Monthly Archives: October 2011

Practical Magic


     Donna at her St. Louis Watercolor Society Workshop. Photo courtesy Jim Brauer

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted and I thought that Halloween would be the perfect time for this spirit to make its presence known once again. I didn’t plan to be away for so long. The Universe simply had different plans for me over the summer than the ones I had made. As John Lennon said, “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” It seemed like every time I got settled on one path, things shifted and I found myself following a different path. I felt like I was zig-zagging all summer – and I was! Family concerns, vacations, and a full worshop schedule all contributed to my being away for so long. After teaching my last workshop for the year I have slowly been working my way back. I cleaned out the clutter and cobwebs in my studio (and in my mind), organized and re-organized it all so that I could have a fresh start, and finally – I started painting again last week. Yea! 

My final post in the Deliberate Practice series was going to be called, “The Last Word: Discipline”. Ironic, yes? Obviously discipline isn’t one of my strongest traits. I like to think it is, but sadly it’s not. For years I’ve longed for a disciplined studio routine, but my life doesn’t seem to work well when I set up “routines”.  In fact, I often find myself rebelling against schedules where I routinely do the same thing in the same way every day of the week and every week of the month. So, ignoring the words “routine” and “discipline”, I decided to focus instead on the reasons they are so valuable – which is to help us reach our goals and to live the kind of life we envision. My goal right now is to be in the studio as much as possible, so I’m not focusing on finding ways to become more disciplined, I’m focusing on finding creative ways to get as much painting time as possible. Here’s what I’m doing:

     – My first strategy is to let go of product and focus instead on the painting process and making everything as fun and enjoyable as possible. 

      – My second strategy is to follow Chuck Closes’ advice. He said that “sometimes you just have to put yourself in a position where you’re more likely to bump into something.”  I love that!

     – My third strategy comes from Steve Jobs who said, “Say no to 1,000 things to make sure you don’t get on the wrong track or do too much.” Heck – I’d feel good if I could say no to 10 things!

     – And my fourth strategy is to keep my personal life calm and nuturing so that I can be wild and crazy in my art life. So, that means that I’ll have to pay a bit more attention and do a little more juggling.    

As for discipline? I have no strategies to offer for that. 

Speaking of  fresh starts – do you have ideas for things you’d like me to address on this blog?  

Also – what strategies do you use to keep you in the studio regularly?  

Happy Painting!