Linda's Blog—Travel and Art

  •  

    Mud is My Nemesis

    images of Fine Creek and the end of a street in Venice

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     



    Adventures in Mud

    There are mud baths, mud facials, mud cloth, and mud pies.All good, desirable things. ‘Here’s mud in your eye’, a great saying. We go out of our way and pay lots of money for hot mud baths, in situ.

    However, I cannot say I have enjoyed any of that. Mud is my nemesis. It has taken quite some time for that to sink in, because it looks so innocent, just sitting there. It’s in my way, why not walk across? Why not step into it? Why not ignore it?

    Because mud is out to get me, and I have finally realized that.

    My first encounters with mud were innocuous enough; I made mud pies. Actually they were attempts at mud pottery, and at the tender age of 5 I learned that mud is. not. clay. Assuming I could get it to stick together in a form long enough to put it out in the sun, the results were still not satisfactory. Pies were never on my radar—my mother made pies, and the ones she made certainly did not taste like the ones I made. Just to clarify, hers were much better.

    My artistic forays with mud mirror my painter’s attempts at coal dust painting. If you’ve ever tried to mix coal dust with water to make paint, you understand. To sum up: not enough stirring in the world will cause that oily dust to transform into paint. Or ink. Just sayin’.

    In my adult life my confrontations with mud have also been art related, mostly because it was standing between me and what I wanted to do.  

    At Fine Creek:

    It looks so innocent.  A few years ago I was plein air painting at Fine Creek. A lovely place, and a lovely day. A beautiful June day, birds chirping, water babbling, all is right with the world. I was with a group of painters who get together to paint outdoors, the Virginia Plein Air Painters. 

    Me painting beside Fine Creek

     

    We were all spread out, and I wanted to get as close to the water as possible. It was an easy walk, after a short set of stone steps, to the rock-lined edge of the creek. I got a great start, but after a while I wanted to see what the other artists were doing, and I could see some a bit further down the water, so I decided to walk along the stones rather than all the way up the steps and around. It was a straight shot, just a few flat boulders and some wet spots. 

    Water, rocks, and mud

     

    Just wet spots. No mud. Really. And I did not listen to that little voice that asked, “Do you really want to do that?” Because yes. Yes I did.

    So, I put down my palette knife, wiped my hands, and started down the creek, stay well away from the water, so I would fall in. Stepping ever so carefully. 

    But not carefully enough that I didn’t slip on a wet spot, that turned out to have mud underneath. Such a little spot, and such a big bruise. Fortunately, I was able to get up, brush off my bottom and my ego, and go on, not much worse for wear.

    And then I had to go back. 

    And of course I was going to go back the way I came, because this time I knew where the mud was. In that spot. And I didn’t even hear that little voice say, “Do you really want to do that?”

    This time I carefully and thoughtfully skirted the spot of doom, giving it wide berth, hugging the stone retaining wall… 

    the retaining wall beside Fine Creek

     

    Which had mud at the bottom edge. 

    This time as I fell I was able to slow my fall a bit because I fell INTO the foliage at the top of the wall (which was about arm height). I congratulated myself on my good fortune as I picked myself up again. At least I didn’t get hurt.

    As I was approaching my easel one of the other painters, Eleanor Cox, said, “Linda, you better go wash your hands, that’s poison ivy.” Whhaat? No, couldn’t be, she must mistaken. She warned me again, but I shrugged it off, and continued painting, wiping my neck with my scarf, because now it was getting warm. 

    But, because her warning haunted me, I did go the restroom shortly thereafter and wash my hands carefully.

    To bad I didn’t do that BEFORE I used my scarf to wipe my neck and chin.

    The itching on my neck, behind my ear and under my chin started that evening, which I took to be mosquito bites (because I am the Queen of Denial). Exactly the spots I had wiped with my scarf. It was 3 days before the small blisters announced that Ellie was correct. 

    In Venice:

    Two years later, I met my nemesis again, This time on the steps of Venice. Again, it stood between me and what I wanted , which in this case was an awesome and unusual view of the canal at the end of the street on a quiet morning at 7 am.. You can read my blog about that at 

    http://www.lindahollett.net/blog/how-to-not-fall-into-a-ventian-canal

     

    steps with slime on the canal in Venice

    I stepped ever so gingerly down the first step, because I saw that green slime, and figured it was slippery. And then I stepped, carefully down to the second step, so I could lean out just a LITTLE bit further...

    Well, I did get my photo…. 

    blurry photo of a corner of the wall as I was falling

     

    I also saw stars, and for a minute could not feel anything below my neck. Suffice it to say, I no longer think of mud as just an annoyance. I also now listen very closely to that little voice that says, “Do you really want to do that?”

    More and more I have learned to listen to that little voice. Most of the time.

    And I have learned to wear boots. I learned that in Holland, on the beach. But even boots won't help you in a tidal pool, as my good friend Annie Brash Kelvin can testify (but I will not show you a photo of that).

    FYI, you may notice I no longer have the option for a reader to make a comment. That is because I was targetted with comments on optimizing SEO, porn, Viagra, Russian ads for porn and Viagra, and some other stuff in Russian I could not make heads or tails out of. If you have a comment or question, email me, or message me. I am now seeing this a lot (ads for making money at home working for Facebook, which are scams) in the comment feeds on Facebook. 

  •  

    The Lesser Known

    Spine of the book, "Janson's History of Art"



    The Lesser Known (#5womenartists)

     

    March is/was Women’s History Month, and the first thing that greeted me on my Twitter Feed on March 1 was a post by the National Museum of Women in the Arts. It read:

    “Can you name five women artists?”

    And of course, I could. And I did. And THEN I thought, ‘well, I could do more than THIS. What if I could name five women EVERY day of the month, without looking any up, just based on what know or remember? And what if I included images of work done by each of the artists? And how about not matching the images to the names, but asking readers to test their knowledge.

    So I did! 

    It was not as easy as I thought. 

    The premise was sound, and doable. I could remember a lot, and I did give myself permission to check on spelling, or even names if I could remember the image but not the names (I love it when I negotiate with myself—I always win). For example: Louise Nevelson. I could not for the LIFE of me remember her name, until someone else mentioned her. I could see her work in m y mind clear as day, but the name was in a locked room (using the imagery of your memory as rooms in your brain). 

    Doable, but time consuming. I had to decide which names to post, find images, download them, add them to my website page—that I had to create—and make sure it all looked okay on mobile devices. 

    THEN, I decided I needed to post each day’s addition on Facebook. And on Twitter and Instagram (sometimes). And use hashtags. And add links to their websites for contemporaries. AND mention which ones would have work in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (because this is how I know many of them) and/or the National Museum of Women in the Arts (because, well, it was their idea).

    From the beginning, I decided to include not only those who have stood the test of time, but also women who were my contemporaries, some well-known on the local scene, some on the national radar, and a few internationally known artists.

    By the first Friday I decided I would rest on the weekends. 

    By the end of the month I was both grateful it was drawing to a close, and sorry I would not be naming more women. I had finally gotten things down to a rhythm, and I had more names, but it was time to stop, at least for the moment.

    I learned quite a few things. 

    1) I am a glutton for punishment.

    2) I enjoy a challenge.

    3) If there is a way to make things more complicated, I will. This may not be bad, but it will be.

    4) I know a lot of women artists. 

    The other thing I have been mindful of for some time is that I am fortunate enough to know a number of women (and men) who are on the national radar, or soon will be. I am in the midst of an incredible company of contemporary artists, and I believe a number of them will be written about in years to come. What an extraordinary position to be in!

    This is a a FAR cry from my college days. In my art history book (H. W. Janson’s History of Art, of course), I could not find ONE WOMAN indexed in the book, not even those EVERYONE knows, like Mary Cassatt, Georgia O’Keeffe, or Grandma Moses. I also looked through pages in sections that could have had some mention of these women, or others. Nada. Niente. Zip. Zilch. Zifr. 

    We’ve come a long way, baby. And we’ve got a long way to go. (By the way, if anyone knows otherwise, please let me know. This would refer to the 1968 edition.) 

    MY POINT IS, the only reason I knew so many women artists is because when I taught elementary art, I had a weekly program that ALL students, K-5, were exposed to, called ‘Artist-of-the-Week’. For the sake of brevity (who said that?), I will just say that I thought it important to include not only Old Masters, but also American, Women, Alive, and non-European artists (because, more than once, a student would look at our wall of artists, note the dates, and ask if we were ever going to study any LIVE artists. Thank goodness they were paying attention). So I started looking for names to add to the list. 

    And because I can NOT let it alone, in the next few weeks I will be organizing the names and images so you can see who does what! 

    Hmmm….wouldn’t it be great if I could set it up as a questionnaire, and then at the end you see how many you get right? 

    What app would I use for that? (please email me if you know—lchollett@verizon.net)

    SEE? I cannot help myself. It there is more to add, I will do so. It is not so much an affliction as a shot of adrenaline. 

    I did very little painting in March. The one large on on my home page, and a medium-sized one for Artful Healing. I also wrote no blogs. Now you know why.

    I need a secretary, and a team. 

    To see all the women I named, check it out! The sad thing is, I just saw a post about women artists of the Bauhaus, and I did not know ANY of them. Sigh.  That link, and one about 11 female abstract impressionists is also on the #5womenartist page on my website.  

    LINK

    Were you able to participate in the #5womenartists challenge?

    image of #5 women artists graphic

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Next blog: back to Russia

  •  

    What Do You Mean My Luggage is in New York?

    banner with belgium francs and scarvesTravelling in the Soviet Union, Part 1:

    “What Do You MEAN, My Luggage is in New York?”

    In December of 1986, I had the rare opportunity to travel with a group of educators to the Soviet Union. It meant I would be spending Christmas in the Soviet Union. And New Year’s Eve. 

    This was because of Mikhail Gorbachev’s policy of Glasnost which began in 1985. 

    I talked it over with my principal, and we decided this was a great trip for me! I would leave the day Christmas break started, and would return the day before school started back. A two-week trip with NO DAYS missed. It was a sign. 

    I signed up, mailed in my money, and bought my ticket to New York (where I would meet up with the rest of the people going). I bought new luggage (with wheels), bought my dress for New Year’s Eve, winter boots, and gifts from the U.S. for the people I would run into (including candy canes I planned to put out on Christmas morning for all the participants). I took photos of the the Christmas lights around Richmond to share. I packed my watercolors (because I knew I would have time to paint), and my sketch pad. AND, I packed the things I could not do without in my carry-on: make-up and toiletries, toothbrush/toothpaste, pjs and underwear. The essentials. At the last minute I put my sketchbook into the carry-on. We had an overnight stay in Brussels, and this way, I would not need to even open my suitcase. That was the plan. Here's my carry-on. Pretty small by today's standards.

    My carry-on

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The day came. My family drove me to DC for a grand send-off (I was going to the SOVIET UNION,  for Pete's Sake), I checked my bag, I flew to NY, I met up with the group, and I…didn’t have my luggage. 

    I think I told the DC people I was checking the luggage to New York. I was SUPPOSED to tell them to check the luggage to Brussels (where we changed from Sabrina Airlines to Aeroflot). Who knew? By the time the person in charge of the group (Peter) realized what I had done, we had to board the plane. With my checked luggage still in New York. 

    On the up side, I looked really nice in my black wool skirt and heels on the plane. 

    During the trip to Brussels, Peter told me I had better buy boots once we landed, because I would certainly need them and he was not sure how long it would take me to find a pair, if I could, once in Moscow. 

    So, once we landed in Brussels, while the rest of group went to see the sights, I went a few blocks down the street to buy boots appropriate for the cold snowy days ahead. I found a big department store, found a great pair of boots (flat, fur-lined, and suede on the outside). MUCH better that the ones with heels in my suitcase in New York. 

    Now, I did not speak Dutch or French (although I understand a bit), but I had been able to make my needs known through signals. I got my American Express travel Cheques out, and….found out the store could not accept them, because they were in American dollars, and I was not in the tourist area, they were not in a position to exchange money. My only chance was to get back to the hotel, hope the exchange bank in the hotel was open, get some Belgium francs, get back to the store, all before the store closed at 6 pm. It was about 4. 

    I walked back to the hotel, the bank was open, got the cash, headed back to the store, and…slipped on the sidewalk, because it had started to snow. And I was in my heels. By this time it was rush hour, with everyone trying to get home. Not only did no one stop to help me up, they pretty much stepped right over me without breaking stride. So much for the Christmas spirit. 

    I picked myself up, got to the store before it closed, changed my shoes right there in the store, and was still able to join the group for dinner. Sans heels.

    my boots from Brussels

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The next morning we left for about a week in Moscow and a few days each in Tallin (Estonia) and St. Petersburg. 

    When we got to our hotel in Moscow, I realized we were on Red Square, with a view of St. Basil’s Cathedral, with the snow falling down, light EXACTLY like a photograph I had from National Geographic. I was so excited, I didn’t even notice I lost my hat. But I was getting some great photographs. 

    For the rest of the trip I wore my wool skirt, my new boots, by wool coat, my cotton knit long-sleeved shirt, a sweater someone loaned me, a hat someone else gave me, and my blue scarf and gloves (which matched the hat I lost, and also a cobalt blue sweater that was still in my suitcase in New York). For the rest of the trip I did not have to make decisions about what to wear. For the rest of the trip it took me about HALF the time to dress it usually did. 

    My blue scarf

     

    And for New Year’s Eve I tucked the neckline of my t-shirt and draped a beautiful Russian scarf around my neck. I felt gorgeous.

    my Russian scarf

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I discovered that not only did I not mind NOT having a choice of clothing, I actually enjoyed not having to think about it. It was the most freeing experience in the world, and it changed my entire way of thinking about clothes.

    So when I take a casual ‘la-de-dah’ attitude towards multiple changes of clothes, this is why.

    Eventually I did some paintings from my trip:  See the paintings

     

    What did I learn?

    • Carry WHAT YOU CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT  in your purse and in your carry-on. It is precious little.

    • Wear your essentials if possible (boots).

    • You will always need to depend on the kindness of strangers (my travel mates). 

    • You can do with a lot less than you thought, and it is very freeing to do so.

    NOTE: I almost titled this blog, “These Boots Were Made for Walking”.       p.s. The banner for this blog shows a 50 Belgian francs note. Now they use euros.

     

    Next blog:   Why I went, and what would it take to change your mind?

  •  

    How I Came to Sketch with a Pen

    banner_photograph of water with rough waves

     

    How I Came to Sketch with a Pen

    I have done sketching all my life; give me a pencil, eraser, and a sheet of paper, and I know what to do. Give me several kinds of pencils, and you better STAND BACK! 

    However, until I began to do plein air painting, my sketches were really more finished drawings, renderings. I saw drawing as an art form unto itself, and did thumbnails if I was painting, but not really even sketches.

    That all changed on October 5, 2010. 

    That was the painting trip Brenda and I took, to Nags Head. We had painted around Jockey’s Ridge, and later did several paintings from Nags Head Pier.

    After painting at Jockey’s Ridge that morning we had lunch, and then retired to the deck on the restaurant to sketch. I got out my small sketch book, with my pencil. Brenda was to my right, with her pens and watercolors. I was sketching the side of the pier, she was sketching the water, the waves. At some point I found that I needed an eraser, and I did not have one. I turned to Brenda to ask if she had one, and I was BLOWN AWAY by her painting. She had perfectly captured, in watercolor, the choppiness, the short, crisp waves, and all the colors. Oh, those colors! It was one on the best paintings I had ever seen. It took my breath away. I exclaimed over the piece, and at the same time, asked Brenda if she had an eraser.

    pencil sketch of Nags Head pier

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    (this has been in my sketchbook for a long time)

     

    The next few seconds unfolded in slow moootttiiiiiioooonnnnn…

    As Brenda turned to her right to look in her bag for an eraser, I continued to admire the painting. I must have blinked, because all of a sudden, it was gone. It was there, and then…It wasn’t there.

    I don’t think I breathed for a few seconds, and then Brenda turned back to me, and she noticed the painting wasn't there. 

    “Where’s my painting?”

    “I don’t know! It was there, and now, it’s not!”

    “Well, where did it go?”

    You can see, we were both in a state of denial as the truth dawned on us—the wind had picked it up and blown it away. Not in a gentle, pick up and float away breeze, but a now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t gust. It was there, and then it wasn’t. It was something you simple could not wrap your brain around.

    We looked over the rail. Nothing. We looked to the beach to the left and right. Nothing. We scanned over the ocean. Nothing. We did it all again. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. We sighting further out, looking out for anything white floating on the water. Nothing. I even walked down off the pier and went underneath to see if it had been somehow ‘sucked’ underneath, like a wind undertow (fingers crossed). Nothing. 

    photo from under the pier

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I had to go back up the pier and tell Brenda I couldn’t find it. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, because it was TOTALLY my fault. 

    Of course, Brenda was gracious, saying she could always make another one, no problem, please don’t worry about it. Because that’s what Brenda did. She made life easier for others. 

    But I never forgave myself, or forgot. Because there was never any way you could EVER recreate a painting like that, with that life, that energy, and that movement (not to mention color). 

    I had a pen with me. I got it out of my bag, and started drawing with it. And I never used a pencil again (except in museums, because some, like the VMFA only allow sketching with a pencil. No pens allowed. If they only knew how I hate it…). 

    My first three pen sketches:

    first pen drawing--of the pier

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

                 second drawing of pier

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    choppy waves

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I liked my sketches much better after that, and I liked SKETCHING much better, after that. You had to be bold, and assertive, and no apologies. You couldn’t fuss, and you had to forgive (yourself).

    And Brenda? About six years later, she casually mentioned that painting, and the day it was lost forever. So it did matter to her after all, at least a little bit. 

    They are all our children. 

     

     

    Read about Brenda and I sketching her back yard view (scroll down to the bottom of the page)

     

  •  

    How NOT to Climb the Dome in Florence

    images of the cathedral in Florence and inside the dome

     

    Climbing the Dome of the Cathedral of Florence—Il Duomo, aka Cathedral di Santa Maria del Fiore 

    As many of you know, my ‘partner in crime’, Brenda Bickerstaff-Stanley, passed away suddenly January 5 (see what I wrote on my website). I have decided the best way to get back into my blog was to write about one of the many travel/art adventures we had together. Climbing the Dome of the Cathedral in Florence Italy. 

    Both Brenda and I had been to Florence before; she just a few years before, I about 39 years ago. In 2014 we travelled with a group to Cinque Terre, landing and leaving from Florence (thank you, Garry-Lou Upton!). Two of the highlights there were climbing the Dome of the Cathedral, and later that afternoon touring the Uffizi Gallery with a tour of the ‘secret corridor’  (the Vasari Corridor) above the Ponte Vecchio that connected the Uffizi to the Boboli Gardens. It ended through a small, unassuming doorway in the corner of the garden. Very cool. I expected attic-like rafters and cobwebs, but what we got was wide corridors with huge windows, plastered walls, and lots MORE ART. The corridor was not crowded, and what spectacular views of the city! FYI, the corridor is much longer than the section we walked.  Read about the corridor

     

    view of Vasari's Corridor    view of the Arno River from the corridor    door from the corridor to the Boboli Gardens

     

    Climbing the Dome

    October may be good time to avoid parents with children, but that’s when everyone ELSE comes out. Florence was very crowded. You buy your tickets to enter the Cathedral (at 10 am) in a small office near the church, and we got early tickets. The line moved quickly; backups had not yet begun. 

    There are a lot of steps. A LOT. (I read 463, but I’m sure someone left out a zero). These were designed so workers could work on the dome; they were not designed for two-way traffic accommodating thousands of visitors. I am going to describe what I REMEMBER:

    We walked up stone stairs, until we came to the base of the dome. At that point you came out through a door and could see the basilica below, and the great frescoes not just above, but BESIDE us. The area closes to us was covered with plexiglas so there would be no damage, and you could walk around the perimeter of the dome base. A great way to see Giorgio Vasari’s fresco of the Last Judgement.

    Our mind was on getting to the top of the dome and walking around. Which I had done years ago; when I was 39 years younger. And much more stupid. And yet, I was doing it again. 

    Brenda and I had packed light; almost empty purses with small sketch pad and pens. And water.  Thank goodness, because it is a long, long walk. Did I mention there are stairs? And no railings. Just lots and lots of stone stairs, winding ever higher, with just the walls to brace yourself. Maybe there were railings; I don’t remember.

    photo of stairs

    Nope, no railings.

    At certain junctions, the stairs would change—they became less wide; less wide became narrow; light became darker; darker became lit by slits of windows. At one point a guard stood to stop the crowd going up so others could go down, or vice versa, This was a good thing, because it gave you a chance to rest. 

    Then we got to continue. More steps. Fortunately, we had started early, so there were not many ahead of us, or even behind us, but as you climb you do go slower. And then we got to the last section before the final ascent…

    At this point you begin to go straight up. The STAIRS go straight up, leading to ladders. In general, you would not know this until it was too late (because at this point there is NO GOING BACK). Fortunately, I looked. Well, I was trying to figure out how to lift my legs high enough, because the steps had a rise of 10” , and my legs have a rise of 8” (the average rise of a step in the U.S. is 7”, with an 11”  run). I know the height, beause I measured it, because I always carry a small measuring tape with me. I tried once more, and as I did I looked up. And saw what looked like a ladder, waaay up over my head. 

    side view of final stairs        looking up the final stairs

    OK, I see now it is not a ladder, but at the time that is what I thought. Must have been the rarified air.

    NOPE, nope, cannot make it. I stepped aside, and we stood there, trying to decide if would be possible to go on, or should WE give up. Brenda is a few inches taller than I, and the riser height was not quite as much as issue for her. 

    And then the rest of the crowd caught up with us, and suddenly Brenda not so much STEPPED up as was  PUSHED up…. She never had a chance. I yelled I would ‘wait for you here’, and she was gone. 

    I waited, and waited, with enough time to measure the steps, and take photos, and wonder if there was another way down that we had missed and should I go down, and then people began coming by, and finally, Brenda appeared. In response to my question, “Did you make it, was it worth it?”, her response was a terse, “Yes, and no”. 

    Well, we began our descent, waiting for others along the way (because, REALLY, you do not want to have to pass people on those stairs). And then we started laughing. Laughing so hard, in fact, that we had to stop to breath, because at that point the absurdity of what we were doing hit us. 

    We got out in the bright morning sunlight, and immediately walked/stumbled to a cafe for coffee/soda/croissant so Brenda’s legs could stop trembling. We got some great sketches done (I wish I had some of hers now), she got a cab back to the hotel, and I went into that little museum/orphanage we sketched. 

    And I think she eventually forgave me. 

    sketch of the dome         sketch

    VIew a great video   at 6:11, he mentions 'the final assault'. I think this is where we were. If the link doesn't work, copy and paste this URL:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohB1sNzpBe0

     

    Next blog: How I came to sketch with pens...another story about Brenda

     

  •  

    Close Enough is Good Enough

     

    images of bottles of water and file folders on my kitchen counterMore on New Year Resolutions—Close Enough! Part 2 on Managing my Resolutions


    I decided to take a break from my travel/art adventures to write about New Year’s resolutions, which I hate. Two weeks ago I wrote about why you SHOULDN'T make New Year's resolutions,  Link 

    So, I want this to be a SHORT update on what I’ve done to get ahead of plans for 2017. 

    As I stated before, it seems to be really important to ME to get ahead of the curve. I love making plans, but I have learned that I have to control them, not they, me. That deadline to START on New Year’s Day has always seemed ridiculous. You plan to start going to the gym, then find out you have to wait 2 weeks to get an appointment to be trained on the equipment, because everyone else in the Universe had the same idea. Everyone. And then by February the bad weather has kicked in, and well, you know….

    If you call the gym and make an appointment BEFORE January 1, you are set to go even before the big day. See, no pressure, because YOU took steps that removed the pressure. Maybe you get enough of  a routine started that you can keep it up. 

    I have found that being realistic helps, too. If you want to start going to the gym, fine, but are you really going to go every day? Is that even possible? Would 4 days be more realistic, or 3? Make your goals realistic, like this….

    The Beginning of My Painting Career:

    By the spring of 2005 I was painting a lot, in addition to teaching full time in the public schools. It occurred to me that if I wanted to get more serious, I had to prove to myself that I had the self-discipline to paint not just when I wanted, but on a regular basis, without prompt or deadline.

    So, I asked myself, “What can I do to prove (to myself) that I have the self-discipline to produce art in a regular, sustained manner?”

    Paint all summer! That’t it, I would paint every day the entire summer. I decided I would start as soon as school was out. This would also help me determine if this was just a hobby I was playing with, or something I could take to a level of vocation.

    How many days of painting would that be? I counted the weeks off in the calendar (8), and figured five paintings a week (allowing for weekends, or a trip). That came to 40 paintings to do. But then, I realized I would need some time for other activities during the summer, so I determined 30 would be a better number, one every other day, roughly. That still didn’t seem like a reasonable number, because during the summer lots of other events come up. So I negotiated with myself for 20. Twenty was doable, and if I could produce 20 paintings from the last week of June to the last week of August, I would take that as an indicator that I could produce paintings on a sustained schedule. 

    I completed 17. Close enough!

    Drink More Water:

    I said I was going to drink more water in 2017. I began right after the last blog, and I am up to three 8 oz. bottles a day. I use the small bottle because it SEEMS easier. Eight of those a day is doable, four 16 oz bottles seems much more daunting. Silly, but perception is everything. And, a small bottle is easier to carry with me. I just refill from the faucet. 

    Will I get to eight of them? Six during the winter seems more likely, increasing during the summer as needed. Close enough, and I’m already halfway there!

    Shorter Blogs:

    I began in May with a short blog about artists needing websites (no, Facebook is not enough), but the blogs grew to 1500 very  quickly, which is what ‘research’ suggests is a good number to shoot for. After a few times, I thought that was too much for readers and for me, so I carved back to 1200-1300 words. Below 1000 will make it even more sustainable over a long period of time. My goal for this one was 700-800 but I think it will be closer to 900 by the time I finish it. Close enough!

    Painting What I Want to Paint:

    I mentioned that one goal I wanted to work on was to paint more for myself. I love having a project in mind, usually one that offers a challenge to me, but having lots of gallery obligations can interfere with focusing on those projects. To that end I have taken back a number of paintings I had in a few gallery spaces. Less worry, less responsibility, less guilt over not fulfilling my obligation to provide art for these locations. I don't know why I feel like this is important, but it has been hanging over my head for a while, so taking care of it feels REALLY good! Clear the way for more ideas and projects that I engineer! I was able to remove those folders from my files (in my kitchen), and it meant LESS TO KEEP TRACK OF!

    I have a long list of ideas—if I can get three done this year, I will be thrilled! That will be close enough!

     

    What are some ways you’ve taken control of your goals? What might be your ‘close enough’ parameters?