Thursday, March 30, 2006

Status Check

I really don’t get into the whole New Year’s thing, and normally refuse to make resolutions in protest of the implied notion that we all need a day once a year when we recommit ourselves to do all of the things that we should already be doing. If you want to do something, why wait until the start of a new year?

Despite my decidedly anti-resolution feelings, I gave in and made some resolutions this year, and I published them here for other people to see. Now I’m accountable – oops!!

I just remembered my lapse of judgment in making said resolutions this morning, and decided to check my progress so far this year. Apparently it’s the end of March already, and the first quarter of the year is coming to a close (even though it feels like it’s only been 2006 for like, two weeks). The good news is, I think I’m making good progress!! Maybe I should make resolutions more often…

Here they are:

1) Obtain gallery representation for my landscape paintings.

I thought this was the most challenging of my goals, but I’m almost there. I’m meeting with a gallery this weekend and another next weekend to show them my paintings in person. Assuming all goes well and my paintings don’t look awful in person compared to online, I will be able to mark this off my list. This of course is mostly thanks to KT for being the coolest friend ever and putting in a good word about me with her gallery owner friends (thanks!!), and the plein air painting org I joined for getting my name out there. So, please cross your fingers for me at 11 am on Sunday when I will be showing my paintings, in real life, to a gallery owner (and a nice gallery, at that), for the FIRST time ever. Eeeek!! I’m excited and nervous – I feel like I’m going to a job interview or something.

2) Get a painting accepted to the Arts for the Parks competition or an Oil Painters of America show.

Done. Got a painting accepted to the OPA show, which surprised the heck out of me. Now I have to actually paint a picture from a national park if I want to enter AFTP – we’ll see how that goes. I have until May 31st to get that entry together…

3) Find the right piece of property to buy in Steamboat Springs so Nate and I can eventually build the mountain cabin we’ve been dreaming about for years.

Done. We found three pieces of property in the Stagecoach Lake area and closed on them two weeks ago. We decided to forego the waterfront property and be logical and buy some property near the lake that would allow for a better investment opportunity (that sounds so boring and grown up - sigh…). The plan is to build a cabin for us on one lot, then build a couple of spec homes on the others this year and next. Of course, this means that now I have to commit to a serious budget because we spent all our money on land – grr….

4) Think about having kids (yes, think about it – I’m not committing to anything here)

Um, no comment.

On second thought, that makes it sound like I’m pregnant or something, so just to clear things up – I am NOT pregnant.

5) Swim 200,000 yards (swam ~80,000 in 2005, which wasn’t nearly enough considering that I love the water)

I hate to admit that I’ve only swam 15,700 yards so far, and that half of those were from two tough masters practices in early March. Which indicates that I’ve only hit the pool about 5 times this year. Oops. Things have been moving so well with my art that I’ve neglected my triathlon habit bigtime – I think I’ve actually come to terms with the fact that there will be no triathlon season for me this year. Why bother if I can’t commit to a decent training schedule? I might try to do some open water swimming and trail running races, but I’m not stressing about it. It’s just not a priority this year, and that’s okay with me (even if all my triathlon friends think I’m being lazy).

Monday, March 20, 2006


It's the first day of spring, which means (of course) that it's snowing and that it took me and hour and a half to get to work this morning.

Nevermind the fact that it was 70 degrees in Denver a few weeks ago. Since it's the first day of spring, it just HAD to snow. I would probably be happy about this if I didn't have to work and could go skiing today, but since I had to slog my way into the office this morning I'm not feeling so excited about it.

I am so ready for summer.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Geeking Out

You know you’re an art geek when:

A) You have a temper tantrum on the way to work because your favorite CD is skipping, and upon investigation you find that you managed to get blue oil paint on it last night.

B) It completely makes your day when you visit your favorite artist’s website and find that he has updated it for the first time in months with NEW images. Woohoo – inspiration!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Taking the Leap

I’ve been dreaming of being an artist for what seems like my entire life. If you had asked me when I was 12 what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have undoubtedly answered that I wanted to be an artist. There was never any question.

Somewhere along the way, I lost touch with that dream and took a big detour into engineering. Now I’m digging myself out of that hole, and feeling like I’m on the right track once again, but it’s been tough. I’ve been painting seriously for three years now, and while my work has improved immeasurably, there haven’t been any tangible milestones to imply that I might be on my way to the realization of that childhood dream.

To a point though, I’m the one who determines my success or failure at this venture, and my lack of progress so far is a direct result of my actions (or inaction, to be more accurate).

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.” — Robyn Davidson

So, I’ve decided it’s time to act, and this past weekend was my weekend to start.

I got a kick in the pants on Friday when a gallery in the mountains found my work through a painting organization I belong to, and contacted me about the possibility of showing my work. I have a meeting set up in a few weeks to show them my paintings in person – hopefully they like them as much in real life as they did on the web!

Thanks to Nate gloating about my acceptance into the OPA show, I also ended up showing my website to a gallery owner downtown who I highly respect and trust. My work isn’t to the point that he would think of representing me (he carries a lot of very established, well-known landscape painters), but I value his opinion very much and he seemed pleasantly surprised by the quality of my work.

So the good thing is that I learned that having gallery owners view my work isn’t the big, scary thing I had thought it might be. The world didn’t end. I didn’t face immediate rejection. And best of all, some doors might have opened that were previously locked closed due to my fear of failure.

With the boost of self-confidence that came from the gallery contact, I spent the weekend assembling my marketing materials and portfolio for a few other opportunities. I sent off a package to apply for a weeklong painting residency in Southern Colorado, offered as a contest by a prominent magazine. Then I took what to me seemed to be a big leap and sent off another package to a prominent arts publication, asking them to consider featuring my work in one of their yearly emerging artist features.

Every inch of my being fought me as I put together the materials for both submissions – my brain was trying desperately to convince me that I wasn’t worthy, that it was a waste of time, that they would laugh at my submission or throw it in the trash. But I decided that I’ve spent too many years listening to those voices, and that it was time to make a move. I figure it’s better to try than to never give myself the opportunity, right?

So, here I go, fingers crossed that some of these opportunities work out. Even if they don’t, I’ve taken my first steps. And those first steps will take me farther than staying in place ever will.

“The way to develop self-confidence is to do the thing you fear and get a record of successful experiences behind you. Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” — William Jennings Bryant

Friday, March 10, 2006

Wasting Time

So, I had a brief respite from meetings this morning, and of course I ended up taking this quiz rather than doing real work (maybe I need to work on my time management skills).

Anyhow, for Harry Potter addicts out there (Shannon), what Harry Potter character are you? Apparently, I'm Hagrid:

Pirate Monkey's Harry Potter Personality Quiz
Harry Potter Personality Quiz
by Pirate Monkeys Inc.

I used to be an INFP personality by the Meyers-Briggs, but haven't taken the test in a while, and think I've probably changed a bit. The description here fits me - I am very loyal to the people I consider my friends, and I do tend to work hard.

The part about being underappreciated doesn't sit well with me, but I do have a hard time seeking out praise. For instance, I'm very uncomfortable with putting my artwork out there for people to see. I'm at a point right now where I need to start approaching galleries to find representation, and putting my work out there is a big stumbling block for me. I feel like it would be boastful to send my work to someone with a message about how great it is and how they should want to represent me. It just rubs me the wrong way! Guess I'm going to have to get used to it if I want to get anywhere.

Okay, back to work now - seriously!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Below the Divide

Life has been over-the-top hectic for a while now. I thought I'd get a break at the end of February, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen. The good news is that I'm finally learning to enjoy painting as a sort of vacation from real life.

I used to let stress at work sap my energy, which left me with nothing left for painting. If work was busy, I wouldn't paint for weeks. I realized that I needed to learn to be more productive if I'm ever going to make this a full time pursuit, so I've been working on pushing through and painting in the face of stress. After all, painting is the only thing I do where my mind is so consumed by the process that I think of little else for hours.

That said, I managed to finish this painting last weekend. We took a backpacking trip up to Crater Lake in the Indian Peaks Wilderness near Granby last summer, and it was easily one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. This painting doesn't really show off the awe-inspiring beauty of the place, but it reminds me of the trip anyways. This was the view looking across the lake - our campsite was actually in the pine trees on the hill on th left hand side. I'm not 100% thrilled with this painting, but sometimes you've just got to call it done when you know you aren't getting anywhere.

Title: "Below the Divide"
Medium: Oil on Canvas
Size: 18x24"