Podcast launch: The Inspired Painter with Jessica Libor

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I’m very excited to announce the launch of a podcast, “The Inspired Painter with Jessica Libor”.

If you’re an artist who wants to create an amazing and fulfilling career and life, this podcast is for you! I’ll be sharing inspiration that has worked for me and art-world insights and tips. My goal for this podcast is to help you feel in control of your art career and empowered to be the best artist you can be.

The podcast will be available on Podbean, Apple and Spotify.  I hope it brings you value!

With love, light and creativity,

 

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Visioncasting: How to plan your best year yet as an artist

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jess in gallery nature's daughters with kerasan logo

Hello my beautiful fellow creatives! I am so excited for this year. Are you excited? Isn’t it amazing that the future is in your hands, ready to be written?

I recently saw a post that said, “Your future lays before you like fresh fallen snow, take care the steps you take, for every step will show.” It’s SO true—every little thing we do in our life eventually compounds, and eventually the invisible will show itself, even if it is not obvious at first. The invisible work is so important, especially for us artists!

I am so grateful for everything that I was able to accomplish this year. I had a solo show which was very successful, in a beautiful gallery I was super proud of! I launched my first online course, began teaching as a college art professor, was featured in Beautiful Bizarre and other art publications, had my highest revenue year from my art so far, and fulfilled a lifelong dream of hiking in the redwoods! I made a painting about it too, as you can see below 🙂

 

“Solace,” oil and metal leaf on panel, by Jessica Libor (me!)

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Although these things only take one sentence to write, they actually took months, and really years of action, to come to fruition.

For instance, my solo art exhibition took hundreds of hours to prepare. In the very un-glamorous privacy of my studio, I spent many late nights working away at details.

Nature's Daughters wall Jessica Libor

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Each decision to work on my painting instead of go out with friends or watch Netflix, compounded the results of my exhibition. This is just one example of how I got the results I did this year.

The online course took months of writing, filming and preparation before it launched. Likewise, I would not have been able to get a job as a college art professor had I not gone through years of schooling and getting my Master of Fine Arts at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

Although the hard work can seem grueling while you’re in it, eventually you WILL see the results of your efforts (or non-efforts!).  And I don’t want you to think that I am bragging when I tell you this: it’s always an uphill battle for me to continually challenge myself and work on my long-term goals.

 

One book that really changed that this year was the book Deep Work by James Clear. This was actually a suggestion of Alessandra Maria, an artist I really respect who I actually interviewed on the blog earlier in the year. In Deep Work, the author talks about how distracted we are as a society, and generally as humans. He talks about the value of committing deeply to a task for a set amount of time, and entering the state of flow. When we get into deep work, that is when the really inspired artwork comes to fruition.

Below, one of my pieces from this year, “Fields of Gold,” oil and gold leaf on panel.

Fields of Gold, oil and silver leaf on panel, 11x14, by Jessica Libor 2019

This year I initiated methods of working that were blocks of time dedicated only to my artmaking. I wasn’t allowed to look at my phone or computer, get a cup of tea, or call or text anyone.

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I simply blocked off two hour sections of time and created intensely. And you know what? It was HARD. I struggled with it! Just like when you’re running an extra mile and your body protests because it isn’t used to it, my brain wasn’t used to such dedication (I know, it’s kind of embarrassing!)

I had the urge to go for a walk, check my email, text a friend, or otherwise distract myself from the pain of focus. Just like doing a math problem, my brain has to work extra hard when creating a realistic piece of art—getting the right values, colors and proportions. I could feel my brain stretching as I focused for these chunks of time.

Below, a brain-stretching artwork I finished, “The Butterflies,” oil and 23 karat gold leaf on panel.

(sm) The Butterflies, oil, gold leaf and paper on panel, 16x20, by Jessica Libor 2019

Even though it was hard, the results I got this year were far and away beyond what I had gotten in previous years. I created some of my favorite pieces. I remember one particular day, I blocked off a few hours to create. I got into such a state of flow that I did not realize that 6 hours had passed. I did not stop until the piece was complete. I was shocked that I was able to finish a large, technically detailed piece in just 6 hours. It’s probably my favorite piece this year! And it’s a physical piece of evidence of what you can do when you compress time and get into that focused state of flow. You are able to accomplish far more than you could imagine!

Below, “Darling,” the piece I finished in 6 hours of super intense focus!

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So as we step into the new year, ask yourself what you want to experience in your art career in the next 360 days, and even in the next decade, which is 3,600 days! Here are a few ideas with how to break that down. I have three steps for you that I believe will be helpful in casting your vision as you move into a new era of your artistic career.

  1. IDENTIFY WHAT YOUR DREAM CAREER LOOKS LIKE: The first step is to identify your wildest dreams: this is the WHAT. If anything WERE possible within your art career, what would that look like for you? Let go mentally of any circumstances holding you back as you imagine this. You may have a limiting thought that you are too old or too young for success, you don’t have enough time, you don’t live in the right place, you don’t have the funds to make the art…it could be anything negative that you have holding you back. Just temporarily suspend that limiting circumstance and imagine that it was not holding you back, but in fact, was an asset! Imagine how your art career would look like in its most ideal form. Where do you show your work? What artists do you show with? What kind of work do you make? How do you feel about the work that you make? How often do you work on your art? What kind of awards have you won? Are you teaching, or traveling anywhere? Where are you doing residencies? What kind of people support your art? How do you make money? (Although a topic for another post, selling your artwork is not the only way to make money as an artist: there is also teaching art, gaining a fan base on Patreon, selling lisences of your art, winning grants, doing commissions, doing public artworks, doing live events, and much more!) Write down the answers to the prompts, in vivid detail.
  2. IDENTIFY WHO YOU WANT TO BE: The next step is to identify WHO you are when you are the artist you described above. If all of your wildest dreams come true in your art career, who are you as that version of yourself? Does she get up at 6am and paint until noon? Or is she in the studio every day 9 to 5, like a regular job? Does she visit museums regularly, or go to exhibitions where she might meet people who could help her in her career? How does she think about the contribution that she is making through her art? Write it all down.
  3. IDENTIFY YOUR TOP THREE: The third step is to look at your dreams that you just wrote down and take within it your top 3 artistic goals that you would like to accomplish this year. EVEN if you think the goals would be IMPOSSIBLE to achieve within one year, I still want you to write them down. Why? Because when you identify a long term goal, even if it feels very lofty, you will strive to align yourself with that goal. You see, your brain is like a missile—when you put a destination in front of it, your amazing brain will look for ways to reach the goal. It works like magic! Eventually, even if it doesn’t happen within the first year, you will be aligned with your goal. Each day you’ll get a little closer if you keep it at the forefront of your consciousness. So take your top 3 goals, and write them very large somewhere you can see them in your studio. Look at them every day and be inspired!
  4. MAKE MINI GOALS: Once you have your top 3 goals, I want you to work on them one at a time. Take each goal and break it down into twelve mini-goals, one for each month. For instance, if one goal is to have a body of work you a really proud of within 2020, you can have a goal of making 3 amazing pieces per month that you are really proud of. This could overlap with a goal of applying to 100 shows or opportunities this year, which breaks down to only 12 applications per month, or 3 applications per week.
  5. BLOCK OUT TIME: Once you’ve made mini-goals for each month that support your top 5 goals, take out your calendar and block out the time you need each day to make it happen. Schedule out three months in advance, so you can build momentum. And then, be sure to show up and keep the promise to yourself to work on your goal. Remember it’s your invisible work or showing up that will create the reality of having your dreams come true!

I realize that when you’re trying to achieve new goals, old habits can be hard to overcome. That is because the brain is wired to seek pleasure, avoid pain, and be as efficient as possible. This is great when we are in the wilderness, avoiding wild animals and the cold (pain), looking for fruits and berries and somewhere soft and safe to lie down (seeking pleasure), and looking for the shortest way to get there (being as efficient as possible).

These hardwired instincts are actually really good because they have kept us alive as the human race for centuries. However, in the modern world, we have to be aware of our instincts and how they can hold us back. You see, in the modern world, and more particularly as a modern artist, avoiding pain could look like procrastinating on a project because of the effort it takes.

Seeking pleasure could look like watching Netflix to escape your reality or snacking on things that aren’t optimal for our health because of the short term pleasure.

And, seeking the most efficient way possible could look like trying to get success before you’ve put in the work and made artwork you’re actually proud of. You see, we are no longer running from bears and foraging for berries to survive (well, most of us, anyway!) but those instincts are still there.

And if we plan from our pre-frontal cortex, which is the smart part of our brain that allows us to plan, rationalize, and create, then we can overcome these basic instincts while still appreciating them and thanking them for keeping us alive! We can transcend our most basic state by identifying our goals and dreams and working to achieve them.

And what is art all about if not a transcendence beyond ourselves?

Another thing I like to think about as an artist is your duty. If you have decided to be an artist, then you have a duty to express your vision to the world. The world needs to see your creations and will be a better place because of it. It is your sacred duty to fulfill that job that only you can do.

One last thought is to create a vision board that includes images of your top 3 artistic goals for the year. That may include an image of the gallery you hope to show at, the kind of artwork you’d like to make, places you’d like to visit, and images and words that reflect who you’d like to be as you accomplish your top 5 goals. This can be helpful to keep motivation going as you do the hard work of the day to day grind of working on your goals! Especially as visual artists, we can be stimulated by visuals, and this can help us get in the mood to focus and remember why we are doing it in the first place.

Ok, I hope that this has been super helpful to you as you turn over the next decade and choose how you’d like to spend your next year! It’s my heart for you that you achieve your wildest dreams as an artist, and live a happy and fulfilled life along the way. I know that this is going to be your best year yet!

Lastly, I have a gift for you that I think will be extremely useful to you as you plan out your year. I’ve created a free Artistic Visioncasting worksheet, and mini-course, with everything you need to plan out your goals and dreams. There’s questions to prompt you, so you can break down your goals in an organized way. I created it specifically for this blog post so that you can get the most out of it! Just click the link below to download it.

ARTISTIC VISIONCASTING: CLICK HERE TO GET THE WORKSHEET AND MINI COURSE

Now go forth and create!

With light, love, and creativity,

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Jessica Libor

Visual Artist

www.jessicalibor.com

 

Lady of the Manor Fashion Story at the Rodin Museum

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Jessica Libor, photo by Kerasan Lamar

Rodin is my favorite sculptor.  Ever since I saw his work at his home museum in Paris, I was in love with his work.  In Philadelphia, we have a small but gorgeous museum of his work, that I love!  In a collaboration with Ms. Malena’s Vintage Boutique and Kerasan Lamar Photography, who photographed all the images with me in them, we decided on this location to tell the story of the amazingly detailed turn of the century jacket and robe.  I loved the combination of these pieces and the backdrop of the beautiful and elegant sculptures and architecture.  To see more of Malena’s Vintage Boutique, check it out here!  I am such a fan of this shop, and have many of my dresses in my personal collection from her.  I highly recommend! And now, to feel this elegant every day…

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December Exhibition at Gristle Gallery in New York

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I am thrilled to announce that three small pieces of mine are showing at Gristle Gallery in New York.

Forbidden Love, oil and 23 karat gold leaf on paper, 2.5 x 3.5, by Jessica Libor 2019

Forbidden Love, by Jessica Libor

Forest Royalty, oil and 23 karat gold on paper, 2.5 x 3.5, by Jessica Libor 2019

Forest Royalty, by Jessica Libor

Odette, oil and 23 karat gold leaf on paper, 2.5 x 3.5, by Jessica Libor 2019

Odette, by Jessica Libor

These pieces are all inspired by myths and fairy tales.  Each scene is 2.5″ x 3.5″ and is oil on arches paper mounted on cardboard, with accents of real 23 karat gold leaf.  The first is “Forbidden Love,” a romantic interlude between a mermaid and fisherman.

The second is “Odette,” a stylized painting of the story made famous by the ballet, “Swan Lake.”  Each day Odette turns into a swan.

The third is “Forest Royalty,” inspired by the rulers of the forest in some alternate universe.

Each piece is $100 and can be acquired by contacting Gristle Gallery at gallery@gristletattoo.com .

Victorian Gothic Dreaming: Collab with 521 Gemini Vintage

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Jessica modeling 2019 art museum dark gothic

I am absolutely thrilled to get the chance to work with the vintage shop 521 Gemini Vintage, an absolute treasure trove of delightful relics of another era.  From their amazing store I plucked this violet dream of a dress.  It is dreamy and feminine, reminiscent of the Victorian era of which I am so fond!

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I worked with photographer Kerasan Lamar to create the mood of a turn of the century gothic novel.

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Jane Eyre comes to mind: always one of my favorite classics to read growing up, I must have re-read it a dozen times!  I suppose the gothic drama of it appealed to me, the melodrama that was so sincere.  And the setting of the moors, in a beautiful castle-like manor, was appealing.  A favorite passage, as she addresses Mr. Rochester:

“Do you think I am an automaton? — a machine without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! — I have as much soul as you — and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you. I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh: it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God’s feet, equal — as we are!”
Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

And, of course, this early feminist sentiment:

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”
Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

As I walked over the hills and dales near the Art Museum in Philadelphia, I felt just like Jane Eyre traversing the moors.  I’m hoping this photo shoot captures some of the feeling!

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To find your own magical outfit to transport you into another time and place, visit 521 Gemini Vintage.

The Winter Starlight Art Collection

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Just finished up a calming session of candlelit yoga before heading back to the studio.  Art can be so mental; you’re in your head so much thinking of compositions and colors and textures and ideas…once can’t forget you need a body to do the creative work, so yoga breaks are an essential!  That being said, I’ve been working nonstop on a little mini holiday collection!  It’s very inspired by night time and starlight on snow, winter pines and crescent moons.  I will be releasing it on Black Friday with a timed discount to my email subscribers first before releasing it on social media.  If you’d like to get the first look, click here and you’ll be on the list to get the special discount.

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The  picture above is what my complimentary gift wrapping looks like for the holidays!  All orders that are handmade will arrive looking similar to this package 🙂  I’m obsessed with these wrappings…silver purples and icy blue satins, and shimmering tulle!

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And now a little preview of my handmade ornaments…snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes…silver white winters that melt into springs, these are a few of my favorite things!  The picture above is a sample as well as the video below (it’s fun to see it sparkle!)  It’s been such a delight creating these unique ornaments, each one hand signed and painted by me.  These are part of the Winter Starlight collection!  Join my email list by clicking here to get access when they are released.

 

More from the Winter Starlight collection.  Original one of a kind handmade paintings with accents of 23 karat gold.  Drops exclusively to my email list on Black Friday with a sweet little deal…click here to be included.

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And another gem below, from the Winter Starlight collection…”Blue Pines.”  It was such fun sourcing these vintage frames and dreaming up scenes to fill them with!

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This one is under glass, as it’s watercolor and pastel on paper.  The Winter Starlight collection will be released on Black Friday to my email list and 10% of the sales will be donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, one of the leading research hospitals in developing life saving cures for children with serious diseases.  If you’d like to see the collection when it drops, click here to be included!

 

Florence Memories

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“Everything about Florence seems to be colored with a mild violet, like diluted wine.” —Henry James, 1869 • I was fortunate enough to spend a summer in Florence a few years ago, studying painting with the @florenceacademyofart . It was the first time I experienced a step by step process of building a painting, and was amazed at the results that could be achieved—paintings that looked like old master works—by following the same steps they used carefully. I was instantly hooked in this ultimate fantasyland of classical painting. That summer seems golden and beautiful, in part because of the overwhelming art that filled the city. This photo is from Florence, Italy, at the Villa Medicea de Lillian… I couldn’t find the photographer, but it is representative of the beautiful structures and paintings that are around every corner in the beautiful city. What is a city that has influenced your art?

Into the coppery halls: the end of autumn

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Into the coppery halls; of beech and intricate oak; to be close to the trees; as they whisper together; let fall their leaves!

—Whim Wood, by Katherine Towers ✨. The first frost has come and winter is almost upon us. Each season brings its own aesthetic I enjoy for its own reasons. The end of autumn feels very mysterious and elusive to me.

What’s your power color?

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Color is powerful, especially to us creatives. Color can determine your mood, and has been proven to effect the way that we feel. I’ve always been drawn to purple and lavender colors. I love this current time of year because it’s socially acceptable to let your personality really shine with unusual costume choices. I was able to break out my lavender wig this week, and it was so much fun! It definitely let out a different part of my personality, something more playful and more creative. Just seeing myself embody this color made me feel differently! So what about you? What’s your power color? Here’s an interesting list of colors, and what some experts think they represent. Red: ambition energy, confidence, bold, passionate. Pink: sensitive, intuitive, loving, caring, respect. Purple: fantasy, creativity, distinguished, modesty, deep. Black: strength, power, professional, accurate. Orange: freedom, social, warmth, motivation, impulsive. Yellow: optimism, energetic, fun, logical, attentive. Gray: balance, neutral, timeless, practical, solid. Green: growth, nature, equilibrium, positivity, stable. Navy: responsible, integrity, trust, peace, order. Blue: ambition, perspective, aware, open. Let me know your power color and what you associate with it in the comments, I’m curious to hear!

Self Care Enhances Creativity

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I don’t know about you guys, but I often feel like I am rushing around every day, trying to check off a list of things to do and never seem to have quite enough time. It gets to the end of the day, and I always wish that I had more time to get the needed things done. The to do list actually never ends. There’s always more that we could be accomplishing and that we could be striving for in life. I took some time out this week and allowed myself to just relax for an afternoon. I allowed myself the luxury of a bubble bath. I read a few articles that were interesting to me and generally enjoyed doing nothing for a few hours! I honestly can’t remember the last time that I did this. At the end of that time, I realized that I was in such a relaxed and creative state of mind. I felt more playful, more optimistic, and so excited to dive back into the paintings and the projects that I’m currently working on. The time away made those things feel interesting and dynamic again. Also, we must remember that we are not machines! We are organic human beings who need rest I need variety in our lives. We can’t be healthy if all we do is work and all we do is put stress on our self to constantly be accomplishing things. Life is about more than that. Also, what is the point of accomplishing all these things if you can’t even enjoy life? So, I highly recommend taking some time to just relax and guilt free do nothing for a few hours once in a while. You might be surprised how positively it affects you, when you are so much more excited to be present in your artwork, and in your life!