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Meet Cate! Blog contributor and studio super-girl.

I'm so excited to tell you about Cate Tynjala, my wonderful intern who has been helping me in the studio. She's a student at the University of Minnesota studying English, writing and journalism. She is wise beyond her years, smart as a whip and always arrives early when we meet... which is one of those little things that doesn't go unnoticed! And, she's always wearing a big, happy smile on her face that is infectious (see photo below)!

I met Cate this past summer at the Uptown Art Fair when she introduced herself to me and expressed interest in working with me. She asked me all of the right questions and was interested in everything I do as an artist, despite not being an artist herself. I knew right away that this girl was special! Any girl who has such confidence to come up to a stranger and ask questions beyond the typical pleasantries and offer her assistance is the kind of girl I want around me!

Over the past several months, I've given Cate various projects around the studio like photographing content for Instagram, writing new website content, research and Photoshop projects. My goal was to get a feel for what she might enjoy helping me with the most. I never want an intern to feel like they are doing "sh*t work" that isn't helping them grow.

One of the things I have to give Cate major credit for is this blog. It is because of her, I rebooted my blog with purpose! After she spent a few months working with me and learning about what I do, she reminded me I have much to say about my art, my process and all of the unique events and life lessons that have brought me to where I am today as a self-made artist. She reminded me that people love to learn about the artist they are buying from... just like she did on the day she met me.

I had been writing a blog since college, but I took a break for the past several years because I developed a form of writing paralysis once my art career began to grow. Once I realized there were humans who actually paid attention to my blog, the added pressure of new readers meant I felt a sense of responsibility to post better content- which meant more time spent carefully writing, researching and creating content for my blog. I labored over what to post every time I sat down to write, and drafted up more posts that I actually posted. I worked myself into a paralysis that eventually I just quit... and spent my time creating art instead of blogging.

Cate reminded me that my posts didn't need to be perfect, just real.

And so, this new blog was created. I migrated some of my favorite posts over from my old blog, but for the most part, many of my old posts didn't make the cut. We wanted to write freely about creative living topics, art process, fun projects, how-to's and events that you-- as readers and lovers of my art-- might enjoy. There aren't strict rules to our blog topics and writing... after all, I am an artist!

You'll see that Cate is now an official contributor on my blog. She had a wonderful idea of writing posts from her point-of-view. By letting Cate share her observations of working with me and documenting my creation process, it takes the pressure off of me to create ALL of content myself. She is allowing me keep creating without having to worry about stopping to photograph or write about everything myself- which is often impossible for me to do when I'm, well, painting! Plus, she's a beautiful writer who has a gift with words far more eloquent than I. And, she's armed with a camera and new photo skills! Knowing that I have Cate to help me with the creating and editing of blog posts gives me just the confidence I needed to get over my paralysis. Plus, she holds me accountable to posting regularly on my blog thanks to a new posting schedule!

You may expect a new blog post at the beginning of every week. Some posts will be published by me, and some by Cate! I hope you enjoy the new blog and stories to come!

#catetynjala #artistblog #valeriecarpender #writer

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