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How to Earn a Tweet Carousel for Your Business in Google Search Results
Appearing on the front page of Google search results is a very big deal to many people in business. Considering Google’s partnership with Twitter in recent years, it’s a great reminder to keep your ... Read Original Article

When I got my first computer in 1987, I was told it could simplify and speed up the mundane activities of my life – I would have more time to dream and paint and commune with nature.  Today, the reality is that I don’t have more free time – my schedule is usually consumed by that technology.   With emails, work deadlines, Facebook, Instagram et al. I am tempted to react and respond to the world without getting outside and moving.

This Sunday, April 22nd, is Earth Day, a day set apart in 1970 to honor the earth and the concept of peace.  I’ve been thinking about my personal peace and the consequences of sitting with the computer against the benefits of being in nature and interacting with art. At first, the relationship between nature and art appears nice but not necessarily close; in reality, they are very similar.  Studies show that spending time outside in nature can change people from being depressed, angry, fearful, stressed or anxious to a more calm and balanced feeling, lowering blood pressure, heart rate and stress hormones.  When we concentrate on a flower, a bee or a breath-taking sunset, we can’t focus as much on pain allowing instead for increased creativity and connections with other people.

But what about art?  By “viewing” art our physical bodies can be improved in lower cortisol stress levels just as they are with nature.  But “doing” art is even more beneficial as it also increases brain activity.  Studies show that in older adults, participation in art builds connections in the brain which help prevent memory loss.  Concentrating on anything artistic can clear your mind of negative thoughts, helping you to focus on the moment, relaxing the body and brain.  Many times, a painter will say to me that they can’t believe how relaxing painting is and their concentration and focus shuts out other concerns.  But if your art doesn’t compare to Van Gogh, the good news is that Harvard Medical School found it doesn’t matter what your artwork looks like, it’s the process not the product that matters!

Earth Day is a terrific reminder of the need to get away from the computer and take a hike, paint a picture, stroll along the beach or go to a museum.  My vote is to invite some friends over and have a painting party…Blank Canvas knows just how to inject some creativity into your event.

Footnotes:

  1. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 834360, 7 pages, http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/834360
  2. The benefits of nature experience: Improved affect and cognition, Gregory N.Bratman, Gretchen C.Daily, Benjamin J.Levy, James J.Gross, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2015.02.005
  3. Creativity in the Wild: Improving Creative Reasoning through Immersion in Natural Settings, Ruth Ann Atchley, David L. Strayer, and Paul Atchley , Jan de Fockert, Editor, PLoS One. 2012; 7(12): e51474.
  4. Read Original Article
The Dilemma of Pricing Your Service
Business owners are also consumers themselves, so setting an appropriate price for our own services can be a real dilemma. Here are some tips for thinking it through: How many times ... Read Original Article
How Small Businesses Collect Email Addresses for Email Marketing
Email marketing is an incredibly important asset for small businesses. This is a unique opportunity to turn your contacts into a front row audience. Email marketing has been proven to drive people ... Read Original Article
Our Annual Rant – er, Advice – on Event Promotion
Spring’s promise of better weather means a wealth of events to attend and plan -- and market. But if you want us to come to your event, why do you make it so hard for us to get your information? ... Read Original Article
Our Annual Rant – er, Advice – on Event Promotion
Spring’s promise of better weather means a wealth of events to attend and plan -- and market. But if you want us to come to your event, why do you make it so hard for us to get your information? ... Read Original Article
Cheat Sheet:  Top Social Media Photo Sizes for Your Convenience
In looking back over nearly six years of articles, it’s about time for a revamp for some of my most popular posts. For those of you who want to ‘make it’ on all the top social media sites. It ... Read Original Article

Art is a risky hobby.  There it is. It’s true.

As soon as you start to paint or draw or sculpt or sing, someone is going to make a comment on what they think of it.  If it’s a positive compliment, you feel justified as a person; if it’s negative, they have just put a dagger through your soul.  It’s hard to be creative and be objective and secure because if you do art with openness and feeling, it is a mirror to who you are.

For me, art can be just a painting that I think is pretty.  But if I really am honest with my feelings and paint something that reflects my inner conviction or growth, that painting can be like exposing my innermost thoughts, feelings or motivations to the world.  It feels dangerous and risky; I am vulnerable.   So what should I do?  Not paint? Not try art? Ignore any creativity?

No!  Not trying anything creative is like shutting the door on a universe of excitement and discovery. We all have feelings and emotions we’re not even aware of and occasionally, art can be that window that opens your real self to you.

Art can be a great time of fun.  But sometimes it can surprise you with YOU.

Art is a risky thing.  Go for it!

Go to www.paintblankcanvas.com and dare to meet yourself in art.

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Choosing and Using Your Business Email Service
Recently a friend deleted a decade’s worth of email history by accident. And that was just one of several email emergencies we’ve heard about in the last couple weeks. Before disaster strikes at ... Read Original Article
Want Your Content and Social Media Posts Found? Consider How Your Audience Searches
A large portion of content marketing and social media marketing is actually developing that content and those social media posts. Once you have the original content and the relevant and interesting ... Read Original Article
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Some messages from our group...

What makes the Conejo Valley special, unique or interesting?

I like to call Thousand Oaks "the biggest little town in the country." Even though its size is well over 100,000 residents, it still has a small town feel. You are liable to see someone you know every time you go out. I also like the fact that it has protected itself from the blight that has ruined so many other communities in Southern California by restricting things such as billboards, building structure and height, paid parking lots, and corner strip malls. 

— Cary Ginell - VC On Stage