There were many thoughtful prompts that came out of August Moon and I've been mulling them over. Though the prompts have come to an end, I want to share some of my thoughts on some of them...
AUGUST MOON DAY 6 - ZENITHS and NADIRS
The prompt for day 6 of August Moon was this:
"Where have the highlights and low points been for you so far in 2013?
Where are you now?"
It took me awhile to come to terms with the low point of this year for me, but the high point was easy to think of...and each one involved learning, which is a favorite pastime for me. Let me begin with my high point for the year so far - hands down, it was my time spent at the Artful Journey Retreat.
The High Point - Artful Journey
My time at the retreat this year was incredibly restorative this time around. I had requested my own room and this was a wonderful luxury to have. I awoke early each morning to participate in the morning yoga provided by a lovely spirit who provided a wonderful yoga ritual each morning before breakfast and classes. It was great to stretch my body before heading off to my workshop each day and it was lovely to have a room to myself to relax in each night before heading to the "land of nod". And of course learning from Albie Smith was fantastic, as well as making new friends and seeing old ones return to the beautiful Presentation Center.
As for the low point of my year, it was hard to face this one because it involved learning, which I love to do. However, this learning came very dear, in more ways than one, and it has been causing me some resentment, which I am trying hard to let go of...
The Low Point - Making Art That Sells
Participating in the online workshop, Making Art That Sells, was a very difficult and costly learning experience for me, which I have touched upon here, but I have kept a diplomatic face on my feelings about this experience. But after reading a post in the class Facebook group that this workshop was just a 'marketing tool for the creators' only fueled my resentment...so, in the interest of letting go of resentments, here are my feelings about my experience with this workshop:
To say that artists of all skill levels are welcome is great for inclusiveness, but seeing what the actual visual esthetic of the instructor really is and discovering that you will be unable to meet that esthetic because you don't have GRAPHIC DESIGN SKILLS is beyond discouraging and it made me realize very quickly that my work was not ever going to be a good fit. However, being 'taught' that a specific visual esthetic is what will sell in the marketplace, is not an encouraging message either.
To learn that you have paid out what amounts to nearly one months rent for what was a 'marketing tool' that someone else is financially benefiting from made me feel like a stupid dupe. That is not a nice feeling to have, no matter how much information I may have gained from this workshop. Paying money for what was essentially a marketing tool to promote the work/businesses of the creators involved, under the guise of a "talent search" (especially for someone who doesn't really need to 'search' for talent considering it arrives in their email box nearly everyday from hundreds of hopeful artists looking for representation) was a very bad financial move on my part and the amount of 'business' information I received just wasn't worth the price I paid for it. And frankly, promoting a 'talent search' as an online workshop is misguiding, in my opinion.
Having these feelings while in the midst of the workshop made me feel isolated (and feeling isolated is something I don't like*) because it appeared that I was the only student in the workshop having these negative feelings, and posting any 'negativity' was discouraged from the Facebook group. Yet, there were occasional posts with participants who were experiencing frustration and difficulties with the workshop, in a similar vein that I am sharing here, which helped alleviate the isolating and discouraging feelings I was having, but sadly, much of it was a little late for me.
Spending much of my time attempting to complete projects that would never fit the visual esthetic of the workshop may not have been the best use of my time. That time could have been better spent working on creating goods for my Etsy shop, or looking into creative work opportunities that would pay ME for my work, something I really should have been working toward.
Where am I now?
I've got a LOT of work ahead of me to let go of this resentment, but I will work on this so I can continue to move forward in my life...because being stuck in my resentment is not going to get me anywhere.
The prompt for day 6 ended in this way:
"How would you like your year to end?"
I would like to see my year end with MORE than enough funds to get me to next years Artful Journey retreat, with MORE than one creative work opportunity to earn me a good living and with MORE creative fun in the company of like minded artists.
Regarding online workshops, I am making a decision to stop doing them for awhile. I paid for 3 online workshops this year and signed on to participate in 2 other free workshops, and the only one I worked on in a consistent manner was the one I thought would help me make money, and that is the workshop that generated so much resentment.
This year, I did return to book binding workshops with my book binding instructor and really enjoyed being among other creatives working with my hands, so if I do any workshops in the future, they will be live/in-person workshops which is in alignment with my personal values of ART and COMMUNITY. And after reading this blog post from my fellow Artful Journey buddy Glenda, I may also make room for some creative swaps, since that also feeds into my need for COMMUNITY and would certainly add an element of FUN that I would like to end my year with.
Knowing some of my personal values has helped me to focus more on the things I value, which helps me create more joy in my life - I just need to remember to review them on a regular basis!
Many thanks to Kat and Meredith for hosting this wonderful event that celebrates the magic of a Blue Moon. Stop by their blogs to say hello or join the fun here - these prompts are definitely worth pondering!
* - One day, I may have to share my experience of being the only (isolated) employee in an office, while the other employees had the excuse of 'being out in the field' to avoid a long commute to said office...it might help me continue my quest to rid myself of long-standing resentments.