Jul 24, 2015

From the Studio...

I have been spending a lot of time looking for work but do manage to get a little painting in here and there. Here are my favorites of late.

Studies of a common yellow throat, above, and an Oregon junco, below.

I have some new treescapes up on facebook and am reworking treescape 6, below.

Jul 11, 2015

Business Plan

After reading several business books for artists I got fed up with how easily I forget my priorities and get caught up in trying to figure out how to make money. I don't see this as a personality flaw as much as I see it as a sign of the times. More and more aspects of life are getting monetized so we need more and more income to get by. I'm looking for a full-time job and very excited about the prospect of being able to do art for love instead of trying to figure out how to make it into a sustainable career.

Of course, I still want to leave room for my talents and passions to evolve naturally into a career so I made a business plan that's priority is keeping my values straight. It feels good to let go and make life itself the priority. It's a lot easier for me to enjoy where I'm at because I no longer am attached to a context where circumstances now aren't connected to the circumstances I am trying to create.

Jul 10, 2015

Simplicity Envy

Lately it seems that simplicity is all the rage. I am glad people are getting fed up with conspicuous consumption but if simplicity comes into our lives via the same technology that too much stuff did will there be any real impact to our lives and the environment? The technologies I'm referring to are the glamor, envy and obsolescence invoked mostly by manipulative photography...aka advertising.

A small-time fashion blogger may not be selling their own line of clothes but they can't get my attention if their images don't compete with the compelling photos I see in advertisements. They are unwittingly inciting envy in me...why can't I have a spacious closet tastefully occupied by a few hip and versatile clothing items?

Sure, having less stuff and being more organized in itself will improve my life. But I am entranced by the fashion, by the idea of being the type of person who always looks good, whose closet always looks good, who is so fashion savvy I only need a few clothes to always look good. Under this spell am I really going to simplify? No, I am going to put my current clothes in a crate in the garage and go shopping for a perfect tiny new wardrobe that will look nice hanging in the closet, along with a couple charming baskets so the junk I can't throw away will look earnest and organized amid my new wardrobe.

I do think there is value in these articles. Readers who are fashionistas probably learn useful information. People who hoard clothes might have a life altering experience following the advice. but I assume there are many others like me who are lured into envy but have no actual capacity or need to create a functional versatile wardrobe of just so many pieces.

Then of course there is the tiny house movement. Which I love, but how often do you see a picture of a tiny house while someone is actually cooking or having a busy week...that photo series could probably kill the movement in a week. In fact any real life photo would could kill our envy of any fashion ad instantly.

Despite my understanding of the power of composed images to create envy and unrealistic expectations I have still been fretting over how to have a simpler life. It is, in itself an earnest desire. I decided to try something a little whimsical, to see if I could simplify things inside myself...aka meditation. I can't tell you that my closet looks different, that I look younger or happier, or any of that. It does feel really good. I do find that the things I already have are enough for now. I do notice that there are less things I feel I have to do on any given day and I can spend a little more time just enjoying myself, one evening that even included spontaneously cleaning out each of my dresser drawers.

If meditation doesn't sounds simple, it can be. I used to meditate for an hour, sitting cross-legged, trying to be enlightened. Now I feel its perfectly acceptable to just bring my awareness within me with the intention of letting everything go and just see what happens. I do it when I go to bed for a minute or two, when I wake up for a minute or two, and anytime I'm getting wound up and it occurs to me I could relax. This may not ever make me into a Buddha but it is pretty delightful. I'm not trying to start a tiny meditation movement but I bet everyone has their own unique and simple approach to inner peace.