Well, Happy New Year! You may hear from my voice that I sound a little more sultry than usual.
My husband and I flew to Mobile Alabama on Christmas day, to spend 4 days with his family, then we flew home on our anniversary, the 28th, and I was feeling really tired, and had a tickle in my throat, and I was sneezing a little. I figured I had allergies or something — but then the next day, I was hit with the Mother of all Colds.
Which exploded into I guess some kind of monster infection, and man, I was so sick.
I was going through boxes of tissues, my poor nose is all ragged. I had my husband go out and find some kind of softer brand because the Trader Joe’s recycled tissues felt like I was rubbing sandpaper on my nose every time I blew it. Which was, like, every two minutes.
Meanwhile, my fever would trigger a headache, which would trigger a migraine, and my ears were aching, and, oh, my god, it was just bad.
So finally on, what, Sunday I had a phone appointment with a doctor who prescribed antibiotics, and much as I hate taking drugs, guess what, within 24 hours, I was feeling a lot better.
I still sound pretty bad, but believe me, it is like night and day.
Anyway, the next couple episodes I have something a little different for you. I’m super excited to share with you some really special people from my Creative Sandbox Community.
These are just a few of the many success stories inside the Creative Sandbox. One of the things the Creative Sandbox is so good for is helping members tackle their fears, so they can do the big, scary things that feel impossible, and these women have done just that.
This week, I’m delighted to introduce you to Jessica Sanders, of Color Me Creative.
I started us off by asking her how she describes herself, and her answer got the ball rolling on the rest of our conversation.
A transcript of our conversation is below.
Jessica: [00:00:00] Lately I’ve been calling myself an art explorer. But I don’t know. That seems to be what I’m doing more than I’m just, you know, making art; I’m really just exploring a lot of different things.
Melissa: [00:00:13] That’s total Creative Sandbox! I love it! So tell me about, first of all, how did you end up joining the Creative Sandbox Community.
Jessica: [00:00:26] Well, I’ve actually been following you for a really long time. I followed some creative business books and from there I found you and the Abundant Artist, and this was like probably 2012 maybe? I mean it was a long time ago.
Melissa: [00:00:48] Ancient history!
Jessica: [00:00:51] Yeah, really! So anyway, skip to the near present and you were running a program, I think that was free last fall. I joined and did that program.
[00:01:05] And then I joined the Sandbox right after that something like that with Creative Courage Lab right after that. And that was so great that I was like OK. I mean you know for the next year.
Melissa: [00:01:18] Yes so that was I did a pilot program for the last five months. It was actually was August through December. So the last five months of 2015, and we did Creative Courage Lab, it was like November-December. And then I did the (Creative Sandbox) pilot program was an experiment for me to see do I want to have an ongoing membership community? And I really liked it. So that’s when I offered the ongoing memberships in January. And then you have just been such an integral part of the Sandbox community. You have contributed amazing art tutorials once a quarter and you have been leading our wonderful ArtShares. Can you talk about, first of all, let’s start with the ArtShares. What what made you decide to want to start hosting those?
Jessica: [00:02:17] Well first thank you for letting me host them! I was like just really excited. After doing Creative Courage Lab, November-December, like we talked about, I was really excited about the whole group. I was excited about the community that was there, and the people and all the encouragement, and I really just wanted to help. And so another Sandbox member, Petrea, had mentioned, you know, we should do something where we share art, and I was like, “Yeah, that would be so much fun!” And I had actually done something similar offline in the real world, with a mosaic group.
Melissa: [00:03:09] And what happens on those calls?
Jessica: [00:03:12] It’s like show-and-tell. But no bullies you know it’s just for fun and we just share our art, writing, poetry. You could come and sing if you wanted to. I mean, you know, whatever. Everybody oohs and ahhs, and it’s fun.
Melissa: [00:03:29] I know you’ve said it’s not a critique group. So what’s the relationship to feedback in the ArtShares?.
Jessica: [00:03:37] Well, I mean, you could ask for feedback if you wanted it. But mostly we’re just saying, “Hey, here’s what I’m working on.” And we admire it. We talk about supplies, and that gets us into trouble and stuff like that.
Melissa: [00:03:53] Meaning like, “Ooh, I need to go buy that now.”
Jessica: [00:03:57] Yes, exactly. “Now I’ve got to get that!”
Melissa: [00:03:59] You are one of the people who has gotten me — or is about to get me into trouble with the alcohol inks. You’ve you’ve created a couple of tutorials on alcohol inks and the Intense watercolor pencils. Those are in my wish list on Amazon and I am going to be pushing that trigger one of these days very soon.
Jessica: [00:04:24] I know, button.
Melissa: [00:04:26] You know, like “first one’s free.” Right. Addicted o art supplies!
Jessica: [00:04:31] I know. I’m bad because when we got on the call too, I’m like, “Oh look, I have this book or I have this and I’ve been using for that.” So people write it down.
Melissa: [00:04:44] I know my it’s not like my @calligraphyhowto Instagram account is becoming that for some people. They’re like, “Ooh, now I have to go buy a folded nib and give it a try,” or whatever it is that I’m playing with.
Jessica: [00:05:02] You had like a rolling pen or something had a very flat tip and I was like, that would be so awesome I think you could probably use it. I don’t know if you can use it with other kinds of ink than you are using it for, watercolor maybe down. And I’m like yeah oh I know it’s contagious.
Melissa: [00:05:22] All the stuff you see somebody doing something and it’s like, “Wow, that looks cool. I want to do it too!” So that’s that’s how we end up acquiring all those thousands of dollars worth of art supplies over the decades.
Jessica: [00:05:33] The supply shelf.
Melissa: [00:05:35] Right exactly. So, and then, I know that the creating the video tutorials was really, like a new thing for you. Can you talk about what your relationship was with that before Creative Courage Lab and how you felt about that idea. Let’s start with that: how did you feel about the idea of creating videos before.
Jessica: [00:06:05] OK so it was something I really wanted to do. I had even a camera set up, I built a stand, it was over my table. This was in January or February, before the November Creative Courage Lab, right? So it was something I really wanted to do, but I never did it, because I was really intimidated.
[00:06:25] I mean honestly, I was intimidated. I’m like, “I don’t know what I’m going to say, maybe I shouldn’t say anything, I don’t really know how to do this.” So that’s where I was before.
Melissa: [00:06:35] So that was like January or February. So it was like 11 months later we started Creative Courage Lab. And then what happened.
[00:06:45] Right. So we’ve talked about, I had already been sharing my artwork and I’d been sharing that for a while. And mostly what I liked not what I didn’t like up to that point probably. So you and I had talked about it might be a good time to try the videos. You know you were encouraging me there. And, so, I just, I did and it was kind of a touch and go process. Like, you know, I wasn’t sure how long to make them, or I should put a time limit. And you know, I learned a lot, a whole lot through that process. Because I did it, like — how long was the.
Melissa: [00:07:27] 30 days.
Jessica: [00:07:27] And I made like 20 something videos in those 30 days. So it was a big learning in these areas.
Melissa: [00:07:37] Yeah. And what I love about that is that, really, how we learn things and how we get good things and how we figure things out is by doing them. And so that’s exactly what you did. And I remember you took on this challenge that basically every day for your Creative Courage Lab project you were going to be making a video and we got to see those videos and it was so cool to see how your relationship to creating the video changed. And I remember there was one — I don’t remember who was a Creative Courage Lab video or not, but you shared a video — and we have a policy inside the sandbox that we don’t give advice unless it’s asked for. And I asked if you wanted some feedback on the video and you said yes please give me some feedback. And so we were able to give you some really helpful feedback for you to make the next videos even better than what you did right off the bat and your videos just improved, like boom boom boom boom boom.
[00:08:44] The the quality of them. You know? I mean, just little simple things like how to get better sound and stuff like that, so that people are going to want to listen. And your videos are always just so fun to watch. And now you’ve just been making tons of videos and having so much fun with them playing with the time lapse and various different things. And had you tried any of that stuff before? and now not.
Jessica: [00:09:10] Uh, no! I tried a lot of it during the Creative Courage Lab session and I tried like a lot of different things. And I guess I always experiment with art products, all kinds of art products and different kinds of art and different ways to do things that I have ideas,”Oh, let me try and this and let me try that,” but I haven’t taken that approach with videos at all. It was just sitting there. And so once I got started, you know, with the encouragement from Creative Courage Lab I got started and I shared there, and I had like zero followers on YouTube, so I shared it on YouTube but I’m sure that counts. But I started experimenting and got feedback from the group and learned to add music to videos I learned to edit videos. I still have a lot to learn, but you know, it was a lot!
Melissa: [00:10:07] It’s huge. And I mean we all have a lot to learn, right? I mean there’s there’s always so much. But one of the things that I loved about watching your videos is that you were not afraid to say, “Well, I’m going to try this thing and I’m going to see what happens. Let’s see what happens. You know I don’t like this but let’s try this other thing over here, and this isn’t so bad,” or “Oh, I really like what’s happening here.” And so we got to see the whole process and hear your thoughts on the process which is so incredibly… I don’t know it’s just.. it’s inspiring, it’s educational, and it’s just entertaining, too. It’s like everything all wrapped up.
Jessica: [00:10:52] Thank you! That’s awesome. That’s everything I would like for them to be.
Melissa: [00:10:58] Yeah. It’s amazing, in the span of 30 days. You went from “I’ve never done a video. I really like to, but I’m really scared,” to the Video Queen.
Jessica: [00:11:10] Yeah, it really was an amazing process. I mean, like looking back on it, especially, I’m like, “Really? Was it hard? Now it’s not.” You know?
Melissa: [00:11:20] That’s the really interesting thing isn’t it? When we’ve got a community that can encourage and support and champion us, this thing that feels so big and hairy and scary, it ends up not being nearly as big and hairy and scary as we thought it was, or it doesn’t take us nearly as long to make the progress, you know, in our own mindset shift as we fear that it’s going to, because it’s just a matter of taking that action, taking those little small actions towards that goal, and suddenly you’re like, “Whoa, I need a bigger goal now!”
Jessica: [00:12:01] Yeah. Very true. Yeah, the community makes a huge difference. I mean, because, like I said, I didn’t really have followers on YouTube. Some people from the Creative Sandbox community followed me on YouTube, but I basically didn’t have any. I have a few more now I’m working on it. So I’ve basically felt I as sharing in a completely safe environment, even though I knew someone could watch this on YouTube. I was OK with that because getting started I guess. But then sharing in the Sandbox, I was like, “Oh, my friends will help me and they will and encourage me,” you know.
Melissa: [00:12:37] Yeah, that’s one of the things that I feel so strongly about that’s so important. Because when we share our creative things it’s so vulnerable. You know, like, we pour our heart out, whatever it is we’re creating, you know, and it feels like any feedback on that thing that we’ve created is directly reflected on who we are. Right? It’s so vulnerable and it’s so essential for us to have a space that’s really safe, that’s really positive, that’s really nurturing, where you know nobody’s going to diss you. Where you know the only comments you’re going to get are going to be encouraging comments. And also because you know there’s a wide range of expertise and experience. People there are not going to lie to you. If they don’t think it’s great they’re going to give you some kind of positive feedback or they’re just not going to leave a comment at all.
Jessica: [00:13:44] Yeah. I think also a characteristic maybe of the group is that you know maybe somebody is doing something it’s not your style or not my favorite thing or your favorite thing, or it’s completely out of your your wheelhouse — like you don’t do that stuff at all. But the people who are there look for something that they can relate to where they can encourage you.
Melissa: [00:14:09] Exactly. That makes total sense you put it so. Way better than I did it. No that totally nails it. That’s so right. Because there are so many different styles and you know, different kinds of techniques and mediums and just creative expression types that people are doing inside the Sandbox and some, obviously, you’re going to relate to more than others, but we are all creatives and so there’s always something that we can find to appreciate or relate to in what somebody else is doing even if it’s not the style that maybe we’d put on our wall or something like that. We can always relate.
[00:14:46] So tell me more about, you know, what I’m interested in is, how has being in the Sandbox affected the rest of your life? Has it made a difference in the rest of your life in any way?
Jessica: [00:15:04] Do you mean outside of art?
Jessica: [00:15:07] Anywhere. I mean it could still be art, but outside of our little closed safe community. Has anything changed for you as a result of being part of the Creative Sandbox Community.
Jessica: [00:15:20] Well, I mean I am sharing my videos on YouTube and I have a small following there. I mean I have 50 subscribers or something, so for me that’s changed where I can actually share outside. I was sharing outside before, but like I said, I didn’t have any followers.
[00:15:38] And also, just in general I find I do more creative activities because I know I have somewhere to share even if it’s not perfect or pretty. If it’s something creative I have somewhere to share it, so I do, I generally do more creative stuff I think.
Melissa: [00:15:57] That’s awesome. Yeah.
Melissa: [00:16:02] This is something I don’t think I’ve asked you before and I’m just curious. Going through Creative Courage Lab, which is a program inside the Creative Sandbox Community that I ran last November, has that spilled out into other areas of your life at all?
Jessica: [00:16:33] That’s a good question. I have to think about that. So how has creative courage spilled out into my life in other ways. I think even though I was willing to experiment with art and things before, I’m even more willing to experiment now. I think that it has affected me in that way. And also there are some things like it made me realize that maybe, you know, I could actually talk to people in real life about my art. I mean online is real life, but you know, face to face a little bit different. And I feel like also it’s kind of I’m not on this kind of path to building out classes and things like that from my website which is just a mind blowing thing for me.
[00:17:35] So in that way I feel like it’s really spilled over into into other areas of my business and my art and life.
Melissa: [00:17:45] That’s fantastic. So tell us more about your business.
Jessica: [00:17:49] Well, I sell my art online and I have a website ColorMeCreativeArt.com. And right now I’m working on doing some alcohol ink related things coming up for the holidays. I’m going to have ornaments for sale but I’m also working on some online classes that I’m hoping to get up there before the end of the year for making different alcohol ink tutorials. I have like … 40 plus techniques just for alcohol inks. So I want to put that together and make it into a class or, you know, I don’t know yet, but that’s what I’m working for.
Melissa: [00:18:38] That’s exciting. Very very cool.
[00:18:42] And what is your favorite thing about the Creative Sandbox Community?
Jessica: [00:18:53] My favorite thing is the community itself and just having people to talk to. Everybody’s doing their creative endeavors. I think, you know, it’s not always all the same people — we have people coming in, we have people leaving. I joined as a yearly member and so I’ve seen people come and go and there are some people who’ve stayed the whole time. People will jump in and they do creative things and we all talk about it and it’s just a great place for, you know, someone to prop you up to just come alongside you and you lean against each other. And so, yeah, that’s my favorite part.
Melissa: [00:19:37] That’s a wonderful metaphor that really rings true for me. And I hear that over and over whenever I ask people, “What do you like best? What’s your favorite thing about the Creative Sandbox?” and it’s always the community. I mean there’s all this stuff in the membership side that people can access, but really at the heart of it is the interactions between human beings inside our Facebook community.
Jessica: [00:20:03] Yeah, I think so. There’s so much content on the website, too, that we can access, which is really great. I mean, Marie Goodwyn ash contributed videos and I have contributed videos. And you have a ton of stuff there, and there’s a lot of self-paced things we can do. And I guess the other thing that I wanted to say to you Melissa is thank you because I’ve been in other groups before and I’ve not had a mentor who is so personally there like you’re there. You answer any question and you know you’ll talk about whatever subject to talk about you’re right on point. And so you’re there to help us and I really really appreciate.
Melissa: [00:20:56] Thank you. Thank you so much. Yeah, this group is really special to me and I love being able to share and be helpful in whatever way I can for people and I want them to not have to be stuck by the stuff that had kept me stuck for so many years and to be able to really blossom and grow their wings and live that full-color creative life they really want. I’m glad that that comes through.
Jessica: [00:21:33] Yeah it does, it really does.
Melissa: [00:21:36] Cool. Any last things you wanted to share or say or ask or anything?
Jessica: [00:21:48] I can’t think of anything specific. I’m just really happy to be here and chat with you and really happy to be part of the group. It’s a great place to be.
Melissa: [00:22:00] If somebody were contemplating whether or not to join the Creative Sandbox, what would you tell them?
Jessica: [00:22:12] Oh, I’d tell them to join. Yeah. It’s well worth it. It’s just so much support there. Just do it. Just go for it, it will help you so much. You’re out there and you want to create. You’re not sure, and you’re dealing with these inner voices, gremlins, or inner critic, and this is the perfect place to come and be around people who deal with all the exact same things and who will support you and help you get rid of the inertia and get moving creatively.
Melissa: [00:22:49] I love that. That says it all. Jessica thank you so much. Thanks for taking the time to chat with me and share your experience.
[00:22:57] And I like I can see a poster on your wall behind you! I love it!
[00:23:05] Thank you so much and thank you for sharing all your art and your wonderful tutorials and everything. And I will see you over in our Facebook group.
Jessica: [00:23:13] All right. Thank you Melissa.
Melissa: [00:23:14] All right. Bye.
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