7 Simple Ways To A Peaceful Mind

By Nicole Tinkham

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Do you ever end your day with your mind spinning and you feel like you haven’t accomplished anything in the past 24 hours? Then you just lie in bed dreading all the things you must get done the following day knowing that you’ll be even busier now. It’s a vicious cycle and we know exactly how you feel. Life is not easy! But let us be totally real with you for a moment. You need to hear this. Stop everything you’re doing and really “listen” to this when you read it. When you allow stress into your life, you are not only wasting precious time being unhappy but you are also putting yourself at a huge health risk! Worry is more damaging than you may think. Worrying yourself sick is an actual thing and it’s dangerous. Plus it’s just not fun to worry all the time and isn’t that what life is all about? Having fun? We don’t want you to waste another minute that you could be loving life by stressing over the little things. Read on for 7 simple ways to start developing a mind that is at peace.

1.    Meditate

Meditation isn’t as complex and difficult as you may believe it to be. You don’t have to light candles or chant or do anything weird. It’s simply clearing your mind of the clutter and focusing on your breathing. Try it for just 5 minutes to start. Sit somewhere comfortable where there’s no distractions. Close your eyes and breathe in and out. When anything pops into your head good or bad, totally erase it from you mind and direct your focus back to your breathing. You don’t need to meditate for long, just 5 minutes really makes a difference.

2.    Get Creative

We fully believe that art is a form of therapy. We have heard countless stories on how getting creative has changed lives. But even if you don’t think you’re the creative type, there’s still something for you. We highly recommend adult coloring books to release stress. You don’t have to be an artist to enjoy this activity but you can get really creative with it. We’ve even heard of people hosting coloring parties with friends, how fun!

3.    Be quiet

Sometimes you just need to be alone in a quiet space where you can think. This is similar to meditation but quite the opposite. Instead of clearing your mind, do an activity where you really use your mind. Sometimes you just have so many ideas about every little thing and it gets stressful carrying that around with you. Every once in awhile a massive brainstorm session is needed to get everything unloaded from your head onto paper. Jot down EVERYTHING you can think of and pick and choose what you’ll take action on next.
Some other ways you can enjoy your alone time is by getting lost in a really great book, pamper yourself, or just sit in nature and take in all the beauty it has to offer.

4.    Get Active

Your mind and body like it when you get up and move! Dance in your living room, take a long walk, ride a bike, stretch it out, or take a hike just to get moving.

5.    Volunteer

Giving back to the community is one of the most rewarding feelings ever. If you don’t normally do volunteer work, it will totally change your thinking. Find an area that you’re passionate about and help out on the weekends or whenever you have a little extra time. Remember to give without expecting anything in return. When you put your energy into helping someone else, you in turn help yourself as well.

6.    Laugh

Laughter really is the best medicine and it can completely take your mind off any worries you may have. Get together with a group of friends and have a fun day out. Do something new and exciting that you don’t normally do. Do something child-like and just enjoy life.

7.    Get positive

This takes time but you want to start working on your mindset. Replace any negative thoughts with positive ones, find something wonderful in every situation even the bad ones, love everyone for who they are and spread that love, realize that every obstacle presents itself with an opportunity for you to learn and grow, and be true to yourself. Be happy being the unique person you are.

What a peaceful mind really comes down to is just letting go of your worries and enjoying life. We only have one chance to live an incredible life. If you think about it that way it seems silly to sweat the small stuff, doesn’t it? Doesn’t it make more sense to just enjoy ourselves and do the things we love? Life is too short to not be chasing after what you want. Get in the right mindset and start making things happen! Listen to your body and your mind. Do the things that make you feel good. Focus on doing more of the things that make you happy and less on the things that stress you out. Begin this journey of yours by practicing the 7 simple ways to a peaceful mind mentioned in this blog. Then let us know how it has changed your life and the way you think! Please share your story with us in the comments below.

4 Things To Know About The InkTober Challenge

By Nicole Tinkham
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LISTEN UP ARTISTS!! InkTober is upon us again and it’s the perfect opportunity to either get your feet wet with pen and ink drawings or show off your skills to your Facebook friends. Don’t worry, we’ll explain how all this works in this blog. Here are 4 things you need to know going into the InkTober Challenge.

1.How it all began

Jake Parker created the InkTober Challenge in 2009 with the goal to improve his inking skills. He kept himself accountable by posting a new drawing on social media sites every day for the month of October. Now artists all over the world take on the InkTober Challenge every October. Anyone can do it, just pick up a pen and draw your heart out! Artists range from complete beginners to the professional artist. No judgment or critique, this is made to be fun and to improve your skills.

2.The rules

This year we are participating in the InkTober Challenge and we are so excited to have you JOIN US! The rules are simple:

*Create a drawing in ink (anything you want!) and share it with us on our Facebook page.

*You can post daily, every other day, or weekly – the choice is yours!

*Use #inktober with your post so other InkTober challengers can find your creations for inspiration.

*Every week we’ll pick a drawing at random that you have shared with us and feature it on our Facebook page.

3. What you get out of it

Why should you participate in our Facebook community InkTober Challenge?? Because we have a ton of helpful tips and inspiration lined up for you throughout the entire month. Here’s what you can expect.

*31 drawing ideas for those days when you have no idea what to draw. You don’t have to follow these specific tasks to a letter but you can if you want!

*Ink-couragement: We’ll share motivation to keep you going through to Halloween!

*Ink-spiration: We’ll share incredible ink artwork to inspire your next drawing.

*Weekly spotlight of a random participant’s entry.

*Ink tips and techniques along the way to help you improve.

*Check ins throughout the month to make sure you’re still with us.

*Celebration (and huge collage) of everyone’s artwork.

4.Why you should join us

We already have a strong community of supportive artists on our Facebook page and we think it would be so much fun to go through this InkTober challenge together. Don’t worry about not being a skilled pen and ink artist. This is your chance to try something  new and IMPROVE YOUR SKILLS! That’s the whole point of this challenge. It’s proven that the more you work at something, the more you will get better at it. That’s why you need to do this!! This is the perfect opportunity to get started. The excitement will be up in the month of October and we’ll hold you accountable throughout the entire month!

You want to join in on the InkTober fun now, don’t you? It’s super simple to join us. Simply ‘Like’ our Facebook page, post your drawings on our page using #inktober, and check in daily for inspiration, ink tips, and encouragement. We’ll get started 10/1.

And let us know, will you be joining us next month?? COMMENT below and let us know if you’re in!🙂

5 Quick Tips To Getting Your Artwork In A Gallery

By Nicole Tinkham

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If getting your artwork in a gallery is the goal, there’s a few more things you’ll have to do other than just contacting every single gallery in the area. In fact, we are totally against doing this (read on to find out why). This isn’t a speedy process so you must take your time and be patient. Doing your research, networking, and following the rules for submission are all part of it and we’ll show you exactly what you need to do. Read on for 6 quick tips to getting your artwork in a gallery.

1.    Pick and choose the galleries to approach

Don’t become so desperate that you reach out to every single gallery around trying to get your artwork in. Do the research and figure out what type of artwork is in the gallery first and if yours would be a good fit. Trust us, this will save you time in the long run! There’s no point in wasting your energy on a gallery that wouldn’t be interested in your style anyway. When doing your research, look at the type of artwork as well as pricing. Most of the time you can find this info right online so be sure to check out the gallery website. If a gallery states that they are not taking submissions at that time, move on and check back later. This means they are too busy to look over your work and you should respect their time.

Also build a relationship with that gallery. Sign up for their email list and attend events there. Really get to know the gallery inside and out and have a clear idea of what you can offer them. Show up to events often and start conversation (be sure to have business cards too!). This way you’re getting to know people on a personal level before doing business with them.

2.    What to include in your submission

When you find the perfect gallery for your artwork, contact them and be sure to include the following:

•    Your artist bio

•    Your artist statement

•    Your CV (or artist resume)

•    Images of your artwork (have an extra set!). Be sure the images look professional meaning they’re cropped, straight, and don’t have any watermarks. It may be wise to invest in a photographer if you can’t do this yourself.

•    Practice speaking about your artwork. Get really good and sharing your story and your experience. Some artists don’t like talking about their work and believe the work speaks for itself. However, we believe communication is key. You should be energetic and enthusiastic about your artwork. Make THEM excited about it too!

•    Be sure to always follow the submission guidelines! This is so important so even if you’re a rule breaker, be sure to follow the rules in this case.

Bonus tip: When you’re reaching out to galleries, it does help to be introduced to the right people through a third party. If you personally know another artist in that gallery, this is the perfect opportunity to set up a meeting.

3.    Be professional

Act as if your meeting with a gallery is a job interview! We mentioned above that your images need to be professional and that goes for you as well. Be on time and present yourself nicely. Be ready to talk about your background and your experience as an artist. Also have in mind how their gallery could help you sell your work. Note that after your meeting with the gallery you may have to wait a little while to hear back from them. Don’t repeatedly call and bug the gallery, just be patient!

Along with professionalism comes networking. Build your following either online or at networking events. We know these aren’t the most fun but they are essential to your business. Once you build a following, you can bring them to the gallery. Remember, you’ll have to work as hard as the gallery does to bring people into events.

4.    Send a thank you note

We don’t care who you are or what business you’re in, a hand-written thank you note is always the way to go. Since hardly anyone writes notes by hand anymore, this will really make you stand out from the rest.

5.    Handle rejection like a pro

Sometimes it’s simply not the right time. Don’t get hung up on if a gallery doesn’t accept your artwork. Here’s more on how to handle rejections.

Getting your artwork into a gallery is only as difficult as you make it. It’s not a quick and easy process but if you take your time on each step and really follow our suggestions, you’ll set yourself up for success. But also remember that it doesn’t always work out and that’s ok too. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Maybe a certain gallery just isn’t right for you. You will find the right one so keep on trying! You are so incredibly talented; don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Tell us, have you ever had your artwork in a gallery? How was the process? Please share your experience in the comments!

Should You Take A Risk Or Play It Safe?

By Nicole Tinkham

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Let’s pretend for a moment that we’re all starting out at the same level. There’s not one person more skilled or advanced than anyone else. We are all the same but it’s totally up to each individual with how they spend the next 10 years of their life. How do think everyone would differ? It’s safe to say that each person would take a different path depending on what interests them. But how successful they are and how quickly they get there depends on the choices they end up making. There are basically two main types of people: the ones who after 10 years haven’t moved forward much at all; they found a comfy place in life and decided to stay where it’s safe. And then there are the people who have excelled, and they’re usually the ones not afraid to get out of their comfort zone and take risks. If you’re the type of person who rather stay where it’s comfortable, that’s totally fine! But if you’re not happy with the way your life is going and aren’t willing to make a change, that’s on you. That is the decision you have made. In order to change your life you must make a change and that can be scary. The biggest life changes happen when you decide to do something that is completely out of your comfort zone. If you just can’t seem to make the leap, read on to determine if you should take a risk or if it’s better to play it safe.

Do you really want it?

There’s a difference between taking good risks and taking stupid ones. While we encourage you to jump right in with what you’re passionate about, we also want you to think it over! We’re not saying to sit on it for a year or two but just seriously consider your options. Where can you see yourself in a year? What about 5 years? What will your life look like at that point? Consider the good times as well as the struggles you may face. Is this big decision in line with your priorities? For example, if the most important thing in your life is family, does pursuing this goal take time away from them or does it add to it? Also consider your why behind what you’re going after. Do you have a strong and emotional connection to this big thing you’re about to take on? Are you doing it for yourself or for someone else? Is it something you really want to do or something you feel like you should do? We understand that there are a lot of questions being thrown at you here but take some time and really think these things over before you get started on your new journey.

Be clear on what you want to do

Once you decide that you in fact do want to take on this challenge, figure out how you will make it happen. Don’t just be clear on your end goal but also the mini goals along the way. What does your road map look like? How will you get to where you want to be? This will be your action plan. It may change as you go but having a good idea of how you’ll get there, will give you a great overview of what to expect. When doing the research on what goes into making your goal a reality, you may find that this just simply isn’t for you. That’s ok, keep thinking about ways to either modify it or think of a new plan that fits in better with your life and passions.

Is it really a big risk?

When going through the first two steps, you may want to turn around and run away immediately. Everything seems overwhelming and scary at first, we understand that. But before you back out completely, consider how much of a risk it even is. Often times it’s not as crazy as we think in our minds. Yes, you’ll have to get uncomfortable but what is the absolute worst that could happen? What if you fail? Will you die? Probably not! Considering the possibility of failure might be terrifying but consider if you didn’t go for it? What if you always played it safe and never made a change in your life? Would living that way be scarier than just going for it and living a life you actually love?

Really think about failure and plan out what you would do in certain circumstances. Of course there’s no way to predict the future but having a plan in these cases reduces your fear of what could go wrong and helps you realize that your worries are most likely minor ones that you can handle. If you still don’t believe you can handle them however, think about ways you can modify your big goal. You can always start slow and take baby steps toward that goal. Or maybe you’re meant to do something entirely different in life! No matter the case, you’ll figure it out. It takes time but you will get there.

Our challenge to you
Above, we mentioned taking it slow if the risk of going all in is too much for you to handle. Even if it is too much, we don’t recommend always staying in your comfort zone. Doing things that you normally wouldn’t do helps you grow as a person and exposes you to new things that you may just fall in love with. Get out there and discover who you are! You don’t have to quit your day job to work on your artwork to see a drastic change in your life. You can simply get out there at local art events and meet some new people if that’s something you would normally feel uncomfortable with. Or maybe enter your artwork into a show if you’ve had a lack of confidence lately. We challenge you do to one scary thing a month for the next couple months and once you do those things, keep adding to that list. The more you put yourself outside your comfort zone, the better you’ll get at doing these things. You’ll even gain the confidence to one day possibly take on that huge goal that absolutely terrifies you now.

It’s funny how taking risks means something different to all of us. What sounds totally crazy to one person could be a walk in the park for someone else. Don’t compare yourself to others thinking that you could never take something on because you’re simply not good enough. Don’t let how other people live their lives determine how you live yours! You are your own person and you can live your life however you choose to. You can do anything in this life of yours so be sure to make the most of it. Do something crazy and go after your dreams. Life is too short to not enjoy it. Taking a risk or playing it safe is something that only you can decide but we suggest taking the risk when you can if it means living a happier life that you’re passionate about.

19 Things You Need To Know About Water Soluble Oil Paint

By Nicole Tinkham

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If you’re an oil painter and have been for awhile, you may think water soluble oil paints are just for amateurs. However, we’ve recently been asked what the difference between traditional and water soluble oil paints are so we looked into it a bit further. Our answer is no, water soluble oils aren’t just for beginners. In fact, there are many benefits of using the water soluble version in addition to the elimination of toxic fumes. For instance, they’re super easy to mix and paint will dry a little faster than traditional oils (woohoo!). Sure, water soluble oil paint is perfect for the beginner but it’s not only for the beginner. Give it a chance; it may be the perfect solution for you! Read on for the 19 things you need to know about water soluble oil paint before getting started.

1.    Perfect introduction for the beginner oil painter.

2.    BONUS! No toxic fumes so it’s safe to use around family and pets.

3.    Van Gogh, Holbein Duo, and Winsor & Newton are some water soluble oil paints we recommend.

4.    These are not water-based paints. They are actual oil paints with the same pigments as your typical oil paint. No, you cannot use them like watercolors because they are in fact oil paints!

5.    Water soluble oils cannot be reactivated with water once dry (just like regular oils).

6.    Water soluble oils are perfect for traveling (especially on a plane) since they don’t require solvents.

7.    The oil in these paints is modified so there’s no need for solvents. Bonus! They also clean up way easier. All you need is soap and water to clean brushes.

8.    Water soluble oil paint can be used just like traditional oil paint on canvas. They have the exact same texture and consistency.

9.    Traditional oil paints can be added to water soluble oil paints in small quantities.

10.    Water soluble oils don’t go as far on your canvas as traditional oil paints.

11.    You still cannot paint over a dry oil painting with acrylics.

12.    Water soluble oil paints are workable for up to 48 hours and are just as permanent when dry as any other oil paint.

13.    Thin water soluble oil paint by mixing in some linseed or walnut oil, not water (it can turn muddy).

14.    Water soluble colors are very easy to mix.

15.    Use either a glass or wood palette when painting with water soluble oils.

16.    Water soluble oils come in bright vibrant colors which make it more difficult to muddy up the color.

17.    Extra paint can be stored in an airtight container.

18.    A few colors may be slightly more transparent than the traditional oil paint version.

19.    Paint will dry a little faster than regular oil paint. Also note that certain colors have different dry times (same with the traditional version).

Oil painting can seem overwhelming at first but it doesn’t have to be! If the toxic fumes are holding you back, water soluble oil paint is your best solution. These are not just for beginners although, it is a great way to start out if oils interest you. As with anything, we urge you to just give them a try. You never know, you could like these much better than traditional oil paint. Or maybe you’ll decide to work with both! The choice is up to you. Just have fun and experiment.

Tell us, what’s one thing you love about water soluble oil paints?

The Real Definition Of Success That Changes Everything

By Nicole Tinkham

The Real Definition Of Success That Changes Everything

Close your eyes for a moment and picture yourself as a successful person. Think about what you’re doing in life, the house you live in, and the people you surround yourself with. Put yourself in that position. Don’t just imagine someone else living that life. When you think of success, what does that look like for YOU? Now open your eyes and write down the first thought that pops into your head when you think about this successful life. If you wrote down money or anything related to it, we need to talk.

So many people make the money/success connection. We often think that if someone has money, it must mean they’re successful and if they’re successful, they’re happy. But think about this. Is every poor person unhappy? Is every rich person happy? No way! The amount of money you have does not determine your worries or your happiness. Someone who has plenty of money could be working 80 hours a week in a job they feel miserable in. Someone who doesn’t have much money could be doing what they love and enjoying life to the fullest every single day. The point is, money doesn’t have anything to do with success so it’s about time you shift your thinking.

Instead of stressing out and worrying about your bills and how you seem to never have enough money, start focusing on just being happy. Do the things you love and by doing so, you will become successful and from there, the money will come. Sounds a little crazy, right? But we dare you to try it out anyway. Start looking around you and be grateful for all that you do have in your life. Remember that whatever you focus on most is what you will get more of. You can either choose more debt or abundance. Which would you rather have?

Alright, so maybe being rich can mean success. BUT our definition of rich is probably a little different than what you’re thinking. Let’s take money out of the equation altogether. There are so many other ways you can be rich in life. For example, you can be rich with love or rich with creativity or rich with family and friends. When you think of some of these things, do you think of happiness? We do! And of course you can also be rich with negative things like bills and debt as well. But like we had mentioned, your thoughts become your reality. Start focusing more on the things that make you happy and less about the things that make you unhappy. Once you start doing this, you’ll allow yourself to live a life with purpose that you feel proud of.

Another thing to watch out for is judgment! By now we know that everyone has a different idea of what success is. Don’t just assume you know what someone else is going through based on what they appear to be. Many people are really good at putting up a strong exterior when they’re actually falling apart inside. Some people may seem happy around others but go home to a miserable household. You just never know so don’t be so quick to judge others.

So when it comes down to it, success is whatever YOU make it but that definition doesn’t have to be income related. Think beyond money and more about what makes you happy. Maybe success to you is being a stay at home mom. Maybe success to you is traveling around the world. Maybe success to you is building lasting friendships. Maybe it’s getting compliments on your artwork. Whatever it is to you, it must be something that makes you feel happy and fulfilled. Take time and give this some thought. Create your own definition of success and strive to reach that level in your life.

While we may all have different views on this, we would love to hear what your own personal definition of success is. Leave a comment below with what you came up with for yourself!

How To Find Inspiration Without Comparing Yourself To Others

By Nicole Tinkham

How To Find Inspiration Without Comparing Yourself To Others

There is a fine line between being inspired by another artist and comparing yourself to another artist. One can lift you up and take your artwork to a new level and the other can leave you crashing down, wanting to give up. No matter what area of your life (art related or otherwise) that you’re trying to improve upon, the journey can be a rollercoaster ride. One minute you feel like a total rock star ready to take on the world and the next you feel worthless. Have you ever experienced this? If you’re wondering what the happy medium between being inspired and comparing yourself is, we have the answer! Here’s the FIRST THING you need to do when taking a look at another artist’s work.

Remember that everyone is on their own journey

Everyone is at a different stage of their journey. You cannot compare yourself to a professional artist of 30 years when you’re only on day #1 of your art journey. That’s like comparing a child just learning to ride a bike to Lance Armstrong. That just sounds silly, right? Even with the same number years of experience, you still can’t compare yourself to someone else simply because you are not them. The number of years has nothing to do with it. How much time does this other artist put into their artwork and how often do they take the time to learn new techniques? It’s hard to say and unless you are that person, you don’t know for sure. Another big component of success is mental. If you’re not in the right mindset, it is very difficult to move forward. Again, you have no idea what this other artist’s mindset is like. You cannot compare.

There are so many variables that go into really great artwork. It’s easy to make up stories about other people and how they got to where they are today but it’s impossible to know the real story. Don’t even waste your time trying to figure it out or stressing and worrying over it. It’s also easy to make up stories about yourself and why you aren’t as good or why you never sell any of your artwork. These stories are not your reality! Remember that you have the power to change your story. Start speaking with confidence and that alone will go a long way.

Put your blinders on

If you find yourself getting too distracted by the other incredible artists around you, get laser focused on your own work! Spend some extra time learning a new technique or try something that you’ve never done before. How can you push yourself to new levels? We also recommend picking up a personal development book to help you work on your mindset. This will go a long way in helping you grow as a person and build up your confidence. Be consistent with your personal development and get it in every day!

Be open to learn something new

There’s always something new to be learned. It’s ok to look to others for inspiration as long as you don’t compare yourself to them. Instead of saying “I wish I was that talented”, start saying “I will learn how to do that”. Always ask questions. Ask other artists, look it up in books, YouTube videos, or Google it. The answers are out there and you can do anything you really want to with a little research and practice.

The key to finding art inspiration without comparing yourself to other artists is to remember that everyone’s different. You will never be just like anyone else and no one else will ever be just like you. That’s a good thing! Find your unique qualities and skills and use them to your advantage. Play around and discover what you’re really good at and allow yourself to shine! Embrace imperfections and keep working on yourself.

Tell us, when you do look to another artist for inspiration who inspires you most? Let us know in the comments!