If I had to do it all again – I would share more of my creative skills without limiting myself to ‘it is not perfect.’ You can never be your own judge and jury. Let others embrace you as you are, roses, thorns, and all.
~ Maria Lehtman
Digital transformation is touching every field of our expression with a persistent and welcome change if we find the right balance. What does it mean for our expression? During the past years, I enjoyed getting to know many fantastic women who have either embraced their creative, authentic path as entrepreneurs or are combining their worlds of day-to-day business and artistic creativity.
At the heart of such transition, I had the pleasure of interviewing a very expressive and creative Raissa Urdiales, Columnist at BIZCATALYST 360°, Author and Artist with the personal brand: Artfulbeing. Let’s learn more about what has fueled Raissa to embrace the creative way alongside her STEM career.
- Thank you for this opportunity to interview you, Raissa Urdiales. You have such an amazing career experience coupled with an array of artistic skills, including painting. Tell me a little more about your day job.
Raissa: By day, I work as a Systems Analyst supporting Human Resource Information Technologies. I stumbled into working in computer systems when my son was young, and Y2K was all the concern. It challenges my love for problem-solving and the strength of forever experimenting and managing projects. I have had what some would consider prestigious titles, reaching the famous six-figure salary, spending time believing I needed to climb a ladder to be successful. One very dark day, I learned balance was much more critical, and with it came a feeling of purpose and realized purpose is at the heart of success. During that darkness, I regrouped and reinvented who I am. Or, better said, with the absence of others telling me who I am, I could listen to my inner voice of who I was, am, and always have been.
- You write in your LinkedIn profile about your GenXer role having a responsibility to bridge gaps and assure that we stay human in the new Digital Age. How has Digital Transformation impacted your business relationships or relationships in general, and how are you personally taking action to make a difference?
Raissa: Like a lot of GenXers, when I was growing up, technology was just beginning. I had friends that would dabble in these strange things called “personal computers” and “word processors.” I never put much thought into whether they would be around and certainly didn’t think they would become woven into everyday life. I still remember laughing when I was told someday everyone would have one. Fast forward to now when we not only have one, we have many ways of connecting through technology, yet we seem more disconnected now than we did then.
We seem to write more and read less, talk more, and listen less. I actively write about the times before computers, what my life was like growing up as a young girl in a small town. The simplicity still exists when we set down our devices and truly connect or use them as vehicles to connect when geographically and physically we are separated.
I once held a position training healthcare workers new applications to allow for multi-tasking and ease of information access. I now coach the upcoming generation on preventing excessive multi-tasking and guiding how to focus and relax and fully observe the world, the details, the patterns, and the commonalities to many. I do much of this with both my writing and my painting. It is not that I think technology is all bad. I just think it has a place, and it needs to be balanced.
|“As the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus wisely said, “The only thing that is constant is change.” This change, too, will pass. The collective cocoon we are entering will give us the time to look inward, if we chose to, and develop deep from within. “ ~Raissa Urdiales, A pathway to Hope|
Painting: Sunset Flame, © Raissa Urdiales
- From your social media shares and your gallery, e.g., www.raissagallery.com, I can see that artistic skills are taking an increasing center stage in your life. Would you share what inspired you to paint and create and what fuels your passion?
Raissa: I always liked to doodle and sketch when I was younger but never thought I could paint until I went to a paint night with a friend, and it opened up a whole new world. I had mostly thought of painting with watercolors. When I was introduced to acrylics, it felt more like sculpting and layering and had texture, depth, and movement. I gifted myself some paints and brushes for my 51st birthday. It started what has now become a journey in artistic expression.
I frequently can be found painting in the wee hours of the morning before the sun has made its way over the horizon. The magical thing about painting is that as I concentrate on an image to recreate, my verbal mind becomes peaceful and I can feel mentally regenerated after a creative session. It is like sleep from my restless verbal mind that I do not get when I sleep due to vivid dreams that seem more real than illusions.
- You are also very active in charity events. What are some of the recent social activities you have engaged with, and do you have plans for taking part in other support programs?
Raissa: I love supporting local charities. I paint for myself; my day job gives me plenty to live on, and I never was much of a salesperson, so the art I create can begin to pile up. It is why I now paint on paper. There would never be enough space for me to keep all that I make if I did it on canvas.
Since my artistic journey began, I have been honored to donate hundreds of pieces to an Angel Program coordinated annually with a non-profit group, Wind River Cancer Retreats (https://www.windriverservices.org/). Among other programs, they coordinate an angel gift program for those going through or recovering from a cancer diagnosis each holiday season. It started one year when they had more needing an angel than angels to provide. I was approached about donating some paintings to assure all would receive something. I happily donated 120 paintings that first year and 100 this last year. This year’s donation also included gifting to some frontline workers in Healthcare as well.
I also have books available on Barnes and Nobles guiding on taking a mental walk from A-Z. The proceeds I contributed to the 24 Foundation with strong ties to the nationwide cancer community. Their values are not just around research and fundraising but include resources of support; you can read more at https://www.24foundation.org/about/.
Locally, I have donated pieces of art for education silent auctions and, quite honestly, am always looking for a way to provide a positive impact with my artwork. This coming summer, I will be a part of a Caped Crusaders 4 Cures group that participates in the 24 Hours of Booty. Interesting name, huh? The event is to raise money for the cancer community and is sponsored by the 24 Foundation and multiple other groups. The event involves bicycle riding what is dubbed the “Booty Loop” here in Charlotte for 24 hours.
Last year, with the pandemic, they did an unlooped version, and our team had different cul-de-sac events. I was in charge of doing chalk-art with the kids. It was a lot of fun sparking the interest of the younger generation with something other than technology. I taught children how to draw flowers, angels, lighthouses, birds, and palm trees, and they taught me a few things too. I left the box of chalk for the kids to use for the rest of the summer. I was told the streets were filled with art. Maybe there will be a new crop of artists that inspiration was sparked.
“The breaking apart of the bottle as it hits rocks on the ocean floor. The pieces being spread and embraced by the sand.
The transformations as its sharp edges of the broken pieces are gradually smoothed by nature’s magic melody coming in the form of an unseen energy flow of the water’s tide.” ~Raissa Urdiales, Sea Glass
Painting: North Beach, © Raissa Urdiales
- As a digital artist, I have most appreciated the fact that the digital age has brought art from specific cultural circles to anyone’s reach. We can enjoy artistic creations from a vast range of cultures and generations. What role does the digital age play in your artistic aspirations, and how do you see it evolving?
Raissa: It is so interesting that you ask that. I initially was doing work on paper and didn’t think much about producing my art for others. When people started to be interested in purchasing my creations, I knew I needed to figure out how to find homes for that which I created. I need to limit inventory around our modest home and studio.
The digital age has made it possible for me to make my art available on different platforms and in various forms. Someone who likes my artwork can get something that speaks specifically to them. I also have discovered some interesting digital tools to enhance my work and, most recently, one that can put my paintings in motion, making them come alive.
- Are there any last thoughts you would like to leave for our readers about your next plans or how they could pursue developing creative skills?
Raissa: The best advice I have is you never know if you can do something if you don’t try it. Being an artist takes time and experience and lots of patience. Even the most skilled artists are looking for ways to improve or better express the emotions that come out through their medium of choice. I also would say not to stay too long with something that just doesn’t “feel” right.
I frequently think of the Albert Einstein quote, “If you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.”
|“Seek peace…let it wash over you and guide you.” ~Raissa Urdiales|
Painting: “Vertical at Night”, Raissa Urdiales
Thank you, Raissa, for these wonderful and inspirational thoughts! I wish you light and inspiration in your journey forward. I warmly recommend you get to know Raissa’s creative contributions. You will be able to follow her on social media on the following sites: