Permission Slips

I've been fortunate to experience personalized coaching sessions with Jane Ammon over the past few weeks.  She is helping me to develop my creative voice, and I absolutely look forward to her sessions every week.

My very first homework assignment was for me to write down the "shoulds" that I or other people tell myself.

While thinking about them, I realized that my head & heart is filled with all sorts of "shoulds".

For instance....

Jenny, 
  - You should be more tight-laced & reserved. 
  - You should be cold and firm. 
  - You should be everything to everybody. 
  - You should be constantly on the go and busy-busy-busy. 
  - You should answer your mom's 5 phone calls a day. 
  - You shouldn't be angry when your mom calls you 5 times a day. 
  - You should only see things as they are, instead of what they could be. 
  - You shouldn't be so emotional. 
  - You shouldn't be so eager. 
  - You shouldn't be seen.
How cruel, right?

To answer the shoulds, she then had me create permission slips for myself.  These slips could simply be a few words, or elaborate pieces of artwork if I wanted.  I decided to illustrate them on unused scraps of watercolor paper.

I keep the slips in places where I need the reminders the most.

Permission Slips - Jennifer Frith
Permission Slips - Jennifer Frith
Permission Slips - Jennifer Frith
Permission Slips - Jennifer Frith
Permission Slips - Jennifer Frith
Permission Slips - Jennifer Frith
Permission Slips - Jennifer Frith

These creativity sessions with her are blowing me away.  

As Jane explains, when you embrace yourself & choose to be kind to you, 
you can be that much better of a mom, wife, friend, business-woman, etc.

I love that.

In the words of Jane, 
"Don't let people should all over you."

. . .

What "shoulds" do you hear,
& what would be on your permission slips?

Art Tip No 9 - How to Deal with Negative People

A long time ago, someone once told me, "You can't make money doing artwork."

So I stopped making artwork.

For years, I bought into the paralyzing words, "You can't," and, "You shouldn't."

Boo on that I say.

My life and artwork changed for the better when I decided to let go of the negativity.

To deal with naysayers, here are some tips that have helped me:

1)  Consider the source.

If someone tells you that you can't or shouldn't do something, what might make them want to offer the unsolicited advice?   

Are they protective of you?  

Are they generally encouraging to other people?  

Is he or she a professional?  

Are they lifelong friends or just acquaintances?

Are they successful in the same field?   

Is it possible that they're jealous?   

Perhaps they're having a bad day?   

Are they just cranky, miserable people?   

Examining the source will help you decide whether to consider their feedback or let it fall to the side.

2)  Examine your reaction.

If a person who genuinely cares about you is offering advice and that advice makes you feel angry, hurt, or defensive, ask yourself why that is.  Is it possible you may feel threatened or jealous?  Are you afraid to try something new?  

Do you feel unheard or not taken seriously?  Honor your feelings;  feelings are good indicators that something needs attention.

3)  Protect your goals. 

Not everyone will want to see you succeed.  Be selective with whom you share your dreams.  

4)  Gracefully thank them for their feedback.  

This one I am working on!  Sometimes you just have to nod your head, smile, and thank these people.  Know who you are and what you want, and let it go.  

5)  Limit your exposure.

Limit the craziness, for real.  Set boundaries.  

6) Surround yourself with supportive people.

These people will want to see you do great things, make you believe you can do great things, and give you constructive feedback to help you do great things.   Ask for their advice.  Be open to their suggestions.  

Cherish them!  These people are incredible gifts.

"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."

- Mark Twain - 

Who has been supportive of you and dreams?

How do you deal with the naysayers?

Panda Pages, and a Tip on How to Splatter Paint

Journal Pages - Watercolor & StampsPretty Washi TapePanda Pages, and a Tip on How to Splatter Paint
I made this upcoming week's pages using watercolor, colored pencils, stamps, and washi tape.
I would also give a Panda a hug if I could.  I painted her in watercolor.  

To make the splatters, you can sprinkle some salt into the watercolor while it is still wet.  
I did that in the lower left hand corner.  
Then, once everything was dry, 
I splattered a little bit of green on the right side.  
Simply use your thumb to flick the paint from your paint brush.  

Fun & messy goodness. 

Art Tip No. 8 - Make Time for Creativity

When my daughter was 2 years old, I was totally one of those moms who hid in the bathroom just to be alone.   It was my safe haven.  I felt a reprieve from my crazy day... like the day when the lady at the cash register pointed out to me that there was a Cheerio in my hair, or when I burned the Lasagna by leaving it in the oven too long, or when I gently had to explain to my little one why we don't give our kittens bubble baths in the toilet.

When Ashley was down for a nap, I could lock the door to the bathroom, sit myself on the side of the tub, look up, and just exhale.  For a moment, the world stopped spinning.

I loved my alone time.  I needed my alone time.

I still do.  It recharges me and fills up my tank.

But it is hard to do when you live a busy life.

Work.  Family.  Chores.  Bills.  Go, go, go.

The craziness of life can pull you out to sea.   And before you know it, you can find yourself climbing into bed one night and wondering, "Who am I?  How did I get here?  And why doesn't my husband tell me when I have Cheerios in my hair?"

But I am learning that having my alone time is necessary for my health and happiness (and sanity).   The happier I am, the better support I can be to my loved ones.

I also learned that there are better avenues than hiding in the bathroom.

Like painting and drawing and other creative things.

Here are some tips for carving out Creative Time for yourself that have worked for me:

1)  Figure out what makes your heart sing.

What do you love to do in your spare time?   Is it Reading?   Cooking?  Journaling?  Drawing?  What lights up your heart?   What activity makes you feel like time is standing still while you are doing it?  Make a note of it, because these things are gifts, gifts that are specific to you.  And gifts are meant to be enjoyed.

2)  Enlist support.

At one point I just sat down with my husband and daughter and explained to them that I need some time to myself.   We agreed to code this as "Mom's Quiet Time", which is less exclusive than "Please, for the love of all that is good, just give me 2 minutes to myself."   I explained to both my husband and daughter how important it is to me.   They totally got on board and have become my cheerleaders.   Now I just tell them when I need this time and for how long.   Then I thank them for letting me recharge.  We make a good team.

3)  Make it meaningful.

I will ask for about an hour of uninterrupted time.  I turn off my phone.   I listen to my favorite music.   I ask Jason and Ashley to please not interrupt unless it's an absolute emergency, like rescuing kittens from unwanted baths.  It might sound cheesy, but art is special to me.  It's a treat.  And I want some of that time to be uninterrupted.

4)  Keep it balanced.

If I had my way, I would play in my sketchbook all day.  But, right now that would be irresponsible.  So I try and make sure my other priorities are first attended, like staying on top of bills, helping with homework, spending time with my family.   Because if those top priorities are off, I am a grump.  But sometimes it can swing the other way, and I can pay way more to attention to others than myself.  Not healthy either.  It helps to have someone who can keep you in check.  Like my sister who is keen on knowing when I am burned out or when things are off-kilter in my life.  She reminds me that I need to take care of me too.

5)  Find your rhythm.  

I like this concept on finding your rhythm by Marissa Mayer, former executive from Google.   Everyone's "rhythm" is different.  I work full time, so I blog when I get home.  I pay my bills on Monday, prep my journals on Sunday, draw throughout the week, and look at my family schedule about a week/month in advance.   It might not work for other people, but it's a good pace for me.  Of course, sometimes life events call for adjusting.  It's good to be flexible.


I am a work in progress - I still get frazzled more than I like -  but these are some things that have helped me find and hold onto a healthy outlet.

It has made me a happier person.

And I no longer have to hide in the bathroom. 

. . .

Do you have any other tips?  

How do you make time for creativity?  

How to Make a Watercolor Chart

Have you ever felt lost with knowing how to mix certain watercolors together?  Or remembering which color mixtures you like and which ones you don't?  I definitely have.

A blogger friend asked me how I made my Watercolor Chart, and I thought it would be a great idea to share.  

It's a handy tool that takes the guess-work out of mixing your watercolors.

They're a bit time-consuming to create (it took me about 2 hours in total to make mine), but making them is therapeutic. 

Plus, they turn out pretty!

I'm sure that there are other ways to make these charts, but here is how I make mine.  

Before you begin

Tools you'll need:

  • Watercolors, tubes or pans
  • Watercolor paper
  • Paintbrush (round, size 2 or 3 is what I use)
  • Jars for Clean Water & Dirty Water
  • Ruler
  • Pencil  
  • Calculator (or a scratch pad if you like math)  

How to Make a Watercolor Chart

How_to_make_a_Watercolor_chart

Step 1:   Gather your watercolors & count them.  Set them aside in ROYGBIV order.  

How_to_make_a_Watercolor_chart_1

Step 2:  Measure how wide you want your chart to be.  

How_to_make_a_Watercolor_chart_2

Mine is 8 inches wide.  Leave enough space (or "margins") on the sides of your paper.  This will give you room to later label the names of your watercolors.   An inch or two is usually enough space, depending on your handwriting size.

Step 3: Calculate how big your squares need to be.

How_to_make_a_Watercolor_chart_3

Take your measurement in Step 2 & divide that by your number of watercolors.  I divided 8 inches by my 25 watercolors.

Step 4:  Plot out your squares.  

Based on the math exercise above, I knew my vertical and horizontal lines had to each be spaced .32 inches apart.

How_to_make_a_Watercolor_chart_4

Step 5:  Label each row horizontally & vertically with the names of your watercolor colors.  

How_to_make_a_Watercolor_chart_5

Tip:  Keep your watercolors in order.  Whatever order you go vertically, you will need to follow the same order horizontally.   (Like your X and Y axis in math class.  :-))

Step 6:  The fun part!  Paint in your colors.  

How_to_make_a_Watercolor_chart_6

Begin with your first tube of watercolor.   Find where you have labeled that same watercolor on the horizontal and vertical lines of your chart.  Where they intersect is where you will plot your color...  like in the games, Bingo or Battleship (I loved Battleship!)

Dip your brush in clean water, load your brush with that one color and paint in the square.   Clean your brush and repeat for each tube of watercolor.

Then, start mixing.  Mix each watercolor with one other watercolor.  Plot that mixture on your chart.  Rinse your brush.  Repeat with one other color.

ie.  Let's say I start with Thalo Blue.  I will mix Thalo Blue with Thalo Red.  I'll find where those colors intersect, then I'll paint in that mixture.  Then I will rinse my brush, go back to Thalo Blue and mix with a new color, Cadmium Red.  I'll plot that mixture out and repeat with the next color in line.  

  • Thalo Blue + Thalo Red(rinse)
  • Thalo Blue + Cadmium Red (rinse)
  • Thalo Blue + Permanent Rose (rinse)
  • Thalo Blue + Cadmium Orange (rinse)

Tip:  Keep your mixtures nice & clean by rinsing your brush and paintbox after each mixture. 

How_to_make_a_Watercolor_chart_7

There you have it. :-)

Your very own customized watercolor chart!


 
Jenny's Sketchbook - How to Make a Watercolor Chart