Saturday, June 20, 2009

Sculpting a living in spite of fear.
A podcast interview with sculptor, Patrick Gracewood.
(Garden sculpture by Patrick Gracewood)

Last week, I wrote about fear and creating. I asked you to share your stories about how you deal with fear. I’m going to collect the comments and stories in another blog, so keep those comments coming. I know I learn so much by talking with other creative people out there.

This week, I’d like to share what I learned talking with Portland, Oregon sculptor, Patrick Gracewood for a podcast on Voices of Living Creatively. One thing I learned is that fear goes with the territory in a creative life and it doesn’t mean you stop or give up. “Art has saved my life many times; I give my life to art,” says Patrick. “It takes a big commitment.”

This dedication comes from a simple philosophy: if it’s sculpture, he’ll do it.

Patrick is living a creative life and making a living combining his own studio work with commercial sculpture work. His studio work ranges from large concrete garden sculptures to small, hand-carved wooden figures. The commercial sculpture work has included working for such diverse businesses as a mannequin company, a wax works, landscape and architectural design firms, and film companies such as CBS and Universal. He’s worked on the films “Legend” and “Legal Eagles”, fountains, facades and column capitals for casinos, a portrait of guitarist, Jimmy Hendrix for a Seattle high school and an enormous dragon for Wynn Casino in China.

As with all kinds of freelance work, the jobs come and go. Patrick agrees that’s scary but he’s found a way to deal with the fear and keep creating. You can hear more by listening to the podcast at

Listen and let us all know how your art saves your life in spite of your fears. If you or anyone you know is living a creative life, let your voice be heard. Set up an interview and podcast for your website or blog by contacting me at

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Fear and Art: How to be fearful and creative.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes, fear swoops into my mind, my studio, my life and knocks me off my feet. I don’t like it. Not one bit.

What do I do? I get out my boxing gloves and try to beat it into submission. The only problem with that is, I wind up beating myself up and I’m tired of the bruises. Or I run, as fast as I can, trying to get away. I get busy, busy, busy with email, chores around the house, running errands. The problem with that is, the fear follows me anyway.

What I’ve come to find out is that fear and creativity seem to go hand in hand. I’m not the only one who feels the terror of the creative life and what’s even weirder is that it doesn’t seem to matter if you’ve just had a success or a failure with your art. The fear is there anyway. Add this ridiculous economic roller coaster ride we’ve all been on lately and no wonder many of us feel the need to put our heads between our knees.

Ok, so what can I do about it? I know I don’t want to feel this way anymore…maybe I can’t eliminate fear entirely, but surely, there’s a better way. So I went in search of answers although there are many out there, I wanted to ask the people in the trenches, artists and writers how they deal with the fear. This is what I found out.

My friend, Patrick, says when the terror gets him, he goes out into his garden and sits for a while. When his heart rate slows down, he goes back into the studio and works. My writer friend, Susan, uses acceptance to pull her through the fear and back onto the page. Laurel takes a walk in the park. Janice goes out and works in her garden. Michael feels the fear and moves on.

I moved on, too. This week, when my life felt like a ride on Space Mountain, I went into the studio anyway. I got out the clay and pushed it around for awhile. Then I cut out a piece of screening and pushed it around, too. I layered yellow, ochre, white and black on my owl and lion masks. Today, I cut and rolled aluminum into lilies and leaves. Even though there was music playing, it was quiet and peaceful. The 'fear' roller coaster ride stopped. Finally.

I didn’t have to fight or flee. I just had to show up, get out my clay, metal and paint. How simple is that? The way out of my fear is to create.

How do you deal with your fear? Leave a comment, so we can all help each other.

I saw this on youtube. Author, Elizabeth Gilbert, talks about anxiety and “A different way to think about creative genius.” It helped me. Give it a listen and let me know if it helps you.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

How do you live a creative life and make a living?

For years, I’ve been lucky to have been supported by my husband’s income and free to explore my art, show my work, teach classes and write. The economy has changed that for us.

I’ve made some money over the years. But now, my creative life needs to make a living. How do I do that?

The answer: a new website and a new series of interviews with people who live creative lives around their passions and make a living. The website is

The first interview features, The Weitzers, a couple from Portland, Oregon, who make a living through their passions for a healthy life. They run a variety of home-based businesses but each one started out as a personal passion. They’re an inspiration.

I know I need to hear these stories. I don’t want fear to derail me from my passions, that’s why I decided to seek out others who have been living a creative life and making a living from it. I wanted to pass that inspiration and information onto you, too.

We all need to know that it is possible to live a creative life, a life doing what you love and paying your bills. Check it out. Let me know what you think. And if you or someone you know is making a living from their creative passions, and would like to be interviewed, let me know.

Listen to the interview on iTunes at
Or read the first interview in the ‘Living a Creative Life’ at