***Flygirl Fridays***

I had the opportunity to take a course called "Flying Lessons" given by a very talented artist - Kelly Rae Roberts. It was an excellent course that covered such topics as letting go of yours fears, going after your true passion, and many other things. One of the best things about the course was, I got meet and learn about a lot of talented artists, all in on different paths, but all working towards making their dreams come true and learning to take flight. Flygirl Fridays is all about these wonderfully talented people and a little bit about them, so you can get to know them as well!

Please join me in welcoming
Cindy Jones Lantier!
Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
Hi Violet! First of all, thank you so much for contacting me and giving me this opportunity. I really appreciate the chance to introduce myself to your readers.
My name is Cindy Jones Lantier, of the Mixed Grill Favorites blog and podcast. I am mixed-media artist. I live in sunny Southern California with my amazing husband and three crazy kitties. I grew up in a small town in Arkansas; I still love that town, but I also love living half an hour from Los Angeles. Even though no one encouraged me artistically as a child (my brother was the one who got all that kind of attention), my mother did support my general creativity. In addition to teaching me to cook and sew, she encouraged me to try whatever activity the craft store was pushing that week-end.

In addition to being an artist, I’ve also done several podcast interviews with other artists. I love talking to creative individuals about their processes and lifestyle. I put the podcast on (what seems like permanent) hiatus when my mother got sick and died, but I’m thinking it’s getting to be time to wipe the dust off and start again. With any luck, there will be new interviews this summer!

What is something that you really love, and why?
I’m gonna be sappy here – I really love my husband! We’ve been together for about 16 years now, married for 13 years. He is my best friend and the person I most enjoy spending time with on a daily basis. He is wildly supportive and encouraging of everything that I decide to try. Some days, he is a bigger proponent of my art than I am!

What would your dream project be?
One of my dream projects would be to collaborate with some of my favorite artists on a book project. My heart is lifted by the written word as much as it is by expressing myself through paint and paper. But I don’t want to do another technique book for mixed-media artists. I’d rather do something directed at a larger audience, dealing with the theme of creative living or finding your artistic self. I believe that art has more to do with how a person does something, rather than what it is they are doing. I’d like to explore that idea more fully and with other people.
My other dream project would be to own a studio/retail space/teaching venue and to connect with other creative people there. I’d love a place where people could come, make something special, and share tea and cookies with me. I like the idea of holding art nights or afternoons kind of like crops in the scrapbooking world! Bring something to work on, use some of my special supplies, and share fellowship with other creative people.

What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve ever received?
I have received so much good advice that’s it’s difficult to narrow it down. The best advice given to me personally was probably to come to terms with the dichotomy of taking myself seriously as an artist – but not too seriously! It was important for me to accept that I am an artist, simply because I make art. It doesn’t matter that I don’t yet support myself financially with my art, that I haven’t been published in a national magazine, or taught at a major venue. I make art – that makes me an artist. On the other hand, it’s important that I don’t take myself so seriously as an artist that I don’t play with my medium by experimenting with new products and new techniques. It’s also important that I not take my work too seriously; if a piece isn’t going anywhere, I need to be able to gesso or paper over it and begin again.
Another piece of excellent advice came to me from Elizabeth Gilbert, via a TED talk that she did: Show up and do the work. Strive to develop – and maintain – a creative practice. I admit that I don’t follow this advice well, but I think it would serve me if I would!

Where does your inspiration come from?
Inspiration is a funny thing. Ideally, it comes from showing up in my studio and playing with my materials on a regular basis. I really believe that Inspiration happens best when I’m doing art on a regular basis; then my Muse knows where to find me when she wants to share something! My Muse uses colors and words to inspire me. I love to play with paper and paint and just see what happens. Often, it is Inspiration that whispers to me to try something I wouldn’t have otherwise thought of on my own.

What do you think is the biggest thing holding you back?
The biggest thing holding me back is … ME!
I don’t think it’s so much a matter of fear of failure (or success!), although I do think that fear is a factor. I think it’s more a matter of not holding my vision close enough to my heart. Jenny Doh recently wrote a blog post about discipline as a matter of remembering what we want. That really struck me because I’m a bit flighty. I have classic Shiny Object Syndrome. I think I need to remind myself more often of what it is I want, as a way of encouraging and nourshing discipline.

What change do you think would most help your business grow?
I eluded to it in the previous question … Discipline. A conversation that I often have with a friend of mine revolves around this question: I enjoy doing something and it’s good for me. So why don’t I do it more often? We both agree that if we had the answer to that question, we’d be much more successful in our own lives – and could probably help countless people be more successful in their own lives, too!
I have just started a mindfulness practice; I’m hoping that it will make a difference in my discipline, and therefore in my business.

What’s the biggest thing that you took with you from Flying Lessons?
The biggest thing I took with me from Flying Lessons is the community. The course content was okay, but the support and encouragement from the community has been amazing. Most of the people in the group are genuinely concerned about each other. We openly share technical information, as well as our struggles and successes. Connecting with other artists who have similar goals and dreams has done a lot to give me more confidence in my own.