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Ink and Iron Fest 2016

What a gloriously sunny August day! Today was Ink and Iron Fest, a benefit for Autism Awareness. I was there (outside the Shriners Building in Evansville, Indiana) to donate my oil painting Blooming Through to the charity auction. Click here to see the cool video of me painting this.

There was so much going on – car show, bike show, vendors, indie band, face painting, more!

Ink and Iron Fest 2016 (1)Ink and Iron Fest 2016 (2)Autism Evansville is working hard to help families affected by autism. Here is the information from their brochure. Autism Evansville “…provides programs and support such as:

  • Voucher Program: Financial assistance program to help pay for support, treatments, and care
  • Family Fun Night: Recreational program for children affected by autism and their siblings
  • Parent Support Group: Monthly gathering to bring parents together for sharing and education
  • Community Outreach: Aimed at spreading awareness to help the community better understand and accept the differences and needs of individuals affected by autism

I was impressed by the way Autism Evansville provides networking and connections. Art without Boundaries was mentioned, specifically local member Beautiful Minds, LLC.

The director, Colleen York, also mentioned several upcoming events, such as The Art and Science of Autism and a free fun day at the YMCA. Visit the Autism Evansville website for more information.

Ink and Iron Fest 2016 (4)There were several groups who turned out to support Autism Awareness.

Ink and Iron Fest 2016 (4b)Ink and Iron Fest 2016 (5)Ink and Iron Fest 2016 (27)

There were free activities for the kids.

Ink and Iron Fest 2016 (6)Ink and Iron Fest 2016 (7)Face painting was popular.

IMAG0096My daughter Savannah enjoyed the Bikers Against Autism display.

Ink and Iron Fest 2016 (14)The bouncy house was a huge hit!

And for grown up entertainment, my favorite local band RETRO SHOCK was in the house!

Ink and Iron Fest 2016 (13)Ink and Iron Fest 2016 (12)Ink and Iron Fest 2016 (9)But wait, there’s more… there were vendors and organizations.

Ink and Iron Fest 2016 (15)Ink and Iron Fest 2016 (16)Ink and Iron Fest 2016 (19)Ink and Iron Fest 2016 (21)Ink and Iron Fest 2016 (22)Ink and Iron Fest 2016 (23)This tent represents HOSP-INC, Veterans Outreach Programs to help homeless veterans.

Ink and Iron Fest 2016 (25)Ink and Iron Fest 2016 (28)Ooh look at all of those trophies! The car and bike contest was exciting.

Ink and Iron Fest 2016 (29)Ink and Iron Fest 2016 (30)

Ink and Iron Fest 2016 (46)Ink and Iron Fest 2016 (44)Ink and Iron Fest 2016 (32)Everyone was interested in this unusual motorcycle. My husband Brent enjoyed talking to the artist who created the airbrushing on this vehicle. He’s an Army veteran who retired from the military after 20+ years of service and now does custom art on vehicles and helmets.

He won BEST IN SHOW!

Congratulations, Pooky Bogertey of PKY Custom Paint and Graphics!

Ink and Iron Fest 2016 (34)Ink and Iron Fest 2016 (35)Ink and Iron Fest 2016 (36)Ink and Iron Fest 2016 (38)Ink and Iron Fest 2016 (39)Ink and Iron Fest 2016 (48)Representing PKY, Pooky’s kids (Pooky is not pictured here, but he’s in the picture below).

Ink and Iron Fest 2016 (53)The media turned out for the event. That’s Pooky, the “Best in Show” winner (on the right in the PKY shirt) about to be interviewed.

Ink and Iron Fest 2016 (49)Ink and Iron Fest 2016 (58)

Ink and Iron Fest 2016 (63)Channel 44 News, Evansville, interviewing the announcer and spokesperson for the Ink and Iron Fest.

Ink and Iron Fest 2016 (41)Event organizer, Kevin Thomas (seated, left), chilling with a RETRO SHOCK band member and Ink and Iron Fest volunteers – enjoying free “shaved ice”. Thank you for your hard work, Kevin and crew!

Ink and Iron Fest 2016 (65)Oh and don’t forget about me! This is the charity auction. That’s my oil painting she’s holding up. Check out the video and picture of it here. I am grateful for the opportunity to use my talents for a special event. Thank you for inviting me to do this, Kevin Thomas.

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Comfort Zone

Brent’s teaching journey will take several months to play out, and until it does, what can we do to prove that we have a purpose in Ireland? More specifically, what is my purpose for being in Ireland? It isn’t good enough for me to simply want to live here. I need to have a reason. Otherwise, my odds don’t look good for getting permission to stay here after our three month stamp runs out. It’s time to break out of my comfort zone and promote myself with everything I’ve got!

It’s interesting how “carrot and stick” motivation works for me. I’ve managed to get pretty far with the carrot (imagining success and working toward it), but it’s funny how much harder I’ll push myself if my back is against the wall and I’m desperate to avoid getting struck by a big, big stick–a stick with barbs on it. I wish I could have been this ambitious when I wasn’t running out of time and descending into chaos, but, hey, the stick is effective. My 2016-2017 calendar is already filling up! Ireland has to keep me now, right?

Here I am before meeting Caoimhe at Friars’ Gate Theatre in Co. Limerick (thank you for the contact, Marie O’Halloran!).

Natalie Buske Thomas before meeting in Co Limerick Feb 2016I’m happy to announce that I’m now scheduled for my own show at Friars’ Gate – a month long exhibit of my art in February 2017!

Friars Gate Theatre Brochure

But wait, there’s more! Library events are in the works, I have complimentary tickets to the London Book Fair, and… I’m just getting started! I won’t make the cut for all of the things I’ve put in for, but I’m confident I’ll have a few more wins that I’ll be able to announce soon. Some of these opportunities are located in beautiful coastal areas and I’d love the excuse to go!

To add to all of this, I might be starting up a book festival in the upcoming year. I’m good at starting new programs and events, and I’d love to help. The book festival idea came about during a conversation with Marie when we were sitting at the car dealership, eating biscuits (cookies) and drinking coffee (temporarily breaking my ban on coffee).

Well, one thing led to another and Marie invited three of her friends, all named Mary, to our house for a party… where I blind-sided them with my stack of flyers, my hyper-organization, and my rabid enthusiasm. If I haven’t scared them off, the book festival will go forward and I’ll have another event to add to my calendar!

I might have won them over with the absurd amount of food I made (six platters of three different kinds of baked fold-overs: BBQ beef, cheeseburger, and pizza — homemade) and my magical from-scratch chocolate cake.  Hopefully the food distracted them from the committee planning chart that cast a glaring light on how much work it is to host a festival. We shall see!

Here’s the cake I made for the book festival planning party:
Book Festival Cake

But… As exciting as these live in-person events are, I won’t get far if I don’t create new projects, if I don’t market my work, and if I don’t keep up with the administrative part of being an artist/author entrepreneur. So, I’m plugging away with all of that as well.

Here’s what I’ve been up to:

  • I’m working on my first Irish landscape called “Tree on Rock Hill”. This is what the oil painting looks like so far.

Natalie Buske Thomas art studio

Natalie Buske Thomas oil painting in progress Tree on Rock Hill

  • I finished the first chapter of Mol, the next book in the Serena Wilcox Mysteries spin-off saga (sequel to Fender). Little Free Library Tour Natalie Buske Thomas River Falls
  • I’m planning to start on Dramatic Mom 2 for March. I look forward to putting that together. Writing the silly poems is a fun break from the intense work I usually do.
  • I wrote the story for a new picture book featuring my oil paintings. The book is called Fred: The Real Life Adventures of a Little Girl with a Big Imagination, about my childhood. For the Fred project I’ll need to complete 19 separate paintings. This feels a bit overachieving, but I know I can do it. I plan to start the first painting for the Fred book project next week.

I tell you, my brain keeps me awake at night. The money will follow as long as I take one project at a time, one day at a time. When things happen slowly, I need to practice the art of patience, persistence, and tenacity. I need to dig in my heels. I need to be stubborn. I need to keep going, no matter what. Most of all, I need to fight! How bad do I want this? The future is mine, if I want it. No excuses!

If I put my whole heart out there, good things will happen. I’ve slowly come to the realization that stepping outside of my comfort zone isn’t enough. A life of quiet confidence, stepping out on faith, and believing that the right people will appreciate me, is my new normal. Promoting myself IS my comfort zone. Because if I’m not comfortable sharing my time, talent, and heart with people, what is my purpose for being here?

I should be UNcomfortable with playing it safe and keeping my thoughts close to the vest. I should be UNcomfortable with underachieving and allowing myself to be snubbed, overlooked or forgotten. The time for a new comfort zone is long overdue. From now on, I am comfortable being fearless, I am comfortable being bold. My new comfort zone is UNstoppable!