All posts by mariedtiger

About mariedtiger

Multidimensional artist, poet, art life coach. I’m a trilingual, frequently overwhelmed creative, most comfortable behind the scenes, discussing core issues. I make exploratory art about creating a life worth living.

Update about Living the Dream and a Giveaway

Today I wanted to write an update, about life in the studio. Since my decision to take the leap and prioritize artmaking, in late December, life has been an intense adventure. Living from my core, there is no anesthetizing, protective layer between myself, my dream and life anymore.

Hanging out in the core, in the thought book, by Marie D. Tiger.
Hanging out in the core, in the thought book, by Marie D. Tiger.

This has required extraordinary care in drawing boundaries to protect both my studio time, the tenderness of opening up widely to make art each day and also my leap of faith from the fears and doubts of well-meaning people around me.

Working in the studio has taught me new things about my chosen work. It is physical, involving building, swearing, sweating, wrestling with canvas, being coated in grime and color, working ahead always in trial and error. Translating emotion and energy into color on canvas is fascinating, at times painful as the feelings wash through me as a force of nature and it also involves a lot of interaction. Smearing acrylic color on canvas is a lot like communicating, each individual action produces a change in the whole system – often surprising changes. And no undo buttons – only the keep going one.

The biggest unfolding, perhaps, has been the sheer amount of love, both in my own artmaking and in the workshops where I teach the making of core art. I am learning that painting can also be a practice of self-love. Accepting and even more allowing the creation to be what it is, being able to encounter what I create; how it looks, what it feels like, what it says is a potent experience that some days leaves me and those I teach gasping.

Big Dreams, by Marie D. Tiger in the thought book.
Big Dreams, by Marie D. Tiger in the thought book.

My biggest joy is that for the first time, in the ten years that I have been an entrepeneur and business owner, everything is flowing. You, my beautiful darling customers, have been in touch, come to my studio and bought my paintings. I am deeply honored and moved, to be allowed to sell you these paintings, painted from my core to yours.

Since I was thirteen years old, I have felt this wordless urgency, to expand, to find myself, to be myself fully so I can participate in the world. Now I feel I am at the center of my reality, able to be of true service, just being who I am. I want to thank you, all, deeply, for following this adventure and for being who you are.

As a thank you, I am having a celebration for my blog readers. If you want to take part, please send your postal address to mariedtiger@hotmail.com before the 31st of March, please write Celebration in the subject line. Your addresses will not be used for any other purpose than sending this giveaway, if you’re the lucky winner. 🙂 I will draw five winners of all who participate and send the winners an artful surprise from my print inventory.

So, an exuberant Hello There, from my studio to where ever you are. You are seen, you are loved, you are part of something beautiful, just by being you.

P.S. If you want to follow my day to day musings and work in progress, you can do it on Instagram.

 

 

Start Again

100x130 cm work in progress.
100×130 cm work in progress.

I was painting the other day, the first canvas that I’ve stretched and primed in a long time. When I lifted it up, it was warped. My heart sank. But I let it lie flat, knowing that canvases live a bit. When I returned to the studio, the next day, the canvas stayed flat when I lifted it. Yay!

A couple of days ago, I noticed the canvas is wonky, leaning to one side. Again, I let it simmer for a few days.

But today, I took a deep breath and started to deconstruct the canvas, removing the staples and loosening the canvas.

In progress...
In progress…

You know, I would so prefer being perfect.

But if there is one thing I’m learning, these days, it is how to be a beginner. Just start again, implement what you’ve learned, keep on doing. In a way, I think we are all beginners, because each moment in life is all new, never before encountered.

So I’ll settle for being able to stand behind my work. This canvas had taught me so much today.

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I found a place in the studio where I can press my canvases into shape.

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I finally found use for this ruler.

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I did so much deep breathing while tightening and stapling this challenging baby back into place. While I worked I thought about all those days, changing diapers. Stretching canvas is also a labor of love and ultimately, not at all about me.

It is about honoring my painting, my handiwork and the client who is going to buy this painting.

Part of Something Beautiful, 100x130cm, acrylic on canvas, 2015.
Part of Something Beautiful, 100x130cm, acrylic on canvas, 2015.

The painting is a tribute to the soul nourishing music of Alexi Murdoch.

Wishing you a great week. <3

About Fear

This week has been about fear for me.

Monday, in Taekwondo training, my considerate instructor said it was time to test me for the yellow belt. The others had done the test before Christmas, when I was lying in bed with fever.

All my inner walls slammed up. I wanted to flat out refuse. I wanted to cry. I wanted to run away.

Instead I disconnected my brain and just waited for the test to start. I wish I could tell you that I aced it. Did not. I was pretty bad. But I did it. Tomorrow I get my belt.

What I learned during the lesson was that when I’m afraid, I tense my shoulders into a knot. I try to push myself into succeeding. It doesn’t work that way. Instead I prevent my body from doing what it knows how to do.

Hello Fear.

Hello Fear. Mixed media on canvas, 60x80cm, by Marie D. Tiger, 2015.
Hello Fear. Mixed media on canvas, 60x80cm, by Marie D. Tiger, 2015.

I went walking and running on ice yesterday. My intention was to explore how fear moves in my body. Just spend some time with it, experiment. I found a nice spot, a dirt road covered by bumpy, wet and slippery ice. Yellow sneakers, trembly knees, strong breaths out. Despite my mind’s screeching, fantasies of a broken nose and panic, my body knew what to do.

Relaxed, yet alert, my body, supported by my conscious breath, walked pretty normally. My feet kept slipping and sliding and correcting the balance with the appropriate movements. My shoulders kept trembling and numbing with the force of fear running like electricity through my muscles. But it was just sensation. An experience.

My taekwondo instructors keep telling me that the fear is normal, the bumbling around is something everyone does and the answers are inside.

I take their words to heart and bring them with me into the studio. Here I throw everything into the inner fire.

Work in progress.
Work in progress.

And paint for my life.

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Tule syliin. Step Into My Arms. 140x100cm, mixed media on canvas by Marie D. Tiger.

What are you afraid of? What would help you stay relaxed and alert in the midst of feeling your fear?

 

 

Who Do You Think You Are?

 

When you have a dream.

When you follow your inner wisdom.

When you Dare Big.

This is a question you will be asked sooner or later.

Insinuatingly, between the lines or smack in the face openly.

Who. DO. You think. You ARE?

Remember to breathe.

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Do you remember this picture?

Impulse by impulse, by Marie D. Tiger. Buy print here.
Impulse by impulse, by Marie D. Tiger. Buy print here.

When you listen to your impulses – all of them, not just the ones that are in your inner default operating mode – each impulse opens up a set of new potentials. Your intuition acts as the captain, choosing the most optimal set of impulses. This means that for each followed impulse, creation by creation, your life becomes something new. Tailor made for you, courtesy of your core.

That is why we can trust the Unknown, in the flow of our impulses. It makes everything possible. No matter how scary it feels at times.

So. If your life recently had a huge or even the tiniest Boooom!

Boooom! By Marie D. Tiger. Buy print here.
Boooom! By Marie D. Tiger. Buy print here.

And you’re wondering what to say to the people who ask you who you think you are, to dare so greatly and act so irresponsibly/crazily/weirdly/whatever?

You don’t really need to say anything.

Just get back to the paper, to the canvas, into the coaching room, to your children, into the kitchen, in front of the microphone or in front of the piano. You know.

That’s all.

 

Working with the Whole Range of Emotion

Painting progress picture: 80x60cm acrylic on canvas, Miss Cranky Pants (a.k.a. Orders Old Bitch)
Painting progress picture: 80x60cm acrylic on canvas, Miss Cranky Pants (a.k.a. Ornery Old Bitch)

I got to laugh ironically at my own pep talk blog post several times yesterday. Nothing went in flow, but I got to know my colors very well. Let’s just say Bismuth Vanadate Yellow and I aren’t going to be friends soon.

Slowly, ever so slowly, I am finding my painting mojo again, step by step as my overloaded senses are getting their much needed dose of silence, solitude and quiet concentration. I am noticing that I do not need to be in a good mood to paint, the colors unfold, the impulses appear, the work happens quite independently.

I may have the worst day at the studio, but it isn’t personal. When I allow myself full range of emotion, nothing bad happens. If anything, it allows me to connect more fully with play space, experimentation – the flow, the screech, the obstinacy of color and its movement in rhythm or opposition with the canvas.

Is this embracing my shadow?

Whatever it is, I refuse to slize myself or my work  into the narrow confines of good and bad anymore. I choose to listen, to create, to be present with whatever is here.

Are there phenomena in your work today that you could listen to and be present with, without expectations or agenda?

 

Just Start

The truth is, I’ve come to notice that most days I arrive at the studio in a bad mood.

Back when I took my first steps, Dreaming Big, this would have been anathema to me. I thought dreams, realized, meant everything was perfect. These days, I believe more in an embrace everything and be alive kind of combo.

There always seems to be a good reason for the ornery thoughts and a rubble of legitimate obstacles why creation will not be possible in the now. It was only today, starting out, that I realized the reasons really do not matter. Nor do the emotions roiling around inside of me. When I make my crickety, reluctant and bitch-all-the-way transition into Play Space, the variety of inside content becomes pure phenomena, movement, the stuff of creation.

A place to start.

No need to wait for inspiration. No need to classify, analyze or understand what is happening inside.

Just start.

Anywhere.

Progress pictures of acrylic on canvas "Crumbling Perfection" 80x60cm, 2015.
Progress pictures of acrylic on canvas “Crumbling Perfection” 80x60cm, 2015.

Then something starts happening.

Where are you starting out your creation today? What inner phenomena can you dance with [whether it’s comfy or not]?

 

 

Testing: How Big Is My Capacity for Joy?

Last Fall I enrolled in Hiro Boga’s Become Your Own Business Advisor online workshop. It is a very sneaky, deeply transformative way to learn about your inner landscape concerning business. I got through one third of the material, first time around.

When I write sneaky, I mean it goes straight to the core. A few months after the workshop I find myself in a classic state of practical ecstasy and every day I am tested; How much joy can I stand today?

The situation is as follows. For at least one year I can paint daily, making painting my number one priority during weekdays,  when the children are in school and sometimes longer, when the Engineer picks them up from school. Of course this loveliness is then sprinkled with wonderful encounters with coaching clients and art students.

And while this only means that I have meaningful work to go to every day and the rest of my business model is still in shambles, I am truly, madly, deeply in love with existence.

I went to the pharmacy today, after the Engineer told me that is where you can purchase isopropyl alcohol, which for instance lovely Samantha Dasilva explains how to use. The pharmacist looked suspiciously at my paint-stained clothes, and [too] happy face [unusual in wintertime Finland] and asked what I was going to use it for. After a while her eyes started to glaze over and I realized she believed me and just wanted me to stop spouting details about painting.

This ecstasy, eagerness and deep hunger for life is not new for me. I have felt it since I was a child and several times after that, always linking it to art making. It baffles me that I have spent some 38 years, fighting and sabotaging this dream in different ways, only obvious to me now, and that even now, with all that is possible, I sometimes hear myself say:

“Maybe I should be realistic.”

And worse, I feel the trepidation, the hesitancy creep into my veins and turn my blood slow, fill my limbs with leaden tiredness…

 

And then I look at this.

Work in progress, Celebrating Myself Home, Acrylic 2015, 100x150cm, by Marie D. Tiger.
Work in progress, Celebrating Myself Home, Acrylic 2015, 100x150cm, by Marie D. Tiger.

And feel my insides flow with warmth, bouncy energy and an inner “YES!” in response.

I know, deep deep down inside all that is true and real in me, that this Makes. Sense.

 

So, I for one,

propose the deepest compassion and gentleness

with all urges to hide, to self-sabotage, to resist

at the same time

as I recommend warrior courage

in facing what is within and looking at it clearly.

Or whatever else that works.

Life is short.

Dreams are juicy.

Go for it.

 

Because expanding our capacity of joy, of happiness, of diving deep into meaningful

action (whatever it is for you) is so worth it.

 

Sending you the inspiration of cascading cadmium lemon yellow, deepest permanent red violet and a million shades of cadmium orange mixed with white. <3

What Happened after I Committed to Art?

 

I hope this year will be filled with unexpected blessings, illuminating insights and lots of beautiful ordinary moments for you. <3

In the midst of the kid’s holidays I wanted to come tell you about the amazing developments that have taken place, after making room for Empty Space and then making  the decision to commit to art.

Traditionally the three weeks around Christmas and New Year have for me been times of intense introspection, pierced with birth family drama and old patterns jumping up. Often I have felt helpless before my own life, before what I have created in my reality. While it has lead me to further delve into my inner landscape and into what it is that I would like to create in my life, it has been intense.

This year, it’s been vivid. But in a completely different way.

Choosing to throw caution and doubt in the wind, has opened up inner doors to art, rapid fire. I found James Elkins’ book, What Painting Is. He is an art historian multipotentialite, who understands art making on a visceral level. When he talks about painting being “life’s blood: a substance so utterly entrancing, infuriating, and ravishingly beautiful that it makes it worthwhile to go back into the studio every morning, year after year, for an entire lifetime.” he is describing the room that my soul dwells in.

Every day. Since I made the Decision to just make art. Has been so filled with life, crystal clear moments, enjoyment that words feel trite as I try to describe it. When I prod, jab, scratch, gouge and slash the canvas with my brush, my blood cells sing, my muscles flow with endorphins and I feel like I am at the center of my universe, doing exactly what I was made for.

Now, there is a new ingredient here. See, one thing that kept me from pursuing art, for real, was that I suspected I wasn’t very good. For a long time I thought it was just my perfectionism, but now I realise it was the wish to do better, to have the skill to express what is growing out of me. What I appreciate most is that now I’m open to learning that. The mixing of grays, a balanced palette, a liveliness of brushstrokes, a moving feeling body painting its unseen onto the canvas. A new gear is on and the books, people and ideas I need are flowing into my life. It is as if a dam has broken. As if art was waiting outside of the door, just waiting to bust in.

I’m happy. The ecstasy that so used to freak out my parents is back, the passion that makes me feel like an embodied song of Pavarotti inside is here again. And it has a place to go. My studio is just the right fit for all of this that can be so difficult to cram into everyday life; the bliss, the excruciating sensitivity to stimuli, the intensity that can ignite fire, the ocean of feeling.

This is short, but I wanted to tell you.

In the case that someone who has an impossible, irrational, crazy dream is reading this. What’s good about dreams is that they are really tenacious and when you dare to choose them, just that choice changes everything.

 

The Uncomfortable Truth

Yes. Acrylic on canvas, 48cm in diameter, 2014 by Marie D. Tiger.
Yes. Acrylic on canvas, 48cm in diameter, 2014 by Marie D. Tiger.

Today someone asked me to make a decision.

Yes or no? No more wavering, talking, thinking, discussing. Yes or no.

Ah. Uncomfortable!The pressure of it. What do I really want?

The discomfort helped me cut through my crap and see what it was that I was afraid of.

But the real issue was buried and waiting much deeper.

It is only after a whole day’s artwork that I realize what it is that I have been doing all these years. I can feel it deep down in my bones, the movement between action and doubt, deciding and wavering, swaying between yes and no, over and over again. The movement between taking action and right away sabotaging myself. Back and forth.

Not wanting to let go. Not daring to make a decision.

I have been waiting for something. Wishy washy, doing a little art here, a little art there, at times a lot of art. Committing to doing it in a way. Then going back and doubting myself. This way and that. Longing for confirmation. Am I? Am I not?

Waiting for someone to come and say:

“You are good enough. Go for it.”

And when that has happened, saving it like a nugget of gold in my heart. Then going on to the familiar habit of procrastinating, avoiding, doing something in spurts, making elaborate excuses.

Lamenting about day jobs and about how vulnerable the core is. Hiring coaches, doing inner work, joining selling networks. Always looking for the next solution, the next Holy Grail. Getting more and more bored and frustrated with always ending up in the same place. [Yes I am an artist. Not a lamp. I can make art.]

This brings to mind a girl, dancing with a guy, always looking over his shoulder at the rest of them. Is there someone better out there? Asking for approval. Second guessing. Herself, him, everything.

How ridiculous does it have to get?

How many more rooms filled with paintings, drawings, sculptures, how much more money saved up, how many more guarantees before I make a choice? Before I say yes or no.

Why is this important? Commitment?

Because until we commit, the back door is always open. It’s okay to wimp out. It’s okay to move between falling in love and backing away far enough to be able to start all over. The relationship stays stuck in the first phase, never maturing to what it can be.

It’s like climbing the same mountain over and over again. Never getting quite back down to the ground, never reaching the top and the view. Talk about frustrating.

And I can’t wait to see what happens next. So.

Yes.

Is there something in your life that is waiting for you to commit to it, waiting for your unwavering YES right now?

The Big Squeeze

A windfall

More and more, I am becoming a fan of our shared humanity. The unpredictability of it all. The shadows behind every facade of perfection. The embarrassing truth.

In the beginning of August 2014, I was the recipient of a windfall. An opportunity to make art for a year. This was the first time since art school in 2003, that I have had a chance like this, to delve into art making with some real time. In my own art space, to boot.

Expectations soared, of course. After all, isn’t it the epitome of happiness, to be able to make art, almost full time? (I can hear the universe giggling in the background, while writing this.)

The work of an artist

What I had conveniently forgotten, of course, is the true work of an artist. To feel everything, experience all nuances of what is happening, to knock on inner doors or knock them down and drink deeply of the cup of life. Then, make art about it.

The Big Squeeze, water color 21x29,5cm, 2014 by Marie D. Tiger.
The Big Squeeze, water color 21×29,5cm, 2014 by Marie D. Tiger.

So, instead of feeling happy, suitably grateful, productive and inspired, I found myself resistant, edgy and defensive much more of the time than I thought proper.

All of my ideals of making art, all of the uplifted expectations of the artist’s life crashed head on with the raw loneliness of the studio, the reality of putting paint on canvas in a suffering world. To make art, instead of having a “real job”. There is a reason why we avoid empty space and big reaches of time. It all opens up the door to the question: Why am I here? Does anything I do matter? At all?

I asked myself repeatedly: If I feel like this while making art, what’s the point?

Vision rubbing against reality

What I’m coming to realize – excruciatingly slowly, again and again – is that there is no “there”. No perfection, no people who always succeed, no teachers who always walk their talk, no impeccable work communities, nothing finished. It makes me gag with disappointment, because the mixture of light and dark is so heady, hard to comprehend. But there is some relief, as well. Nothing has gone wrong. I can stay in this discomfort, aware of the temptation to seek solid ground and just hang out with the raw and tender moment.

It is the only place I can arrive at, is this moment. This is where my vision rubs against the reality of what is happening in me and around me. The big squeeze.

Work in progress, Celebrating Myself Home, 100x150cm, mixed media on canvas, 2014, by Marie D. Tiger.
Work in progress, Celebrating Myself Home, 100x150cm, mixed media on canvas, 2014, by Marie D. Tiger.

Onward.

Where do your ideals rub against the reality of what is happening in your everyday life?