Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Do you want to paint Tuesday nights?

I’ve had a lot of inquiries with regards to the week long Lana Grow March 2008 Energizing and Experimental watermedia workshop here in Santa Barbara, however many of you work during the day and are looking for something in the evenings…

Tuesday evening was a specific request. So….

I am teaching a Tuesday evening abstract painting class with a focus painting techniques, play and experimentation, and principles that support creativity.

You will learn:

  • Basic abstract painting – color and composition
  • Layering liquid acrylics
  • Using mixed media to create depth and texture – gels, mediums, molding paste, others
  • Embedding objects and adding cool stuff to your paintings
  • Incorporating words and images into paintings
  • Preparing and using collage papers in your painting
  • Split ink technique

Each class will have a theme to support and deepen your creativity and nurturing yourself in art.

The class will be 8 weeks, Tuesday nights, beginning February 12th from 6-8 pm. This would be February 12, 19th, 26th, March 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th and April 1st ( no fooling!).

There is room for four students only, currently with possibly only two spaces left, and will be held at Deb’s home studio ‘Heaven on Earth’ in Santa Barbara. The cost is $249. You will receive a detailed class curriculum and materials list upon registration. Students are responsible for painting equipment and supplies. Visa and Mastercard as well as personal checks are accepted.

To register call or email Deb Chaney (805) 403-9870

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Overcoming Overwhelm - Deb's Top 10 stress busters

After taking on a lot of goals this year, and with corporate and personal taxes coming up (I do the book keeping for our family business), and with my new schedule of driving my daughter to and from school, karate, and making dinners, lunches and breakfasts, plus my husband’s Saturday family clean the house dates (not very romantic but kind of fun and much better than doing all the cleaning by myself) - overwhelm has momentarily crept in and taken a hold of my sanity.

Lucky for me I get in the studio first thing – even if it’s just for 10 minutes. But when I leave my magic “heaven on earth” studio space, life creeps in…..

Then I remembered this list I created a while back…. Ok, you read on, I’m going out for a walk.

Oh and John Michael, if you're reading, for goodness sakes, don't do all of these at once - you're likely to get overwhelmed. Just pick one!!!

Here’s my top 10 list of getting past overwhelm:

  1. Get out of the house/office/studio! Take a break, breathe (funny how we often forget to fully do this!) and drink some water. Change the scenery.
  2. Get into your body and out of your head – often feeling arises because we are thinking about all the things we have to do. We are totally in our heads. Get out of overwhelm by getting into your body. Try:
    Deep Breathing
    Do yoga, QiGong
  3. Play some music and dance! If you have are-bounder or trampoline jumping is a great way to release tension.
  4. Delegate some of the things on your to- do list.
  5. Re-evaluate – do you really need to do everything on this list?
  6. Increase your tolerance for mess and disorder -The house does not need to be in perfect order for you to do 10 minutes of your painting project. Just go do it anyways! Dishes be dammed!
  7. Try a Natural Remedy such as Rescue remedy or Bach Flower essences can help shift us energetically to get us out of the frantic state.
  8. Use Eric Maisels’ CENTERing sequence - it's an excellent way to bring you back to the present moment and out of overwhelm.

    Breathe in while saying the first part and breathe out while saying the second part.

    (I am completely) (stopping)
    (I expect) ( nothing)
    *(I am joyfully) (writing this article about overwhelm) [*note this is your current work]
    (I trust) (my resources)
    (I embrace) (this moment)
    (I return) (with strength)

    (I have obtained)(Permission to quote this from Eric Maisel)

    This concept comes from Coaching the Artist Within, Eric Maisel, pHD
  9. Ask yourself better questions. Sometimes overwhelm is a state of mind because we are asking ourselves questions that encourage the negative state of overwhelm. We could ask ourselves better questions such as;

    How can I simplify things here?
    What could I eliminate from my to do list right now?
    What is the purpose of all my busy ness?
    What is my desired outcome for all these things I am trying to get done here? (Because may I don’t need to do them all to achieve the desried outcome)
    How could I make this process more fun?
    How could I nurture myself in this process?
  10. Re-frame it. Jill Badonsky, author of the 9 Modern Day Muses and founder of Kaizen Muse Creativity Coaching encourages us to re-phrase our to-do's in playful and positive phrases such as “I get to… (write this blog )…!”

Just pick the one that seems easy and the most fun.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

New Work - I just wanna play

I just Wanna Play
Messy is Life Series © Deb Chaney 2008
Mixed media, collage, & acrylics on unmounted canvas
9" x 12" unframed

This painting was created with the intention to support health and vitality.

$125 USD
MasterCard/Visa accepted
Ph. (805) 403-9870

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Two hours or ten minutes?

I've been setting my alarm for 5 am every morning for the last for weeks in order to get in some painting before starting the morning (the goal). No kidding. Hey, I know of another artist who gets up this early regualrly to paint, can’t I? Apparently not.

Funny thing is for the last two weeks every morning the alarm goes off and I bury down deeper in the blankets and procrastinate and then finally get up to leave about ten minutes maybe half hour if - I’m lucky - for painting. Every day those weeks I didn’t get up and then all day long I basically mentally beat myself with a stick. Why couldn't I get up earlier? Why was I wasting those precious morning hours sleeping?

In an effort to motivate myself, I even wrote a list of reasons why I could get up do this.

  • Nobody would bother me this early
  • Two hours of uninterrupted painting time!!!
  • For the great habit I would form

    (I lost the rest of the list)

When that didn’t work I decide to allocate the first bit of the studio solely for doing fun explorative pieces on canvas pad – not touching the larger Pure Abstraction body of work which is my goal for this year.

This was a fun idea but it didn’t get me up at 5 am and yesterday I ended up playing all morning and not getting to any of my “serious” pieces. Hmmmm...

Maybe I need to call Nancy and ask how she does it!!!

Oh dear.

This morning the alarm didn't go off. I heard our neighbor’s car as he left for work and it seemed to be getting light out. Usually it’s dark when the alarm goes off. So I got out of bed, curious to see what time it was. 6:30 am!! But instead of the usual panic I tidied some things around the house, made my daughter’s lunch and then headed to the studio for the 10 minutes before seven when I wake her up and start the process of getting her ready for school.

And, honestly, it was the best 10 minutes ever!

Maybe ten minutes is enough. Less is more. I keep saying that to my friend Meg who is craving to get back into her creativity…”Just a few minutes in the morning is enough.” Yet here I was being a hypocrite and aiming high for two hours!!!

Cheers to ten minutes of painting time in the morning!

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

New work in the Pure Abstraction series

Pure Abstraction Series

© Deb Chaney 2007
36” x 36” Mixed Media, Acrylics on Canvas

Collection of the Artist

Feng Shui Recommendation: Spiritual growth, self cultivation, and knowledge.

Prints will be made available at

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Celebrate small successes

Last blog I talked about bridging , this being one studio technique/habit you can use to set yourself up to work on your painting regularly. If you went ahead and tried this, or took any small step towards any of your 2008 goals, it’s important to celebrate your success.

Why celebrate? Giving yourself a small reward for the step you just took in the direction of your goal is important because we are training our brains and our beings to form new habits and the reward is a positive re-enforcement to keep us going.

Let’s face it, if you go and paint for 5 minutes today you may not have someone patting you on your back saying; “Way to go!” or “Your painting is fantastic” or “ I’m sooo glad you took some time out to pursue your creative dream”. You may not have a lot of initial support around you, so it’s important that you became your own cheering squad. Therefore, giving ourselves positive feedback for this small step we took towards our goal will help us feel good about what we did so that we will do it again and form a new habit.

In the long run we hope that the doing the thing itself (in this case painting) is the reward in itself. I can say for me that being in creative process is reward in itself. However, even though I am totally passionate about my art and paint often ---sometimes there are things that come up – procrastination, resistance, life busy stuff, etc – that keep me away from the studio and my art and hence this is why, in the course of this blog, I am presenting you tricks and habits I've learned that I use to overcome this blocks.

Hence, the key is to reward yourself when you do *it, especially when you are starting out and forming this new habit!

*it= paint, take 5 minutes to write your book, make a small step towards one of your goals.

Here are some small ways that I reward myself for taking small steps towards my 2008 goals:

  • Jump up and down and say YES! YES! YES! I rock!
  • Light an aromatherapy candle
  • Soak my feet in a foot tub with salt
  • Read a chapter of a novel (just finished reading Eat, Pray, Love and Shantaram – both were excellent)
  • Walk up the street to the local stream and wooded area and sit on the bench by the stream
  • Jump around the rocks on the stream
  • Make a hot chai tea with honey and half&half
  • Dance to music
  • Eat a piece of chocolate. Current favourite – Dove Chocolate !
  • Collage in my journal – glue in …quotes from tea bags, pictures of art, inspiring words of messages, postcards, nature scenes.
  • Add images to my art image journal
  • Read one of my artist magazine and cut out images and stick them into my journal (in December I subscribed to Art News, American Artist, and Modern Painters . So far I like Art News the best for images of abstract art.)

And these are some big ways that I reward myself for taking small steps towards (yes, I still did intend to say small step, however sometimes it's good to mix it up a bit and give yourself a jack pot. ) my goals:

  • Walk by the beach
  • Get a cup of Yerba Matte at Lazy Acres Market (they m ake the best!)
  • Get a massage
  • Get a smoothie
  • Get a Raiki treatement
  • Get a sandwich at Lazy Acres Market – such a treat!
  • Go to the gym and hot tub or sauna
  • Get some new stickers for m y journal
  • Buy a new journal or book (When I finish my marketing plan, I’m looking at treating
  • myself to a new image journal from this Leather Journal online store)
  • Get a hair cut
  • Manicure/Pedicure

I’d love to hear how you reward yourself for the small steps you are taking towards making your creative dreams become real life daily habit and ritual.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Setting Yourself up for Success - Bridging

Happy New Year 2008! Did you make some goals for the new year? Set some intentions? Whether you’ve decided to paint every day or once a week or try something creative like write a book– I’d like to share a studio habit that I use regularly to supports me in taking small steps and staying in creative process.

The trick is called bridging and can be used to get you back into the flow of your project after you’ve been away from it. In essence bridging is a word for having everything you need ready to go to get started on your project. The idea is that you are forming a bridge from the last time you worked on this project to now – when you intend to get started again. The bridge is making it easier for you to get started and continue working. Instead of forging through the river to get to the other side – finding all your supplies, setting up, figuring out what you need – you’ve already got it ready to go. You just walk over your “bridge” and start working.

It helps if you can have a designated place in your home permanently set up for your project.

In this photo (below) everything I need to start painting is set up and ready to go for the current Pure Abstraction series of paintings I'm working on this year. Brushes, water, soak sponge, palette, water spritzer, paints, gloss medium, paper towels, and the painting in process are all on my worktable ready for me to start work.

Sometimes, as well as the having the supplies I need set up for my next step, I also leave a note next to my painting reminding me where I want to go with the piece. The note might say something like “next layer with gloss medium, use titanium white and cobalt teal. Think about iridescent pigments.” As part of creating lasting success it’s important to give yourself small rewards to train your brain to keep doing this new habit that will support you in achieving your goal.’

So, if you’ve gone ahead and set up your project and done your bridging, go ahead and do something nice for yourself to celebrate. Later this week I’m going to share with you some ways I celebrate when I start a new habit and why it’s so important to recognize our progress.

Here’s to your creative success in 2008! Much love, Deb

P.S. As of today there are 18 spaces left for Lana Grow’s March 2008 workshop. Full details for the Energizing and Experimental Mixed Media abstract painting workshop, follow the link.