Friday, January 08, 2010

Katie Cat and Four Motivational Links

Katie Cat

Katie Cat. © Sydney Harper
8 x 10 inches. Acrylic on hardboard.

Update: I replaced the picture. I kept looking at the painting thinking something wasn't quite right. Then I figured it out. Whiskers! LOL!

I have sketched Katie many times, but I never painted her or any other cat until now. It took me a while to finally say “Done”. I started it in 2009. I would paint a bit, let it sit for a while and then go back to paint some more. Finally I got to the point where I was done with it. There’s some things I would do differently next time but I was ready to move on from this one.

I’m still working on my goals for 2010 so here are four interesting links I found over the holidays. Hopefully they’ll help you, and me, get motivated to do whatever we have been putting off.

  • Is there a fear shortage? Seth Godin covers a topic that is a pet peeve of mine.
  • Beware of Life. Chris Guillebeau covers a similar topic. The comments are worth reading too. Note I’m not proposing that you go out and be reckless, but maybe there is something you keep putting off out of fear.
  • Get Excited and Make Things! Wil Wheaton urges everyone to quit procrastinating and make whatever it is they have been wanting to make.
  • Finally, a bit of Patience for the thing you are going to do. This is a lovely video about a book within a book within a… It’s a little over 6 minutes long.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Goodbye and Good Riddance 2009

Snow Scene

Snow scene, © 2009 Sydney Harper
watercolor on paper

Time to look back at 2009 before I leave it and go forward in 2010. In most years I keep a text file where I jot down my accomplishments, big and small, each month. When I went to look for the file for 2009, I realized I never got that far.  Most of this year fell outside of the norm.

Following Christine Kane’s suggestion, my chosen word for 2009 was Delight but my year was anything but delightful. What I realized as the year wound down and my life calmed down, is that I had major changes to make before I could get to “delight”.

Brief detour here. A friend mentioned on her blog that this New Year’s Eve was a blue moon and the next one wouldn’t occur for about another 20 years.  That got me wondering what was going on 20 years ago, 1989. Those last few months of 1989 were among the worst I’ve ever had – brand new job in a new location, my mom died, car wreck. I could go on but I won’t. I cried more in the last four months of 1989 than I ever have before or since then. But I made some wonderful friends and had a number of wonderful experiences that would not have occurred otherwise. It also made me realize that October tend to be a particularly difficult month for me since I seem to have a lot of stressful Octobers. My point (really there is one!) is that a lot of good came out of all of those bad experiences. That’s what kept me going through the last few month of 2009.

Enough of that, lets get on with the review. When I went back and looked at my index card with my 2009 goals, I was surprised at how well I did.

  • I did not make as much money as I hoped in my goal but I did double the amount I earned the previous year. Besides I intentionally set a very high goal.
  • I had a goal to learn Photoshop and maybe Illustrator and ended up learning Photoshop, Illustrator, and Dreamweaver. I still have more to learn with these programs but I feel much more confident with the programs now and I enjoy using these tools. I used what I learned to make a published magazine ad and to develop a web site for a customer. In fact I enjoyed this so much that I decided that I need to explore this aspect more in 2010.
  • I started organizing and decluttering the house. There’s still a lot more to do but there’s also a noticeable difference.
  • I reached my goal for the number of paintings I wanted to do. They are not the quality I wanted since many of them were studies and experiments but I learned a lot in the process.
  • That leads me to my other goal, to learn more techniques and to experiment. I focused mostly on color and negative painting in 2009 and I learned a tremendous amount.
  • I had some more personal goals like becoming more mentally and physically fit during 2009. I did that but I will be working on that more in 2010.

All things considered it was a successful year. Even though it was full of anxiety and upheaval, there were some amazingly productive aspects to the year.  My next post will cover 2010.  I hope everyone has a Happy New Year!