Why You Are Having a Hard Time Finding Your Artistic Voice
[00:00:00] When I ask, when I put out the polls, whether it's in my stories or through my emails or in my community groups, I'm asking, where are you stuck? What are you having a hard time? And when I make a poll, the number one thing is always, how do I find my voice? And I know we've all asked that question. It doesn't even matter how long you've been an artist. Sometimes you still keep coming back to this same question. How do I find my voice?
[00:00:34] You're listening to Unfold with Kellee Wynne. This is an unpolished, imperfect, and totally honest podcast, and I'm talking to all the artists, creatives, visionaries, and change makers who wanna live a life by design and not by default. If you're ready to have thought-provoking, eye-opening and heart-centered conversations that explore the stories that made us who we are and break through the boundaries of expectations than you are in the right place.
[00:01:07] Well, hello. Hello and welcome back to Unfold with Kellee Wynne. Look at us rolling right into our third podcast episode and you're still here. We've got the ball and it keeps on rolling. We're making it happen. I'm so thrilled. , and I guess there's something about what I'm talking about that's keeping you intrigued, which is great.
[00:01:26] That means that I've got you fired up a little bit. Thinking about business, thinking about being outside of the box and not doing things like everybody else does, starting from scratch, not worrying about having it perfect. Look, I'm really glad that this is starting to catch on and these ideas are sinking in and you're getting excited about it.
[00:01:48] But I'm here for some hard truths today. I wanna talk to you about why you're having a hard time finding your artistic voice, because if there's one thing that I've mentioned in my previous podcast, building this successful dream business, this life by design and not by default. , there's one thing you've gotta have, and that's a foundation in your art making.
[00:02:13] You gotta know yourself. You gotta know your craft. You've gotta be so in love with it that you can talk about it to anyone and everybody , right? So I wanted to talk to you about why you're having a hard time finding your artistic voice. Why is it that your style seems to still allude you? This is the number one thing that artists say that they have a challenge with, with.
[00:02:37] When I ask, when I put out the polls, whether it's in my stories or through my emails or in my community groups, I'm asking, where are you stuck? What are you having a hard time? And when I make a poll, the number one thing is always, how do I find my voice? And I know we've all asked that question. It doesn't even matter how long you've been an artist, sometimes you still keep coming back to this same question, how do I find my voice as an artist?
[00:03:03] Right? And I'm gonna tell you the honest truth, you have to stop fucking around. I'm sorry. It's a big F bomb for you. But if you are dabbling, you are never gonna see the progress that you wanna make. How can you be a stellar athlete by showing up once or twice a month to practice your new sport and then quit again and start something else?
[00:03:26] If this is your hobby. Friends, if this is your hobby, ignore me. This might not be the podcast message for you. Dabble on, have some fun with it. Make it something that's a great outlet for you. But for those of you who wanna excel, who wanna create tidal waves with your work, with your message, with your creativity, if you wanna make an impact with your gift, then I'm telling you, you are not actually spending enough time doing the.
[00:03:54] Focusing on your own intuition. Look ,it happens to us all. We get sucked in this time. Paradox where we think that we don't have. X, y, z in order to do and create. We don't have enough time. We don't have enough space, we don't have enough supplies, we don't have enough ideas, or we're afraid of using it all up.
[00:04:18] Whatever it is, this, this time paradox that you have in your head and um, and you're just chasing the next shiny object after the next shiny object. And I'm telling you right now, if you don't make time for your art, if you don. Schedule the time to perfect who you are as an artist, you're not gonna make progress.
[00:04:41] You're not gonna know what your voice is. You're not gonna understand what your message is, and you're not gonna know your why. You actually have to show up and make art. And I'm not saying this is something that needs to be a daily habit. I understand we all. Different circumstances in which we are working with in order to, you know, just to get through this life.
[00:05:05] Whether it's caretaking for our elderly parents or our small children. We have a full-time job. We have health issues that might be challenging us, but come on, I'm gonna call you on this. How much time do you spend in front of Netflix or on Instagram? Because I have guilt of this scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and looking and not actually doing.
[00:05:27] So don't tell me you don't have time for the one and only thing that you really, really want. So if you're messing around and you're just dabbling, you're never gonna find your voice as an artist. You're never gonna find. Proficiency, you're not gonna improve your skills. You're not gonna even know what's your favorite color combination.
[00:05:46] Which supplies would you use if you were told that you had to end up on a deserted island and you can only bring a few things? that the, what are those three things Like if you can answer that right away, great. But if you get stuck because you still love all the stuff because you're just not sure that that one thing that lights you up the most, well, it's time to focus a little more, spend more time doing the thing that you love.
[00:06:11] So I would have to say the number one reason. Artists struggle to find their voice is because they don't spend enough time actually making the art that they wanna make because it's in the doing over and over and over again. Showing up, trying on all the hats, trying on all the different types of styles, materials, points of view, putting aside the things that don't work as well as the things that do work, the things that you enjoy, pushing through the things that are hard to see if it's.
[00:06:42] because it's hard, or if it's because you don't like it. It's in this process of showing up over and over, that consistency of practicing your craft, of studying your craft, not studying as in spending all your time watching videos and looking at pictures, but studying your own process. How do you make your mark?
[00:07:01] How do you show up? Which colors do you put on your palette? . And when you do this mark and you come back in, what comes next? What becomes intuitive for you? Only time and doing is gonna teach you that. Not, not sitting and thinking, not scrolling your phone, not wishing that you can make time for your studio.
[00:07:23] Yes, I can sit there and love on art all day long. I see so many beautiful ideas, but until I'm in there, seeing if my hand can actually make that mark, not skill wise. I'm not saying, can my hand skillfully make that mark? I'm saying, does it come intuitively? Does it come through my body to want to make that mark that paintbrush stroke, those colors, are those my colors or are those just colors I'm admiring from somebody else if I'm not spending the time doing it?
[00:07:53] I'm never gonna know. The next problem I see quite often is artists are copying what they see. Now look, when we're starting out, we copy. Look, Rembrandt even had an entire school of artists who would copy work. This is a time old tested tradition to copy what you see until. , you know how to make your own work.
[00:08:16] So if what you're doing is looking and looking and scrolling, spending your time on Pinterest or Instagram or other websites and admiring what other people do and say, Hey, that looks popular. I'm gonna just try that. Let me mimic that. And you continue in this trap of idolizing the artists that you see and wanting to make the work that they make, then you are not making the work that you are meant to make.
[00:08:41] I hope that that makes sense to you. So my point being is, is when we're learning and growing, it makes sense that we're gonna test out all these different ideas from different teachers, from art that we see until the right thing starts to evolve. But if you're having a hard time finding your voice and you've been making art for a while, I'm gonna guess that you're still stuck.
[00:09:03] Looking at what other people are doing, admiring their work and wishing that it was yours and trying that instead of trying to figure out what is right for you. So if that's the case, I think it's time for you to start putting your phone down and start playing. That goes back to stop fucking around.
[00:09:22] Make more art. Look, I know I'm dropping these F-bombs today because I want this in your head. There is only one solution. Really make more art. Okay, look, here's another. Way that we struggle to find our artistic voice. So maybe you are not much of a copycat and maybe you spend a ton of time in your, your studio making art.
[00:09:44] You've got a good practice down, you make, you make, and you make, and you make. But the problem is, is that you have shiny object syndrome. You are overwhelming yourself with so many options. It's almost creating a decision. You are a multi-passionate, that doesn't wanna let go of any one of your ideas. Look, I'm, I'm also raising my hand.
[00:10:06] I'm guilty of this because, Scrapbooking was fun, and sewing is fun, and I wanna do oil pastel and soft pastel. And wouldn't it be fun if I could get out the air dry clay and make some cute little sculptures? And then I wanna paint abstract, but I also would love to paint landscapes and do you see where I'm going with this?
[00:10:24] How do we find our voice if we're trying to do all the things and we're refusing to let go of anything? Now I can hear the masses right now. Saying, but wait, Kelly, I don't wanna give up. I'm gonna be so bored if I have to give up any of my favorite things. And no one's saying you have to give it all up and focus on one item, one type of style.
[00:10:48] You don't. I would be ludicrous. But I do wanna say that when you're trying to do all the things, there isn't a cohesion there. You're not finding your voice, you're just dabbling as a hobby and all the different types of mediums that are possible out there. When you, again, I'm coming back to this analogy, when you cut off the edges of all the possibilities and rain yourself in a little bit and find the cohesive thread through everything that you do.
[00:11:16] You're gonna be able to start pulling in and finding your voice better. And what I mean by this is start taking a look at the connections between everything that you do and where are the similarities. Now your story is starting to come together and you're starting to find your voice. So you love fiber arts and you love bright, colorful paintings.
[00:11:38] But what if there's something about how you create the colors of your paintings and how you create your fiber arts? Similar or almost a beautiful cohesion of the two. I wanna give you two examples of how you might be able to find work that's related, even if it's different mediums or different subjects.
[00:12:01] I want you to think of Edgar Dega. He's a famous impressionist artist. It must have been spring of 2003 cause I remember taking my very heavy. Young five month old baby strapped my chest to go through this gorgeous exhibit called Dega and the dance. And if you think about it for just a minute, if you know his work at all, and if you don't go look it up.
[00:12:29] If you know about his whole series on the dancers, he's got. Beautiful pastel sketches. They're all these ballerinas pastel sketches of them in motion paintings, full beautiful paintings of them in the studio practicing and bronze sculptures of this. Beautiful ballerina. You know her. You can see her in your mind right now.
[00:12:53] And in fact, he goes on and he even captures some scenes of the orchestra looking at the dancers. And so he has all these different points of view with a theme that's running through. And you can see the connection between the bronze sculpture and the painting. , and if that makes sense to you, when you start coming in a little closer on the thing that you love that you wanna really hone in on.
[00:13:19] You can use different mediums to tell the story, but there's a beautiful connection between them. Another artist that I'm thinking of would be Matisse. And really honestly, his colors and shapes are what connects everything. It's not so much the theme as it is the colors and the shapes, and if you really think about his.
[00:13:41] Almost childlike paintings. I don't wanna, they're not childish, they're childlike because he worked really hard to simplify the, the shapes that were on the canvas and the colors that he used were very bright. And if you know Matisse, he also created all these gorgeous cutouts people, organic shape. and what's similar between the cutouts and the paintings is that there was an overlap in the types of shapes and colors that he used.
[00:14:11] So what tied Matisse's work together were uh, yeah, shapes and color. Rather than the theme or the subject. Uh, so maybe you're gonna stick with just one type of medium and explore all the P possibilities that you can with that one medium. There are a lot of ways to look at. Taking a little bit of the overwhelm, your multi-passionate desires and loves, and cutting it down just a little bit so that you can focus more and find your voice more.
[00:14:44] I know that when I come across feeds where artists are creating different types of work. But there is such a cohesion. I can recognize their work almost instantly, and I know that they've evolved to a point where their voice is becoming more and more clear, and that's because they decided to let go of some of the things that they like to do, or things that they maybe thought that they had to do and focused in a little bit more.
[00:15:08] On what was the, the most burning of their passion and their love, the thing that it lit them up the most, because really that's what it's gonna be. For example, I am like really obsessed at this moment about florals, about. Very abstract florals, and I wanna explore all the different ways that I can make them, that they still have this organic look without being obviously a flower every single time.
[00:15:34] And I'm kind of curious about how I could have that show up in all different kinds of mediums. And that's what I'm exploring right now with Super Bloom. I just wanna let you know, you don't have to be stuck in doing any one thing. We evolve as artists over time, but right now, if you're trying to find your.
[00:15:52] Stop trying to do all the things and hone in on just a few things where that cohesion comes together. That beautiful little golden thread can tie it all together and it makes sense. Okay. And I'll say the in, in my list for today. The last thing that's getting in your way of finding your artistic voice is perfectionism.
[00:16:15] And I brought this up before and I'm saying it again. Perfectionism is getting in the way. Of you being able to play, explore, and discover yourself, it is constipating you from letting out your best work. Do you understand when you go to your studio and you say, I only have an hour to paint and I need to paint my very best painting because I need to produce something that I can show on Instagram and then I can sell, it will freeze you up like never before.
[00:16:43] That is one thing that is gonna hold you back from your growth and from being able to discover yourself and make your best. Let me tell you, I can't tell you how many times I've heard this problem from artists over and over again. I go into my studio and I have these ideas, but I don't wanna use up my best ideas right now when I don't know how to paint it very well, and then I'll be in up.
[00:17:05] I'll use my best supplies. Well, I'm gonna be wasting my time and my ideas and my supplies by making art. And that's when I'm just like, oh shit. You are way off on the wrong track here. If you are not spending all your time wasting as much as you can and knowing that not one moment spent making art is wasting, then you have a perfectionism problem.
[00:17:29] So if you are trying. Save all of that goodness for the perfect time. The perfect time is never gonna come. I'm sorry to say . These are just excuses we tell ourselves to protect ourselves from failure or disappointment. , that's it. When you tell yourself that, it's because you are worried you're gonna get in there and you're not gonna make something that you're thrilled with.
[00:17:55] And as soon as you tell yourself, I'm going in there and I'm gonna make crap on purpose, you are gonna have so much fun, seriously, and you're probably gonna start making your best work. But perfectionism is by far getting in your way of finding your voice. Look, you're a creative. The ideas are never gonna end.
[00:18:18] Whatever idea you have today, you're gonna have 10 more tomorrow if you just let it out your supplies, the worst thing you can do is waste them by not using them. Do you know how many times I've been like a decade later and been like, I was saving that thing and now I don't have any use for it? Why? Why?
[00:18:36] Hold on to all of that potential. My friends, we're gonna work on this because perfectionism is killing your voice,
[00:18:52] and these are a few things that we're gonna do in order to make it a little easier and make some progress, and to make your artwork and let it all out so that you can have a creative identity that you can be proud of, that you can say, this is what I do. This is why I do it so that you can move forward with this dream that you have of building a beautiful business that's aligned with your goals.
[00:19:17] Okay, so the very first thing I'm going to give you as a, an assignment, I've got a few of them for you. These are your assignments. Just starting now. Do 'em this month and just start on this right now. I want you. To play. I want you to take time with your art supplies without any end result possible, and in order to do this, I want you to get a catalog.
[00:19:42] Or a magazine, and I want you to paint in it because you know that those things are not archival. You can't really frame that and sell it so you know that the work that you're making is not gonna be something that's precious and oh my goodness, you're gonna love it. In fact, I've done this so many times.
[00:20:00] If you go to my website, to the show notes for this episode, I'm gonna put a video in there for you to watch. So that you can see exactly what I do when I let go and I just play in a catalog literally scribbling with paint in a catalog. It's a very beautiful, pleasurable experience, and I highly, highly recommend that you do this.
[00:20:23] So basically what I'm telling you to do is make garbage art. , do you get me? Because with garbage art, there is no pressure to take a beautiful photo and share it on Instagram. There is no pressure that you've made something that is. Can be monetized. The whole point of doing this is to just let what's inside you out and discover, Ooh, I like it when those two colors mix.
[00:20:49] Ooh, that shape, that brush stroke. I didn't really enjoy using this paintbrush, but this paintbrush that was so much fun. Ooh. And look at what happens when I get out my markers and paint on top of, or draw on top of it. Look, these are the things that you're gonna start noticing. when you give yourself permission to just make garbage art.
[00:21:08] Okay? So you need that playtime. The second thing I'm gonna ask you to do is turn off your phone, and I'm probably the most guilty of this, in all honesty. I think the epitaph on my headstone is gonna say she lived her entire life on Instagram . I think I've even told you that before, but here I am. I know my, I know my.
[00:21:31] that I will allow Instagram or a Facebook group or whatever else, a chat room to suck away my time and also my inspiration because I'm then comparing, I'm looking at what other people are doing, and I'm not taking the time to do it for myself. You can actually download an app that will put time blockers on your phone and keep you from scrolling mindlessly.
[00:21:59] Go to your studio. If you love to listen to music or something, you know, get yourself an, uh, Alexa or a home and you can listen to it without having your phone in your actual studio space. This is, I've heard other artists do this. Listen to podcasts like mine while you're painting. Use something other than your phone.
[00:22:19] And that way you're really like in tune with the space and not spending your time scrolling. And the same thing goes for other points of your life. If it's, if it's something that you are choosing. After a long day to spend two or three hours just scrolling your phone and, and whatnot, instead of making time for yourself to make art, then you might need to do what I've done and ask your husband to hold your phone and not give it back to you.
[00:22:48] I have literally done that before. I've been like, do not give this back to me unless there is an emergency. I will be in my studio or your, or your friend, or your roommate, or, Kid. Maybe you have a kid that's old enough that you could say that, or I don't know, lock it in a timed lockbox. Although I understand the, that if you have a reason why you'd always want someone to be able to get in touch with you.
[00:23:10] Like me having children, that's why I handed it to my husband because then if they called, he'd be there to answer it. But nonetheless, you need to find these tricks. To get that phone taken out of your hands, that screen time taken out of your hands or whatever it is that you're guilty pleasure, that's taking you away from making the work that you need to make.
[00:23:28] Okay? Another thing that I'm going to give you a little talking to, a little advice here is I want you to make it easier to get started. This is another hurdle that many of us have where, oh no, I don't wanna go do, I'm tired. I don't wanna have to set up all my paints and my studio's a mess, and I need to get clean water to paint with.
[00:23:48] What if, at the very least, when you have your best energy, maybe you don't have time in the morning before you run out to work, but you can prep for about 10 minutes to get your studio ready so that when you get home you can take 30 minutes all to yourself. It's all ready to go. . Okay. Or maybe you have a little pack on the go.
[00:24:10] I know that in my oil pastel, of course, I encourage students to just bring a little pad of paper and a bag full of oil pastel so that you can. Color anywhere you are. They're really portable and really easy. Sometimes I bring a bag of markers with me. Sometimes it's just a black sharpie marker and a bunch of index cards so that I can doodle, because that's also coming back to the first idea, which was.
[00:24:35] To play because when I'm, when I'm doing this with a sharpie marker on a, on an index card, you know, I'm not trying to make anything for anybody but myself. They end up being really great bookmarks later on for me, . But the idea is, is that you're removing barriers to get you started so that you can make work, so that you can start playing, so that you can start discovering yourself.
[00:24:56] I want you to have as few excuses as possible. All right. Now, when it really comes to knowing yourself and knowing your voice, some of those ideas were just to get you going. How about this? And I've done this before and I find that it is incredibly helpful. Get yourself a large sheet of paper. It can be a poster board, it can be butcher paper.
[00:25:16] Heck, if you have a studio space that you don't mind making a mess, massage, draw right on the wall. Goodness, it doesn't matter. , maybe you have a, a dry erase board, and that makes it easier. But I do like it when it's tangible. , and I want you to mind map, and I know mind mapping is not revolutionary, but when you allow your brain to just dump out every idea without censoring yourself, you're gonna start seeing repeat patterns.
[00:25:42] When you see these repeat patterns, you're gonna start getting clues to the things that you love and what supplies that you love and what you want to make this mind map, brain dump, this massive sheet of paper that says, oh, here's every supply I've ever really loved using, and this is my favorite thing that I did last year and I've done this.
[00:26:02] You list out the things that lit you up. What made you the happiest? I wrote down, I walked in grass with my bare feet. Dined Al Fresco. I traveled back in the days before Covid . I saw art in museums and, and I started listing all the things that I did that were really enjoyable and it may seem ridiculous, but then I started seeing patterns emerge and there was a certain aesthetic that I loved and a certain feeling that I enjoy.
[00:26:32] and that that feel, those feelings and aesthetics start overlapping with the materials that I prefer to use, the colors that I like to use, the textures that I love, the things that were really exciting to me that year were also apparent and starting to overlap. and the work that I was doing, if one thing that really lit me up was, you know, street, walking the streets of New York City and seeing all the graffiti and the peeling paints and taking, and literally taking pictures of this and then recognizing the fact that I was doing this in my art as well.
[00:27:09] This mind map, this brain dump, can be revolutionary to that aha moment of finding your artistic voice. Make those lists. Figure out what's connecting and which parts of it light you up the most. For some of you, you might discover that some of the things that you've been doing are not your favorite things, , and you're still making yourself do it because you feel an obligation.
[00:27:35] For example, I've been painting seascapes for age. Because I thought that that was what was wanted. That's because I'm following the status quo that says, Hey, this is popular right now. Because if you are researching on Google, what's the most popular artwork right now, what's the, what's the highest selling type of artwork out there right now?
[00:27:56] And then you're doing that, I promise you. You're not gonna be happy making it cuz in my area, there's no doubt little seascapes were selling like crazy and it was fun to make them for a while. No, I'm not saying that that was useless, but it wasn't me and my frustration built and grew out of that because I was making work for commercial reasons and not for my voice and my heart and my soul.
[00:28:26] So mind mapping it is gonna give you a lot. Discovery, it's really gonna help you understand better yourself, your work, and your purpose. And the fifth part that I want you to do is challenge yourself to a challenge. Nothing, nothing will help you grow more than that. Consistent challenge. And there's so many challenges that you can work.
[00:28:53] For example, I'm pretty sure the a hundred day project is coming up right around the corner. So if you want to do something, something for a hundred days, can you imagine how revolutionary that's gonna be for you? And for those of you who are listening who have done it, speak up, tell 'em how much growth you get out of that a hundred day project.
[00:29:12] I know that it propelled me so much the very first year that I did it. Make note here. I didn't know that it was a big, huge national project. It was, it was just something that I did for myself. I said, okay, I'm gonna make a hundred of these little mini, um, pastel landscapes. And I did them and I grew so much and then I had all these ideas for making more art.
[00:29:36] Challenge yourself to a challenge. There are others. I know that there's a, uh, 28 February flowers, there's a, um, Color challenges I used to run my own color challenges. You list them, come back to me and help me out and give me some more suggestions. I know that, uh, Melissa Doty does the square athon challenge once or twice a year.
[00:30:01] Artists have put together these really fun collaborative events that you can participate in. And when you challenge yourself to a challenge, you're gonna find yourself growing. It gives you a reason to show up, it gives you a reason to focus, and it'll push you out of your comfort zone, and it'll keep you from being a perfectionist because you've got, you've got a challenge that you're determined to finish.
[00:30:26] And so when you do this, you're gonna find yourself finding your voice more. You may find out at the end of the challenge, you hated everything that you did, and it was not fun for you, so then you're gonna know better. What you wanna do next time? Look, I'm just, I'm the messenger here. I'm telling you the failures, the ugly art, the work that you hated is gonna tell you just as much about who you are as an artist, as a big winning ones.
[00:30:52] In fact, probably more so and so I do challenge you. To a challenge. I might have one coming up, but probably not until this summer, so stay tuned on that. Anyhow, my friends, my artists, My dear ones out there who are sitting here going, oh, that was a huge bucket load today. Kelly, I'm gonna tell you, you betcha, because I care about you.
[00:31:19] I care about your art progress. I wanna see you grow and bloom and make your best work something that comes from inside, something that , something that makes it so that your success is inevit. , when it comes from your soul, when art comes from your soul, there's no way to move through this world except for to be successful, because having created the work in the first place is a success.
[00:31:49] And then from that , you are going to be. So much more joyful about your creation. So much more capable of talking about the work that you make and why you make it. You're gonna be able to show a way that helps empower other people. So when you wanna create that beautiful, aligned business and you know yourself inside and out, all right.
[00:32:16] I have to backtrack on that. We're never gonna know ourselves inside and out, but we know our art process enough to know ourselves inside and out. I promise you, you are one step closer to your best dream life yet. Oh, thank you so much for joining me on this little crazy adventure today. I wanna wrap this up by telling you the most important part is to stop giving a fuck about what other people think.
[00:32:43] You are not going to please everybody. If you think you can search for what the most popular art is, and then make that and be successful, people are gonna see right past you because your work will have no heart and soul. Do not make work for. Make work for you and let them hate it or love it. Either way, it's not your business.
[00:33:05] Your business is to get making the work that is calling to be alive in you. I hope you understand this. It is not your job to make artwork for everyone to love. Make your artwork, let your voice shine and you. Make the best work that you have ever made before. Are you ready to get to it? Tell me what you thought about this podcast episode and the fact that I came in a little bit more emphatic than usual.
[00:33:38] I get it. But that's me. That's me loving you with all my heart right now because I wanna see you succeed. Please share the podcast, share it on Instagram, and tag me at Kellee Wynne Studios. That's K E L L E E W Y N N E studios. I'd love to hear what you have to say and I'll share it in my stories as well.
[00:33:59] And if you are still interested in 100 Ways to make money as an artist without selling your art. Then go to my website, Kelleewynnestudios/ 1 0 0 and you can download it for free today. All right. Thank you so much, my friends, my artists, my change makers, and passionate visionaries. You mean so much to me, and I will see you again next time on Unfold with Kellee Wynne.
If you'd like to listen to or learn more about the podcast visit https://www.maderemarkable.com/blog for our show notes and links to the main players.