About twistnpout

A self taught, self proclaimed artist. You can find me on Etsy at twistnpout.com. Please feel free to connect with me on Facebook or follow me on Instagram or Pinterest. I'm always interested in meeting others who share my passion for art and creativity.

When as Good as it Gets is Good Enough

I can’t believe its been 9 months since my last post.  There are two reasons for that. The first reason I won’t go into as it is depressing and dark and not at all interesting. I know, depressing and dark is almost always interesting, but in some cases it is also just predictable and boring. Besides, the second reason is a little bit better.

I’ve been busy. Busy is, of course, always a good thing. Busy with life and busy with business.

Well, maybe I should elaborate a little on the first reason, otherwise I may have to come up with another title and angle for this post and frankly I don’t have the mental energy for that.  I’ll leave out the years of psychoanalysis and relentless (somewhat narcissistic) self-analysis and get to the point: I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I think I’ve mentioned that before. Now, if you know me, have been to my house, or just peeked around any of my social media sites and have picked up all the glaring typos, you may be thinking “A perfectionist? Really?”

It’s true, though I’m not one of those perfectionists whose need for perfection has worked to my great advantage in life. You know those types who are always well put together, live in pristine homes or are wildly successful? Or those designer types with exquisite attention to detail with the skill set and patience to bring an idea to such a high level of perfection they are known as innovators in their fields?  Yeah, I’m not that kind of perfectionist. I’m more or less the kind who becomes so overwhelmed at the idea of failing that I can’t try at all.  Yes, I meant can’t. In short, I am a typical under achiever. Of course, there are other reasons for my lack of success, which according to the rules of psychoanalysis are all my mother’s fault, but over all I’m pretty sure it’s my desire to be perfect that is the root cause of all my failures. Or lack of success, since failing means you actually have to try.

Let me just get one thing straight right now – for the sake of this post, I am only talking business and my experiences in working for myself and my experiences in trying to figure out what that means. In all other aspects of my life, I’m perfect. (just seeing if you’re paying attention)

Now ,here is the funny thing. It took me so long to write this post (I’ve omitted several paragraphs) that I decided delete a good chunk of it and post without all the elaborate, frivolous details; just to prove that sometimes done has to be better than good.  But I now have ideas for future posts, so all that writing wasn’t a complete loss. After much editing, here is the best I can do today. I’ve come up with just two points (maybe three, you decide and let me know).

This morning I spent so much time fretting over my new Etsy listings being absolutely perfect, I almost decided to shut down my whole shop. What difference does it make? I asked myself, My shop has been closed more than it has been opened. One reason for that was due to building inventory for shows, but honestly it was due to my absolute unrealistic fear of publicly posting anything less than perfection. I can’t tell you how many times I have logged into Etsy, eager to revamp and reopen, only to be so discouraged by every single imperfection in my photos that I’d just decide to keep my shop on vacation. Then there was the pressure of writing the most enticing, entertaining product descriptions. I simply go blank when I see that white space staring at me. One thing became (once again) blatantly clear to me: I need to get over it. So I told myself “something is better than nothing”, gave up on anything close to perfection, hit that publish button and got over it.

Point 1 – I’m over it. ( really, I am…. )

Then I headed over here, knowing how long its been since my last post, feeling the shame and the pressure of it all. I was excited about “getting over it “and wanted to share that liberating feeling with you and offer you encouragement and advice and inspiration(!).

But as it turns out I have so much to say on the topic of  “good enough” “done is better than undone” “something is better than nothing”  that I went off on so many angles and tangents I became overwhelmed with finding the most perfect way to let you know you don’t have to be perfect. I started thinking ” what difference does it make? It’s been months since I posted, why bother now?” Then I remembered a promise I made to my blog, which brings me to the second point.

Point 2 – this might be as good as it gets.

I started blogging a little over 5 years ago. I promised myself I would make a commitment to keeping my blog alive. I wasn’t sure exactly what that meant. Forever? Maybe. As long as I live? Possibly. My absence here lately has been weighing on me. I’ve felt the need to write something, but well, there is point number one which I wont go into. I thought announcing the reopening of my Etsy store would be a good way to restart and as I started to write about my struggle with perfectionism I remembered that promise  I made a few years ago. As I searched through past posts, I found it quite entertaining that today is the actual to-the-date 5 year anniversary of the promise to my blog.  The promise to never let it die a slow death, to just do my best and not worry about being perfect.

And so I face the harsh reality of point number 2.  This truly is all there is in life. This is me. This is as good as it gets. Sad.

But I can’t leave you with that, what kind of person would I be to leave you with such a dismal fact of life? A realist, true, but a realist who is not willing to force sad reality on others.

So instead I will leave you with this: I’ve  been working lately with new ideas and trying to find my “thing”.  For now, the main support for any medium I choose is still an Altoids tin. It seems so weird and silly, but by keeping this one constant thing in my art, I’ve discovered I really thoroughly enjoy working in small-scale, regardless of the medium, and I also enjoy creating with paper, regardless of scale. Here are a couple of pieces I made and sold recently. I WILL NOT talk about their imperfections and I’m happy to be sharing them here with you today.

 

IMG_3580

Inspired by a photo of a Japanese garden – hand cut and painted (punch used for the lotus flowers, center of lotus is hand cut, rolled paper) 

 

cottage

Cottage garden. hand formed and painted irises, daffodils and pansies, hand cut fence. Hand painted cottage. Gate opens and closes.

And now, to just hit that publish button and breath. Ahhhhhhh it feels pretty good to be back in the blogosphere.

Are there times when you’ve had to completely let go of perfection and just settle for good enough? How did that work for you?  I look forward to hearing your stories and advice.

 

 

 

Court C Studios – Take a Tour

I’ve been sharing posts regarding the Tacoma Studio Tours which are happening this weekend. October 15th and 16th from 11am to 5pm you will have the opportunity to visit 57 artists and collaborative studios.

Find studio locations and plan your trip by visiting the Tacoma Arts Website, there  you’ll find an interactive map and trip planner that should be helpful in plotting your course.

Believe it or not, Tacoma has a very rich art scene and if you happen to live even just a little south of Seattle you might find the trip to Tacoma to be a nice(r) alternative to the hustle and bustle of Seattle, with its frustrating, ongoing road construction, heavy traffic congestion and impossible to find parking (and expensive when you do).  I encourage anyone in the area to head out this weekend and discover the hidden, and not so hidden, treasures you can find in Tacoma. You’ll find The City of Destiny offers something for everyone from antique and thrift shops, quirky gift shops, interesting art collectives to world class museums. And parking in most areas is only $2.00 for the entire day on Saturdays! WHAT? Yep, you read that right. There is also the Tacoma Link Light Rail which is FREE to ride and will take you from any point on its route to the Theater District stop and from there  Court C Studios is just a short walk away.

So – get over to the Tacoma Arts website and plan your trip now. Please.

Here is a wonderful short video created by the City of Tacoma highlighting a friend of mine, Lynne Farren – an amazing mixed media and collage artist, as well as painter. I happen to be in the same building ( “Court C Studio aka Firers Etc.) with Lynne and it’s always fun and inspiring to see what she comes up with.

Court C Studios will be open for the tour on Saturday AND Sunday. We are number 25 on the Studio Tour Map. Come in and have a chat with the artists, learn something interesting and create something fun.

Court C Studios...

Roberta Lowes, hand woven wearables and accessories
fibersetcstudio.com

Leah Fits, acrylic painting and mixed media
leahfitts.com

Nancy Mclaughlin, acrylic painting
nancymclaughlin.blogspot.com

Karen Perrine, hand marbled paper, paper and collage artist

Shirley Benton, acrylic painting
shirleybentonart.com

Ann Darling, custom clothing and accessories, textile artist
We would all love to see you there!

2016 Tacoma Studio Tour Preview: Part 8

Thank you to those who were so kind to not mention my last ooops in posting and providing links to 2015 Arts month…. an please do read and share the 2016 post. Have a great day!

Tacoma Arts

This is part 8 in our series highlighting the artists participating in the Tacoma Studio Tour this October.

What: Tacoma Studio Tour
Where: 34 studio locations around Tacoma
When: October 15 & 16, 11 am – 5 pm
Cost: FREE!

You are invited inside the working studios of 57 local artists to learn about the artistic process, ask questions, and purchase one-of-a-kind creations. Plus, you can even win some fabulous items hand-crafted by a selection of artists on this tour just for getting your Studio Tour Passport stamped at each location you visit. All studios will feature demonstrations or will have hands-on activities for visitors. It’s family friendly and free!

Check out TacomaArtsMonth.com for the full list of artists, schedule, your Tacoma Studio Tour Passport, and an interactive map where you can plot your own custom tour course.

Here are this week’s highlights:

Chandler O’Leary, Anagram Press
oleary04 oleary03 

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2016 Tacoma Studio Tour Preview: Part 2

Hard to believe the Tacoma Arts Tour is just around the corner. Here is Part 2 of the Studio Tour Preview reblogged from the Tacoma Arts blog. Have a great weekend!

Tacoma Arts

This is part 2 in our series highlighting the artists participating in the Tacoma Studio Tour this October.

What: Tacoma Studio Tour
Where: 34 studio locations around Tacoma
When: October 15 & 16, 11 am – 5 pm
Cost: FREE!

You are invited inside the working studios of 57 local artists to learn about the artistic process, ask questions, and purchase one-of-a-kind creations. Plus, you can even win some fabulous items hand-crafted by a selection of artists on this tour just for getting your Studio Tour Passport stamped at each location you visit. All studios will feature demonstrations or will have hands-on activities for visitors. It’s family friendly and free!

Here are this week’s highlights:

Lucia Harrison
HarrisonGreenwood01 Harrison02 Harrison03
Lucia Harrison’s handmade paper, drawings, paintings, and artist books focus on an appreciation for the natural and human history of South Puget Sound. Most recently she has been collaborating with…

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2016 Tacoma Studio Tour Preview: Part 1

For the next few weeks I will be reblogging from the Tacoma Arts blog. Here is the first post regarding the Tacoma Studio Tour to take place Oct. 15th and 16th in various places around Tacoma. There is a link to the map in the article if you are in the area… Cheers!

Tacoma Arts

It may only be August but our minds are abuzz about Tacoma Arts Month. What is Tacoma Arts Month? It’s the entire month of October filled to the brim with hundreds of arts and culture events, exhibits, and workshops for you to participate in. There is something for everyone to enjoy: music, dance and theater performances; hands-on experiences; visual art exhibits; literary readings; lectures; workshops; film screenings; and cultural events. This is your chance to enjoy culture, explore Tacoma, and connect with your community.

One of the signature events is the Tacoma Studio Tour, a once-a-year opportunity when you are invited inside the working studios of 57 local artists to learn about the artistic process, ask questions, and purchase one-of-a-kind creations. Plus, you can even win some fabulous items hand-crafted by a selection of artists on this tour just for getting your Studio Tour Passport stamped at each location you visit. All…

View original post 798 more words

Life on the EDGE?

There have been many  blog worthy events in my life lately, but my poor time management skills have prohibited me from scheduling any serious writing time.

I guess I’ll start with the most recent happening in my life. Most likely that is also where I’ll end because lets face it, too much of a good thing can get boring. I’ll try to make it quick.

Two months ago I stepped (actually, I was pushed) way out of my comfort zone.  Now, I consider myself a very adaptable person and I’ve had my share of positive life experiences that were often the result of my being pushed out of my comfort zone, but for the most part, I prefer to stay in my comfy little zone and maybe extend an arm or leg into the uncomfortable world of unknowns from time to time. After all, what is life if you don’t live on the edge just a little?

What makes me uncomfortable?
Strangers
Writing
Large groups of strangers
Talking about myself
Talking about myself to a large group of strangers

Oddly enough though, I’ve been known to respond to online invitations to attend groups and meetings with people I’ve never met before and for the most part I have always had good experiences with doing that. I’ve also had to give presentations and even talk about myself just a little to rooms full of strangers. I can do it, I just don’t like to.  But nothing causes me greater discomfort than having to share my “art” and vision with people, strangers or not. That may come as surprise to the  faithful few who follow me  on Facebook, Instagram and here where all I do is write about my explorations in artistic discovery, but trust me, it is not something I feel entirely confident or comfortable doing. Which explains some of my long absences here. I  do it because I feel I have to if I expect to go anywhere with any of this. ANYWAY….

On one of those occasions where I  decided to drift into the unknown by attending a lecture on social media marketing for artists (with a friend who I also forced out of her comfort zone…) there was mention by the facilitator about applications being accepted for EDGE. EDGE is a one week professional development resident program that helps emerging artists develop their goals. It has helped many an artist set goals and launch successful careers.  The deadline to apply was June 31st. I found out about the program on June 29th – I’m a little foggy on the exact dates, but the point is I didn’t think about applying because well, that would have been way too uncomfortable. I would have had to show actual artists my work AND write about myself AND write about my work and I was not / am not  in any way ready to think about applying for anything like that.  I knew though, that my friend was more than ready and I encouraged her to apply, which she said she might consider while also making a million excuses as to why she shouldn’t. Oh, we are so good for each other.

I put EDGE out of my mind and on the morning of the 31st my friend sent me a hilarious text message. She had decided to apply for EDGE and she thought I should too.  I sent her back  an “LOL” she – of all people! – had decided to apply! I was shocked, amazed, impressed – she did it, good for her! But I had to laugh at her thinking for one moment I was at that level. And that is when she pushed me. But for some reason, I was ok with playing along and thought: what is the worst that could happen?

Well, I could have my soul crushed like a walnut under a wheel loader is what could happen! And frankly, I have had enough of that for the past two years. It’s not so much that I can’t handle rejection. Well, yes actually it is that. I suck at rejection, even though I’ve had plenty of practice with it over the years, it never gets easy.

At her urging and pushing I decided to arm myself with some duct tape for the soul and give it a try. After all, I had 9 hours to fill out the application. Plenty of time. I completed the process with about 10 minutes to spare.  Then I waited. I figured there would be no news until after the July Holiday, so it was pretty easy to forget about it, plus I was pretty sure there wasn’t a chance at all I would be accepted. Then still I wondered…

A couple of weeks went by and I received a very happy and nervous text message  from my pushy friend (yes that is how we communicate – rarely do we ever talk to each other, this way we can stay in our comfort zones and still be social) that she had been accepted! I was so super happy for her. And I patiently waited for my rejection letter to come.

It never came. I began to feel a little tremor in my soul. After a couple of weeks, my soul cracked.

Apparently my artist’s statement, statement of work, my “art”, my application was so horrible none of it was even worthy of a rejection letter. I laughed to and at myself. What was I thinking? If It was just a mail in application perhaps the rejection would not have caused me such distress. However, with social media and so many of us on-line everywhere, there was a very deep gut wrenching feeling that not only do I suck, but that I was being passed around on every type of  media device known to man. I could hear the laughter, the jokes and I convinced myself to be happy that I had brought so much joy to so many people for a day. But I seriously became quite embarrassed for a few days too, thinking that everyone from the program might have peaked at one or all of my social media sites in order to assure themselves that they really don’t suck so bad after all.

As my soul crumbled to dust over a couple more weeks, I did finally receive the rejection letter I thought I was so unworthy of. I felt better. I looked at the bright side, the application had forced me to look hard at my goals and think about what I really want to do, should be doing or NOT doing. I also wrote an artist’s statement, a bio and about my process. True, none of it was good enough to convince anyone of my potential, but what I had left was a really polished rough draft that could be tweaked for future use.

HA! Future USE? Like that is ever going to happen.

Yet, I keep at it. Why? I’m not sure. I  will say though, I think I have given up on the art aspect of what I am trying to do and  may just stick with making what sells. Or I may not. I guess I’m still riding that wave.

And Then

And so I continued to go to my studio on a fairly regular basis and just kept making anything that came to mind. Feeling pretty satisfied and generally happy with the process, but like a complete failure with the finished “work”. Yes, these are fun, people like them, but what do they say?

Then, leaving my studio yesterday I had a thought; “#@(K  this *(&T  I’m going to do ART. And it might be weird and strange and SUCK but at this point , I just don’t care.” But then, maybe it wont be weird. Maybe it will be pretty and nice and that is ok, right? And no one even needs to know it exists.

And Then (Again)

I came home yesterday and went through the routine of checking emails and OMG… what should I find in my in box?

These exact words:
Happy Wednesday to you! You were next on our alternate list in case someone from Visual EDGE had to unexpectedly drop, which just happened.

Well, how funny is this? I was pretty quick to want to say “YES!” but before hitting ‘send’ on that, I stopped to think… I was still super excited about my friend getting accepted and the thought of us going together was more exciting than my receiving the offer of acceptance (for a few seconds). I knew she was going, but I also know how she can sometimes talk herself out of things and I wondered if perhaps her anxiety might have gotten the best of her. How funny would it be if I accepted and SHE was the one who dropped out? Clearly this was beyond a text message and a phone call was absolutely in order. Plus, I was not entirely sure I really wanted to go, the thought of being there with all those strangers, talking, showing my “art” to judges and critics… not exactly healing balm for the soul.

After confirming she was, indeed, still attending and convincing me of why it was super important for me to go and what an honor it was to have such a great opportunity, I went ahead and hit ‘send’ on that email reply.

And now, I must go sweep up the dusty crumbles of my crushed soul and return to my comfy place where I will take aim and get ready to toss every little bit haphazardly over the EDGE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Garden

Today I’m feeling like I need an escape; a peaceful place to gather my thoughts and tune out the world. I have it in my mind to create such a place in my own back yard, but for now I’ll just have to pretend.

Here is a simple paper cutting I finished last month. It was a good month for me. I think all the sunshine helped energize my mind and awaken a little creative beast with in me.

I did this tin because Japan during springtime is one of my favorite places to be.  I wanted to capture the serenity of a tranquil Japanese bamboo forest, the soothing sound of bamboo leaves rustling in the breeze and the trickling of a gentle stream.japanese garden papercut

I’ve started to use more of my own hand made embellishments and I like to keep it as true to handmade as possible, but I did use two texture plates for the sky and the grass. Also, I cheated a little and used a small circle punch for the cherry blossoms. I wasn’t feeling up to the challenge of cutting out 50 little tiny circles by hand.

bamboo garden

Japanese garden collage

As I said, this was a pretty productive month for me and I’m excited to be finishing up a few projects, which I hope to share with you next time. But now – I must go tend to the garden –

Cheers!