Saturday, January 2, 2016

Motivation is an Illusive Thing

I've been reading different blogs this morning and a common theme is "creating a challenge" as a way to motivate yourself.    Let's face it everybody does this.....whether it's a weight loss challenge, quit smoking, walking, running...etc.   I've seen them all on face book, TV ads and "blogs".   I've used it myself....sometimes successfully and sometimes NOT.   So why is this Motivation thing so illusive.  

I've had a hard time getting back to the easel in the New Year.   After a long break from activities and classes, I'm doing things like reading, crocheting and of all things cooking.   I've even been consistent with my cello practice during the holidays.   I did give myself a sketching challenge and have done a pretty good job of keeping up with that task but getting back to the easel has alluded me.   I walk by my newly organized "study"/studio.....I pass my blank easel on my sun porch....and somehow my body and head just doesn't get to the step of picking up the pastel or the brush.

I think I've figured it out......When I go back and look at my paintings from last year, I had a really good run of paintings that I loved in the spring last year.   They basically carried me through the year because I entered them in shows and many were accepted......then I had a string of about 5-6 paintings that just didn't pass the test.    Each one ended up on my save and work on later table.   Well the stack kept growing and it seems I've not finished anything for a while.   I did sell one I painted of a marsh but that almost doesn't count.   I liked it but I didn't "love" it.   But the guy who walked by loved it so I sold it to him.  

So how do you get yourself out of the slump.    I was listening to a water colorist show the other day and he said something that caught my attention.   He said that he only got one good watercolor painting out of 7-8.   Wow!!   This guy is a great artist and he's saying his ratio is 1-7??   Of course, watercolor is like painting with another person in the room because the water color has a way of doing it's on thing.   This can be a good thing in that frequently the mistakes or surprises create wonderful paintings but most art mediums have their challenges.   So my Painters Self Analysis is that I'm in a slump because my painting is not "good enough".   Does that sound familiar?   Even Michael Jordon go in on the illusive motivation thing in a recent ad for some kinda of sports shoe.   He listed the number of games he loss, the number of game winning shots he missed, etc.   The point is if he stopped because he failed, he would never have been successful.  

So in 2016 I'm facing my failure and embracing it.    My plan to get out of my slump is one I haven't tried before exactly....well maybe a variation.    I read an article in the Pastel Journal recently about "paint where you are".    I've decided to take a photography trip to my town.   Luckily for me it's my hometown and I've lived here my entire life.   So I'll photograph around town and use those photography as my inspiration to paint...paint...paint.   My focus will be broader landscape but there will be some structures also.    I'm going to try to capture the non traditional photo.   So instead of the buildings on main street it may just be the street and trees and railroad track on the side of street.   I'll post the photos and my painting progress here.    I'll call it "Painting My Town".

2016 Challenge - "Painting My Town"
50 paintings of places, things and people from around my town.   I'm giving myself a completion date of April 2016.   Here goes!

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