Since I’ve started a daily art practice, the physical act of making art had become easier for me. I feel more creative. I have more ideas. I’m more willing to try new and different things.

It’s been such a huge shift for me. I look forward to my art time and what might spring from it. Sure, there are lots of things I create I don’t love. Some of them, I downright hate. But by creating daily, I’ve stopped making everything — my supplies, the process, the outcomes — so precious. I create for the sake of my love of art and without all the pressure I used to put on myself. If I don’t like what I make, then I toss it and start again. And guess what? In the creating and tossing and creating some more, I’ve created pieces I absolutely love. Not kind of love. But totally, madly love. 

Now that making art is coming easier for, I have a new stumbling block: selling and/or exhibiting my art. I don’t have any answers or insight on this part yet. I’m at the bottom of this mountain and feeling super nervous about even attempting to climb it. 

What I do know is this: I just have to start. I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m sure I’ll make mistakes. But if I don’t try, then I’ll be no closer to figuring it all out, right?

My major goal for the second half of 2017 is to figure out how sell and exhibit my art. Sure, I have an Etsy store, but I want something bigger. And I want to be a part of my local art community.  

So … tell me: what do I need to do to really sell my art and connect with my local art community? How do I find shoes to submit to? Where should I be looking? I’ve Googled all of this, but I’m still not seeing a clear picture of how a new artist — I say new, rather than young since I’m on the other side of 40 — finds her way in the world of gallery shows and selling her art? 

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One-hundred and fifty plus days of my year of creating daily and I’m seriously amazed by the whole process. 

If you asked me a year ago if I would or even could create something each and every day for a whole year, I would have rolled my eyes at you. I’m now almost to the midpoint of the year and I’ve not only stayed current  with the challenge, but im thriving creativity because of the challenge. 

The most unexpected benefit of this whole process is my increased mindfulness. I notice so much more. I’m more present in my life. I drive down the street and see all the flowers, cacti and colors. I feel like I’m more alive than I’ve been in years. I feel more like me. Does that make sense? 

I’m so grateful for this bonus benefit. There are lots of things I’ve tried over the years to be more present, more mindful, but none of these “tries”  — practices — actually stuck. But once I stopped trying so hard and focused my energy on my creative endeavors, I magically (not really, but I’ll call it magic because it sounds more exciting) was more present. 

What’s the lesson? Maybe trying so hard isn’t the answer. Maybe the answer is getting lost in something you love — something that fills you up — and you’ll find your way to mindfulness. 

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I’m a voracious reader … always have been. As long as I can remember, I’ve loved to get lost in a book. As a kid, I was never without a book and that hasn’t changed. The last couple of years — with all my travel — I do the majority of my reading via audiobooks. Books take up a lot of space in a suitcase and since I read so fact, I’d have to pack a zillio.  of books for each trip. Lately, a lot of my business travel is in the car from my house to Tucson to my office in Phoenix, which lends itself to more audiobook time. 

To get my audiobook fix, I joined Audible many years ago and am a huge fan. But the more I traveled, the more I found myself burning through my Audible credits.  I was buying extra credits pretty much every month and it was getting expensive.

Then I found this article and this one, which both pointed me to some awesome public libraries that have huge digital collections and offer library cards to no residents at super reasonable prices. 

I started with getting audiobooks from my own library system (Pima County) and then added a subscription to the Fairfax County Virginia library system. They charge $27 a year for no residents and they have almost 10,000 titles (and are always adding more). So between my local library and the Fairfax libraries I can find just about anything I want. 

I use an app called Overdrive and I can add the different libraries I have cards for. That means library audiobooks are on one bookshelf and I don’t have to jump through a bunch of hoops to listen to them. 

I still use Audible, mostly for new books that the libraries might not have a digital copy of yet or the book has a huge waitlist and I want to read it right now. 

This has seriously changed my reading life. And I’m happy to have more ways to read and more books in my life. If you’re a digital reader (e-books or audiobooks), you should totally check this out. 

Note: I’m not a book snob. To me, any way you consume a book is fine by me. I read physical books. I use a Kindle for eBooks. And I listen to audiobooks. Stories are stories and I think people should fill their lives with them any way they can.

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Cacti Art Totes and Painitngs | Kimberly Kalil Designs

Guess what? I’m doing a little happy dance … I’m going to be the featured artist at the May Saguaro Market! I’ll be showing off my desert/cacti art totes, pillows, and original paintings. You can read all about it here.

Did I mention I’m excited? The last few months I’ve spent a lot (most of) my free time creating art and figuring out my style. In the process, I started creating watercolor and India ink paintings of cacti with machine stitching to add some depth and texture. If you asked me a year ago if I’d be painting watercolor cacti every, single day I would have told you you’re nuts. But here I am. Until I was doing something consistently — creating art every, single day — I really didn’t know what my “thing” was. But this consistent practice of creating has been absolutely crucial to finding my way.

And guess what else? I love it. I look forward to creating something new. I enjoy the challenge of using a medium — watercolor — I know nothing about. I love that the more I create, the more ideas I have. I love all the new things I’m learning about art. It’s been such a fun process and it makes me feel more alive. What could top that?

It’s been such a fun process and it makes me feel more alive. What could top that? I guess being able to show off some of my favorite creations and meet local folks who are interested in art and our maker scene.

So … if you’re local … please pop by Saguaro Market, 657 West St. Mary Rd., May 4th to 7th. And if you’re not local, check out my Instagram feed to see all the Saguaro Market goodness.



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