Instagram became my mother.

giphy-2With social media being the arbiter of all things these days, I have recently wondered if posting art really matters?  Imagine if NO ONE ever saw your art. I recently heard about an artist in Paris who painted his whole life and never showed his art. He was quite good according to one person who saw his amazing artwork. He agreed to meet with one gallery owner. When the gallery owner arrived, he decided not to meet. He changed his mind. His work was never seen. Ugh. No thumbs up, smiley faces or hearts for that poor artist.

Remember when you were little, drawing for the fun of it?  Wait…. did you? I didn’t. Almost every piece of art I made, I had to show my Mom. I was an avid card-maker, drawing illustrations with silly sentiments made to cheer people up. I couldn’t believe there was a job that combined drawing and making people feel good! My mother was my biggest fan. She told me a million times that one day, I would work for Hallmark! Oh, Mom. She gave me thumbs up and hearts on all my artwork (not really, but if she was alive today, she would).

Apparently, I make art to feel validated. To have someone say “good job” or “you did it!” But I also make art to relive a childhood memory, to connect somehow to my past. Do we make art because of a NEED to express our ideas and thoughts or do we make it because on some level, to be validated, or both? Did the cavemen make art to show their other cavemen friends?  Maybe some people are perfectly content making art for themselves. I often wonder about Grandma Moses. When she first started painting at age 70, did she want validation? Money? Fame? I doubt it. I know, in fact, she related her imagery to her childhood memories and just wanted to take up a hobby.

Art-making used to be a private experience. Today we need to be “liked”. We want the world to say “Good job! You did it!” With so many people bashing social media these days, I guess I want to say thank you. Thank you, Instagram. My mother isn’t here to give me those thumbs up and red hearts, but thanks to you, some person 500 miles away from me is saying “Good job! You did it!”

mom

That’s Mom. She was the best!❤️

Decisions, decisions…how to get stuff done!

 

giphy-1Being an artist requires superior decision-making skills. What should I make? How do I spend my time? Getting from idea to finished work is very rewarding. Ask any artist, and they will have at least 5 ideas ready to explore. For example, I am currently “exploring” figure drawing, writing and plein air painting. It can be overwhelming deciding how to spend our time. Not only do artists create; if your goal is to sell artists must relate. We have to “find our audience”, maintain a social media presence, etc., oh and for many, work a full-time job! I have found 3 tricks to get from idea to finished work.

Be honest with yourself. It’s not easy. We live in our comfort zone. But you have to identify your weakness as an artist. What is that one thing that makes you uneasy, cringe or avoid? Whatever it is, decide that THIS will be incorporated into your next project.  For me, it was figure drawing. While I have been an artist all my life, I never honed my figure drawing skills. So, I enrolled at a local arts center and decided to tackle this weakness. Now, Monday nights, I partake in the open studio sessions. While I knew that good drawing is the crux of all successful realism, it wasn’t until I put into practice that I saw my paintings improve. Newly acquired skills translate to confidence which brings drive.

Tell everyone what you are doing. When we “put it out there” that we are going to do something, we generally commit. Some entity like Facebook or Instagram also holds us accountable.  At some point, an idea spoke to you. When you tell someone, you are liberated, free and inspired. Don’t stop at just one person, tell everyone! Next, imagine the project done and before you know it that thing you were putting off is finished. In my life, I have found this works wonderfully. I remember waking up one day and telling my husband “I’m going to be a teacher” and I did. Or once I said “I’m going to open a store” and I did. Once, I entered an art show without even having made one piece. It motivated me to produce and eventually propelled a my production pottery company (Picket Pottery).  I’m currently working on writing and illustrating a children’s book. Yup! So now, I have told you-not a secret anymore!

Give yourself homework. Yup! Remember high school? Well, set yourself a goal. One summer, I painted a painting day, the next I painted one a week, the next were 28 paintings inspired by a family vacation. These projects were the result of both working on my weaknesses AND announcing to the world what I was going to do. If your idea is exploring shadows, perhaps produce a body of work with 10 or 12 landscape paintings incorporating strong shadows. Decide when you want them done. Give yourself a deadline, just like homework. Break it down into daily goals and stick to it. Time will come and go and (hopefully) in the end, you will have tangible results showing how you spent your precious time.

Now, off to write that book….!

 

Snooze Away

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Such a great word, snooze. It even sounds warm & cozy!  I am a snoozer. No matter how hard I try, I CAN NOT WAKE UP EARLY.  I hit snooze repeatedly and fall back to sleep- deep sleep! Why are some people snoozers and some early risers? You know the type- they workout, clean, journal, “get caught up”, meditate. Meanwhile, I’m rolling over for another snooze.  I’m over 50. Believe me, I know all the tricks- go to bed early, get things ready the night before, get a good night sleep,  etc. Still, my body says just 9 more minutes . Why do alarm clocks snooze for only 9 minutes? I’m so confident in my snoozing habit I build it into my “wake-up schedule”. Still, I envy early risers. They seem to have an extra spring in their steps and belong to a “secret society,” the society of people who get things done.  Do those 18 or 27 minutes matter?  Will they change the trajectory of your life? I did some math (surprisingly!)  Eighteen minutes a day over a year is over 100 hours!  That’s a lot of hours…I could be painting or writing. I could commune with the birds like the ‘society” folk! A lot can happen in 18 minutes or even 9 minutes! So here’s  our challenge people: Let’s set our alarm for the time we really want to wake up if we were “those people.” Let’s do this for a week ,(because God forbid, a month is too long…even a week,  I’m like…eh?) I’ll start tomorrow…now I need to find a wake up call service!

Morning

Morning, 10″ x 10″ Oil on Panel

 

Wait, I’m an artist?

After attempting to set some goals for 2019 I realized one thing: Goals are scary! They look great on paper and I’m all like “I GOT THIS”…until I look at my schedule and time is up, onto the next thing. If you know me, I am obsessed with schedules. I make lists, then rewrite the lists according to priority, then I prescribe a time for each item until literally EVERY minute of my day is scheduled. RARELY do I not make  a schedule. As I type, I have 7 minutes left until I have to go on to the next thing (returning items to Target and Marshalls). So in these last minutes, I’ll let you in on a little secret…my goals for 2019 include me writing a picture book for kids! Yup! Gonna do it, along with more plein air painting, figure drawing, illustrating and blogging. It’s going to be a busy year- oh yeah…I’m going to be a grandmother in May and my baby girl is getting married in September! How did I get here? Life over 50 feels busier than in my 30’s. Time is precious people- I still have 4 minutes left on my schedule! Time to insert a pic and…..img_8855

(you put the) Lime in the Coconut

Song Lime in the Coconut

Well, we have Harry Nilsson to thank for this painting! I loved this song as a kid- I had no idea what the words meant! I still don’t…all I know is you put the lime in the coconut and you drink it all up…and  you feel better! This song was like dessert for your ears when it came on the radio. You wouldn’t dare turn the station. It’s the kind of song you secretly feel proud that you know every word!

Lime in the Coconut

Lime in the Coconut, inspired by the 1970’s song

 

Highlighted Route

Map, coffee, glasses and candle

Highlighted Route: Morning coffee and a map-planning out the vacation- where will we go today?

Long gone are the days of getting a big old map and a highlighter and marking your vacation route! What a way to plan a vacation-with all those dotted towns and cities. Remember reading the key (legend) and trying to make sense of what all those little marking stood for? The only trouble with the highlighted route is missing all those wonderful pitstops along the way!

Cherries! I prefer my cherries with sugar between two flaky crusts, or in the form of a gummy candy. Growing up, I never ate cherries, the fruit. Now I have a better appreciation of their actual beauty! Cherries are such beautifully shaped fruits and actually are yummy to eat out of a bag…or a jelly jar (Ok, they would be better in this jar with sugar!)

Cherries

Jelly jar glass with cherries

Campsite

Picking out a campsite is an art in itself. It has to be level, not too close to neighbors, nicely wooded, and a big old pine tree doesn’t hurt. In fact, the more pine trees, the better! I love the pine needles- their color, smell and cushioning underfoot. The late afternoon or evening sun has a way of giving a special glow to a campsite, making it feel safe and warm…..until the sun sets!

Campsite with picnic table

Campsite with picnic table, early morning sun.