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Face-to-face Paranoia?

August 2nd, 2016

Face-to-face Paranoia?

The faint-of-heart need not apply for this position! But those who dare to step forward and take the leap reap great rewards!

I’m a hybrid artist, who spends lots of time painting in my studio, but also spends lots of time out of my studio with the public, painting-on-site. I’ve always loved to paint, as long as I can remember and I enjoy interacting with people.

Sharing a painting you’ve created with the public is definitely leaving yourself open to whatever people might decide to say about your work. “What is that exactly?” “Where did you get that idea?” “What it that supposed to be?” “Have you been painting long?” “Do you actually sell anything you paint?” “Did you have to go to school to learn how to paint that?” “What does that mean?”

Remember, painting-on-site is a creative process and exposing any of one’s precious creations to public criticism is terrifying, to say the very least! Truthfully, many artists just don’t have the stomach for painting-on-site. It’s the face-to-face thing.

Could the so called "benefits" of painting-on-site exceed the "liabilities" of possibly having one’s creative spirit squashed?

An artist friend of mine and I painted on site at Leu Gardens, (a 50-acre botanical oasis near downtown Orlando) a picture perfect place to paint. The garden’s patrons approached us with trepidation initially, but when they realized we were open to conversation, they relaxed.

Interestingly, I picked up their ideas, their energy and love of nature and incorporated everything into my images. All my paintings in the gardens became a compilation of memories. I’d look at a painting I’d painted from the gardens and say to myself, "That’s where that cute couple came up and started talking to us about planting their butterfly garden," or “"hat’s where that cute little girl started talking to me about how much she loves to draw horses."

My paintings became more than me! Each painting was infused with the energy of each person that interacted with me!

The Grand Bohemian Gallery (part of the Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando) has been exceptionally good to me and my work. At one point, I was painting-on-site inside the gallery every Sunday during their Sunday brunch (their Sunday “Jazz Brunch” was listed “Best of Orlando” 2013, 2014 & 2015). Brunch goers would often browse through the gallery after their meal and gravitate to me painting-on-site in the gallery.

Everyone was in a happy, relaxed mood and opened up and shared their thoughts and feelings with me. Sometimes, the really special times, a young budding artist would come up to me reluctantly and share their vision of becoming an artist with me. I encouraged them, of course, but I also offered them the opportunity to paint with me on the painting I was working on. Most of them were hesitant, but I assured them it was “okay” to paint on my canvas with me. It was amazing to see their face as they added their paint stokes to mine.

Unheard of you say? A mistake? The few strokes meant the world to them and I was able to incorporate their work into mine making mine – well - fresher – less of the "old" me! A win-win situation!

The Grand Bohemian even sent me to one of their premium properties in St. Augustine, The Casa Monica Resort & Spa for my own show! I absolutely loved the hotel and having my own show in their incredible lobby exceeded my expectations - actually a dream come true! I loved painting-on-site and interacting with all the visitors staying at the hotel. The hotel’s clientele was entirely different from the visitors to the Orlando Grand Bohemian - so I was pulled out of my "element" even more so.

A friend of mine recommended me to paint-on-site at Micro Key Software’s Annual User’s Conference. I was really excited about the opportunity and everyone at the event was encouraged to "talk with artist," so I had an exciting evening!

One young budding artist captured my heart with her enthusiasm and skill at such a young age. To tell you the truth, she reminded me of me!

Throughout the evening, the attendees talked and painted with me! It was an amazing evening of fun and adventure that I’ll never forget. I "donated" the finished piece that everyone contributed to during the evening to Micro Key. I received a wonderful letter from Micro Key stating "It is evident from the feedback surveys, completed by the attendees, that the conference was a great success." "All of our attendees that had the opportunity to paint really enjoyed the experience. Thank you so much for sharing your talent."

So, if you’re presented with an opportunity to interact face-to-face, just remember, you can do it and you’ll be "better," for having shared the creative part of you with the public.

How to Tap into the Power of Flow

March 3rd, 2016

How to Tap into the Power of Flow

When Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book “Flow” hit the national bestseller list in the 1990’s, everyone was talking about the power of “Flow,” which the author described as, “The positive aspects of human experience – joy, creativity, and the total involvement with life.”

Everyone was trying to “tap into” the power of “flow” and take it for a ride, including me! My personal experience found “flow” to be a bit more fleeting than I would have liked, until an unexpected trip to the movies trapped me into the “flow” groove for two weeks.

A friend of mine invited me to go with her to see a new movie. I had no idea what to expect. I had heard some very strange comments about the movie, but, nevertheless, wanted to check it out for myself.

The movie? Baz Luhrmann’s “Moulin Rouge.” I was totally blown away by the movie. I liken it to jumping on a horse I thought was tame and suddenly out of the blue the horse takes off and gallops away into oblivion! I’m still on board (barely) but completely surprised and bewildered by the sudden turn of events!

The movie, to me, was a complete immersion into music, song and dance, all at once! Set in Paris in 1899, the Moulin Rouge in Montmartre became the entertainment center of highbrow and lowbrow society representing a kind of cultural and social revolution, where the Bohemian anti-establishment movement thrived. Artists, like Toulouse Lautrec, poets, musicians, and students flocked to Montmartre looking for artistic inspiration, shunning the bourgeois world of their parent’s generation. A bitter green alcohol called Absinthe had a cult following amongst the Bohemians. The Bohemian motto was, “Truth, beauty, freedom and love.”

Being an artist, this utterly ridiculous love story captured my heart in a way that I still can’t describe! It took me by surprise and threw me into two weeks of listening to the sound track every day and creating my “Moulin Rouge” painting with complete abandon. I lived in “flow” the entire duration, listening to the soundtrack and painting. Painting and listening to the soundtrack.

What was it like living in a heightened state of joy, creativity and total immersion for two weeks? When I paint, I’m in the moment 100%. In this particular situation, not only was I painting in the moment 100%, I was listening in the moment 100%. I added another layer to my senses intensifying my experience!

I could see and hear the painting coming together! It was totally amazing! The combination of the art and the music together pushed my painting to a whole new level!

I displayed my “Moulin Rouge” painting in the studio I shared with 2 fellow artists, inside a co-op art gallery. My studio mate mentioned to me she really liked the painting. My friend is an accomplished artist and I was completely taken aback that she would actually like this very strange painting of mine – a complete departure from the type of artwork she usually paints, (or I paint, for that matter)! I was so miffed, I had to ask her, “Why do you like this painting? What specifically do you like about it?”

I’ll never forget her simple comment, “It makes me happy.”

Moulin Rouge forever changed the way I paint. Now I paint to my favorite music. If you want to experience a heightened sense of flow, try layering your experiences!

Csikszentmihalyi explains in “Flow,” “It is an experience in which there is order in consciousness.” He continues, “The pursuit of a goal brings order in awareness because a person must concentrate attention on the task at hand and momentarily forget everything else. These periods of struggling to overcome challenges are what people find to be the most enjoyable times of their lives.”

Artists as Art Collectors

February 22nd, 2016

Artists as Art Collectors

When you think of art collectors, do you typically think of hedge fund managers, technology gurus, or maybe just your every-day self-made millionaires?

Well, think again! One of the completely “hidden” markets of art collectors is the artists themselves, collecting art from their artist contemporaries!

The artist’s homes and studios I’ve been privileged enough to visit have proven to me, time-and-again, that artists love collecting the works of other artists.

Contrary to what I believe is the “standard thinking,” artists like being around and hanging out with other artists. To go even one step further, artists even like to collect the works of other artists, and are some of their most ardent supporters! Who would know, appreciate and understand art more than an artist?

It seems like a novel aspect, but who better to seek out brilliant works of art, than artists getting to know other artists and their work. Who better to appreciate the nuances of the paintings, sculptures, etc. than an artist who knows, I mean really knows, the artist that created it!

I have my own gallery. My collection includes art from my contemporaries. I could give you a LONG list of other contemporary artists I would love to collect. I would need to add more wall space to actually display the number of pieces I would like to own.

I attribute my desire to be an art collector to my mom, who was a collector herself. She was an administrator for a public school system for over thirty years, but knew many artists within the school district who taught art and were practicing artists. My mom collected art from many of her artist contemporaries and fortunately, as a kid, I had the opportunity to meet and spend time with these talented personalities. My mom had real talent herself as an artist and even won an award for a batik.
(“Batik” is a technique of wax-resist dyeing applied to cloth).

When I showed signs very early on of having artistic talents, my mom encouraged me to take art classes, which I did! I still can’t believe, as I look back, seeing myself as a young teen, in art classes held at the museum, etc. mostly populated with art students in their fifties and over and marvel at how I had the ability to stay focused and engaged on the subject matter!

When my mom passed away, I inherited her art collection. My sister was generous enough to ship every piece to me. When they arrived, I was completely taken aback at my response to the paintings. Tears starting flowing as I unwrapped painting after painting. These were like long lost friends! The memories came flooding back to me. I started remembering things that had happened, the artists, my mom, - well everything! These paintings were a HUGE part of my past! They were a part of my present and now, part of my future.

I can’t tell you how meaningful and emotional that experience was. Art is emotional. Art can change your world – your life - no matter if you are a hedge fund manager or an artist, start collecting art –now!

Finding Inspiration in Unexpected Places

February 18th, 2016

Finding Inspiration in Unexpected Places

As an artist, I think I look at things differently.

I see things that completely stop me in my tracks, while others might walk right on by! I’m always amazed at how differently each one of us sees and processes the world.

A case in point is one of my recent trips to Mount Dora, Florida with my husband. We love to visit Mt. Dora. We walk around the quaint downtown area, treat ourselves to a great meal, take a hike, go for a boat or train ride or just hang out.

This particular day, after a walk around the downtown area, we headed to one of my favorite restaurants, “The Goblin Market Restaurant.” ( for lunch. It’s been there since 1996. This particular day was a perfect spring day and the hostess asked us if we would like to dine inside or outside on the patio. We both said, “Outside!” So the hostess takes us to this table outside under this huge oak tree! She gives us the menu. I glance at the menu. We already know what we want, so we order. We hand back the menus, then I look up!

I’m totally blown away! There is this plant that has wound itself completely up the side of the tree. The plant is being lit by the sun and seems to be sun lit from behind all the way up the tree. Even the tree leaves seem to be back-lit! I can’t believe how beautiful it is!

The beautiful bright green plants are contrasted against the red tones of the tree bark and the bright lime green tree leaves are highlighted against the brilliant Easter egg blue sky!

It completely takes my breath away! I take my phone out and start snapping photos – from every angle imaginable! Snap, snap, snap, snap, snap.

Now people are starting to stare at me. I’m sure they’re thinking, “What could she possibly be taking a picture of? All we see is a HUGE tree! What is she doing?”

I keep snapping photos, hoping that the pictures will do the image justice.

I couldn’t wait to get back home so I could start my painting of the tree. I knew the painting would present a few challenges, like getting the perspective right and the most important thing, getting the “sun lit” quality of the plants and leaves “right.”

I really wanted the plant and the leaves to “pop.” So, since I’m painting the image in acrylics and they dry darker, it means multiple coats of highlights. Lots of applications of pure color on top of pure color.

After all was said and done, I was really happy with the results.

You can judge it for yourself. Can you feel the spring day? Can you see the sunshine beaming down on the tree leaves and plant?
If you can, then I’ve done my job of sharing my world with you and how I felt on that pristine spring day on the patio totally arrested by the beauty of the moment!

Inspiration comes from anywhere! Be sure to look up! I’m not sure we’re always thinking about looking “up” for ideas. Maybe it just means we should spend more time each day with our head in the clouds!

Overcoming Your Fears - Being verses Acting

February 9th, 2016

Overcoming Your Fears - Being verses Acting

Once upon a time, far, far away, I was chosen to play the lead part in a play at my grade school.

I was thrilled because we got to wear these really cool costumes and be on stage, and all that really fun stuff a grade school student dreams of – or I least I did!

That was the “good” part. The “bad” part was, no matter how hard I rehearsed my lines, the minute I stepped onto stage I became completely mortified and I couldn’t remember a thing, nary a word or phrase! I mean, I think I actually stopped breathing or I just completely forgot to breathe!

No matter what I did, I became completely overwhelmed the minute I stepped on stage.

Of course, the teacher quickly replaced me, seeing how, no matter what my enthusiasm level, I was completely unable to deliver a line! My dreams of being a part of the show – over. Big time. I was completely devastated and I felt like such a major loser! (All this drama and I was just in grade school!)

Really, I couldn’t remember my lines? How hard could this be? Obviously I could memorize my lines, I just couldn’t deliver them! I felt like Jerry Seinfeld at the rental car site, “So, you can take my reservation, but you just can’t hold it!”

Fast forward, many, many decades later. I hear about this acting class in town. I hear the teacher is amazing and I could join the class even if I wasn’t an actress/actor.

It was kind of like that “bucket-list” thing in the back of my mind. I just really wanted to overcome my fear of standing up in front of people. I just wanted to be able to deliver a line. That’s all. No big deal. Well, actually it was a big deal to me. I really just wanted to be able to walk out on stage and speak to the audience without passing out!

So, I signed up for the class. Boy, was I in for a HUGE surprise! The acting class was truly amazing. These acting students were truly gifted. They were “real” actors/actresses honing their skills and following their dreams to become big stars!

Then there was me. The class started after work and I was usually toast at that time of day. However, that didn’t stop me from showing up, week after week. Yep! That was me in the back of the class trying hard to hide in the shadows. I could safely “observe” from this distance, just not participate.

However, I had to (the teacher made me do it) participate every time in the “being” exercises we performed at the beginning of every class. One of our acting teacher’s goals was to get us to tap into our “authentic” selves at the beginning of the class. We had to get rid of the “fake” face we put on as we leave the house in the morning and show people all day, and access the “real” person behind the mask that no one sees but us! We had to shake off that “other” person we were during the day and become our “authentic” self. We had to “be,” not “act!” I was floored! This was NOT easy!

What I found out was “acting” is NOT “acting,” it’s “being.” If you want to cry, you have to tap into how you felt when your dog died and actually feel or re-live those emotions as you deliver your lines! If you want to be happy, you have to remember what it felt like the best day of your life, re-live those emotions and so on and so forth. It’s “being,” not “acting.” BIG surprise!

I was so confused! I thought we were supposed to be acting???? This wasn’t acting, this was torturing! I’m thinking, “This wasn’t what I signed up for! This is going to kill me!” However, I signed up for this class, paid for this and I was going to see this thing through, if it killed me, thinking to myself that might be a real possibility at this point.

Honestly, “acting” class was more like “therapy” than any therapy session I have ever attended. I mean gut wrenching. I’ve never heard so many “true confessions” in my entire life! I mean, this is the real deal! NO soap opera I’ve ever watched was as authentic and gripping! This was riveting! This was real! This was happening in real time! What happened in acting class stayed in acting class!

Over the weeks, I watched these completely amazing performances by my fellow students. Some actually left for L.A. or other parts unknown for acting jobs that opened up. Meanwhile, I was still hovering at the back of the class room. I don’t know what it was, but I just couldn’t come forward. Well, okay, it was FEAR!

Fast forward to my very last night in class. I had a horrible personal experience that day and was on the verge of tears all day at work. The last thing I wanted to do was go to acting class, but it was the last night I had signed up for, so I went and assumed my usual position hiding at the back of the room.

The teacher, for whatever reason that night, spotted me in the back of the room and said to me, “You, Yes, You! You are up. Yep. Right now.” I thought I would drop dead on the site.

I walk down to the middle of the floor – or the stage. I feel everyone’s eyes on me. I am completely terrified. The teacher says to me, “You have just won an academy award! You will receive the Oscar, give the audience your acceptance speech and thank the people who got you here.” Then she’s hands me a vase and says “Here’s your Oscar!”

Did I mention, this had probably been one of the worst days of my entire life?? I look at her. She is not going to let me leave. I have got to do this. It’s now or never!

I take the vase. I look around the room and say, “First off, I want to thank everyone for having so much faith in me and for voting for me. I can’t tell you how much that means to me!” All of the sudden, all of my emotions that had been bottled up inside me all day came out unchecked. I immediately start crying!! Oh, did I say crying? I mean, sobbing - uncontrollably! It was like the flood gates opened up! I couldn’t control my tears and sobs! I was completely out of control!

Amazingly, through my sobs, I was able to actually “say” what I wanted to say, although I felt like I had just spent 60 seconds inside a washing machine!

When I left the “stage”, the students clapped for me! I was stunned! Later, that night when I was leaving, one of the students approached me and shared with me that they had to leave the room during my “acceptance speech” because it was so heartfelt that it hit a nerve. It was just too difficult for them to watch and listen to what I was saying, so they actually left the class room.

So, to those of you with fears holding you back, peel off the mask you wear at work, become your authentic self, and just “be.” Don’t act! You’ll thank me later!

How to Tap into Your Creative Potential, Solve Problems and Come Up with New Ideas

February 4th, 2016

How to Tap into Your Creative Potential, Solve Problems and Come Up with New Ideas

How can tapping into your creative potential help you solve problems, and come up with new ideas?

Before I was a full-time artist, I had my own public relations company. I had a big problem to solve and needed a really creative solution. I had a celebrity fitness guru coming to town and a fitness studio to fill up with students eager to see what they could learn from the master.

I had to come up with a whole publicity campaign, pronto, but unfortunately I kept coming up with the same old tired ideas for my campaign.

Everyone was counting on me to pull a rabbit out of the hat and I was running out of time!

Monday was the deadline I’d given myself to come up with my “great idea.” It’s now Saturday. I’m on a plane heading out of town. While wandering around the airport waiting for my flight to depart, I walk into a book store. I’m just wandering around the store, looking at books and magazines.

Suddenly, there staring me in the face was my answer! I’m not talking about just any old idea, but the BIG idea from which I launched my whole publicity campaign! The headline and picture on the front cover of U.S. News & World Report gave me the idea! (U.S. News & World Report is now mostly web based). The article on the front cover warned about the many perils of fitness campaigns and how multiple injuries were the result of these ill-planned campaigns. All kinds of fitness buffs weren’t even stretching or warming-up. They were just leaving the house, running a marathon, and ending up in the hospital! Now the experts are saying, “Take it easy,” instead of “No pain, no gain!” I bought the magazine and read the article on the plane. By the time I arrived at my destination, I had my entire publicity campaign mapped out!

My publicity campaign, “Warning! Exercise Can Be Hazardous to Your Health” was a huge success! The campaign received lots of free publicity and bottom line, filled up the fitness studio with eager students wanting to hear from the expert how to exercise properly without getting hurt!

Over and over again it totally works for me, every time, whether I’m fretting over creating a painting or a publicity campaign! It doesn’t matter! It works every time!

“I’ve realized, from years and years of experience, being able to focus my concentration on something other than focusing on the specific problem at hand actually releases my creative energy so I actually can solve the problem and come up with new solutions.”

The first thing I have to do as an artist when creating a new painting is to come up with an inspirational idea for my painting. This process is very similar to the writer staring at a blank sheet of paper and asking themselves what they want to write about. What do I want to say? What do I want my viewer to feel? What do I want to feel? What do I want to communicate? Where do I start?

That process of thinking what I want to create takes me outside of myself. I start focusing on people, places and things – not on myself. This is absolutely the key! From my personal experience, the key to solving problems is looking outside of yourself for the answers!

My husband and I ride our bicycles around 10 miles every day. That blast of oxygen helps kick-start my system and my creativity. We’re both immersed in the moment – looking out for kamikaze squirrels, etc. darting into our paths, but still enjoying each other’s company. We laugh and talk about things going on in our lives, but the best part of the ride is the ride itself – being outside in nature – away from our daily selves and being 100% immersed in the moment.

I can’t tell you how many amazing ideas have just “popped into my head,” when I’m riding my bike!
Something happens when your mind “disengages” on the problems at hand and re-focuses elsewhere!

So, that is how it works! Go for a walk, take a hike, go see a movie, get on a plane, or get in the car and go somewhere, anywhere!

Lizard House

August 16th, 2015

Lizard House

I mentioned my friend, Becky Nix, the ceramic artist as the creator of my "Lizard House." I thought I'd share this image with you. I've seen lizards sitting on the top and inside the house, so they must like it! I'm still working on "The Land of Counterpane" and my wine glasses today, so hopefully I'll be able to post something next week! I've got some other ideas floating around my mind, too. So, stay tuned to some more ideas as they "gel" in my mind! My bicycle ride today was stellar, as usual. I usually see eagles and hawks, but saw neither today. What I did see in a pond was a duck and about 10 ducklets swimming around in a very tight circle, staying close to mom. They were so cute, but too skiddish for me to get close enough to get a good photo. The sky is beautiful this morning, with beautiful clouds close to the horizon, as if you were viewing the sky from the deck of a cruise ship. The clouds are hugging the horizon and they are tipped with gold sunlight. An amazing start to my day! May you have an amazing day, too!

Livin the Creative Dream - Open the Flood Gates

June 18th, 2015

Livin the Creative Dream - Open the Flood Gates

Artists are a funny bunch of people! Considering I am one, I'm adding my name to the "bunch." In order to really "see" and "feel" things, you really have to wear your heart on your sleeves! Really? Yep! The reason artists have the ability to evoke so much emotion from the viewer is the artist's own vested emotions they throw into their paintings! You can look at a piece of art and sometimes it does nothing for you. Another piece might, for whatever reason, evoke an emotional response from you. "I hate that," or "That's interesting," or "I love that piece," or "That is a disturbing piece." The one thing in common with all those responses, is that the paintings or works of art evoke some kind of emotional response from you, good or bad or even indifferent. I've noticed, in today's world where everything moves so fast, it's really difficult to stop the world long enough to take a second look or even "feel" anything! Artists are looking and feeling every day. They are noticing the usual, the unusual, the average, the above-average, basically artists are taking it all in. It's a blessing and a curse. Artists easily can get swept away by their emotions! (Say it isn't true!!!!) A long time ago, far, far away, I went to see a movie with a friend. It was one of the most unusual movies I had ever seen, to say the least! But, something in the movie resonated with my spirit, and that emotion swept me up, up and away for several weeks as I was consumed with painting these images that came to me. The movie? "Moulin Rouge directed by Baz Luhrmann. A very, very, strange movie that totally overcame me with emotion. I purchased the CD and for the next couple of weeks, worked feverishly on my painting. I really was off in "La-La" land, totally consumed with the painting. The painting was a jumble of images, probably making no sense to anyone but me! After I finished it, exhausted, I displayed it in the studio I shared with 2 other artist friends at the Orlando Visual Artists League (aka O.V.A.L.). Interestingly enough, one of my studio-mates absolutely loved the piece, so I gifted it to her on a special day. Not necessarily seeming her type of painting, I asked her, "Why do you like this particular piece?" "It's a happy piece," she replied. So, if the piece is happy it makes her feel happy! I was happy, (well, to be honest, obsessed) with painting it and the end result was it evoked in one person the feeling of happiness. Interesting! Now, let me reel your mind back to the artist. I'm painting images of bluefin tuna. I'm researching the tuna and find out "Pacific Bluefin Tuna Overfishing has led to 96% Population Reduction." I read further and now I'm seeing images I'd rather not be seeing. The belly meat from the giant (Atlantic) bluefin tuna is considered the finest sushi in the world. Where there's lots of money to be made, anything goes. According to a National Geographic magazine article, "The decimation of giant bluefin is emblematic of everything wrong with global fisheries today: the vastly increased power of new fishing technology, the shadowy network of international companies making huge profits from the trade, negligent fisheries management and enforcement, and consumers' indifference to the fate of the fist they choose to buy." Images of this beautiful fish caught in nets and other images brought me to tears. Oh, there's that artist in me coming out. So, tell me what you feel by seeing my painting, if you actually feel anything. (You may not). The bluefin tuna is beautiful and I hope I captured it's beauty so if they're caught to extinction, like the bluefin tuna paintings on ancient cave walls and their minted images on ancient coins, you'll know how beautiful they once were and how they filled one artist with awe and sadness at the same time!

Livin the Creative Dream - Stop your whining

June 12th, 2015

Livin the Creative Dream - Stop your whining

Livin the Creative Dream always comes with a caveat - things don't always go the way you think they should go! You wake up, have your day planned out, then wham! Something comes up and completely throws a monkey wrench into the middle of your plan! Some of the responses I hear when things go wrong are so whiny! "I can't do that anymore now that this happened!" "I almost completed my masterpiece when "x" happened!" So what? Everyday something else is thrown in our path and we only have our choices to get us out! I've noticed how our first gut reaction is to shut down and return to the fetal position. However, even if you do that, at some point you'll have to rejoin the living and you'll still be faced with the same dilemma! So, might as well make the "right" choice as soon as "x" happens and be on your merry way with as little down time as possible! So, what is the "right" choice in these circumstances? Choose to take action and do what you CAN do! Look around you! Okay, so you can't, for whatever reason, do what you wanted to do, but what else Can you do? Focusing all your energy on what you CAN do instead of what you CAN"T do is completely empowering! Number one, you stop whining and start doing something. As soon as you move your energy from static to active a funny thing happens. One action begets another action and suddenly you're on your way in another direction! Crisis averted! The real challenge is to actually have the mindfulness to notice that when things go south, you're going there, too! You have to be aware you're suddenly going down a dark road. You've got to put the brakes on, turn the car around and head off in a new direction. Yes, I know, easier said than done, but really there are no excuses. At the end of your whiny respite, you still have the same situation right in front of you! So, my advice is admit that things didn't go like you think they should have, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and head off in another direction! Living in Florida I love the ocean! I love fish, coral and anything ocean related! My latest work, "Moorish Idol and Coral" is a tribute to the ocean! Did you know that 60% of our coral reefs are expected to be dead and gone in the next 30 years? I was stunned to hear this prediction! This can't possibly be true! It gets worse! Our coral reefs support approximately 25% of all marine animals! I wanted to paint one of the oceans most beautiful (and social) fish swimming among the beautiful coral. On my visits to Tahiti, Bora-Bora, Raiatea, Moorea and other places in the South Pacific, you can snorkel around so many of these islands and see such amazing coral reefs and brightly colored fish I would love to think that future generations will have that same privilege. June 8th was World Oceans Day (#worldoceansday) and if you would like to support the coral reef initiative go to The Ocean Foundation ( and see what you CAN do!

LIvin the Creative Dream - Choices

June 10th, 2015

LIvin the Creative Dream - Choices

Choices! Everyday we're faced with a multitude of them! Do this! Don't do that! How do you know you're making the best choices faced with so many variables? One way is to make "informed" choices based on the failures of others! One of the Twitter co-founders said something like, (I'm paraphrasing) "Spectacular successes come with spectacular failures!" So, we know the rest of the Twitter story, so this guy is probably someone I'd listen to! Another amazing story comes from our friends the Wright brothers. Yeah, the airplane guys! So, they do the absolutely remarkable thing of building and getting an airplane to actually fly, then apply for a patent on the plane. In the meantime, the success of the Wright brothers sends euphoria around the world and everyone that is now aware that flight is possible is building their own airplane. The Wright brothers, with their patent, (This would not be possible today), basically made it impossible for anyone to build another airplane! However, that didn't stop other inventors from trying. One inventor, (Glenn Curtiss) a motorcyclist and inventor, had invented an amazingly powerful motor for his motorcycles and was winning all kinds of motorcycle races. He asked the Wright brothers if they wanted to collaborate with him on building their plane utilizing one of his powerful engines. The Wright brothers patent was approved a week after they received the engine collaboration letter from Curtiss. They felt they didn't need Curtiss and declined his offer to utilize his powerful engine to power their plane. Well, you guessed it! That didn't stop Curtiss and in fact Curtiss built his own airplane inventing "ailerons" (French for "little wings") that changed the dynamic of the airplane entirely! The Wright brothers, still upset over patent infringements and wanting to keep their technology "secret" declined to participate in an event where airplane advances would be showcased. Of course, Curtiss wanted to be front and center at this event, his first chance to show the world what he created, and even after crashing his airplane while on a practice run the day before the big event, still pulled off the unthinkable! His plane flew for over a mile! He was considered the "first man of flight," leaving the Wright brothers in the dust. Okay! Bad choice by the Wright brothers! Their choice NOT to appear at the event opened the door for Curtiss - totally unopposed by any competition! It enabled Curtiss to gain a foothold in the new industry. (By the way, the Wright brothers continued with their law suits against Curtiss, until eventually the stress took over Wilbur Wright's life, and he died suddenly at age 45 due to complications of typhoid fever). So, what nuggets can we garner from the Wright brothers fiasco? Well, fear of patent infringement and "sharing their knowledge" with the world allowed someone else to step in and steal their thunder! Worse than that, Curtiss even came up with BETTER technology (the ailerons) that are still used in airplanes today! So, the moral of the story according to Allison is if someone asks you to collaborate, you might want to take a second look at the opportunity, depending on what can be gained by both parties. Secondly, fear is a powerful motivator that keeps us all on the sidelines. In the case of the Wright brothers, their fear of others stealing their technology actually kept them on the sidelines and allowed another inventor to step forward. Stress kills, and Wilbur Wright is the proof. So, "bad" choices, or choices looking back that probably weren't made for the "right" reasons. They were made out of fear. So, if you have an opportunity to collaborate with someone today, take a second look. If you have a choice today, move forward without fear. Leap and the net will appear!


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