Creative Life Blog

Stuck in the middle of….

It’s the snowy February on record in Minnesota. The world around me is digging out of another foot of snow. The airport's runways are closed for the moment. Everything around me has come to a standstill. Ironically, I feel my life has come to a halt as well. I've managed to begin the year with a crazy amount of success -- my bedding line Art of Marbling by HRJ Design Studio launched at Las Vegas Market. I turned in the manuscript for my forthcoming book and managed to make it into Uppercase Magazine's 3rd annual surface design issue. All things are good, however, what no blog or surface design group I am in talk about is ----what do you do when you are in the middle?

Starting and learning was never my problem. I am in the middle of building a robust licensing program. I am motivated, still creating artwork for my agent; however, I am wondering how to keep producing art and bootstrapping my small business while hanging on the variables of the unknown.

Here are FIVE tips to keep going while you are in the middle of building your art practice:

1) Trust your process. Your process, habits or methodology of working have carried you this far, will continue to help guide you.

2) Be real with your family and friends. Let them know where you are at -- talk about your anxiety, name it. Ask your loved ones for advice or whatever you need -- be gentle with you, a good laugh, etc. Honesty is very disarming and allows people to step in and help you.

3) Walk 30 minutes a day. Hit the gym. Go to yoga. Stretch. Dance. Go for a walk or in my case, grab the cross country skis. The point is to get out of the house and clear your head. I promise the act of moving in your body will reset your brain.

4) Keep showing up for yourself, your art. Do one thing towards your practice a day - when it's hard when you don't feel like it. Keep moving forward. The middle part is where people give up because there's no external rewards or instant gratifications.

5) Take a day off to take care of yourself and manage your life. Taking time out for you and life is as important as number 4. Clean your home, get your hair cut, grocery shop, pay bills, read or whatever you need to do get by on a day-to-day basis. Practicing the art of self-care reaffirms self-love.



Through out my life, I’ve been able to cross paths with some extraordinary people. These individuals have risen up to the top of their profession by putting in the work and mastering their craft. A few weeks ago by happenstance I was able to cross paths with someone whom I met during my high school years. Even though we attended different schools were where both involved with an activity that brought us together. His name is Jimmy Chin. He and his production made the film, Free Solo. Free Solo is about Alex Honnod’s climb up El Captain with NO GEAR. (Side note: if you haven’t seen this film, go see it.)

My husband and I happen to be traveling through Boulder when the film was being released. It happened that Jimmy and his team were giving a talk after the film. I was able to catch a few minutes with Jimmy after the talk. We were catching up, when an earnest fan interrupted us. He wanted a photo with Jimmy and asked, “how to did you learn how to climb?”

There was a pause, Jimmy and I locked eyes, the corners of mouths turned up, he replied,

“I started.”

My friends, I think of Jimmy’s response often. Learning to do a new thing, pursue a dream involves 1 singular thing — action or beginning. You have to start somewhere.

When I began marbling, it was disaster however, I kept at it every chance I could, each time I worked I learned and moved my understanding of the craft forward. The important takeaway is: