Thursday, May 31, 2012

Still Here

In the tumble that is my life, here are some things I am grateful for right now:


*Paint on my fingers

*Cat fur on my clothes, because it reminds me of them

*Breathing in the right now, nothing else matters

*A not so little fiery red-headed boy & his love

*The cool Breeze first thing in the morning before the Sun takes over for the day

*Sweet dreams (even the cheesy one where I was making out with Johnny Depp ~ I know! Right?)

*A hot cup of tea to start my day

*Being part of a tribe

*A generous co-worker

*My mom

*Feeling overwhelmed, and being ok with it, not trying to deny it or change it


*That people take the time to write their blogs in hopes of connecting, sharing, and reminding us that we are all together in this big crazy thing called life

What are you grateful for today?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What's Your Superpower?

Be your own Superhero, create one here

On Mother's Day I participated in a fabulous gathering of women, you can see a few of my photos here, or read what others had to say about it here and here.

One thing we did that day was name our Superpower. 
Something we're really good at. 

Have you ever done that? To recognize something you do really well, and honor it? And have a room full of people honor that part of you too? 

Amazing! Highly recommended!

Mine is Risk Taker.

I've used it for a while now, on my blog, on my business cards, and just recently on my new website: artist, risk taker, dreamer.  

So I've actually been naming and honoring three of my superpowers for a while now.

How powerful to finally stop and notice that.

Here's a short list of some risks I've taken in life, to give you a taste:
*moved to Japan straight out of college
*backpacked around Asia for 4 months with no plan
*moved to Europe without a job and only one nebulous contact
*applied to and got accepted into graduate school wanting to study something I had never studied as an undergrad
*hitch hiked in Baja and had the best conversation in Spanglish ever (don't tell my mom about that one)
*started a nonprofit organization to teach gardening and permaculture to children
*took belly dance lessons, performed as a belly dancer, taught belly dance lessons
*opened a belly dance studio on Main Street in a small rural conservative town
*traveled to the far reaches of New Mexico as a student of shamanism 
*created a weekend get-away women's gathering not knowing who would actually want to come
*shared my art with others (a lot of others)

But I'll have you know that despite taking these big risks in my life, they haven't been "easy."

I've been scared. Worried. Anxious. But excited too.

For me taking risks brings on a whole wave of emotions and feelings. And they're usually all over the place.

Yet somewhere, somehow, I've taken them. 
And I'm grateful for the ability to do that.

(Or is it because I'm crazy? Ha!) 

For a long time now I have been pursuing a creative path in my life. Wanting to earn my living through my creativity. I still have a day job, but with each path I've taken (see list above), I've discovered who I am, what my values are, what I believe in, what fills me up, and what makes my heart sing. It's been like traveling into the center of the labyrinth, getting closer and closer to my own soul. 

Allowing myself to finally paint, to create art, after so so so long of just wanting to has revealed a nugget of pure gold. I have been circling in to who I really am, and now, my heart is so full.

Yet with all this focus on my creative path, my soul's purpose, I have been silently ignoring another area of my life that needed dire attention. It was easier to focus on what made me feel good, rather than on something that only partially did. Denial is a powerful elixir and addiction. 

There have been signs along the way, tugs at my heart, stirrings in my gut. But this risk taker didn't want to notice them. Oh no. WAY TOO scary.


A couple weeks ago, that something, that little whatever that resides deep inside me, pushed me to take the biggest risk I've ever taken. I had to face fear after fear. No guarantees. No safety net. No idea of where I'd land.

I've been pretty freaked out.

I've caused pain. I've messed things up. I've shown a spotlight on the shadows that are dark and scary.


The dust will be settling for a long, long time.

But deep down, deep deep deep down, I feel the rightness of what I did. 

In the resulting chaos that is now my life, I can also see a small light shining on the horizon, reassuring me that what I did was okay. That it needed to happen. Not just for me. 

And that there is hope waiting there for me on that horizon. 

Welcoming me. Singing me forward. 

Step by step. Moment by moment. Through the tears. Through the anxious breaths. 

Another layer peeled away.

It sucks a lot of the time.

But other times, blessedly, it doesn't.

I will keep taking risks. Of that you can be sure.

Even though it isn't easy. Especially because it isn't easy.


Honoring your superpower, and actually using it, will take you to the most amazing places. 


Even when it doesn't seem like it.

Honor it anyway. Share it with others.

Let's celebrate our superpowers together.  

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I am here.
Though I don't feel very present.
It feels like I am in the middle of a whirlwind.

Today, quietly. I sit in the center of it all.
Panic wants to seep in. I ask it to please hold off, if it wouldn't mind.
It's partially working.

So, instead of babbling on...

Here are some snapshots from the most beautiful weekend ever. 

The Hanging of the Paintings

Paintings in the ready.

My little helper, and just perhaps my number one fan.

I realized I didn't take that many pictures of the paintings once they were hung up on the walls, here are a few.

Celebration with Friends and Family

Mother's Day 

...And An Adventure

Teahouse Studio in Berkeley

The magic of women gathering.

One lovely, inspiring Soul...

...And another.

Oh, and I got to splurge at an art supply store!  
Two HUGE canvases await paint and some love. I'm SO excited!!


And from here?


This week... some important reflections need to happen. Some decisions perhaps. Painful. Not easy.

I could use some love and a little bit of light, if you wouldn't mind?

Thank you dear friends. For celebrating with me. For your love and encouragement. 

For believing in me. For being part of this crazy life!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

What's On My Easel Today

Today I am running silly.



Painting. Varnishing. Drilling. Attaching. Labeling.

And there's still more to do...

I can DO it!

Yep. LOVE this kinda crazy. In short bursts of course.

Here's the final piece for my FIRST EVER SOLO ART SHOW!!

It's called The Dream, and was based on an image that was in one of my dreams.

Here's the progression... 

And ta da... finished!

I'll be hanging all 20 pieces at Rosebud's Cafe on Friday. Come back and visit Saturday, I'll have lots and lots of photos!

And, if you happen to be in the area, I'll be there with my family eating a divinely yummy breakfast of Kay's Famous Waffles on Saturday morning, hope to see you there!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Snapshots of My Life

I am crazy busy over here getting ready for Friday!

Best thing ever.

Also feeling a big shift coming. A death. Profound and scary. 

So feeling super heavy too.

It's strange to hold such excitement, and such dread, in the same hand at the same time.


How do you make room for both ~ and all ~ in your life?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Magic, Effort, and Believing in Me. Oh, and Some News

This may be a bit long, but you're gonna want to read all the way to the end.
There's something good down there. Just sayin'.


I'm seeing how these three little things go together:

Believing in Me


They are not automatically great partners.
They don't always show up at the same place at the same time.

But when the three join forces, powerful things happen.

Effort may have to come first. Whether or not you believe in yourself. You just have to get in there and do "the work."  And defining work is going to be a whole lot different for me than it is for you.

For me?

It means painting.

Not dreaming of painting.
Not taking another class that teaches painting.
Not dabbling in painting here and there and sometimes.

It meant committing to painting all the time. (Well, you know, with a day job and a small child, when I could fit it in.) But it meant fitting it in when sometimes it would have been more fun to go have coffee with a friend, or die a slow death on Facebook. Making the choice to put paint on canvas and do it again and again and again. Having a goal certainly helped. A lot. But it was only me that could keep it moving along. No one else was going to call me up and say, "Hey, whatever happened to those 43 paintings?"

The believing in me part? Whoa. That's a slippery slope, isn't it? One moment it's there. Next it's gone. Surrounding myself with other like-minded souls has helped tremendously. Get yerself some! And if you don't know where to start, go here, even if you don't paint. You may just want to start. Trust me on that one. And put yourself out there. Be seen. That is the scariest shit ever. In my honest opinion. Your results may differ.

By sharing yourself, your vulnerable places? People respond. And they will encourage you. Wouldn't you do the same for someone else? The naysayers? Make less or no time for them. Say no to anything that doesn't fill you up. Especially if it makes you feel guilty for saying no. Especially then. Even if you have to say no over and over and over. It gets easier. People may not understand. Watching you blossom though? They may start to get it. They may surprise you. Oh, and definitely say yes to the things that DO fill you up. For sure.

The magic? Well. It seems that my experience has been that by focusing on the first two? (Effort. Belief in Me.) That suddenly magical things happen. Or you could call it synchronicity. Being in the right place at the right time. Knowing the exact right person. Doors open. Angels sing. Seriously.

And I can only tell you this because I am experiencing it.

First hand.

No new-age mumbo-jumbo sparkly-pants woo woo.

(Well, for me it's the same thing. Grin.)

But, YES. From my personal direct experience.

I have been painting.
I have been shedding the old voices of not-enoughness and adopting the ones of YES I CAN-ness.

Magic has happened.

Here's one result of all three:


Next Saturday, May 12, 2012.

You are personally invited.

Expressive Souls - Art Show
By Indigo Carlton

Twenty original works of art, by me!

Rosebud's Cafe, Jackson, California.


That's right. Me.

Can I tell you exciting this is for me? Can you even imagine? Twenty years ago I would never have believed that I would someday have the courage to take the steps I have taken. To make real the dreams that have lived in my heart for so long. To have believed in myself enough to see magic happen.

Friends? You all believed in me and helped make this happen.

Thank you.

Deeply. Truly. Completely.

More information next week. Promise. With more details.

Oh, and because I haven't been busy enough.

Next week I also will be showing off my new website!


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What's On My Easel

And suddenly? 

Life got crazy.

May is filling up fast with family, friends, school, and many other kinds of events.

I'm hanging on. But not sure how it's all going to happen.

Actually. It's quite fun.

(Remind me I said this, won't you?)

And I was hoping to have a big announcement, but alas. 'Tis not to be. I promise I'm not doing this to tease you. Last week was a tease. This week? Just not confirmed information. So not yet.



I've been super busy getting things ready.

(Okay, THAT's teasing.)

Despite the craziness, painting is also happening.

The mural project is still going strong, but today I worked on a couple other paintings I'm finishing up for the big announcement.  (hee hee)

Here's the first one, Bouquet (#39 of 43 by the way, if you're keeping track). I thought I was taking photos along the way, but alas, I completely forgot.

And here's the second one, a work in progress. It's based on a dream I had. I've never tried to capture an image from a dream before. Getting it just right felt important. The exact placement of the bear and the drum, the colors. My inner critic piped up and wanted to tell me how horrible my bear was coming along. I kindly reminded her that it's a dream, it can look how I REMEMBER it, not like a naturalist's photograph from Field and Stream ... sheesh.  She kept quiet after that.

I did remember to take some photos, but I feel like it still has lots more layers to go. Layers of paint, and layers of meaning. A shamanic bear with a drum. NOT your every day subject matter.

The colors in the dream were SO vivid, pinks and purples. I started there, but then let my intuition take over.

It got pretty messy... but I was having fun! It felt right, after getting the original images down then I knew it was time to let go. To let my imagination take flight. And listen to my heart on colors and shapes. Here's what happened...

...then I smothered it in indigo. Of course, right? 

And that's as far as I got. I'll show you the final results as I get there.

I will also update you on the mural project as it evolves.

And HOPEFULLY (cross fingers) I'll have the big announcement by next week!

Keep creating my friends. Cultivate that inner voice. Listen. Trust. And make your choices from there. In your creativity. And in your life. You might just be surprised at what you'll discover and the adventures you'll have!