Boat painting - in progress - October 2011 version
Diary notes

Catching Up in October : A Purpose-Guided Life

Once again, my non-art work has kept me very busy. I’ve almost reached the point where it can be managed without compromising my time for art.

This has been a gradual process.

Since my April 2011 update, I’ve been experimenting with the boat painting I mentioned in that post.

I’m complacent but not happy with it yet.  I photographed it this morning so you can see what it looks like at this moment.

I’m experimenting with the colors of the water, especially the ways I’m conveying depth.

In addition, I’ve just added red to the trim of the boats.  That’s what the actual boats had.  (I’m working from a photo I took when we were in Rockport, MA, a couple of summers ago.)

The painting is improving, but it still has a significant distance to cover.

This is a large painting, for me.  It’s 24″ x 30″ so, when I decide something isn’t quite working, I need to cover a lot of ground to change it.

Frankly, I like the challenge.  It keeps me focused.

When I paint, I lose all sense of time.  I’m immersed in the creative process, and the sensory experience of working with color and texture.

Much of my work with this painting has been about “thinking time.”  It’s like I park my intellectual processes to the side while I paint, and my left brain keeps turning the gears, processing whatever is on my mind.  My attention is on the painting during this process, as I sink into the colors and impressions on an intuitive level.

It’s sort of like an active form of “sleeping on it,” to sort out certain challenges.  The biggest challenge has been to understand the parallel paths I’ve been following in recent years, and the purpose that helps them converge for greater personal fulfillment.

So, that’s what’s been happening at my easel and away from it.  The upcoming month will be busy, preparing for my oldest daughter’s wedding in Florida.

I’m hoping to make time for far more painting, but… well, we’ll see what happens.

I’ve been wrestling with a lot of nostalgia and ennui this summer, and now — with many old project concluding — my energy is rebounding.  I’m looking forward to what’s next, and how I can bring more creative & artistic expression to the center stage in my life.


More details:  In April, I resolved to focus more on art, phasing out most (but not all) of what I do that’s not really art-related.  I realized that I’d accomplished most of my initial goals in that field, and throwing more time into it… well, it wasn’t returning the personal fulfillment it once did.

By distilling that work to what I most enjoy — the research and my books — I could recover more time & focus, while still finding satisfaction in that field.

Gracefully stepping back from that work… it’s taken most of my time, this summer.  There were a lot of loose ends I wanted to conclude.  To me, it was important to do it “just so,” but I’m not sure if anyone noticed.

In retrospect, I wish I’d read Steve Pavlina’s Living Congruently essay, sooner.  I have had too many plates spinning at the same time.

Following his advice to articulate a purpose, I’ve spent a couple of days this week, considering what’s important to me… what brings me such delight,  I sing in the shower (literally and figuratively).

Here’s what I’ve realized:

My life definitely focuses on people, especially those close to me.  My husband and children bring me joy, daily.  So do my friends, personal associates, clients & collectors, fans… and even the strangers I talk to when I’m in line at the grocery store.

In addition to the people in my life, here’s what lends continuity to all that I do, and what I aspire to:

  • To illuminate the past for inspiration.
  • To live a life of transcendent elegance and simplicity.
  • To savor the ever-changing magnificence of nature.
  • To share a reverence for the abundant beauty in everyday life.

That list ties together my love of travel, history and selective research, my passion for theatre, my artistic expressions in visual arts and writing, my urge to inspire others, and — last but not least — my spirituality.

So, as the agricultural year is concluding, I feel very pleased with the decisions I’ve made and where I am right now.  The paths are converging nicely, and I have a focus and confidence that was lacking.

I understand what what motivates me, and what I hope to accomplish. With this clarity, life simply makes more sense to me.

I’m smiling as I write this, and getting ready to work on this and a few other paintings in progress.

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