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Are You in the Arena?

Persistence. Perseverance. Tenacity. Endurance. Resilience.

These are the character traits of a creative person who simply does not give up.

You may stumble. You may fall. You may win no artistic awards or personal accolades.

But you do not give up.

You are comfortable with being uncomfortable until your creative work finally bears fruit. You...

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Art, Action or Anarchy?

By Joey O'Connor

"We are not in a period of confinement, but refinement."

These words came during a recent call with my friend, Esther Ntoto, who lives in Goma, Eastern Congo as a peacemaker and minister of justice with her husband, Camille. In the past twenty years, over six million people have died in the Democratic Republic of Congo due...

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Who Are Your Murder Hornets?

By Joey O'Connor

And as if a pandemic wasn't enough?

Washington State was recently hit with an invasion of murder hornets.

Way off course from their Southeast Asian homes, these two-inch F-15's of the insect world are attacking Washington's honeybee population. With vice-like pincers, the venomous hornets excel at decimating honeybee hives...

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The World Doesn't Need More Christian Artists - Part 3

By Joey O'Connor

Does your art move people to tears?

On a recent call with several artists, one woman stated, "We need art that moves people to tears."

I found her statement provocative and challenging, dismantling any notions of short-cuts and easey-peasey pathways to excelling in my craft.

So far, I've poked fun at Precious Moments figurines,...

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The World Doesn't Need More Christian Artists: Part 2

By Joey O'Connor

Let me say it again, "Words matter."

Eugene Peterson, another great mind and literary craftsman like Lewis, often spoke of "precision" regarding words and the imagination.

The words "Christian Artist" are wholly imprecise.

Are they an Adjective+Noun combo? A Noun+Noun combo?

If they are a Noun+Adjective combo, that's poor...

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The World Doesn't Need More Christian Artists: Part 1

By Joey O'Connor

Words matter.

Your art matters.

Labels do not. Adjectives do not.

I'm going to draft off C.S. Lewis here. I implore you . . . do not call yourself a "Christian Artist." Do not label yourself a Christian Artist.

When you add an adjective like "Christian" to your noble role and vocation as an artist,...

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Grove Artist Profile - Artist Barb Gomez

When I Grow Up...
By Drew Tilton

In kindergarten, Barb, announced to her teacher, “When I grow up I’m going to be an artist!” Something inside her young heart found refuge in the joy that came with creative expression. It was that same joy that beckoned her to pursue her bachelor’s degree in painting and eventually took...

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Grove Artist Profile - Visual Artist Toni Danchik

Painting His Splendor
By Drew Tilton

“I remember walking into an art gallery in Laguna and staring at the William Wendt and Edgar Payne paintings. I was in total awe. As a ‘want-to-be artist,’ I longed to be able to paint like that,” Toni Danchik recalled.

Though years ago, Toni still finds that the admiration of...

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Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Creative Challenges

How do you bring your boldest self to your greatest creative challenges?

This is the question The Grove recently explored on the opening evening of our Cultivated Artist Experience four-day getaway. Bob Murphy and I challenged all of the artists in our Journey 2 & 3 groups to bring their boldest self to their creative challenges. We then...

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The Sustainable Artist - Starting to Stuck to Sustainability

If there is one thing our 12 acre organic lemon and avocado grove has taught us about farming during seasons of drought and freezing cold, creating sustainability is a challenging task.

Farming, like art making, is not for the faint of heart. Last year during a summer heat wave, the temperature reached a scorching 117 degrees Fahrenheit in...

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