The Yips

Personal Mantra Be Smart Be Nice do What You Love Have Fun
Sometimes it’s nice to look back on artwork you created years ago to see how much you’ve grown, isn’t it? While this quote still rings true to me, it’s neat to see how my style and aesthetic has evolved over the years. There’s a part of me that misses this carefree creative era (when I was making collage art just for fun and not as a business), and sometimes it’s a good reminder of what I’m capable of when I’m feeling stuck…


…but, yeah. I’m still suffering from some major creative block here. I’ve made and re-made a pair of collages for a client, and I’m still not happy with them. I think I have the Yips! (Any HIMYM fans out there?) I’m over-thinking something that used to come so naturally to me that suddenly can’t do it anymore! I’m at the point where I just need to get them done and out the door to my very sweet client, but at the same time, I don’t ever want to put something out there that I’m not happy with and that doesn’t live up to the potential I know is in me.


The Yips. Ugh.


Have any other creatives been through this? How did you defeat The Yips?


“Be smart, be nice, do what you love, have fun!” [Steve Pavlina]

Henri Matisse on Creativity

Creativity takes courage - inspiring quote by Henri Matisse
I think Matisse was on to something…


If being a successful artist was easy, everyone would do it. It takes real courage to be truly creative and defy the norm.

Happy Monday!

To Live a Creative Life

To live a creative life we must lose the fear of being wrong
It’s so true, isn’t it? “To live a creative life we must lose our fear of being wrong.” After a couple of posts last week on the topic of perfectionism and fear of failure, stumbling upon this image last night on Pinterest seemed quite serendipitous.
Okay, I get it. Being wrong or failing isn’t the worst thing that can happen – not getting back up after a failure is.
PS. I’m certain that the typo in the word “loose” is intentional, and by being spelled wrong it helps get the point across that it’s not the end of the world to be wrong…but the grammar nerd in me is cringing! Ack!

Happy Monday!

The Secret to Getting Started

How to get started on a project- Indie Business Tips
[Images via Pinterest; original sources unknown]


With freelance design and indie business projects, the hardest part for me is simply getting started. While I do have faith in myself and in the creative talents that God has (oh so generously) blessed me with, the perfectionist in me is constantly fearful. Fearful that the ideas won’t come. Fearful that what I create won’t meet up to my clients’ desires and expectations. Fearful that I’m inadequate as an artist. Fearful that when push comes to shove, I won’t be able to create anything worthwhile. Fearful that I will try – and fail.
Growing up, I was very fortunate to be on the receiving end of a lot of praise from my supportive parents (thanks Mom and Dad!) about my art and my singing. And while it delights me to no end that my family and friends have always been genuinely supportive of my life, my work, and my art, it has ironically caused crippling perfectionism and fear of failure in me. What should have empowered me has actually paralyzed me – they believe in me so much that I don’t want to do anything to let them down! So, instead of trying and failing (failure feels like just about the worst option possible for me), my default setting is just not to try. And as someone who leans towards introversion, I’m also “in my head” so much thinking about all the possibilities of what might happen, which is absolutely exhausting because before I’ve lifted a finger, I’ve gone through the process several times in my mind! And by that time, just starting a project feels near impossible. (Sidenote: I struggled with severe stage fright for years, and I swear that it’s only by facing my fears and with God’s grace that I can actually get on stage and perform today. For most of my life, I was so terrified of putting myself out there that I didn’t sing. Ever. And it’s something that I truly love.)
So, if you struggle with a similar fear of failure, what’s the secret to getting started?


It’s simple – just open the box.
Open box of art supplies - the secret to getting started

Here’s what I mean. My art supplies are all kept in a closet in our hallway. Everything I need is right there, brimming with potential. And yet, the hardest part of any creative project for me is getting over my fears and simply opening those boxes. I’m overwhelmed  by the potential options inside, so it feels safer to keep them closed. But when I finally get the courage to open the boxes and start a project (usually because of a close deadline!), something powerful happens. Taking them down from the shelves and exploring the papers, stickers, paints, and ephemera that I’ve collected over time somehow releases my fears, because suddenly I can see an actual solution to my design conundrum. I open those boxes for each collage art project, and ideas come. Art flows. EVERY TIME. The fear of the unknown, the fear of not being able to create seems to fade. Sure, there might be moments of struggle and resistance while working it all out, but there’s something magical that happens when you put yourself in a posture of openness to the creative process, instead of remaining closed off in your mind. Even if you don’t feel ready, just opening the boxes with the intent to start can often be the springboard to creative success.
And while it is a simple tip, I fully acknowledge that taking action on it is not that simple. It takes courage to push aside fears of failure, self-doubt, and the myriad of other excuses that make it easier and safer to not try, rather than trying and failing.


So what does “opening the box” look like for you? Is it physically opening a box of supplies? Is it sitting down at the computer and opening Photoshop? Is it grabbing your guitar and a pad of paper? Is it heading to the library to browse reference books?
Even as I’m writing these  words, it’s still tough for me to actually take them to heart and take action. I’m the first to admit that I read all kinds of design advice, but have a hard time putting it in to practice. However, knowledge is nothing without action. I hope that this knowledge will empower you to take that action, even if you’re afraid. After all, courage doesn’t mean you’re not afraid. Courage means that you feel the fear, and do it anyway. Go open the box, baby.


Galatians 6:4-5 quote
Do you struggle with a similar fear of failure or creative block when a new creative project is on the table? What’s your secret to getting started?

Happy Wednesday! Go kick some creative ass.

I Heart It, You Heart It, We Heart It

We Heart It Inspiration Photos from Lesley Myrick
Before there was Pinterest, there was We Heart It. I was completely enthralled with this photo bookmarking site a few years ago! It’s fun to look back at the images I was “hearting”- I haven’t seen them in nearly three or four years, and while I’m definitely still attracted to some of them (hello tattoos and Polaroid cameras!), I can definitely see how my style and aesthetic has evolved.
We Heart It Inspiration Photos from Lesley MyrickWe Heart It Inspiration Photos from Lesley Myrick
While We Heart It is a place to find beautiful, inspiring imagery, its main downfall (which, unfortunately, is happening with Pinterest too) is that many of the images are bookmarked from sites like Tumblr where it’s near impossible to track down the original image source. So, sorry artists and photographers who took these lovely photos. You did great, but you’re probably not getting credit for it. Sad trombone.

Happy Tuesday!

Thoughts from a Procrastinating Perfectionist

Jaime Beitler Art
When we moved to Los Angeles, I remember being so surprised (and slightly annoyed) that everyone had such packed schedules. Nate and I had to “book” dates with friends a month or more in advance. And now? WE’RE THOSE PEOPLE. I’m trying to find time this week for a few freelance projects among mentoring friends through Mosaic; performing at a welcome event at Fuller Seminary; having friends over for dinner; attending interior design events downtown – oh, and a full-time job too. I’m thankful and so blessed that my life is bursting with satisfying things, but it’s sure an easy excuse for me to procrastinate! I’ve heard the saying “If you want something to get done, give it to a busy person” – and I think it’s time to become that busy person who’s kicking ass and taking names, instead of that busy person who’s avoiding starting projects and blaming it on her schedule even though it’s really about her perfectionism and fears of inadequacy (more on that on Wednesday).
PS. How rad is this collage by Jaime Beitler? It’s made of cut-up pieces of her old art prints. Brilliant.

Happy Monday!

On Beauty Sleep

Betty White quote on beauty sleep

“Get at least eight hours of beauty sleep. Nine if you’re ugly.” – Betty White

Happy Monday!

Look Around You, Feel It All

zooey deschanel quote feel it all - look around you
[Image via Pinterest, original source unknown]

“Being tender and open is beautiful. As a woman, I feel continually shhh’ed. Too sensitive. Too mushy. Too wishy washy. Blah blah. Don’t let someone steal your tenderness. Don’t allow the coldness and fear of others to tarnish your perfectly vulnerable beating heart. Nothing is more powerful than allowing yourself to be truly affected by things. Whether it’s a song, a stranger, a mountain, a rain drop, a tea kettle, an article, a sentence, a footstep, feel it all – look around you. All of this is for you. Take it and have gratitude. Give it and feel love. “- Zooey Deschanel

Happy Friday. xo

Starting is the Hardest Part

Lesley Myrick collage art


Don’t you find that starting is the hardest part of a creative project? I find that once I get going I thoroughly enjoy the process and the end result is both beautiful and satisfying…but getting over the mental block and intimidation of starting with a blank canvas can practically paralyze me with fear! There are just so many options I feel overwhelmed and inadequate to create something worthy.

I delayed starting this collage for a couple of weeks (it’s a 6×6 commission on board for a good friend) because I was struggling with the fact that I wanted it to be perfect – but I didn’t know where to start, and therefore didn’t know how to achieve that high standard that I hold myself and my art to. I also haven’t done a new piece in months, and I find the longer I’m away from art, the harder it is to jump back in.

Here’s the irony of it all – this piece came together so fast and so effortlessly that it was almost laughable. I couldn’t believe I had agonized over it for so long, only for it to totally flow out of me once I had (finally!) started it. It’s not making art that’s usually the challenge – starting is the hardest part. 

How do you deal with creative block, and the intimidation of starting a new project from scratch? 

Happy Monday!