Monday, January 31, 2011

I'm In

I did it. I took the plunge. I made the commitment. Got on the band wagon. I took the first step of a long journey. Can't think of any other analogies to convey what I've decided to take on with all the other stuff I do.

For a year or so I've been trying to beat Mr. Resistance at his game. I read The Artist's Way, The War of Art, Walking in This World, looking for ways to get around the blahs of going to the studio to paint. Reading The Artist's Way was my jump off point. The tasks were do-able most of the time. The most beneficial step forward was the daily writing of Morning Pages. Thank goodness for those Pages! The constant blabbing going on in my head has moved to the written page, leaving my brain pretty clear and babble free.

The thing is I wanted to be painting on a regular schedule. In the past year I have moved well along, but, alas, no schedule. I thought that, maybe, I'm not a good schedule person-type. I thought, maybe, I'm not organized enough to make myself walk down the steps to my studio area, in my house, at a set time each day to work. Try as I might, I couldn't seem to act as if I have a job in an office, to which I had to show up every day and get paid at the end of the week. Where was the payment, the cash, the moola? Not in my basement studio it seems. And not anywhere else either. It just wasn't happening on that regular basis I was looking for.

It was happening alright, just not how I expected it. Yes, I painted some solid work. Yes, I learned things about watercolors and materials. I learned how to find inspiration, when to give myself a break, how to lighten up and when. Live life, ignore some stupid stuff, much of it my own, pay attention to nice stuff, smile and move on. Yes, learning lots of stuff. Good stuff and not so good stuff.

I knew that spending a small amount of time in the studio looking through my things, sorting, cleaning, could lead to doing. For fifteen minutes I could do something and it worked, for a while. Planning to show up for fifteen minutes would turn into a new project. Process, process, process.

One day while floating around the internet I stumbled onto The Twenty Minute Challenge blog by Teri Casper, and things suddenly started to happen. I learned that I couldn't fool around all day long with watercolors because I wasn't getting what I thought I wanted with all the water, the sloshing paint, the fuzzy-ness developing on my paper. But in twenty minutes I could have a finished painting! What a concept! Smack me in the head!

Those quick paintings I did on the beach in October were finished works. Why couldn't I do the same thing here? Well, it worked and I did it.

Fast forward through to the present. Through Teri's challenge I found the 100 Paintings Challenge. Sounded daunting, but other artists were working through it, why not I? (I, me, which one is it? Forget it.)

If I had found out about this idea months ago I'd have plenty of work under my belt by now. The thing is, I don't think I would have had the guts to do it. Don't think I have the guts right now, just that I'm afraid if I don't jump in with both feet Mr. Resistance will grab me from behind and beat me up. So I threw down the gauntlet and said YES, before I backed out. Remember- YES is the operative word?

Here I am, making a commitment to do 100 paintings in the year ahead. I said yes so it's done. The wonderful, kind Laure, administrator of The 100 Painting Challenge was lovely with her encouragement, as was Teri and the other artists over there. Laure asked me if I wanted to begin right away or wait. I replied that I needed to begin as soon as possible to keep the momentum going. I even had the latest painting ready to go.

What's Left of Fall (c)2011Dora Sislian Themelis
8x12 Watercolor 140lb Arches cold press paper
This still life started out as a twenty minute loosely painted work. I knew I would go back to it to define the areas needing work and decided to make this #1 of the challenge.

I did it. I'm ready. I made the commitment and I'm peeking around the corner for Mr. Resistance. If he shows up I'm going to deck him!


  1. Yay for you! Well done for committing!
    I am so looking forward to all 100 paintings :)

  2. Wonderful job, Dora. Good luck with your endeavor. I think you did a fine job with this one. Great start!

  3. Thank you Pat, I can't wait to see 100 paintings either!

  4. Carol, thanks for commenting and your lovely compliment. I'm already thinking about the next painting and it's exciting!

  5. Good for you! What is it they say... the first step is half the battle?

    Beautiful first painting :-)

  6. Teresa, that first step is the heaviest and hardest!

  7. Yay! You should have a counter going on the blog of your completed paintings. That would be cool.

  8. Hey Wax Beach, sounds cool, but I don't know how I could do that!

  9. Dear Dora,
    I hope everything will go well for you. You have a very busy life, as you've already mentioned in last posts. Continuing something requires a great will and hard work. Take it easy.
    Best wishes, Sadami

  10. Well Dora, sounds to me like you and I have the same issues sometimes, I admire what you are doing and I sure hope you succeed! Hugs to keep on going!

  11. Sadami, thanks for the encouragement!

  12. Eileen, I have to do something to make myself accountable! I hope this does the trick.

  13. Very nice painting! Thanks for the book ideas! I'm always looking for a motivating read.

  14. You're welcome Vicki, and thanks for commenting! I haven't started reading the latest book I picked up, The Creative Spirit by Twyla Tharp. I heard it's really good.


The Latest Work With Permission

©Dora Sislian Themelis, 11x14 Watercolor, Patmos Sunset Available for purchase The latest work is from another person's photograph...