Get Messy Podcast
018 Why Journaling with Wendy Solganik
What is it about art journaling that makes it actual magic? Out of all the different ways to be creative, why do we choose art journaling? Why is this the one thing we have stuck with over time, and the one thing that we are constantly falling in love with? In order to answer this question with Wendy Solganik, we need to dissect her entire creative story.
Wendy is an artist and artist book maker who lives right outside of Cleveland Ohio and has been an artist crafter her entire life. She is currently wandering through creativity, treasure hunting, and journal making.
Podcast Show Notes
In this episode, we discuss
- Phew, a lot!
- Wendy’s creative story
- knowing what you need and going after it even when it’s hard, then figuring things out as you go
- the need to play
- thinking that you can’t be an artist because you can’t draw
- scrapbooking as the gateway to art journaling
- the need for something that is low pressure and that doesn’t take up space
- figuring how to fit yourself into your art
- focus on the making of art, not on the collecting of art
- Wendy’s love for online art classes
- the need for a community of artists
- lies we tell ourselves and how they impact how we put ourselves out there
- feeling the fear and doing it anyway
- doubts as an online creator, as people who teach art classes, and of putting yourself out there
- stealing like an artist, being an amalgamation of our creative sources
- creating a “cohesive” vs. go-with-the-flow Instagram feed
- Instagram as a permission slip, and the part it plays in our creative processes
- our views on inspiration
- and then I stopped writing notes and sat back to fall in love with the way Wendy views the world 😍
(This transcript is automatically generated and is sure to contain hilarious errors as the robots figure out our accents. It is provided here for your convenience)
Wendy! Welcome finally to the podcast.
I’m really excited. I’ve been wanting to have this conversation with you for a very long time.
Yeah, I mean, we spoke about it quite a while ago and finally we just made imperfect plans and here we are
Here we are. I was very afraid that my, I was going to wake my kids up. There was nowhere to do it as a house that was going to, you know, that I wasn’t going to wake them up. And luckily, everybody seems like they’re in a good place. They’ll leave me alone for an hour and we can talk.
Yeah. And we haven’t planned anything. So we’re just gonna see how it goes. And we’re going to answer one big question, do you want to share what the question is?
Why art journaling? Why, why is this the, why is this what we choose to do? Focus on obsessive about be passionate about love the way that we love it. Why, why
I’m excited to dig in before we dig in, let’s start a little bit with who you are.
My name is Wendy Solganik and I live right outside of a city in the United States called Cleveland Ohio. Most people know Cleveland because of LeBron James. And that’s a, he’s our big star basketball player that doesn’t play for our city anymore. But anyway, but anyway, I live in a beautiful, beautiful suburb outside of Cleveland, and I’ve been an artist crafter my entire life. And I’ve had a lot of twists and turns and where that’s taken me and my own internal conflict over what I could do with that passion and why and what was legitimate and what was I capable of and all of these different things. And that has, has it ended up turning into shocking to me, like really most shocking to me, it ended up turning into a business in our business that I ran for 15 years with, with co-owner. And then where I am most recently is at home with my family, taking care of my family. My mom has moved in with us. And over the course of about two years, I basically went whole hog into art journaling. Okay. That’s a tiny little piece of my story.
What creative pursuits have you done in the past?
Okay. So when I was very young, I used to really love doll houses and dolls, and we, my parents didn’t have a lot of extra resources. I was always making all of my own doll clothes from scratch and building doll houses out of cardboard boxes and making furniture for the dolls out of cardboard and tape and glue. And I just, I was always making things. And I remember being in high school and being really excited to take an art class and to finally learn, you know, real, you know, quote unquote, real art. And I remember the teacher telling me that I would never be an artist because I couldn’t draw and drawing is not my favorite thing, but I wouldn’t say that I can’t draw. It’s not my favorite thing. The place that I grew up in and the family that I grew up in was not a particularly artistic place or family.
And there was a very big kind of culture of achievement, I would say so much so that where you went to college was a really, really, really big deal. And it was like, that was kind of the focus of, of everybody’s young lies. It was like, you know, getting really good grades and, and taking the right classes and getting into the right college. And I didn’t know, from having sort of a career that made you happy or a career in something that you like to do. My career choices presented to me as a young child were like, okay, do you want to be a doctor? Do you want to be a lawyer? And those are your choices. It wasn’t even do you want to be a business owner? Do you want to pursue a creative thing? It was just, these are the safe professions you get on a train, you work hard.
And at the end you get a paycheck and that paycheck will be steady. And that was what was, you know, kind of the only things that were really being talked about in my world. And I was you know, I was a good student. If, if you, I think you can see that and get messy when I’m, when I’m invested, I can be a very good student. I can learn very easily and I can, I can, I, I’m just, that’s one of my strengths I can learn and I can do. So that’s exactly what I did only. I was pursuing the wrong thing. So I was learning and doing things, not because it was something that I was super passionate about, but because it was what I thought I needed to do. And so I went to a university in upstate New York called Cornell university.
And there was very little art going on. There was a little bit of art going on, but very, very little and most people who went there were either becoming doctors or lawyers. And I didn’t like blood and Gore. And I wasn’t about to do surgery on anyone. So I was like, okay, I guess I’m supposed to become a lawyer. I had no idea what that entailed. I had no idea what, like what the life of a lawyer would be like that I would have to stand in front of a judge and argue a case. I’m not, I hate conflict. Like I hate conflict. I run from conflict. The idea that I was going to be a lawyer is literally absurd given my personality. So I worked very hard in college. I get into the, one of the best law schools in America. And I moved myself across the country and I show up and I get an apartment and I start a life out there.
And within one week of starting law school, I was like, Oh my gosh, this was a huge mistake. I never should have done this. I wasn’t even warning my parents. I was like, I don’t think this is right for me. I don’t think I should be doing this. They were very like, do they kind of strong armed me into it? So after a week I was like, how am I going to unwind what I’ve gotten myself into? And what I decided pretty quickly was that I was going to get myself through that year, my first year of law school. And then I was going to take a leave of absence and I was going to get a job in a law firm so that I could see whether or not I really just didn’t like law school or I didn’t like the practice of law. So I was, again, very lucky. I got a job actually in, in an extraordinary law firm, which I won’t go into the details on that, but I got a job. And basically within that first week of starting work, I had this overwhelming feeling that came over me, that I wanted to learn how to make pottery on a wheel.So when I was very young, I had a cousin.
She was my only first cousin and I was about five years old and she was like two or three years older than me. And one year for her birthday, my parents bought her a toy wheel to make pottery on her. And I never forgot it. I always remembered this feeling that I desperately wanted that little wheel. And I even could visualize myself sitting behind a pottery wheel making pottery. And so I had kind of like buried that summer in my subconscious, but when I took that year off, finally, after doing this grind for so long I was like, Oh, I always wanted to learn how to do that wheel pottery. And I found a studio that was not far at all from my home. And I sign up for a class and within two weeks I was completely and utterly hooked. And within a couple of months, I thought, this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.
I want to make production functional wheel pottery, like beautiful, functional pottery. And I’m going to, you know, try to figure out some way, like, you know, is there a market for this? How do you sell it? Do you do art shows? Do you put your, your, you know, and there was no internet at this time, do you, you know, do you sell through stores? How does this work? And so what I did for this whole entire year is I, I worked during the day, like a nine to five job at a law firm. And I made pottery at night. And on the weekend for endless hours, I would, I was like possessed. And what I ended up kind of seeing and experiencing out there were people who were trying to make it as potters. And they were working really hard and they made beautiful pottery.
That was really in demand. And I, this, the place I was living was Los Angeles. So it was a very large market it and a very wealthy market. There was no lack of resources in this market. So I was really in the best possible place where someone could basically make pottery and sell it. And what I witnessed was people who were living a subsistence level lifestyle. So they worked more than full time all year round. And they were making about $24,000 a year at the time, which is about $2,000 a month. You know, there’s people all over the world listening. So I don’t have a comparison, but in America that’s considered poverty level. I realized that in other places that would be, you know, someone making a lot of money, but everything is very expensive in America. And that $24,000 is totally considered poverty level for, for someone with a family.
So I was like, wow, okay. How, how do you know, how do people do this? How do they, how do they make a life as an artist or a craftsperson? And I couldn’t figure it out. And so what I did is I decided I’m going to go back to law school and finish it just in case. Like, I wouldn’t want to regret that I hadn’t finished it, but just in case I will get the law degree, but I will keep pursuing the pottery as more at this point, like a hobby, like I was thinking, that’s really not going to be the answer for me. And what I did is I could, I couldn’t see everything. I had a very narrow view. I was, I was only 22 years old, but at the time 23, 24, I had a very narrow view of what was possible in life.
And it was like, okay, you can be, you know, you can be a doctor or a lawyer. You could be a poverty, poverty level Potter. Or I came up with like plans to see you get married, get married. And I hooked up this idea that marriage was definitely the answer because I did not want to give up on being an artist. And of course I wanted to make money with my crafts, but I didn’t want to have to have that pressure of fully supporting myself that way. So I started dating with that in mind, like I’m looking for a life partner and I’m not saying I was going to settle for something horrible. I’m just saying I was looking for a life partner. And I was going to be very upfront with that life partner that I wanted to be a Potter and that I was never going to make a lot of money and that this needed to be the kind of partnership where they were the major breadwinner.
And I was, you know, bringing in like a little bit of spare change. So I did it. I literally, I was, I went back to law school. I was like, I’m on the dating market. I’m looking for a husband. And, and within two months I met my husband. I am still married today. I am so happily married. I love this man. We have a beautiful life, beautiful children, a beautiful home, everything I ever could have dreamed of. I know it sounds like a wacky plan and maybe it wouldn’t have worked out, but it worked out really, really, really well for me. So I met my husband and I said, here’s the deal. I know I looked like on paper that I’m some kind of like woman in law school. Who’s probably going to have this like great income potential, but I’m really not. I wanted to be a Potter.
So he was like, that’s totally fine. That’s, that’s perfect. You know, whatever, w like, okay, not going to go into all the details of that. But after we were married for awhile, Oh wait, let me go back a little bit. So while I was making pottery, I was in a group studio and I made a lot of really close friends there. We were like a family and some of my friends were dabbling in other art forms. So they were like, you know, we’re taking a watercolor class or we’re taking a drawing class, different things. And I started to dabble a little in other things. And then I got married and after a while, my husband and I were like, okay you know, we want to have children and I got pregnant. And as soon as I got pregnant, I had a feeling like I don’t want to be the pottery studio anymore, because basically you’re near this killing and you’re working with all of these glazes and there’s a lot of like raw chemistry all over the place. And it’s very, very dirty. And I said, okay, I have to put this pottery thing kind of on hold. I have no idea when I’m going to get back to it. But in the meantime, I’m going to really start pursuing all of these other art forms that are really very easily available in the community that I was living in. So there was a local community college that literally had like probably a world class art department, and anyone could sign up for classes. You didn’t have to apply. And it was $13 per credit hour. So I would take, let’s say like design one Oh one, which was a three credit class for $36, which now if you went to like a private university, a three credit class would probably be like, I don’t know, $15,000. Okay. So you have to understand it was like, it was free. Yeah, it was amazing. And it was like, I could do anything. I could do printmaking. They had a calligraphy course. They had all the drawing classes, all the painting classes. And I just dove in, I was like, Oh my gosh, this is incredible. And there was one class, my calligraphy class where again, calligraphy was another thing that I had, like a lifelong passion for lettering. And I’m like, I always knew that at some point I wanted to learn how to do this thing.
And the calligraphy instructor introduced me to in a group. And I don’t know what it is like. It’s called the society for Collibra sexy. So it was a pretty decent sized group in Southern California that have been association and they would have meetings and events and their big thing that they did is workshops. So they would bring in the best teachers from around the world and people would pay like, if you are a member you would pay and you would go to a hotel or some type of meeting room for the weekend, and you would do these extensive workshops. And that’s where I started making books.
New Speaker (00:17:24):
So this was 25 years ago when I started my love affair with paper arts. So I was very involved in that for awhile. And my husband and I always knew that we were not going to stay in Los Angeles. It just, wasn’t the type of city that we could really envision living the rest of our lives. And we wanted a big house. We wanted a yard and we wanted like, you know, not that sort of big city life. And we moved to the place that my husband grew up in, which is shaker Heights, Ohio. And I was a little bit worried that I was gonna lose my art community. And what was I going to find? When I came to shaker Heights, Ohio, I was looking for a society for calligraphy. I really couldn’t find a functional one here. And I didn’t know what to expect, but I was willing to give that up, you know, for the life that we ultimately wanted to live to live.
And at the time, because I had a baby. And also because there was this thing that was super crazy popular called scrapbooking. I don’t know if you’ve heard them scrapbooking, but it was wildly popular at the time. It was, it was in like the beginning sort of height of a company called creative memories. And people would scrap up in these very, very large 12 by 12 volumes that way, like a hundred pounds each. And there were parties in people’s houses. So that was the one thing that I actually could find when I came to Cleveland was there was a, there was a rep from creative memories. And I started, you know, doing those crops at her house. And I was like, I was really into it. I have a lot of these very large scrap ups that I’m afraid to open at this point. You’re a lot younger than me, but when I have looked at those scrapbooks now, 25 years later, I’m like, Oh, they like, they look so
Weird and dated, and like the patterns and the colors and not overdone, this sum, the whole thing. It’s just, it’s funny, but it leads to a really, really good place. So I mean this new city and I’m scrapbooking, and I start making new friends and I meet a woman who sees what I’m doing. And she’s like, wow, I really want to learn what you’re doing. I’m also crafty. And I like, you know, I like what you’re doing. Can I do this with you? Can you show me? I was like, sure. And that very, very, very quickly turned into her, asking me to start a business with her. And at first I was like, no, no, no, I really I’m like a stay at home mom crafter. Like, I don’t, I don’t want anything to do with the business, but she was really persistent. That was like, her personality is if she wanted something, she was, she was going to get it.
So she just kept asking me. And finally, one day I was like, okay, look, you start this business, but, and I’ll help you. Like, I’ll be your advisor. I’ll help you. And she said, no, no, no. I want you to be my business partner. And I have no idea why. I think that there’s like a psychological principle that if you ask somebody the same thing, a certain number of times, eventually they will just say yes. So finally, one day I was just like, okay, fine, I’ll start this business with you. And we decided that we were going to start a business, making him telling birth announcements. Are you Caylee? Are you familiar with birth announcements today? Have those in your shop?
It’s not as popular in South Africa and in Germany really. But yeah, they exist.
I don’t even think they’re very popular right now anymore because of it’s, you know, it used to be, there was no internet. Nobody would know you had a baby, unless you sent them a card saying I have a baby. And also there was kind of like this, you know, I need baby gifts. Like, please send me, here’s the birth announcement. I need blankets and close it on this birth.
You gave me a $50 price. That’s hard work.
Exactly. That’s kind of how birth announcements are, but, you know, it’s like, it’s, it’s, it’s deeply, deeply ingrained into the system here. So so because we were young moms at the time and we were doing our own, like I had made the birthday announcements for my daughter using rubber stamps and paper that I bought at a paper store. And then my friend was making birth announcements for her son. Oh, that’s what happened. I showed her how to make birth announcements for her son. Cause she was having a baby. And while she was making the birth announcements, she decided she’s gonna time herself and see what price would she have to charge if she was going to do this for other people, given like that, we knew the materials cost and the time involved in all of this stuff. So she was already thinking like very creatively about a business that she could start.
And you know, when you have a young child, you need a lot of support, especially if you want to go to work every day or have a business. So she knew that having a business partner was going to provide a much needed added layer of support. And so I finally said yes. And then once I said, yes, it kind of like the dam broke and we just went whole hog into this business. And for 15 years I was a co owner of a company that became a pretty decent size company and sort of like forced in either the United States in the wedding invitation barn, bat mitzvah, birth announcement, holiday card. That there’s a, you know, there, there was it’s much smaller now, but there was a pretty sizable industry here for well over a hundred years of printed social stationary. And we entered that market and got very, very lucky.
And our company grew to a really nice size. It was supporting both of our families. My husband, who so graciously said, you don’t need to, you know, work to support. Our family got very lucky because there were many, many years where his business was doing horribly because of the economy and our business was booming. And we just got very, very, very lucky. So after 15 years and me bursting two more babies, I was utterly exhausted. I did not want to work outside of the home anymore. It required a ton of outside assistance. Even for me to work outside of the home. I had people driving my kids around. I had someone grocery shopping for me coming in my home every day, tiding up doing all the laundry. Like I did very little other than come home and cook a dinner after work, which was even a lot considering working a full day.
But I had S I, that was one of the things I was wondering just from, from people who are younger than me. Like you, Caylee running this amazing business and you have a child, you know, are people getting the assistance that they need inside of the home? Because one of the things that I think is so unfair about women’s liberation is that it resulted in the opposite of women’s liberation. It resulted basically in women going back into the workforce, becoming very powerful in a lot of work environments. And then also being mothers and homemakers and cooks and cleaners and laundresses and wives, you know, and it’s like this, it was literally the opposite of, of the dream. I was even with all of the help that I had totally exhausted because I would work a full day and it was stressful being the owner of a company, very, very stressful.
And I would come home and then I would have to, I called it working my second job. So I would get home at like five 30 at night. And then from five 30 to 10 o’clock at night, I was taking care of my kids. You know, again, making dinner, helping them with homework, whatever it was. It, it felt like it just felt like too much. And I decided that I needed to, no matter what the consequences would be financially, everything, I just, I needed to be home with my kids. And I did it. I just, you know, whatever broke up my business partnership, it was a, can I curse on your podcast? Of course it was a fucking nightmare. It was the worst year of my life, but I, I survived it. After that freaking nightmare, I took a couple years just to recover and rest.
And then I noticed that there was like online lettering classes, Amanda Arniel and Becca from Canada, the happy ever crafter. And I was like, Oh yeah. Remember I used to love that lettering. Remember that there’s this girl giving a free course on how to like hand butter? You know what? I forgot. It was amazing, amazing courses out there. And I started doing it and pretty quickly my middle child, Maya, who that’s a whole other story. She is an Instagram celebrity for real. She was like, mom, you should start an Instagram account for your lettering and your water colors that you like to do. And your bullet journaling and all this stuff. I was like, really? You think I should start an Instagram account for that? She’s like, totally. I was like, okay. So I start this Instagram account and she’s talking about my Instagram account to her, you know, 800,000 followers or whatever she has.
And pretty quickly I was like, Oh, this is kind of cool. Like I post pictures, I love photography. So I’m like, I post pictures. I make art people comment. I followed them. I comment on their stuff. There’s kind of like a community here. Wow. Look at all this creativity here, look at all these classes that are available. I can learn anything that I want to learn from the comfort of my own home. I could, I could see art. That’s being made by people all over the world. And I don’t even have to leave my front door. This is, there’s a whole world here and I become completely and utterly engrossed in this Instagram art world. So what happens is I’m like, I really want to learn how to paint with acrylics. I’ve never, I’ve, I’ve always been a watercolorist I’ve never painted with acrylics. I’m kind of afraid of them.
I don’t understand how they worked. I want to find, I want to find someone who’s teaching how to paint with acrylics. And I find a group and I sign up for the group and I start painting and I started buying canvases and pretty quickly on my, wow, this is going to become like a hoarding situation. I’m going to like paint on a canvas and then you have like store them somewhere. And I mean, I’m not gonna like, hang up, like all these, you know, things I’ve painted, just like as a student, you know, they’re not even that good and giving them a waste. It’s kind of weird, like putting art on your wall that you didn’t want. Like, Oh, thanks for the gift. So I’m like, in my mind, my mind is like, is like trying to figure out well, I’m I really like this painting thing. Oh, I really like this mixed media thing. This is so damn fun.
Well, what, like,
Well now I’m going to snail supposed to become like an artist who tries to show a galleries because I just want to create, like, that’s not fair. I don’t want to show it a gallery. I have no desire to be like one of these artists that talks about the meaning behind their work and the, you know, how their process, whatever it is. And, you know, very similarly to being young and trying to figure out my life and how, how my personality and my passions fit into
The, the dream,
The goals that I have for myself. Just all of that. Like, how is this going to work? I sign up for a, yet again, another painting class. And that one I’m going to actually name specifically, cause it really was a turning point for me. It was actually a free course, a one week course called find your joy with a painter in England named Louise Fletcher. And her big thing was helping people find their joy. And while I was taking that course, I got my first journal. I got a delusions, very like standard, big journal from Michaels. And I decided, I don’t even know where it came from. I decided instead of working on large sheets of paper or canvases to do this work that I was doing in Louise’s course, that I was going to just put the art in a journal. I honestly, I don’t know where that idea came from. And as I was doing the assignments I was doing what I always do all day long, which is listened to podcasts. And I had this feeling come over me
That I was as happy as I could
Possibly be like that. There was nothing else that I could possibly be doing that would make me any happier than making marks on a page, pushing paint around, not caring about whether it’s marketable or pretty or, or anything. And also listening to incredible people. Talk about interesting topics. And I said, this is my stopping place for now. I’m just going to do this. I can continue to take as many classes as I want. I can make all of the art in a journal. You know, I found out very quickly delusions. Isn’t the only journal, you know, there’s journals filled with watercolor paper and journals filled with mixed media paper and all of that. And I just said, I’m like, okay. And then I think not that long after that I found get messy. And I think I was a lurker for a long time before I joined, I was like, what is this?
This is, this is some kind of thing. There’s like an art journaling group online there’s there’s classes here they’re giving like, there’s like a F I think there was a free course, maybe in like messy backgrounds, something like that. And so I signed up for your email list and after a while I was like, Oh, I think get messy is, is really where I belong. I think that this is my people. Like I don’t, I don’t want the pressure of selling anything or hoarding anything, you know, to the point where I’m, I’m painting really big. And I have all this stuff and I joined get messy. It’s true. It is perfect for me. I love the community. I love, I love the Hangouts. I love being on with everyone. And, but I’m still taking a lot of other classes. Like I just, I have a little bit of a, I don’t even know a compulsive personality, I guess, an addictive personality where if I see something and I’m interested in it, like I really want to try it out.
So, so I’m in get messy, but I’m still in like 15 other things. Yeah. Which is fine for me because I can, I can handle a lot. And one of the classes that I take is a class in how to make your own journal. It was a very specialized type of journal. And I was like, Oh, okay. Like that looks kind of like a lot of work. And eventually I’ll take that class. And eventually I took the class and I’m getting near the end of the story. So I take this class and I make this journal and I have one of those feelings that comes over me again of this makes me really, really, really happy on like the deepest possible level. Like it brings together everything that I love doing right now. And not only that I’m in making a physical product, that’s useful.
So if you recall from my sort of life experiences, I didn’t want to be a ceramic artist. I wanted to be a production Potter. I wanted to make functional, useful items. The business that I co-run for 15 years was making a high, the beautiful, but very functional product for people which was wedding invitations and all types of social stationery. And when I made this first journal myself, it was like, everything came together of like what I should be doing right now. And I was like, I feel like I want to use all of the things that I know, and I want to keep making these journals.
And that’s where I am right now. I’m making and selling journals. I mean, the journals are always evolving. They don’t look like that journal that I made that day, but it’s only been eight months since I started making and selling journalists. The other thing is I never thought I was going to ever sell anything ever again. But I can’t have like hundreds of journals. Like I don’t want hundreds of dollars. The point of me making is not because I want to collect everything that I make, but I love the making so much that it just became a very natural extension of, okay. Is the, you know, the question in my mind, is there anyone out there who would want to purchase something like this? Well, yes, it turns out there’s actually, there’s more than enough demand to support me continuing to make journals.
And then it became, Oh my gosh, like, people are really asking for these. Now I have a very long wait list. Like a half of a year. I ended up shutting down my waiting list because I just cannot accept in good conscience. I can’t accept orders more than six months out. I don’t, I don’t know if I’ll be alive. Like we’re living in a pandemic. Like I could get coronavirus and die and I wouldn’t have made your journal. So I stopped taking orders. And now I’m just working on completing those order orders, but I’m very careful not to over promise in the sense of, I only promised that I’ll make journals at a rate of one per week. It’s not that a journal takes 40 hours to make a journal, might take anywhere from 10 to 15 hours to make maybe longer if it’s a hand stone one.
But but I know that I have to balance everything else out in my life with the journal making, especially because the journal making is not profitable. I mean, let’s just talk about this. I know you’re like taking notes, writing questions, journal making is not a source of income journal making is a pure pleasure. It, it, I think at this point, there’s like a balance between money coming in and then you buying more supplies. I have a mask, quite a collection of beautiful fabrics and papers and vintage papers, you know? I mean, I could talk about collecting. That’s one of my favorite
Subjects. Okay. So I do. So that’s where I am now. So now I’m, I’m, I’m just, I’m having the time of my life. Let’s just say, do it, making what I want to make and there’s a market for it. And luckily I don’t have the pressure of having it pay the bills. All right. That was a lot of talking.
And now you’re done, I’ve written two pages of notes so you can get ready.
I’m so ready.
Well, firstly, I’m so freaking excited that I got one of your journals. It is, it is a work of art. Unlike any thing else I’ve ever known,
Are you joking?
No joke. It is literally. It’s like, it’s the best purchase I’ve ever made creatively.
After buying get messy art.com, it’s the biggest
And you got a very early one. You were like an early adapter of the Willa journal. They are so much better. Now. I hate to tell you, but that’s how it is. I mean, when you make them product, you’re always innovating. They’re they’re on fleek right now. So they’re, they’re, they’re really, they’re even more special.
Yeah. But it’s good that it’s evolving. I mean, like I’ve got it on. It’s not on my shelf now. It’s gone to the photographers for photographing some of my journals. But it’s on my shelf. And then when people come here and they look at all the journals and then they’re like, Oh, this is the best word. And I always like, always know it’s yours and then I have to go. Yeah, I didn’t do that one.
Oh my gosh. Okay. So this brings up something really interesting. I’ve been getting a lot of requests to teach a class, which let’s just go into the fact that I do not like my hands. Like I love my hands for what they do, but I have really strange mans. They’re tiny. First of all, which you don’t realize when you look, I have really short fingers. And so they look like they’re like, I have like these super gargantuan, like fat fingers, but you have to look in proportion to the rest of my hand fell. So anyway, so I’m really insecure about how my hands look on the camera. And there’s a number of people asking for a class. And as people are asking, I’m like, why, why? Like, why do they want to know how to make this? Like, I get it. Like, I love them, but why does every, you know, what, why do you love them? Why would you want to take a class in this? But if now, now that I’m hearing what you’re saying, maybe there is something unique that people do want to learn from me because there’s so many great teachers out there. So I could, we suffer from imposter syndrome.
We can get into it. I think I’ve, I’ve realized as time has gone past the more you go, but why would you want to learn that? Like that’s obvious the more know that it’s your thing. So legally I’m going to have to think on that. Think about it. If something that comes super natural to you and other people are asking you about you must realize is not natural to everyone. Okay. It’s just so freaking good at it. That it, it seems obvious to other people. And with regards to like, people are asking you to teach the technique. They could go onto YouTube and they could just search how to bind a journal, easy peasy. Yeah. They want to know how you do it and your knowledge and the way you think about it and the way you come to, to the paper. Like, I mean, if I had to bond something with the exact same things you were bonding from, it’ll look completely different. Oh, that’s interesting. And so people trying to get insight into that, like secret source, that like little magic that’s happening when you, when your hands, when your small hands are working through the thread and all that with your journal, like they want to, I don’t know. It’s kind of like getting insight into a magician and figuring out the tricks except for that’s where knows the trick. Then the magic doesn’t leave. I mean, why, why do you have so many classes you could have just
Hold on, understand what you’re saying? When I take a course, I want to know exactly what that person is thinking when they’re doing what they’re doing, why they’re making the choices that they’re making, like even down to, like, why would you put that page next to that page? And then a journal. And when I make a journal, when I put it together, it’s not like, Oh, I’ve got these papers and they just randomly go in the journal. They, I specifically choose which paper goes next to which paper. Now I’m doing something called a full Willow, which you don’t have, which has a lot more original art in it. Like, I think you have one. I think when I made yours, I had put my first page of original art in there, which was a water color, sort of loose water, color painting. And then after that, it like exploded because all of a sudden I was like, Oh my gosh, that one page of original art, I could, I could keep expounding on that. And it’s not like the whole thing is filled with original art. I don’t want to misconstrue it, but there’s original art sprinkled throughout the whole book now, as opposed to just that one page. And yeah, it’s all this balance. There’s a ton of artistic balancing. That’s going on. Even from choosing the interior cover to the strap, to the button, like everything is every step of the way. It’s an artistic choice and I’ve got reasons why I make choices.
Yeah. I mean, I can see the choices in there. And the thing that’s interesting is if I watched you put the papers together, I might not make the same choices, but once you’ve done it, I’m like, yes, that makes like,
Yeah, that makes sense. And Oh yes. You do have to like, think about it when you’re, when you’re choosing which paper goes next. Yeah. Okay. This makes a lot of sense. That’s going to help me. This is going to help.
You have to do you have to do it. And I think, okay, let’s go. Let’s go back to hands. So I’ve got a thing about my hands too. Okay. I did not know that I, my whole life I’ve been a nail biter. My nails are looking like they’re long now. Like this is like actual miracle happening my nails along at the moment. But as soon as I get anxious, my nails go away. And then I remember reading a blog or it was wedding photos. And this woman had short nails that she had painted on her wedding day. And I was like, that is brave. Right. Someone who doesn’t have issues with the nails would never even notice it. But of course I was like, Oh, you can. And I think that kind of gave me the permission. I can have nail Polish if I, even if I’ve got short nails. Okay. So that’s the weird, it’s like a weird thing that I’ve got, but okay. If I think about my favorite art teachers and stuff like that, I don’t think about them the same way that I’m thinking about myself. You know, you look, you think about your favorite people and all you remember is the art that they helped you make.
I totally get that. As I’m watching my hands now on video, I am reminding myself that nobody cares about what my hands look like except for me, but the fact that I have to keep reminding myself of that does, you know, I notice it. I’m very observant about my own thoughts. And I mean, maybe most people are, I have no idea, but I’m constantly observing myself and my thoughts and all of that stuff. And I just know that it’s an issue for me. I know that it’s an obstacle that, you know, maybe some people would never have to overcome that obstacle, but for me, it’s a big obstacle.
Okay. So I think they’re like two ways to go around that. The one way is just to make like a hundred videos. And so that when you rewatch them, you, you not thinking about that, you thinking about how can I improve my technique and stuff? It’s the same, you know, like now I can listen to a podcast with my voice on it. Doesn’t sound weird anymore. I can just hear room for improvement or being like an editor, like standing back away from what you’ve created. The other way I’ll be working with a life coach. And you were speaking about like listening to your thoughts and stuff. Do you know the whole concept, like thought work and Brooke Castillo’s thought thing.
No. Does it have to do with not, not believing your thoughts because they’re not real?
No, it’s no, it’s interesting. Okay. And bear with me because I’m going to completely butcher it. But, and I’m still new to this, but the idea is that you get to choose your thoughts and then your weight, you have a circumstance. And then that leads to an emotion and a thought. And then down the line, it leads to your action. So I’m doing work now instead of like trying to fix, fix, trying to change my actions, I’m changing my thoughts about those actions. So, you know, like the idea that, and I’m not a life coach, so just, this is you’re going to, if you want to learn more about it, you learn more about it. Not from me. Cause I’m terrible. But if you want to stop thinking about all the things that are stopping you from doing what you want and I mean, you’ve already gone past that, which is incredible.
No, I mean, I’m still struggling. I’m really in the beginning, I’m like sitting at the edge of my seat. Like what is she going to? What nugget
Completely. But just, just the idea that your thoughts aren’t you choose whether your thoughts are the truth. Okay. So your thought, my hands look weird, right? Yeah. That’s not an objective truth. It’s not an objective tonight. I don’t think it’s totally subjective
Based on my definition.
So you can choose to think, look how good my jewelry looks on my hand or, you know, it doesn’t need to be an opposite thought. You don’t have to, like, that might be too difficult, but it can be a neutral thought where you thinking about something else. And then based on that is how you’re going to act.
Oh, that’s brilliant. No, I could think like, look how good the lighting looks in that video. Oh, the journal looks great. And instead I’m literally, I’m not kidding. Like I am at that moment where it’s like hanging in the balance of whether or not I can even do this because the whole time I’m editing these videos, I’m obsessing about my funny hands. Yeah. And so that’s about other things,
But I don’t think it’s bad to obsess about things. I think that’s what makes you better than someone else that doesn’t obsess over it, but you get to choose the stuff that means something to you. That’s a lot of sense. And you’re an intelligent, you know, you’re intelligent, you don’t like, I don’t know an example. I had to make a video for a creative class. And part of that was my face on camera, which I am not comfortable with, like at okay. If I wanted my face on camera, like I don’t have to like be in a very specific place to be able to do that. But I just decided, you know what, I’m not going to do that. I’m going to make sure the background looks really good. I’m going to wear my favorite dress. And I’m just going to talk and it’ll be fun.
And I mean, like I did a bunch of takes, but instead of thinking, like looking at myself and my face, I’m thinking, wow, you look fat Kaley like that. You don’t look good. And you just embarrassing it. You know, like instead of going down that path, I chose to there then stand there. And while I’m standing there, I’m thinking, Hey, look at you, you like sharing your knowledge with other people and imagine the great art that these people are going to be making. And you know, like focusing on the fact that I’m cool enough to teach this class. And I know enough that someone has asked me, you know, like,
You know, this makes a lot of sense when I saw you on creative bug. I actually think that that may have been the turning point when I was like, Oh, I got to get in her, get messy group. When I saw you. I was like, wow, that person has so much confidence that they went to a studio and filmed classes for like a very big deal company in the art craft world. And I never ever thought like, Oh man, like she doesn’t like the way she looks on camera. I was just like him. She is so confident and beautiful and look this amazing book. She’s I mean, I think yours was one of the first art journals that I even saw constructed in a course. Yeah. Can I tell you what my thoughts were? I want to learn how to so bad. I want to learn how to sell those pages into that.
The creative bug. Oh my gosh. So my son was like, just over a year. I think it was a year and a half. And that was when I had stopped breastfeeding, like just before then. And so I was like, at my biggest size my boobs were still like leaky. Like I was like just coming out of the throws of the newborns. Well, you know, a year is not newborn, but like out of the throws of new motherhood was my first thing. And so that was all hours thinking about then, like
You were filming the whole course. Yeah.
Yeah. I mean, like I had to do some work to stop thinking about that and to just after awhile, you know, day after a few hours or whatever you start thinking about the work. But yeah, that, I mean there wasn’t, I think it’s, it’s, it’s all about coming in perfectly to where you need to be like, it’s the same in an art journal. You don’t come to your art journal. Perfect. I’m totally enlightened with a plethora of techniques, like up your sleeve. You come to, to the journal in perfectly, and it’s the same. That’s how I came to creative back. I was just like, well, this is what you got, you know, like this is, this is what, who I am. And you, you kind of realize it doesn’t even matter.
I’m definitely, Oh, that’s one of my cats just entered the room. I’m definitely learning. It’s taking me a very long time, but I am becoming more comfortable with who I, who I really am. I, I never talk about this very much at all in the art community, but I used to be a diet blogger for very long time. And I eventually became anorexic. And I realized now that I didn’t choose any of those thoughts that I had in my head, that they were all conditioned into me, that my value in the world was based on me being as small as I could possibly be on the smaller that I was, the better that I was. And I got to the point where my hair was falling out. And I was like literally way in measuring every single ounce of food that I put in my body. And I was hungry and starving all of the time. And boy, I looked great on video.
I had a hair piece, I had a filler that I would dial sprinkle into my hair to fill in the fact that I had all of these like gaps in my hair. But my face was so thin and I could put on beautiful makeup and I could have my hair blown out. And boy, did I look pretty on camera, but was I a super duper, duper fucked up person, living a life of just obsessing about food. And I have a totally different attitude now and I’m, I’m still growing, you know, I’m, I’m only 50. I’m still growing. Like as a person I’m learning to just say, you know, fuck it. This is who I am. Like, I I’m someone who has like a bigger body. I have very big boobs. At this point because of coronavirus, I’m just like, I’m just gonna stop coloring my hair.
Like, why am I even coloring my hair? Because I’m afraid that people are gonna think I’m getting older. I mean, I used to have my nails done every two weeks and a pedicure every month. And that’s, you know, we’re not doing that right now. And I’m just like, you know what, like, why was I doing all of these things? Why did I think I couldn’t leave my house with the open toed shoes? If my toes were not perfectly done, just all of these things, I’m finding that I’m challenging all of these conditions that were placed upon me by society and learning to just kind of say, this is who I am. This is what I look like. I’m kind of feral at this point. I’m like a feral cat and who cares? Like who cares? But it’s, it’s something I have to grow into. It’s not something that I could just wake up one morning and be like, Oh my gosh, I have this eating disorder because of society’s ideals. Oh, now I don’t anymore. I never have thoughts about, you know, I’m too big anymore. It does not work like that. It’s, it’s a process, but it’s way better than starving yourself. I have to say being on a diet and starving yourself, that’s like a full time job right now. My full time job is making things that I love. I do not have space in my head for how am I going to starve myself?
Okay. I love that. I love, I love the, yeah. I want to like zoom in on that, that I don’t have space. I’m doing my truth. I’m doing what makes me happy. So then I’m space for the other stuff and all the worries. Yeah. That makes me excited because I think, you know, I don’t have to, like when I record on my face one video, I don’t have to like lie to myself and say, Oh, look how skinny you look. You know, that’s not the goal. The goal is to, to really like doll in, on your values and figure out like, why am I doing this? What, what is my core belief? And bring that, do you know what? So it’s just like shifting focus away from like the passive thoughts and the thoughts that are just like there that society has given us and that we’ve taken on. It’s, it’s like choosing to focus on what we want to focus on.
I think you’re totally right. I think this conversation is going to help both of us. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. I think it’s like, I’m focusing on the wrong thing on stuff that doesn’t matter. And I can choose to focus on the parts of, of what I’m doing that I love and that other people love, which is how we make what we make and how we get satisfaction from living. You know, this artistic life like this art thing. This is not like a hobby thing at all. This is like, this is my life. This is what I love to do. This is what I choose to focus every single spare minute that I have on this thing. And I’m not here to be pretty like I’m not showing up on this video. I’m not showing up on this podcast to pretend to be something that I’m totally not. I’m totally not like a young model. I am a middle aged kind of fat
Woman and you know what it’s okay. That’s a whole other thing I had to learn to say like fat fat is not a four letter word that just is, you know, people come in all shapes and sizes. There is not one right sized body. And the more that people have different sized bodies go in front of cameras and say, you know, this is who I am, but this is what I look like. But this is not what I’m looking for you to focus on. I’m going to focus on the things that we love to do together. This is not about, you know, me having perfect nails, perfect hands, perfect hair, perfect. I’m here for the art. Like I, at the end of the day, I don’t give a shit about what anybody looks like. I was only caring about what I looked like. Cause I thought that was how people were judging me.
And the truth of the matter is a lot of people will judge other people by the way that they look. But guess what? Those are not my people. They’re just not my people like get messy. Those are my people, everybody, and all they’re from all the countries and the shapes and the sizes and everything. And we all come together doing this thing that we love and show up in your pajamas with your messy wanting hair and who cares about all the other stuff. And the other thing is you are totally gorgeous and it, it really speaks to how messed up the whole thing is about how we get conditioned into thinking that there’s only one right way to look because Caylee, I promise you that everybody watching you is literally thinking that woman is beautiful. And I, and I’m hearing like, what you’re saying is you’re doubting yourself, you’re doubting this thing. And I know that nobody is thinking that they’re thinking, I wish I looked like her.
Well, I think you’re gorgeous too. I mean, I think,
You know what, it’s, it’s just, it irritates me that we have been taught that our worth is in there, but we’ve also been taught like don’t yeah. That whole thing irritates me. But I think that we’ve learned this lesson with art already. You know, we’ve learned this lesson, we know this to be true, that it doesn’t matter what the art looks like
It. Yes. It’s just about having fun. Just having fun, doing it, making this mess again. I mean, I know I talk about this all the time with you. I say it over and over the fact that you named your company, your website or whatever, get messy. It’s it’s so deep. It’s so profound. I just, I, I respond to it on this super deep level. Like it’s okay to be messy. Okay. To be emotional. It’s okay. To not look your best all the time. It’s okay to make messy art, whatever it is. I mean, I am a recovering perfectionist. I will probably never fully recover, but but I know that it’s okay. Like I know now that it’s okay not to be perfect. I know that I can, I can move in a different direction and that, that, and that moving in that other direction is totally a benefit to me.
Yeah. Yeah. I think, I think like are related to a lot of your story especially, you know, with having, I was also given like, do you want to be a chartered accountant or do you want to be this or this or this? And I also chose my degree based on what I didn’t want to do. So yeah, a lot of your story. And I think that we’ve, we’re taught that we have to be perfect, that everything has to fit into a neat little mold. And all of a sudden he has this thing where, where it doesn’t fit into the mold and that’s still good, I think
Better than good. It’s awesome.
It is. And I’m still, and I think also, you know, like you said, recovering perfectionist, I think that just because you know, the truth doesn’t mean that you’re not going to have to learn that lesson again and again and again.
No, no, he’s right, man. I mean, how many years have you been doing get messy?
No, almost 10 years. Almost. So he’s
Almost six. Okay. And people are looking at you thinking, wow, like she has so much confidence. She’s making all these incredible videos. You’re so prolific at what you give to the community as part of the membership, you know, I’m looking at you and I imagine you’re 20 plus years younger than me, you know, and I’m thinking, wow, she’s got it all figured out. And now hearing that, you know, you need a life coach and you’re still figuring it out, kind of makes me feel better about them. So figure like if she could do it and she’s still figuring it out, well, maybe I could do it. Maybe I could make classes, you know, online and, and be figuring it out as I go. I don’t have to have everything figured out ahead of time. That’s a big problem that I’ve always struggled with is feeling like I have to have things like I have to know how to do something really well in order to do it, which is why I haven’t filmed classes.
Okay. Well firstly, yes, I’ve got all these feelings and all these insecurities and all that. But I think that the difference is everyone’s got these like, and I’m pretty sure, like even like con think of a singer Justin Bieber, like even he has like insecurities when he goes on stage. But the difference between like, like you and me and someone who’s like sitting there dreaming and making the perfect plan, we doing it, we just saying, yes, I’ve got like all these feelings and I’m maybe not like a hundred percent confident, but I’m just going to do it anyway. It doesn’t matter. Like, and I think that’s the one strong thread that that I noticed in your story. And, and, and that’s really that just, you know, what you need and you go after it, even when it’s hard and kind of with the idea that you’re going to figure it out. So, you know, cause I don’t see myself,
I see myself like someone who’s prevented in many cases from going after what, what I want because I don’t know how to do it, but at the same time, like the universe or God or this, something intervenes in my life and like sends me these people who come into my life and they push me out of my comfort zone. There’s a person who I’m working with right now. Who’s another artist. And we found each other through the most crazy, crazy unique circumstances. And we’re, we’re helping each other overcome this gigantic hurdle. So for me, it often comes in the form of another person to help, to help overcome those hurdles. Yeah. But I guess if you look at my story, you will see a success story of someone who has accomplished quite a lot and overcome all of these, these hurdles. It’s funny. I wouldn’t have looked at myself that way, but it’s hard to, now that you’re saying it, yeah.
It’s hard to see ourselves as who we are. Not, not like in the, in the objective way, it’s hard to see ourselves in a positive light. Cause we’ve been told that that’s not the way to do it. But I think the other thing that’s like really cool about your story is that when things are not working, you let go like, and you say, this is not working, I’m going to do something else. And I tend to be someone who likes to start cutting things off when they’re not working like maybe too aggressively. And I learned recently that that that’s not something that people do. But you know, like hearing it from your story and from an external point of view and wasn’t working with you in the business and you know, you had like years of recovery, it was a cook yet, like Maya with my business partner leaving was like also literally like the worst year of my it’s not, it’s not, yeah, it’s not an easy thing, but somehow you pick up the pieces and you take what you need from the experience. And you can look back and say like, this was a good experience, but now something bad to happen. Yeah. So I think your ability to follow your happiness and be true to what you know, to be true. And your, I don’t want to say like authentic, cause it’s such a cliche word, but like your authentic, honest truth and the core of who you are. I don’t know. I don’t, I think that’s very admirable.
Well, I do want to say that for me, it’s, it’s not as, as memorable as it sounds. And I will tell you that when I was in law school, I actually had irritable bowel syndrome that I went to a doctor and he told me I was going to suffer with this condition for my entire life, that there was no cure. As soon as I was done with law school, I never, ever, ever had irritable bowel syndrome, not for a day, not for a minute. Somehow the body for me, my body is telling me, and it took me almost 50 years to learn, to trust my own intuition versus all of the things that I think that I should be doing. So another example of not trusting my own intuition, but my body telling me and finally me waking up and listening and acting on it is for the last many years of working in my, in my stationary company with my business partner, I would wake up every single morning, like wake up and my heart was racing.
And I realized at the very end that I was actually waking up in fight or flight, like I was waking up in this highly agitated state, the combination of the stress of working full time and the stress of managing my family, my, my children was making it so that I was just on alert all the time. And that is not a healthy state to be in. Like it’s, what’s one thing for once in awhile, you’re in fight or flight, but to be in fight or flight every single day and have that kind of adrenaline going, that is not healthy. And it took me a long time to realize, Oh, that was my body telling me that something was wrong. Now I’m a little older, a little wiser also, you know, having gotten through the whole eating disorder thing and learning to basically trust myself, trust my intuition value and value that like value my own thoughts on things.
It’s, it’s been a real
Good, positive, like it’s a movement for me in a very positive direction to learn that it’s okay to listen to my body. Again, the whole thing about starving yourself into being a smaller size. It’s all about overriding your body signals. And that’s what all women basically all across the world are taught. Your body is not to be trusted. Your feelings of hunger are not to be trusted. You have to override your own physical sensations and do what this diet guru tells you to do in order for you to be somebody that you are not.
And that conditioned me
In so many dysfunctional ways of overriding my own thoughts and feelings about my life. It led me to go to law school when I didn’t want to go to law school. It led me to start a business that I really didn’t want to start. I mean, it ended up being a great life experience, but I was not someone who wanted to be like a frenetic, crazy working mother, you know, who, who woke their kids up before their kids, you know woke up in the morning so she could get them ready to drop them off at a daycare to go to work all day, to come home, to race, to make dinner, to race, to put their kids to bed. Like that was not what my intuition told me that I wanted from my life. So it’s, I’ve had a lot of really big learning experiences that I recognize now are really big learning things. And now I really just try to live my life intuitively every single day, which also includes not exercising.
I used to exercise all the time because I thought this is what I’m supposed to do. I’m supposed to exercise. And I’m not saying that exercise is bad. Exercise is wonderful. As long as you’re doing it, not to change the shape or size of your body. But I exercise myself to the point of some pretty big injuries again, all because I was ignoring the signals from my body and thinking I’m a good girl. I’m doing what I supposed to be doing. I’m doing power yoga every single day wearing my, you know, Lululemon’s going into this, you know, hot and sweaty class. And I messed up my neck and my shoulders and my hands and my arms. I was, yeah. So I am now. I am, no, my pendulum has swung in a totally opposite direction and I’m living the life that I want to live. If I want to take a walk, I’ll take a walk, but more, I’m more than I want to take a walk. I want to freaking work in my art journal. Yeah. Marianne,
Let’s talk about the art journal. How does everything relate to that journal? How does what we’re talking about relate and, and what is, what is the general represent for you? Maybe
The art journal is I’m sitting here looking at what I’ve made for the season of bloom, which has been my most prolific season with made, with get messy. It was made for me. I mean, I’m looking at it. I could just die of happiness right now. Like I’m, I’m, it’s everything that our journal is just it is my intuition. It represents my intuition. So it’s, I’m not doing it. I mean, yes, I have this Instagram thing and I love sharing pretty pictures of my art journal, but I’m not doing it for Instagram. I never, ever, ever think ever, what should I make? That would make a pretty picture on Instagram. I think what technique do I want to try right now based on what comes into my orbit that day or that week things will come into my orbit, like the whole boiling books and the nature printing that we’re doing right now.
And they may sit there for months and months and months and not get, you know, effectuated into reality for a long time. They’re just kind of hanging there, but eventually it just it’s like my intuition is telling me, try nature, printing try, or you like, you see people out there very rarely, but you’re like, there’s this boiling books thing. What is this boiling books thing? Anyway, it just, I, it’s hard for me to really, to really say what it is. It’s just, it is totally it’s what, what I want the art journal is what I want, not what anybody else wants from me, not what anybody else is looking at and judging. It’s just, it’s the art I want to make in the timeframe that I’m going to make it in at the right time for me. Also the art journal for me, it is connected to something that we haven’t talked about yet, but this, this idea of collecting and curating back when I first started to see on Instagram that there were people using vintage items in books, like I, that had never occurred to me on my own to use items and books, but I’ve always been someone who was very drawn to these big flea markets that we have locally and antique things.
I don’t, I don’t love to have like a home filled with chotchkies that are just color. My mother calls them dust collectors. It’s not like my home is filled with old furniture and old books and old stuff. It’s not like that at all. But for some odd reason, like if you look at what’s on my desk, so I’m going to just show you this. If you guys who are on the podcast, can’t see this, but this is a mug that my mom had in our kitchen, in a cabinet for my whole entire life. And I don’t remember what it was filled with in her kitchen, but when we cleaned out my parents’ home, it was one of the few things that I wanted and I put it right on my desk and I filled it with some paint brushes. And there is just something so important to me about connecting with the past
And, and have it,
These, these little bits of my memories, or even sometimes other people’s past memories. So one of the things that I’ve collected is a set of very large bank journals from a bank in downtown Cleveland. And the journals are from between 1905 and 1909, I think. And I got very lucky. I searched really hard for them, and then there’s always luck involved. Like, it’s not like, it’s not like, Oh, I want this thing. If only I searched hard enough, I’m going to be able to find it. There’s there’s, I’m spending my time and energy searching and the universe intervenes and brings them to me. So I, cause I have another really big score that I got that like, I can’t even believe I got it. So these journals it’s like a once I think it’s might be a once in a lifetime, like staying where they came into my life.
When I purchased them, I had no, I have a shiver that just went down my spine. I had no idea why I was bringing these things into my life. There it’s, it’s a lot of material, very heavy. They’re very musty smelling. I actually put them on my kitchen Island and they sat there and I just looked at them for, I’m not kidding, at least a month in the middle of my kitchen, just looking at them, thinking, wow, I have no idea why I just purchased these from this guy. Why I pursued him and texted him and said, I need these journals. Like he told me he had them in his garage and I kept texting him. I need them. How can we get together? How can whatever. So I finally got them and then I just looked at them and I said, I have no idea why I need you.
Like, I could easily just buy a small little packet of, of pages. You know, when you lead your pages, like you can buy ledger pages. It’s much harder to get entire ledgers, let alone the bulk, the bulky ones that I got. Anyway, it’s just, again, it’s following your intuition. Maybe sometimes you don’t know why you want to do something, but, but there’s something inside of you. That’s like, I really want that thing. So another thing that I was very lucky and also pursued is I have some kind of strange connection to wallpaper, which I realize is, is like, you know, I’m not the only one I was like in my mind. I was like, wouldn’t it be amazing if one of these estate sales that I went to, like somebody happened to have like a bunch of just vintage, old wallpaper sample books and I’m not kidding.
Within a month or two, I was at an estate sale down the street from where I lived. And in the basement, there were like seven giant wallpaper books. And at the time I was like, isn’t that weird? I want those two. I really want those am I really gonna bring these things into my house? What am I even going to do with this? Who needs this much wallpaper? I didn’t even buy them all. I think I left a few behind which now I’m kicking myself. I had no idea that I was going to make these journals. When I bought those wallpaper sample books. I was just like, well, I they’re, they’re pretty interesting. Like the, the, the, the, the, the patterns and the artistry of the wallpaper is so amazing. I could see myself, you know, using a little bit of it in my art journals.
I didn’t know I’d be making art journals for other people. So anyway, my point, my whole point of all of this is I even learning the older I get, the more I realize I can trust my own intuition about things. And when push comes to shove, if I feel very strongly about something like the ledgers or the wallpaper books, and it symbolizes so much more than that, because the legends in the wallpaper books are insignificant compared to some of the much, much, much larger things in our lives. But I can trust my intuition if I’m feeling very strongly about something it’s okay for me to do that thing, to stand my ground and say, this is what I want. This is what I need. I know it doesn’t make sense to the next guy, but I’m going to do this thing. And so to me, that’s what the art journals and even the making of the art journals for sale, like, that’s, that’s what it’s teaching me more and more is just Wendy, your intuition, like for you, it may not, you know, it may not be the right decision for someone else, but, but if you’re feeling that strongly about it, just do that thing, go with that.
Yeah. Yeah. I think we had told our whole lives that our opinions don’t matter, that we need to quiet our, our thoughts that, you know everyone else comes first and you should be selfless. And I mean, there’s, there’s benefit obviously to being selfless and to like helping others and all that stuff. But in that process, what we do is we ignore ourselves and we ignore our needs. And even when our needs don’t affect anyone else, we ignore them because that’s what society has taught us. Yeah. And I think it really is just something that you have to actively go against all the time, because I mean, they get me Syrians who are 80 and who are like for the first time ever making art. I spoke to someone who said, you know, finally now that the children are, our children are out the home their husband’s retired, they’re retired now they can do their art. And I feel like that’s so sad because I like Y like artists for now, like you can’t, that’s not selfish, like making art. Well, it’s selfish and not selfish at the same time because it’s selfish because it’s just for you, but that doesn’t make you a selfish person. And it doesn’t mean that you’re ignoring everyone else. You becoming a better person and you can then better serve other people because of that. So it’s just like this whole ecosystem of, of following yourself and listening to yourself.
One of the things that I’ve thought about that I mentioned a little earlier is that somehow making art got wrapped up into productivity and commercial gain you know, like it’s OK to go to art school. If you want to go make art and sell it in a gallery, like, then it’s OK to go to art school. But if you just want to go to art school, because you find making art fun, then somehow it’s less than even the whole idea of craft versus art. That craft is not as valued as art and all of those things. I mean, I can easily see why as, as a, as a, as like a species, you know, we are conditioned into thinking that working in an art journal is like, you know, one of the least important things you can do. But for me personally, it’s like, you know, other than like hugging my kids and loving on my husband and taking care of them and my mom like working in my arch.
And I was like the only other, like super important thing, I even say that I do. Yeah. Like I love it that much. I mean, it’s, and it has, you know, again, working in your own Argenal has zero commercial value. And at the end of the day, like none of the other stuff really matters. Yeah. You don’t get to take anything with you when you die. So it’s like, who cares if you have money in the bank who cares if you made yourself famous or you had success or all of these things, like it’s, it’s about today, it’s about just enjoying yourself today. Some people like to go out into nature and they like to go hiking. And I liked that too, but like, I also really just like working in my art journal and it’s a lot easier than schlepping to a park and I get the same benefit.
I dunno, I, I definitely get more benefits out of you working in your art journal than going in full
Walk or whatever. Right. So then there’s a whole other community. It’s interesting. There is the whole other community aspect to it. I do find that Instagram is a positive thing in my life.
Yeah. I, I was listening to someone was probably a podcast somewhere. And they were talking about sharing on Instagram and photographing their journal as something separate or like the next steps are, I often think about why I share on Instagram. I recently had some like weird things happening on Instagram. Someone put my address into a DM and said, I’m going to come to this edge and I’m going to kill you and your husband. And then the full name of my husband, which I’ve never shared. They took a photo. I mean, it’s obviously a scam, but there was a photo saying like, from an airport saying, I’m getting on the plane now, like prop plane lands at this time. Anyway. So that like recently has made me reconsider Instagram quite a lot. But okay. Ignoring that crazy story.
You’ve had some life altering social media experiences that I could see why. Yeah.
[Inaudible] I get the person sending a photo of themselves, like with enough and like a mosque on and stuff saying, I’m going to come here.
Your story is way, way worse. I mean, it sounds did you have to involve the police?
Oh, I did speak to, yeah. I did speak to the police and I kind of have an idea of who it was, but that’s another thing.
Is it someone, you know? Okay.
That’s very scary. It’s yeah.
But the only thing that any reason I wasn’t completely scared is because the address was slightly wrong and it’s like, based on the address that I put out publicly, so it’s not a private ed dress or I was okay. And I’m moving soon. So it’s fine. I was thinking if they can come here in Corona time, if they’re going to fly to Germany and find me and murder me, good for them who welcomed, like you can kill me, like you deserve to kill it. Like, okay, there’s not an invitation there.
I understand what you’re saying. It’s like, if that’s what the universe wants to happen, Soviet
At least would make an interesting story. But yeah, so I heard someone explaining their views on Instagramming. So the idea is that, you know, when you focus on the, on the process and the, of the actual art-making you don’t really like, I don’t look back at my journals and look at my art and go through it and give the art the value once it’s done. The value for me is while I’m making. Okay. And so Instagram and taking a photo of my work is kind of giving the authentic, that value that, that I’m not giving it. Does that make sense?
Totally, totally. That actually makes, I mean, I’ve thought of Instagram as a personal diary of my own journey into exploring art in this time of my life. Like I, I do sometimes go all the way back and I look at how far I’ve come, not often, but once in awhile I’m like, Oh my gosh, I started like, there’s my first watercolor, you know, in that, in this time of my life, like, yes, I did it 20 years ago, but here’s the one that I did most recently. So, but you’re, you’re making me think of is that when you share on Instagram, it becomes part of the community’s like bank of information. And it does, even though it’s not a commercial thing, or nobody’s making money, you know, from posting on just posting your picture on Instagram, but it does give it a larger purpose, took more other people, other people are looking at it.
Other people are learning from it being inspired by it. I mean, you have such a distinctive style. And I think a lot of people would be looking at what you post on Instagram and saying like, I want to learn from that. I want to, I want to, you know, apply words, cut out. You know, I remember looking at your lettering and thinking, Holy crap, that lettering is so bomb. Like what you were doing with your lettering was something that I had sort of begun to notice and aspire to, which is so a lot of calligraphy is teachers teaching people how to do it. I’m like, I’m going teach you this. And this is how you’d have to learn. Like there’s no other way to do it, but, you know, let me teach you how to do brush lettering calligraphy. And then if you do it well, your lettering is going to look exactly like my letter, because the way that you, you know, shape these words, like it would be almost indistinguishable from each other.
And then I saw the way that you did lettering. And I thought I’ve never seen anything like that. I could see that there’s a brush involved. You know, I can see that there’s a brush pen involved or some type of like very inky wet, like maybe a paint brush or something, but there’s all this like personality and style and imperfectness, and you can still read it, not like that messy, but it’s really different and it’s really uniquely Kaley. And so if someone’s looking, if someone’s out there kind of the way I use Instagram, it’s extremely inspirational and productive in the sense of like, Oh, I don’t have to, my letters don’t have to be perfect. I don’t have to hide my own handwriting from the art that I’m doing. I could, I could use the same tools and materials and just write in my own handwriting and it’s going to look artistic.
So that’s just like one of a billion examples that I could provide of how Instagram has helped me become a better artist. I’m always observing what other people are doing and picking little pieces and parts from different artists that I admire and then incorporating that concept into my work. And I know that you’ve read the book steal like an artist. I’ve known about that book for a very long time, because when I own the printing company, I mean, you’re always looking at what everybody else is doing and, and trying to be original, but also getting inspiration from other people doing the same thing. Or so there’s always that line that you’re walking of, you know, is what I’m doing, crossing a line. Am I, you know, am I doing something that’s violating intellectual property law? So I don’t know, this is just a long way of saying the way that I work.
And I think one of the things that’s really contributed to how quickly really, if you look at it, how quickly my art has gone from like you’re doodling in a bullet journal to making these highly artistic, I think really beautiful art journals is I’m constantly analyzing information and what I like and don’t like about other people’s work. And then taking the things that I love, little tiny things and incorporating them into my own work to the point where I’ve incorporated so many things from so many different people that it now looks like my work. Does that make sense?
It makes complete sense. I think, you know, you’ve got a very distinct style. And it’s interesting to me to hear the way you think about like, seeing other people’s work and stuff, because I try and avoid other people’s work because I don’t want it to affect my things, but hearing about the way you do it. It encourages me like, like the idea of taking tiny bits from so many people and like broadening your scope of who you taking in from rather than following, like you know, like 50 people and just repeating the same thing or following one person and copying that person. I think that’s how you make a true to you is that you really follow your intuition and you follow what’s resonating with you and you put that in and maybe another level to it is that you’re not taking everything as it comes out. So, you know, like your, all the classes that you’re following it following and involved in, you’re not doing the techniques immediately, but you waiting until it makes sense to you. And until you need to, then you can pull from it.
Yes. So I’m going to give another example of something that even surprised me, but I think that it’s really important. Just as far as like how to become a better artist, how to further, you know, the work that people are doing with journals. So there’s so many things about this. So are you familiar with Robin Murray on Instagram? Yeah. I love her work. I’ve taken many, many of her classes. And so many times the things that end up being my biggest influences are people’s free courses. And there’s a reason for that. If, if you guys have never been involved in marketing, you guys who are listening, a lot of people are giving away their best content free. It’s, it’s a way to draw people into your little business that you have your little world. It’s like, look at this amazing thing I’m going to give you.
You may then want to buy my other courses. So, so you pick the best of what you do and you actually give it out for free. So I buy so many classes. I don’t feel guilty about taking people’s free glasses. So I’ve taken again, I’ve taken many of Robin’s paid classes. And then she had a free class where she was demonstrating her use of a material that I had really never used, which was soft pastels. And she was showing people how she was making her art for this 100 day project that she just completed. And I was, Oh, that’s so cool. I am definitely going to like take the time to do her free course and try it out, which, which is a con like any course that you do is a commitment to like stopping all the other things that you’re doing and getting the materials together and trying this thing.
And the most incredible thing happened. So I watch her course. I take notes on the technique, which that’s another thing that I do is when I watch a course, I often take notes about the steps. So then I really like it. Then I don’t have to rewatch the course. I could go back to my notebook, which is a lot faster than rewatching someone’s course. So I’m taking notes. And then I try the technique out for myself. And it turns out that this technique that she teaches is so much fun. And it also turns out that this technique is totally adaptable to each individual person where you don’t just have to follow her steps. One through 25. You could, once you do the first few steps, you’re going to start going off and having your own steps that you do. And by the end of the class and the end of me completing this thing for the first time I had a product that looked nothing like Robin Marie’s product.
That was, this is what I’m teaching you, how to do. I had something that number one I had never made before. Number two I was madly in love with, and number three, it was totally perfect to add to those Willow journals that I sell. And so the idea of, you know, not learning from other people, because you’re afraid that you’re going to take too much and it’s going to look too much like that. I think it’s hard to actually nail someone else’s style. I think that when you learn from someone else, you’re going to be incorporating, like you can’t, you can’t help it like the paper. So it was basically what the course was. It was in making mixed media paper that you could then use in collage or, or as book pages or for other things. And I would have loved it if my pages looked like Robin Marie’s, she is an amazing artist and her papers are gorgeous.
But when I tell you my papers looked, nothing like her papers, like in any way, shape or form, they were completely unique to me. And not only that I liked doing it so much, and I liked the product so much that I went on to repeat it many times so that I could have a stash of these papers. And what I learned is it doesn’t matter if you are like afraid that you’re copying someone else so much, because by the time you’re done with that project, it’s going to look like you. Yeah. I don’t know. That’s, that’s where I am. Right. I’m on the thought of it. I mean, if it had looked like Robin Murray’s papers, I wouldn’t be putting it in my Willow journal. It would have just been something that I tried and I like, but I would not be like, Oh, I’m going to use Robyn.
You know? Well, that’s not true because Robin also gave a class on nature dying. And with nature dying, there’s less kind of room for everybody. Stuff looks different there there’s, it’s more of like a, okay, you know, you’re using avocado dye on your paper, you know, you can get a lot of people’s stuff that looks the same. And I do use those papers that I nature died in my journals. So, but that’s a little bit the, the, the, the mixed media papers. There’s no way anyone’s is going to look like anyone. Else’s cause you’re making all these marks all over them. So it’s like all there’s so much of you in each one, the colors you choose, the marks you make the order of operations. And it’s very intuitive. It’s like, Oh, I feel like using this material next. It’s not the same, you know, it’s not the same order that Robin did it in or even the same materials.
Yeah. Well I think I think that, well, firstly, I think we go through seasons with this. So this season I’m currently in, I just need like, you know, those horse blinker things currently my season right now. Okay. I mean, I’m saying this, like I was, I took Francisco’s bloom workshop and I purposely like looked at her art and then made my own art. So I’m still like taking influences, but anyway, but I think that all of this answers the question about style and whenever someone, I mean, that’s like such a big question is how can I find my style? How can I find my artistic style? Like you’ve got it already. You just need to listen to yourself and you just need to follow your own thoughts and your own truths. And like you were saying, like, it’s the colors you choose. It’s the tools that you use. It’s what you just feel like using that is your style. And it’ll come out no matter how hard you try for it to not.
I have a lot to say on the subject of finding your own style. And I also have a very little to say on it. Cause here’s my, here’s what I have learned. You don’t need to try to find her own style. It’s exactly what you’re saying. Just, just make what you want to make, learn from who you want to learn from. And if you do enough making, like if you show up as much as you possibly can and you just make and make and make and make a style is going to emerge, you don’t have to try. You don’t have to precinct. You know, what is my style going to be like? You can’t control it, I guess is what I’m trying to say. People pee. A lot of people sell courses and how to find your artistic style. I’ve seen workbooks on how to do it.
I’ve seen podcast episodes dedicated to this idea that we’re going to talk about how you find your style and I don’t buy any of it. I think you just make, make a lot of stuff make everyday, if you can, your style is going to find you, you’re going to gravitate to the materials you like the marks to enjoy making. And your, I mean, who, you know, it’s funny because I do want to ask you about this. Do you feel pressure because of the position that you’re in as the owner of get messy and you know, like having a very cohesive Instagram feed is kind of a part of any branding, right? Cause I’m not trying to brand at all in the way that you are trying to brand. So I totally understand that the position that you’re in would have you feeling like you must put blinders on because if you don’t put blinders on the art making world is moving at such a fast pace with so many people, making classes with amazing content and great fresh ideas that if you don’t put blinders on you, you are at risk for diminishing your brand and you have a beautiful brand.
That’s worthy of just kind of like staying within that lane because of the experiences that I’ve had and because of the place that I am at in my life and who I am as a person. And what I desire to do, I have specifically said, I am not going to try to brand this. I am not going to try to stay in a lane or a zone. It is so important for me, like to my most deepest need that I am able to take whatever class I want and learn from whatever artists that I feel like learning from at the moment that I don’t care. If I ever have a brand, if I ever sell a thing, this is what I need to do. Now. It just so happened. I can sell a thing and I can kind of have a brand. I mean, I’m sort of just not even on purpose, developing this whole, like, this is a, a journal.
Like it’s just it’s happening. I don’t have to like force it. It’s just happening. But it’s happening only by me being true to who I am right now, which is, I just, I’m like, I’m a, what that, when you want it, Oh, I’m a sponge. I am a creative sponge. I, I spent 47 years of my life resisting who I really am, which is someone who just wants to learn everything artistically and just be surrounded by art materials and surrounded by artists and the making. And now I’m finally at a place in my life where I can do it. I can do what I want to do. And that’s, and this is what’s emerging. I mean, I’m looking at my desk, all of these blue journals and all of my nature printed stuff. And I’m just like, I just I’m back to it. I’m as happy as I could possibly be.
Oh, I love that. Okay. you asked a question. So the way that I see my Instagram and get Macy’s, I am in a bit of lack where art journaling does lend itself to being an evolution and being a work in progress. So that’s super, that makes things like super easy for me. I’m also lucky in the fact that I’m not too worried about building my own brand. I think when get messy was a partnership, you know, when there were two of us, maybe I was more interested in developing my own brand and positioning myself as an art teacher, separate to get me a C. But now really I just, on my Instagram, I post what I feel like. I think the reason it’s consistent is just because I’m too lazy to try and think of any other angles or any other backgrounds are always shoot flat down on my white disc with mommies all around. Like that’s how I do it. I’m finished. I take the photo. So that’s really easy then. They gave me a see Instagram. It’s just everyone else’s stuff. So I’m lucky that it worked out that way.
I was just thinking of the Caylee Instagram and something that you said really made me think of something else. When you are operating a business, the size of the business that you’re operating, you’re using so much of your intelligence resources and your emotional resources on running this business and providing content and working with all of the content creators. I mean, I can not believe the stuff you’re accomplishing. You know, I’m not surprised that you don’t have the mental space to think about how am I going to shoot this art journal differently? Like people are not unlimited Wells of energy and creativity. I mean, they kind of are, but like I get it, like when you’re ready to shoot a journal spread, you’re not, you’ve got 10 other things you’re going to be putting that creativity towards not what new place can I shoot? You know, I get it. That makes sense to me. And what that provides is a really cohesive Instagram feed, which is good. I think for people who want to have a brand,
But it goes back to like following your heart. It’s like, it just because like, just because you’re lazy, like I’m lazy when it comes to Instagram photos doesn’t mean it has to be bad. Like how can I lose you?
The opposite of [inaudible] it’s it’s consistently, consistently extraordinary. Why change?
Yeah. I need to like, just talk to you whenever I’m feeling down about myself,
I’m telling you, well, we don’t even have to record it. Do,
But yeah. I mean, yours is cohesive too.
I do know it’s a hot mess. Yeah. That’s a hot
Immediately know when it’s yours and I mean, it’s doing well, you like on fight, like you may be a little bit behind your door.
Yeah. But it is not cohesive. I look at other artists who are trying to be cohesive and I know what cohesive looks like, Caylee, I am not cohesive. What happens is I go through phases. So like right now is the get messy season of bloom. So it’s like, I may have 20 pictures of bloom journals. And in that sense it’s cohesive, but I will very quickly transition to something else and it will look entirely like it will, it will be a different color palette. So I know that there’s a lot of artists who old you yourself, Caylee, you only work in a limited color palette and you’re not flying wildly between color palettes,
But that’s also laziness or … not laziness, I just don’t want to learn about color theory.
Okay. So I am color theory. I am, I am the poster child for color. I have been working in color my entire professional career. That’s what we did at luscious Verde, the company. I, I was a member of the color association of the United States of America. We spent tons of money on color charts and color forecasting and color projection. How to combine colors is my wheelhouse. I never want to limit myself to a color palette and have it be like, Oh, that’s, that’s when you know, that’s Willa, that’s her color palette. Because for me the challenge of taking any colors and making them look incredible is part of the joy for me in the making art it’s, it’s, it’s fundamental to my art making. So it’s like, you know, if, if a, you know, that that pale pink color, a tightened pink golden tightened pink
Kaizen was pale. I w I G six.
Okay. I love that color. Is that one of my favorite colors ever? No. Do I totally love the excitement of combining that color with burnt Sienna and Payne’s gray and like the magic of that? Like, I, it’s just, it’s very exciting, but I don’t want to limit myself because in two years, like I went through a phase, I called the color, I called it B it was a red purple. And it was like around 10 years ago or something, maybe a little bit more that I saw this red purple color on the color projections that it was going to be coming in the future. And it was going to be very popular. And I was just drawn to that color. And I remember for a long time, like I had a lot of clothes, shirts, jackets, like things were, I had a rain coat that was beat. I wore a purple, like a red purple rain coat. I love that thing. And now I’m like, Whoa, I like, I’m S I could, I overdid it with that, you know, beat. But I love the excitement of like, there’s a new fashionable color coming around, you know, right now it is that tightened Mars tail. Like people love that color.
It is the best. It is the best color ever made.
But you won’t think that in 10 years, in 10 years, you’re going to be like, Oh, that was the 2020 is like, Oh, I can’t even look at that. That’s what happens with color. It’s just what happens on avocado green. You may be too young to know this, but there, do you know about the kitchens where everybody bought appliances and avocado green? Oh, so I think it was in the sixties. It was even before I was born, but there was a color. They called it avocado green. And it was so popular that people decorated entire kitchens in down to the appliances. They would have a, a, an oven in avocado green, a toaster, a refrigerator, everything was avocado green. And it became a joke, a decade later or two decades later about, Oh my God, the avocado green appliances, but that’s how popular it was.
And then it becomes how unpopular it is. And I happen to love vintage greens, like of all the colors in all the everything’s. My favorite is like a pea green, like a weird pukey, a little bit Brown, a little bit yellow, green. It’s the, for whatever reason, it’s avocado green that I am just, I love it the most anyway, but a lot of people want to vomit when they see an avocado green appliance. So you may, okay. You may love that pink forever, but there’s also a chance that at some point you may, you may have had enough of it who knows.
Yeah. I do tend to be like wary of color. Like my whole house is white and light wood. I mean, the fact that I’m wearing this is like branching out for me wearing this dress, but that’s, that’s a whole nother story. All of my underwear is black. I do not have any other color. Sorry.
I remember when I was in university, my best friend only had one top of underwear and I was like, this is genius. This is genius. You don’t have to think anyway, you don’t. Okay. I think we should wrap up, but before we do, I want to know what is, what are your views on inspiration? Because I am very against inspiration in that. I think that inspiration’s purpose is to lead us to creation. I don’t think it’s there to like sit with us, but I think you have different views on it and I’m excited to hear about them.
I’m not really sure what you’re asking me, Caylee, what do you mean? What are my views on inspiration? Meaning taking inspiration from other people. So, yeah. That was your inspiration to you. What is the operation to the evening? Oh, that’s so interesting. It’s a very warm feeling. I become very connected to my teachers. I’m not, I have no shame around the fact that I’m a learner for whatever reason. I don’t feel like I have to pretend that I’m not like learning all the time and taking inspiration from other people. So for me, yeah, inspiration’s a really warm feeling.
And if you didn’t create from that inspiration, would you still like, do you basically, I’m asking like, what’s the difference between what you do with inspiration and turning it into talk and, you know, kind of lying on your bed at night, scrolling through Pinterest and just going, Oh, this looks great. Oh, I wish I could make this and never doing anything with it.
So, wow. What an interesting question. I don’t want to judge anyone else. If someone is spending all of their time, scrolling through Instagram and Pinterest and saving thousands of images into, you know, categories that inspire them and they never make any art with it. And that is fun for them and fulfilling for them and it, and it tickles them. And it’s, you know, it pushes all their right buttons. I mean, who am I to judge them for me, I do spend quite a bit of time scrolling through Pinterest and categorizing things. I’m looking on Instagram though, the much less, the, the more I’ve kind of gone down the path that I’ve gone down, but I really don’t spend a lot of time on Instagram anymore, unless I like, just want to talk to, I want to like respond to the people who are leaving comments for me, but I, I’ve kind of like, I’ve looked at Instagram so much.
I don’t really need to look at it anymore. But I think it’s, it’s, it’s, whatever’s filling your cup, whatever you feel good about to me, there’s no shame if it, if it ends at scrolling through Instagram, but I’m a maker and there’s no way it’s going to stop in the scrolling. The scrolling is the beginning. The scrolling gets my juices flowing and gets my heart pumping my blood flowing. It’s like, Oh my God. Oh my God, it’s so good. I just want to make something now. So to me, that’s what inspiration is. It’s like the spark. I see an artist that I love on Instagram and it like makes me want to race out of bed in the morning, go to my art room and start making stuff.
Always need that before you create.
Yes, I do think I do. Which is why I’m such a diehard fan of Instagram. I need it.
Ooh. Okay. I think we need to share Jill another discussion to talk about that. Cause I want to dig into that. Okay. Okay. But that’s true.
If the listeners can handle this, cause this was, this was a lot, it was long, probably longer than a lot of your other episodes, but these are the kinds of things that I am fascinated by.
Yeah. I think if I was not like, you should see like my, this is all wet. Like this is completely right.
Sorry that we ended up having this conversation in August.
Well, August in Germany, that does not believe in air conditioning. Man, but I, once this week’s done German, German som is past, is it? There’s that joke? That Germans love summits the best week of the year.
Oh, that’s funny. That’s funny where I live in Cleveland. People say we have two seasons, winter and orange barrel season. So we have either it’s snowing and the construction people cannot fix the roads or all the other days of the year we’re padding barrels or all over the roads, directing traffic and other ways so that they can fix the potholes created by the snow. So that’s it. We have two seasons.
Oh man. It was wonderful chatting to you. Like I hope that we can schedule more of these because I dunno. I feel like you have very, very congruent opinions to me, but also a lot of ones, but I respect them. And it’s really nice to get that insight to like to say,
I agree with you now. I want to hear, I want to hear in the next conversation, more of your opinions on these things. Cause I’ve obviously I’ve, I’ve, I’ve been the one talking the most, but now I really want to know what do you think? I think we’re gonna have to hold this till the next conversation. What do you think about inspiration? I got Holy Moses. Oh my gosh. Okay.
Okay. That was wonderful. I don’t think any beginners are still listening to this. I think it’s only people that are creating and listening while we’re chatting. Bet. What would be your number one tip for turning no pressure.
Oh, my number one tip for art journaling. Number one is join, get messy. And I just, I, I have a thing. I’ve always been like this when I find something that I love and I love a lot of things. I am not shy about it. I’m not shy about promoting the work or the companies of other people. Like if I, if I get inspiration from it, I just want to shout it from the rooftops. So, all right. If you’re not in getting messy, that’s my number one. Tip. If you’re already in get messy, I would say, make your own journals. Don’t buy pre-made journals. That would be my number one. Tip that everything changed for me. Like it sounds like hyperbole, but, and really honestly it goes back to me watching you on creative bug. That was the beginning of me even understanding, like I don’t have to buy a premade journal.
Oh my gosh. She’s making her own journals. Look when she’s putting in them start, okay, this is it. All right, I’m going to settle on it. My number one tip, don’t start from a blank page. And when you make your own journals, you never have to start from a blank page. Starting from a blank page is scary. You’re not responding to anything there’s just white on the page. So however you can get that page to not be blank. I mean, there’s, if you do happen to have a white page, just throw down a splatter of paint or take a credit card and swipe that credit card, you know, with acrylic paint or take a breaker out, squeeze a little paint on a palette, roll it on your Breyer and just start braking. But once you get past that white page point, whether it’s because you have like, you know, something that already has something on it or because you’ve messed it up and started.
Once you get past that, then what you’re doing is you are responding. So it’s like, Oh, the pages too dark. Let me add a light element. Oh there’s a big block of color there. Let me add marks, you know, in that area, over that big block. And once you get into that, it, then your intuition takes over. Then you can just kind of like, you can make decisions and have fun. So there’s, I think that was a whole lot of tips, but there you go make your own journals. Don’t start with blank pages. Or if they are blank, mess them up right away. Don’t be afraid because there’s really no way to mess up because with mixed media, you can just keep adding things. This is not really your style because you’re very minimalistic. And I would like to be more minimalistic. But the SEF after, I don’t know if you know who he is, but he’s wonderful. He says you’re always only one layer away from having an art journal page or piece of art that you love. So there’s parts of the making where you’re like, Oh my gosh, this is just so ugly. And literally in one layer, everything can change. So just keep, keep going until you do get to that point where you really like it. And if everything you originally started out with is totally covered up and you don’t see it anymore. Who the fuck cares? Yeah. It’s got a story they have.
I love that at past. I love that’s the same advice I would give. But you’ve articulated it so well and it’s so freaking practical. It’s perfect advice. I love it. I love it. Thank you so much for chatting today. It was glorious, glorious.
Thank you for the honor of being on your podcast in the future. Thank you. I didn’t want, I just, I knew that I wanted to have a conversation with you like a deep conversation about art making and, and I want to hear more about, I mean, I think, I think maybe that’s why I think because I have listened to your whole entire podcast. I think I just, I knew that we had this big connection, which might be weird for you because a lot of people probably feel like they have a deep connection with you.
I feel it too, Wendy, I feel it too…
📌 Pin this or share in Instagram Stories:
Your podcast host, Caylee Grey
I'm Caylee Grey. Creator of Get Messy, official fairy freaking artmother and your pro excuse-squashing ninja.
In the Get Messy podcast I’ll be chatting to a selection of amazing, real-life humans just like you are who are dealing with the very same barriers … but overcoming them to create their art.
Together, we’ll explore what it REALLY means to be an artist. Practically. Warts and all. So that you can be an artist, today, now, even if you work a day job, have a million and one commitments and own a cat that likes sitting on your art.
No more excuses. Okay? Okay.