• Category Archives Lifestyle Management
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  • I Won’t Disappear! I Promise!

    The Ultimate Blog Challenge is Ending, But I won’t Disappear

    This is the last day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge, I’ve managed to blog on this site every day during the challenge. I’ve taken part in this challenge before, but I think this is the first time I actually wrote a post every single day, and in the past I’ve had a tendency to vanish once it was done, to stop blogging, or do so only sporadically.  I am not going to let that happen this time. I have a plan.

    The Ultimate Blog Challenge is Ending, But I won't Disappear Click To Tweet
    Bullet Journal Calendar View Februrary
    I still have more events to add to this calendar, but for now it tells me when to post on each blog, which days nothing is auto renewing on Etsy (indicated by the letters “NAR”), which days I have painting classes scheduled (Saturday Slams), which days I work a regular shift in the studio, which days I do a complete reset in the studio, various committee meetings, the days I clean houses, and Birthdays. I also have the first week of my dog walking job scheduled, and will write in the rest week by week, and I’ll write in the Art Slam board meeting also, once I verify the time.

    I have blogging Schedule

    I’ve been reading a lot about how to get more visibility to your blog, and believe it or not, from what I’ve read, it is good to give each post a day or two to sit, and gather more views and comments before posting again, this also gives the blogger a chance to enjoy reading and commenting on other blogs.  However, it should only be a day or two, or at most three days between posts, longer than that and people assume you’ve dropped off the planet.

    I also have three blogs that I would like to maintain, though I actually do have more blogs, the time for posting on some of those blogs is past. I no longer have really young children, so the “mommy blog” I used to keep is pretty much over, other blogs I just didn’t care for the hosting site or whatever, but currently I have three that I really would like to maintain.  My Weight Loss and Lifestyle Blog, My Devotional Blog, and My Art Blog (the one you are reading).

    I decided that the ideal way for me to blog would be come up with a schedule for each blog, so that I am not trying to post on all three every day.  The Weight Loss and Lifestyle Blog needs to have at least one post every week, on the day that I weigh myself, which is Monday, so while it is okay for me to post more often if I want, I scheduled that blog for every Monday.  I decided to take Sunday off of blogging, though I might do some planning and blog reading that day. So with Sunday and Monday off the table for the other two blogs, that left me five days each week to write the other two blogs.  I decided to alternate, so one week the art blog would be Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, and the Devotional Blog would be Wednesday and Friday, and then the next week they switch, so that the Art Blog is Wednesday and Friday, and the Devotional Blog Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.  I put all of this information into my bullet journal calendar pages for the month of February.  After February is done I’ll evaluate and see if I need  to make adjustments.  The devotional blog may be difficult to post on that often, because I have to prepare and study quite a bit for each post, so if it proves too much I might end up picking one day a week to post on that and post on my Weight Loss and lifestyle blog more often.

    I also have an Etsy schedule.

    Along with all of this blogging information, my work schedule, doctors appointments, birthday’s, etc. my bullet journal has my etsy posting schedule for February, which is basically a list of dates that nothing auto renews, so if I have new listings to post, I should do it on those days.  And I do have new things to post! A lot of them.  I will need to really get busy creating those listings, each one needs several photographs, plus key words selected, and a matching listing on this website needs to be made as well, so each listing ends up taking 1-2 hours to create.

     

    Ultimate Blog Challenge Results

    I thought I’d also show the results as far as my site stats go, for this Ultimate Blog Challenge.

    This shows my stats by week from sometime in July until today. I believe the spike in July is from the last UBC
    This shows my stats by week from sometime in July until today. I believe the spike in July is from the last UBC I took part in. You can see that the increased views continued for a while after the challenge ended, even though my posting dropped off. This time I’ll keep posting, and we’ll see if the increased views continue longer.
    This Shows my stats (views) by month, from around the time I started my blogs, you can see noticeable spikes with each UBC I took part in, most of that is probably due to other UBC participants viewing my blog, but at least part is probably organic views simply because I post more regularly.
    This Shows my stats (views) by month, from around the time I started my blogs, you can see noticeable spikes with each UBC I took part in, most of that is probably due to other UBC participants viewing my blog, but at least part is probably organic views simply because I post more regularly.
    This shows my top posts and pages during January's UBC. I had to cut off over half the results on the lower portion of the screen capture.
    This shows my top posts and pages during January’s UBC. I had to cut off over half the results on the lower portion of the screen capture.
    This shows my top posts and pages of all time. Lower portion of the results is cut off.
    This shows my top posts and pages of all time. Lower portion of the results is cut off.

    In addition to those charts, I can say that during the challenge I’ve had an average of 1.92 comments per day, not counting my own replies.

     


  • Looking Back, Planning Forward

    Looking Back over 2016

    For Me 2016 was a Pretty Good Year

    I know that 2016 was a tumultuous year for many in the U.S.A. and was a controversial one politically.  However, on a personal level, and an artistic level, it was a pretty good year for me.

    I have continued taking part in ArtSLAM studio, and have taught a lot of painting classes there, I’ve also taught one class off site, on my own.  The sales of my art has increased considerably, both because of ArtSLAM and because of implementing good SEO strategies for my Etsy Shop.  Now, I don’t yet know if my art income has been greater than my expenditure for the year, but I believe there is a pretty good chance that it has been, and if so, it will have been the first time since I started trying to sell me art.  Even if I didn’t actually profit, I know that at the very least, my losses will be far less this year than ever before, but I do believe that I actually profited a little.

    On a personal level, circumstances that some would see as negative have actually allowed me to grow much closer to my granddaughter than would have normally been possible, so I see it as a positive thing.

     

    There’s Always Room for Improvement

    All in all its been a pretty good year.  Of course though, there are some areas that could have been better.

    In the area of my health, I just haven’t been diligent in eating healthy and exercising, so I’ve regained weight that I had previously lost. Along with the weight regain, problems with my ankles and feet have started resurfacing.  In addition to that I injured my right arm quite unexpectedly, when all I was doing was tuning a radio!  I reached out, tuned the radio, and then, as I was pulling my arm back to my lap, I heard a pop and felt intense pain in my elbow.  My arm hasn’t been the same since, and according to my chiropractor/physical therapist, I have tennis elbow.  With the exercises he gave me for it, it has gotten considerably better, but I still can’t straighten my arm fully, and its been over six months since I injured it.  Most of the time it doesn’t bother me, but if I have to lift something heavy, or extend my arm too far, it hurts. Also, if I paint for hours, like I used to, it starts to ache.  As long as I take breaks and stretch the elbow now and then, and as long as I don’t try to lift anything with an extended arm, its okay though.

    Financially, my family really hasn’t kept a budget, also we had to have our roof replaced, and we need a new septic system.  So our debt is growing.

    As for the business side of my art, while I’ve done much better with my etsy shop and with finding ways to earn, I need to get better about keeping my books as I go, so I don’t have to do it all at year-end.  I also really need to do a better job of keeping up my website and blogs.  I also have a lot of new art that has never been uploaded to either site.

     

    Planning Ahead for 2017

    Goals for 2017

    Well, enough looking back. Now for the planning forward part of this post!

    My goals for 2017 are pretty straight forward responses to the issues I noted above.

    1. I want to eat healthier and exercise regularly. To that end I plan to once again begin logging my food on MyFitnessPal starting on January 3rd. I’ve already started walking more regularly because I’ve started walking a dog for pay.  In addition I am going to start slowly adding more walks by walking my own dogs.  I’m adding those additional walks slowly because of the problems with my feet and ankles, and because my dogs, especially my elderly dog Spunky, are out of shape and need to  slowly work up to regular exercise.
    2. I want my family to start figuring out a budget to implement, to that end, starting today I’m keeping track of what we spend at the grocery stores, for gasoline, at other stores, and online.  That way, we can figure out a starting point, and start trying to make improvements.  My goal is to have a budget on paper or computer ready to implement by March.  That doesn’t mean we won’t do anything until March, for January and February we are tracking, so we can figure out where we stand and which areas we might be able to cut back on.
    3. I want to continue fine-tuning my etsy shop SEO, and I want to get my newer art works uploaded to both my website and my Etsy shop.  To that end I am going to try to check each week to see if I need to make any changes to existing listings, or to add a listing.  One or two listings a day, either uploading a new one or fine tuning and existing one, and just be consistent in doing something with it at least two times each week.
    4. I want to start keeping my blogs up.  Especially the blog attached to my art website, but also my personal blog. To that end I want to begin posting on each of my blogs at least once a week.

    The Ultimate Blog Challenge

    To kick off this blogging year, I have once again joined the Ultimate Blog Challenge.  For the next 31 days, I will post something every day.  Now, most of the time it will be on my art blog, but I may occasionally post on one of other two blogs instead,which are my personal and weight loss blog, and my devotional blog.


  • 90 Days from Now

    Where I plan to be in 90 days.

    The topic for ultimate blog challenge today was to  make some plans of where we want to be in 90 days. Ninety days from today will be October 27, 2016.

    This Website in 90 Days

    If I blog for the last two days of the challenge, and blog twice a week thereafter, by October 27th I will have written and published 27 or 28 blog posts after this one.

    In addition, I would like to have finished uploading all of my current works of art, so that anything I have for sale is posted in the purchasing options section of this website.  I also would like to improve my SEO by adding metadata to this website, which is something I only learned how to do today, and which should bring in some more traffic to the site.

    Additional goals I’d like to get to if I can is to post at least three videos in the next 90’s, the videos can be step by step tutorials, or they can be a sped up version of me painting, or even me talking and telling you about my art, but I want to start including video content to this blog.

     

    My etsy shop in 90 days.

    90 days from now I’d like to have everything in my etsy shop set up to auto renew, and I’d like to have everything set up with calculated shipping, right now some things are set to calculated shipping and others are not, and while my estimates are usually close, I’d rather be charging people the exact right amount for shipping. In addition, I want all of my titles and tags to be optimized as I described in my post about etsy tips.

     

    My art in 90 days.

    I have several paintings in progress that I’d like to have finished by the time 90 days passes, one is a scene involving my Sphinx dude character and a mermaid, the other is an underwater scene  in which I plan to add lots of interesting sea life, and another was going to be a sphinx dude painting but I think I may have changed my mind and I might bring it in another direction.

    In addition, I want to produce a piece for a community display on 9/11.

    And I have something in mind that I won’t give details on, other than to say it will involve a lot of black, silver, and white.

    I really want to be done with all of those by then, because I want to begin a series of paintings that I have an idea for, but I don’t want all those half finished projects sitting around in the mean time.

     

    My health in 90 days.

    While this isn’t art related, I do know that I need to start taking better care of my health.  I’d like to lose some weight by then, I hesitate to set a specific goal though, at least 15 to 20 pounds, and more if I can manage it.  I want to have established the habit of the taking a walk every day, or at least nearly every day, and doing some strength training at least twice a week.

    The blog that I track my health concerns on is my other blog Less of Me, More of Him in case anyone decides they want to follow along with my efforts.

     

    My other blogs.

    I want to post more regularly on my other blogs.  Less of Me, More of Him is a general blog about my life, as well as my weight loss efforts. In addition to that one, I have a blog where I post devotional thoughts, Bible studies, and things like that.  I want to start posting on Less of Me, More of Him, at least once a week, and at least once every month on Moments with My Savior.  I might also like to start keeping my homeschooling blog again, but I think maybe that might too much to add right now, so I am not setting a specific goal there.

     

    So there you go, that’s where I want to be 90 days from now.


  • Bullet Journal Continued

    More Bullet Journal Pages

    So, the past several posts have been about how I discovered the Bullet Journal System and how I am utilizing it.  I thought I’d share one more post on that before getting back to strictly art related posts for a bit.

     

    The Habit Tracker

    This spread is my habit tracker, I am finding it very useful for helping me stay on track with the habits I am trying to develop.  I haven’t been keeping it that long, but I am already seeing how it will help me see what habits I am successfully developing, and what habits I need to push a little harder for.  Originally I set it up in different colors figuring I would fill out the squares all across with that color, but I’ve found that I’m often filling it out at the end of the day when I simply don’t have any energy left, and I end up filling in all the squares with whatever pen I have in hand.  So next month when I set up the habit tracker, I’ll probably do it all in one color.  Some of my habits are not things I am trying to do daily such as strength training, I am aiming for 3 days a week.  So I write “na” in those squares on the days I am not even trying to do it.  I also wrote “na” in the first few squares for walking my dog Sadie, because I had an injured arm and she pulls a lot.  (Working on her training is another habit I’m working on!)

    I have “track all food” under one habit, and “stay in calorie limit” on another, that is because I am really wanting to work on tracking my calories even if I go a little over, because in the past, if I went over, my mind would be, “Oh well, I messed up, no point in tracking now!” the result of giving up the tracking for the day was that I’d eat way more than I otherwise would have.  Instead of just going over by 100 calories or so, when I stopped tracking I would lose all control and not know how much I was over.  By tracking both of these habits separately, I am encouraged to keep tracking even if I “blew it”, and therefore minimize the damage done by these slip ups.  I still actually track my calories on sparkpeople.com though, rather than in the book.

     

     

    bullet journal habit tracker
    My habit tracker as of the beginning of the day on July 10th.

     

    I find that the Habit Tracker really helps in developing the habits I desire. Click To Tweet

    Daily Spreads

    So after the Future Log, the monthly spread, and habit tracker, comes the daily spreads.  This is where I refer to the future log and the monthly spread and make a decision as to what tasks I want to aim for that day.  These pages are largely responsible for the increase in my productivity.  I’ve made daily lists before, but when I didn’t have time to do everything on the list, the items I didn’t get to were often forgotten and never got done.  The simple idea of “migration” with the bullet journal system makes such a difference, if something doesn’t get done, I migrate it to the next day by adding a “>” to the bullet, then I add it to the next day’s list.  I will continue doing this until the task gets done.  This means that eventually the task gets done.  This is going to make such a difference to me, and believe it or not, to my relationships.  I won’t be relying on my memory any more to send birthday cards, and letters.  I have a terrible track record of buying birthday cards in plenty of time, signing them, addressing and stamping the envelope, and then forgetting to ever put it into the mail.  So from now on, I will be daily copying the task of mailing the card until it is actually done.  Physically writing a task down over and over causes it to stay in the mind in a way that entering it into iCalendar never does.

    You can see that I don’t just keep task lists in the daily spread though, I record my daily Bible reading and my thoughts about it, if I go to a meeting and take notes, they go on that day’s spread, sermon notes from church go right on Sunday’s daily spread.  Basically, everything I have to remember, or need to write down for some reason, goes into one place.  Its like an extension of my brain, but unlike my brain, my notebook doesn’t lose track of what’s happening every time a squirrel scampers by.

     

    The Bullet Journal daily spreads are largely responsible for increasing my productivity. Click To Tweet

     

    July 6 Daily Spread
    You can see my task list on the left side, my morning Bible reading is on the right, I kept track of my water intake on the bottom, I added tasks that I did that weren’t actually on the list under “other tasks”.
    July 6, evaluation
    Some days I actually write down an evaluation of how I did on my daily goals, other days I’m just too tired or whatever and I just write things down for the next day and go to bed.

     

     

    July 10 daily spread
    As you can see, for Sunday, I had my task list, and write on the same spread I put the sermon notes from church right there.

     

    July 10th Daily spread 2
    Here you see July 10th continuing, and since the day was to include a board meeting at ArtSlam studio, I designated a space for board meeting notes.

     

    Of course I have lots of other daily spreads, but I won’t share all of them.  I want to keep my posts short enough to be readable, and this one has already gotten longer than I usually aim for!


  • My First Bullet Journal – the first four spreads

    My Bullet Journaling Begins

    In my two posts, here and here, I wrote about my need for a good time management system, and introduced the idea of bullet journaling.  Now I am going to share with you the beginnings of my bullet journal.  I’ve made a lot of mistakes setting them up, but I share them anyway because I want to encourage anyone interested in Bullet Journaling to dive right in, mistakes are OK, a bullet journal is to use, not to hang on the wall and admire… (for things to hang on the wall and admire, see my artwork by clicking on the Purchasing Options tab).

     

    I encourage anyone interested in Bullet Journaling to dive right in, mistakes are OK, Click To Tweet

     

     

    First the Index

    My index isn’t very interesting yet, since I’ve only just started my bullet journal, there just isn’t much there.  I used the Leuchtturm 1917 Medium Hardcover Dotted notebook.  It has the advantage of having the pages already numbered for you, and having several pages already set up as an index or table of contents in the front of the book.  So I just basically have to note what I’m doing on various pages.

    You’ll notice that the section that says, “Dailies for July 6-” doesn’t have an ending date yet, or an ending page number.  All through July I’ll keep dailies, and when July is over I’ll enter that information into the index.

    You’ll also notice that I have a place for Wednesday night bible study notes. I am using my bullet journal for pretty much everything I want to write down, so Bible study notes, sermon notes, and even Art Co-op Board Meeting notes are mixed into my dailies pages as they happen, however, I want to note those page numbers separately in the index so if I want to look them up, I don’t have to thumb through all of the dailies.

    Right now, it isn’t very clear because the index is so incomplete at this time.  But lets say my July dailies span from pages 9-30, but within those pages, say on page 11, 16, and 19 there are Bible study notes, and on page 17 there is July’s board meeting notes. I will make a line on the index for each of these pages, to make it easier to find those notes without having to thumb through every page from 9 to 30.

     

    There isn't much here yet, and I wasn't that neat... but that's okay, the beauty of the bullet journal is its functionality, not just its appearance!
    There isn’t much here yet, and I wasn’t that neat… but that’s okay, the beauty of the bullet journal is its functionality, not just its appearance!

     

    Second the Key Page

    The next page is the key page, and I also included undated tasks on this page mainly because I forgot to leave room for them in the future log.  The Key tells me what what different types of bullets stand for.   Undated tasks are things I know I need to get done, but haven’t assigned a timeline for so they can’t be added by date into the future log yet.

     

    Again, I made mistakes, so its not the neatest looking page. But it will work.
    Again, I made mistakes, so its not the neatest looking page. But it will work.

     

    a bullet journal is to use, not to hang on the wall and admire... Click To Tweet

     

     

    Third, the Future Log

    The future log is a place to note future events and tasks.  I extended my future log to a full year, but I probably should have only done six months, since I’ll most likely be using a new book before a year is out.

    At any rate each two page spread covers six months, three months per page.
    Within each month, I simply note dates that already have tasks or events assigned to them.  They don’t need to be in order, so I can add more events at any time.  I noted birthdays, appointments, my son’s driver’s ed events, the days I am scheduled to clean people’s houses, and the days that nothing is auto renewing on etsy, because those are ideal days to add new listings so my etsy shop stays active and high in the search engines. (etsy’s search engines are affected by the frequency that you add or renew listings, so ideally, something should be added or renewed each day, I am working toward having everything in my shop renew automatically, with at least one thing every day.) Now, as I was noting the dates that nothing auto renews, I realized there were many of those in the month of October, and eventually I stopped giving each date its own line in the future log. Instead, I listed the rest of those days on one line and wrote after them, “no auto renews”.

    Bullet Journal 1st future log.
    This is my first attempt at a future log, its not fancy or pretty, but it IS very functional!

     

    Bullet journal future log
    The second six months of my first future log. Not much here!

     

    Fourth, the First Monthly Spread

    After the future log is where you are supposed to put your first monthly spread.  Now, according to the creator of the bullet journal system, it should be one page with a list all the dates in the month, and then another page with the tasks that need to be done in the month, but which may not have been assigned specific days yet.

    Well… being the mistake prone person I am, I had accidentally flipped two pages when making the lines for my future log, so my monthly spread was divided into six parts.

    I made the best of it and made the parts “weeks” except that the first week of the month was almost gone when I started this, and I grouped the final day in with week before so as to avoid using one section for just one day.  I used the remaining sections to list tasks and goals for the month.  I don’t think I’ll do this every time, it was a mistake, and I just made the best of it rather than just wasting these two pages or using white out on them. The goals were specific goals I want to do this month, the tasks are individual things, some created by breaking down the goals into steps, and some taken from the future log and entered in.  Then of course on each date I will enter what needs to happen that day.  I will update this whenever something new gets scheduled for July.

    At first I was making the mistake of putting things out of order like on the future log, then remembered that the monthly spread should be all the dates in order so tasks can be added as they are scheduled.  So, my first week is kind of messed up, after that it gets better, with the dates listed in order.

     

    My bullet journal's monthly spread for July
    My bullet journal’s monthly spread for July

     

    for things to hang on the wall and admire, see my artwork Click To Tweet

     

    Tomorrow I’ll share with you my habit tracker and some daily entries.  But I think this post is long enough for now!


  • My Solution for Time Management

    The Struggle, Recap

    Yesterday, I posted about my very real struggle with time management, and with forgetting things I needed to do.  Part of having an artists brain that is always filled with ideas for new creations and can’t be bothered with little pesky things like remembering to pay the phone bill.  I also said that I had found the answer, but then I left you hanging, and didn’t tell you what that answer was.  Instead, I just left you with this hint:

     

    Here is you Hint
    Here is your Hint

     

    So What is the answer?

    The answer that I hinted about yesterday, is something called a bullet journal.  It is a planner, a habit tracker, a book for random notes, a task list, and a journal all in one.

     

    Its a planner, a habit tracker, a book for random notes, a task list, and a journal all in one... Click To Tweet

     

    Exactly What, is  a Bullet Journal?

    I won’t try to explain the entire concept myself, first, first, I’ll let the creator of this method explain it to you, then perhaps in future posts I’ll share more with you about my experience with it so far.  The creator of the bullet journal system Ryder Carroll, and if you are interested in this system, I encourage you to start with his original layout as a base, and then start customizing it for yourself as you discover what works best for you.  That is the beauty of the bullet journal system it can be super simple, like Ryder’s, or elaborate and creative, as you’ll quickly see if you you google it.  So, in this video, Ryder Carroll explains the basics of the bullet journal system.

     

    Coming Soon, My Own Bullet Journal Pages 

     

    My own bullet journal was only started a few days ago, but its already increased my productivity dramatically.  In future posts I’ll share some of my experience, and some photos of my own pages, and tell you about them.  For now though, I think Ryder has explained the basics better than I could anyway.  If you want to learn more from Ryder himself, go to http://bulletjournal.com and you’ll learn lots more!

     


  • Ordering an Artist’s Days

    The Struggle with Time Management

    I am an artist.  I am creative.  I do things differently.  I am… not neat and orderly!

    I can immerse myself in a project and completely lose all sense of time.  In fact, it doesn’t even take an actual project, I can be sitting and thinking about a project I want to start and I can loose all sense of time.  The next thing I know, four hours has gone by, and I haven’t accomplished anything other than mental plans.  The plans are great, and sometimes they actually are implemented into wonderful productive projects, but sometimes, they are pushed to the side and forgotten, or deliberately abandoned, and the four hours amounts to four hours lost, with nothing to show for them.

    Meanwhile, my home is in desperate need of organization.  My dresser is a perfect example of that fact, the drawers are stuffed to the point that I can’t open and close the drawers without wrestling with them… and yet I have nothing to wear.  At least nothing in my current size, that isn’t out of style of stained with paint.  So why are my drawers so full?  Well, simply because I haven’t set aside the time to sort through, and give away, throw away, or store things as appropriate.  Other areas of my house have similar issues.  I’ve been wanting to correct this for a  long time, but just hadn’t found a reliable way to get my time management under control.

     

    No Premade Solutions seemed to fit.

    I’ve looked long and hard at planners, apps, and many other different types of time management tools, only to find that they didn’t quite meet my needs.  Preprinted planners always had either not enough room, or too much wasted paper space.  Apps on the computer or my phone often took too long to make entries into, and even if I did set a reminder to something, once I cleared the reminder it was gone, and would sometimes slip my mind.  For example, if I had a doctors appointment next month, and I set a reminder on my phone to alert me a week before, I would get that reminder, and acknowledge it on the app, but then it was gone, and I might forget about it.  So I would set multiple reminders, a week before, two days before, one day before, etc.

    This worked acceptably for things like doctors appointments, but not so much for things like remembering to walk the dog each day, or setting aside time to clean my dresser.  Sometimes I’d make myself lists, and they seemed to help, but they had drawbacks too.  If something came up and I didn’t complete a task on the list, it often never made it to the next day’s list, and I often didn’t even remember to make a list for the day!

    I needed something else, something different, something that I could customize to meet my needs.  Something that could help me with long term plans that were six or months down the road, and also help with what was happening this month, this week, and today.  Something that could help me complete tasks on a list, but that also could help me establish habits I wanted to have, so that eventually those things wouldn’t even need to be on a list of tasks anymore because they would be as much a part of routine as my morning shower.

    Then, one day, a friend’s facebook post lead to a internet search, which lead to another and another link.  As I went from site to site, and picture to picture.  I realized I had found the answer.

    But you’ll need to come back and read again tomorrow to find out what that answer is, for now, I’ll leave you with this photo as a hint.

    Here is you Hint
    Here is your hint!

     


  • Finally, a Chance to Breathe… and Paint!

    Life Intrudes on Art and Vice Versa

    I’ve often heard the saying, “Art imitates life”, and I’ve also heard the opposite stated, “Life imitates art”.  However, what has been true where I’m concerned is that life does not imitate art and art does not imitate life, but rather, life intrudes on art and art on life.  A constant tug of war goes on until finally one thing yields to another.  Sometimes, the mundane tasks of daily life win out, and art is put aside in favor of sweeping a floor, or making dinner, or washing some dishes.  Other times, art wins out and I find myself at my kitchen table, painting while ignoring the ever growing stack of dirty dishes behind me.

    Seeking a Balance

    Ideally of course, I’d strike a balance that gets all the chores done, makes it to the gym to work out, spends time with my husband and kids, visits with my grandchild, makes time for friends, and still gets artwork done.  As of yet though, I haven’t found that balance.  I come close at times, but then I get lost in a painting and fall behind of everything else.

    Speaking of Getting Lost in a Painting…

    Speaking of getting lost in what I’m doing, I’ve been working here and there on lots of different art, even though I haven’t posted all of it yet.  For quite some time I was lost in the painting of Sphinx Dude.

    The first Sphinx Dude painting came about almost by accident.  I was preparing a little mini canvas for doing an abstract, and I was laying on texture with a palette knife.  I set the painting aside to dry the background, and when I picked it up, my eyes saw, in the random texture patterns, a picture!  I saw a Sphinx with wild curly hair, then I saw a shape like a dragon, or a seahorse coming out of the sphinx’s mouth.  The abstract was forgotten as I painted in what my mind saw in the patterns.

    Below is a picture of that background, can you see the Sphinx Dude?

    Sphinx Dude comes alive
    This was a random background, until I saw something in it.

    In case you couldn’t make it out, I have another photo that I opened in MS paint, and quickly outlined what I saw.  So now you can compare the two photos:

    Sphinx Dude begins to take form
    So I outlined the shapes I saw with purple. Can you see them now?

    So, long story short, I had to paint this!
    Spinx dude regular 2

    So with that, Sphinx Dude was born, but I had the nagging desire to further develop the concept.

    Sphinx Dude Grows Up

    So, I started another painting, this time, not a mini canvas, so I would be able to let Sphinx Dude develop and mature.  In the process of maturing, Sphinx Dude grew wings and took on more natural coloration.  I titled this second piece, “Sphinx Dude’s World”.

    Sphinx Dude Space painting dragon
    Sphinx Dude’s World THIS PIECE HAS SINCE SOLD

    Both of the Sphinx Dude paintings have sold, but I have plans for a third.  I am trying to decide between two possibilities for further adventures of Sphinx Dude.

     

    Growing as an Artist

    Sphinx Dude isn’t the only one who has been growing.  I’ve been experimenting with different techniques and mediums in order to grow as an artist.  Sphinx Dude was born out of my palette knife painting experiments.  Here is another painting done completely with a palette knife, the only thing I used a brush on was the signature.

    Cherry Blossom palette knife paitning
    Cherry Blossom painting completed with a palette knife.

    In addition to playing with palette knife techniques, I’ve been trying watercolors as well, but more on that next time.


  • Weeding

    Sometimes for an artist, as with any other profession or lifestyle, one finds it necessary to do some gardening.

    What do I mean by that?

    Well, as any gardener knows, a weed is really just a plant that is growing where you don’t want it to.  There is nothing inherently wrong with this plant, many weeds are beautiful wildflowers, and many are useful to humans and animals alike.  However, if you have a plan for a garden that calls for tomatoes to grow in this particular patch of earth, and instead you find dandelions and grass, you decide to take action.



    That is the place I found myself in today.  I belonged to artist group on Facebook that was supposed to help artists figure out how to market their work.  However, the group was generally not that helpful.  Several times I posted links to my website asking for advice on the appearance and structure of the website, and found myself not only not getting helpful answers, but also having it implied that I was just trying to promote myself on the group.

    Well, why would I promote myself to other artists who are all trying to market their own art?  I was simply asking for help, which was the stated purpose of the group, help with marketing.

    If today’s incidents had been the first problems, I would have shrugged it off, apologized for my “mistake”, and moved on.  But it’s happened before, it seems like any attempt to share any part of your own experience on that group is viewed as self promotion and is against the rules.  I am not one to make trouble, and I am not one to knowingly violate the rules, but with this group I just seemed to not be able to understand how they wanted things done.  I grew weary of innocent requests for help being removed from the group wall, and I began to wonder what was the point of belonging to the group if I couldn’t ask for help.

    I decided that trying to figure out what was allowed and not allowed on the group was simply more a cause of stress to me than it was a help.

    In the garden of my life, unnecessary stress is a dandelion in my tomato patch.

     

    So, like any smart gardener, I decided to tend my garden and pull that weed.  Now, I don’t have any hard feelings toward the group or the administrator.  Like a dandelion, which is beautiful at the right time, and in the right place, and can be useful for certain purposes, this group is good for some people in some circumstances.  But also like a dandelion, you don’t want it in your tomato patch.

    Right now in my life, this dandelion was growing in my tomatoes.  So I left the group.

    Hopefully, nobody there thinks I have anything against them, I’m just busy growing tomatoes!