Serendipity, Generosity and the Business of Creativity

IMG_2111Lately, on my long commute to and from work, I have been listening to the NPR podcast, “How I built This” hosted by Guy Roz about how entrepreneurs and visionaries built their companies.  Some of the more fascinating stories include  interviews with Eileen Fischer, Stoneyfeld, Edible Arrangements and Instagram.  What stands out as a common  theme is the serendipitous nature of their success. Yes, hard work, smarts and a vision played an important part.  But, often there was a person(s) or defining moment that helped them in ways not understood at the time.  Like how the founder of Edible Arrangements, Tariq Farid, had a part time job as a young kid at a flower shop and the owner taught him how to run a business. How Instagram’s inventor, Kevin Systrom, was inspired by his girlfriend to make high quality photo sharing the key strategy for the platform.

So it is with my art practice and building of my own business.  What started as a simple workshop in the beautiful hills of New Hampshire with artist/teacher (Squam Art Workshop with Kellie Day) has led me to open my own studio, JuJu Art Studios, develop my art and begin teaching workshops of my own. I am also blessed to have several friends and artists who gently (some not so gently) prod me to keep going and improve. And how the kindness of practical strangers have helped in ways neither of us realize.  From inspiration to a little tip or encouragement, it only becomes clear looking back that these were transformative moments.

It is that time of year where the exhaustion of holiday shopping and general chaos drives us to the breaking point.  But, it can also be a time to assess how we are living and how we can breathe a little bit of generosity into our lives.  I don’t have it all figured out and am confounded by my own limitations and flaws but there are times when the clouds part enough to see clearly. Being open to both giving and receiving benevolence can change us, moment by little moment. What we do and say matters. Let serendipity and generosity reign.

Lessons in freedom, expression and blessings

It has been quite a Fall and early Winter, both personally and artistically.  I’ve been blessed with two shows, one at the Underground Gallery in Collinsville, CT featuring my Gloucester series.  And, more recently, a solo show at Northwestern Connecticut Community College, displaying my most recent works on paper (through December 8th). Read a review of the show by Priscilla Newcomb.  And if that isn’t enough, I’ve had the privilege of being mentored by the magnificently talented Judith Kruger who has pushed me to take my work to the next level.

Sometimes life is upended and hits your core. An election cycle so diabolical and unnerving. Then, in an instant, life circumstances change. We are confused and humbled. The lessons are real. Take time for your family and friends. Everything is mutable. I have witnessed incredible grace and courage the last few weeks through community, friends and family. Life is indeed a beautiful and terrifying mystery.

And art imitates life in a very real way for me.  I express through painting that which I cannot  communicate any other way.  I look forward to getting into the studio again soon and splashing around my emotions, feelings and ideas on canvas.

May we keep love and kindness in our heart through this holiday season, and always.