Tag Archives: art show

The Big Empty


Antti, readying the camera.

Today I have spent all day, filming a video about the making of core art. It has been the perfect thing to do in the midst of an incubation period.

The art show is closed now, unsold paintings are back at the studio and the future lies ahead, unknown. I think this was the show I loved most, of all of those I’ve had.

I used to think an art show is about exhibiting what I’ve painted and that has never felt natural, comfortable or even worthwhile for me. So this time, I wanted to do something differently. I wanted to connect, I wanted to share.

“out that expending emotional labor, working without a map, and driving in the dark involve confronting fear and living with the pain of vulnerability. The artist comes to a détente with these emotions and, instead of fighting with them, dances with them. The linchpin connects as a result of the indispensable nature of her contribution. The artist, on the other hand, connects because that’s what art is. The artist touches part of what it means to be truly human and does that work again and again.”
Seth Godin, The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?

I started by asking my crowd what they wanted to see at the show, how they would like to participate in an art exhibit and I also asked the culture center what they would like to see. This made all the difference.


Forty people left their dreams on little colored paper notes in the dream incubator I had in the show. I felt honored, when I glued them onto my canvas in my studio. The power of those dreams, of people creating their everyday lives was palpable.

The first batch of dream notes, set out on the canvas.

Countless people left messages, sent pictures of themselves, sent notes about how what they had created after the show. Clients who bought paintings shared their important memories or reasons for buying a particular painting.

A little further along, all the dream notes are attached.
A little further along, all the dream notes are attached now.

Suddenly the time spent connecting felt real and the art I had created became part of the bigger context of people dreaming their reality everywhere. This is what I want to do next time as well, more connecting, more sharing, more of all of us being humans together.

“It’s what we wrestle with every single day. The intersection of comfort, danger, and safety. The balancing act between vulnerability and shame. The opportunity (or the risk) to do art. The willingness to take responsibility for caring enough to make a difference and to have a point of view.”
Seth Godin, The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?

So now I’m here, in the Big Empty that comes after a big project ends. I’m ghessoing huge canvases, cleaning my tools, tidying my studio, going to Scotland for a workshop, making a film about core art, writing more again, watching movies and generally floating around in empty space, letting the New come in.

The finished DreamMaker painting, the painting of which we filmed today with Kirsi-Teresa (in the picture on the left), Antti and myself.

“Your job isn’t to do your job. Your job is to decide what to do next.”
Seth Godin, The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?

The longer I do this, run my company, make my art, dive deeper into core art both myself and with my art students, the more I’m convinced that we can’t jump from here [my everyday life, my freedoms and restrictions], all the way there [to my ideals, fabulous success, great technical prowess]. We need to follow the impulse, take the next tiny step, create the minuscule potential that is available to us now. That is when the adventure opens up. All [wry grin] we need to do, is to learn to live with the Unknown.


Sending you courage, the strength of wry humor and general wackyness where ever you are in your every day dreamer’s life today. <3

Thank You

Thank you, in the thought book 2013, by Marie D. Tiger
Thank you, in the thought book 2013, by Marie D. Tiger


I’m writing you from a happy place. One week spent on vacation (the reason for the pictures only, no words campaign) in light and warmth with the family has restored me to full work mode.

I want to thank you, all of you wonderful people who have left me comments, sent me notes, bought artwork from Redbubble and Society6 during the year. Every comment, every card and print you buy, every thought you share adds to the fuel of my work. I appreciate you so much. <3 I wanted to let you know.

Thank you for being you. The precious, alive, feeling, experiencing being that you are.



Learning About Happy Money from a Rosebush


Made in 2011, Marie D. Tiger.
Made in 2011, Marie D. Tiger.


Yesterday I delivered the first piece of art work from my art show to a client, always a joyous event. It went to a good home. Today I’m taking down the exhibition. What a world of feeling that has been involved in these four weeks; appreciation, joy, gratitude, disappointment, anger, emptiness, depression, finality, confusion, unknown, having no words, surprise, exhaustion, opening, exuberance, bliss – just to name a few.

If I were to just look at figures, I would be seriously stuck in discouragement right now. But as I look at this Happy Money Tree that I drew some years ago, I realize that happy money is what our family is living on right now. The income goes directly into paying bills, paying for cucumbers, bread, Oltermanni cheese, cashwew nuts and rent. There isn’t a lot of surplus and profit is definitely something I’m working on, still. But each painting I sell, each workshop I lead, each coaching client I talk to, is a blessing. This is the work.

I’ve been taking many long walks and running a lot, in order to let these intensified feelings move and not get jammed up inside. The other day I was spending time, just watching a rosebush.

It had leaves that had curled up around themselves, so a sliver of the underside of the leaf was visible on both sides. Those small areas were the gentlest lavender, enhanced by the green in between. The stem was a bright pink and the lower leaves of the bush a shining luminous orangeypink.

Does the rosebush cry when a leaf falls? Does it mourn when a rose becomes a rose hip? Did this rosebush compare itself to the yellow one on the other side of the path? Do any of them worry about the winter? Does the rosebush worry about where nourishment is going to come from, about whether the sun is going to shine tomorrow?

I’m learning from the rose bush, about being in the present, letting art be born where I and the world meet, trusting the process in all respects.

How can you strengthen your trust in the process of life today?



Building an Art Show


I’m building the art show here at Espresso Edge and I’d completely forgotten how nice the Finns are. Although I try to be just a quiet mouse hammering, measuring and hanging paintings – there have been spontaneous offers of help, a quiet clearing of the area I’m working on and others shows of support. So appreciated!

I suck at hammering and nails. That is one thing my elementary school teacher Sten wasn’t able to teach me. Nails fly like projectiles, bend in interesting shapes and break in half. Oh well… One by one the paintings will find their place.

Soon, lovely Sandy will arrive. Before that I have to take a trip to Tiimari for some supplies.







Framed work for art show, by Marie D. Tiger.
Framed watercolors, getting ready for the art show on Friday, by Marie D. Tiger.

Yesterday I read somewhere that when there is fog, the inside navigation system in people is disturbed and we start walking in circles. I’ve been walking in circles for a few days, wondering what the heck is going on. But today I caught on. I’ve been preparing for an art show opening on Friday, it’s the first art show I’ve had for two years. I just now spread all the framed water colors on the floor, to start making the catalogue and I realized, this is shame raising its head again.

My particular brand of inner programming makes my most successful moments, the most shameful ones. So while I’m tearing up, looking at six months of ideas and art work that didn’t yet exist a year ago, I at the same time feel the fog of shame rise up to my eyeballs.

Walking in circles, thought book 2013, by MDT.
Walking in circles, thought book 2013, by MDT.


So now, in this moment, let’s repeat some Brené Brown wisdom. How to learn shame resilience? The exercises below are copied from here and  are from Brene’s book.

1. Recognizing Shame and Its Triggers.

I, Marie, physically sense shame as a white fog around me that blots out all sound and light. If I would touch shame it would be like alien goo and stick to my fingers. The trigger right now are my wonderful, beautiful color babies and taking them out into the art show to be seen.

2. Practicing Critical Awareness.

☆What are the social-community expectations?☆

I am aware of an expectation to make “good art” and the unsaid suggestion that money is bad, a good artist shouldn’t think about profitability. As a business owner, I am required to plan for profit, because otherwise my family doesn’t eat.

☆Why do these expectations exist?☆

Because artists are confused by the real needs of living on this planet and the discrepancy between that and the high values of art and having an independent “voice”. My own experience is that the need to make a living has a grounding effect on art, it sets a structure for the creating that ensures productivity, connection to my audience and tangible results.

☆How do these expectations work?☆

They’re a Catch-22 and make art making at best very difficult, at worst, very destructive. I had to untangle myself from that whole system of beliefs in order to find my way back to my ability to create. I believe art making can be an experience of interconnection, interacting with a living, breathing, vital world and expressing the knowledge that arises inside as a response.

☆How is our society influenced by these expectations?☆

There is this black and white thinking that fine art is shut into galleries, far away from most ordinary people and every day life, while all other art is seen as worth less and not real in some way. I love Hugh Mc Leod’s thoughts about “making small art”. He says that making small art makes it possible to create lots of it. I would include that when you create lots of art, there is also this connection that is born to your tribe, to the kindred spirits.

☆Who benefits from those expectations?☆

The existing structures of fine art maybe?

☆How realistic are my expectations?☆

I expect from this art show to meet lots of people, talk about art, celebrate the highs and lows of creativity together and sell art to the people who are moved to buy.

☆Can I be all these things all the time?☆

I think these expectations are realistic, but I will probably have to lessen my expectations about cleaning our house, cooking organically, making fantastic breakfasts, checking all the things on my to do list and being a calm and sane wife during this week.

☆Am I describing who I want to be or what others want me to do?☆

I am describing who I want to be, and I feel more grounded, doing it.

3. Reaching out.

So here in this blog post today, I’m reaching out to you, dear kindreds out there. At which moments do you feel shame? Do you recognize feeling shame when you’ve succeeded with something, or is your experience different?

4. Speaking of shame.

I’ve vowed to speak of shame, because I believe it has such a deep and penetrating effect on creating and enjoying the fruits of what we create. So here you have an example of active work in progress. Having experienced this, I feel ready for lunch and for some rocking of the boat of shame. Next, some dancing.

Rocking the boat of shame, thought book 2013, by Marie D. Tiger
Rocking the boat of shame, thought book 2013, by Marie D. Tiger