Bird & Sunrise photo

Bird & Sunrise photo
Because "someday" is today!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Got Worry?

"Be Here Now" 5:7 digital art ©2016 Tina M. Welter  Peaceful White Cat, digital art, focus on today, stop worry habit.
"Be Here Now" 5:7 digital art ©2016 

Last November, we had only been back in the USA for a month. We were staying with friends in New Mexico, we knew we were going to visit Jeff’s parents for Christmas in Oregon and then stopping to see my Uncle in California, but we had no job, no home, and no certain plans beyond that. It was so hard not to let my mind just go crazy with worry!

After two months of feeling just awful and recognizing that I really wasn't changing anything, I made a resolution to try to do something to address my worry. The first step I came up with was to focus on what my situation was that day, and what could I do to make that day really good. This one shift of mindset did help relieve some of my distress.

In January, when we were staying with one of my nieces in Arizona, I noticed a book in their spare room/office called “Stop Worrying and Start Living” by Dale Carnegie.  Curious, I picked it up and read sections here and there. I told Jeff  “I think I need this book!” It was easy to find a copy on-line and it didn’t take long to read. Like Mr. Carnegie says, the information isn’t really new, but being committed to putting the concepts into practice and being willing to change are the key part of addressing the problem of worry.

It was a real boost for me to find more suggestions and examples on how to stop the worry habit.  I thought I would share some of may favorite helpful insights that I learned.

Dale Carnegie’s five questions:
  1. Do I often to put off living in the present in order to worry about the future, or to yearn for some “magical rose garden over the horizon?"
  2. Do I sometimes embitter the present by regretting things that happened in the past?
  3. Do I get up in the morning determined to “seize the day” to get the utmost out of these twenty-four hours?"
  4. Can I get more out of life by “living in day-tight (24 hour) compartments?” 
  5. When shall I start to do this? Next week? Tomorrow? Today?
Willis H. Carrier “A Magic Formula for solving worry situations"
  1. Ask yourself, what is the worst that can possibly happen?
  2. Prepare to accept it if you have to.
  3. Calmly proceed to improve on the worst.
(Aha! An actual useful direction to take when I am awake at night imagining the worst!)
Herbert E. Hawkes, former Dean of Columbia College, Columbia University.

“Confusion is the chief cause of worry”…”Half the worry in the world is caused by people trying to make decisions before they have sufficient knowledge on which to base a decision." 
I hadn't thought of it that way, that not getting all the facts could add to my worry.
Three basic steps of problem analysis:
  1. Get the facts.
  2. Analyze the facts.
  3. Arrive at a decision and then act on that decision.
I like that Mr. Hawkes added to this that you are not allowed to wallow in regret if your well thought-out choice still doesn't work out how you wanted. Disappointment in how our 4 year plan to improve our work/living situation was unfolding was one of the thoughts that was really causing me pain. I needed that reassurance that it wasn't necessary to shame yourself when you have done your best to make a good choice. We all learn through imperfect choices.
We often get stuck when we only pay attention to the facts that justify our desires.

“Everything that is in agreement with our personal desires seems true. Everything that is not puts us into a rage.”  Andre Maruois 

Boy, isn't that the truth, and this mind-set can get us stuck in more aspects of life than worrying too much!

The rest of the story...

In March, Jeff was offered a job with the Forest Service for the summer! We finally had a place to go and a way to earn money and I found a part-time job too!  There have been some difficulties, but all in all, life’s been good! 

October is looming ahead of us though, and the uncomfortable worry thoughts are stirring again. Through thinking about why I do what I do, I've concluded that my worst worry inducing habit is predicting the future. I have proof that my predictions are often not accurate. For example, last winter when I thought we had few options to hope for, places for us to stay and help that I  never imagined as possible appeared one by one, like stepping stones, through the kindness of family and friends.

Reminder: I am not a fortune teller!  

I also resist letting go of the good I have today for fear I will never have it again. Somehow I have a belief that there is a limited supply of good for me. I have already experienced that this isn't true by living in so many places, and in so many different situations, and they all have had something worthwhile for me to enjoy. 

Reminder: Focusing on "not enough" is stressful and often not true.

Even with these thoughts in mind, I absolutely needed to review what I learned this winter and it helps me to put my thoughts into words to share.  I hope it will help some of you too, my kind readers. 

One last favorite quote: 
“Our main business is not to see what lies dimly ahead, but to do what lies clearly at hand” Thomas Carlyle  1871

I am not perfect at eliminating this worry habit yet, but I am certainly more aware of what I can do to worry less and live more. Sometimes something as simple as just walking around the block several times can help lift the worry vise off my mind!


p.s. Copies of the artwork "Be Here Now" that was inspired by my Worry-Less Resolution this year are available at Fine Art America. Click here to visit my FAA page

Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Story of the Orchids

Dresden Window 3, 3x4 digtal art, ©2016 Tina M. Welter  Pantone pink Quartz orchids with Serenity blue background
Dresden Window 3

Back in the fall of 2011, one of the several mysterious things we found in the apartment we rented our first month in Munich was a thirsty little potted plant with large green oval leaves. I wasn't sure what it was, but missing all the plants I had recently I given away, I was happy to water it and make certain it got some sunshine everyday. We knew that the girl who had rented the apartment before us had left in a hurry, not bothering to clean up at all and apparently abandoning this little plant to it's fate. You can see it on the windowsill on the right.
Würzerstrasse apt., Munich 2011, photo ©2011 Tina M. Welter, bedroom and living room
Würzerstrasse apt., Munich 2011
The mystery of what kind of plant it was cleared up quickly when we started walking around the neighborhood and I noticed similar ones on several window sills. The difference being that many of those oval-leaved plants had beautiful blooms of white, pink, lavender and yellow. An orchid! I had always wanted to try growing an orchid, but I never expected to find them in Germany of all places, and in abundance too. When we went to the grocery store, we found them available to buy in every size and color. 

As I cared for the little orchid, I was delighted when it started to send out new flowering shoots, I felt quite guilty when I also had to leave it behind when we moved! I hoped that the new apartment owners would think it worth caring for since it was growing and healthy now.
White orchid in window, detail, photo ©2015 Tina M. Welter  Dresden apartments

Fast forward to August 2015. We were in Germany again, living in the city of Dresden this time and hoping to find work as English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers. Another window full of orchids in our neighborhood got my attention and I made certain to take more pictures this time.
White orchids in Dresden, vertical photo ©2015 Tina M. Welter
White orchids in Dresden

Entrance to Öderaner Strasse, photo ©2015 Tina M. Welter  Unrestored corner building with graffiti
Entrance to Öderaner Strasse
The neighborhood we were living in was in a section of town that had been a thriving community in the 1900's but had been bombed extensively in 1945. Now these classic buildings were being rediscovered for their desirable location close to downtown and getting a second life as they were being updated to modern apartments. Compare the graffiti covered building above at the entrance of Öderaner Street that hasn't been restored yet, to this building on the far end of the same street.
Restored, Örderaner Strasse, photo ©2015  Tina M. Welter  Architecture restoration in Dresden
Restored apartment building, Örderaner Strasse
The work crews were busy fixing it up and there was a huge billboard nearby advertising the renovated apartments to rent.
Abrupt ending, photo ©2015 Tina M. Welter  Bombing buildings restored in Dresden
Abrupt ending
This abrupt end of the building is where a bomb went right through the original apartment complex.

Lovely restored corner building apartments, Saxoniastrasse, photo ©2015 Tina M. Welter
Lovely corner building, Saxoniastrasse
More apartments on Saxoniastrasse, the street we were living on that intersected with Öderaner. You can see the banner signs advertising the new apartments in this building.
White and Pink Orchids, photo ©2015 Tina M. Welter,  Windowsills of Dresden

There is something about those orchids that has been sticking in my mind since we came back to the USA. First of all, I think they would make some beautiful oil paintings when I get a chance to set up and paint with oils again. With the transient life we have been living, so far seven different places in four months, plus having my computer die with all my original photo resources unavailable, it's been a challenge. 

White Orchids, horizontal photo ©2015 Tina M. Welter  Windowsills of Dresden
Second, the orchids are connected in my mind with Germany, especially Dresden. A beautifully unique city that was mostly destroyed in 1945, and yet the people who survived were so determined to move forward, they pulled bricks from the rubble and started to build again. The re-birth of that city is an inspiration to me, like the little abandoned orchid setting out new growth. We have also been essentially starting over, no house to return to, no hoped for job offer, dealing with all the things that didn't work-out how we planned, trying to find our new direction to grow in. I admit, it's been a serious struggle for me not to focus on feeling discouraged and frustrated. We are so grateful for the friends and family who have provided places for us to stay, giving us their bit of "water and sunshine" to keep us going. 

White outlines the Pink, 4x6 digital art, ©2016 Tina M. Welter   Orchid artwork
Sketch, minimalist style
In January, I was able to replace my computer that died in December, I decided instead of painting I would do some sketching and make some digital art.

White Orchids, Pink Outline, 4x3 digital art, ©2016 Tina M. Welter
White orchids with pink outline sketch
 I could at least try out some ideas that could lead to a painting later. I really liked this digital piece, Dresden Window 1.
Dresden Window 1, 4x6 digital art, ©2016 Tina M. Welter  Orchids and background in Pantone Rose Quartz and Serenity Blue
Dresden Window 1

Dresden Window 4
I liked it so much that for February, I created a card based on the original to share. Dresden Window 4 greeting card (click link to go to FineArtAmerica)

Figuring out what I could create and share instead of focusing on what I couldn't really helped my state of mind. Like the little orchid, I could encourage my creative side to keep sending out a few green shoots, even if my situation isn't ideal at the moment.

I definitely recommend this strategy if you are feeling discouraged about what you can accomplish too. Consider the story of the orchids and figure out how to keep making some new green growth, no matter how small. 
Pink Orchid bloom, photo ©2016 Tina M. Welter  Windowsills of Dresden
Bloom where you are transplanted.
 >^-^< Tina


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Last minute free gift...requesting your opinion please!

In the spirit of the season to share and give good surprises, i.e. you hope they are good surprises! ;p  I created a gift tag, recipe, and label to go on a large mouth mason jar that could be filled with a hot chocolate mix as a gift. 

Snuggle Up gift tag ©2015 Tina M Welter, drawing of white cat with cup of hot chocolate
5"x 3" gift tag
I plan to post the tag, label and recipe as a download on my Etsy page for $3.00, but my 'Fraidy cat would dearly love some input and reassurance from her supporters before I offer my design in the public market place.

Here is the three page, 
4 labels per page, printable PDF,

click for free download,
I only ask that you give me a review or comment here or on facebook:
5"x 3" Hot chocolate mix gift tag.  ©2015 Tina M Welter
5"x 3" hot chocolate mix tag

1. Did you like the color and size of the labels?  
2. Did it print properly?

3. Would you pay $3.00 to use these labels for a gift?  Why or why not?

Thank you!

May you find your quiet moment this month to snuggle down and enjoy some warmth and good cheer. >^-^<
To and From, 2 3/4" lid label, ©Tina M Welter Use for a gift label on a standard size mason jar.
2 3/4" lid label

ps. Remember you can copy all you like for your personal use, just please don't sell my design as your own.  :)  
Creating original designs take a surprising amount of time!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Find that Golden Moment

"Golden Moment" 5 3/4" x 7 1/4" graphite on paper ©2015 Tina M. Welter  Pencil sketch of a orange and white cat on a white fence, autumn theme.
"Golden Moment" 5 3/4" x 7 1/4" graphite on paper ©2015
This is the sketch for what was to be my November painting. This is an orange and white striped cat basking in the low autumn sunlight, with a roll of baled straw and fall leaves as a background. I love the contented, happy look on his face as he enjoys his golden moment.

With all of our changes, job hunting, packing and moving from country to country these last few months, there has barely been time for reflection, let alone time or space for painting.  I have to admit, I feel a bit disoriented, kind of like trying to find my balance while standing on a beach ball.

It's been good to be back in the States, but there has been a lot of emotion to be felt going through all our belongings to reduce them to fit in a smaller storage shed and going to the family farm to pick up my share of Mom and Dad's things. It was rather unsettling seeing the reality of the farm house empty and not having Mom and Dad there to greet me.  

One nice surprise was that my older brother, Gary, had arranged to have many of my Dad's Super 8 home movie films transferred into a digital format. What a treasure! Family Christmas parties and reunions of long ago, dear faces that are no longer with us laughing, watching myself and my brothers and sisters grow up, all in short little visual phrases, and pheasants...lots of pheasants and geese. Dad loved wildlife of any kind. I think he was making his own National Geographic nature specials.  Oh, how good it was to enjoy those moments again, sometimes wishing they were not so short!  Movie film was expensive, so every shot was carefully limited.   

All this nostalgia made me think about today. Is this moment, this "today" going to be a golden moment when I look back to it?  Will I think, wow, those where the good times...even though I feel disoriented and tired of not knowing what direction we are going in?  I know I don't have that contented look on my face!

I think those golden moments are just that, moments. I know there were sad and stressful things going on in those past times too. I think the great moments are short like the film clips, and short like that beautiful light when the sun is going down. Brief and beautiful. When the sun has gone down and the air is cool, that handsome cat will get up, stretch, and go on to find a more comfortable seat.  

We have to pay attention to catch the beautiful today or it will pass us by, leaving us longing for it in the rear-view mirror.

Tweet: We have to pay attention to catch the beautiful today or it will pass us by, leaving us longing for it in the rear-view mirror. @TinaWelter click to tweet

I am practicing to remember to notice today.  I hope this post will remind you to look too. 

May your heart be fully warm and content in that lovely, brief moment.



Friday, September 4, 2015

Saying Goodbye

Lower entrance, Wellington Botanic garden. photo ©2014 Tina M.Welter  Springtime
Lower entrance, Wellington Botanic garden
September 2014, I met Barbara at the botanic garden in Wellington, New Zealand.  We were both attending a free class on how to photograph flowers and struck up a conversation before the class started.  Since we are both from America and share a real passion for flowers, we found a lot to talk about.
Lavender tulips, Wellington botanic garden, photo ©2014 Tina M Welter
 We had a good time playing hide and seek with the clouds and the waiting for the breezes to settle down so that we could snap some good pictures. Our flower subjects kept insisting on dancing with the wind!  We spent a good deal of time around the beautiful beds of poppies and tulips. September is springtime in the southern hemisphere.

Poppies, Wellington botanic garden, photo © 2014 Tina M. Welter
A pause between dances.
Springtime lemons! photo ©2014 Tina M Welter, Wellington Botanic garden, New Zealand
Springtime lemons!

The magnolia trees were also in bloom and it was wonderful to walk through all that lacy loveliness of shadow and color.  I had so much fun taking photos of these twisty trees and their blossoms.
Path with Magnolia trees, Wellington botanic garden, photo ©2014 Tina M Welter

Magnolia blossoms, Wellington botanic garden, photo ©2014 Tina M Welter
We continued talking after the class and ended up having lunch together.  It was a good beginning to such a nice friendship.  During the next year, Barbara took the time to show me around downtown Wellington and later, she and her husband Dave generously invited us to go on several excellent day hikes around the local area.  We experienced the mysterious trails and stunning views that they loved to share, beauty we would have missed seeing since we didn't have a car to get to these trail heads.
On the Butterfly Creek trail, looking towards Wellington, New Zealand,  photo ©2014 Tina M Welter
Looking towards Wellington, Butterfly Creek trail.
Undisturbed, Beech and fern forest, photo ©2014 Tina M Welter, Butterfly Creek trail near Eastbourne, New Zealand.
Beech and fern forest, Butterfly Creek trail.
Sunset on the hills above Makara Beach, photo ©2014 Tina M Welter, New Zealand
Sunset on the hills above Makara beach.
I love going to different parts of the world and making new friends.  You never know what great people you are going to meet and how they will affect your life.  The down side of this is that when we move again, we have to say "good-bye" and it is so hard. 

"Radiant One" 5"x 7" watercolor on Aquabord ©2015 Tina M Welter, Lavender and pink tulips at the botanic garden, Wellington, New Zealand
"Radiant One" 5"x 7" watercolor on Aquabord ©2015
When I was packing to leave in July, I knew I had to do one last painting.  I wanted to give something to Barbara in honor of the day we met and I decided there might be just enough time to complete one small watercolor painting.  I got my wish and had one last day to paint, "Radiant One" was the result.  I haven't painted flowers in watercolor for a long time, but this day reminded me why I love painting them.  Sometimes it is so satisfying to revisit a past love. It can be so joyful if you get to meet again and say "hello".

Sunday, July 19, 2015

'Fraidy Gets Back on the Airplane...

'Fraidy Gets Back on  the Airplane" 5:7 digital art, ©2015 Tina M Welter, Cartoon drawing, grey and white cat, paws against the airplane window.
'Fraidy Gets Back on the Airplane" 5:7 digital art, ©2015
Hello dear readers,

'Fraidy cat is embarking on another anxiety provoking adventure. This time the issue is not about being afraid to fly, it's about making another big life decision and hoping the plan, not the plane, will fly. (Ba-da-damp!)

In the spirit of the words of Inigo Montoya from the movie The Princess Bride, "there is too much to 'splain, let me sum up!"

- We have changed countries again. We flew from New Zealand to Germany on July 12th. (Oh, the jet-lag!)
- We are starting a CELTA course in Frankfurt on July 20, 2015.
( CELTA= Certificate English Language Training to Adults) This course is part of the University of Cambridge, England.
-The course involves 200 hrs of homework, instruction and practice teaching crammed into 4 weeks.
-At the end of those 4 weeks, we will be looking for jobs in the new career of English Language teaching.

What does this mean for my dream of being an artist with a successful business?

This is where my inner 'Fraidy cat is anxious. I don't do things half-way, and having to focus on another art form like teaching will take away from my visual art creativity time as well as running a business.  What I hope is that the teaching will provide the financial stability so that when I do make time to paint, I can just focus on that and not the pressure of making money with my art.

I plan to keep posting at least one blog entry and sending out one newsletter each month to keep me connected to my kind readers and my dream.  I have found this commitment to be amazingly helpful and grounding for me, even if it is a challenge sometimes.

It was lovely to spend a little over a year in New Zealand where I was truly focused on getting my art business up and going.  I feel I was successful in many ways, even if there was not as much success in the financial area as I hoped.  Believe me, it has been hard for me to change the shape of my dream, but after all, that is what this blog is all about. 
It is truly an Artist Life Experiment.

Thank you everyone for your support and we will see where the next few months take us!  

My special thanks to newsletter subscriber Evelyn W. who bought my sketch series "Cairns of Personality" that was inspired by New Zealand beaches.  I hope she will enjoy them as much as I did in creating them!  

Yes, I do miss the ocean.



P.S. To help my Inner 'Fraidy Cat keep from having her fur standing on end all day from the anxiety, I am trying out a free 10 minute a day guided meditation on itunes by Adrian Cooke.  It does seem to be helping to keep her calmer.  
Here is the itunes link:
Adrian's website:  I like his nice, soothing British accent and the variety of focused meditation topics he offers.  I'm not getting anything for mentioning this, I just like passing on resources I find helpful.