In this episode of The Creative Genius Podcast, host Kate Shepherd interviews Jodi Ohl, a best-selling author, award-winning mixed media artist, and creative instructor. Jodi shares her remarkable journey from leaving her day job to pursuing her artistic career full time. Known for her distinctive texture, bold colour combinations, and motivational compositions, Jodi's work has been published in numerous international mixed media magazines and she has contributed to several mixed media books. Listeners will gain insights into Jodi's experiences, the challenges she faced, and how she nurtures creativity. Jodi offers a special discount on one of her classes. See end of show notes for more information.
On this episode of Creative Genius, Kate is joined by the immensely talented Jodi Ohl. Jodi's artistic journey is a testament to the power of following one's passion. After leaving her secure day job, Jodi dedicated herself to building a successful artistic career. Her art, characterized by its unique texture, vibrant colors, and motivational themes, has gained recognition and has been featured in over 36 international mixed media magazines. Jodi's contributions to the art world extend beyond her own work, as she has also contributed to seven mixed media books.
During the interview, Jodi opens up about her early experiences with creativity and how it shaped her perspective on art. She candidly shares the challenges she faced in choosing a different path instead of pursuing art as a full-time profession. Jodi reflects on the lessons she learned and the skills she gained from that experience.
A significant turning point in Jodi's journey came when she rediscovered her creative side during a challenging period in her life. This transformative experience fuelled her passion and motivated her to pursue art as a full-time artist. Jodi discusses the fears she confronted and the regrets she didn't want to haunt her during the leap of faith she took.
Throughout the conversation, Jodi emphasizes the importance of aligning with one's creative calling and offers valuable advice to listeners who aspire to become full-time artists. She shares insights on the role of discipline, finding one's voice, and the rewards of perseverance.
In addition to her artistic pursuits, Jodi is a sought-after mixed media art teacher. She conducts workshops both online and in person, sharing her expertise with students across the United States. Her teaching style is approachable, and her recently released book, "Abstracts in Acrylic and Ink," allows readers to learn from her as if they were sitting beside her in a workshop.
Allow yourself an hour to be captivated by Jodi's inspiring journey and her profound understanding of the creative process and your own life may never be the same!
To find out more about Jodi's artwork and workshops, visit Jodi's website
This episode of Creative Genius is a must-listen for anyone seeking a little extra inspiration and guidance in their own artistic endeavours.
Use discount code CREATIVE15 on Jodi's class (visit her website for more information)
hello there you beautiful creative genius. That's what you are, you know, you're, you're a genius and you probably don't even know. . I am delighted today to be bringing you this episode with my guest, Jodi Ohl, Jodi is one of those. Generous kind thoughtful.
Grateful. Geniuses. She's a creative genius
One of the things that I hear a lot through talking to artists over the years has been. I I've noticed this real sort of arc in our story where we start off when we're little knowing what we love to do. Or there are hints of it. Looking back anyway. You know, we love writing or we love painting or we, or all of it. We just love being creative.
And somehow we kind of take a turn away from it for a little while. And more often than not. Not life will reorient us towards the thing that we love.
with. Uh, fairly dramatic circumstances. And that was absolutely true for Jodi. Jodi had a set of truly tragic and terrible circumstances that really helped her find her way back to her creativity. And I think we can all find ourselves in her story in some ways. I was very grateful that she was so candid and honest and open about sharing some of what she's had to walk through to get where she is today.
Kate Shepherd: There's a whole other world of this podcast that exists inside of the creative genius Patrion membership. Juicy bonus episodes where I share personal insights. Intimate vulnerable moments. I offer journal worksheets and painting workshops and guided meditations, new things every other week that are all intended to support and spark your own creativity.
Everything that's already been created is in the creative genius Patrion library, and will instantly become available to you. And you activate your membership. It's only $5 Canadian a month, which is about $3 and 50 cents us . I've made it so affordable so that it can be accessible to as many people as possible because it really does contain juicy, good stuff but also because I need your support in order to keep creating this show. So if you love the show, please sign up. I can't do it without you. And I really, really, really, really, really want to keep doing it.
It's really easy to look at an artist who's got amazing work and found their voice and a huge following and in their groove. And think, oh, well they just have something I don't have. That's why they're there. And what Jody taught me through this conversation today. Was so much about how that's cultivated. It's cultivated through practice, it's cultivated through trust and allowing and letting go. But mostly. It's cultivated through. Showing up.
When I think about the moments I want to highlight for you in this. Episode, it's actually just the entire episode. So rather than trying to tell you about all the ways that Jodi's amazing and all the incredible Things that she said i think It's better if you just listened to the episode Here's my conversation with Jodi Ohl.
jodi, Ohl welcome. I'm so happy to meet you and to have you here on the Creative Genius Podcast. Thank you for coming today.
Jodi Ohl: Oh my gosh, Kate. Well, The pleasure's all mine. I am a huge fan of your podcast and your work, and I'm excited to chat with you today.
Kate Shepherd: Thank you. Me too.
You're a bestselling author and award winning artist. You've been published in over 36 international mixed media magazines. You've had some enormous accomplishments.
Kate Shepherd: And I wanted to just take a minute and say congratulations. Cuz as an fellow artist, I have an appreciation for how much work and the ups and downs that would've led to that. So congratulations, and I'm also really feeling quite lucky to be able to have this opportunity to sit down and talk to you about some of the things that led you to where you are today.
Jodi Ohl: Oh my gosh. Well, yeah, thank you so much. And it's funny cuz I think it's a lot of it's serendipity. You're in the right place at the right time, but you don't always realize why you're doing what you're doing or the people that you meet or the, opportunities that come your way.
for the longest time was in business, and for those of you who don't really know my background, I started off as a retail manager. I went into banking you wouldn't think that that would prepare me for the creative life that I have now, but in a lot of ways it did.
Like I used to definitely be into art and writing and, I was a musician for the longest time from when I was in elementary school all the way up to high school. and I almost went to college to be a musician, but I changed paths along the way I went into, English as my major, but I found business more interesting.
even though I always wanted be the award-winning like author, the bestselling novelist business was where I, my, my desire was. so I kind of let go of the creative life for the longest time until life kind of threw me some hardballs and. needed to get back into it. And so I liken it to you finally meet somebody that you know as your soulmate
you just know this is what you're supposed to, who you're supposed to be with.
That's how art came in my life.
Kate Shepherd: I'm imagining like a little Jodi who's like seven or eight years old you're interested in music and writing, it sounds like was a big call for you and art.
What was it, what was your relationship like to creativity way back then before all these things kinda happened?
Jodi Ohl: Oh, music was my life
I first study piano, then I studied the flute and I played that throughout my whole life. I think that part of my life prepared me for the practice. You need to have. Instilled in you for being an artist.
the, work ethic I just, I just love being, I love having solos. I love, you know, being in, in the orchestra. I mean, there was just so many things I loved about it. But little Jodi was very shy and for some reason, . When I, when I had a solo on the stage, I was able to break out of that shell of how shy I was, and I was just like somebody else took over.
It kind of like allowed me to be somebody that I wasn't you know, when I was performing,
Led me to be more in tune with that person.
writing. It allowed me to kind of be a different person.
my mom was very, had a very modest living, but she was the hardest worker raising three girls. She worked three, three jobs and, ,
Kate Shepherd: Was she on her own with you guys?
Jodi Ohl: on her own. Her ethic kind of instilled in that, uh, work ethic I have now too.
But we also didn't travel a whole lot of places, because we just couldn't afford it.
Kate Shepherd: Hmm.
Jodi Ohl: you know, just escaping into my writing and my music was kind of like opening up a whole new world of where I could go or where what I could be, or what I could write about. And so that's kind of where I was going, you know, when I, you know, graduated high school, that's why I thought like, well, I really, I do wanna be a musician, but maybe I'm gonna change into, you know, working as a writer.
And then I just was not disciplined enough to really. see it through at that point in my life. And my mom was into a lot of business, activities real estate, things like that. So I kind of was ingrained in my head and I was actually really good at it. So I set all that stuff aside
I was a manager for a retail establishments and also bank manager, my creativity came out in how I. Help my associates and help my employees grow to be the best versions of themselves, whether it's a salesperson or teller or whatever,at that point in my life, I really didn't feel like I was making a difference in a way that you can see when you write something or you paint something, you can see something tangible with a two create with your two hands.
And I felt like, well, am I really making a difference in, in this world? And I didn't feel it. and you know, you go on that path for the longest time, and I probably wouldn't have the courage to change into being an artist or go back to my art if some really tumultuous times in my life didn't happen. know, when you think about like when doors shut or like the world just kind of collides on you and you're like, why me?
Why me? Well, sometimes it's to turn you into the direction that you should have been in all along or Pivot into this next phase of your life. And that's kind of what happened to me in 2006
Kate Shepherd: what happened?
Jodi Ohl: well, I was going with somebody, that was, it was a very, toxic relationship.
Jodi Ohl: I kind of knew that he drank more than he should have, but it was much more than that.
the long and short of it was he accidentally, but because of his addiction. , set up my house on fire had already gone into art because of having a job that was really very stressful and very, you know, you know, I ran the biggest branch in our town and I had a lot of responsibility, so I kind of got into like art journaling and watercolors, watercolors especially, to
be more at peace with myself. when that happened, didn't lose everything, but I lost enough like where I had to start all over again. Everything.
And even think that would've been in the worst time of my life and it really was. But it opened me up to.
Okay. how am I gonna start over again? I worked for the bank, but I didn't have a whole lot of money save like you as a single mom. I had changed from a job that really paid well to one that didn't, but it gave me back my life as I went from retail where you're working seven days a week and every holiday to being, having a little bit more of a personal life, which was good. But I also took a pay cut. the financial part, you know, was a little bit scary because I knew I wanted to go into art, but I also knew that was not very steady.
I finally had a steady job that was paying the bills But when the fire occurred, I had to myself emotionally straight so I could continue to work at the bank. But then I started to kind of really enjoy getting my feelings out when the journaling and the collage work that I was doing did a little bit of painting and,
just like one thing leads to another, I was doing some art journaling and, and whatnot, and people started talking about these magazines, cloth paper, scissors, Somerset Studios, you know, artful blogging at so like reading those and then all of a sudden I'm like, you know what? I think I'm gonna share some of my work with them. I just had no fear I had this idea for article I never thought I would, it would be accepted.
But lo and behold, a couple weeks later my first article was accepted for cloth paper scissors,
I was so shocked, like, but I'm like, oh my gosh. and my art really wasn't that good at the time, but when I look back now, but somebody saw something in me that I didn't see in myself it was just amazing I'm like, okay, well I can continue to do this.
And all of a sudden it just kind of lit the fire under me. like, Yeah, really. Exactly. You know, let me do some more articles, let me do some more teaching. I started writing these magazines, and I just started putting things out there, you know, and not everything was accepted, but a lot of stuff was.
And eventually, one thing led to another and I'm like, you know what? I'm making a little bit of money on this and maybe I'll start teaching. And I started teaching online and in person and that's when I saw a little bit of income rolling in.
I'm like, oh, I'm just doing this part-time and if I do this part-time, imagine what I could do full-time.
Kate Shepherd: Mm-hmm.
Jodi Ohl: but those early days talk about like, and I, it took me about five years to save up enough money to actually take the leap. 2011 is when I took the leap , I just figured that I save up enough money, I can do anything for six months and if it doesn't work, I can go back to my job. I left on good
Kate Shepherd: Right.
Jodi Ohl: you know.
Kate Shepherd: I'm thinking about little Jodi who loved creativity and had a really deep relationship with creativity and found a part of herself that she loved and wasn't easy for her to express. something happened that made you kind of shut that part down.
I hear this story. Over and over again. Like I feel like this is like the trajectory of our lives, right? and it's why I started this podcast, we become indoctrinated into this culture where can't trust this part of ourselves. We can't trust this creativity thing that has no edges and shape and definition to run our lives.
And so we defer to sort of the safer option.
We live our lives that way for Y, Z. It's different for everybody, however much time that is. at some point it comes back for us. Always, always, it always comes back for us. And so it came back, it, it sounds like it was coming back for you even before the fire.
Like had kind of been using art as a way to reconnect with and decompress from stress. I guess what I'm, what's coming up for me is I'm wondering for the person listening, going like, well, I wanna go back to doing the thing I did that I loved when I was seven or eight or 10.
And, and I have a job that I don't love and I've started painting, but it's not happening. Like I've put stuff out there on Instagram So five years is a really long time. I wanna just say that out. Like, it sounds like you're just saying it right now. Five years went by and then, but like when you're living it, just wanna acknowledge for the person who's listening to this going, I want it. It can feel like it's forever
and it can feel like it's never gonna happen. if you look back to that time, can you think of how you were feeling or can you reconnect with how you were feeling about your vision? Like, did you know where you wanted to go? Did you know that you wanted it to be a full-time thing? Was it frustrating for you that you couldn't leave your job right away? Like what, what were those days like that in between time?
Jodi Ohl: well. . Okay. For those of you who just wanna jump ship right now,
We all have different financial situations, right? , , I couldn't do it because I was responsible. my oldest son live with my, my ex-husband and my youngest son, who from a different relationship live with me.
I just couldn't jump ship without having a safety net and be practical about things. But if you're living by yourself, and you could probably do it a lot sooner than I did. Right. But not an all or nothing thing, you know? Like I. Work two jobs.maybe sometimes even three jobs I put in many hours every day af when I came home from work or after Josh was put to bed or what have you.
I was working until late into the night. And on Friday nights when he went with his dad, you know, I would. start working and I'd work till four o'clock in the morning. You know, and you know, the, all those things you put into play, you know, even when you're not full-time, , they still matter.
They're still building up a foundation for you to do the thing. And then you start making choices, you make sacrifices. me, one of the ways I saved up money was, I was vigilant by not using my tax return for that four or five years. a little bit if I needed to, but that was a good chunk of change that I was able to save pretty easily,
Kate Shepherd: your strategy was, I'm gonna a little nest egg together
Jodi Ohl: Mm-hmm.
Kate Shepherd: to be what I live off of while I start my career as a full-time artist. Okay. Okay. So
Jodi Ohl: . I started putting shows into place. I started putting little small teaching engagements into place.
So basically filling my pipeline with activities that I knew if, if I didn't sell any, or at least I have an opportunity to do a show or do a class. And so I kind of built that pipeline up and I was only gonna take a leave of absence to be honest with you. And then , I was working for a bank that went through a merger and I had this big opportunity to work for a national retreat organization that had about 25 artists teaching.
This was being the first time not teaching locally, and I had like four classes that were really filled. all of a sudden my work said, you know what? You know, we just. Can't let you go for that period of time cuz we're our merger's gonna go live that week and blah, blah, blah. So I mean, they gave me some notice and I sat down and I thought about it.
I'm like, you know what? I say no to this opportunity now, it may never come back around. And I'm like, you know what? This is, I, I have to do this now. And so that's what kind of gave me like the pushover, the edge,
The long and short of is like, we all have different paths, but if you can do little things to keep yourself. , you know, inspired and, figure out different forms of, income to keep, you know, diversify yourself, you know, and the way I diversify myself in the beginning was to write articles to have a little money come in that way, do to do shows, to teach, to do a little bit online, and it was nowhere near what I needed to really make a living.
but I wasn't working full-time either, you know? So I figured I could kind of make up from that. And my, my, um, projections were way off , to be honest with you,
Kate Shepherd: they always are.
Jodi Ohl: So they were very, you know, luckily I did save that money, my pricing was also wrong
Kate Shepherd: It's your heart and soul in it and it's, and also your self worth, , I love this conversation about pricing. I had a conversation with Tracy Majer. I don't know if you heard her episode. I said something to her that she later told me was really profound for her, which was like, what if when you're pricing something, cuz you know how we all play that game in our mind when we're you see something from across the room, like maybe you're at a gallery, you're like, oh, I love that painting, or I love that sculpture, or whatever, I'll buy it if it's $120. Or you have the number in your mind, right? and you get up there and you, you say, you, how much is that piece? And the person says to you, oh, well it's $62. Suddenly, if it's so different from the kind of the price that you thought it was gonna be if it's much lower, you're gonna then question whether or not it was actually worth what you thought it was.
Like, is this thing the thing I thought it was, and you may not buy it because it's underpriced, right. And we're.
Jodi Ohl: value isn't there,
Kate Shepherd: the value isn't there, and we're so scared to overvalue ourselves because of, you know, we're women and the val self-worth and I mean blah, blah, blah. All have a million reasons why, but like, what if actually, you know what I mean?
Like, we're guardians of that, of pricing. I, I, I mean, we don't have to have an episode about pricing, but I, I do love this conversation about it because it's a place that we can work out some of our How, so how did you do that? How did you figure out how to, how to app properly price your work?
Jodi Ohl: Um, I'm, I think, I feel like I'm still learning.
like in some cases I'm probably still undervaluing my work, one good thing you could do for yourself as a budding artist, , is to have a group of people, whether it's online or.
, in person that you can talk with and brainstorm and
of benefit from their experience. If you can surround yourself with people that are in the business and they can kind of help you but I think, you know, pricing is, you have to kind of build it up as far as your, , Credibility, the quality, the demand for your work what your peers are doing.
You have to look at it from a lot of different angles. I think in the end it is a lot about, you have to take a gut instinct on what, where you have to start.
Kate Shepherd: I think a lot of people listening to this struggle with, what you and I, I'm guessing struggle with around loving to do so many different things.
So I had a lot of shame about that growing up. You know, there were pe my adults in my life were like, you have to pick something. And I couldn't. I love sculpture, I love printmaking.
I love painting. I love music. I love writing, I love I like, I wanna do it all. And now as an adult, that looks like I have a jewelry business and I have a podcast and I'm writing a book and I'm a single mom and I find it really hard to, or one of the things I'm personally bumping up against is I don't have time. Like you were saying, the discipline piece, if you wanna take something from start to finish, you gotta really kind of focus on it for an extended period of time. And how do you pick. how do you know what your thing is How do I choose the thing to put all my hustle energy into. how did you do that? How did you choose between music and writing and painting?
Jodi Ohl: So much of it comes from , within. painting really was what I love the most. I did art journaling. I'm still crocheting that first dishwashing cloth I started 25 years ago, you know, so that really wasn't my thing,
But I enjoyed it. There's a lot of things I enjoy doing, you know, and I like, I love buying jewelry, but I don't enjoy making it, you know? I mean, so what is it that you like doing? I do a lot of different genres of painting, which may be. people may criticize me on because I'm not staying in the same lane.
Well, purposely I'm not staying in the same lane because different parts of me need the different types of painting at different times of my life. when I first started, I did all whimsical pieces and it was because my life wasn't going that well I was painted my world happy, you whatever it is that you're called to do the most of, put it all in, put, put yourself in it on 150%.
, Commit to something and go all in.
That doesn't mean I can't stop and do a couple fish, you know, in between my abstracts and I do that. Sometimes I feel like, oh, I just need a break and do something a little bit less serious. I do my abstract painting. It gets, can be very emotional you're very like, you're just lost in your thoughts and you're kind of coming to terms with you're placed in your life where you wanna go. It can be very emotional. And on the other hand, when I'm painting my whimsical pieces, it's like, Joyful of making, you know, every, you know, I kind of create these characters and these little stories about what's going on in these people's lives or these characters I create.
I've kind of learned that painting's my lane that I wanna stay in, but I wanna change it up based on what kind of mood I'm in.
I think as creatives,we feel like we should be in land and letting things just come to us and okay with that, when in fact we do have bills to pay and we do, in fact, we do have to a business that we have to keep, so you have to be.
analytical, and you have to be creative. You have to merge your dreams with your effectiveness, your activities, your, you know, your energy. you start letting go of things that don't make quite that much sense. Like for me, I started doing a lot of different things to diversify my income, the shows in person something I let go because.
it wasn't practical and it wasn't something I could afford to do a whole lot of events per year.
So then I started doing something else that was, aligned I did a little, journal entry and it's called, One Step Closer. So I kind of laid out some goals to guide me in those early years, anything I said yes to, how to align with whatever my big goal for that year, that five year plan was.
that helped me let go of the things that were not. Feeding my, our family, our wellbeing. Even my mind, I was spending so much time, like setting up for shows or doing this or that, that I didn't have the energy to paint. Like, like, oh my gosh. I felt so exhausted after getting ready for a show that was in Atlanta or wherever, you know, and in reality, I like, I could have been spent that time doing larger dollar paintings and focusing online or creating a class.
And so I came a parent where I wanted to focus, and it was the teaching and it was the, painting for myself and the writing. Now I've kind of let go of the writing because, really wanna focus on my teaching and me developing as a artist. So you start to let go of things that don't make sense along the way.
Kate Shepherd: For those of us who've done the, the show circuit lifestyle, I did that for almost 10 years and it just about killed me. I made more money than I could ever. you know, know what to do with. But I didn't see my family. I had young babies at the time. I was away every weekend.
I was away every holiday. Cuz those are all the times when the tourists are out . I slipped a disc in my back, schlepping my stuff back and forth, you know, lifting, dragging, pulling, props and you know, for my table. I guess the question that's underneath all of this for me is, What happens when you have to say no to the things that actually are the ones that make you money? Like how do you navigate what you say yes to and what you say no to with that formula? Because really I should be saying yes to the things that make the money, but those are the things that make me really unhappy. I don't wanna do that.
Jodi Ohl: It's not just the money, it's, it's your mental state of being like, look how the cost that it, it took on you to do those shows like your family life, your, your wellbeing, your emotional wellbeing. So you have to balance both the financial costs and the emotional cost. time is a commodity to me now.
we all have different versions of success and spending time with those that you love and know that, that equates to a big portion of our overall happiness. And so doing the hustle, there's, there's times when I don't make as much money because I choose not to, because I, I'm taking more of a, more breaks than I ever used to.
But it still messes my mind. Don't get me wrong, I, had to let go of a big project. I, I, I struggled with it for a couple years it was a business that, my friend and I did together. It was a retreat company. I knew I wanted to go in a different direction, I also wanted to change my teaching.
, into more intensive teaching and not just one day classes or two day classes. how do you let go of something that I did with my friends and I made a lot of friends and some of the ladies that come to our retreat, they kept coming back for year after year and they're such good friends, it also, I needed that time to do something different and I had to dig down deep.
I can't be the best version myself for this group, even though it paid me a lot of money, you know? And so I had to do a lot of soul searching about, so it's, it's not easy, but if you keep having anxiety about something and it's pulling at you, I think you just have to listen to yourself and let go of the things that no longer serve you,
Kate Shepherd: how do you listen to that? Information, like how does that come to you? Is it a voice? You know, like I heard that voice that day, start the podcast. Sometimes it's really clear for me and sometimes I, there are like months that go by where I'm like, uh, Hello, Could you show me like a, a clue where, like, which direction should I be going?
How does it, does that happen to you? And also how do you, how does it sound to you when you do here and how do you relate to that energy, that information? Because it's a presence, right? Like
Jodi Ohl: Well, I'm probably not the best person to ask because I can. overanalyze things in my head, sometimes it entails talking to other people. I truly believe that we have angels that guide us. And I believe that signs are put into our everyday life the more in tune we are with that the better we are at making decisions for ourself and going in the right direction. I know that when I'm not listening to my intuitive self, and I'm not listening to what I already kind of know what I need to do. things don't happen for me and, and I start fumbling.
I feel like I'm floating along without any direction and it's like, okay, I, I'm not following the direction I know you need to be in, if we can notice those signs that kind of be put in our way or listen to the, voices in our head kind of move along that path, but alsopay attention to the obstacles that are put in our path as, as well.
Kate Shepherd: Say more about the listening to the obstacles. Cause I think we don't, we don't talk about that very often. What do you mean?
Jodi Ohl: I think that when we have a door slam in our face, we think it's, a no forever. And it could be a couple different things. It could be a no now and, but not a no forever. Or it could be like in the wrong direction you need to turn around and go this way. I think it's your perception, you know, and it's like how to perceive things, you know, in like, okay, like this obviously is not the right direction.
Is it not the right direction for now? Or is it, it's a place I need to turn, pivot in my life. a time in my life where I had a couple of rejections, I was like really down on myself and I'm like, I thought this is what I was supposed to be doing and this, these, these are things that were put into my path and, and they said, go ahead and try this.
And I did, but I totally ignored the rules around this thing was to be, you know? And
Kate Shepherd: What do you mean?
Jodi Ohl: Okay, I'll just be more specific about it. I was invited to do A D V D. , lesson for a DVD for a company. What they wanted were short project-based, lessons.
And I created this whole, it could have been like a seven hour dvd. V is so in my head when I got rejected, like, this isn't exactly what we're looking for.
Kate Shepherd: Right.
Jodi Ohl: I thought, I was. the worst person in the world, like I thought, like, okay, it's all over. I went down to I'm gonna be homeless in about, you know, 20 days.
You know, I can go from zero to 60 very quickly. But then when I really thought about it, took the feedback that I got and I came back a couple months later after I've, you know, really sat with that and gave myself some time to breathe and sent my proposals back in, and next thing you know, I've done eight DVDs for that company now.
that no now was not a no forever. It was like, take the feedback that you're getting and actually change your ways, and change your ideas or change your formula formulas come up with something new for us. And I did, you know, I could have just turned around like, okay, this is not gonna work.
I think that's like one thing, like when you, when you have an obstacle, take a look at what you know, what they're really saying. I was working for those big companies that were doing the retreats, you know, one of them closed down permanently and then another one opted not to have me, and I could have thought, felt really bad about that, and I did for a while, don't get me wrong, but then I thought as a new opportunity for me to do work in.
Different galleries or different boutiques or different, art schools. so instead of doing the big projects, I was doing more solo activities around the country. And that's what I'm still doing now. I teach around the country. it was a door closed, but it wasn't a door that closed on my whole entire art career. new direction. this whole year for me has been very different than normal. I've had some physical challenges two surgeries I've had a month where I had Bell's Palsy where I couldn't even talk. and in my head I'm thinking okay, no one's gonna remember me or if I can't be present all as much as I used to be, but I've physically was not able to for many, many months to I felt like the physical challenges I had this year were a roadblock But one of the reasons why I left the retreat company was so I could percolate new ideas. in deeper to my own art, which is getting better and better and better and better every year.
I wanted that time. Well, guess what? I got that time. are are pauses in my life that, I can definitely feel a little bit anxious about but I think the universe has put , these things , into my pathway to learn from
Kate Shepherd: You've cultivated the ability to be able to, in real time, see okay, this is uncomfortable and you know, an ob an obstacle in quotes, but actually like, where's the gift?
Like in the moment almost you're like looking and you know that there's buried within it some opportunity for you.
Jodi Ohl: Right. And it's definitely the reframing and because, and I'm not gonna say like it's been all rainbows and unicorns, I've had many days of the last seven months where do crawl up in a ball and kind of feel bad for myself or feel like I can't do this anymore. But it is about reframing my mindset again and getting back to, know, doing what I do.
Get back to showing up again changing the perception is a big thing. had Danielle Laporte on
Kate Shepherd: Mm-hmm.
Jodi Ohl: episodes ago, , she's something I, I've read most of her books a long time ago. , I think it was in Firestarter she talked about her bills and how she , reframed that in her head, like, oh gosh, that's another, car payment and blah, blah, blah, and all my money's draining outta my account.
And she reframed it as , Thank God I have money in my account to pay these bills. Isn't it a blessing? , and all of a sudden, like the money started to flow again for her. . And so the, so that's where I'm kind of coming from.
Kate Shepherd: I feel like it's a battle in the mind of who? Who, cuz it feels like there's a committee of. People in there battling for who's gonna be providing the frame that day. Like how are we gonna be looking at this? And I don't know. mean, why maybe, you know why seems to be really like the negative Nellies in there, the harsh judges, the doomsday doomsayer, the that voice seems to be in charge a lot how do you deal with that and how do you navigate your way out of that? Or what do you do to remind yourself? Actually, there's other ways of looking at this.
Jodi Ohl: I don't really meditate, but I do practice deep breathing and then for me, that kind of helps settle my anxiety down. You know, I've had several years of being on medication for my anxiety. So I have some assistance with that. you talk that way to your best friend? Would you. that way to your, uh, your child, know, would you, like, when you're like, let's just talk about a painting. Like say there's a painting that's not going I hate this, it's nothing's going my way.
Blah, blah, blah, blah. And, you know, and then you think about, would you think of your painting as, uh, an appendage of yourself? You know, it's, it's, it's part of you. Like, would you say to your best friend like you, I hate you. You don't look good. it is just a matter of trying to get the negative out of your.
Vocabulary let it go.
I think it's just a practice of trying to reframe things as much as possible. And when you can't, you're not in that spirit, then take some deep breaths and just slow down.
Kate Shepherd: Around the time that the house burnt down and you were working at the job and you were just kinda getting back into it. Do you, can you look back and remember how you felt about your art then? Like your feelings about it, not the reframed thoughts, like genuine, honest to goodness.
How did you feel about it?
Jodi Ohl: I thought I was magnificent, , and I don't know. And then it was because I was so happy with it. I mean, looking back now, I'm like, oh my God, you know? But I was just so happy doing it, you know?
Kate Shepherd: Well, and I feel like. that answer is the truth about that art. Like the, it's the later, the later when you're like, oh, I don't know about it. Like that's when mind crept in. But like the truth was that it was prob magnificent, right? Like, yeah.
Jodi Ohl: don't know. I don't think so,
Kate Shepherd: Well, because some you, yeah. And you even said that though, like somebody saw something in you that you didn't see, right?
Like that's how it got out there. And how has that changed now? How do you feel about your artwork now? Like if you were to end this interview and go off to the studio and do some work and finish a couple pieces, or maybe the pieces you finished yesterday, or how do you, in general, how do you feel about your work now?
Jodi Ohl: I'm proud about what I do. Like do I do masterpieces every day? No.
Kate Shepherd: , maybe, maybe this is too much of a vulnerable question, but like the. The feeling that you have when you finish. What if peace tells you it's, I'm done. I'm done. And you're, there's that moment that kind of hangs in the air between you and it. Is there an emotion that is, that you're sharing with it? Like what's the feeling of it you?
Jodi Ohl: Every painting a moment in my own history, I'm capturing a, chapter in my life, you know, that painting , I do have an attachment to it, and I do like sit with it for a while before I let it go because it feels like it's a part of me, you know?
, the paintings, if you look at it as a whole, tell the story of your life and you know, it is vulnerable. I've gotten braver over, the years about putting my work out there for the good, the bad, the ugly, I just don't compare myself with anybody else. And maybe that helps me do it because the only person I compare myself with is who I was yesterday a doesn't mean I don't look at other people's art. No, I enjoy everybody's art too. But do I say, oh, I wish I could be her? No, I don't because we all have our own different paths. I just try to do better than I did the day before.
Kate Shepherd: Thank you. you remember a time when you felt like, you were sort of experimenting blindly with art and you didn't really know what your voice was because, right, like, now I look at your work and I can tell right away, oh, that's a piece of Jodi's like, or a student of Jodi's.
Like, I, I can, I, you know, it's so distinctive cuz you're so connected your voice. Did you ever, was there a time and what was it like to not know what your voice was and how did you find it?
Jodi Ohl: I feel like your voice is always there. I feel like I just try to get better learning my materials and learning what I wanted to do and, and being. I found that more of myself that I put into the art, the better it is.
And by that I mean, , when I really connect with a piece and when I really am thinking about what I'm doing and not just trying to make a dollar for the day, you know, I don't ever, I don't think about like, oh, the hope this sells. And I try to just do the best that I can and like the more emotional or the more of my experience I put into a piece, the better it, it, it becomes.
Your voice starts to come out with the amount of work that you do, it becomes apparent, and we all have our own visual language when you're like listening to somebody's voice on the phone, you, automatically know who it is because you hear it.
The same thing with your painting, your artwork. It develops over time even without you trying, because how could it not? Colors you love, maybe you're into, , texture pieces or maybe you like your work flat , or maybe you're drawn to moody colors or maybe you're drawn to those things show up in your life time and time again, and that's all part of your style, your voice, and, and, and so it's there and it's just, it gets better and more apparent the more in tune you are with your own art and the longer you've been doing it.
But I think it's also changing. You know, I feel myself changing. A bit, and I'm not, I don't if I can even verbalize it. For a while there I was trying to prove myself that I could paint in a different color palette that wasn't pink or teal. You know, a magenta
Kate Shepherd: But why
Jodi Ohl: but why do that? I was crazy
Kate Shepherd: Why would you do that?
Jodi Ohl: Just to prove that I could,
did. um, well, and now I'm over that I'm going on to something else, . Now I'm back to my brights. You know, it's like sometimes I just prove, have to prove to myself. But yet I think even those neutral pieces, you could still tell it was my work. Even I just did a whole collection of like, call sticks and stones.
But they're still my markings, my, my pen work, my way I put my shapes together is still mine, even though it's a neutral color palette, you know?
Kate Shepherd: I wanted to go back to something that you said.
About how like the pieces that feel more alive or the best pieces are the ones that you've really put yourself into what are the mechanics of that
so I'm thinking about the person listening, going, well, when I go to the studio, I'm just playing with blue and green and I, I'm not, how do you, I wanna know how to put myself into there. I wanna know how to paint until I make myself cry or until I'm processing things. Like we hear people saying that stuff.
Track 1: Mm-hmm.
Kate Shepherd: How do you actually do that? is there a formula for that?
learn how to do that?
the doorway to that?
Track 1: yeah, it's, it's hard to explain, but like, let me try to liken it to a metaphor of, um, maybe writing a book. Um, so you start off with like a bunch of ideas and you're, you're kind of developing your characters. So the first part of your painting process is just putting it all out there. You're having fun, you're introducing these characters, and then the nitty gritty of the story comes through the middle.
And that's usually the hard part, like trying to get through the middle, trying to tie everything together so what you're doing makes sense. And so that's the middle part is probably where I kind of enjoy my painting more emotionally. where I'm trying to make sense of what's happening here and put my characters into play.
and I find that people wanna go from the beginning to the end too quickly without really processing the middle. And, you know, if you can think about a book you read, like you don't wanna go from the first page to the last page without really, enjoying what's happening in the middle. but it can be very, you know, the emotional part for people is just going from the middle to the end.
Coming to a conclusion of what you're trying to say with your art, with your story that you're telling. It's maybe not totally finalizing whatever you're trying to deal with or whatever you're trying to communicate, but each painting is a form of communication. So you have to come to a resolution.
even if it's not perfect, because it rarely is, but at some point you have to tie in all the loose ends and let that experience go. And that's how I look at each painting and sometimes my middle lasts for months, you know, so I'm ready to go back and confront whatever I was dealing with.
Or maybe I spent enough time that I can let that go and go on to something else. And so there's. , many, maybe many moments put into that one painting. Then there are days when I'm just slinging paint and I'm just having fun. I'm trying colors, and that's kind of like, you know, your warmups, you're exercising, but when you're running the race, you're lo you're not just doing your exercises, you're, you're doing that painting from start to finish.
And so you have to have that in your mind. I will come to completion with this. I am gonna end the race. I allow myself to play time. I allow myself to experimental time, but then I also force myself in a way that's natural to me, to take something from beginning to end.
Once I can really feel like I've put myself into that painting. those are the best paintings, and I can really feel like I've had that whole experience from start to finish. And I didn't just do something to experiment with, like the fun that I had, you know, it's more a more of emotional mindset.
Does I'm thinking about the person who's
Kate Shepherd: well, okay. I didn't know that was available to me in painting. I've just been slinging paint, but I wanna deepen my, do that. I wanna take something to the finish and do you think , are some practical steps or exercises that be able to tap into and begin to do
to. Get into that middle ground to take it to the end a little bit more
they have no idea what they're doing, if they've never done that before,
Track 1: That is the hard part. And I think like it's probably gonna tell you an answer that nobody wants to hear, and that's through practice. , you know, so like the more in tune you are with, with your steps, the easier it becomes to know when you're finished. Right? But I would say the practical part is by learning the fundamentals.
like to me, . It's hard to be intuitive on certain things in, in your artistic career if you really don't know the fundamentals of where to begin. Like I could say I'm doing an intuitive sculpting, but if I don't even know how to use clay or do the drawing part or what I mean there, I can only go so far.
I need to learn the fun fundamentals of doing what I'm doing. So that would be learning about the principles of art and design that might be about really enhancing your knowledge around color about. , composition, and pretty soon you have those fundamentals and you can break 'em, but you know what you're looking for.
when you look at your painting, you like, okay, am I, is my eyes drawn to something that I really love? That's something else is gonna notice, or, or nobody else is gonna notice that because it's not. coming out the way I want it to. So you're in charge of your painting. So whatever you want it to convey, it's up to you to put it there into your piece.
Does you know that your focal point's supposed to be here because that's what you intended everybody to look at, that one part that you just love so much, but you have a distracting element on the opposite side, then you're not doing their job as an artist to draw the tension. For the viewer to where you want them to go.
Now, they may see other parts that are beautiful too, but you're in the, in the driver's seat, so it's up to you to put it there and you'll know how to do that once you really learn the, the fundamentals. And then to me, it's easier to become intuitive because you know how to take things from your emotional state to your technical and practical state and, and, and go back and forth in between those different states of mind when you're creating.
Kate Shepherd: that what you teach when you, I wanted to talk a little bit about your teaching,
big part of your work these days, right?
Track 1: I teach a lot of the fundamentals and I try to, put it in ways, like I try to teach every class that I teach unless it specifically says otherwise, that if you're a beginner, you could follow along just, and, and it'd be challenging, but it wouldn't be out of reach. So I try to chunk down, like if you look at any big problem, it looks like too big to really advance on, you know, as a whole.
But if you chunk down the steps, it becomes more approachable. So if you learn it a little bit here and a little bit here, and so what I try to do is I build up each of my exercises. to the point where you're learning different aspects of what I want you to learn at the end, and then usually, I usually try to have like almost in all my classes.
The last lesson is about bringing everything together that you learned in your previous lessons. I do have one
class that's a lot more intensive. Called abstract and interactive . And that is more about finding your voice and finding your style and about putting in the practice. So that's kind of like a, a, a little bit of a deeper dive.
So once you've kind of learned the fundamentals, . It's like, okay, how can we go that next step and level up our work, , into, , something that's more us, you know, more what we wanna say.
do wanna take any classes from me. The coupon code I have , is Creative 15, and that'll give you 15% off of any of my classes. And I put expiration date of August 1st, so that'll give people a month or two to enjoy it.
Kate Shepherd: Before every episode, I pull a ---card from my angel deck. As kind of a blessing for the conversation that my guests and I are about to have. And for our conversation today, I had pulled the word gratitude.
Track 1: Oh my gosh, that is awesome. A perfect way to end, you know, the, this chat together because I'm very grateful for you. I'm very grateful for everything That's happened in my life. And, um, hopefully we can make a difference to one person. You never know how, who's gonna hear something we've said that's gonna change their direction in life and give them inspiration.
I'm definitely grateful for what we, all of us creatives have been able to do. and
Kate Shepherd: Mm.
Track 1: and I'm very blessed and I'm gonna live a life with no regrets. And I, if I were to leave this earth today or tomorrow, I would be very happy and grateful for everything that's come before
Kate Shepherd: what a wonderful way to live.
a beautiful, that's it. I think that's the secret of life, like right there in what you just
Track 1: Not always searching for the next thing, but being happy in the moment.
What a perfect card. Love that.
Kate Shepherd: I love it too. So my last question for you is, imagining all the people in the world who longed to have this connection with this creative energy that lives inside of us, but for whatever reason and all the reasons we've talked about, we shove it down, we ignore it, we pretend it isn't there. We're too scared to trust it. All those things. If you had a billboard and you could put something on this billboard
that all of these people would see and it would land in their heart and it would them connect with that energy. What would you put on that billboard?
What would you say?
Track 1: Every No leads to a yes, and I guess hopefully that can speak to somebody who may not be able to do it today, but keep on trying. It's about practice, it's about showing up, and it's about asking for things you desire. If you never ask for it, chances are it will not happen. And it may not be the timeframe that you want it to be in, but it will happen. And so just keep on trying. What I try to tell my students and anybody else that follows me, , that, you know, like put into the practice.
It's just something, part of what we do and it will, um, it's part of the, our life as a creative and we, we should enjoy it, but. It doesn't, everything we want doesn't always happen today. So be open to things that are put into our pathways and follow down the direction that we're called to go down. Keep on trying, keep on putting yourself out there and, live your life with no regrets. Every note, at least to a yes.
Kate Shepherd: Thank you. I personally needed to hear that exact thing today,
you for that.
Track 1: Thank you for having me.
Kate Shepherd: Where can people find you? What's the best place to find you? Online
or in real
do you want people listening to this to go?
Track 1: , under Jodi o , and if you go to my website, I have like a little quick link that kind of shows you where to all, what's happening for the week or the month.
Www.jodio.com/links. And there's a little shortcuts
to everything that's going on,
Hope to see you in person one of these days, Kate, and,
um, definitely online.
So let's continue this conversation
Kate Shepherd: that sounds amazing. Thank you.
I don't know about you, but I feel like. So much more as possible. I will on this side of listening to that conversation.
It's true. What she tells us, you know, it's rarely ever perfect.
But continuing to show up and practice. We gain a mastery over the thing that we're drawn to. The thing that we love, we start to understand the fundamentals of us, of it. Which can in turn, allow us the freedom to access intuition. You know, you can't be intuitive about something. I loved it when she said that.
You can't be intuitive about something. If you don't actually understand how the container of what you're in works.
If you take one thing from this episode today. I hope it's the knowing that Jody's right. It may not happen on your timeline. But if you decide to turn towards the thing that's calling you. And you keep showing up for it. And you don't force it to be perfect. And you allow it to move out of you and you keep coming back and you keep doing it.
It will happen.
Keep showing up.