Writers block…erggg. normally I post early on Wednesdays and sometimes I even write my blog earlier in the week but it escaped me this week. With the end of the school year and the beginning of summer I have lost all routine. I have all the time in the world but struggle to schedule that time.
I remember when I was in college and tried to budget my time. It was odd how in the fall when I played volleyball and had little time but I did so much better at getting my work done. I knew I had to get on my projects early because games, travel and practices consumed a lot of my time. I learned quickly to review my syllabi weeks in advance to prepare myself for how big assignments fit into my volleyball schedule.
Second semester was an entirely different senrio for me. Compared to my first semester I seemed to be loaded in free time. Without my sense of urgency I increased my natural tendency to procrastinate. I stopped looking ahead and started filling my time with “fun stuff”. Before long I was playing catch up finishing each year worse than the beginning. Too many times my summers imitate my college second semesters.
So, a week in to my summer break and my goal of spending Tuesdays and Thursdays in my studio has already failed. I did get in a Thursday but not the last Tuesday. I have an art show I would like to enter next week and my pipes drawing is not half finished. Next week I am teaching at an enrichment program until noon so maybe that is my new “second semester”. I guess I need to fool myself. Head games are not my strength but I really need to look ahead and plan better.
Here is my accountability attempt. Thursday I will put in 3 hours. At the end of that I will schedule my next time in regard to how far I get and where I need to be by next Friday when my drawing has to be at the competition. Next post I will have photos of my pipes drawing. This is now a commitment.
I am still feeling the wonderful after effects of victory. After battling all the decisions and time that went into making my thorned guitar which, I revealed last week, I have spent this week soaking up a since of accomplishment. I can’t describe the natural high I get hearing it played and seeing it complete. I am trying to stay humble but I will say all the compliments have been so encouraging. It has inspired me so that I have not been idle. I have found my next one and started a two-dimensional piece as well (more on those next week).
I have always tried to answer a compliment with something like, “thank you it’s not that hard” or “I still have a lot to learn” or “you should see…” or even “but did you see the problem with”. Sometimes I even start pointing out the mistakes in the piece. Why did I think that humility meant lowering myself, elevating someone else or deferring the conversation. Could it be that I love being affirmed so much it scared me? I didn’t want to be arrogant or obnoxious but where do you draw the line. How can an artist be confident and promote themselves without being too overwhelming or boystrious? Well, now that I am a mature woman here is what I have learned.
If someone gives you a compliment you must accept it in its entirety. It is a gift given to you and should not be returned. You should not try to best their gift by giving them a bigger compliment either. Allow them to bless you and always say thank you without a but at the end. No pun entended.
Next, never point out your mistakes when receiving a compliment. I have mentioned this before. Focusing on the negatives only brings you to a negative focus. I know that is redundant but it is true. The complimenter is enjoying something you did so don’t ruin it for them. It reminds me of when you go to a movie and with no knowledge of the story you leave the theatre thinking how much you enjoyed it. Then your book nerd friends start trashing it. Before you didn’t care that the main character was suppose to have blonde hair or that there were not suppose to be an elven heroine.
Lastly, deferring is disrespectful to the giver of the compliment. They are complimenting you and not someone or anything else. Be respectful and accept it for goodness sake. There is no arrogance in that.
You can live in victory each day without coming across as boastful and conceited. It is victorious confidence that Christ gives us. Why would we belittle ourselves as less. As long as we carry ourselves with love first the belief in one’s self will keep us grounded.
Ahh! Can you hear the choir holding out that long note and see a yellow light slowly getting brighter as if the sun were dawning in super fast speed? It is the big reveal day!
It all started about five years ago when I bought a guitar that was greatly abused. The finish was dotted from BB shots and the wiring had come unsoldered. To those of you who know something about guitars it was a Lyons by Washburn and had tribal art on it.
I decided I would reclaim it, so to speak. After removing the neck, all the hardware and electronics it was time to find out what was under the paint. I read and Googled and read some more. I then choose a process of removing the finish I had never heard of before, blow torching. It was so much fun! Just like popcorn flying everywhere and in no time at all the finish had popped off down to bare wood.
I really do not want to bore you with all the details but I do want to hit the highlights. Yes, they are brutal but if you look closely they have a beautiful quality about them. Not only do most plants that have thorns produce brightly colored flowers but the vines themselves have wonderful details. I drew the design and outlined it with a hobby knife. I have always had an appreciation for thorns. After lots of tedious hours of sanding and carving this is what I ended up with before finishing.
I finally made my decision on finishing it off by torching it and using a satin poly. A friend of mine recommended a Seymore Duncan pickup and set it up for me. This is the final result.
I hope to have a video of it being played next post. As well as the beginning of my next project.
Not that I want to over think this process but when I began with this project this guitar had all the signs of a rough life. If had skulls and beat up marks and didn’t even play. It was a long process but with lots of loving care it has become a beautiful work of art. It progressed quickly at first and then sat wrapped gently in a soft towel, protected, unfinished and unknown. With it finally out and finished I want to proudly show it off.
Let God give you that re-purposing. It may take a long time but do not be content with being protected and set aside. Step out of your comfort zone and BE so He can proudly show you off.
Now that I have gotten the creative juices flowing again by restarting the taunting project, I had to ask myself, “why did I put it up 5 years ago”? Was I too busy? Well, I am always too busy. I don’t think that was it. Maybe it was too hard. No, I love the challenge of a difficult task. How about too easy then? Definitely not that one. Perhaps I just didn’t like it when I got to the half way point. Well, nope, not that either. I have it! GPS syndrome.
GPS Syndrome is the inability to stick to one direction by constantly change your direction until you are going in circles. I remember now. I could not decide how to finish the project. One day I was going to stain it and the next leave it natural. Then another day I wanted to sand it smooth only to change my mind the next time I worked on it. Now that I am revisiting it I have “recalculated” 3 times.
I am done with that. After buying traditional cherry stain I tested it and decide “yucko”. Natural it is…no, wait, there is another option. I could burn it and then poly it. My daughter loved the idea and I am now content to stop making left turns. It is time to move forward.
So how many unfinished things in my life are because of indecision or a lack of true directon? I always thought it was because of boredom that I abandoned things before completion. Not sure I can answer that question now but I can be aware. I can pay closer attention. Make a conscious effort to be decisive.
I did not bargain for this type of revelation when I started this blog. But, hey, this jouney of goals and self-discovery is going to be a crazy road. Excited to travel it with my new “GPS”.
When things are not done that I ask my kids to do I usually get one of two answers, “I forgot” or “I didn’t have time”. This usually prompts a short lecture on time management and procrastination. Don’t put things off until the last minute or until later because you may run out of time. Simple concept, do it when you think of it so it gets done.
As the week progressed I found myself not in my studio…at all. Why am I not working on “the project” that I couldn’t tear myself away from earlier. Yes, I have been busy since I went back to work after a two week holiday break and I have had a couple of evening obligations but did I really have no time to work on it, to even touch or reflect on it. Could it be that my kids learned from the best? Yes, I am one of the best “I’ll do it later” people in the world. Not many can procrastinate like me.
The weekend came and I knew I had to get on that project. I did not want to write a blog that I had failed to make any progress on my journey. Saturday came and so I had my usual relaxing morning with the knowledge that I had all day with nothing scheduled to pull me away from working on my project. After relaxing for three hours I realized lunch wasn’t too far away so I decided to clean the kitchen and hit the studio after I had eaten. Lunch came and went. The kitchen wasn’t even close to clean and there I sat. Pulled in. Almost in a trance. Suddenly, the proverbial light bulb went on. What had robbed me of all my time this week? The goal bandit. The great thief of my productivity. It was the television. Did I gain any worth while knowledge by watching the television? No. Was my life expanded or enriched by those hours in front of the television? No. Was anything memorable or a treasured moment made through the experience of watching it. No. Did I loose valuable time that could lead to achieving my goals. Yes.
With this awakening I decided the kitchen could wait. My project could not. I left the kitchen half done with chairs left in my den from the unfinished mopping. I could no longer use the later excuse. It was time. I went to the studio, sat down and began. It wasn’t long until time was lost, but this time it was enriched and memorable, it was productive and another step in my journey. I was creating, being, and dreaming. Where is this project going? Plotting and planning each mark of my blade and rotary tool. Applying sand paper every now and then. Still imaging colors and the possibilities. My mind flew completely free with all the unencumbered choices. Even when I needed to stop two hours later there are so many decisions to still make. Loving that every one takes me down a different road to a different finished product. No one better or worse than the other just different.
Well, I have really let the studio/junk room/music room/sewing room get out of hand. The time had come to take care of this mess and restore the room back to it’s intended purpose…art.
Getting started was the most difficult part. I really hate cleaning. As motivation I put on some music and glanced from time to time at my first goal…the unfinished project. It was lying on my corner table wrapped in a towel to protect it. I don’t dare unwrap it until my studio is clean.
Ok, trash out to the truck, check. Excess supplies to get rid of loaded in the Jeep to take to work, check. All music stuff that is not temperature sensitive moved to the loft, check. Just your normal sweeping and wiping and Yada Yada the deed is done. Well, mostly done.
Sure, it could use some more organizing and straightening but “the unfinished project” was beckoning more loudly than ever. I had worked very hard for nearly a day and a half. It was time.
After unfolding the towel, there it was. I was actually very happy with direction it was going. Excited about the possible outcome and the fact that it was closer to finished than I remembered. I only had 30 minutes before dinner but I had to. I just had to do just a little. Just one section would quench that desire to create.
Wrong, I tore myself away but with satisfied anticipation of my next visit. To live to create again.
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