I Artist, Making the Foundation Good

 

I need some mercy on my soul
Right now–
Gimme what you got.

 

Why submit to fear?

  • Other people are counting on your fear. Your anxiety feeds them somehow. Maybe they can sense it on you.
  • That’s why clients are reluctant to pay. And why they ‘micro-manage’.
  • That’s why other Artists are salivating at their shot at what should have been yours.
  • Denying fear isn’t my suggestion. Face it. That maybe the best start. You’ll have to design the next steps.

Re-design yourself.

  • Jettison old bad habits. Heck, give yourself every break you deserve.
  • Have your work space ready for work. Pre-stage your materials.
  • Be ready to burst forth from the gate. Otherwise you’ve hobbled yourself to the ground and it’s 1:00 PM (1300 hours) and you’re staring at a blank some more.
  • Make a list. Do the list. Move forward.
  • Tell them you want more time, more money, more share. Then earn it.
  • Nothing is cheap, excellent, and on-time. Choose two. It’s a good guideline for yourself, for your studio, for us all, and for your clients

Carve out your productive time.

  • Know the cost you pay for every hour in your day. Same as with your rents, your materials, insurance, or any other cost. TIME IS MONEY.
  • Don’t put things off. I know creative people “procrastinate” but when you do, keep it on your project. If you’ve convinced yourself procrastinating puts you in a ‘highly pressurized zone where you do your best work” and that’s working for you. Okay with that. But, if that ‘highly pressurized zone’ is not where you’re getting you the results you want then, d’oh!
  • Manage your time. Work. Rest. Repeat.
  • Production is not equal to Perfect. Better done on-time than perfect.

Minimize distractions.

  • Clear out your calendar.
  • Set your phone aside for a while.

Put yourself into your work. After all it’s why the client, gallery, consumer, or peers chose us.

  • You and I may be unique but there are imitators and copy-cats
  • Only you can do what you do—and that involves being the first one in the door. After that you have to hope © and ™ will protect you.

Keep your promises.

  • Just no compromise here, okay! You don’t have enough treasure to buy a good reputation.
  • Climbing back up from that hole that is ‘broken promises’ or ‘he doesn’t care’ or what a lousy reputation is what was made by not keeping your promises.

If you fail, face it. Who said your should pretend to be super-human? Failure is when you quit. Don’t quit. You’ll never be super-human, okay?

  • Make the adjustments. Get back up. Go again.
  • Improve your work habits. Only you can over-come You.
  • Work so you can feel good about your project.
  • Create that energy, that excitement where you can’t wait to see what amazing Art you’re going to make today.

Take care of your body and your mind. Not an exhaustive list, but hey, work with it for your own life.

  • Rest & Work
  • Nourishment
  • Exercise
  • Cleanliness
  • Relationship time
  • Reflection time

No excuses.

  • Get back up if you fail. Put yourself into all your work.
  • Re-design yourself when needed. Improve your serve: Be your time manager. Don’t throw flexibility out the window. Limit distractions—close your studio for certain hours.
  • Be good to your word. Do what only you can do–produce your Art in a timely manner.
  • Stand up for yourself. Ask for more of everything you can.
  • You are the adult in charge of you. Own that.
  • Be a self-starter. Then do your Art until it is finished. And finished on time.

Drawing Blanks–How To

twilight-forest-vi-oct-26-2016-paint

Ink & acrylic on stretched acetate

Many times I look at a blank page and have a curious thought: “what’s in there

that I need to find?” Have I trained myself to think that way? Yes and no. I go

that way mainly because I rebelled against blank pages (and walls) so I drew

some shape or made a splotch of color or scribed a word or a sentence. So I kept

the habit as I lived. It’s like giving a horse a little nudge in a wide open field

with no one else present, just a friend, the wind, and wide open spaces.

So what is the “how-to” of this?

Move forward and try.

See how far you can take your day-dream. Better yet see how it can take you.

All it needs is a little nudge.

Better Done than Perfect

Better Done than Perfect.*

Never, never, never slop through a job. Do not abuse your audience or be-little them by thinking so little of them. Do your best work. The concept of “Done is better than Perfect” is a reward for people who can Finish a Thing. Never miss a deadline. It is a promise. It is your Word.

Live by your Word.

Or wither on the vine when you do not keep your Word.

 

bark-texture-study-monochrome-1-february-2016-2

Ink on paper from a reference. Beginning, middle, end.

 

* Perfection is over-rated. It’s the result of some sort of operant conditioning that turns good-natured  admonishment, “do your best”,  into an unattainable expectation. As such one’s performance is judged by an external jury with a subjective set of principles that as likely as not as an outcome to be like a death sentence placed upon the poor sot who “attempted to do the work but missed the mark”.

The root cause of this over-rating of Perfection  is even perhaps the Poor Training of teachers to expect perfection of others and to try to enforce it as a matter of Will on others whilst incapable in the first place of their own perfection.

Given all types of “behavioral objectives” and “performance metrics” in myriad volumes of ‘how-to-teach’ books perfection is still a brick savagely applied to the temple of creative individuals’ skulls.

Perfection is a Set up to Fail, or worse to never Begin, or worse even yet, to never Finish anything.

Picture This: Catching A Rainbow

double rainbow

Neighborhood Double Rainbow

Picture this: On a neighborhood street traffic is backed up, more of the usual stuff for those who dare to drive vehicles on roads.

This was a line of cars not moving, not for a crash, not for yielding right-of-way to a pedestrian (if that still happens). Drivers stopped in the street for a rainbow.

Arms of all shades poked out of car windows holding up phones taking pictures of a vibrant double rainbow.

Picture this, people stopped to take a picture of arching radiation wavelengths in the sky they deemed so very beautiful, of such imminence, worthy of a moment to capture it as a series of ones and zeroes with batteries freshly charged.

A small line of people snapping a moment of color, a shared event, group appreciation that was over quickly and the drivers resumed their drives. It was a bit goofy stopping in the middle of a neighborhood street for the pleasure of taking a picture. Better to stop for a moment than to try to get the picture in the sky whilst driving on the pavement.

In files on their phones they have the same scene, slightly different angle, from personal points of view at approximately the same time but it is theirs and mine and ours and my money is on us sharing it with at least half a dozen other people before the morning is out.

Perhaps the soul requires humans to recognize and to respond to colors, shapes, and scales that have the sky as a canvas as exhibited in a rainbow or even in fireworks.

I am sure none of the drivers were out to prank the rest of the motoring public as an “in-your-face” flow stoppage. My justification is I had to stop.

“Oh, by the way, might as well snap that giant rainbow sailing in the sky.”

Wednesdays are now Catching Rainbows Wednesday.

And I picture this: Catching other humans being Artists.

Carrying Notebooks

Field Notes

I use Field Notes for sketches or to scribble a line I want to remember. The thing is the notebooks help me remember.

The notebooks are well-made and thoughtfully designed. They have withstood rain torrents, sawdust, oil, sweat, and dirt in magnificent fashion. Well designed indeed.

The hazard I have discovered that eats them is the washing machine. I suppose I need to keep two notebooks: one for sketches and scribbles, another to remind me to remove the notebooks from my clothing before I throw them into steamy sudsy water for a robo-wash.

Funny thing, Field Notes did fine in “white-water” when I quit the raft. I suppose I didn’t hit enough rocks to do it any damage.

Need to work more on ‘being aware’. Washing machines are dangerous to notebooks.

I need a label.

A Lesson of Daisies

At a children’s’ education center the theme for the visitors on the day I tagged along was “Plants”.

The theme rooms were full of displays, art, and the “science” section was tricked out with learning centers about plant growth, photosynthesis, and the life cycle of plants.

The learning centers immediately grabbed the focus of the young smiling  visitors. They read the question cards and wrote answers using stubby pencils.

Those developing scholars with 100% correct answers were given a long-stem rosebud and if the learners gave any incorrect answers the attendants gave them a fancy carnation.

Now you might think, “Well done creating a class system among youngsters.” Here are my observations.

When a child returned to the learning center and tried another question and succeeded they received a daisy to go with their carnation.

007

Daisies, acrylic on cedar panel.

Those who tried again had a fist full of flowers; even those who had initially received a rose went back until all the flowers were given out.

The class presented their flowers as a group bouquet to their teachers.

I was told the outcomes from the student’s performance may vary from day to day, if things went better today than yesterday so much the better. What the children learned every day and reported to their teachers and to their parents was for them the most fun was to play and to do as well as possible and to like your friends.

When I have a formidable problem or when my designs somehow miss the mark, I will go back for a do-over to do as well as possible and to like my friends.

I will remember the daisies.

 

Inspiring Weeds

 

First, it has rained without stop for nearly a week. Spring rain has blessed the turf and the weeds.

Mowing has not been an option except on a one-day respite. Right on time the sun shined. I mowed.

I almost mowed my current inspiration –the flowers and the volatile green growth of weeds.

I was spellbound by the multitude of shining shades and the subtle water-fed colors of weeds. They are quite beautiful.

No, I must be about the mowing. The rains return tomorrow according to the Weather Channel™.

Weed paint sketch in greens

Underpainting of “Weeds” on wood panel.

By definition a weed is “a plant not valued for its use or beauty”. So if I love them for their colorful foliage, tender shades, and gentle contrasts do they cease to be ‘weeds’?

When the form of weeds and the tableaus of tiny blossoms as in a wild garden capture my imagination am I no longer the care-taker of the property to which I exert my rights?

I like the way the veins in their leaves and the rose hues remind me of chard.  How the tiny trefoil leaves suggest clover but sprout miniature yellow daisy-like blossoms. I like that sort of surprise.

I snapped one, two, and then a half-dozen pictures, just for color sketches I remind myself. I prepared four panels for painting.

The rain falls on the just and the unjust.

And the merely inspired.