Power of Gratitude

Most people have heard by now about the power of gratitude. It’s almost a cliché. People say "Yeah, Yeah. I know I should write a gratitude list or be grateful for all the good things that I have in my life. " As with all ideas that become clichés, there is a profound truth embedded in them.

When we live in a state of gratitude you begin to see the good all around you. When you start looking for the good around you, you see even more and more good in your life.  The power of gratitude is that it appears to magnify the good in your life. Perhaps the good in your life has always been there and it’s a question of seeing and acknowledging it

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Looking for a Creative Boost?

Many people attribute the quote “Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.” to Albert Einstein. Based on my research, there’s no substantiation for this actually being said by him or in his writings. But it is true none the less, whoever said it. As an artist, it is easy to be overwhelmed by feeling we have either too much creativity or too little creativity. It can feel like a pendulum swing between two many ideas and creative block.

How can we get a creative boost when we need one?

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Every Day Project Goes Rectangle

This week I’m highlighting two additional Every Day Project series that are available for purchase in my online shop. It’s true as the title suggests. They are in a rectangle shape.  Here is the link...

My Shop

I mentioned last week that I have thought about using a non-square stretched canvas frame for my art. Well, here are the series I chose to display on a rectangle, to be precise a 16“ x 20“ rectangle. When I was deciding which series to use for this new rectangle form, I went back to one of my favorite series from 2015, Fractured Blue Sky. I wrote about it in this article . This was one of my most simple designs with the strong contrast between the white and the blue or green with the diagonal dark brown insert. This design takes on special meaning since yesterday we received an emergency phone call from our son’s college about a tornado warning and lockdown at his college. We were able to talk to him and he got to a safe space. All was well. Now I can add this to my list of worries about your children being away at college. Who knew that there were tornados in that part of the upper Midwest? When I originally made the series I wasn’t really thinking about actual storms per se but it was more about the sense of calm with the horizontal lines being disrupted and offset more like a metaphorical storm in your life.

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Every Day Project Art For Sale

If you’ve been following along with my Every Day Project for the past two and a half years, now is your chance to own a piece of it for yourself.

This week I am introducing small 10 inch square pieces of my Every Day Project series for sale in my redesigned shop on my website. 

If you or someone you care about loves nature-inspired, colorful art and modern design, this might be a good fit for you.

I am using the daily squares from three different series. I picked the Green and Purple series, the Blue Square series and the Compassion series. Each small piece includes four daily squares sewn together. I selected these series for the small pieces because of the simpler color palette and/or design. 

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Possible Solutions

Last week I talked about the challenges of Time and Focus in my Studio Notes. The majority of the responses to my previous Friday Question ”What are your top two challenges?” revolves around these two issues, Time and Focus. Not enough time to do everything you want to do. Difficulty in finding your focus and maintaining that focus. Last week I listed some potential solutions I have tried and ones I have been meaning to try. As I wrote last week, if you solve the challenge of time by deciding upfront to do less things, then the focus issue becomes easier because there is less to distract you. In my Friday Question series last week, I asked, "What is one solution for your top two challenges?" I am looking for ideas from people to add to this Solutions list. The more potential solutions the merrier.  In this article, I add the responses I received last week from readers to the Solutions list.

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Challenges and Solutions

One of my questions for my Friday Questions series on Instagram was, ”What are your top two challenges?" The responses came in quickly. It occurred to me that these challenges are issues that are "top of the mind" issues. It was easy to respond because everyone knew exactly what their challenges are because it runs like a loop in the background of your thinking on a daily basis.

There was plenty of overlap on the top two challenges by many of the commentors. People said it in different ways but it boiled down to Time and Focus were the top two challenges...too many things to do and not enough time to do them and difficulty in deciding what to focus on and maintaining focus on what you eventually decided to do. People said things like self care and choosing how to spend my time, wandering eye for new art forms, filtering ideas to get to the best ones, planning too much for one day, making a decision on a direction and then following through. Time and Focus are really related sequential topics.  One causes the other one which causes the other one. When we feel overwhelmed by too much to do, by definition it is hard to focus. Just like it is hard to be kind when you are angry or feel grateful when you are complaining. So the one thing that would help is to not feel overwhelmed.  Easily said, but hard to do.

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Why Coral Reefs?

Last week, I started a  new series called Coral Reef, Lizard island. The inspiration for this idea is a documentary on Netflix called Chasing Coral.

The documentary tagline from their website is... "Divers, scientists and photographers around the world mount an epic underwater campaign to document the disappearance of coral reefs."

I highly recommend this documentary. You can see a trailer in the link above. It is powerful. You see people who love and study coral reefs documenting the effects of warmer ocean temperatures. 

This documentary hits close to home. The last part of the documentary was filmed at Lizard Island, a research station on the Great Barrier Reef off of Australia. Our daughter spent 10 days on Lizard Island in 2014, the year before the coral bleaching events that occurred in just 30 days and are documented in this film. Watching her see the damage done to a place that she loves was heart breaking. A significant portion of the coral died, along with the ecosystem that relies on it.

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Friday Questions and Answers

Last Friday I started a new thing. I asked a question to people who see my art on Instagram. I really want to engage in more conversations about art, so I thought I will just post a question. I asked "How does my art make you feel?"  At first I couldn't decide on the best question to ask, but then I remembered this whole past month in my Studio Notes I've been writing about emotions evoked by Art. So I just went with the first question that came to my mind... how does my art make you feel? I added the image of the completed 100 days series, Trees and Windows from this past year.  At first I thought this question was too selfish and I really didn't want it to be all about me. But then I realized all these questions are really a way of giving people a chance to think and talk about art which includes my art. It's about dialogue. It's about connection to someone else who thinks about art and color and design as a creator or a consumer of art. It's amazing how quickly people responded and how thoughtful their comments were. I was blown away and very grateful.

People said my art made them feel happy, joyful, energized, motivated, serene, and alive when they saw my art. It doesn’t get better than that. Mission complete.

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Conversations with Artists

As a follow up to my article two weeks ago, Questions for Artists, @ we had a wonderful Open House and Meet the Artist event last week. This event is for artists in our annual Public Art Program...

It was a pleasure to get to know the artists in person or by their written submissions to our three questions for the night. The good new is that the questions really just provided a structure for a conversation with the artist since once they got rolling, they talked about things that were important to them as artists.

My job as the interviewer for the Meet the Artist event is to help the audience get to know more about both the artist and their story.

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Learning from Other Artists, Like David Hockney

I have reread the recent article on David Hockney by Deborah Solomon in the New York Times, "David Hockney, Contrarian, Shifts Perspectives," several times.   He's being interviewed because there's a massive retrospective of his life and art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City scheduled for November 27, 2017. I was surprised when I read the quote that earlier in his career he thought he was a painter on the fringes. He said  ,“I thought I was a peripheral artist, really.” You see he was doing figurative somewhat realistic art when it was fashionable to only create abstract art. This article pointed out that now he's probably the most celebrated artist in all of England. He is designing a stained-glass window for Westminster Abbey in honor of Queen Elizabeth. The author of the New York Times article went on to say that nowadays artists can choose their own medium, figurative or abstract.  There are no rules. There's no exclusion.  You are not better or worse if you do one or the other. I hadn't realize what a liberating thing that is. If a great artist like David Hockney felt like he was a peripheral artist because of the way he chose to express himself, we are lucky that he had the courage and perseverance to do it anyway.  

I have been interested in David Hockney and his art for years.

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