Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016 Reflections and 2017 Goals

This morning I accompanied Jay to a meeting with his Nutritionist (Jay has enrolled himself in a 16 week exercise and nutrition program!). Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Sara spoke of balance in meal planning. Protein, grains for fiber, healthy fats. We also spoke about moderation. OK, let's do it! This change in eating habits comes at a good time - I can add it to my list of personal goals for 2017.  Through this meeting I am reminded (duh!) that balance and moderation in all things is the key to a healthy life. I will try to put balance in my art goals as well.

To begin my new art list, I reviewed the list that I posted on this blog a year ago.

My ART goals for 2016 were
1. Cut back on competitions and shows - done
2. Retire myself from several galleries - done
3. Cut back on online art-peer browsing - done
4. Try a new medium - done
5. Teach in some capacity - done
6. Paint for fun with others - done
7. Author a book - Move this goal to the top of the list for 2017!

I am happy and a little surprised that I actually accomplished most what I set out to do but a couple art opportunities came to me in 2016 that I would not have imagined: Two art-print publishers contacted me to create new paintings for them. - done

Those opportunities remind me of the book I first read in 1983 - a book that literally changed my life because I began to take my power back from others and create the life I wanted. For next year I will add, "This, or something better, now manifests for me in totally satisfying and harmonious ways, for the highest good of all concerned."

My ART goals for 2017

1. Author a book
Note from last year: One of my long time goals has been to self-publish a book. I thought it would be about my life based on my nearly fifty years of handwritten journals but earlier this year when I began to review them I realized that to get to the happy and funny parts of my life I would have to plow through the sadness and struggle. I didn’t want to revisit those times so I shredded all but a few journals from the early years when my babies were born. I think a better idea for a book is to focus on my art journey illustrated with images.

2. Improve my online presence
My good friend, artist and web designer Kay Dewar, reinvented my website this year to make it interactive for me. In 2017 I will learn more about Wordpress so I can fully utilize this opportunity to communicate effectively.

3. Evaluate my online sales to increase revenue
Because I no longer want to spend my time rotating art at galleries, I depend upon online and Studio sales. Review and restock my stores at Daily Paintworks, Etsy, and Ebay. Add additional sites if needed.

4. Work with other artists to further their successes
This goal springs from last year's goal to paint for fun with others (goal #6 from last year). Because I am the artist with the most years of painting consistently, I am the default person to ask art questions in our Maple Valley Community Center Painting Group. As our group grows with additional full time artists, my instructor role will diminish. Currently, they are painting for fun, I am there mostly to support them. I do enjoy the discipline of going to the group each Friday afternoon but I will look for new ways to support other artists. Online mentoring? Private Lessons in my Studio?

5. Try new mediums or new techniques.
I look forward to more work in oil in 2017!

6. Bookkeeping: Quarterly 
I used Quarterly Profit and Loss reviews most of 2016 to track my business and simplify quarterly reports to Washington State and yearly to the IRS. Works well, keep it up!

And now, the additional text for gifts from the Universe: "This, or something better, now manifests for me in totally satisfying and harmonious ways, for the highest good of all concerned."

My online presence is important to me both as a communication tool and as a retrospective view. I plan to continue posting on my Art Journal and on my Golden Years blogs. Thanks to all who have followed my work this year. Let’s keep in touch!
Wishing you a wonderful 2017,


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Eating my words

OK. I'm eating my words. When we moved here 17 months ago I blogged about separating my office from my Studio. I probably spoke of left-brain right-brain and about how focused on art I planned to be without a computer in my Studio. Right.

Since then, I have posted several times about my lack of bonding with my new Studio and my efforts to correct that. I painted one wall pink. I installed additional track lighting and held small workshops here. I began using a laptop for a few things.

I give up. Today Jay carried my 7-year old iMac downstairs and I'm posting this from it now. For me, this makes my Studio complete and it will be where I head each morning instead of to my upstairs office/sewing room. Once in here, there is a better chance I'll make it to my easels more often.

My pastel commitments are complete for the year with my Loose, not Labored workshop two weeks ago and Judging the NWPS Member Show last weekend. I'll still paint with pastel each Friday afternoon but I look forward to spending the rest of 2016 exploring other mediums. Another end of year project is cleaning up my FileMaker Pro Art Database and working with my Web Designer, Kay Dewar, to create a new website.

While working on images for my website Archives, I came across perfect examples in my work of the roundy-marks that identified me then as a pastel novice - the every-little-leaf problem with the end of the pastel stick. If you were at my workshop or the NWPS Member Show opening, you may have heard me talking about those kind of marks in pastel work. More about that later in a HOW TO PASTEL post on my Art Journal Blog. Until then, I'm a happy camper in my Studio.

Friday, October 7, 2016

The Prune Tree

From the West Unto the East, pastel, 13 x 14 inches
The backstory of this painting.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

August 2016 update

Dog Days of Summer. I should be relaxing with Annie because I just completed my August 2016 Project. Instead, I'm beginning to focus on my upcoming Workshop for the NWPS.

2016 Nuance, pastel, 20 x 20 inches
We are having a wonderful summer, especially now that the warm (too warm!) weather has arrived. My July workshops here were great fun; I hope to continue teaching from the Studio. 

Earlier this month Jay and I hosted the Second Annual Overnight Critique. We had a great time, despite my subdued expression in this photo.

Incidentally, in regard to my last post: No more Blue Apron. One of us doesn't want to follow directions which makes the other one turn into a Micro Manager. Yummy but not fun. Wishing each of you a joyful summer.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

More Time to Paint

I am WORKING at learning to paint with acrylics AGAIN. This time through an online course. It is an eye-opener about this interesting medium. It is also challenging and I sometimes paint for hours totally absorbed in learning until it is time to make dinner.

MAKE DINNER. I am really tired of thinking of what to make for dinner. If I were alone, I'd eat pasta every night. Oh...I forgot, I'm trying to eat very few carbs (I'm down 6 lbs, YAY!). Anyway, back to that meal planning thing. Here's something I'm trying which gives me more time to paint. Blue Apron. We made our first meal last night. Tonight we'll make their pork chops. I didn't see a can of cream of mushroom soup in the box so this will be a new experience.

Our first Blue Apron Meal: Steakhouse Salmon with potatoes and green beans. Delicious!

Monday, May 30, 2016

End of May 2016 Update

We recently passed our one-year anniversary at our new house. Best year of my life!
Robotic surgery at the end of March followed by eight weeks recovery - no vacuuming or lifting more than 10 lbs. Without this, I would never have known what a great vacuumer Jay is! I could not be happier with the results of my surgery. On Mother's Day, I got a kayak and a pink dogwood tree!

I've cut back on gallery commitments, paint only when I want to, garden and play online Words With Friends with my adult children. Additional track lighting in my studio. I'm happy.

During my years of teaching art I learned so much by sharing my trials and errors in several mediums. Now, I'm coming out of retirement to teach an end-of-summer workshop for Northwest Pastel Society. To warm up, I'm also teaching four one-day workshops at my Studio in July.

Jay is walking Annie so it is quiet here. When I first sat down to write this post, I planned on an introspective theme about painting but now the sunshine on this Memorial Day is calling me for my morning walk around the garden. I wish you every blessing for a great summer.

Monday, March 7, 2016

A change of medium

My life can be divided into decades by the mediums I have worked with. Those mediums include spinning wool and knitting as well as two-dimensional art. I know there are other artists who have similar experiences with changes in their creative process.

Last year my friend and fellow artist Kay Dewar took off in a new direction that is exciting to watch. Who would have suspected her talents with beads? One of my favorites is her Spring Green Nile Necklace which I just learned sold before I could finish this post! I'll bet she can make another just for you. See more at her Etsy Store.

Spring Green Nile Necklace by Kay Dewar

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Right brain, left brain: Tax Time

I think this post really belongs here, on my Golden Years Blog, but I started typing it on my Art Journal and couldn't stop.  It's tax time. You can read the text here.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The importance of an inviting workspace

One of my favorite times each day is early morning when I first wake up and I have some time to plan the day ahead in my mind. The very best is when I don't have to be anywhere else except home/studio.

I might be planning to do the laundry (image of laundry and laundry room come to mind). I like to do laundry and I love my laundry room so that's a happy thought.

I might be planning to paint (image of studio comes to mind). Hmm...sad to say that in the nine months we've been here, I still hadn't totally bonded with my studio. I finally figured out it was because of the off white walls. My former studio walls were seven different colors over the 27 years I was there. I loved that studio.

This week, a HUGE difference was made by painting one Studio wall Resounding Rose! I can't explain why this has affected me so positively but I imagine if you are reading this blog you are a creative person and I don't need to explain. With the addition of my rose colored wall, my Studio feels warm and INVITING. Finally.

I look forward to the time I can spend there each day.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Friday Painting

I have found an unusual pleasure in painting with others who paint only for fun at the local community center. It's a different world - totally non-competitive and low key.
This is my view of the room as I stand at my easel near the windows. Instead of painting with show and gallery deadlines looming, I use these Friday afternoons to paint two small pastels as my weekly contribution to my Daily Paintworks Gallery.

This group welcomes suggestions so it also satisfies my love of giving advice when I take a break from painting. Here are the two paintings from last week.

Friday, January 1, 2016

On the Accumulation of Years

My thanks to everyone who emailed me or commented on my recent post about my Reflections and Goals. I was surprised to hear from other artists in my age group who feel much the same and I am understanding now that it is a by-product/side-effect of getting older. Wanting to continue to paint or create in some form but for different reasons than when we were younger.

One response to my post was from my artist friend Sue Gill Rose who sent me a bit of beautiful writing done by her then eighty-year-old mother who continued to live a good life for another eighteen years after penning this. I love these thoughts, thank you Sue for your permission to publish this. Note: Sue and her mother share the same name.

Sue Gill Rose
September 15, 1993

Old age is not a rumor.  It sneaks up on you when you are not looking.  My youngest grandchild is six.  “You are really old,” she says as she looks me over.  For me, it seems like nothing at all.  I am the same person I have always been - only more so - the little girl walking to school, the busy housewife and mother, the working woman.  Each step has made me more accepting and understanding, hopefully a little wiser.  At least now I’m able to cope.  Experience has taught me about the natural goodness of fellow human beings.  I value these eighty years.  They have gone by far too fast.

I live alone.  There are close friends and neighbors nearby.  We live alone together, sharing meals, movies, ideas, good talk, joys, and sorrows.  All people should do that everywhere.  These life-affirming connections sustain us.  My children are grown, there is no husband to nurture, no employer to cater to.  Nothing, no, nothing, in the world could be more liberating.  Work and study command some time, but travel, good food, and above all, good friends are my treasure.

Life has always led me where things were happening.  I have petted whales in the Baja, gone back to school for my master’s degree, become a late baseball fan, met fascinating people including two U.S. presidents, had my 78th birthday in the African outback, broken both arms at the same time, and found hundreds of four-leaf clovers.

Old age is opportunity, not a biological process, but a psychological one.  If one has the slightest urge to do something, just do it.  Keep your bag packed.  The right time to travel is when you have the chance.  On trips, you do not have to walk endlessly or see every museum.  Just sit on the plaza, have a cool one, and get the feel of the place and the people.

The meaning of life must be to be endlessly grateful for it.  Fresh perspectives are always there if you look for them.  Energy and hope are on the other side of disappointment and pain.  Suffering is basic and a part of humanity like sharps and flats are to music.  The point is not to single out individual notes and debate the whys and wherefores, but catch the melody of the whole.  When you live a long time, you acquire patience and passion.  This is a legacy of aging.  Don’t pass judgement, accept things as they are.  Did I make mistakes?  Hundreds.  I did the best I knew at that particular time.

The present is what counts.  This very moment is the only time I have.  I intend to enjoy it.  There is no way I can lose faith and I don’t want to lose steam.  Now - NOW - is the time to go for it.
There is a sacred commission to be happy, to breathe and move and bless our own lives and leave a foundation of genuine hope for our children.