What would you do?

PURPOSE? GOALS? REASON?

It is the season of Christmas 2016. I am writing this from my living room in Mirror Lake, NH. I am currently an Executive Director of three beautiful overnight Camps on Lake WInnipesaukee. I love the work. It is dynamic and challenging and has all the parts that bring me a full and satisfying life.

I'd like to look at the reasons I started the "Freetime Project" in 2012. In the beginning it was for two reasons.

1. To create a project big enough and exciting enough that I would paint through the summer.
2. In the end I would have so many paintings that for a reasonable amount of money anyone could afford to be part of a big idea. The involved participants would get a painting and I would purchase/ pay off my house in one day. The elimination of my mortgage would allow my to be financially in a free-er place and with that the potential to leave my work in the Y to become a full time painter. To become a painter for a living.

Then I dove in. I began.

I used my tax return from 2011 to purchase @ $1,000 worth of art supplies and in April of 2012, I started the project. I thought it was going to be a project that would end on December 21, 2012. 

On December 21, 2012 I met Anodea Judith and in one sentence I began the second part of the journey which is currently still in progress, although I am close to being done the second part of the project. 

Which brings me to my little space of inquiry. You see my goal shifted a bit...or maybe it has not. The real goal in my life is to buy my parents farm, my child hood home. It is a Christmas tree farm on @ 40 acres. Anyone that has been to my parents home understands this beauty. It is simple and old and so private. It is not super fancy, but they have done a very nice job keeping the place in good shape. It is not full of granite and modern appliances. It is full of real wide pine boards, wonderful light, large spacious rooms and real massive wood beams. I'll also mention the land. The view of the Christmas tree farm and the mountains and my moms old garden. I think the forest is sacred. I know this home is special. It is very special to me. My parents have put so much work into the house and the land and the people and animals that have been blessed to spend time here.

The farm has been in conversation for years. My parents are ready to live a simpler life. Full of less house and less chores to keep up a farm this large. Lots of conversation and projects to make the place shine. Mom has cleaned, painted and organized everything. Dad continues to work the land and together they re-did the siding and the old place is looking nice.

None of my other brothers and sisters want the farm. I would love to keep it in our family.

What does this have to do with my art?

Why is this on my blog?

I am almost done the second part of this project. Step one was painting from red to purple in 2012. 72 designs, 3,780 original paintings in a year. Step two has taken four years, from 2013-2016 (And I'm still not done..so probably 5 years). I am painting in the opposite direction, I have batched all colors together and am making sets. I just finished the "Orange" set and have one more set of seven paintings (The Red set). Step three is to launch the media and sales plan for the big, one day sale (December 21, 2017) and event (gala, dance party, fundraiser). Step four is to write two books- a card deck and user manual for the deck, as well as a "Story of the Freetime Project." The big ta-da of the vision of this project is that on December 21, 2017 I will make enough money to purchase my parents farm, currently $500,000. And this is where I lose people. Where in someways, I lose myself. Over half a million dollars in one day. Because it is not just the cost of my parents farm, but the cost to raise such an amount in sales, and produce an event as well as the cost of making and putting on an art show with over 7,000 individual framed paintings. So lets say, $750,000. Now that is crazy. Originally the idea was to pay off my current home (not my parents) of which I owe @ $140K. With taxes and event costs...let's say $200K. Still a wild idea, but not exactly insane. I actually think I can pull that one off. 

But...that is not my big dream. My big dream is the farm.

And my parents say they have found a buyer. This breaks my heart and I am not ready yet. I think I need a year to execute this idea...

And here I am, wondering what to do. 

I have a full time job that is very time consuming. That being said, I still watch Netflix at night and get tons of sleep. Years of my life, when I am really pushing hard, I can put in the work load of two full time jobs, be a mom and wife, work out and eat right. At the moment I am kind of being lazy. Because I did work VERY HARD for years, I am talking up at 4:30 am, asleep at 12 am or later, hard hustle. I needed a little rest. I do think I am ready to take this on. Just not sure if I should fight for the farm or let it go.

What would you do? 

XOXO,
Kate

PS- I will be meditating and painting on this, planning to allow the answer.

 

I've got an itch...TENSION = STRENGTH

This past week I have been very content and very tired. Just sleepy tired, hard to get up in the morning tired, sluggish tired. I have not worked-out in a week, so it is probably that. Or I have not been drinking enough water or eating enough greens. It is probably because my mind needs rest or meditation or a gratitude exercise...it's most likely one or all of these things.

Or it could be that I've got an itch.

As an artist who squeaks my art into the small little cracks and crevices of 9-11 pm, I find online web work easier these days. Normally I HATE editing and working on my website, but the last two nights I have been content to plug along. Updating my site with Set #4 & Set #5 I finished set #4 almost a year ago, but because of my choices to spend my time elsewhere I had neglected to get the set up on the website.

All of this sounds so boring to me as I type, but I can't explain the deep satisfaction I take in my micro steps. They are so small. So small you can't even see them with your day to day eye. You would need to look way back, mark my words my friend, this is my slow and steady overnight success. I have a few dedicated fans. And I love you. If you are reading this, you are a dedicated fan. I am still very small in my reach. I have about 500 people in my email list and a very steady 240 fans on my Kate Lemay Art Facebook page. I am so grateful for all of the humans I have the pleasure of connecting with.

What I am doing all this for is a test. YES THIS IS A TEST. Because I read all these books and listen to podcasts and I DREAM BIG. Yet I am not self employed. I am not an entrepreneur. I work for the amazing YMCA and I get the privilege of managing a property and community so rich and beautiful that I could not imagine a more impactful way to serve our world. 

AND I HAVE AN ITCH.

I have an itch to create. To touch the unseen and bring back nuggets for you to enjoy. I allow the voice to be heard, the senses to be felt, the feeling to be one with me. It is such a gift to touch the oneness. And you know exactly what I am talking about. It's that feeling you get under a blanket of stars, in the valley of a enormous mountain, floating in the ocean, laying in the sun, in a yoga class or in meditation. It is the knowing that you are SOOOOOOOO SMALL. That you are just a speck of dust. AND You get to LIVE! You won the DNA Lottery and YOU ARE HERE. You are here to smell and taste and touch and feel and love. You are here to BE. To enjoy, to hear, to grow, to create, to evolve. TO EVOLVE. And I might add just because I deeply believe this is our step in evolution...we are here to consciously evolve. If I told you that in your DNA coupled with the environment that made you, that you are a snowflake. You are 100% original. That your 100% unique gift in you for the greater good is ONLY inside of you. Your only job is to figure out- SCRATCH THAT- Your only job is to ALLOW that gift out.

Let me remind you what I said before. THIS IS A TEST. And you just get one chance. The paper is called LIFE. Don't be precious about it, yet treat it like it is the most important piece of paper in the world. It is all about the deep tension that exists from these opposites living together. TENSION creates enormous strength. So treat your life as if you are a precious snowflake AND a nothing speck of dust. That your "job" is to SEEK and to ALLOW, to BE and to CREATE. 

You see...I am not consistent as a blogger or website designer or a vlogger or a podcaster...but I am a consistent creator and if you look at my long long long game...it is how I am happy and content and confident that what is happening is my conscious evolution. I am documenting the process in painting, blogging, videos, through retreats and in working with THOUSANDS of amazing people each year. Set #5 still need editing. I have a ritual where I sit with an amazing couple and we hash out every word. Every piece of punctuation. After that the set will be really finished and I will announce the beginning of Set #6. 

The set of play and fun and passion...yeah, I'm excited about it!  Let the Itch be satisfied! Because getting back to painting again will feel like a good old fashioned Scratchfest! Only time will tell...but if you watch you can catch all the excitement and complete lack of progress. TENSION = STRENGTH

MICRO AND MACRO

IF YOU CAN APPRECIATE THE LITTLE THINGS...LIFE IS A BREEZE

THERE IS A SONG BY ALANIS MORRISETTE...I'd say may 20% of my stories start with this phrase :) I love her work. ALL OF IT. 

So anywhoo...Alanis Morisette has this great song...it's called Underneath.

I think it is the first time I got thinking about how if I wanted to change the world...save the earth, save the animals, love and value people of all ages, abilities, genders, races, economic status (all groups of diversity) then the best way to do these things is by doing them myself.

You see my work is very tiny...well that is at least how it started. Very tiny little paintings, made on a grid of 54 (it used to be 42, but I found smaller tape, allowing me to fit more paintings on a page...now that was a big day). So I would make these paintings...by the hundreds and now thousands. I would paint for hours and days and weeks and years and I had NO IDEA AT ALL WHAT I WAS DOING. I just really really love how painting makes me feel. In the begining it was the only real time I felt like myself.

So I pursued it...wherever and whenever I could. I created epic projects. I created a painting a day for a year in 2005. In November 2009 I created four large oil paintings honoring my early paintings called "Gratitude." The latest of my journeys has been creating 3,780 unique images in a project called "The Free Time Project" where in my free time I played a simple game, set some goals, honored an idea and let it rip. Now starting in 2014 to present I am re-painting the images I created in 2012 by clumping them together in groups of seven, ( each set contains 7 images, one from each color-red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet)  As I create the pieces for the second time I am relearning about the meanings of each piece and writing about them. It has been a fascinating journey.

What the heck does all of this have to do with MICRO AND MACRO? Well each one of the projects was a lot of work. They took a lot of time. They took focus.

I did commit to creating...everyday or most days. That was the commitment that changed the game for me. EVERYDAY. Not some days, or a few days or maybe...but EVERYDAY. So the micromovement may be sooooo tiny. But as long as I did something...I knew I was at peace with my bigger "life" (as in when I'm dead).

As I make each little baby painting inside it is a meaning 39 years (or more if you believe in that) in the making, a life, a soul on a tiny piece of paper. Every piece is a little world. As they are created they build a bigger picture and will create a whole story...that I do not even know the ending of. 

It is the micro choices, our everyday actions that make up our future...but I think these beautiful opportunities are fluid and fun and full of joy and the richness of life. My friend Lani and I were chatting the other day about how great ridged structure is and how it's awesome to drink spinich and kale for breakfast (which I do almost everyday) AND it is also important to LIVE. 

So I bow to the idea that all moments are important, and that some are more impactful than others. I trust that love in all its forms can and will move mountains. That I will keep slowly living my micro life in a way that means I am loving my journey. BECAUSE I REALLY DO. I am mostly happy, and if I'm not "happy" I'm grateful for any mood I'm in...even my pissed off angry ones. I'd dare to say especially grateful for those because it means I'm growing, I'm aware that something needs to change. And I can control my actions, I can control my choices about how I feel and react to my own moods.

I have been taping pads of paper for "Set #4" of the 2014 re-paint of the "Free Time Project from 2012" It noramlly takes me @ 30 min per pad, and I tape out seven per set. That's a few hours. I was watching myself so enjoy this process. It's so precise and clean. I listen to music or podcasts or watch ted talks or sometimes documentary films while I do this step. It's lovely. I used to hate taping up these pads...because the taping was the only the "prep" for the real work. But after taping 72 pads from the 2012 project and now I have made 28 going back down in 2014 and 100's of pads from all previous years (lets say @ 100 hours of taping!), I am really honoring the rythym of the work. I finished "Set #3" on September 22. I'm starting "Set #4" on October 22nd. I THINK THATS AWESOME! Exactly 4 weeks...exactly. I'm updating this as it took another year (all of 2015) to create set 5...and as I sit here today (March 21, 2016) I just picked set #6.

I Picked out "Set 4" on October 7th...I started taping Monday night, October 20th. So for 13 days (almost 2 weeks) I hesitated...I resisted starting. I think most people would look at me from the outside and they would say that I'm "always making art" but you see...I'm not. I waited FOUR WEEKS to start painting again. That is a long time if you ask me. Now this is the first time that I have really looked (with dates and times) at my habits around this cycle and rythm in my work. SO now that I am aware...I'm making a new rule. Tape ALL OF MY PADS so that I have the next paintings started...because that downtime is just sweet resistance playing with me. And I can see it now. So I can make a new micro choice...I can't wait to see what this does to the macro level results?

You see I need to paint. Going 4 weeks is awful for my brain. If painting is my highest form of mediation and I know I need to meditate to be healthy and happy and the best I can be for service to my world (Family, Job, Friends, Community and SELF) then I owe it to all of these parts to paint daily. SCREW YOU FOUR WEEKS OFF...(Update 2016...so much time between sets, almost 4 months).

You see...I want to go pro with this art thing...

I paint like I'm training for the olympics, I commit like my life depends on it. If that makes me crazy...well I guess I'm ok with it. 

I thank you for reading this far if you are still with me...I know this is rambly, so I'm all about questions that can fill in parts to bring this concept together. If you feel safe enough to share in the comments, please do. I think it is super helpful for others to see comentary. If you would like me to know something privately you can email me, my contact info is all over this site :).

Obviously this is just a sketch of an idea...but I look forward to it taking shape!

With love and inspiration-
Kate XOXO


 

 

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Clean The Bowl

Day 1

Welcome! We have launched! You will get out of this what you give. Commit to take small action a reep rewards. It's simple. The focus of this is CLEANING. The inspiration: 

CLEAN THE BOWL: 

mantra-clean is clear

It’s important to clean a bowl after you are done using it for one purpose. Your mind is like the 

bowl. Clean it before you prepare your next thought.  

Meditation is a way to clean the bowl. Clean your bowl often.

  • TASK- write down in a list all the things you want to clean up.
  • share if you like

xo- 

Kate

 

 

 

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