Show Up Consistently
The last couple of weeks have been busy. Very busy. I was running around like a chihuahua chasing its tail. To paraphrase the Duke of Edinburgh, I've ..."been running around like a blue-arsed-fly."
I say that right up front because I feel a bit guilty for not publishing a blog or the newsletter last week. I've always known consistency is important but it home last week.
That is the concept. You show up consistently without fail. Well, last week I failed.
Because I was so busy with everything I let the newsletter slide. I let it get away from me. I gave myself permission to give this one a pass. I thought nobody will notice. I thought nobody will really care.
I was wrong. I got a stream of emails asking if I was okay and asking where I went. One emailer even demanded, "where’s my little artsy newsletter!?" - you know who you are!
Conclusion - If you say you're going to publish every week, by gum you should publish every week.
Big publishers don't miss an edition. Professional publishers don't give themselves a pass. I couldn't imagine National Geographic, Scientific American, or the New Yorker would miss an edition.
Though I'm not a big publisher, I do consider myself a professional.
The three keys to professional success, as I learned them from a salty ole Gunny, are:
1. Show up on time
2. Be in the right uniform
3. Do the job.
Passion is great but you need consistency to get things done.
Show up on time and do the work. The uniform is optional for me today.
I'm moving on. Fall down, get up, move forward.
Oh yeah - My drawing this week is a cardinal, it's the state bird of Ohio. I've been thinking of seeing my friends next month in Ohio. I hope I see a cardinal there and I hope I see you there too. If you live in Ohio that is.
Until next week, I wish you peace.
Back to Basics
It's a gamble when you start a drawing. What you want to be a masterpiece could end up in the bin. The result could lead to endless sobbing in your pillow - or - it could actually turn out okay. It's a risk. There was no sobbing or gnashing of teeth involved in the making of this drawing.
As in all things, there are ways you can keep from whimpering like a child who's lost his toy.
Practice the basics. It might sound trite but I really believe it's true.
This is why.
Long ago and far away, when I was growing up, my family was very sporty. I'm pretty sure my parents used sports as a pseudo babysitter.
Our days were filled with ice hockey, football, baseball, golf, basketball, and I even had a stint as a boxer. I was okay at most sports. Not great but okay. I have to admit that as a boxer I got pummeled more times than I care to remember. Come to think of it, that might explain a few things.
We played lots of sports but our drug of choice was ice hockey. I could have called it hockey but hockey, to some people, means a game played with an upside down shillelagh on a soft grass pitch.
I'm talking about ice hockey. The hockey that has pucks, blades, sticks and missing teeth. It's a hostile game of speed, skill, and brute force. It's gang warfare splayed out on a sheet of ice.
Originally from Quebec, our family has huge gnarly chunks of St. Lawrence River ice cutting through our veins. I'm sure you'll find it in our DNA somewhere.
I can still smell the locker room, feel the ruts in the ice, and see the steam rising off my uniform. I loved the game but I never really liked that nudge at five in the morning, and yes we played at 5 in the morning.
In every sport, a player knows they have to practice the basics endlessly to get good. Here are just a few:
If you want to get better at art, practicing the basics is essential too. You have to study:
This week, I'm getting back to basics - just because.
In this drawing, I was practicing the fundamental elements of drawing: composition, shape, form, and contrast. The basics of producing an interesting image.
If one thing is off, the whole thing can look horrible. Unless, of course, you're Salvador Dali or Pablo Picasso.
This bird made it in my sketchbook this week.
I hope you enjoy it.
Until next week, I wish you peace.
Early Bird Gets the Worm
"The early bird gets the worm" or at least that's what I've been told all my life but I think this morning was pushing things a bit.
At 4 am in the morning on Tuesday I was doing what most peoples do. The insides of my eyelids were getting a thorough inspection.
While I was enjoying my very own oneness with the universe, I heard a mind piercing chirp. It was either the loudest bird I've ever heard or it might have been the loudest, highest-pitched gunfire anywhere in the known universe. That little chirp at oh dark thirty had me perched upright in about 0.00001seconds flat.
It turns out the battery in the fire alarm had just gone out of commission and the alarm was warning me that it might be time for a new one. Note to the manufacturer: Please use a nice soothing Siri or Alexa type voice or better yet HAL from 2001 A Space Odyssey. "Scott, your alarm needs a new battery." I can hear it now.
As it happens that little helpful chirp had enough adrenaline pumping through my veins to lift a 2-ton truck off a mother and child and do a great impression of Usain Bolt in the 100 meters. Okay, hyperbole for sure, but how the heck does a body recover from that. Even the sun has more sense than to get up that early.
I was dog tired but sleep wasn't ready to do me any favors.
I guess I should be grateful that I live indoors and it wasn't a copperhead getting cozy or a coyote nuzzling my cheek. That's probably a good thing so I'll put it in the win column.
It wasn't too much of a problem because I get up pretty early anyway but the question remains ... Why do these things always happen in the middle of the night?
I've found most really bad news comes in the middle of the night (Yes, I consider 4 am the middle of the night).
Nobody wakes you up at 4 am to tell you they've won the lottery and they're giving you half cause you are a fabulous human. I have, however, had several lawyers and bankers from other countries tell me I've inherited millions of dollars or they want me to distribute their millions because they are so concerned with getting the money out of their country. I am apparently their last resort. And all this because I'm divine and saintly.
But even they don't call! They just send me endless emails promising me "riches beyond the dreams of avarice". Isn't avarice one of those seven deadly sins?
That's why, when I go to bed, my phone goes into airplane mode.
As if to pile insult right smack on top of injury, at 7 am (still not a civilized time for noise) the gardening crew showed up next door with their gas-powered hedge trimmers, gas-powered leaf blowers, gas-powered chainsaws, and the accompanying gas-powered megaphones attached to brainless human gas-bags yelling orders at each other.
I try to be tolerant. I really do. So I don't say anything. You have to pick your battles well in this life.
I understand it gets hot here in the middle of the day. I understand they want to get going early so they can get home early to their beers, burgers and bourbon whiskey. I know all that. So I go with the flow.
I'm just glad this doesn't happen every day. Most days I can ease my way into the day with thoughtful, quiet expectation and exuberance.
I think I'll work toward that.
Until next week - I wish you peace.