Today I’m grateful to share a Bold Interview with the fabulous Angela Treat Lyon, interspersed with some of her artwork. She and I ‘met’ through Cory Huff’s The Abundant Artist in the Facebook group, where Angela is a generous, knowledgable presence. Reading this is a journey. Allow a bit of time to read – and maybe have a box of tissues handy (I had tears in my eyes when I read it through).
1 You make your art in a variety of forms – paintings, sculptures, mandalas, pastels and more … how do you make your time and focus work?
Many years ago, I decided to just have a set amount of time I spend every day creating.
It really doesn’t matter to me what I do, as long as I do SOMEthing – even making home-made sauerkraut or gardening. If I don’t move my energy, and fill that time with something creative, at the end of the day I feel incomplete somehow, restless, anxious, and don’t sleep well.
Here’s why. I spent years crying. Literally. Years. I was deeply depressed, and day after day after day there was always part of my mind complaining about the pain of life and secretly mulling how would I choose to end it.
I didn’t know at the time that depression is either an upset in the physical body’s chemical balance, a lack of vitamin B, and stuck energy (or all of that). In my work as a business success coach, I’ve found that every single one of the depressed people I’ve worked with had that Vitamin B lack, and a huge belief that “I can’t.” For me, that belief was so deep and so stuck it seemed 100 massive horses would never pull it out.
One day I was lying in bed, and was thinking about what it would be like to drive my van over a tall cliff I knew of near my house. I saw myself go tumbling down the cliff and crash at the bottom in a dramatic explosion.
Didn’t much like the idea because it would not only not be a painless death, but it would hurt my dog, because she never let me go anywhere without her. So it just wasn’t an option – especially the hurting-my-dog part. Not >ever<.
So I was just flinging that idea away when I heard this man’s voice in my head, laughing, and saying, “Angela, with an attitude like that, you’re already dead! Why don’t you just have some fun as you wait until the day your body dies?” The Land of Ammaze series was what came out of that.
I realized that if I spent even half the time I used up on all the complaining and crying and instead used it for creating, I’d have a huge body of work in no time at all. It didn’t stop me from feeling so depressed, but it sure gave me an enormous pile of work – and that helped me feel better – that “I can.” I eliminated the depression and suicidal thinking in 2001 when I found EFT/tapping.
So I just make things. Sometimes I carve, sometimes I paint, sometimes I draw. Sometimes I design book covers or design the insides of books or draw and create coloring books – I just like to create. Makes me feel good, like I have some kind of value and can contribute.
This is an interesting question, because it makes one really think about not just what that story or message might be, but why you are saying anything at all, much less what you are saying.
That incident with the voice really set me on a very different path than what I had been on. I now call it the Voice of Dreaming. It’s come back a few times since – always a man’s voice, not mine – and always with an amusing phrase or some wise crack – but always something that produces a big shift in attitude.
When I stopped using so much time lying in bed bawling my eyes out about poor-poor me, I started wondering what I wanted to convey.
As a child, learning how to draw and paint, I had determined never to paint misery.
There’s too much misery in the world anyway – why add to it? Why not convey the joy in living, the beauty of the planet, the breath-taking simplicity of the design of nature?
Each medium has a language. For me, pastels sing softly. I used to use oil paints, but became sensitive to the fumes. I loved oils – they meant smoothness and flow. Pastels and paints give me the language of intense of color that I don’t get when I carve stone. I even use glitter and silver and gold powders to increase the fun factor.
Carving gives me the language of form, line and texture. I like to make my carvings as simple in design as I can in order to allow the energy of the form to speak. Stone is a powerful medium. I like having that power running through my cravings.
I’d be a happy camper if I could get all my work, through the various languages I use, to convey, “Be bold! Be alive! Take delight! Be as outrageous and bodacious as you can be – this is LIFE! Enjoy it!”
3 The conversations on your podcast/radio show are delightful – so real and juicy. What do you love about podcasting and who/what is one of your favorite guests / stories.
Thank you – I’m glad you think so. A lot of time and effort goes into those shows. I love meeting and hanging out with forward-thinking, dynamic, creative people, and getting them to talk about their lives and what inspires them, and how they do their expertise.
I love hearing their stories, because the energy and inspiration they share makes holes in my listeners’ poor-poor me thinking, which allows them to rise a bit more towards filling their potential in this lifetime.
I loved the one with Nathalie Kelly, who is known as the TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) Coach.
She went through 6 years of sheer hell after a boating accident – she couldn’t do anything. At all. All she could do was lie there, not moving a muscle – even her eyes – because her brain was so seriously traumatized that anything she did caused severe nausea and disorientation.
You really have to listen to her description to even get close to understanding what she’s suffered. Her very persistence has been an inspiration to me for years. I have no idea how she had the courage and stamina to keep going – I think I’d have asked someone to shoot me a month into an ordeal like hers. She just never gave up.
And now she helps other TBI sufferers. She’s amazing.
4 Your The Abundant Artist testimonial about improving your art business with Cory Huff’s guidance is inspiring to me … what resonated and helped you bring the threads together? Do you have a stand out penny drop moment? What was it?
The Abundant Artist course was great for me. Cory has refined the course over the years now, and it’s even better than it was when I took it.
I actually already knew pretty much all of what he was teaching, because I’m a business success coach, and help my own clients implement the same things. But did I do them for myself, in my art world? Nope. The course got me to take action, connect with great people, and make sales.
There’s a huge difference between knowing something and taking action on it. The most important thing for me was the consistent, organized steps he had us take. One by one. Little bit, little bit, daily and/or weekly. This one first, then that one…making all those things I knew I oughta do that seemed so overwhelming if I looked at them as a whole, into a simple daily do-this, then-that, system.
I still go back and review things and redo them – my website, my methods, the social media I use – it’s an ongoing process.
The thing I love best about the course, though, now that I’ve been through it and continue to use the steps, is the Facebook group. It’s fantastic.
I’m in a lot of FB groups, and I can tell you, this one is hands-down the best group ever. A huge age-range – 30s to 80s. Everyone is sincerely supportive. People ask great, incisive questions, and give brilliant answers and solutions. It’s the only group I’ve been on every day for 3 years – I sure wouldn’t be if it had little value.
5 Is it important to your work and life that you are based in Hawaii? What do you love about living where you do?
I first stepped off the plane on Oahu in March of 1966 when I was 21. The first thing that hit me was the thought, “I’m Home.” My heart – my Heart-of-Hearts – felt like it had found its Proper Place.
The second was, “OMG, the air here is incredible!” It was so clean, and had such a lovely, elusive, un-nameable scent. And still does. The sky has a yellow-ish hue to it, so I underpaint all my paintings with a brilliant yellow layer that makes each one glow like the air here makes things look.
Every day I thank myself for choosing to live here. Sometimes I contemplate living elsewhere, especially because it costs 3 arms and 40 legs to live here – and each time I think of a place, I think, “Nope, too cold. Nope, too many people. Nope, too noisy….” or whatever reason comes to mind. My astrological chart says I’ll die far from home. I was born in Massachusetts – I think maybe the chart has it right. But at least I’ll be warm and full of beautiful tropical fruit! Hahaha!
I am one of those people who just can’t keep her fingers out of more than one pie. People keep telling me to sink into one only – so I do it one at a time. Over time. That works for me. Otherwise, I get bored.
So, I’m a professional artist, specializing in painting, stone carving and illustration. I write, design and publish my own books, and design and publish books for others.
And, as if that’s not enough to make you nuts, I’m also a Business Success coach. I help independent creatives implement my powerful systems and strategies that allow them to make more money and feel fulfilled easier and faster than they ordinarily would.
Meg: Thank you so much for your beautiful art and real answers, Angela! So delightful to have a conversation with a shining kindred spirit.
Hope you enjoyed this, dear reader!
Meg x o
PS A big pic of another of Angela’s sculptures – I love the big gorgeous hands, do you, too?