#6. Looking back & stepping out

Turning the corner. Out with the old and in with the new. Making resolutions…? Nope– no resolutions. Instead, I’ve decided to adopt one word for 2014 to sort of underpin how I want to live my year. My word is “ACCOUNTABLE”. So, being accountable is what I want to focus on– accountable to self, others, my art, my daughters, my doggie, my home, stepping up the learning curve, finding joy, and finding a way to do more in terms of service. Not sure exactly what, but it will involve my art. Basically, being accountable, in my life, every day.

Though I did manage to read a couple of books, I haven’t watched even one Netflix movie in the past several months– not since I began delving deep, doing research, taking some e-courses, and making the commitment to create this blog as a part of my art practice. It’s the Blogs of Others that did it. I’m continually amazed at what’s out there, who is saying it, the energy and information and creativity that is being shared and spread around, for free, essentially. I like the concept of free culture and questioning copyright, although I need to find out a lot more. I’ve allowed myself to become inspired and kicked in the butt by The Blogs of Others.

The Blogs of Others that have been circling me these last months include stuff about





expanding  horizons







letting go



and lots more.

And blogging.. .the opportunity to share, spew, show and tell, read and be read, respond and be responded to, spark and be sparked, find and be found.


“What Really Matters”  2010. graphite + gouache on Fabriano paper, mounted on linen. 36×28″

©2013 Karen Rand Anderson

#5. Getting all creativelike

I am extraordinarily grateful (dare I say indebted? ) to the amazing Leigh Medeiros. As a truly gifted artist, writer, blogger and more, this woman somehow manages to do all of the above while also inspiring and empowering other artists with boatloads of brilliant advice, ideas and support. For instance, if you have any issues with time management (duh) you may want to read this blogpost. (I printed it out and put it on my fridge. And in my studio.) She conducts inspiring interviews with remarkable artists  and writers. She offers online and on location classes  and also fabulous free information.

If you are an artist seeking a little support and connection, some great advice and inspirational tips, I highly recommend that you sign up for Leigh’s All Creativelike Newsletter and you’ll begin to see what I mean. Her energy and ideas are contagious.

Image“The creative life can be a challenging one to walk with its lack of road map, constant detours, speed bumps and potholes, but along with those tough moments come the most inspiring, energizing, life-changing experiences a person could ever dream of. That’s why the creative life is the only kind I want to live. And I want to help you learn to live yours to the fullest too.” Leigh Medeiros

Honestly, I can’t figure out when, or if, Ms. Medeiros sleeps. But her advice, not to mention her unflagging support of the people with whom she connects and cares about, is priceless. I’m just giving credit where credit is due. Thanks, Leigh, for the terrific and inspiring possibilities you bring to light for the rest of us, and for providing some sort of artist road map. (How DOES she do it??)


image/manifesto ©2013  Leigh Medeiros

#4. Cleaning it up

Every so often, we need to clean it up, the mess. Maybe your studio is your kitchen table, your basement or garage, a corner of the living room, a loft, or a space in an old mill—it’s wherever you make your art. My studio has been all of these places, and I am one of those notoriously right-brained artists, whose work is, for the most part, all over the map (more about that later) and also all over the floor, walls, and every available horizontal surface. I revel in my creative process, which includes but is not limited to drawing, painting, gluing, wiring, tearing, twisting, building, sawing, sketching, stitching, hammering, and writing. Until suddenly—there comes a point where things are getting lost in the creative mess. Like tools and materials, self-confidence, motivation and vision. Focus, intention and drive. 


This is, I kid you not, my studio in process of being cleaned up and reorganized a few weeks ago. 

As artists, we (some of us) love our messes, but when they get out of hand,  well, one has to clean them up in order to move forward. Move things around, rearrange, pitch, let go. Put the old work away to make room for the new. It’s a challenge, at least for me—letting go of old work, past mistakes, and people who are no longer part of the picture. But when the cleaning up thing takes place, it’s amazing what happens…  new ideas, new people, new work all begin to show up.   


Embarrassing…!! But that’s why I’m here, doing this– putting myself into a new and courageous place. (Just getting into the studio is pretty damn courageous, especially when it looked like this. )

Is your studio practice fueled by headlong creative onslaught, or focused and preconceived concepts? Are you organized and methodical in your art approach, or energetic and spontaneous? (I guess it’s fairly obvious which one I am.)


Truth be told, I would love to have little elves come in once a week and tidy things up in my studio. But then, they probably wouldn’t know where to begin, and I probably wouldn’t be able to work in such an organized space. (Hmm. Food for thought.)


My faithful studio assistant, Theo. 


#3. Getting the Urge to Sing

Why blog now?

Zillions of artists are blogging. Multi-gazillions of non-artists are blogging. It seems like they’ve all been doing it for years. What strikes me is that so many people have so much to share in their fields, and have found out how to show and tell it so WELL. (The little monkey on my shoulder is screeching “What on earth could YOU have to contribute, Karen?” Maybe my next post will be about him, the rascal.)

I too have a creative voice, and I’m suddenly getting the urge to sing…  To be engaged and involved with an online community of other artists, and cyber-visible to more than the occasional passer-by of my website. My intention here (more about setting intentions from some Very Smart Girls) is to bushwhack a trail for myself in this huge forest, which will serve not only as a path for me to continually explore and follow but also for you to be curious about, and want to follow too.


“Sand Beach Path & the Beehive” mixed media on panel, 12×12. ©2013 Karen Rand Anderson

Since discovering the work of Alyson Stanfield and her vibrant and helpful ArtBizBlog, I want to make blogging an integral part of my art practice, expanding my personal creative quest. Spicing up the journey. Thinking, talking, writing about it all. Embracing the awkwardness about putting myself out there (or in here, as it happens).

British artist and blogger Natalia Komis gives some good advice about it, saying “If the studio is where you practice your making, your blog is the place where you can practice your writing… and open up a space for a critical and analytical dialog between yourself and your work.” And, other artists and their work. Cleaning Up the Studio is my other studio. A new place to make, think, look, create, question, wonder, share. Maybe weep. Maybe laugh. And when you find it, please do come in, sit down, pick up a pencil, write a memo, or draw a picture. Engage. Thanks.

#2. Longing to know… Blogging to grow.

Blogging to grow… I’m longing to know… Over the past few years I’ve been consistently inspired and awed by all the accomplished, meaningful and self-confident writing out there in the Art Blogosphere. (and non-art as well). It’s been a bit overwhelming, while at the same time inspiring and eye-opening. How on earth do they do it, and still have time for studio practice, art business (more on that later), “real” life, relationships, laundry, the occasional novel or movie, exercise, etc? Journaling, art-wise and personal therapy-wise, has always been immensely important to me. Frankly, without all that spewing on the page (since about sixth grade) I probably would have gone under long ago. Especially over the past five years. And I’m tired of just scratching away in my personal journals, without connecting to anyone. Entering the game and stepping up to this plate is the next step.

So, I’m starting this blog in order to grow. To wrangle the fears, vanquish the personal doubts, embrace that queasy feeling in my gut and turn it into a glow. Blogging to grow, blogging to glow. Lots to learn… the steep learning curve looks daunting from here, but I’m making a commitment to just keep writing, and continue to be inspired by all those amazing other people and posts and thoughts out there. In time, I’ll be posting amazing things, too. Somehow, I will find my tribe.Image

#1. begin at the beginning…

So, one has to start somewhere. My plan is to play around here for a while, learn the blogging rules and ropes, and then *gulp* go public and begin posting GREAT stuff on January First, 2014, which by coincidence is the Capricorn new moon. New beginnings, indeed. Starting to get that feeling of standing at the end of the high diving board, just sort of lightly bouncing, looking down at the water, where everyone else is swimming. They’ve all done the dive and are in the swim. My heart is pounding, my legs are wobbly. It seems so far down, such a big dive. Headfirst?

 rockwell high diveNorman Rockwell, “High Dive”