yourself that you would never say to your friends? When I reflect on this a little more, I can think of a few.
“I’m such an idiot.”
“That was dumb.”
“It doesn’t matter.” (sometimes this is equivalent to saying, “I don’t matter”)

Can you speak to yourself more kindly? I am going to. I’ll let you know how it goes…

Being Right

First of all, I AM AN AUNTIE!! WOO HOO!!

OK.. on with the blog post…

My interpretation of this drawing by Z: my gremlin giving me a hard time.

There is this quality about me that, when it rears its ugly head, I don’t want to be near myself. It’s called, “Being right”. I can get so caught up in being right, that I have trouble noticing what else is going on. This happened to me last night, and again today. This quality is intimately tied to “being noticed”. It leads to thoughts like, “What about me?” and “See what I can do!” and “It should be this way” and “Yeah, but, check THIS out”. Luckily, I am able to keep this mostly in check, and don’t get myself into too much trouble. I know now to steer clear (absolutely, completely) of any discussion around circumcision or religion. But still, when this feeling comes up, I feel yucky. I don’t like it, and I don’t like having it.

To help with this, I am reading “Belief Re-Patterning” by Suze Casey. The book is published by HayHouse Publishing, and written by a Calgary author! My dear friend Shelley Wright is a Belief Re-Patterning practitioner. I’ve had several sessions with her and always get a lot out of them (lots of tears flowing!) Do you ever read a book about a technique and think, “This doesn’t work for me”, but mainly because you haven’t given it a real try? Like, tried it for a month or so? I have definitely done that. This time I am giving it a real try, because I know it works for me when I see Shelley. I can feel a real energy shift when I start re-patterning my beliefs. The idea behind it is to link your negative emotions to more positive thoughts, and thus, a different emotion. For example, I have a certain emotion linked to “being right”. I can exactly express what that emotion is, except to say that it feels draining and negative- something like agitated, I think. With BRP, I would be linking that emotion to a more positive way of thinking so that next time it comes up, I can choose the opposite feeling. There are 6 stages: Forgiveness, Permission, Choice, Freedom, Affirmation and Surrender. It would go something like this, spoken out loud, with an inhale and exhale after each:
1.”I forgive myself for believing that I have to be right.”
2.”I give myself permission to let go of the need to be right.”
and “I give myself permission to let go.” (for example)
3.”I know what it feels like to want to be right, and I know what it feels like to let go. I choose to let go.”
4.”I am free to let go at any time.”
5.”I remember the feeling of letting go when I was giving birth to my son. I can let go when I think of this, at anytime.”
6.”I know how to let go.”

Back to being an auntie…

Not being in the same city as the rest of my family when they were at the hospital today was difficult. My gremlin was very outspoken. Every time someone said, “Wish you were here!”, my gremlin said, “Yeah, why aren’t you there? You should be there. You aren’t showing enough support. You aren’t doing enough. You aren’t enough.” Wow. That’s rough. I’m happy to say that it has been quite awhile since it’s sounded this negative, but still. Time for some more re-patterning!

Also… I notice my tendency to want to dispense advice even though it isn’t asked for. I’ll have to keep that in check. The need to give out advice is based on my experience and what I wished had been different, and really has nothing (or not much) to do with what is actually going on with my brother and my sister-in-law. Plus, I’m sure this has a lot to do with wanting to “be right”.

Self-Portrait Thursday

I love the colours I have on today, and how they all match! I used to be hard on myself for painting with so much colour; I even had that gremlin voice come back a bit today to tell me that I use too much. But mostly, I am pretty accepting that that’s who I am, that’s what I love, that is how I will paint! This is a truth in my life: Colour brings me joy.

Uptight Chains

The next spread in my Sketchbook Project, Limited Edition. I really like the chains, and I totally meant to do more in this book, but it just didn’t happen. As for the doodling comment, I was definitely fighting my gremlin that day. I would really like to develop some new doodling patterns, designs, techniques, etc. I guess the only way for that to happen is to keep drawing and hope that some pop out.

Two more sleeps until I leave for the Makerie! I can’t wait. I will be posting about it when I return!



Every day I make resolutions, and every day I don’t keep them.
1. Drink more water.
2. Take all my vitamins.
3. Be more present, more often.
4. Really listen to everything my kids say.
5. Go to bed as soon as I feel tired.

I am reading “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin, and she keeps a checklist do things to do everyday. That seems like a set-up for failure, but hey, I can’t fail much worse than I am now, right?

This is a short post because I am away from home and posting from a WordPress app instead of my computer. It is a bit awkward.

Playing it Safe

The other day, I showed my hubby the commissioned paintings (not pictured above… I’ll post about them later) I have been working on. His comment was that they seem “safe”. I was feeling a bit hurt by the comment, because I took it to be a bad thing. While we were talking about it some more, he asked, “How would you feel if I said, “Wow, those paintings are really out there! They’re risky!” I would probably have felt the same. I would have been worried that they were too risky, that nobody would like them because they were weird. My initial reaction to any comment, even if it is a compliment, is to take it negatively.

SIDENOTE…[How bad is that, that I can’t even take a compliment seriously? I am working on this. It’s very hard for me, but I tend to assume the commenter either doesn’t know what they are talking about, or they are just saying it to make me feel good. A sad state of affairs, I know. Like I said, I am working on it. First step is to be aware. Second is to take the time to stop, listen and really hear what has just been said to me. Then I repeat it back in my head, using “I” instead of “you”. This is a whole other blog post, really!]

So, back to the “safe” comment. It’s kind of ironic, because a lot of the messages in my journal and art focus on feeling safe. So shouldn’t it be obvious that I might like to ‘paint safe’ sometimes? What does that even mean? When I’m working on a commissioned piece, I feel that some part of it has to be safe, in that I won’t make really random marks that aren’t my usual style. I am not going to experiment on a painting that someone is pre-purchasing, knowing that they are buying from me because they like the stripes and the colours I use. I can take risks on my own time/money, not someone else’s.

Or maybe this all comes down to confidence. Sometimes I have it, sometimes I don’t. When it comes to my paintings, I usually have it, except when I am painting for someone else, apparently! Because they may have expectations about how it should look, and I want to make sure they are getting what they paid for. Anyway, after a little talk with my mom, I also realized that I do have to stop obsessing over it and just “turn the page” (her words). Time to move on. The paintings are all packaged up and ready to go, and I’m crossing my fingers that they will like them!