Peace on Earth

Peace on Earth

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Only Path to Serenity

It is often said "Do your best and leave the results up to God." This axiom can be found in multiple disciplines: I have heard it in the Tao te Ching verse 9 (written by Lao Tsu, in ancient China; his text is the foundation of Taoism, a spiritual philosophy of world influence), and in the immortal Bhagivad Gita. This is a difficult principle to understand, but doing it without understanding is actually the first step of doing it. What I mean is, as I struggle to understand it, I was doing it in some aspects of my life. I've written in the past about my struggling business, but I keep doing my business even though I seem to be unable to control my success or lack there of. My devotion to God is part of my work, so it doesn't matter if it makes me any money or not. This is what I tell myself to keep me from quitting.
Today, I decided to look for some Shanti calligraphy on Google to aid me in a new design I'm thinking of doing. My search was actually "Om Shanti Calligraphy" Well, to my surprise, there on the first page was my own design!

Without trying to get the number one page spot on Google, I just did my best. God took care of the rest. Sometimes we get little displays of blessings in our lives to keep us going!

Monday, April 16, 2012

All You Need is Love

Hi guys! I've decided to take my blog in a new direction. Although I'm sure you are all fascinated by my meanderings about my blind stumbling through the oddities of the print business, it occurs to me that we all might be better served if I write about: 1. something I have experience in, 2. something that’s interesting, and possibly 3. something that might benefit us by talking about.
My life and my art have centered on spiritual matters for years, so even if I’m not an enlightened master, I may be able to pass on some bits of information that could be passably entertaining to some. My other areas of interest in art like dinosaurs and myriad other subjects usually get enough research by me when I’m working on the piece to at least make a blog post about.
The first post on these lines will of course be something I’ve already talked about (repetitive and contradictory!) My spiritual outlook can be summed up thusly:

“I am the Blue Dragon. I serve the Blue Light; whose physical manifestation is the Universe: the One Voice, the Eternal Word, the Infinite Sound. All things are revealed by the Light. All shadows are created by the Light. Love is the Way of the Light. Either one serves Love or one opposes Love. One cannot claim to serve Love through hate. Anger and fear are the absence of Love. Love is omnipresent. There is nowhere it is not. It does not shirk; it does not hide. To be unable to feel its presence is delusion. It is we who turn away from the Light. It is constant and never abandons us. It is The Energy; The Force; The Power. The Source of all. Love is indiscriminate. Love is not concerned with what name it is called, or what rituals it is worshiped by. Love does not favor one over another. Love does not punish. Love wants you to be happy and healthy. For this to happen you must conform to Love. Love cannot be ruled by you. You are a manifestation of Love. There is no intermediary.”

This is not to say that I believe that I am literally a dragon or even believe in the existence of dragons. I was born on the year of the dragon, and in Eastern philosophy the dragon is a symbol of enlightenment. The dragon is just a metaphor. Try not to get caught up in particulars. Find the general theme. The theme here is Love.
What I mean is that God is not angry or hateful or punishing. You can’t worship God by being that way. If you can accept this principle, everything else will fall into place. Many religions have been corrupted by men to say that God hates, but this is simply not true. This belief is brought about by our own short sightedness. Don’t get me wrong, I’m human and I become angry and declare that I hate things, but I know this does not bring me closer to God. It separates me from god via my clouded perception.

Try to connect to Love in everyway you can. Listen to music that has a healthy view of Love. (Jealousy and other negative emotions connected by our culture to love are natural to have but they are not Love.) Know that we are all struggling through our daily lives and when we wrong each other it is usually out of the pain of our struggles than any vindictiveness on our part. In this way we can forgive each other as we need to be forgiven for out missteps (sound familiar?)
Finally a word about various faiths. The word Allah means “God of Abraham” which is a Judeo/Christian epithet for God. Krishna is known as the “Lord of Love” as is Jesus. Just as many cultures have different words for “hat”, and different ways to have weddings, so there are many ways to worship God. Religions that say otherwise were designed to say that by their leaders because these leaders want to be the leaders of everyone. It doesn’t nullify the whole religion, just the part that says they are the only way.
Remember, when Jesus says, “I am the way and the Light and the Truth” he is speaking as God. He is not saying Kali is not the way, he is saying that heaven can only be found through God. Whether you worship God as Kali or Jesus or something else is up to you.
Ok, now time for my shameless plug: I am so enamored of the Blue Dragon that I have painted many of them. (What the dragon says is absolutely true, even if he is fiction.) You can get any print of my blue dragons and you can have the blue dragon quote included with them if you want.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Hello all! I recently read an article which encourages people to narrow their focus to gain success. The impulse is to expand and the author says that confuses potential customers. I am going to give this a try. I have been struggling for a while, couple this with the bad news that my gf & I didn't get accepted into the craft fair we had applied to, and I'm looking to make improvements. Some things take a while and improvement is something all businesses must constantly look to but it's hard not to get discouraged. I wonder if I'm marketing on the wrong site; Etsy is primarily handmade stuff, and while all my products are derived from handmade art, many of them are printed out of a computer. I love Etsy and am going to stick with it. I may have to figure out a better production system.
So, to narrow my focus, I'm going to make less greeting cards. Although initially greeting cards was my main focus, they were always just an outlet for my art. I never said, "What can I paint to make a good birthday card?", I always said, "What kind of card can I make from this painting?" (Of course, I made many Christmas cards just for Christmas with that in mind, but sold none...) I know there are many factors at play but I'm going to give this advise a try. It comes from Handmadeology, which I respect alot.
What I am going to focus on is art prints. Mostly spiritual. I have a total of 21 Saint related product. This is not counting non Christian spiritual products of which there are 12. There are an additional 12 that are motivational or sober related that could be grouped into the spiritual catagory. That's 45 and there's still some Easter cards I didn't count because they have the Easterbunny instead of a spiritual theme to them. I have 83 products total so the remainder are landscapes, dino prints, and other non spiritual products. Now just to be clear, all my Christmas stuff is down, or there would be more of both catagories. Aren't you glad I'm telling you all this? My hope is that others going through the same struggle will be able to get something out of it even if it's just commiseration.

So I added some new prints along those lines. I've completed 3 more paintings in my "saint" series and I love them all. I've listed them as prints on their own, or as posters with some text to go with them. I've been visiting the gf's family and some old friends, so I've given up alot of creating time for that. I hope to redouble my output to keep offering great things to people.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Mystery Solved

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Monday, April 2, 2012

Patchwork Art Fair!

My girlfriend and I have applied to be in the Patchwork Craft show in Santa Ana this May. We haven't received word that we've been accepted but the best strategy is to act as if we have so we can be ready. We are going to label all our stuff, and make displays. It is our first show. We will be sharing a booth. We don't have a lot of money, but we want to be sure to cover all the basics. We could get a cash register for about $100, but I think that we can do with out it this first time until we can get an idea if this will prove profitable and how difficult it would be to deal with out one. We plan on having aprons with pockets to keep cash in. I think this will serve. I want to get a calculator with a printable tape to give as receipts. This can be had for $15, which is more doable than the $100 register. It cost $80 each to apply and our merchandise ranges from about $4 to about $50. I figure people coming to a street fair style craft show are probably not prepared to spend more than that in cash any way. We could also get a credit card reader for our phones ostensible free when we agree to a processing fee for each transaction. Again, I would like to start simple and complicate things as we become accustomed to what we are doing. I plan on keeping my prices the same as in my etsy shop. I would appreciate any advice or stories of experience you guys may have.