Artwork for podcast Gift Biz Unwrapped
397 – Talk about the Most Creative Art Technique! with Stephanie McDairmant
Episode 39719th November 2022 • Gift Biz Unwrapped • Sue Monhait
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In this episode, hear an extraordinary story of business development and discover what may be the most creative art technique you've ever heard of! Stephanie's discovery of a unique talent after a long season of caregiving helped bring her out of deep depression and has given her a new career and purpose. She is a self-taught artist and the owner of Canary Artwork, having invented what she’s coined the "Ruach Technique," which uses her breath and acrylic paint to create bold abstracts Along with the world's most supportive husband, she sells her paintings at high-end art fairs and galleries, but the most important work she does is to spread the word that art heals and hope is real.

Discover This Unique, Creative Art Technique

In this episode, you'll hear ...
  • Stephanie's unique technique for making art (and how she created it)
  • How a friend virtually pushed Stephanie into business
  • About the surprising affirmation of her products' appeal that she received right at the beginning
  • The heartful underlying mission behind Stephanie's art
  • Tips to bust through mental blocks and free your creativity
  • Business building tips you can apply to your own biz
  • and so much more!

Tune in now to discover this new creative art technique plus how you can free your own creativity and see what you're truly capable of! 

Resources Mentioned

Stephanie's Contact Links

WebsiteFacebook | Instagram | LinkedIn

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Become a Member of Gift Biz Breeze If you found value in this podcast, make sure to subscribe so you automatically get the next episode downloaded for your convenience. Click on your preferred platform below to get started. Also, if you'd like to do me a huge favor - please leave a review. It helps other creators like you find the show and build their businesses too. You can do so right here: Rate This Podcast Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotify Thank you so much! Sue Know someone who needs to hear this episode? Click a button below to share it!

Transcripts

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Gift is Unwrapped Guest,

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episode number 397.

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I Was talking with somebody who has a background in Hebrew

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languages and they were like,

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it sounds to me like it's like Ruok,

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like breath of life.

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And I was like,

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that's it.

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Attention Gifters,

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beggars, crafters and makers.

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Pursuing your dream can be fun.

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Whether you have an established business or looking to start one,

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now you are in the right place.

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This is Gift Biz Unwrapped,

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helping you turn your skill into a flourishing business.

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Join us for an episode packed full of invaluable guidance,

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resources and the support you need to grow your gift biz.

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Here is your host Gift Biz Gal Sue Moon Height.

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Hi there,

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it's Sue and thanks for joining me here today.

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It's the week before Thanksgiving.

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Can you even believe it's here already?

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This is one of my favorite holidays and I think I'm

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set Recipes planned.

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The first grocery run done.

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And now I just need to organize the timing of my

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Turkey making.

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Extravaganza Included in the guest list this year are three dogs,

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my new puppy Biscoti,

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and my daughter's two dogs,

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Oscar and Bug.

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So that should be interesting in the spirit of the season.

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I also wanna take this time to tell you how very

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much I appreciate you as a podcaster.

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This show doesn't mean anything without you.

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Your emails to me on how a particular episode helped you,

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your downloads that keep me in the top rankings and your

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participation in doing reviews and joining Gift our Facebook group are

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all so important to me.

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Thank you.

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Thank you.

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In return,

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I work hard to bring you guests that will provide information

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to help your business grow,

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ideas for getting new customers,

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ways of doing things differently and more efficiently behind the scenes

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and even mindset tweaks for you to consider somehow when you

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hear someone else putting into action the things we talk about.

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It helps convince you that it's doable and something to consider.

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Today's guest plays right into this with an extraordinary story of

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business development.

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You'll hear how a friend virtually pushed her into business.

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A surprising affirmation of her products appeal right in the beginning.

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And probably the most important of all,

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Stephanie's heartfelt underlying mission that's behind her art.

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That and more all coming your way right now.

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Oh my gosh,

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I am so excited for this episode.

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I cannot wait for you to meet Stephanie McDermont.

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Stephanie is the self-taught artist of Canary artwork.

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She invented what she's Coined,

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the RUOK technique,

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which uses her breath and acrylic paint to create bold abstracts.

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Discovering this talent after a long season of caregiving helped bring

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her out of deep depression and has given her a new

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career and purpose along with the world's most supportive husband.

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She sells her paintings at high end art fairs and galleries,

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but the most important work she does is to spread the

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word that art heals and hope is real.

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Stephanie, thank you so much for coming on the show and

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welcome to the Gift Biz on Wrapped podcast.

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Thank You Stu.

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I am delighted to be here.

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We are gonna get to know you in a little bit

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of a different way just to kick everything off,

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and that is to have you describe yourself by way of

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a motivational candle.

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So if you were to envision a candle that just speaks

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totally you,

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Stephanie, describe to us what this would look like.

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So I've been giving this a lot of thought,

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and I think my candle would look like a gradient.

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It would be maybe a dark gray leading into like a

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bright white.

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And so that when you lit the candle as it's going

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down, like in life,

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as I'm learning things,

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it's letting go of that darkness and becoming lighter,

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letting go of grief or learning to live with loss,

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just flowing down into a better,

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brighter version of myself.

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Like the process.

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It's a process.

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Exactly. And do you have a motivational quote or anything over

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and above that?

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Absolutely. My motivational quote that I keep going back to is

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that you get infinite chances.

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Oh, that feels so refreshing.

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Oh, I can't tell you as a rules girl,

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somebody who really was born this way.

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But I love to follow rules.

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I love to have these blocks of things that you just,

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you don't go past that block.

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Being able to think about infinite chances,

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let's say I blew it completely.

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Well, I used to just stop and now I realize,

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let's say I was having a bad day and I was

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mean to somebody and now I will go back to that

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person, say,

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I am so sorry,

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I really blew it and could you please forgive me?

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And then that block is just totally gone.

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So it's in any form.

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Any time you're taking a chance,

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you can always get another one.

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This is so great because it's so freeing in the idea

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that do what's on your mind and think about within reason.

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Right, right.

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Don't put barriers on yourself.

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And as we get into the conversation that I know we're

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gonna have,

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cuz it's all about your business.

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If you didn't take chances or do something different,

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you would've never come upon the process that you're now known

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for. Exactly.

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And just keep taking chances in every aspect of your life

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because what's the worst that can happen?

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Somebody says no,

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great. You get infinite chances.

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Try again.

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Do a different venue or a different person or in a

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different Way.

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Yeah, or in a different way with your product.

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Like I'm thinking,

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you know,

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I talk a lot about,

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especially in this maker world,

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there are only so many things that can be made.

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And we're gonna talk about how this applies to your craft

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in a second.

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But someone who's making jewelry,

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you learn how to make jewelry.

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Let's just say it's beaded jewelry,

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just to really define it and niche it down.

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And I'm doing this for all of us listening,

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just so that you understand where my mind is going with

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this. The first thing you learn is how to make jewelry,

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how everybody else does.

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And if you stop there,

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then your creations are just like everybody else's.

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Exactly. To your point about infinite chances,

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if you go past the limit,

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we used to say outside the box,

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right? Thinking outside the box.

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It's similar idea.

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If you go past that,

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you may happen upon and develop something that is so uniquely

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your own,

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which you're going to completely demonstrate here.

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And that separates you from everybody else.

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Gives you a story to talk about and makes you truly

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unique. So this is where I see like these infinite chances.

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Take the risk,

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try it out.

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Maybe it'll work,

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maybe it won't,

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but when it does,

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you've landed on something that's golden.

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Yes, exactly.

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Yeah. All right.

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So how long has Canary artwork been around?

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So I started painting in 2017,

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so five years.

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So five years.

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Okay. And what did life look like before that?

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Right. So before that I was married,

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I have two kids.

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We, everything was family and fun and we had our own

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business. And then we had some relatives who were getting older

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and needed help.

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So because we had our own business,

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I was the one with the schedule that was able to

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take them to doctor's appointments or help them find care or

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facilities. And I did that with a lot of our relatives

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for about 15 years until 2016,

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at which time that season ended.

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You know,

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when you're taking care of so many people,

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if somebody passes,

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you are sad,

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but you can't let that wave of grief completely engulf you

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because you've got somebody else that needs to go to a

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doctor's appointment in two days.

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So you are just working through all the time and never

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really stopping to have that season of grief.

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So when I was able to stop all of that grief

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just took me down.

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It was bad.

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Oh my gosh.

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And you had multiple people then that you were grieving I'm

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thinking. Yes,

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exactly. Oh,

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I wanna just reach out and give you a big hug

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right now.

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I would take it if we could Just even talking about,

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takes me back to that time because it's so very emotional

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and that work that if you were a caregiver listening,

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no, that I would absolutely give you a hug too,

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because it is the most daunting.

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It's just,

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it's mind numbing and backbreaking work that just,

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it doesn't feel like there's any reward for at the time,

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except that you get to spend time with your loved ones,

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which is a huge reward,

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but it is exhausting is what it is.

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So you reach the end of that,

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you're exhausted from years of it.

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I was full of grief.

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And what happened was,

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luckily I have a great support system and my best friend

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is an artist.

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She saw I was drowning and came over and had paints

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and said,

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look, just paint something.

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And I laughed at her and said,

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that's ridiculous.

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You're the artist.

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I don't do anything with art.

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However, I do love her.

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And I trusted her enough to be like,

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well, I'll try it and we'll just so I can tell

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her I did it.

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That's kinda like appeasing her.

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Yes. I mean,

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and also again,

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exhausted grief stricken,

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don't really wanna try something new,

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don't wanna do it.

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But also,

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I mean,

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it can get worse.

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So Right.

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I took out the pace and I started painting and I

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could tell that she was onto something because I could start

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to see these swirling designs in my mind,

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but I didn't have any of the training or skill to

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get them from my mind to my hand to the canvas.

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So I would continually try and I could see it and

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I couldn't make it happen.

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So now on top of grief and exhaustion,

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I also,

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Stephanie, you get another chance.

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Exactly. This Is when I found that out.

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Yeah. Cause what happened was I was trying to make these

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designs and I kept thinning down the paint,

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thinning it down cause I wanted it to move in a

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certain way.

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And I just,

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I had that breakdown that had been coming for a really

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long time.

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I had one of those moments where you literally just like

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huff in anger,

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like, ah.

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And then I threw the canvas down and I walked away

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and I went outside and I just curled up in a

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ball outside of my house and did that screaming,

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that guttural screaming.

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And those noises that you make when you're literally naing your

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teeth because you can't get the words out and just dissolved

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And you needed to,

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I think.

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And it was so cathartic,

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but it was also a turning point because I literally remember

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walking back and thinking,

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well, I can tell Nicole I tried.

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I can tell her that it got me to this point,

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but at least I'll never ever have to clean up paint

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again. Little did you know exactly,

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Because when I went to go pick up that canvas,

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it had the exact designs that I had been seeing in

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my mind.

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Wait, so had you really created them and you just didn't

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realize it?

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Or did something happen while you were doing the breakdown or

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In that moment of the first moments of the breakdown,

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I had breathed on the canvas that huff of anger.

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Oh, Exactly.

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I wish everyone could see my face right now.

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Like is that like divine intervention or like,

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I don't know.

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I would absolutely chalk it out to a divine intervention because

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I would've stopped had I not seen the exact design that

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was from my mind on that canvas.

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And then I had to look at it and go,

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wait, how did I do that?

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I think,

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did I breathe on it?

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Did I blow on the paint somehow?

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And so I reverse engineered it and I thought,

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yeah, not only did I breathe on the paint,

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but I can do it this way and this way.

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And I spent I for probably six months,

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that's about all I did was learn the different ways that

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I could make the paint respond to breathing across it or

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down at it.

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If I added hot water or cold water to the paint,

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it would do something different.

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If the day's humid and you have to have longer for

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it to dry,

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you need to tighten up that design so that it doesn't

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go past what you're trying to do.

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And then sometimes there are parts of it that you just

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can't control.

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And I really feel like that's something that I'm learning is

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that When you can't control it,

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it might create something totally different that then allows you to

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play off of that in a different way also.

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So that I'm thinking just by way of experience when you're

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creating, there are probably times when you know and everything works

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the way you intend.

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So it all turns out the way you want.

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But then there's also times when it,

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for whatever reason,

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you know,

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whatever variable,

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shoot, maybe,

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I don't even know,

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but I'm gonna guess maybe it's even the temperature in the

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room where you're doing the blowing,

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I don't even know what you call it.

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Well, I do know what your technique is called,

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but you see what I'm saying?

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Like it doesn't go the right way until then.

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It's all an adventure from there.

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Yes. And then I'm following the paint,

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then I'm following it to see where it wants to go.

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So sometimes you're absolutely right,

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sometimes I can actually execute exactly what I'm looking for and

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sometimes I get to just see where the paint wants to

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go and follow it.

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And that does usually lead me to learning something new about

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how it works that I can then incorporate the next time.

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Yeah. Oh my gosh.

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Okay. So I'm thinking of our listeners and they're probably like,

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what does this look like?

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Like I have no idea what they're talking about.

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What does this look like?

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People can see an example over on your website,

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right? Yes.

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Canary art group.com.

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Okay. Yes.

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And we're gonna have all that in the show notes as

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everybody knows who listens.

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So you can go peek if you're somewhere right now and

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you're curious to see.

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But could you try and explain through audio Oh what your,

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see this is,

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I'll give you more than one chance if you have to,

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but like,

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because some of your art is,

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what did you call it in the beginning?

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Abstract Is abstract.

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That's the word I was looking for.

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But then some like I remember seeing some pieces that looked

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like flowers.

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It's still the same technique,

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but so you can actually make things that we relate to

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in real life that aren't just abstracts in your painting.

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Exactly. And that's new.

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That's that learning process going from totally abstract to this summer

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I really focused on can I make it look like a

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pedal if I breathe on it this way,

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can I do that?

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And really dove into like I made an entire botany collection

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with leaves and flowers and really enjoyed that that.

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But yeah,

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that's something that's new and I'm crazy about.

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I've enjoyed both.

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Right. Gives you options.

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Exactly. And I did.

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We love all the options.

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Love the options.

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All right,

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so this is so interesting.

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Have you taken Nicole out to lunch or dinner or done

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something as a thank you?

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Cuz she just like,

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she's the origin of this whole new business you have.

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OK. And the cheerleader because yes,

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my husband is amazing and supportive and I think that's integral

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to the business,

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but Nicole too is just still right there by this night

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going, why not?

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I'll come up with some crazy idea of a show that

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I wanna do or something that feels really like further reach

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beyond what I could do.

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And she's like,

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but why not?

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And it reminds me,

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but you've done all these things,

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why couldn't you do that?

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Oh good for Nicole.

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So important.

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Yes. So having cheerleaders really important.

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Oh you Have to.

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So you were starting to make these creations and seeing that

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you were enjoying the whole process and the huge added benefit

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that it got you to a point where you could even

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do that after all of the depression and all of that,

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which is totally warranted obviously.

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At what point then did you start thinking about Hmm.

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A business?

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Okay, so very quickly it kind of took off beyond what

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I ever imagined because cheerleader,

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Nicole, my best friend,

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looked at what I was making literally in April of 2017

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and said and started sending me emails with things I could

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enter, which at that point I thought,

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well why not?

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I really don't have anything to lose,

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which is not my normal personality.

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I am terribly risk adverse.

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But in this stage where you're already kind of low and

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down, it really did feel like,

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well, I mean,

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okay, well just give,

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What do I have to lose?

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Yeah, exactly.

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So one of the things that I entered was the Maow

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Run Artist series wine label contest.

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And so I started paying in April,

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I entered that in May and in July I got a

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call that I won.

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So you created the label for their wine?

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Yes. One of my paintings was a wine label.

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It was fantastic.

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Also in that short amount of time,

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I had a friend of a friend here that I was

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painting. She came over and saw what I was doing and

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then purchased two pieces to put in their house and that's

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all I knew about it at the time.

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Then a few weeks later she came back and she said,

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oh, I forgot to have you fill out this paperwork because

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they'll wanna have it in the show and I'll need you

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to have signed this paperwork so they can do that.

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They said,

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I'm sorry,

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the show they were actually building a tiny house that was

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being taped for hgtv.

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My gosh.

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So in the first month or two of painting,

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it was already gonna be on tv and it had already

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been one contest as an artist,

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which was insane to me that August they have a like

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a reveal of the wine label reveal of the painting.

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I had dinner in a vineyard with all of these people

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to celebrate me as an artist who started painting in April.

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This is now August.

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It was insane.

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Everything about it was surreal and that's how it took off

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because I was just hanging onto the back of it going,

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I wonder where we're going next.

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It's like that when you follow the paint.

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I was just sort of following and continuing to enter things

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and try things and tell people about this and the fact

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that art can help you heal.

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I really wanted to talk more about that.

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And that was the driving force.

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Like, let's try more.

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Let's reach more people.

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Let's tell more people about It.

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Yeah. So your mission is way more than your beautiful painting.

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Oh yeah.

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Okay. So I'm gonna ask you a really hard question.

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Okay. I bet you've never been asked this before,

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Mr. Okay.

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What do you think the attraction was like?

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Why do you think you won the wine label?

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I think when people connect with my paintings,

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and not everybody does,

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people are drawn to a lot of different types of art

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for a lot of different reasons.

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But the people who connect to my painting connect to them

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on such a deep level,

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they can see that I'm putting my emotions myself literally into

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the painting and they wanna talk about it.

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I have people come up and just tell me their life

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story because of what they've seen in a painting.

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So I really believe that's how it started was that deep,

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deep connection that people feel to the painting and then hopefully

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to me and they get a place to exist in that.

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Yeah. Is free of judgment and infinite chances exist.

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Yeah. And the rock technique that you use Yes.

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Does create such a different result.

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You know,

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when I saw you,

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I was attracted to your booth at a fine arts show

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here in my community,

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right? Yes.

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And I was attracted cuz I'm looking at them and it

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like drew me in.

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Yes. And I'm not an artist in that way at all,

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but there was something different about it and I just kept

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looking and I couldn't figure it out.

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And then when we started talking and you told me how

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you did it,

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I'm still in awe of the whole thing that you can

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do that.

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I mean,

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I knew that a brush couldn't give the qualities that are

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in your painting,

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but the fact that you are using air from your mouth

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to spread the paint and they're going to go where they

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may, it is just incredible.

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So this has nothing to do with your business journey kind

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of in a way it does,

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but not totally sure.

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It must take so much energy out of you to make

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a painting.

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It absolutely does,

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depending on the size of the painting.

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And the other thing is it's acrylic so it dries fast.

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So you kind of have to know where you think you're

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going and make a plan and have everything mixed and ready.

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So it's once you get to that,

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the actual physical part of it,

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it is exhausting in the best possible way because there are

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only two times when I am really laser focused and I

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don't have that tape running in the back of my head.

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I'm actually just doing the one thing and only thinking about

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the one thing.

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One of the reasons when I go to the movies,

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I think it's cuz I'm so visual,

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I'm stuck in that movie.

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And the other time is when I'm creating.

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So there will be times if it's a larger piece and

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I make really large paintings sometimes that I'll have to remember.

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Oh, inhaling.

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That's good too.

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You need to remember to do the whole breath,

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not just the exhale.

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Yeah. So it's very physical.

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Yeah. And it's wonderful.

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Wonderful for your body and your soul.

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All right.

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I just have to ask you this one more question then

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we're gonna get back on track.

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You promised to answer me honestly.

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Absolutely. Okay.

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Have you ever coughed or sneezed when you're creating?

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I have not.

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I imagine that it will come,

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but because I can make my own schedule.

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If I'm not feeling a hundred percent,

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maybe I wait till the next day.

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Well, but you never know what that would produce.

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You don't know.

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Yeah, it might be fantastic.

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Yeah, it came to mind.

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I had to know.

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All right,

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so you were seeing success right away.

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I call this validating your product.

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You're seeing that people are attracted and interested and either want

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for themselves,

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in your case,

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wanting it for a show,

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buying it,

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et cetera.

Speaker:

So your product was validated before you'd officially even started a

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business, which is great because then you know that you've got

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something there.

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Yes. What were your next steps to start formalizing the business?

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Right. So we had run our own business for many years.

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So I am curious,

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what was that business?

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It was awnings and signs.

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Okay. All right.

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Just that's a side note.

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That's okay.

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But you already knew about business development?

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I knew about business development.

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Thankfully I knew about if I really turned it into a

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business that it wasn't gonna be a hobby anymore and that

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this was going to take a lot of work.

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So my first steps were,

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I actually looked for,

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and this is so important,

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I knew to look for the people whose job it is

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to help you to succeed.

Speaker:

The people who literally have chosen for their job to want

Speaker:

to help other people succeed.

Speaker:

You're one of them.

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Exactly. Yeah.

Speaker:

And You can find them at any level.

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One of the most important things I did was I applied

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our state,

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Indiana has the Indiana Arts Commission and they have a program

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called On Ramp.

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And it is a literally business training for creatives because I

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might know some of the business training,

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but I didn't know it as a creative.

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And so I applied the first year in 2017 and I

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didn't get it.

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And then I applied again in 2018 and got in.

Speaker:

And that business training,

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that model and the people and meeting the people,

Speaker:

again, people whose job they chose to do is to help

Speaker:

you succeed.

Speaker:

So important.

Speaker:

I can't speak highly enough about the people and the process

Speaker:

and having,

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there are more people who want you to succeed.

Speaker:

They're more cheerleaders.

Speaker:

They are people touch points where you can go when you

Speaker:

have a question.

Speaker:

So look for those people.

Speaker:

Listen to your podcast.

Speaker:

You can go to a state level or on a local

Speaker:

level, the small business association in your town.

Speaker:

They can give you demographics of where the people are.

Speaker:

That might be your audience for your product.

Speaker:

Yeah. And they're happy to help and they have training,

Speaker:

free training all of the time.

Speaker:

So those were the resources that I looked To.

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That's interesting that you did it that way given that you

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had already started a business before.

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Because the natural thing would be,

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I know what to do,

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I'm just gonna go in.

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But a maker business is different for sure.

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Absolutely. Okay.

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All right.

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So did you start by going out to shows?

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When did you create your name?

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Tell us about a little of the development part.

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I wanted to pause this discussion for a second to let

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you know that I recognize you may be feeling overwhelmed right

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now. I mean,

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I bring on great guests who are specialists in their fields

Speaker:

and we get into fabulous conversations that you know can help

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grow your business.

Speaker:

So after the show,

Speaker:

you have the full intention of grabbing a download,

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making an adjustment on your website or any number of other

Speaker:

ideas that arise as a result of this podcast.

Speaker:

But what happens,

Speaker:

you get back to your other activities and the momentum you

Speaker:

once had gets lost.

Speaker:

What you've planned to do is forgotten,

Speaker:

then you feel bad because your business is going on as

Speaker:

usual without implementing anything that you know would help grow your

Speaker:

business. We're just too busy doing all the things like a

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robot moving from one thing to another without thinking because we

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have to.

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I get it,

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I've been there.

Speaker:

But guess what?

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There is another way.

Speaker:

Since I recognized this exact behavior in my own business,

Speaker:

I set out to do something about it.

Speaker:

And now what works for me,

Speaker:

I'm sharing with you.

Speaker:

I formalized the process and it's called the inspired daily planner,

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made specifically for gifters,

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bakers, crafters and makers.

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But it's not your ordinary planner.

Speaker:

First off,

Speaker:

it comes with a video explaining my productivity strategy.

Speaker:

Plus it's not dated.

Speaker:

So you can start using your planner the second it arrives

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at your doorstep.

Speaker:

And that's not all included for each day is a motivational

Speaker:

message or business building tip and plenty of space to capture

Speaker:

and book in time for to-dos,

Speaker:

schedule appointments and all those other ideas that are now getting

Speaker:

lost. Think of it as a book and a planner all

Speaker:

in one,

Speaker:

yet compact enough to carry with you and resource as necessary.

Speaker:

It's the perfect solution to truly act and move your business

Speaker:

forward. Go to gift biz unwrapped.com/inspired

Speaker:

to get your hard copy planner along with my power of

Speaker:

purpose video that will set you on the path for true

Speaker:

business growth.

Speaker:

This makes a great gift too.

Speaker:

So if you have a biz bestie,

Speaker:

pick up a planner for them too.

Speaker:

That link again is gift biz unwrapped.com/inspired.

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Okay, let's get back to the show.

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Okay. So yeah,

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when you start a business,

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you have to name it.

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And that was daunting.

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The label artist had been kind of given to me before

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I was ready to accept it.

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And I don't think that I was quite ready to just

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call it like Stephanie McNair Art.

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I felt like I need some sort of maybe a shield,

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something that was,

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could be me,

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but representative of me,

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not my actual name.

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I don't know why.

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It's just the way my brain worked.

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Cause You could have had your name easily,

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you're the artist.

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I could,

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yeah, that could have been it.

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But when I was thinking about taking chances and working it

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as a business,

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when I was thinking back about the steps that it took

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to even get to this part,

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and in years before I ever started painting,

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another friend had given me a book by Glen and Doyle

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called Love Warrior.

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In that book,

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the part that I highlighted,

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the stance that I highlighted was this.

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It says,

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because yes,

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I've got these conditions,

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anxiety, depression,

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addiction, and they almost killed me,

Speaker:

but they're also my superpowers.

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I'm the canary in the mine and you need my sensitivity

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because I can smell toxins in the air.

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You can't smell,

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see trouble,

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you can't see and sense danger.

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You don't feel my sensitivity could save us all.

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And it was from that passage that I really understood more

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about myself and the type of person that I was born

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as. I'm just a really sensitive emotional person and was always

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told that that was wrong or bad or to like take

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it down a notch again.

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It was sort of that hiding part.

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That passage allowed me to see it as a superpower,

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as something different,

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as a positive.

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And I think years before,

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had I not read that passage,

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I would never have had the guts or the ability to

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accept that we get infinite chances and to try to make

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this a business.

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So I really wanted to honor that step that happened far

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before I even ever learned how to paint.

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And that's how Canary artwork got started.

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Oh my gosh,

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that is so interesting.

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And I love the result too,

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because Canary has so much meaning because of that passage.

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Exactly. And also your mission underneath the artwork,

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but you also have artwork in the title,

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which is good when you get into the business strategy perspective

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for SEO and all of that.

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Exactly. You need to know what I'm making in the business

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name. Right.

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But I think this is food for thought for people who

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are at the juncture,

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where they're thinking about their business name is to take it

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in the angle of what's gotten you here,

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what in your soul is important and is there an angle

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to incorporate that into your name?

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It's something to think about for sure.

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Absolutely. Cause every time I hear it,

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I'm reminded of the reason I wanna continue to do this.

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It's very helpful to have that right in the name.

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Okay. All right.

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And then did you establish the business as sole proprietor,

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llc? What did you do right away?

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Sole Proprietor.

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Okay. And That's something,

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the business training that we went through,

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what is gonna work best.

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And while I thought I had a handle on it,

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it's really nice to have somebody who knows exactly what they're

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talking about,

Speaker:

walk you through the different options.

Speaker:

But right now I'm a sole proprietor.

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Okay. All right.

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Perfect. And now still in this naming stage,

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yes. You created a whole process.

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You named the process,

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which I love that so much.

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Anybody who has something that's unique to your product,

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title it so you can claim it as yours.

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It makes you different for sure.

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How did this all come about,

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The naming of the process?

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Okay, so I was doing this and like we talked about

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earlier, there are certain words that,

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like I now call it painted with breath.

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I usually have to show somebody a picture of me doing

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it to really explain the process or make it easier for

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people to understand.

Speaker:

But when you're thinking about naming a process like this,

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you don't,

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there are words you wanna avoid.

Speaker:

You don't wanna use the word blow,

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you don't want the,

Speaker:

you know,

Speaker:

things like that just aren't a great idea.

Speaker:

So it was really difficult and I was really spending a

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lot of time,

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how do I call it,

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to really explain it.

Speaker:

And I was talking with somebody who has a background in

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Hebrew languages and they were like,

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it sounds to me like it's like ruak,

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like breath of life.

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And I was like,

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that's it.

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That's it.

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Breath of life.

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That is what I'm doing.

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I'm taking that breath,

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that God given breath that exists in your belly.

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And I'm using that to take my emotions out and onto

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the canvas to share with everybody.

Speaker:

It's a really vulnerable place to be.

Speaker:

But that ruok technique was born from that place.

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That is amazing.

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And I'm so glad that you talked to that person because

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you would've named it something totally different.

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Yeah, I think again,

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that was a Gift.

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Yeah, it was another gift.

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Yes, I'm on the right track.

Speaker:

People are coming alongside in ways that I had never even

Speaker:

imagined. It's that validation,

Speaker:

that continued validation that this is the right track.

Speaker:

I'm supposed to be doing this.

Speaker:

Right. But you also were willing to share Oh Yeah.

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In that is a level of vulnerability.

Speaker:

Yeah. Right.

Speaker:

Especially for makers cuz we are actually creating what we're selling.

Speaker:

Exactly. And this is a great example of just,

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there's so much goodness in sharing.

Speaker:

First off,

Speaker:

you can find new customers,

Speaker:

the word word can be spread.

Speaker:

But then here,

Speaker:

like an example of naming and defining,

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you know,

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breadth of life.

Speaker:

Like that's exactly the whole thing,

Speaker:

right? It sums it all up beautifully.

Speaker:

All right.

Speaker:

And so you had initial success.

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Now how did you start expanding the business?

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It was the same process.

Speaker:

Just more of it applying to more shows,

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telling more people.

Speaker:

It took a couple years before I was ready to do

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like a fine art fair because there's expense in getting,

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you have to have something to take your paintings to different

Speaker:

cities. You have to buy a tent,

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you have to buy the walls to put up.

Speaker:

I was lucky enough to be able to borrow some of

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those things at the beginning.

Speaker:

That was certainly extraordinarily helpful.

Speaker:

But the idea of taking it out and selling it was

Speaker:

a process from exhibiting it to now how do I make

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this? How do I scale this up?

Speaker:

And the one I saw you at,

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you had to be approved to even exhibit.

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It's not like you could just pay money and be there.

Speaker:

Your work had to pass the mustard,

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if you will,

Speaker:

to be Yeah,

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exactly. The shows that I do are all juried shows.

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Ok, so that's all You're doing?

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That's all I'm doing.

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So you've positioned your pieces at the higher tier fine arts

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juried shows.

Speaker:

Yep, absolutely.

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So you're applying,

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you know,

Speaker:

six months before the show you're spending money to apply and

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then you're spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to be there.

Speaker:

I had to get the whole business marketing and process down

Speaker:

to what can I afford to do this year?

Speaker:

What is this gonna bring?

Speaker:

How is this a benefit to the business?

Speaker:

And it was just slow over time.

Speaker:

And then C happened and everything just sort of shut down.

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And for me it was just a waiting game.

Speaker:

I was one of those people who lost all creativity and

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the ability to think things through.

Speaker:

So there was some pause right there and I'm glad that

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I was able to just pause that part of my life

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for a little while.

Speaker:

But there wasn't a business benefit to that for me.

Speaker:

So there was slow and steady adding the things that I

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needed to get to the places where I could find people

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who wanted to buy my product.

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Okay. And so with the shows now,

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do you do shows year round?

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No. And that is something that is also,

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it's not new,

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but me getting rid of that rule that you have to

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do them year round or that you have to create every

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day. There are a lot of people that tell you that

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to stay on top you have to be doing it every

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day. And while that works for some people,

Speaker:

what I finally figured out this year for me is that

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I work outside because I make such a huge mess with

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these paintings.

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So I only work,

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I've decided this year,

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but I work from April to October painting.

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And then the other way that I'm creative is I write,

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this is the first year I've actually put away all of

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the paints and set them aside.

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And so then from October to April I will be writing

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and being creative that Way.

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Okay. This is coming out of left field writing.

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What are you writing?

Speaker:

It came out of left field for me too.

Speaker:

I'm a big proponent of running a business is so incredibly

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draining and wonderful and daunting that take little breaks.

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So one of the things I got to do as an

Speaker:

artist, we call them artist residencies and there are different purposes

Speaker:

to them,

Speaker:

but I and an artist friend went to Paris,

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Tennessee in February and we talked about in the how I

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named Canary artwork,

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that quote starts with anxiety,

Speaker:

depression, and addiction.

Speaker:

When I got to this residency where I thought I was

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going to paint,

Speaker:

what I ended up doing was writing those stories.

Speaker:

I needed to have them live somewhere else than inside of

Speaker:

me. And it needed to be even more intimate than the

Speaker:

paintings I really needed to have them just exist somewhere else.

Speaker:

So that's what I've been doing.

Speaker:

I think I've got 12 full chapters.

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So I guess what I'm doing is writing a memoir I

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didn't set out to,

Speaker:

but I think that's what it's gonna be.

Speaker:

And actually just very recently I got accepted to,

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I can't pronounce French words,

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but it is a residency in France.

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I will be there for all of March in 2023,

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which will give me enough time to then finish and I

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will have a memoir and I have no idea what will

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then happen with it.

Speaker:

Maybe it's just for me to get it out.

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Maybe we will go on to see it published or self-published,

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I don't know.

Speaker:

But isn't that exciting that you can do things that you

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dunno what's gonna happen.

Speaker:

Where are you?

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Where are you gonna be in France?

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I will be in,

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it's an hour south of Paris.

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And if I really need to work on Frenching Asians,

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cuz I can't even tell you exactly,

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it's Maren.

Speaker:

So it's right on the river but Hour South.

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Okay. So after this I'm gonna give you some information.

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I have a very dear friend who lives in France.

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Her husband is a huge art fan.

Speaker:

Like he knows everything about art.

Speaker:

They used to do tours and he was an art specialist.

Speaker:

Wow. There's something there.

Speaker:

She now does French tours.

Speaker:

But I'll tell you,

Speaker:

Pam, if you're listening to this podcast,

Speaker:

you and Stephanie have to talk.

Speaker:

I'll tell you all about that afterwards.

Speaker:

But oh my gosh.

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Ok, real quick.

Speaker:

This is a perfect example of that.

Speaker:

You're on the right track.

Speaker:

Yeah, I didn't know that I was gonna talk about that.

Speaker:

But talking about that in the flow of the conversation and

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having that you have somebody for me to be contacted with

Speaker:

that is another.

Speaker:

Like you're on the right track.

Speaker:

Isn't that fantastic?

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Yeah. And They come every time.

Speaker:

And acknowledging those little moments is really,

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really important.

Speaker:

So thank you so much.

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Well thank you.

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It's just,

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it's so exciting.

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Like I love how when things like this happen,

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you feel like there's a reason.

Speaker:

It just like is crazy.

Speaker:

Okay. So this is an interesting concept too because again,

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you are not doing what seems to be the way,

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right? You're doing what's right for you by doing your,

Speaker:

I'm calling it painting,

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but we all know at this point it's not painting.

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Okay? But you're doing your artwork for a portion of the

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year and now you found another creative avenue for the other

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portion of the year,

Speaker:

which is writing.

Speaker:

But all of that sits still under that same umbrella about

Speaker:

your mood and depression and mindset and internal feelings and creating

Speaker:

something. Yes.

Speaker:

And that's why we really need to make sure that people

Speaker:

understand all of that.

Speaker:

The depression and the moods and everything.

Speaker:

Art and any type of creativity.

Speaker:

Because as soon as I say art,

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people say,

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well I'm not an artist.

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Well neither was I,

Speaker:

but I guarantee you that there is some way in your

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life that you are creative.

Speaker:

So let's use the word creative time.

Speaker:

You use your creativity,

Speaker:

it engages a different part of your brain and it can

Speaker:

absolutely heal and help make better those things that you deal

Speaker:

with, whether it's anxiety or depression because you get to be

Speaker:

in flow,

Speaker:

even if you're just coloring a coloring book or maybe the

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way that you're creative is organizing your closet.

Speaker:

You know,

Speaker:

there are millions of ways to be creative and anytime you

Speaker:

use that creativity,

Speaker:

it is healing.

Speaker:

It has been proven scientifically.

Speaker:

It is healing.

Speaker:

So set sign a little time,

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even if you feel silly.

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Can you imagine how silly I felt trying to paint not

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being a painter And you didn't even wanna do it,

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you were just doing it so Nicole would stop asking you

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and telling you.

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Yes, exactly.

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But I'm telling you,

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it has changed everything about my life.

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Everything. It's amazing.

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Lean into that creativity,

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art heals,

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creativity heals.

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It has the power to change your mood.

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It has the power to connect you to other people.

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I can't speak highly enough of just that idea of dive

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into your creativity for a little bit.

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Set aside a few minutes here or there,

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whatever you can spare the rewards you reap from it.

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The benefits so outweigh that little amount of time that you

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can put into it.

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If that's all you got more.

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If you can't Love it.

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Oh my gosh.

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Love, love,

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love that.

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I almost wish we would've talked about something else earlier cuz

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this would've been a great way to end.

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Oh yeah.

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But I can't cuz I have question for you.

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Let's, let's go.

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Ok. At what point then did you put your website up?

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You know,

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all of the online presence?

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How does that Yes.

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So the website went up too soon.

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Here's what I would tell You.

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Oh that's interesting.

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Okay. Yes.

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Because I had such immediate success and people kept asking me

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to see my work,

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I thought,

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I've gotta get this website up.

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I went ahead and I paid it.

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It's not so it's not a talent of mine.

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That's ok.

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You be talented in everything.

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Yes, exactly.

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And if you're,

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you can't focus and do it all.

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Well anyway.

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Exactly. So this is one of the things that I did.

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I rushed headfirst into it.

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I paid some people to help me make a website that

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I was never comfortable with.

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Cuz I didn't know,

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am I gonna sell on a website?

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Am I gonna use it for this?

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I didn't understand what I needed it for other than I

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just wanna show people my art.

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And so the people that I worked with,

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and they were well intentioned,

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but the people I worked with took it a whole different

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direction. Whereas if you see it now,

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and also keep in mind that I am doing it now,

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so please be kind.

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I'm still working it out.

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But so a couple years later,

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so I started it and just wasn't happy with it ever.

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Like I just wasn't happy with it.

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But one of the benefits of going to that on ramp

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program was it was also a fellowship.

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So there was a possibility of a grant at the end.

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You had to apply for it and do the work.

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But that's when I got a substantial grant and was able

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to work with somebody else to make a website the bare

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bones of the website that I was really proud of that

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had focus and that I knew what I needed for it.

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Then she taught me,

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I have the ability to put up the paintings and do

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that every time I put up a new painting.

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I'm just so proud of myself that I just couldn't do

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a little happy dance like you Do because it's online now

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or because of the painting.

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Yeah, because it's,

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I have the ability to change some of the parts.

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Well and need to because each of your paintings is unique.

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So if it sells,

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Absolutely It's gotta go.

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No one else can buy it.

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You can see there,

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it just gets marked sold.

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But I can do it myself.

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And then that keeps a portfolio of all of your different

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Paintings. Right?

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Exactly. And I treat it more like a portfolio now because

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I realized if I'm doing the high end markets,

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they rarely sell online and I'm okay with that.

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But I need to have something that I send people to

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so they can see what I'm doing.

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Right. So that's the purpose of the website now is to

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have a place where you can come talk to me,

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contact me on there.

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I love to talk to people about what I do.

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As you can tell,

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please contact me.

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And then you can see sort of the evolution of my

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painting and a little bit of kind of where it's come

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from. What I love to do,

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where it's going.

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Yeah. What platform is it on?

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It is on WordPress.

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Okay, so it's your very own.

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Yeah. That's the harder way to go.

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But you have way more flexibility with everything that way.

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Exactly as I'm learning.

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And one of the things that I'll be working on probably

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this winter where I'm not actually painting will be getting back

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with that woman and saying,

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okay, let's tweak it now because it's only been five years

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as I'm going,

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I'm learning more about what I want it to look like,

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what I want to share on there.

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And there's some things that I need to change that I

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don't know how to do.

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So I can go back to her because you get infinite

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chances and say,

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Hey, can I pay you to just walk me through these

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things? And she will.

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And those contacts just gold,

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those contacts just gold.

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Yeah, Yeah,

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for sure.

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And listen,

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you know,

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a website is always a work in progress.

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I go back to both of my websites,

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well one more than the other,

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but update it,

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adjust it,

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change it.

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The feel that I want looks different.

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Maybe all of that all the time.

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So it's not like you put a website up and you're

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Done. Exactly.

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Ever, ever.

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And I'm one of those people who really likes to be

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done and I'm learning,

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you're just not.

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You're just never done.

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It's always evolving everything.

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But you still have that online presence,

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which I think is really,

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really important.

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It's really important.

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It gives you,

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and I think why I jumped head first into it was

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it gives you legitimacy.

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People can see that you really mean what you're doing.

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This is a real product,

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this is a real technique.

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This is,

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I'm really doing this.

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And you can see where I've been and the things that

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I've done.

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But I did,

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I would say maybe wait until you know a little bit

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more about,

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cause I did it months in,

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I was just super unfocused.

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Really. Wait,

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maybe think about it.

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Think who you wanna work with,

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think really what you want it to look like before you

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work with somebody or make it yourself.

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Just because that focus is important.

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Yeah. And I think,

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you know,

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you really do want to still,

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what we were talking about in the beginning,

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validate your product because that leads to what your business is

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gonna be named,

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which leads to your domain name.

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And if you get everybody going down one path,

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cuz you will attract some people.

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You know,

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you'll tell people about the website,

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et cetera.

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And then if you change it later,

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it's just so confusing and just way more work.

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I like that idea about delaying.

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Now what about social media?

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Okay, so first of all,

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I had no social media before I started painting.

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It is not an area where I'm comfortable.

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I think that because I'm a sensitive person,

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if I read good things about me,

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I might get a little too excited or maybe feel a

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little like,

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ah, I'm really killing this.

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Which is good,

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but not if it's a superficial good then if,

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but if I would read something bad,

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it would crush me.

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So I didn't have social media until I started this.

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And I just was so excited at the beginning because it

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was a way for me to take something that was really

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hard and make it into something that was beautiful.

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And I really wanted to share that message that Art heals

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and hope is real.

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And the best way to do that nowadays is social media.

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So I am on Facebook and Instagram.

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It is still one of those things that I sort of

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struggle with sometimes.

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How much to share,

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how not to share,

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what not to share.

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The thing that you have to remember about social media is

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that you do not own that platform.

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And they can change it at any time in a way

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that does not benefit you.

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So that's why I really think it's super important to have

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a space that is just yours.

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That website,

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super important.

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That's where you say most of what you wanna say.

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The social media can point you there,

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but you don't own those platforms and it can be taken

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away. You just decide to shut it down.

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Speak in my language,

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Stephanie, me.

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Yeah, I mean it's a compliment.

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It's one of the tools in your toolbox of your Business.

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Exactly. But your website for sure.

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I call your website and not if you have an Etsy

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account. Cuz Etsy,

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same thing.

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You don't own the Etsy platform.

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Right. But when you have your own website,

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whether it's WordPresses,

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you're doing Shopify,

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which is another one of my favorite go-to places,

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but I have one account on each of those platforms.

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So we're talking the same things.

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But that is like your headquarters in the online space.

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Exactly, Yeah.

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And so you wanna point people there and that's where you

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house everything because you have a hundred percent control over that.

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You know,

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unless your internet goes down.

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But there's that,

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there is that.

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You can't control everything,

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even though I've tried.

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Can't control everything.

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All right.

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So let's look out into the future.

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Yes. You are going to be starting to write pretty shortly

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here. Yes.

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You are on your way to France.

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Yes. What else can you share with us about your vision

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as you proceed forward?

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Well, I will,

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I'll spend a little time in the holidays with family and

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not doing much for a little bit of that.

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But as I'm doing that,

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what I'm working through for the painting part of the business

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is I'm taking in,

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maybe I'm thinking about travels that I've done already or that

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I'll be doing.

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I'm letting those,

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the pictures or the memories of places and people,

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I'll sort of watch them like a slideshow and kind of

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take in and really think,

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oh, I love that moment.

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What did I love about that moment?

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And maybe make a note somewhere so that when I start

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to paint again in April,

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I'll go back to those notes and go,

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these are the moments that we're touching.

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These are the moments that have really meant a lot to

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me. This is what I learned in France,

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that river,

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that watching in March,

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watching it go from the beginning of March to the end

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of March,

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and how the nature changed and started to bloom.

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These are the things that I'm taking in to enhance the

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painting process when I start it.

Speaker:

So it's never really stopped.

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Oh my gosh.

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So would you,

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or have you thought about putting a little bit of a

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story behind the painting as to what inspired it?

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Like adding that element in to the painting on the back?

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If it is representational,

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yes. But if it is abstract,

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no, because I don't wanna get in the way of what

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people see in It.

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Good point.

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Yeah. I might know what it is for me,

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but it could mean something completely different to you.

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And I'm not as,

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I already know what it means to me.

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Right. That doesn't interest me at all.

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I wanna know what you see in it.

Speaker:

So when people come to my booth or come to a

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show or an exhibit that I'm in,

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I really wanna hear,

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and people really most of the time wanna tell me,

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which I find fascinating and exciting.

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They wanna tell me what they see in it,

Speaker:

or more importantly,

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what they feel in it.

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Yeah. That can lead to those discussions where you actually connect

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with somebody.

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And those are the important parts of my business.

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Yeah, I agree.

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That's so deep,

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Stephanie. I love that.

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I never think of myself as deep,

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so yay.

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No, I love it.

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It's amazing.

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Oh, I'm so excited to continue watching what you do.

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And are you gonna come back to the Highland Park show

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next summer you think?

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I hope to.

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Again, it's a juried show,

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so I'll have to get in again,

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but that is my plan.

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You'll get in.

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I'll track out.

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Amy, that doesn't happen.

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No, there is no doubt in my mind that you would

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get in.

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I love the community.

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I love that community.

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It is warm,

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it is welcoming.

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They love art.

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They wanna come out and talk to you,

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and it just,

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it makes my job job a whole lot easier when you

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have people who want to Connect.

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Yeah. It's a wonderful community,

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I have to say.

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That's why I'm sitting right here in the community.

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Stephanie, thank you so much.

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I have so enjoyed our conversation.

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I knew I would,

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when I saw you at the booth,

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there was just something I was attracted to your art.

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Then you and I started the conversation and I'm so glad

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that we were able to find time to come on and

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talk together and share your story.

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It is incredible and amazing and I wish you so,

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so much success in the future.

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And I know we'll stay connected,

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so that will be wonderful.

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Yes, please.

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I would love that.

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Art Heals and Hope is real Stephanie's message to us all.

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It's encouraging,

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uplifting, and full of optimism for the future.

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I can't think of a better way to close out a

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show as we head full blown into holiday mode.

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Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

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You're enjoying the podcast and would like to show support.

Speaker:

A rating and review is always fabulous because it helps get

Speaker:

the show seen by more makers.

Speaker:

It's a great way to pay it forward.

Speaker:

And there's another way where you can get something tangible in

Speaker:

return for your support too.

Speaker:

Visit my merch shop for a wide variety of inspirational items

Speaker:

like mugs,

Speaker:

journals, water battles,

Speaker:

and more featuring logos,

Speaker:

images, and quotes to inspire you throughout your day.

Speaker:

Makes a great gift too.

Speaker:

And we've just added some new products for the season to

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the shop.

Speaker:

Turn around is quick and the quality is top notch.

Speaker:

Nothing but the best for you.

Speaker:

Take a look at all the options@giftbizunwrapped.com

Speaker:

slash shop.

Speaker:

All proceeds from these purchases helps go to offset the cost

Speaker:

of producing the show.

Speaker:

And now be safe and well and I'll see you again

Speaker:

next time on the Gift Biz Unwrapped podcast.

Speaker:

I wanna make sure you're familiar with my free Facebook group

Speaker:

called Gift Msre.

Speaker:

It's a place where we all gather and are a community

Speaker:

to support each other.

Speaker:

I've got a really fun post in there that's my favorite

Speaker:

of the week,

Speaker:

I have to say,

Speaker:

where I invite all of you to share what you're doing

Speaker:

to show pictures of your product,

Speaker:

to show what you're working on for the week,

Speaker:

to get reaction from other people.

Speaker:

And just for fun,

Speaker:

because we all get to see the wonderful products that everybody

Speaker:

in the community is making.

Speaker:

My favorite post every single week.

Speaker:

Without doubt.

Speaker:

Wait, what?

Speaker:

Aren't you part of the group already?

Speaker:

If not,

Speaker:

make sure to jump over to Facebook and search for the

Speaker:

group gift.

Speaker:

Bre don't delay.