Why trusting your feelings is key to changing your life

How often do you find yourself in conflict with what you feel?

Maybe you feel depressed and you don’t want to, but can’t seem to pull yourself out of the pit. Maybe you get angry at the tiniest things and you know you’re being irrational but keep snapping at your kids, your partner, your co-workers all the time.

Those feelings are trying to teach you something. Until you learn to trust them, you’re going to stay stuck right where you are, being a person you don’t want to be.

(Feeling) Inflamed lets you detach from that feeling of anger and ire so you can see what it’s trying to teach you. Transformation comes through observation, which leads to trust.

What would it look like…

What would it look like if you trusted your feelings instead of trying to shove them out the door as soon as they show up? If you’ve learned to trust the more positive emotions, like love, you can learn to trust the more negative ones too. Both sides of the emotional coin have the power to change your life.

The first step is to trust what you feel. Let me share an example from my corporate lifetime.

During my early years in Aviation Construction Management, the primary focus of my day to day work was with numbers. I created spreadsheets and pie charts and plugged formulas into cells to audit and verify invoices and calculate percentages.

I didn’t consider myself a “numbers” person, so I. Was. Terrified.

I felt anxious and on edge all the time, convinced my manager would discover “math” was my least developed skill and he’d have to let me go.

Every day, I woke up certain today was the day my job would end. This caused me to be irritable and tense, which wasn’t like me at all. And that’s when I knew I needed to take a step back and examine why I felt the way I did.

Stepping back…

It was true math hadn’t been my strongest subject during high school and college. I didn’t fully trust my abilities in that area which had caused the anxiety. However, the anxiety served a purpose – it pushed me to hone those math skills. I was so nervous I’d be “found out” as bad at math, I made it a point to learn how to use the accounting software better than anyone else on the team!

I learned to trust the anxiety and used it as a catalyst to learn. As a result, I became a highly valued and trusted member of the team. I became the person others turned to when they needed support. I received recognition for doing my job and doing it well, which led to advancement opportunities that exposed me to greater and greater challenges.

And when those new challenges arose, I trusted any anxiety that came along with them, and used it again as a catalyst to learn.

Exit through the gift shop…

You too can use your feelings as a catalyst to learn. The first step is learning to trust what you feel.

This first step is critical to your personal development. Without it, you’re always questioning your next step, at the mercy of your emotions. You absolutely need to feel whatever it is you feel but you don’t have to let those feelings turn you into someone you don’t want to be.

Learning to trust your feelings is key to changing your life.

If you need some support around learning to trust your feelings so you can become the person you’re supposed to be, drop me a note at hilaryclarkstudios@gmail.com and we’ll set up time to chat.


If you’re ready for a private (virtual) showing of my art, you can schedule an appointment here.

To discuss commissioning me to make a textured fiber painting specifically for you or someone you love, please schedule an exploratory commissioning conversation and we’ll see what we can create together.

If you enjoyed this article and found it helpful, please share with the ONE person you know could use it too!

How you can buy my art

In this week’s article, I’m not sharing work in progress status or new art I’ve just finished. Instead, I’m sharing the various methods available to you so you can buy my art. Because you know you’ve thought about it! 😉

Seriously, though, I’m in the business of making, marketing, and selling my art, so a discussion about the ways to purchase ought to be included once in awhile. Today’s the day.

Please keep reading to learn about the various options available to purchase my art. If you’re rather watch and listen, jump to the video at the end.

Detail view of Queen Amethyst, one of the Jewels of the Pandemic wearable art face masks
Image credit: Hilary Clark

Feelings out of fiber…

If you’ve been following along for any length of time, you know I primarily create feelings out of fiber in the form of bright, bold, abstract textured fiber paintings. I do occasionally make other pieces that aren’t feelings. I made a series of crosses in the past. I’ve made some stand-alone pieces. And recently, I made a series of wearable art face masks I’m calling the Jewels of the Pandemic. All of these art works can be seen in my Gallery on my website and in a variety of other locations.

So let’s talk about what those other locations are, okay?

HilaryClarkStudios, an Etsy shop…

I’ve opened an Etsy shop, named HilaryClarkStudios. Swing by! Check it out!

To date, all art work from my Feelings series is available in the shop, as are several of the crosses from my Hot Cross series. And all of the Jewels of the Pandemic wearable art masks are listed too.

Discover Hilary Clark on Artwork Archive…

My art is also on display through Artwork Archive on my Artist Profile page. If you visit and follow the Discover link in their menu, you can enter my name, Hilary Clark, and you’ll be whisked to my profile, where my portfolio is available for viewing. Art work that would love a home includes a link to purchase.

I keep my full inventory on this site and have the wonderful option to stage private art showings. I can share private Gallery rooms, which provides you with the opportunity to view my work by series collection or view my whole body of work.

Artwork Archive has a different feel to it than Etsy. This offers a Gallery experience so you can feel you have the entire space to yourself to fully appreciate the art work on offer.

Commission your own unique art work…

If you love the art I create but there isn’t an existing piece that speaks to you, let’s talk about commissioning your own unique art work. To do this, you can get in touch with me via my website, via email, or through a DM. Let me know you want to talk about hiring me for a commissioned art piece. We’ll schedule an appointment to sit down and talk about what it is you’re looking for to see if we can create a beautiful piece of art together.

Our conversation would be exploratory, with no obligation. It would just be a conversation to see if there’s something I could make that would suit your vision. If you’re interested in commissioning me to create an art work uniquely your own, remember I make abstract art. If you’re looking for representational art, I’m probably not your artist. Bright, bold, abstract art – that’s what I do.

Coming soon…

I’ll be offering another option soon through Fine Art America. This shop location is another gallery option, focused on print-on-demand prints. My intent is to offer prints of my textured fiber paintings, as well as prints of my abstract geometric pen and ink drawings. Fine Art America allows me to offer home furnishing accessories featuring my work, so the opportunity to buy a throw pillow with an image of one of my Feelings on it is coming soon!

Once I’ve opened my shop at Fine Art America, I’ll be sure to announce that news in a future weekly article, and on all my other channels.

We could just keep it simple…

The shop options are always available. However, if you’ve fallen in love with one of the art works I’ve shared here through my articles, on my website, or via social media, and you want to keep it super simple, just get in touch to let me know you’d like to buy the piece. We can set up a virtual showing via Zoom and I’ll email you photos so you can see it up close and personal. Buying a piece of my art doesn’t have to be complicated. If there’s a piece you absolutely must own, let’s get it into your hands and into your house as easily as possible.

Exit through the gift shop…

To recap all of the possible ways you can buy my art, you can visit me on:

Etsy – HilaryClarkStudios
Artwork Archive – Hilary Clark
Schedule an appointment to discuss commissioning your own unique art piece
Contact me via the contact page on my website
Email me directly

And coming soon to Fine Art America!

If you’re ready for a private (virtual) showing of my art, you can schedule an appointment here.

To discuss commissioning me to make a textured fiber painting specifically for you or someone you love, please schedule an exploratory commissioning conversation and we’ll see what we can create together.

If you liked what you read (or watched if you chose the video), please share with the one person you absolutely know would like it too!

Showcase Piece: Inquisitive

In today’s article, I’m showcasing another piece from my portfolio – Inquisitive, the second piece made as part of my Feelings series.

Please keep reading to learn more about why I chose the colors and shapes I did to make this textured fiber painting. If you’re rather watch and listen, jump to the video at the end.

(c) Hilary Clark, “Inquisitive”, Fiber, 18″ x 23″
Image credit: Hilary Clark

Inquisitive was an experiment…

Inquisitive is one of the smaller pieces in the Feelings series, measuring 18” x 23”. There are two eyelet hangers stitched on the back, allowing it to hang on the wall with the use of a couple of small nails.

This piece doesn’t have the same dense stitching as the first in the series, or many that followed. I was experimenting with how much stitching I wanted to include and this piece, with its more representational shapes, seemed to call for a wider stitch pattern.

Why I chose yellow…

I chose yellow for the canvas because this color symbolizes curiosity and inquisitiveness to me. I tend to think and feel in color so when I’m choosing the canvas color for one of my textured fiber painted feelings, I go inside and ask my intuition what color best represents the feeling. When I did that for Inquisitive, yellow’s what rose out of my subconscious.

As with all of the Feelings series, the canvas is made up of different shades of the canvas color. I create a tissue paper pattern following the full outline of the piece, then divide that pattern into individual segments along abstract, flowing curves. Each segment uses a different shade of yellow in this piece, mostly solids, but occasionally I’ll use patterned fabric as I did here.

The “why” behind the design…

Once the canvas is created, I overlay the design elements on top. For Inquisitive, I chose question marks because to be inquisitive is to question. They symbolize the curious aspect of being inquisitive as you seek answers.

In addition to the slightly wider stitching, roughly ½” between each stitch line as opposed to my usual ¼” to ⅛” distance, this piece also uses more defined, real shapes with the question marks and the eyes overlaying each mark. I was still exploring how I wanted to best create feelings out of fiber and this piece, when compared with the rest of the series, is a bit of a departure. However, it is still an abstract with bright, bold colors and so it fits into the series in that way.

There’s always a poem…

The majority of my work includes a poem on the back. Each poem is inspired by the textured fiber painting and so each piece includes a copy of its poem fused to the backing as the label. I thought I’d share Inquisitive’s poem with you.

(Feeling) Inquisitive

What is the meaning of
life? Is it purpose,children,
love,or just living?

Why is the sky
blue, the grass green,
my hair turning grey? Are
these childish questions?

Who is God? Have you
met Him? On the other hand, is it 
Her? Is it both? What does 
God looks like?

When will the world
end? Have you wondered?
Do you care?

How do we know when
chicken is cooked or 
black currants are
ripe? Will you ask Google?

Where do the rabbits in my
backyard make their
nest? Are they happy?

I wonder…are you as
inquisitive as I am?

Exit through the gift shop…

If you’re interested in owning Inquisitive, it can be purchased for $750 through my Etsy shop, HilaryClarkStudios. Or reach out to me directly and we can make arrangements to get this piece into your home.

If you’re ready for a private (virtual) showing of my art, you can schedule an appointment here.

To discuss commissioning me to make a textured fiber painting specifically for you or someone you love, please schedule an exploratory commissioning conversation and we’ll see what we can create together.

If you liked what you read (or watched if you chose the video), please share with the one person you absolutely know would like it too!

Full Reveal – New Work: (Feeling) Connected

It’s time to pull back the curtain for the full reveal of (Feeling) Connected! I finished this piece and it’s ready to share. I hope you enjoy it!

Please keep going to read about the inspiration behind this piece and more. If you’re rather watch and listen, jump to the video at the end.

Connected: art quilt, textured fiber painting
(c) 2020, Hilary Clark, “Connected”, Fiber, 34-1/4″ x 23-1/4″, $2500
Image credit: Hilary Clark

The inspiration…

As always with my Feelings series, most of my inspiration comes from my empathetic nature. This holds true for Connected as well.

When we first moved to Florida in late March, I knew there were two pieces I wanted to make. The first was Isolated, which I completed in May. The second is this piece – Connected. I couldn’t make one without making the other. The two pieces mirror each other and each includes squares as design elements, but there the similarity ends.

Using the slider, you can see a side by side comparison of Connected and Isolated, shown to demonstrate the mirror imaging in overall shape and the contrast in design
Image credit: Hilary Clark

While Isolated was inspired by a cross-country move in the middle of a pandemic, Connected was inspired by its polarity to isolation. Even before the rising tide of the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, I knew I’d make Connected. I had to. It represents the connection we all have to each other, black or white, due to the irrefutable fact of our humanness.

I feel this connection, constantly. I sometimes see it, as strands of sparkling light, connecting me to everyone and everything, ala the Matrix. That doesn’t mean I don’t have loads to learn; it just means I feel the connection and so I choose to do what strengthens it, rather than what weakens it.

My color choices…

For Connected, I chose the canvas palette colors of black and white because, in my mind, connection is that straight-forward. There’s no grey to the connection that exists between all of humanity.

The black and white squares represent individuals, houses, neighborhoods, countries. Some are mostly black, some are mostly white (and of course some are mostly brown – I just don’t possess any brown fabric and that fabric choice didn’t play well with the contrast I was trying to achieve).

The connecting design elements – the waves of varying colors – represent the rainbow of uniqueness and individuality that exists for all of us. We are at once completely different from each other and yet remarkably the same, with flesh and blood and bone.

What this piece symbolizes…

Each square is linked to the others through the colored wave elements, a network of connection that can’t be broken, no matter how hard we might try.

The connection is ultimately a spiritual one, regardless of the form your belief system takes. We are all made of magical star stuff, coming from Spirit, choosing this human experience to learn and grow and love.

(Feeling) Connected is meant to symbolize the connection of universal love. I felt that connection as I was making this piece. In your viewing of it, I hope you can feel it too.

(To read the poem that accompanies this piece, you can do so here.)

Exit through the gift shop…

Connected is available for purchase and is listed at $2500. If you’d like to own this densely stitched, fused raw edge appliqué textured fiber painting, please get in touch.

If you’re ready for a private (virtual) showing of my art, you can schedule an appointment here.

To discuss commissioning me to make a textured fiber painting specifically for you or someone you love, please schedule an exploratory commissioning conversation and we’ll see what we can create together.

If you liked what you read (or watched if you chose the video), please share with the one person you absolutely know would like it too!

Where I get my inspiration

All artists are inspired by something (or multiple somethings) and I’m no exception. So I thought I’d share where I get my inspiration.

(Keep going to read the article and find out more. If you’re rather watch and listen, jump to the video at the end.)

Light for Yvonne

Inspiration from external influences…

Much of my earlier work was inspired by things outside myself. Things I’d seen on walls and wanted to replicate in fiber. Suggestions made as calls for entry for a particular fiber show I wanted to apply to. Favorite hobbies or interests related to the person I was creating a piece for. Things like that.

The photo above shows “Light for Yvonne”, which I made in response to a call for postcard sized fiber pieces. The pieces were collected and then shared with Yvonne Porcella, who started Studio Art Quilt Associates (or SAQA, to which I belong), as she journeyed through her experience with ovarian cancer. My piece used her signature fabric – black and white check – and depicts a candle with a cross to symbolize her devotion to God. Yvonne was also my cousin; making this piece and donating it as another way to express my commitment and love for her was inspiration enough.

I’ve made a kite, inspired by a painting I saw on a wall. I’ve made the Hulk for my nephew, inspired by his fondness for the green guy. I’ve made the Eiffel Tower for my niece, inspired by her attraction to all things French.

The Kite Perspective
Hulk Smash!
Someday, Paris

Inspiration from memories…

My memories of my grandparents are strong, even though they’ve all been gone a very long time. I created a series to honor them, using their favorite color as the base.

My paternal grandfather had a number of fun sayings, one of which was “Any color’s all right as long as it’s red”. When I first started creating fiber work in the late ’90s, I remembered that saying and thought it would be a fun name for an art piece, however, it wasn’t until much more recently that I allowed my memories to inspire me to create my “Any Color” series.

I made “Any Color’s All Right As Long As It’s Red” for Basil, using lettered beads as embellishment to spell out the word he’d made up – transmugliforcandambumshamity. None of us ever knew what the word meant and he wouldn’t tell us. Most of us decided it was an elaborate cuss word.

I used green for Lucille, my maternal grandmother, and attached clip on earrings via thread to embellish her memory piece because she wore earrings absolutely everywhere, including while kneeling at the side of her Airstream trailer, hooking it up to the various campground hook-ups.

Purple was Neska’s favorite color, my paternal grandmother. She delivered soft kisses to the cheek at every visit and embodied love, so her piece includes lip prints and heart pendants and a couple of bees because she was my grandpa’s “Honey girl”.

And finally, blue for Gene, my maternal grandfather, who died when I was 10. He was a volunteer fireman and ran a cold storage and gave me a Jolly Green Giant doll and loved to fish for abalone, so I added his fireman’s badge and stitched on little round bits that represent an abalone shell and created a tiny green giant as part of his piece.

Any Color’s All Right As Long As It’s Red (for Basil)
Any Color’s All Right As Long As It’s Green (for Lucille)
Any Color’s All Right As Long As It’s Purple (for Neska)
Any Color’s All Right As Long As It’s Blue (for Gene)

Inspiration from intuition…

My most recent work, the work I’ve been creating for the last 3 years, has all been inspired by my intuition.

I’m an empath, so I feel a lot. That’s why I create feelings out of fiber.

Everyone has feelings; it’s one of the ways we’re all alike. When I’m ready to create a new feeling, I close my eyes, center myself, and ask my Higher Self (my intuition) which feeling is up next. I always get an answer. And I always get an image that includes color choices, shape arrangement, and the overall outline shape for the piece.

And then, as I work on making the invisible visible, I feel the feeling. Often, I’ll discover the feeling is also being felt by a large segment of the population at the same time. I know this from information in my social media feed or through headlines from various news sources or messages from friends, which all just goes to confirm I’m making the right feeling at the right time.

I allow my intuition to guide the work. If I feel a little stuck, I’ll step back and take a little break. This gives my intuition space to channel more detail about what the feeling looks like. And then I go back to work to create it.

For example, I recently made “Isolated”, which was a feeling felt around the world as we settled into lockdown for the pandemic.

Isolated

In closing…

My work is inspired by many things. Sometimes, there’s an underlying social message, but most of the time, for most of my work, my inspiration comes from the voice that lives deep inside my heart.

My purpose is to make the invisible visible and the intangible tangible. I do this primarily by creating feelings out of fiber.

Inspiration is everywhere, as long as I remain open to receive it. The same holds true for you. Open yourself, and you’ll find inspiration.

If you’re ready for a private (virtual) showing of my art, you can schedule an appointment here.

To discuss commissioning me to make a textured fiber painting specifically for you or someone you love, please schedule an exploratory commissioning conversation and we’ll see what we can create together.

If you liked what you read (or watched if you chose the video), please share with the one person you absolutely know would like it too!