Monday, November 9, 2015

Expandorendative Solo Show of Ardith Goodwin

12 years ago, as an elementary school teacher at the top of my career, I was facing some major medical hurdles that I would have to jump whether I wanted to or not. I left the profession that I adored and was passionate about with great discouragement, to face a life on full disability and multiple surgeries. It was as if life had once again snatched the rug out from under my feet. One morning I lay in bed, watching the sunlight flow across the pane of the window and asked myself, "What on earth would I do now? Is this all that there would be in life?" 

Now if you know me, you know I have always had the outlook of extreme optimism, sometimes to a fault, so I tapped into that innate gift and gathered about 10 books on watercolor painting from the library. To set the record, I wasn't a painter. I didn't take art lessons, but when I was in elementary and high school I loved art and knew that I loved to doodle, and that was the extent of my creative talents at the time.

 It didn't matter to me that I didn't know how to paint, I just gave myself permission to try, to explore, to play with watercolor pigment and quickly found that I had three things going for me: I had the gift of visual transfer, I had a knack for color, and creativity came naturally to me.

Fast forward to this past weekend and I am coming off the most incredible experience of having my first major solo show with 35 paintings showcased at The Eastern Shore Art Center in Fairhope, Al. So what happened in the span of 12 years with a body that was lacking and a skill set that was brand new?

Taking in the moment before the crowd.

What I can share with you in this short space is a combination of several things: I turned to art for part of my healing process, I never had the voice in my head telling me I was doing it wrong, I practiced as much as I could to work hard and thrive, and I had the aid of the Big Guy Upstairs as part of the healing that would take part in my body. Looking back on it now, it has been a remarkable journey filled with struggles and pain and hurdles and moments of extreme joy. In essence, I have journeyed through a miracle to find that the gifts of creativity and communication I was born with, would be what would help save me. 

Over the course of the next few weeks I will be sharing part of my story here on my blog because as proud as I am about the impact and body of work I have created for this show, I am equally proud of the journey I took to get to where I am today. Very few people find a way to come off disability and reenter the work force with a brand new set of skills that are connected to divine purpose and heart, but I did. I heard a voice inside myself that whispered, "You are meant for greater things," and even though there were very dark moments, I never, ever let that whisper be silenced. Today I am beyond grateful for the gift of fortitude. 

Expandorendative - A Peek Inside the Land of Ardithian is a solo show built around the framework of fracturedness, dynamic movement, pieces and parts, energy fields, transparent layers, and story. It showcases figurative works which are elements of the children's book I am writing and abstracts which carry the same framework. 

Over the last 12 months I have worked passionately and exhaustingly to master the craft that I needed to paint in a way that evokes this framework. I pulled the business elements together that I needed and I applied 12 years of study into a year of unexpected growth and discovery. Expandorendative is what I am deeply proud of. 

This show will hang until Jan. 5th and is free to the public for viewing. On Nov. 21 I have the pleasure of hosting a gallery talk to share with the audience my inspiration, my journey, and the framework that my creative heart worked within to dream and bring to fruition these conceptual pieces. 

There will be many moments for me of looking back at all of this, to see the lessons, to share the wisdom of it all, but for today, my heart is full and seeking a bit of rest to let it all sink in. If you are interested in following my story as I write, sign up for my newsletter or follow me on FB! I share quite a lot there. 

Many thanks to the staff at ESAC and to all of the friends, family, and supporters that attending the opening. It was an amazing evening that exceeded all of my expectations! 

Friends sent me flowers and flats!!!!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Wrapping The Summer


I had ideas of what I hoped to accomplish this summer when the school year closed. 

I wanted to paint full time, I did. 

I wanted to teach workshops, I did.

I wanted to work toward building my solo show for November, I did. 

I wanted to travel and work with artists one on one, I did. 

I wanted to grow as an artist and a professional, I did. 

I wanted to be in a show at the Mobile Museum of Art, and I was!

I wanted to paint with magical young ones, and I did! 

And I wanted to spend time with family, new friends, and be present, and I did. 

I didn't achieve everything, but I came pretty close! 

This summer was hot as heck....there were days I thought I had lost my mind to be painting outside but I was determined to paint large and my only option was my outdoor studio, so I sucked it up and made the best of it. What that taught me was huge. Nature is important to my creativity, working hard adds a ton of confidence to my heart, and facing challenging circumstances builds character. 

I am deeply grateful to have had the time. 

The paintings that I created were beyond what I had visioned. They were tied into my creative framework, totally connected to story, and really helped my heart understand that painting is my path and teaching is my path as well. I am proud of what I accomplished, beyond proud, and tomorrow I head back to the classroom to kick an amazing year off. 

Facing forward is important to me so I have chosen to let go of some social networking things such as groups and pages and engagements that I don't have time to engage in well. This was hard, I adore my connections, but when we choose to seek a path that requires commitment and passion, sometimes sacrifices are needed. I am up for that. 

Looking ahead you will see a lot more of me here. 

I want to share my struggles and joys of getting a solo show ready and launched.

I want to share with I learn as I grow through the occupation of being a full time painter and teacher. 

I want to keep sharing my love of art journaling, the techniques that keep me tapped in, and share some videos with you all about process and freedom. 

In essence, sharing with you here has moved up on my priority list, and that excites me. 

I am on a of beautiful marks, courageous impact, and a heart filled with the belief that if I work hard enough, apply myself, and dream a little I can achieve what I set out to. I am deeply grateful that you have chosen to take the journey with me. 

Stay tuned, I am just getting started :) 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Quick Study Daily Practice

One of the things I do weekly and teach my students in my workshops is the value of a quick study using older work. I have tons of what I call my "Under The Bed Series" of work and they are prime targets for revisiting with fresh eyes. 

Here is an older abstract I did two years ago on paper. I was exploring texture and the colors of the sea. It was ho hum at best for me, didn't captivate the heart, but it taught me a lot so there was a great deal of value in it.

Here is the new piece now after revisiting it for a quick study. Setting a timer, choosing a genre, and visiting the basics of value, contrast, and loose lines teaches me a great deal. 

"Figure In Blue" by Ardith Goodwin

The goal isn't a masterpiece. The goal is to practice, to stay loose, to connect with fundamentals, and to create pieces that will become the stepping stones toward discovery and growth. 

I will be teaching workshops in Mobile, Tulsa, and in Austin in the next 9 months. Click on the image below for some details if you are interested. 

Happy Painting Friends! 


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Impact! Painting Workshops With Ardith Goodwin

One of the questions that I keep hearing a lot from my adult students, both in person and online, is "How Do We Make Our Work More Impactful?" 

A beautiful and important question this is and one that is so relevant to so many painters these days. For the beginner, it comes from tapping into your own creative perspective, having a ton of fun getting familiar with the painting process, and being brave to show up and practice. For the advanced painter, it is an understanding about composition, concept, technique, and mastery of skills. 

IMPACT! is an acrylic workshop that blends both the joy of the beginner painter with the fundamentals and skills of the more advanced painter so that students gain a strong understanding of the strategies connected with creating paintings that resonate in powerful ways. 

IMPACT! is offered as a 2 or 4 day workshop! 

We will explore mixed media strategies connected to mark making and painting loose! 

We will dive into the study of what strong composition looks like and how to capture that! 

We will explore the delicious world of glazing and layering for contrast and value with the use of liquid acrylics! 

We will paint on paper and canvas, learn how prep work can transform the outcome, and explore the world of products that make our job easier. 

We will bend our grey cells a bit and discover how Creative Perspective can be the key to creating a unique work of art which is one of the most important aspects a painter can grasp based on Intention and Framework.

We will learn how to view contemporary and master works of art and identify the techniques and elements the artists used to capture the mind and heart of the viewer. 

We will gather, sling paint together, and enjoy a journey of learning and growth as painters, as artists, and as creatives. Each workshop will be a tad different than the others based on the needs of those attending as well, so you will get personalized attention for your process. 

The Juicy Tidbits:
Some supplies are provided, but not all. A list is given upon registration. 

Each participant receives an Ebook containing core components of topics and resources covered during our workshop. 

2 Day Workshop Fee is $275
4 Day Workshop Fee is $550

All painting and paper supplies (excluding canvas) can be provided for an additional $120 supply fee which is especially helpful for those who are traveling by plane for 2 or 4 day workshops. 

For others there is an "All In" option for students who wish to have a one hour video consult with me prior to the workshop to review portfolio/website/professional goals, have all supplies included, along with the workshop options. This option is often helpful for those who are working as professional artists, seeking gallery representation, or diving into the world of selling their work for the first time. 

The All In Option is $850 and is offered for 4 day workshops only.

Upcoming Impact! Workshops:


Mobile, Al. February 10-13 THIS CLASS IS FULL!

Tulsa, Oklahoma March 10-13, 2016 
Hardesty Art Center
101 East Archer St. 

Tulsa is Full!




Refund Policy:
60 days prior to workshop there is a 75% refund 
50 days prior to workshop there is a 50% refund
40 days prior to workshop there is a 25% refund

There is no refund less than 30 days before workshop due to the costs of plane tickets and travel fees to set up the workshop. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

To Honor The Wednesday 9

Today was an emotional day. When the news of the shootings in Charleston landed through my ears and on my heart I immediately sank. Another senseless shooting, another makes no sense act, and this time not only in a place of worship but due to the color of their skin. It simply brought me to my knees. As a human being I am heartbroken. Here are the nine and their names. 

Cynthia Hurd
Susie Jackson
Ethel Lance
Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor
The Honorable Rev. Clementa Pinckney
Tywanza Sanders
Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr.
Rev. Sharonda Singleton
Myra Thompson

37 years ago my mother and I were victims of gun violence. The guns were held to our heads, they clicked over and over and over, but by a miracle, they never fired.  We lived to tell about it, but the mark, the impact, the future was changed for me.  We also learned that a woman in the exact same spot a few days earlier was shot to death. 

It took me years of therapy to get through it and there are still moments...especially when I hear of mass murders due to hate, that are difficult to contain. Those men had a sickness of their heart...they were connected to the evil that moved through it, and that is the nature of the brokenness we call the human condition.  This act this week was connected to it as well...the evil that does exist in this world. I could have allowed the hate connected to fear to alter my life forever in a negative way. Instead, I chose to forgive. 

So last night and today I was faced with how, as a human, I process this? How do I not turn a blind eye, not become ambivalent, and not choose to let apathy take the place of action? I prayed about it, long and hard, and what I felt led to do was paint about it. I wanted to honor those 9 beautiful humans who chose to meet, study about the God they loved, and welcome a stranger into their midst because that is what love does. I wanted to say their names but more than that, I wanted to picture them in heaven, around a beautiful table together, as friends, sharing the love of God that they held dear and like they were doing here. I also wanted to create a visual reminder of the souls they would impact and watch over by the faces in the walls. I didn't know these nine humans, but I can tell you people will be changed because of they way they lived. 

A few years ago I attended a bible study on Wednesdays just like these folks. We met, we studied, we prayed, and one day I opened my art journal and recorded the event as a marker of how beautiful it was that women could come together, create, and share their faith. The image of that day left an impression so when I went to paint this piece, which was much more emotional and difficult, I turned to my art journal to connect the days. 

We gathered, they gathered. We prayed, they prayed. We welcomed anyone, they welcomed anyone. They lost their lives because of their skin color....we did not. Hate is an emotion that is taught I believe, from a very young age children are taught to hate. They are taught that in the subtle ways of the idea that they are better than others based on their color, their social status, where they live, what they wear, who they are friends with, and what their faith is.  I don't believe most parents set out to teach hate, but some do...and I also believe that children learn a ton from their peer groups despite what they parents teach them, good and bad. But hate like was shown this week was learned.

I don't know what the answers are, except I know LOVE must prevail. I know our world is sick, we have a disease of the heart that is pandemic. I know that well intentioned folks camouflage hate as Christian love. They camouflage it as liberal ideaology. Yes....they do. I also see huge amounts of hate disguised as political humor, religious humor, breeds a breeds a system of hate that is like an invisible wind blowing through every inch of the places we call home. Guns are methods of hate spreading, knives are methods of hate spreading, words are methods of hate spreading and we must address those as a society but honestly, at the core of all of a sickness in our hearts. What are we doing as a society to treat the heart? 

My heart is heavy, What these 9 souls did was model that love for God and love for others is what it is about. They gathered to study and pray...may I never, ever forget that. I am heartbroken at the racial divide in our world. Despite my history, I don't hate anyone. In fact, I have developed this beautiful love for others because that is what I believe Jesus calls us to do. 

I am one human, one human called to love others as myself. I will live that, I will teach that, I will paint that, and I will spread that light into this beautiful world we have. These are my thoughts here, my choice to do something rather than nothing, to speak out for love rather than hate, and to tell any other person of color, race, religion, or status that they are loved...dearly loved and valued by this one human. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

21 Secrets Flashback Sale

In the Spring of 2014 I had the distinct pleasure of being one of the 21 teachers in the online journaling program 21 Secrets! The entire project was perfect for folks who were looking to get their fingers wet in the art journaling experience, gain exposure to lots of new teachers, and tap into that beautiful magic of pure freedom and play through the use of an art journal.

If you missed it, Dirty Footprints Studio is offering a Flashback Sale where you can get the entire Ebook along with all the videos for $58! If you are new to art journaling or want to refresh your beautiful skills, this is an amazing opportunity but today is the last day! 

Click on the image below for all the deets! 

Monday, June 1, 2015

10 Tips For The Self-Taught Artist

14 years ago I wish I knew then what I know now about choosing to be a self taught artist. My journey has been filled with learning experiences about creativity, skills, business, marketing, people, and the challenges that go with even owning the label of being self-taught. 

Because I am a voracious learner, I committed to the practice of learning what I needed to so that I could be successful. The effort paid off in droves. For those of you just starting out, maybe my insight can save you some time. It is possible to be a successful artist and have a career as an artist, don't let the naysayers tell you other wise. It does take a huge amount of passion and effort though......which leads to a very, beautiful life. 

1. Fall In Love With The Creative Process

At some point, you LOVED making stuff as a child. Either with crayons or clay or even loved being a creator. As an adult who chooses to become a self-taught artist, you must fall in LOVE with the creative process all over again. 

Explore ideas with reckless abandon. Test out new techniques and supplies and mediums to see what your heart loves...and what it doesn't. View the works of master artists and contemporaries of our present day. Learn what you are drawn to, what styles captivate you, what genres you feel akin to. Then ask yourself why...and then ask again. 

Wake up with the excitement that every day is a new experience to create and learn and experience the act of being an artist....for no other reason than because you love it, because you can, and because it makes you happy. First be true to creativity itself.

2. Pay Attention To What Fascinates You About The World

A Self-Taught artist needs to know what fascinates them about the world. Are they drawn to lines and patterns or textures and light? Do birds and everything about birds keep and hold their attention like no other animal? Does love or heartbreak move expressions? 

We are each hardwired with a brain and heart that finds some things in life more fascinating than others. When we truly find those juicy tidbits that rock our own world, we then are able to tap into our own, unique point of view which is the pathway to our artistic voice. Create in response to what fascinates you. 

3. Practice Your Art Everyday In Some Way 

There is no getting around it. If you want to be a successful self-taught artist you must practice. You must not just must adopt being a creative as a way of life. Seek out the practice that moves your joy. Create a consistent pattern of showing up and doing the work. On off days, think creatively in a different capacity...bake something, grow something, build something...but keep creating. 

When you are called to rest, rest. Give thanks for the ability to practice and do what you love, and create the next day. Practicing our gifts...and growing our skill sets is what we are called to do. There is no short cut to must do the must do the work. 

4. When You Decide To Go From Hobby to Profit....Learn The Business

The minute you choose to go from creating because you simply love it for fun...and that is a beautiful thing, to creating with the intent to sell....LEARN THE BUSINESS. Get a business license, study and become informed about taxes, pay attention to the market and what you are up against. I say that because in business you are always up against something....know your mountain. Learn how to climb it by viewing what other successful artists are doing. 

Make a plan. The business side can zap an artist's spirit so fast and believe it or not, not every artist is set out to be a business person. Get help. Ask.... and OWN the fact that you are now in business and that your work is ready to sell to a greater audience. 

Put meticulous care into creating the best product you can and develop a beautiful connection to customer service. It will always pay will. 

5. Find Teachers/Mentors/Study Programs To Help You Master Your Skills

Be willing to learn.....and to seek help. Choosing to be a self-taught artist gives us a lot of freedom, but it also calls us to truly understand our craft and practice. Depending on what type of art you create...become a master at that type of art. If there are techniques you need to learn, be willing to sacrifice if necessary to pay for the best training you can. 

Let go of the mindset that you don't have the money for workshops or mentors. Start setting aside a little everyday...or every week. Make your business and your passion a priority. Ask yourself, "What am I willing to give up so that I can do this or that?" I literally gave up eating out for 4 months to save enough money to attend a week long workshop that changed my entire artistic life. It was worth every single can of beans I ate instead. 

6. Own Your Confidence, Share Your Journey

Self-taught artists seem to come out of the gate feeling the need to prove themselves or measure up. I get it. To offset this way of thinking, know your place and time in your journey. If you are a beginner, celebrate being a beginner. Own every single moment of practice to learn and better yourself.....and to show up for the creative process. 

Do your very best not to compare. In fact...thump the comparison fairy on the head every time it flies into your head. The very fact that you are willing to show up every day and do the work is golden. Be proud of PROUD. 

With that confidence, share your journey. There are many artists in the world in the exact same place you are, so sharing your journey helps them relate to theirs. Don't profess to be more than you are, but don't profess to be less than you are either. When you choose to share your journey you become a Wayshower. The world needs more Wayshowers. 

The Wayshowers 30" by 48" Ardith Goodwin

7. Practice Authentic Marketing

Be true to who you are...and to the profession of creators when it comes to marketing. If you copy to learn, bravo...but don't share that as your own. Market what you create that is uniquely yours. We are all influenced by external forces, especially visual ones, and at the end of the day, we must choose to honor the artists who create from their unique voice and honor our learning path as well. 

Realize that marketing is important, creating your own brand is important, but underneath all of that,  honesty and integrity in the business world should rule the day. Don't undercut your galleries, be consistent with pricing. Don't sell high one day and then cut your prices in half the next for a 'flash sale.' Really seek out the steps in marketing that ring true to the customer as well as your artistic brand. 

8. Serve Others 

At some point, give back. One of the beauties of living a creative life is that it gives you so many opportunities to give back. Volunteer to speak at a school, offer to share a craft with a local senior center, write a blog offering how-to lessons for free. Find a way to use your gifts for the greater good. It will fill your wellsprings, it is a community minded way of thinking, and it is so very needed in this world. 

If you are called to teach, teach...but know your subject matter. Don't jump on the bandwagon of teaching because you only see profit, truly know what you are going to teach and meet your students needs as best you can. Serving others is how we move creative love forward. 

9. Understanding That Timing Is Everything

Patience is a big deal. Just because you see a painting that you love...and you want to paint like that, doesn't mean you know how to just yet. Give yourself the time to develop as a creative. If you put in the work and the effort, the doors will open. They will...but all in good time. There is a level of work ethic that you must find your balance to...and be willing to put in the hours, but when you do, the timing of opportunity will reveal itself. 

Some artists study for years before they know they are ready to go full time. Explore, learn, have a riot of a good time, and trust your inner voice. He/she knows the way for timing. 
Trust the timing. 

10. Understand That Everyone Of Your Marks Matters 

Never let anyone else, or yourself, convince you that your marks don't matter. Every mark we make from doodling to scribbles to the fine lines of a finished piece are the steps it takes to achieve greatness. Without the little steps, the big steps wouldn't connect. We are not giants...we are humans that through courage and grace have chosen the calling to be a creative. We create marks to learn, to grow, to expand our point of view, and to share with others. EVERY SINGLE MARK does. Go make your marks. 

Flowers After The Dance 18" by 24" acrylic

Ardith Goodwin is a self-taught artist of the highest order...she also loves to write and teach about her passions. You can learn more about her offerings HERE.