Friday, March 16, 2018

Dream Killers vs Dream Catchers

There are certain people you encounter in life who listen to you share the desires of your heart, mirror back to you those dreams, and encourage you to pursue the thing you most want to do. And then there are those who will, for one reason or another, speak words of discouragement to your dreams, giving you bits of their own "wisdom" which feels like someone just rained all over your beautiful parade of creativity. They cause you to doubt your sanity for being so audacious as to think you could ever achieve beyond what you are currently capable of doing. I call the former Dream Catchers. Your heart is safe with them. The latter are more like Dream Killers, and it isn't always easy to know the difference until it is too late. Looking back over the last few decades, building my career as an artist, I have encountered both dream catchers and dream killers, maybe you have too.

This week the official announcement was released, I am the excited and proud recipient of the Racine Art Museum Artists Fellowship, one of four awarded this honor every other year. When I first moved to Wisconsin, the call had gone out for the 2016 RAM Fellowship and in my enthusiasm I applied without hesitation. You may remember me sharing about the nicest rejection letter I ever received, in which the director had enthused how much they loved my work and that I had been a strong contender. Hands down, I thought, I would apply again the next time around. 

Over the course of the past two years, I encountered a few of those dream killers, who shared with me the impossibility of someone like me ever receiving this award, I simply wasn't qualified. I have encountered this kind of talk before and usually don't give it much merit, but I have to admit, this time it got to me. It very nearly kept me from even trying. Fortunately I encountered more Dream Catchers, two of which gave me a pep talk outside my studio door and then a friendly nudge the day before the application was due. 

Well I already shared the outcome with you, if not for those Dream Catchers, I wouldn't be writing about this today. But it gave me pause to think, how often am I the one who dismisses my own dreams before I even try? As a visual artist, it is easy to become isolated in our own studios and even our own head space. I am grateful I have a community of like minded artists and dreamers to check in with and encourage me to keep going.

This brings me back to what I believe is one of the biggest benefits to taking an art workshop, connecting with those like minded dreamers and getting encouragement to stretch beyond our comfort zones. Just over a week from today, I get to play host and student when artist Michael Shemchuk teaches in my Racine studio. Coming all the way from California, Michael will be sharing his unique abstract collage painting technique, with an emphasis on composition and design. We will be working on creating a triptych over the course of that one weekend. There is just one seat available if you have been thinking of registering, now is the time!

Many of you had inquired about whether I might be teaching another workshop in my studio and I am excited to offer you the opportunity to participate in a semi-private workshop created first for members of the Patreons and Peers group, with the remaining four seats now available to you. The class is scheduled in my studio on June 2nd and 3rd -read on for details and registration information. 

Boxing Encaustic - A Semi-Private Workshop Opportunity
June 2 & 3
Racine, Wisconsin

This is a very special opportunity to take a workshop in my studio in a small group setting. Limited to 6 participants, this class will focus on the creating collage with encuastic wax on cradled panels with the introduction to incorporating assemblage elements into your work. 

The class was created for members of my Patreons and Peers group first and the remaining seats are now open to my newsletter and blog readers for a limited time. It is not currently listed on my workshop page or being advertised to the general public. Your early bird opportunity to grab one of the remaining four seats!

To register click here. The supply list is small and will be emailed to you, but mainly includes bringing your own collection of collage material and found objects. 


  1. Wow!! Congratulations on your award! I'm so glad you didn't listen to the nay-sayers. I personally have made it my mission to help and encourage other artists as much as I possibly can. I don't see other artists as competition; instead, I think we should stand in solidarity with one another. I get to share the work of many fabulous artists in my 'Circle of the Day' facebook posts, and on my blog, I've been trying to share some of the things I've learned during my research about art business. I love that you share your technical knowledge through your workshops and classes (which I'm going to take whenever you're back in Kentucky!). I believe only good things can come from sticking together. So happy for you, Crystal!

  2. Anonymous10:15 AM

    Congratulations!...looking forward to taking your workshop when you come to Sedona in the fall.

    Irene Peake