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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Stress Busters and Biz Builders

"Raccoons at Sunrise" 16 x 20 acrylic on canvas, framed
In the real world, stress is real. We battle traffic. We quarrel with a spouse or a teenager. We juggle schedules. We face deadlines, and we fight our own demons all at the same time. How do you keep all the balls in the air without losing your grip? How do you keep "The House that Jack Built" from tumbling down?

If I had "the" answer, we'd all be cured. The fact is that none of these outside forces are ever going to change. The only permanent change comes from within. For believers, faith in God gives them the determination and the strength to carry on. For some people, physical activity helps them let off steam. For others, various relaxation techniques can take the edge off.

"Wasatch Mountains" acrylic on rice paper, 8 x 10
As a child, I had my own special escape plan; a world of my own created in a wooded area not far from my house. I lived in Bremerton, Washington where the Hemlock and Cedar trees climbed like "Jack's Beanstalk" far into the heavens. My friends and I made our own "hide-out" hidden within the bushy undergrowth. We used leftover linoleum slabs for the floor and the rest was left to our imaginations.

In my mind, this glorious quiet place was a wondrous castle where anything was possible. I became brave and daring within its walls. I had super powers and super human strength. The older kids dared me to jump on the thick rope swing and sail across the deep gully to the other side. I sat on the twisted knot as they pulled the rope back, and back, and back again.

"Sand Crane Dreams" 24 x 18 acrylic on canvas
When they let go, I sailed into space. I was conquering new worlds on the brink of discovery. The wind whistled in my ears. The gully beneath was dark and forbidding, but I was unafraid. Clutching the rope, I felt an incredible sense of freedom. My mother came in time to see me leave the safety of the ledge. Her shouts and her fears diminished my fun, but the thrill lingered on long after I'd had my bottom spanked for taking such a risk.

What can I say? I've always been a risk taker. When fears engulf me, I return to that special place where I experienced freedom and clarity. I take myself there when I'm stuck in a rut or I need a kick in the pants to get creating again. Too much stress is a bad thing, but just enough keeps me on the edge of creating something wonderful!

To see Carol's special creations, go to:
http://carol-allen-anfinsen.artistwebsites.com  


"Fall in Apple Valley" 8 x 10 acrylic on rice paper
"Waste Not Want Not" Tip of the Day
Next time you damage a wonderful watercolor painting by creating a dark unremovable smudge or by blending a color that ends up looking like mud, don't throw it away! Take a small 4x6 or 8x10 mat and place it over different parts of your painting. Sometimes a beautiful mini-picture emerges. Cut it out and turn it into a print or a greeting card. If nothing else, tear your painting into strips and give the strips away at art shows as original book marks. People will be impressed, and everyone loves a free give-away! 

Acrylic and oil paintings can be treated in this same way by using online photo programs. Crop the good parts and turn them into prints or greeting cards. Don't let anything go to waste. If worse comes to worse, sand off and repaint an old canvas that didn't sell and start again.