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AI Internet Takeover: What does it really mean?

 In the past year, AI generation has come to the forefront of the public's attention. It first came to my attention when listening to an art podcast where they brought up Midjourney and frequently discussed its implications and followed its progression and other sprouting AI offerings. Artists were enraged by duplicitous online artwork made in their styles and appalled to realize their art was no longer only being knocked off for a quick profit by cheap online POD merch stores, but now also by apparently anyone who wanted to. Now artists are not only losing rightful income due to copyright infringement, they are at high risk of artistic identity theft. The current climate of visual artists for hire depends on projecting a style, a self-image, online via social media. The danger of that style, that self-identity , being hijacked by anyone who could then possibly compete with the actual artist online or in the market is more than a little unsettling. It i

5 Tips for Overwhelmed Mamas

 Hey there friends,

My little girl turned one last month, and I am excited to share a couple thoughts from a whole year of living and doing with my tiny baby along for the ride.

First off,  the number one lesson motherhood is teaching me is to take it slow and only do what I can when I can. That can look like doing some housework while wearing my baby, throwing down a few scribbles, and more often than not, just taking the day off. It is very important to realize that things often aren't as urgent as you thought and that only a small fraction of what you have on your list is actually IMPORTANT today (or even at all.)

This has been my #1 takeaway because it has been my #1 struggle!

My list is always full (my husband teases me about my list obsession, and yes I have even made lists about lists I need/want to make). Sometimes I get really cranky at the end of the day because I feel like I have only held my squirmy baby ALL DAY. But I am really grateful for everything my little girl is teaching me about slowing down and about doing what is needful at the appropriate moment.

I am grateful for the blessing of being a full-time mama, and that I am learning to let my projects grow where they can.

All that being said, here are five ways I have found to give my projects a little room to grow.

stay at home moms feel overwhelmed --how get something done while taking care of a child

#1: Lean IN to what Baby likes

I have learned to play music while doing some housework (mainly dishes or some simple food prep or simple cleaning) while wearing Petra or while she plays nearby. She loves music and she loves the kitchen! Maybe I won't have enough consecutive time or mobility to make four loaves of bread, but I can do one or two of the small things on my list so I can be happy about how my day is going. 

#2: Lean IN to weird solutions and small moments

There is usually some way to change how you're thinking about what you have to or want to do in order to contort it to fit the weird fluid schedule of mama-hood. When I was updating my portfolio, my little girl took lots of reasonably sized naps, however, that didn't mean I could get very far for very long. I leaned into these times by working digitally on my iPad mini so I could take my work to bed and work at weird angles while she was still nursing. During those times I focused on rendering, not rough sketches or intermediary steps, using a technique I stumbled into (using the lasso tool and a very large textured brush) that gave me the flexibility and finish I needed. This technique is the basis of my updated portfolio, and the answer to a lot of my art questions. Thanks for that Petra.

#3: Lean IN to help

This has also been a major struggle for me. I suppose I have always been as ambitious as I have been capable--I could always do what I was aiming for mostly on my own. Now if I really want to get stuff done I need to ask for help. I have had to recognize that people who love me want to help me, that I am worthy of help. They have time to help me too--it just might take some planning. Although my husband does have lots of homework to do as he finishes up his last semesters of college, he would rather do almost anything other than schoolwork--including kneading bread, holding Petra, cleaning, cooking, or going on a walk. It can be hard to let yourself take time from other people's important to-do lists but realize that there is wiggle room in even the most stuffed schedule for what really matters--helping a loved one and spending time with family.

#4: Lean IN to God

I realize that not everyone is religious, but I am. I have seen such a difference in my life when I make connecting with God a priority in my day every day. I think part of its power comes from setting priorities in order and stepping away from worries and cares and lists for a little while. A fresh perspective or new insight is only a prayer, a verse, or a meditation away.

#5: Lean IN to mental work (put the phone away)

The great thing about being a mama/artist is how much time you get to think and observe. The best ideas come from plenty of time to think and plenty of experiences to sift through. Being a full-time mama lets me soak in so much real life that fills me with thoughts I want to share with others and with my little girl. Time spent physically occupied, but mentally free is time that I can think about my project, make it better, plan my next step or improvement, think about a mini-project or exercise I can do to improve myself for the project, and much more. All you need to do is put the phone down and start down the rabbit hole of your project in your mind.

Ask yourself what you wanted to say when you started, what you want to say now, what you could be saying that you're not saying. Think about the specific person who the project is for, who it was inspired by, and how it could be more tailored. Think about what you have done, what you hope to achieve, and what the gap is. Ask yourself what one element you could improve in yourself, your skills, or your project that would make the biggest positive impact on the overall quality of the work. Then (if it's time/cost effective) think about how you could make that happen. 

This can get tiring, and it might be overwhelming to come up with so many plans and improvements when you will never have time for most of them, but the idea is just to spend time coming up with ideas and spending time with your project in your mind so that when you have the chance to get to work your subconscious will have sorted through the mess for you and be able to feel what the most important next step is.

Even with all these ideas, some days and weeks are better than others. Some days my baby is so fragile I can hardly put her down for five minutes, and I don't have the presence of mind to say one small personal prayer. I easily feel overwhelmed and easily get upset with everyone around me. 

In those times:

#6: Lean IN to simple joys and take a few deep breaths

Yes, just breathe. Even if the baby is screaming. Identify which of your basic need is not being met (usually a lack of water or food) and focus on that for a while. Remember that she can't scream forever. Go to bed, take a nap. Let go of your to-do lists and your feelings of obligation to make the world nice for everyone around you. People will find something to eat without your help, they always do. 

And you can tell them to baby you for a little while.

It will be okay.


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