This is my very first oil painting. Yup, my very first oil painting ever.
I painted this in 2012.
I was sitting out on the porch and night after night the sunsets were stunning. I couldn't help it, I was and am in awe of the colors lighting up the sky. I still get a bit choked up at a sunrise or a sunset. I guess I'm a big softie.
Lots of mornings, on the island, I would get up before dawn to go for a walk just to see the sunrise. I love to see the sun as it comes up over the distant blue horizon. I also love to catch the sun as it goes down.
This painting is from a sunset photo I took in St Thomas. We first moved down there in 2012.
So why did I wait until I was 54 years old to get up the nerve to try an oil painting. Well, I could probably fill a book with reasons.
It just boils down to - Getting started is so very hard.
Once you're in the groove, you've got the habit and it's not as tough but I've found it's way to easy to put things off.
Why do we put things off?
Why is it so hard to get started?
Maybe you don't get started because of fear or timidity or time. It could be you lack gumption because you lack money or lack talent or lack vision.
Yeah - I've used those too.
You could use any number of excuses to rationalize. I think I keep a handful of excuses in my back pocket. I try not to take them out any more though - they're habit forming and they'll kill you.
What's more important to me is the solution,
What's more important is doing stuff.
If you make excuses other things will take priority.
Right now, I think posting this blog regularly is important for me.
Why is it important? I want to get better at writing and painting and drawing. I use this practice to make sure I get the work done. I use it to make sure I don't slack off.
I'm making myself accountable to the world by promising to write something every week. I'm convinced you only get better by sharing your work. So I'm sharing.
You've got to be a bit brave.
This whole thing is an exercise in growth and getting better.
Believe me, I'd rather hide. I'd much rather do this whole drawing thing in private.
But, you see, in private I'll lie to myself. I'm good at at making excuses and lying to myself. I've had lot's of practice.
It is about me in a way but by sharing it can be about you too.
Maybe somebody who reads this will get motivated to start playing the guitar or painting or writing or it just might help somebody else find out what they're all about.
Because we're all the same you and me.
You see, it's about me, but it's about you too.
It, for me, is all about sharing and trying to be a better human.
So - here's to being a better human! Happy sunsets to you.
The Painted Doors of Funchal
Exploring new places is a wonderful thing. I totally enjoy it when I get the chance.
It's not so much the travel I enjoy. Travel, in and of itself, can be a red hot steaming, miserable, hair yanking face scrunching mess. This time it wasn't bad at all. The flights went off without a hitch although coming into Funchal had more than it's fair share of bumpity-thumpities.
One of the rituals I enjoy the least about flying is deplaning. It is that time when the flight and cabin crew stand at the door saying "having a nice day" or "enjoy your holiday". That's what they're saying but I have a feeling it's not what they really mean.
As we left the plane I thanked the captain for his safe landing. I said, "Thanks for the ride cowboy!". I'm glad he took it in stride. It even got a bit of a chuckle. We did get down safely. I suppose that's all that counts. I was truly grateful be on the ground without any injuries.
Madeira is a tiny(ish) island in the Atlantic 425 miles off the coast of Morocco. It's apparently a favorite holiday spot for Europeans. The island had over one million visitors last year. We heard several European languages in addition to Portuguese (Madeira is a territory of Portugal). We heard German, French, Norwegian and Russian spoken there. (Oh yeah - we heard English too)
The people we met were very friendly and helpful.
Our holiday was filled with mountain walks some even above the clouds, a steep and swingy cable car ride, pebbly beach walks and strolls along a beautifully maintained promenade by the sea.
In downtown Funchal, there is a street called Rua de Santa Maria not far from the big cruise ship harbor. The doors on this street have been given over to artists. The art work ranges from the beautifully skilled and well thought out to the not so beautiful. I can say truthfully that it was all very interesting and increased the vibrancy and good feeling of the old town area.
A local waiter told me the door painting began as the result of a flood some time in the past and the doors occasionally get painted over with new art. Kinda makes you want to come back and see what's new occasionally. I don't remember the whole story. I suppose I didn't pay enough attention.
Apparently I did have the presence of mind to snap a bunch of photos as I gawked like everybody else walking down the street. You just can't help it. At least I can't help it. I loved the feel of street art on Rua de Santa Maria .
For me, it was one of the highlights of my trip. Thats where little poster of the painted doors of Funchal was born. There are over 200 doors painted. I only captured some of what was there. The diversity of the art was heartwarming.
It's now the screensaver on my phone.
What do I know? Well - I know what I like - and I liked this.
BTW - you can enlarge the photo by clicking on it.
If you want to be updated when I post new stuff on my blog - you can go over and subscribe to Updates. You'll get an email when I post new stuff online - usually once a week.
Until then, please do your best to enjoy life.
Taking on The New Year
Last year, as far as years go, was pretty good. There were some hiccups along the way but I think, in general, the year went very positive.
A lot happened in 2017. Dad moved into a senior living facility and we moved to Phoenix to be closer. My plan is to be closer so I can take care of issues as they happen.
We're still trying to get our stuff from St Thomas. That might take a while.
The hurricane has kept us away from the island. Our plans for spending time there are up in the air.
A lot is happening in Phoenix and it's keeping me occupied.
In February last year I started writing this blog and I started creating drawings on my iPad. That has really pleased me. The encouragement I get is amazing.
I am 10 pounds lighter than I was last year at this time. I have been going to the gym regularly since October. I enjoy that and I feel much better for doing it. I hope to drop a ton or two this year.
Art marketing is a tough nut to crack. I'll continue to create digital as well as physical artworks.
I want to learn how to generate an income from my work. There are bunches of options and there is so much that I don't understand. It might help to try different things and see how they work.
The business of selling and making a living with art is a tricky on. I hope to tell you what works for me and what doesn't. Everybody is different and I hope to learn from people who know what they're doing. (I don't know who that is though)
Right now I'm taking some time to myself and let my hair down a little bit.
I hope you make the new year your best year yet.
I'm going to give it my best shot.