Friday, January 02, 2009

FOCUS! ...and Get It Done!

I just read a terrific blog that spoke directly to my heart!
It was written by Lori Woodward Simons, a regular contributing writer for Clint Watson's FineArtViews. Her point of view seems to be very similar to mine; I found myself nodding my head in agreement while reading her words.

Entitled: "One Goal, One Focus," her article talked about making her New Years' resolution goals focus in and pinpoint more toward the end results for which she is looking.
(Click here to read her article.)

I want to thank her for writing it; it was a very timely read for me indeed! For the past several months I have been pulled in many different directions; my many art interests are yanking me here and there, but also my family life has been similar. With too many responsibilities to be able to manage, it has been difficult for me to simply stay sane and get ANYthing done!
I am constantly being stretched among the pressures of my life: the need to make some sure income (which for me translates into my part time job at a frame shop, and the "when-I-can-get-work house painting.) Then there's the "Mom" job that I have had for twenty years, a job which I love and a job at which I want to excel, but it can definitely be very demanding of my time. As many moms out there know, that means wearing many hats: taxi driver, head chef, housekeeper, gardener, grocery-getter, dishwasher, launderer, test paper signer, kid-waker-upper, ... shall I go on?

Then, there's that passion I have for creating art! It shouts at me quite loudly everyday, demanding attention.

Reading Lori's article helped me to come to the realization that the way my life is right now (filled with tons of responsibilities), to hope for and expect that everything will get done, well, frankly, is just plain dumb! I've been a knucklehead, trying my darndest to be a successful and supportive mom of four teens (well, almost four teens: my oldest is 20), trying to be a helpful and loving wife, trying to be a capable and responsible dog-owner (grrr, that dog of ours often tries my patience), and desperately trying to maintain some level of productivity as an artist... (not necessarily in that order!)

Lori speaks about simplifying her wishes into what she calls an "Umbrella Goal." Rather than listing many different goals, she simplified it down to one basic "I want to make a decent living by my creative talents." Then she qualified what "decent" meant to her in dollars and cents. [From what I have learned about goal-setting, this is important, since the more specific a goal is, the more compelling it can be.] For her, the way to achieve her goal is to make some sacrifices and as she puts it: "place some things I enjoy on the back burner, so that I'll be able to master at least one thing."

I found that statement very powerful, because within my own art, there has always been a multitude of ideas, of things with which I want to experiment. If I did nothing but act on all my ideas, geez, I would never catch up with myself! So the answer for me, is the same as for her: to simplify things and get really good at ONE THING!

Okay. I've decided that for the time being, I should focus on only ONE aspect of my art. So now I have to choose WHICH aspect on which to focus!!!! For financial reasons, I plan to continue to work on any commissioned mural and faux finish jobs I obtain. Gotta pay that mortgage, y'know?! But as far as my fine art goes, I will be doing some deep soul searching this week, to decide which of my many art mediums on which I should focus. I have been feeling very fragmented lately with all the different ideas that fill my head. (I even had an idea this morning for a painting that was all about fragmenting,... with shards of glass strewn about the scene! Boy! it looks great in my mind's eye! Can't wait to paint it someday!)

So, thanks to Lori's wise words, I have realized that it is time to focus! and get it done.

The sign you see here has been taped in place by my computer for several months. Its purpose has been to get me to do the job at hand [whatever it might be but it's usually something I hate! like reconciling the bank statement-ugh!, pay some bills, ugh again!...] and not get distracted by say, a cool artist's blog,...

One more thing:
Those of you who have seen my work in the past couple years: please leave your opinion in the comments section; it will help me to ascertain which part of my art is most popular with others! Just answer this question:
Of the choices listed below, which one(s) do you enjoy most?
(You can choose more than one if you feel you need to.)

-cyanotype photogram
-cyanotypes with pastel
-acrylic painting on canvas
-photographs (I don't have any on my website, just on my blog)
-other stuff (pencil, charcoal, ...)

-still life

Thank you for taking the time to read this far down (this post is long, I know) and to give your input, friend! It is most appreciated. Oh, and I wish you a happy new year!
Sincerely, -Jeanne

PS. For a look at my published artwork, you can click here:

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