Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thought for Thursday

"There's a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don't and the secret is this: It's not the writing part that's hard. What's hard is sitting down to write. What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance." ~Steven Pressfield

Monday, August 27, 2012

Lost Motivation and Finding a Way Around Resistance

Over the weekend I read a post somewhere online about fighting with Resistance.

Yes, my favorite topic.

The writer, whom I can't remember so I apologize, wrote something like "When you are in pain, make great art. You have no money, make great art. You lost your best friend, make great art." Sounds like a plan. Right?

Okay. It's time to revisit a book about the subject, The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield.

Before I continue I need to share. Today I attended church services for a favorite saint, St. Phanourios. People pray to him for help in finding lost things. To return the favor and thank him for his help, parishioners bring a special baked cake to share with everyone after the service.

Original icon of St. Phanourios of Rhodes
©OrthodoxWiki

I can't find plenty of things throughout the year, so I baked the cake, grateful for the saint's help. But right now I need to ask him to help me find a way to avoid Resistance.

Nothing helps me better than reading a good book about a topic, so with the urge I took for a nudge from St. Phanourios, I opened The War of Art and started to read it.

Again.

The author lists things that bring up Resistance, like any diet or health regimen, any calling, education of any kind, any kind of courage, any enterprise, etc. Pressfield describes Resistance and it's characteristics with short, pithy paragraphs, with biting titles.

This one stuck with me as I read:

 Resistance is Insidious 
"Resistance will tell you anything to keep you from doing your work. It will perjure, fabricate, falsify; seduce, bully, cajole. resistance is protean. It will assume any form, if that's what it takes to deceive you, it will reason with you like a lawyer or jam a nine-millimeter in your face like a stickup man. Resistance has no conscience. It will pledge anything to get a realm then double-cross you as soon as your back is turned. If you take Resistance at it's word, you deserve everything you get. resistance is always lying and always full of crap." pg. 9

 Ooph! I felt that kick in the butt. Thank you, St. Phanourios. It could be just what I was looking for.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Quiet in the Garden

Spending the good weather in the garden is a good thing. Butterflies, flower blossoms, and quiet calms the mind. Mine does a lot of talking. It just won't shut up. Too much noise up in there for my liking. But the garden helps.



Thursday, August 23, 2012

Thought for Thursday

"Don't pay any attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inches."~Andy Warhol

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Just Butterflies

As I was writing the Morning Pages in my backyard garden, trying to figure out why inspiration has been fleeting this summer, I noticed a lot of things flying around. Hoping they weren't some scary buzzing things, I sneaked a peek at the shadows.

What do you think? More than six butterflies were fluttering around my garden and on the butterfly bush. Yes, I guess the name of the flowering thing fits. They were all over it.


I grabbed my camera, and tried to get close not to disturb them, so I could take some shots. It was hard to show just how many of them there were between the foliage and the sunlight. 


It was early in the morning, my favorite time of day. Quiet, with the sun sending out it's rays and warming the air, glistening the moisture on the flowers. 

No kids yelling, no lawn mowers, no construction guys, garbage men. Just butterflies. 

Perfect.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

If Monet Could do it, I Can Too, Sort of

Is it me or is the summer over already? Resistance has a way of leading you down a road, and leaving you there all by yourself to figure things out. He has a way of being cruel like that. 

And now August is near it's end. What do we have to show for it? A tan? A couple of half hearted attempts at attaining the 100 paintings we're supposed to be working on over here? 

Nuts, I say. Rats to that. 

So in the meanwhile, while I try to pull my artist self out of the rabbit hole, I painted this small marigold photo I had in my stash. Yes, I've painted this before much larger, but, whatever, there it is, again.

Small Marigold ©2012 Dora Sislian Themelis
9x12 Watercolor Arches cold press paper
If Monet could paint a scene over and over again, so can I. And I'm sticking to that.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Thought for Thursday

"You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you are going, because you might not get there." ~Yogi Berra Don't you just love Yogi?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Where's the Inspiration When You Need it?

Little did I know how much painting inspiration I was going to get out of that vegetable share I did last year. Why didn't I think of it as an investment in my artwork this season? What was I thinking when I decided not to bother doing it again, only because I wasn't thrilled with the selection of the produce, for eating anyway?

Every week I dragged myself across Long Island to pick up my haul and dreaded what kind of crazy leafy greens I would find, only to get so excited by all the shapes and color that I photographed everything. And then I created artwork of it all. All my complaining about painting from life rather than my photos, were dashed with the veggie awakening. 

Rooftop Scene ©2012 Dora Sislian Themelis
9x12 Watercolor, Arches cold press paper
Now look at me! I can't find anything to get excited about painting. Okay, a landscape here and there, flowers in the garden, but nothing like last summer's work.

What a drag.

So here I am, painting this and that, and making more jewelry. It's fine. I've made a commitment to a one night shopping venue the first week of September so I may as well add to my inventory.

Greek and Turkish beads with waxed cotton cord

Greek and Turkish beads with waxed cotton cord

Long bead bracelet on the wrist

The colors and shapes are interesting. I'm trying to put a positive spin on my trysts with Mr. Resistance. Not so sure it's working for me. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Show Up, Shut Up, and Work

Sometimes when the going gets tough, the "tough" shut down. There are so many excuses why one doesn't get to work and I think I've pretty much used them all. It's a dilemma.

Resistance is difficult. Anything, and everything, can block the path to working.

Let's be on the up and up, okay? Those of us working from home have it much worse than those punching a clock at an office. There is no one to be accountable to, other than your's truly over here.

We get the things done that need to get done. At an office, the work comes first, the house is left for some time later. At home, the house gets done first, and hopefully there has been a schedule in place for work. Does that happen? It should, but often times it doesn't.

Who's the boss of me?

But, hey, you need a pay check right? So get to work! Knock it off at the coffee machine and stop hanging around with that idiot, Mr. Resistance.

While I was trying not to waste time looking for the next painting subject in the studio, I wandered off to more beads. This bracelet is made of knotted Greek leather cord with more Greek Mykonos beads and Turkish glass.

Greek Mykonos beads, Turkish beads, Greek leather cord
After finishing the bracelet I tried, once again, to find a painting subject and leafed through a few travel books. I didn't want to spend too much time so I settled on this scene. I liked the colors and the depth. At least if I move paint around I might be able to push away some resistance.

Something new to paint/sketch..

For now, it will do. The "boss" might be happy I showed up to work at all and won't fire me.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Thought for Thursday

"Action is a great restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result, but the cause, of fear. Perhaps the action you take will be successful; perhaps different action or adjustments will have to follow. But any action is better than no action at all." ~Norman Vincent Peale

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Friday's Photo on Saturday

I should be painting, but I'm not. Just ordered more Greek Mykonos beads and Greek leather cord, and had to make something with them. Different colors and textures could spark some kind of ideas for paintings is what I'm hoping for. In the meanwhile, I can say I finished something.

©Dora Sislian Themelis
Greek Mykonos beads on knotted Greek leather cord

©Dora Sislian Themelis

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Moment of Zen

The last few days have been cloudy, promising rain at every moment. Those overcast skies were playing games with my head, making me lose my motivation. Yes, I go to the studio each day expecting to work only to find myself staring at my workspace, willing the paints and brushes to do something.

That just didn't work. 

Then I decided to clean up, throw out, organize. The activity sent me to arrange beads into new jewelry pieces. Not a total loss, however, not painting either.

Feeling the need to get away from myself yesterday, I went into the garden. I got out my shovel to rearrange the annuals and the hostas. I enlarged the beds, and watered it all when I was finished. The climbing roses needed trimming and I snipped some blossoms for my patio table.

My moment, my zen
This morning as I sat outside at the table to write the Morning Pages and finish my coffee, I admired the pretty roses. A breeze came through carrying their wonderful scent to me and it was heavenly. A moment of quiet aroma filled zen, I thought to myself.

Thanks. I needed that.