Invincible Summer (Watercolor and Ink) by Judy Clement Wall
“Basically, you’ve just got to keep creating. Eventually, there’ll be someone out there who your work resonates with.”
Most of us start a new year with all kinds of good intentions and resolutions, but in 2011, writer Judy Clement Wall set herself a very different challenge. It was one that would see her facing down her demons, hugging complete strangers, becoming an artist, learning some often uncomfortable truths about herself, and emerging from it all a different person.
Declaring the 12 months that lay ahead as ‘The Year of Loving Fearlessly’, she set about turning the negative emotions of 2010 into positive ones. Having had a very tough year, she set up a blog and started doodling as a way to relax, describing the process as “meditative”. To her surprise, she soon found her mission to fill the world with love struck a real chord with others.
“I’d had a really difficult time in 2010, and I felt that I needed to put some love out into the world in order to get some back,” Judy explains. Having started her blog thanks to supportive comments from friends, she updated it weekly and invited other bloggers to join the discussion. She also gave herself monthly assignments to keep people up to date with her progress, feeling that “If you set up a blog for people to follow, you’re accountable to them – you have to keep them updated with what’s going on.”
Fearless Loving and Coffee Shop Hugs
The positive ripples she was sending out into society soon began to make waves. In fact, one such assignment, the ‘hug someone every day’ challenge she set herself in February 2011, resulted in a coffee shop full of people queuing up to hug her!
“It all started when I explained my assignment to the barista in the coffee shop and asked if I could hug her,” laughs Judy. “Before I knew it, I had about 15 customers lining up to get hugs too!”
In addition to spreading some love in her community, Judy also started to develop her skills as an artist. Having previously carved out a successful career as a creative writer, she found it refreshing to create something where she had no expectations of herself. “Rather than calling them illustrations or drawings, I began referring to what I was making as doodles,” she explains. “That way, I had no expectations of myself and could just have fun with it. I kept telling myself that I’m a beginner and this is OK!”
Her refreshing approach soon started attracting attention. Having posted some of her ‘doodles’ on her Facebook page, people started asking if they were for sale. Feeling encouraged by this, she decided to set up her Etsy store, where she now sells a range of cards featuring her ‘doodles’ and her e-book, The (Fearless) Love Essays.
Why You Have to Keep on Creating Art
“Since setting up the store, I’ve learned a lot about selling your art,” she says. “I started reading Etsy blogs from other artists and found them really helpful – especially one where an artist describes selling your art as like throwing spaghetti against a wall and seeing what sticks! Basically, you’ve just got to keep creating. You never know what will sell and what won’t, so you’ve just got to keep going. Eventually, there’ll be someone out there who your work resonates with.”
Judy’s story is a real-life example of how the world has changed for artists and creative thinkers. “The old way of doing things isn’t the only way anymore,” she says. “Nowadays, you’ve got social media and sites such as Etsy to promote your work. You’ve just got to tell yourself that you are good enough and that there are people who will love your work. You’ve just got to put it out there!”
Her fearless approach to making art is one she’s been keen to pass on to her son, saying: “I tell him that you don’t have to be the best artist in the world – you just have to be the one that grabs hold of someone’s heart and mind and touches them.” Recently, she took the Pencil Kings Figure Drawing Challenge with him in order to improve both their anatomy skills.
Since embarking upon her Year of Loving Fearlessly, Judy has begun making an alternative career for herself as an artist. Having already produced several commissioned pieces, she’s currently working on some illustrations for a children’s book. “I’m always learning something new,” she says. “When starting a project, I often ask myself ‘Can I actually draw this?’ I’m delighted when I find out that I can after all!”
Listen to this week’s show and learn:
- How setting yourself assignments can help you reach your goals
- How creativity can help turn a negative situation around
- Why the results of reaching out to people can often surprise you
People on this Episode:
Mentioned in the episode:
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