Ep 45 - Kim Myers Smith, Fine Artist: Mess. Rest. Trust. Repeat

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Episode Summary

In this captivating episode, we explore the profound power of creativity and the deep-seated pain caused by our disconnection from it. Join us as we challenge limiting beliefs around creativity, including the misconception that making a mess is not acceptable. Discover how the true magic we seek often lies on the other side of the chaos. Special guest, Kim Myers Smith, a renowned fine artist, shares invaluable insights on navigating the messy and uncertain stages of the creative process. We also introduce the Creative Genius Family Facebook community and the exclusive Creative Genius Patreon membership, offering a wealth of bonus content, journal worksheets, painting workshops, and guided meditations. Join us on this transformative journey of self-expression and empowerment!


Show Notes

Trust. Mess. Rest. Repeat.

In this fantastic episode, our gracious guest, Kim Myers Smith, reveals her four-part formula for cultivating a healthy, productive, and stress-free creative practice. Host Kate Shepherd emphasizes the profound significance of creativity as the life force behind the universe, urging listeners to reconnect with this potent energy. Together, they challenge toxic beliefs surrounding creativity, explore the societal conditioning that discourages embracing messiness and uncertainty, and unveil the transformative power of surrendering to these aspects. Engage in an enlightening activity and contemplation exercise to embrace the unknown in your own creative endeavors. Prepare to be inspired!

Kim has generously offered Creative Genius Listeners a coupon code for a discount of 20% on her Art in Bloom course with BLOOMGENIOUS And is currently offering a 1-week Free trial on her Inspiring Art Membership. Go to her website to take advantage of this. 

Join the Creative Genius Community on the Creative Genius Family Facebook Page!  to share your experiences and insights. Dive into Kate's daily sketching practice, drawing inspiration from the natural world and embracing imperfections, to cultivate comfort with uncertainty and messiness in your creative expression. This thought-provoking conversation with Kim Smith touches on her journey in embracing the messy and uncertain aspects of her art practice, the role of intuition, the relationship between intuition and intention, creative rituals, and the significance of one's environment in the creative process. Discover why "The Pig" holds a special place in Kim's heart.

Tune in to this enlightening episode, available on all major podcast platforms. Don't forget to leave a review to support the show. Thank you for joining us on this transformative creative journey!

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the pig oil painting by kim myers smith
"The Pig" Kim's favourite piece of her own work. 



(apologies for errors!) 

hello. If you're just joining us. A very warm welcome to you. If you're a longtime listener. Welcome back. I'm glad you're here too. I often say humanity is glitching because we have become disconnected from creativity. Which I describe as the intelligence and energy animating the entire universe. Everything from the chair you're sitting on to the poem that wants to come out of your pen. 

All exists because of creativity. 

The problem is the reason we're glitching. Is that most of us have inherited a bunch of really toxic limiting beliefs about creativity. What it is, who has it in them? What it has to look like sound like or feel like. You may have knowingly or unknowingly self-selected out of a creatively led life. 

Because of these beliefs. Only to find. Creativity pursues you one way or another until you come back to it. Because that's just what it does. This podcast is for you. If you yearn to reconnect with this powerful force inside of yourself. If you've always secretly or maybe not. So secretly known. 

That there is something magical inside of you that has been trying to get your attention and be brought to life. Ever since you were born. We are your people. You found us. We are a beautiful group of humans dotted all over the world. Who feels similar stirrings and challenges.  

And two are compelled just like you. Even though sometimes it's difficult or frustrating or. Even downright terrifying. To reconnecting and activating with this magical force inside of us. To experience all the joy and flow. Connection. Wisdom and inspiration creativity has to offer us. 


And on that note, if you're looking to nurture actual connections with people from this community, please head over to Facebook and join the creative genius family. It's a beautiful community of people who feel the same way about creativity that you do. And we're waiting for you. 


Our guests today, Kim Smith is an incredible, fine artist. I first found out about her work, scrolling Instagram for inspiration for colorful floral paintings. Her feed stopped me in my tracks. Back in February, one of her pieces in particular spoke to me and wouldn't stop speaking to me. 


I reached out to Kim and before long, that very piece was winging its way here. . From where she lives in paints. In east Petersburg, Pennsylvania. One of her superpowers. 


Though she would be shy to admit this. I think. Is her capacity to be comfortable in the messy, uncertain stages of a painting. Before it all comes together. Which I think is a perfect metaphor for life. Avoiding the messy, unknown or messes in general is a big part of how we are conditioned in our current culture. 


Many of us were taught that messes pain, uncertainty. Are bad or wrong and should be avoided at all costs. Except we all instinctively know no mud. No Lotus. The good news is that because these are just beliefs. We can change them. Later in the show, I'm going to give you an activity and a contemplation you can do between now and our next episode. 


That may help you begin to feel a little bit more comfortable in the messy, unknown. Both inside and out of your creative practice. 


Oh, and there's a juicy discount from Kim for one of her all painting courses. So make sure you're signed up for the creative genius newsletter to access that magic. You can do that over at Kate Sheppard, creative.com. 


I share with you today, a message from a brand new listener who wrote in. Her name is Jackie and she wrote really, really, really love this. 


I can't believe I've just now found your podcast. Now binge listening while I work on my new art space. Love your content and how you are bringing creatives together. I hear so many things that resonate with me. My new favorite podcast, much love. Jackie welcome to the creative genius family. I'm so glad you're here. 


It is a joy for me to know that creating this podcast is reaching you out in the world. And I love hearing about it. If you haven't left a review for the show or want to send me a message like that, the very best place to do that as an apple podcasts, you can rate and review and subscribe to the show. 


It actually really helps us with the algorithm I'm told. Which ultimately we'll let this medicine that's in this show. Reach more ears and more hearts. I wanted to let you know, a couple of weeks ago as part of the creative genius Patrion, which is an amazing behind the scenes world that goes on here at creative genius. 


I put together our watercolor intuition workshop. So it's about 45, 50 minutes. Of talking to paint and using water colors as a way in, you know, often we need to find a weight into our intuition, our way, into our creative muse. And this 45 minute intuition workshop is just that 


it's beautiful and I'm really proud of it. 


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 Patreon 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. 


Kim. And I talked today about quite a few things today that I think are going to really speak to your heart. She talks about how she learned how to become comfortable in the messy, unknown places of her art practice and how actually, , when you get used to being in that unknown, messy place. 


You come to love them because essentially they are the fertile ground where all of the magic sprouts from. She shares her trusty four-part formula that I don't think she even knew was a four-part formula. . She she's sort of instinctively just does these things, but I think we can apply them to our own lives as a four-part formula. 


For a happy flowy, creative practice. Where you can trust the process and really surrender to the magic of creating. Have a listen to my conversation with Kim Smith. 


Kate Shepherd: Thank you for joining us, Kim. It's really great to meet you in person.


Kim Smith: Thanks


Kate Shepherd: Yeah, I am too.


Kim Smith: about 


Kate Shepherd: I know what you do, but I was wondering If you were at a dinner party with a bunch of new friends, how would you explain 


Kim Smith: I am an artist. I'm not quite a full-time artist. I still have a graphic design business with a few clients, so that takes some of my focus. But little by little I've been building up, painting because, when I started out in graphic design years ago, everything was hand done.


I sat at a drawing table and I drew everything. I would do illustrations, marker comps, like everything was by hand and little by little as everything was digitized and on the computer, really missed making things with my hands. But during that time, I was raising three children and had a business, and life was super busy. So I waited until my third child was about 10 years old, so I think it's about 10 years ago. I started to get up early in the morning before work every day and paint, and now it's something I can't imagine my life without. It's so fun. Like it's just, it's a habit that, that I get up in the morning and I brush my teeth, make my coffee, and I'm in the


Kate Shepherd: What I read that you do that one of the things I wanted to ask you about today was, , what are the rituals and, and things that you do that you feel like kind of are the most influential and and nourishing for your creative practice? And when I read that you, that you do, that, you get up, is that every morning you get up before the sun comes 


Kim Smith: Well, no, not anymore. As my husband always says, I still use that as my claim to


Kate Shepherd: Yeah.


Kim Smith: has gotten slightly easier. My third child, Isabelle, is in college now, and I would say I get up between six and seven now, but I used to get up at 5 30 in the morning because I would start my workday by eight.


Now I still do, but I'm working from home.


Kate Shepherd: Right.


Kim Smith: happened, we all, from the office, we all went home and we decided we were, we worked just as well at home, so we closed the office. So now my commute to work is, is um, you know, two seconds so I can go from painting to being


Kate Shepherd: That's so amazing.


Kim Smith: minutes, so


Kate Shepherd: the silver We I do love linings. did get some silver 


Kim Smith: Yeah.


there were


Kate Shepherd: Yeah. what is your first memory like when you, thinking back to when you yourself were a kid, what is your first memory of really loving creativity? Of really kind of knowing that there's this thing that you can tap into and be a part of 


Kim Smith: I think one of my favorite memories of being a kid would be being in elementary school and hearing the art cart coming down the hallway because I've always loved art and we didn't have like a classroom, so the art teacher just had a cart full of fun you'd hear her coming down the hall and I'm like, yes, it's art.


It's time for art. I should have gone to an art school probably. I've always loved anything art when I was little, I would, use my crayons to make floor plans. I would lay them all out color coordinated as floor plans. I used to get, my dad was a wallpaper hanger and he'd bring home old wallpaper books and I would make Barbie doll clothing out of them.


I just loved doing anything creative. I would sew and knit and crochet, and I always thought when I grew up, maybe if I got to be an art, that meant that I would make crust stitch patterns, which sounds like fun to me, but I never did


Kate Shepherd: Because So what happened? so I've talked to. I mean, I've been talking to artists my whole life. and so often I hear that there's this love affair that starts when we're very small, like the smell of crowns and really, really, really play-doh, even like, just really, really small.


And it's a love and it's a freedom and it's a, it's a joy. And then there's this sort of journey away from it for a time. and then a journey back to it that often coincides with some sort of fairly dramatic set of circumstances in our lives. You know, some, your house will burn down to get your attention and now you've got, okay.


Right. I should be 


Kim Smith: Yes. I need to get back to that it's the best feeling. And yeah, I journeyed away mostly out of practical reasons. I didn't even give one moment's consideration to being a, artist. I went to school for graphic design, which I thought was pre darn close to being an artist. but I missed that hands-on making of things. And when I was, I went to a great college that had a wonderful graphic design program, but also a fine art program. And I never took, one oil painting class, and boy do I regret that. But you know, I wanted to do everything. I did printmaking and weaving and I would love to go back to school and just learn all of it.


Kate Shepherd: So what was journey back the painting that you're doing now 


Kim Smith: I really missed making art I started. going with, of my business partners, we did an oil painting class. It was in Philadelphia. I'd drive there on Friday afternoons and this gentleman would take us to these beautiful places to do plein air oil painting. Well, I'd never oil painted and I wanted to try it because I wanted to loosen up my style.


Like I can paint super realistically, but I wanna paint with those big juicy brush strokes and you know, make the big mess and. I, I just love that. It was, it was, it was, I made a lot of messes until I got to the end of it. But I always tell the story that we went to one of these, plen air painting things and I had no idea what I was doing.


I didn't even have a plen air easel. I just bought paints and I sat down on the ground and I kind of stippled this whole purple and green fun thing. And we had a, a new, Volkswagen Jetta, and I put it in the trunk to drive home, and it's when my kids were younger. and I didn't realize my son's basketball was in the trunk and it rolled all around and it's brand new car.


It had green and purple paint


Kate Shepherd: Oh 


Kim Smith: just me. I make


Kate Shepherd: think that's such a the reason I started this podcast is that I and I, I maintain that humanity's glitching because we've become disconnected from creativity. And that if we can learn how to activate it and reconnect with it, if we get to trust it again, all of the problems that we have out there in the world will spontaneously begin to resolve on their own when we're tapped into this intelligence.


And I feel like one of the ways that we reject creativity is the mess. We are, we're very scared of making mistakes or making a mess or being dirty or, things it's so. . It is all, and it is all those unpredictable. It's, yeah. So did you have, was there sort of like a, a path that you had to go down to become more comfortable with your own mess making or was that, did that come easy to you?


Kim Smith: Um, well, I think I


am just 


Kate Shepherd: me too.


Kim Smith: all the time. I fall like I'm just clumsy like that. But, um, I think oil painting, I intentionally decided. to try oil painting and go through the mess and, and the mess never ends. Life's messy. 


it starts out simple and then it gets so messy and it's almost like I let the mess be over the top and then I pull it all together in the end. And it's about having faith. Getting through the messy, that ugly, messy middle when it's all reckless and you just aren't even sure it's gonna turn out.


And then when you come to the other side, it's like, yeah, you just have to be patient, believe 


Kate Shepherd: in yourself and get through 


Kim Smith: it 


Kate Shepherd: How teach did you yourself how to do that? I feel like that's, I mean, I get it and I, I wanna be able to do that too, but I have a really hard time in that Middle place. 




Kim Smith: I was just talking to a friend about it today because my, I did a live oil painting thing this morning and it was pretty ugly in the middle, and I think it really is just doing it every day. I paint. every day. It's just that practice. And, and after a while, if you have more that turn out than don't, then it tips the scale that you believe that it will, and, and now I very rarely don't.


not, I'm unhappy with how things turn out, so I have


Kate Shepherd: I think that that's something that a lot of people listening to this are going, okay, I wanna, I wanna walk myself through that. I wanna get, I wanna have that faith. And I'm wondering if there was, is there sort of a, a, a practice or a ritual other, I mean, you're saying the every day, and I think that that's really important, but.


is there a specific thing we can focus on to allow ourselves to go through that uncertainty?


Kim Smith: just 


Kate Shepherd: Hmm 


Kim Smith: coming. It's gonna happen. Accept it and work your way through it and keep practicing working through it. I think that's what it is, because even today, my, my friend said to me, oh my gosh, you know, I didn't even know how that was gonna turn out. So many people have said that to me and it's like, but it does.


Like I now, I believe 


Kate Shepherd: is


that it? It feels like that's connected to intuition somehow, which is brings me to something I wanted to talk to you about intuition and, and. it's relationship to creativity. And actually maybe you could just talk about your relationship to intuition.


Kim Smith: it's having the faith of getting through it. It is totally trusting your intuition, and I truly think there's a little bit of magic mixed in too. how it all works. But yeah, you have to listen to your intuition and. And it's funny how sometimes you can not listen when it's screaming at you, but it's, I find that I listen better when, when I'm painting, I'm in that zone where I'm not, I'm not, um, the noise is gone, so you can hear it.


where it's kind of like mowing the yard or doing something that where you're, where you're in that space. Whereas normally when I'm working, I'm thinking about way too many things. There's like million things happening and you can't even hear your intuition. But I think if you quiet and center yourself and land in that space,


Kate Shepherd: Is there something? Yeah, it makes sense. I'm just wondering like 


Kim Smith: make sense 


Kate Shepherd: or like for the person who's very, who needs instructions. So, okay, so I'm gonna go to my studio and I wanna clear out the noise. How do I do that? What happens? Like is there, is there something you do? Are you deep, deep breathing?


Kim Smith: just finding your happy place. You just 


Kate Shepherd: right 


Kim Smith: getting rid of that voice that makes you doubt and keep practicing. And it could be it's like if I feel, what do they, they say you have to be, 


Kate Shepherd: Mm-hmm 


Kim Smith: when inspiration lands, you know what I mean? Like, you have to be active. You can't be not at your desk when it, when all of a sudden it lands on you.


So just be doing it. And if, if you dive into your day and you find that you don't feel creative or it's not happening for you, then do something different. But do something creative, like move over and like jesso panels or do clean up your studio mix some paint up or just out your. and and make a mess.


Like just be creative with no take, 


Kate Shepherd: right and




showing up. I I'm hearing that so, so loud and clear. So much of about being there when the moment happens and showing up and 


Kim Smith: And then, and then, um, yeah, it really is. It's, it's showing up and, and once you keep doing it, then it becomes a habit and. . It's just like any habit that you want. I mean, I wish I'd be that


Kate Shepherd: well, can't have everything. So what, when you're, when we talk about listening to our intuition, I, I mean, it's very, very seldom of an actual voice that you hear, although sometimes I think we do hear like those one off. But what is it on a normal, everyday kind of, what does intuition sound like to you?


How do you know that you're communicating with it or that it's communicating to you? 


Kim Smith: That's a really good question. I think it's just when you know something's right, and I think is a big part of painting. It's like it's decision making constantly. Like what? What's your next step? In your next step? it's like letting that silent part of your mind be calm. the part of your mind have space and it's, it's just 


Kate Shepherd: Mm 


Kim Smith: a feeling of rightness, I would say, is intuition to me.


Like you just know it's the right answer. Usually I can. Tell if not something's right or wrong. You know, if it's the right path or if, if I shouldn't, if I should or shouldn't do something. And then I find too, with my painting, my mind being calm and I start thinking about all the things that I need to do during the day, then it's time just to put my brush down because it's all, it'll all go south from there.


It's just, when I'm in that space, I have to enjoy it and, and take it all in. And then when I'm done and I realize I'm not paying attention,


Kate Shepherd: So setting yourself up for the conditions, kind of putting yourself in the, I had another guest who talked about putting yourself in the crosshairs of the opportunity. So you're putting yourself there, you're showing up, you're paying attention,


doing your best to silence all the. 


Kim Smith: noise. 


Kate Shepherd: Oh, the noise.


There's so much noise. And then knowing when to walk away and take a break. I love that. That's an amazing formula


you had written on your website about intention and intuition. What do you think the interplay is between intention and intuition?


cuz I feel like with creativity there's like, it's almost like it's this intelligence that has. A goal. It's like, I'm gonna make this painting through Kim today and here's what I want it to look like, and I need her hands to do it. I, I'm this, you know, body list thing, and, but this is what I wanna do and I'm gonna whisper to her all these different ways through intuition and all these yeses and nos.


it feels to me like it has a, it wants something from us. It wants to write the poem through us. It wants to write the book through us or make the painting through us. , what is our role and how does intention come into that? Because intention feels like on our side of things.


Kim Smith: I think the intention part to me is like when I'm making a brush stroke, like I want to be intentional with putting it down and then not messing it up. Like just make, intentional in and then stop. that's what I'm teaching myself to do Going in and really working into something because then I think it the, it gets muddy.


Well, it gets visually muddy and mentally muddy both at the same time. So it's kind of trusting your intuition and then being intentional with whatever's coming through that you


Kate Shepherd: Mm. Yeah, I like that. Cuz I've, I, it's not that I struggle with


strong of a word, but I'm just very curious. I guess that's a better way of saying it. I'm curious about the relationship between intuition, that kind of knowing here's where to do the brushstroke, and then intention, because I'm gonna be doing like who's doing what, like who, 


Kim Smith: Yeah, where's that coming from? And then the trust. The trust part of it I think


Kate Shepherd: it 


Kim Smith: it. 


Kate Shepherd: where is coming from 


Kim Smith: of 


Kate Shepherd: in your mind to your, in your experience, where does it seem to be coming from?


Kim Smith: I just can feel it. I don't know. It's like one of those things I can't quite put my finger on, but it's just how I feel when I'm painting and I, and I 


Kate Shepherd: right 


Kim Smith: learn to trust


Kate Shepherd: does it come and go for you? Still? Like, are there, I think a lot of people, when they're first getting into their creative path, there's this, it seems like as you're getting used to this new way of being and trusting and letting go and allowing, there, it's almost like, uh, tied. Like, oh, I'm, I'm really in that right now.


And then it seems to disappear. 


Kim Smith: Yeah. Well, I'm always in the tide in the mornings and the afternoons 


Kate Shepherd: Okay 


Kim Smith: tired it goes away. Like I can't even, that's when I do like the rope. Things like, gessoing panels or cleaning up my studio, cleaning my paint brushes. Because in the morning when my mind's fresh, it all comes easily. But I can tell when I get tired.


It's funny how tired I get, like if I'm working on a large painting as I'm going, at some point I get tired, like I get really tired. And you would think, how tiring can painting possibly be? I'm just painting. It's something I enjoy, but it's ex, it can be exhausting cuz you're really making a decision


Kate Shepherd: it's 


Kim Smith: stroke.


Kate Shepherd: I find listening. I mean, that's, it's an act of listening and when you're actively, if you're in a conversation somebody and you're really leaning in and you're really listening, that's a very active thing. And I feel like painting is the same. If you're really leaning in and you're listening, I mean, it makes 


Kim Smith: the 


Kate Shepherd: Have there been times for you or are there times for you when that, uh, tide goes out? Kind of for a period of your life. So it's not just on a day, it's like, or is it pretty consistent now 


Kim Smith: It's consistent and, and, if the tide would go out, I just shift what I do like, then I'll just get out acrylics and work on. Abstracts or I'll just do something that has no, I don't need to care about what it looks like in the end. It's not for anything but for me. So that's what I do when I would find myself.


I think that helps you work through that. So all of a sudden you don't get that thought in the back of your 


Kate Shepherd: Right There is a


that panic can set in and that 


Kim Smith: through that too. Yeah. So just like the other stuff, you just have to find those little mechanisms that help you get through it.


Kate Shepherd: So I'm


somebody who's not in a position to maybe go to art school, but who has this strong desire to do this, what would you suggest might be a good. 


Kim Smith: Mm-hmm 


Kate Shepherd: place to start to learn some of the formula, cuz you do, seems like you do need to have some of the formula down about composition and light and all that 


Kim Smith: Well 


Kate Shepherd: Mm-hmm.


Kim Smith: everything's available on the internet. I love to learn. Like if I, and that's another thing I do, like if I get in a point where I don't feel like painting anymore, I'll go online and. Watch other people paint. I enjoy that too. I love anyone doing anything creative like that.


I think, the core things really are being able to draw enough, like practicing that kind of stuff. Having a sketchbook and just using your sketchbook and playing in it. Like that's how I would 


Kate Shepherd: and doing it every day 


Kim Smith: learning


and doing it every day 


because if


you know why not.


Kate Shepherd: Yeah. 


Kim Smith: it 


Kate Shepherd: You do a lot of birds and flowers and I was wondering if you'd noticed any sort of metaphors or patterns or themes or lessons or you were saying a minute ago that you kind of, there's like a, your art is almost a mirror for your life. are there things that come out in these themes that have been like, aha, epiphany about life for you?


Kim Smith: I'm sure there are. I don't know if I can think of anything right now, but it is, it's, I want my paintings. For the viewer to feel happy when they see my paintings. And I just did an art show, last weekend, and so many people said, your paintings just make me feel happy. And it's like, that is my goal.


It makes me happy and I wanna spread that. I mean, it sounds like, oh yeah, whatever. You wanna make people happy. But that is, it's, it's important. It's something that I think we're missing sometimes 


Kate Shepherd: I actually think that creativity, one of the things, it wants to write the poem through us to make the beautiful pa. It isn't just for that at the end. That it wants is that it wants to do that for, so that we're doing that for each other? Like I 


Kim Smith: It's. for the viewer. Yes. And I love like knowing the people that buy my paintings, cuz they're like my little babies and I love knowing where they land. it's like little bits of my heart 


Kate Shepherd: Is


it's not silly there a particular That's not I,


at all. I beautiful. I think that's capital 


P purpose, like is there a piece that you can think of in all the work that you've created up to now that really stands out for you that you love more than, or in a different way, or that just had something about it that was special?


Kim Smith: Um, yeah, there's a, a lot but one that is kind of interesting. I have one in my living room and it's. It's a pig, and I would say it's a little bit Andrew Wyeth ish. It's not really the style that I paint in right now, but it's the first time I did a larger painting and I thought, I can do this. And so was like my reinforcement that yes, I think I'm gonna try to do this my next career for my third, third of life, and, and I will ever part with that one because it's like that illustration of that I

Kate Shepherd: I wanted to ask you that question too about, uh, ex like, exploring new terrain or the, the balance between. , mastering what you're doing. Cuz there is a certain amount of, like, as I always wanna do everything, I wanna weave and I wanna abstract and I wanna do watercolors and I wanna, and I never really master anything because I'm just kind of all over the place with stuff.


Now I'm starting a podcast now I'm, you know, all these things. So there is a, there is a, I see the value in focusing and dedicating yourself to something, but then there's also this beautiful. The, you know, the role of experimenting and trying new things is important. So what is that like for you in your, how, how often do you make time for experimenting with new things and exploring new things?


Kim Smith: I have a membership group. sometimes, like today I did an oil painting demonstration, but I almost use it as my excuse to play. So anything that, that I feel like doing, like they're all in. So sometimes I might be doing watercolors or acrylics or like, I did pysanke egg painting one time as a demo.


I've done, um,


Kate Shepherd: go 


Kim Smith: all, but like 


Kate Shepherd: and you're learning with people 


Kim Smith: Yeah. And I'll say to them, I've


Kate Shepherd: That's Oh, 


Kim Smith: this 


Kate Shepherd: I love that. 


Kim Smith: go


So it's so fun. And actually I just signed up for a, a crochet class too. Like I, I'm a little bit like, like I love all the things and I wanna do all the things, but I kind of think of my pie.




Kate Shepherd: Mm-hmm 


Kim Smith: my pie is the oil painting. And then I also do teaching and I do outdoor art shows, and I have things in galleries, but I have a piece 


Kate Shepherd: Mm-hmm 


Kim Smith: that's just 


Kate Shepherd: do


you wanna take this opportunity to tell us a little bit about your membership?


Kim Smith: my membership is called Inspiring Art and it's, $29 a month and I make content twice a month.


And it could be anything creative, A lot of it is oil painting focused, but not everything. Um, cuz I wanna appeal to just being creative and having fun. so that's something that's always open. And then I also have Art and Bloom. I made an online oil painting course. It's six different floral oil paintings, and that's an evergreen course too that you can sign 


Kate Shepherd: Great 


Kim Smith: any time. And then I al I also do in person classes sometimes, and I have one coming up in France Oh, how fun is that? I'm gonna go 


Kate Shepherd: that 


Kim Smith: nine


Kate Shepherd: sounds like heaven. 


I think you kind of answered this, but I'm gonna ask it again in case something else comes up. How do you balance the desire for creative freedom, with the need for structure and discipline. So we talking about how, you know, mastery and dedicating your time.


that, does that just another intuitive thing for you or, or is there something you didn't do to intentionally create some balance there?


Kim Smith: you have to have that Well, it does sound like fun to be able to just get up and paint all day, that's not my life. Like I have still have my business and I still have my kids and you know, all the things that I'm doing. So the structure, I would say is more time like I have these pieces of time to focus on these different things.


That structure is good, usually, when I paint large, I usually do it on the weekends when I don't have that external stuff happening. When I can just come in my studio and not think about anything else. Like I find the calmer, my mind is when I paint the




Kate Shepherd: Do you 


Kim Smith: better 


Kate Shepherd: meditate, 


Kim Smith: out 


Kate Shepherd: or do you have a practice for calming your mind?


Kim Smith: Ish.


Kate Shepherd: I, don't think 


anybody's really good at it. 


Kim Smith: I don't know that I've ever really gotten into a real meditative state, but 


Kate Shepherd: Yeah 


Kim Smith: say I try 


Kate Shepherd: yeah 


Kim Smith: day, and I love


Kate Shepherd: It's one of I, meditation and yoga. I always think, oh yeah, I gotta do that. I gotta weave that into my day. And then, you know, you're, it just from you. But 


yeah, there's that dis, that discipline piece 


Kim Smith: Mm-hmm. . Yeah. You have to be disciplined to have the, the time to relax and, 


Kate Shepherd: it Yeah It is crazy 


Kim Smith: crazy. Right.


Kate Shepherd: I told you a minute ago about why I started this show, which is that I feel like, and this is, I say it over and over again, it's, I, I really feel like humanity is glitching. Like that's the best way I can describe it, and I, I feel like we've been systematically taught all kinds of limiting beliefs about creativity.


What it really is, who has it in them? Who has the right to let it out? What it has to look like, sound like, feel like you know where it has to go, what it's for. But mostly it seems to be impeded by these, 


Kim Smith: it it 


Kate Shepherd: these beliefs around worthiness for us, you know? And, 


Kim Smith: are 


Kate Shepherd: and 


Kim Smith: us


Kate Shepherd: we don't trust it. We don't trust ourselves, and we don't trust it.


Have you seen that in your own life? Does that, when I say those things to you, does that, how does that land for you? Do you feel like that's true?


Kim Smith: Yeah. So you do, you do have to trust it. I don't think I have trouble with that, but I'm always trying to inspire it in everyone else. So I love thinking about it that way. think, and it's like building that habit the more you do it, like, I can't not do it. I couldn't not get up and, and be a creative person.


Like, like, and, and like they say too, it's, it's how you live. You don't have to be an artist or a musician or anything else you just need to live with in your heart. Like everyone's artistic, whether it's in how they build their relationships, or how they take care of their homes, or how they cook their dinners, or how they mow the grass, like it's just, it's in everyone, like much as you want it to be, you just have to call on that part of yourself and enjoy it 


Kate Shepherd: And when you're working with students over the years, what, what do you think is the biggest block that you see either, I mean, I think sometimes our blocks are self-imposed , 


Kim Smith: Always. No, I think they're always self-imposed. It's that confidence and it's that thing too where you want something to look like, something like you have it in your head and you can't make it look like that. you didn't go through the process to get there yet. You have to do all the work to get to the point where, where it happens that way. That work is the fun. You have to just get up and have fun with it and just know each thing you do, you're learning, you're getting better. Just like, you know, you don't, no one expects to sit down at a piano and just know how to play it or to take up a new language and just know how to speak but people think that they should be able to pick up a paintbrush or a pencil do something right away and, and. Why is that? Why is it different? I'm not sure


Kate Shepherd: for sure, 


Kim Smith: find that, people 


Kate Shepherd: Yeah, 


Kim Smith: can't, can't get through that process. And the process of learning is fun and I feel like I am at 10% of my abilities.


Like I've 


Kate Shepherd: That's exciting 


Kim Smith: to do, like I'm just


Kate Shepherd: so 


Kim Smith: Yeah. And I don't


Kate Shepherd: would I be


Yeah. What you, think that would


The game 


over when you're done learning, that's, yeah, there's nothing left.


Yeah, I remember that. It's funny you were talking about crochet. I, for about 15 years, really wanted to crochet this blanket that, I don't know if you know Pearl Soho, but Pearl Soho had this 


gorgeous pattern for this, for this crochet blanket.


Kim Smith: I


Kate Shepherd: was called bears Bears rainbow blanket. I have nothing to do with Pearl Soho. I'm not making any money off of it. It just, , it was a beautiful pattern, but I didn't know how to crochet. I, I had mastered knitting and I can knit just about anything but crochet for whatever reason, it bent my brain sideways and I could never figure it out.


But I really wanted to make this blanket and I kept coming back. Every couple years, I'd go and buy the crochet hook and buy another, you know, ball of wool and, and fail. Get to the point where I, you know, get frustrated and I would just get rid of it. And I remember the day where I had this like a light bulb moment where I realized, oh, I'm learning this.


This is supposed to be hard. I don't know this. There is a ti moment in a timeline somewhere where I do know this, and the space between me and that moment is suppo is uncomfortable and Yeah 


Kim Smith: need to relax into 


Kate Shepherd: Yeah 


Kim Smith: though 


Kate Shepherd: Would


you say that's the biggest obstacle we put between us and free expression? 


Kim Smith: think so. Yeah. 


Kate Shepherd: Yeah. 


Kim Smith: The perception of you thinking that it should look a certain way I think that's why I enjoy letting my paintings be so messy in the middle, is because that gets rid of my perception of it looking a certain way. more and more I wanna be able to paint that my painting takes me on the journey instead of me taking my painting and I'm working towards that I'm not there yet. 


Kate Shepherd: I've watched a bunch of your, reels it, you, you take us on a journey when you paint them


us, what's, and I'm, I wanted to ask you what that feeling is like from, from, there's nothing there to, there's some color there to now. There's a big mess there to then here she is.


Like, what is that feeling like when you meet this new painting for the first time? When you have the, when you have the knowing it's done, 


Yeah, it's, I like a magical feeling cuz it just sort of happens. Like I just dive into that space and watch its journey and stay confident through to the end and then all of a sudden, there you I'm done.


when I think about you getting up in the morning and making your coffee and going to your studio and. , that's, you're carving out time intentionally for this, and I know it's very easy 


Kim Smith: Mm-hmm 


Kate Shepherd: to believe the idea that we have in our head.


Oh, I'm too busy. I have little kids. I have a job. Life's too hectic. I don't have time. But it is really about making a decision and saying, I'm gonna honor this by spending 10, 15 minutes or whatever a day. Like it really is just a decision, 


Kim Smith: It's a decision that's, yeah. I mean, and you can't do all the things like, I honestly have to say, I maybe don't. as much as I should. , dinner as often as I should. I try, try to do all the things. I don't meditate as much as I should, but you can't do all the things. But I think each piece of life.


you have different times to different things. Like if your children are young and busy, like I couldn't, I couldn't fit it in then. But then when Isabel was like 10 years old and a little more independent and, you know, she could, know, come, come into my studio with me while I was painting and get ready for school.


then I could fit it in. So you kind of also have to wait till we're all so busy. It's just absolutely crazy. I think back to, you know, like my grandmother's generation, and I think she just, it seemed to me like anything besides made dinner . 


our lives are so different.


Like trying to do a million things in a day and I can never even


Kate Shepherd: a Me neither. It's huge book Yeah. And never ending and, well, now we have so much more coming at us. media and there's computers and there's emails and there's, there's just so much more coming at us. I was having dinner with a good friend of mine last night and we were talk, this is very meta, but we were talking about how, and I'm not a physicist or Nor do I know anything about physics, but she, she was saying, and we were talking about how time is actually speeding up. Like it isn't just, it isn't just a perception. there is actually something that's going on in the universe where time is speeding up. And so it isn't just that we're getting older and it feels like it's going faster.




even Yeah. 


Even, even kids 


Kim Smith: it. 


Kate Shepherd: it. 


Kim Smith: I always think it's just cuz I'm never bored anymore. When I was young and I'd have times when I'd feel bored, I always felt like time went slow and it now it goes, goes


Kate Shepherd: she was


I know. Well, and saying it that her, I think her son is 12, he noticed that too. Like the kids are even noticing that. Like it isn't just a, we're getting older and it's going faster in that whole thing. So yeah. I mean, we have to be really about how we, how we spend 


Kim Smith: how we spend our time and 


Kate Shepherd: Yeah 


Kim Smith: do some things you love 


Kate Shepherd: Oh 


Kim Smith: day. It may only be for 10 minutes or an hour, but carve that little 


Kate Shepherd: yeah 


Kim Smith: out and


Kate Shepherd: did you go from, I mean, it doesn't sound like you, you didn't have a degree in teaching. How did you become, how did you teach yourself how to become a teacher?


Kim Smith: think I'm still learning that. In all honesty, I decided to try to do a, a workshop. It was my first one and it was, Covid, so it might have been five years ago maybe. And I just asked if I could use a friend's barn and I had I think 12 students. I'd never done it before that a friend of mine had given me some pointers or whatever, and the night before I was gonna teach, my husband said, do you have a lesson plan?


And I was like, Hmm, I didn't think of that . So I gave a little bit of thought I taught the workshop and it went great. Everybody loved it. I loved seeing like how much they grew and how much they learned. 


I thought about how to break down what I do into chunks and then I teach, I just do part of the painting and then I let them do it, and then I do the next stage and the next stage. And each time I learn something new about things that, the more and more you paint, the less you think about how you paint.


Kate Shepherd: there, is there a noticeable between somebody's energy when they come in for a class, an in-person class, and when they leave, 


Kim Smith: uh, yes, definitely, because 


I don't know if it's so much teaching like, like you'll learn in high school. It's more just like giving people the. space and freedom to express and just giving them pointers and helping them grow. More so than me doing something, it's more about giving them space




Kate Shepherd: there a consistent 


thing that they, that a student. Seems to go through in a class like over, when you look at all your, all the students that you have, is there kind of one thing that they all have in common that they've kind of gone through or that isn't just about art or learning how to do the art?


Like is there kind of an internal shift that you've noticed Happens a lot through learning together that way? 


Kim Smith: as I do my painting and they all do theirs. They're all beautiful and they're all so different. It's like, because we're all so different, it's like, you don't want your painting to look like my painting. You want to take what I'm teaching you and make your own painting.


And that's how they turn out. And then they're also supportive of each other too, their styles can be completely different. that's, I just love that part of it because there it won't look like mine because.


Kate Shepherd: They're you 


Kim Smith: decisions and 


Kate Shepherd: yeah, 


yeah, not Oh, we've covered so much ground. That's so amazing. , 


Kim Smith: what's your day look like? What do you do in a


you podcast 


Kate Shepherd: One of my early guests was a Moon cycle coach named Beth Suter, and she taught me There are certain times of the month where it's better to do certain activities. Like sometimes the month are more collaborative and you're kind of gaining energy as you're going towards the full moon.


And then as you, as the moon is waning, you have less energy. So those are more like kind of clean up your studio or do your admin work kind of times. And I had been kind of all over the place at the time. I was just like, I would do interviews whenever they came in. And so now there's a week outta the month leading up to the full moon where I'll schedule interviews.


and I find that there's so much more, like I'm in a better place for collaborating. I'm feeling more, um, they're ju they're juicier. They're just 




juicier. Um, yeah. uh Yeah. Her, it's, her episode is, number 11 if you wanna go back and listen to that. It was a really, it was a great one. 


Kim Smith: I will 


Kate Shepherd: she's and she's such lovely


yeah, a human being.


Um, so yeah, so it depends on the week. And I've got, I'm a single mom. I've got two little kids, they're eight and 11. And, I'm running my jewelry business, so it's like if an order comes in, then I'm sending out an order and I'm making lunch and I'm gonna doctor's appointments and I'm recording the podcast and I'm trying to get it all out there and it's 


Oh, let me too. And I'm better off having things a little bit all over the place Well, I think that's a really good metaphor. I remember in grade, I went to an arts school, so do you remember fame? The, yeah. I went to a school that was like that and, but my program was visual arts. I was so lucky. 


so homeroom was like nude life drawing when I was in grade was really cool 


Kim Smith: that 


Kate Shepherd: And 


Kim Smith: fun?


Kate Shepherd: my teacher, my, my life drawing teacher actually, it was the first time That anyone had sort of said that about when you're working on something to not focus on one part of it. Like if you're, if you've got a canvas and you're doing a painting, yeah, you're doing a little bit here. You're working on the sky, you're working on the ground, you're work.


Because otherwise it becomes like the energy that you did the foreground that day was different than the en and then it's all disjointed.


And that has, I mean, that was in grade nine. That was so many years ago, and I that. Lesson to me has been a metaphor for life, period. Like I feel like there's so much wisdom in that not, yes, you have to focus and you have to show up and you have to pay attention, but you also have to kind of be a little bit loose about, you know, when you do things and the, the whole rise is up that way, you know, if you're trying to launch your art career, you can't just focus on your Instagram for a year 


Kim Smith: Right, right. That batching, the concept of batching is wonderful, but I'm not good at it. Yeah. I'd say like, I feel like around my painting. 


I, kind of like a journey of the whole thing coming up, and that's when it's it comes together 


Kate Shepherd: Did


Yeah. you, that was the question I was gonna ask you is, can you think of a, a breakthrough that you had? And it could be technically or intuitively or. with the way that you perceived approaching your work, was there a big breakthrough that you had that kind of led you to be more of where you are now or because it's more, this is like a job for like you're, you're, and you know, you said you're not doing this full, full-time, but this is what you're doing now in this, you know, and it's happening and you're teaching in France and you're, so, was there something specific that happened that kind of helped you level up or that indicated to you that you had leveled up?


Kim Smith: I'm. not a good decision maker in my life either. I just kind of let things happen and I go with the flow. It's that trusting intuition thing. I guess. I don't like and end anything. I just gently shift and don't know that anything specific happened. As much as I just keep focusing my energy, you know, whatever you focus on



Kate Shepherd: It's


Yeah. .true. That is true. I had, I was realizing the other day, oh, I haven't sold a painting in a really long time. And then I said to myself, well, have I, have, I, have I posted a painting 


Kim Smith: can 


Kate Shepherd: online? Have I, is there a gallery that's showing my work right now? Like, what am I actually doing to make that happen?


And I realized, oh, well these things can't happen unless we're nurturing them and fostering them. So it is important where you focus your attention.


to Okay, so we're kind of getting close the end here, but I wanted to ask you, what do you love the most about your job, about the work that you're doing right now?


Kim Smith: I love color. think that's what I love the most. I just love the lusciousness. I love I'm painting the transparent shining through and, and how colors look next to each other. Like even when I have a finished painting and it's hanging in my booth or in a gallery and I look at it and there's like,


Like sometimes there's like a little piece of it that someone might never even notice, but it's something that I'm like, that's little. That's the magic spot right there. 


Kate Shepherd: you have a very special color, which is really, I mean, I own a piece of your work, and so I can say this firsthand you're, there's something happening through your hands with color. How did that happen? How does that, how, what is that magic?


Kim Smith: I think it's that same journey. I keep pushing the envelope of color. Um, for a while things were too colorful and then I had to learn about, I was playing around with neutrals and working with the neutrals against the bright colors and finding ways to let the really vibrant things sing. Like it's just something I'm always working on and thinking about and noticing in real life too.


Kate Shepherd: Your work is so beautiful and I'm so glad that I. own a piece. Thank you. Mm-hmm.


Kim Smith: you 


Kate Shepherd: wanna ask you the billboard question. Oh, and I wanna tell you, I, before the beginning of every show, I, I do a little blessing for the, for our conversation, so I, I sort of, put it out there maybe to creativity itself.


And I say, let us say the things that need to be said so that what needs to be heard can be heard and that people can really benefit from this conversation. And I feel like that happened today. So thank you for collaborating with me on that. And the word that I pulled my little angel card deck for us was willingness.


And I just feel like that's, Again, I'm not, I used to be surprised at how appropriate the words were, but I'm not anymore. Like they're just, they're magical and I feel like that is, so much of what you're teaching us is 


Kim Smith: perfect 


Kate Shepherd: willingness to be in the mess, willingness to go through the difficult time, willingness to keep showing up and paying attention putting yourself in your studio even when you don't feel like going there and knowing willingness to walk away even when it's not happening anymore, and take a break and like it's just been woven through.


So thank you for that. Mm-hmm. And the billboard 


Kim Smith: you 


Kate Shepherd: question is if you had a billboard that every person in the world who long to express creativity more freely, but for whatever reason, and for some of the reasons we've talked about today, feel like they're not good enough or that it's not in them, but reading your words would really land in their heart and shift something for them or plant a seed that might blossom into something for them.


What would you put on your 


Kim Smith: I have it already. My billboard would say, chase your muse of your heart.

Kate Shepherd: Mm. 

Kim Smith: all 

Kate Shepherd: I love that. That's beautiful. Thank you for coming today.

Kim Smith: you Kate. This was was 

Kate Shepherd: Yeah 

Kim Smith: Well thank 


Kate Shepherd: you.


what a wonderful conversation that was. 

In reflecting back over this conversation. The Japanese. Concept of wabi-sabi came up for me quite a few times. I promised you at the beginning of the show that I would give you an activity that would help you begin to feel a little bit more comfortable in the uncertain. 

Messiness of creativity. 

So I want you to do one little sketch a day in your notebook or in your journal or in your sketchbook. Taking cues from nature. Whatever that means to you. You can look out a window. If you can't get outside, you can get outside for a huge, big four-hour long hike. If that's what you want to do. But can you do one little sketch a day taking your cues from nature? 

And really letting go of this idea of trying to make something perfect. Look, how nature does things. I'm always amazed. When I walk through the forest, there's a little Creek that runs through the woods near my home. And it's absolutely random. The rocks are scattered all over the place. The ferns are growing at weird intervals. 

The Moss grows on it. Like. It's chaos. It's madness. There's nothing organized about a forest. Really. I mean, there is. But really when you just look at it, it is chaotic. But there's something perfectly perfect about that chaos. 

Can you open yourself up to. 

Imperfection. In your own creativity. And can you use nature as a way in. Whatever that means to you. Can you use nature, take your cues from nature, really collaborate with nature, have some fun being inspired by looking to nature for some cues. How do you do it? How do you do it? Tree? How do you do it? Leaves. 

And ask yourself, are you willing to be a little bit more open to that? Imperfection. And it's really safe. This is a really safe, small little stakes are really low, right? This is we're talking about something then your sketchbook and your journal. But I think you'll find that with this practice, it starts to spill out over into other areas or for life. 

So have a go at that. And let me know how it goes. 

I love to hear from you. If you do this exercise, let me know. 

And. No, that you are perfectly imperfect. And creativity is perfectly imperfect. 

And everything is exactly. As it should be. 


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