One year ago today I invited artists to send me their confidential New Year’s resolutions. several hundred did. I promised to copy the emails back to you today so that you might review them, and I have. If you participated — thanks. I sincerely hope the exercise was valuable. If you want to see this letter and some of your input from that time please go to: Resolutions 2001.
I learned a few things: Some artists don’t believe in resolutions. Some artists find that when resolutions are let out into the world, they automatically self-sabotage. Some artists value the commitment. These are the fine-tuners among us. These folks believe in progress. They know that life is a fluid art. They blame themselves when they fail. They know they are their own best guru.
Using the methods of others together with my own, here’s an effective way to turn resolutions into action: Make it an event. Go reverently to some quiet or secret place: a wood, a park bench, your car. Plan on taking at least an hour. Make a long list. Visualize anything, everything; let your imagination soar. What’s needed? What do you really want? What’s practical? Throw in some luck. Edit your notes on a second sheet and chuck the redundant but not the impossible. Inhale the resolutions and then tuck them into your pocket. Take a minute to build a small obos (three or more rocks piled on top of one another). You can come back in 365 days to see if it’s still standing.
Secrets are best, but begin right away to leak those resolutions that will affect others. Here’s mine: “This is the year I’ll circumnavigate the world in one of my vintage cars and paint a painting a day on the road.”
PS: “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” (Oprah Winfrey)
Esoterica: My sketching trip is pencilled into three campaigns with air returns between. Vancouver, B.C., Canada to Nome, Alaska, USA. Anadyr, Siberia to Le Havre, France. Halifax, Nova Scotia to Vancouver, B.C. Canada. It starts May 1, 2002. Advice is welcome.
The following are selected responses to the above and other letters. Thank you for writing.
Resolve to just be
by Martine Gourbault
This year I am trying for the less specific resolutions and more for a way to just be. More courageous, open to all possibility, adventurous, to have clarity of purpose, to find joy in everything. I will narrow it all down so that one or two words will suffice to define the feeling I am looking for. I will keep that word or two in my consciousness, meditate on it regularly then I’ll watch and see what shows up. I have found in the past that specific resolutions look great on Jan 1st. and then they fizzle out. The diet, the exercise program, the taking up of this or the giving up of that. Sometimes those resolutions require too damn much discipline, I get lazy, I forget.
(Name withheld to avoid complications)
I resolve to paint like I was making love to a man I love and hunger for with the abandonment of sensual pleasure, like the scent of a David Austin rose, like a solitary midnight dance by a fountain, a meal in Tuscany, a skinny-dip with a swarm of orange dragonflies swarming my sun-baked brow, as if every stroke was filled with meaning and free at the same time, inexplicably right, on that day, in that moment.
Resolve to feel the satisfaction
by Stewart Turcotte
I spent years in the sales trade. Salesmen, if they are well instructed and updated, are used to experiencing the pep talks from well-meaning motivators. They have all the jargon and sayings down pat. Some that ring true are particularly good at New Years. Many people think they are above the need for resolutions, advice and guidance (even their own). We all need help in accomplishing what we start out to do because even with self-starters, a jump-start is needed. Consider this, a skier looking down the ski jump at his landing spot still needs gravity to get down the hill. People who fail to plan, plan to fail. I have great ideas and lots of ability but it sure is nice to make plans and then carry them out. It not only ensures that things get done, it rewards you by giving a feeling of satisfaction from having completed something previously planned.
by Pat Hart
Last night, while rereading The Painter’s Keys with the hope of ending a bout of (unproductive) procrastination, I came to the “Seven Secrets.” On a previous reading, I had thought this hilarious, but not taken much notice of the Secrets. Last night, they appeared to be just what I needed and so, though I rarely make resolutions, I copied them out this morning in 16pt type and intend to see if reading them every day will hypnotize me into doing better!
(RG note) The “Seven Secrets” as explained in my book The Painter’s Keys are Strategy, Work, Set, Clock, Alone, Rejection and Distribution. I also lean heavily and thankfully on Stephen Covey‘s remarkable Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
by Sherry Purvis, Kennesaw, Georgia USA
Regarding repairing a damaged painting, I have a still life that I painted about 6 years ago. It was damaged at an art fair some time back and I have never repaired it. There is a table with collard greens, a piece of pottery, and two lemons. When this painting fell from its easel a 4 inch slice occurred in the center of the painting. I let it stay as it is until recently. I took the painting from the wall in the dining room and put a thick piece of Styrofoam on the wall behind the torn section. I then wrote a note that said ” I told you I didn’t like damn collard greens,” then I took a large butcher knife and stuck it through the note and the slice of the painting and into the Styrofoam behind the painting. What a fun piece this has become. Now everyone that comes in not only sees it but walks up to it to see what the note says. I think we have to remember to have fun with this art stuff.
by Lorna Dockstader, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
I live in Canada. A gallery owner just north of NYC has asked me to send her some work sometime soon. Where can I obtain the information I require regarding shipping works to the USA that will be for sale. Also who should pay for the shipping? Is this something I should pursue as it is such a long distance from Calgary? I searched the internet and found the location quite satisfactory. Should my prices be the same as they are in Canada?
(RG note) From Canada to the USA Purolator and UPS work well. They can take care of the customs paperwork and will pick up at the door if you make the request. I have an account and they take the anxiety out of the job. I believe in sending out prepaid. It’s the generally accepted norm for them to return prepaid. Prices on works of art should be adjusted to be approximately the same as your home currency in all countries. Go for it.
Traveling across Russia
by Yaroslaw Rozputnyak, Moscow, Russia
Considering a round-the-world travel from Anadyr is necessary to notice, that travel from Anadyr through all Far East is possible mainly with use an air and sea way. Railway and automobile ways are absent in impassable bogs of Siberia to west and southwest from Anadyr. Overland travel is possible in the south – from Vanino in Khabarovsk region. Also the Russia is country of social contrasts, here is possible to meet very much good and very bad people, attention therefore is required to give special personal, financial, and technical safety. Travel to Europe from Far East is very expensive. Most rationally – railway transportation from Khabarovsk territories. On automobile highways now is not safe for the lonely travelers, frequently even the militia differs by nothing from the bad people. The foreigner here can lose a lot of money and nobody protects him. Simply, it is necessary to be Russian man either to know Russian or to have familiar in all cities, where the traveler will pass. In the Russia frequently there are revolutions, putsches, inflation and crises. Therefore, the traveler should have emergency system of external material help and/or emergency plan of an exit from travel.
(PS) Do you know the Russian folk New Year is 14 January and Russian Christmas is 7 January?
by Josanne Van Hees
Your trip really interests me. What a good idea! Just Halifax to Vancouver is quite a drive. Some parts, maybe all of Saskatchewan are really flat.
(RG note) Life can have its flat spots, but not landscape.
One a day
by Ann Templeton, Ruidoso Downs, NM, USA
A painting a day? You must never have to wash clothes, dishes, floors; cook, do bookwork, entertain grandkids, nor entertain a spouse, or any of the other mundane enterprises that consume time.
Universe supports all truths
by Radha/Linda Saccoccio, New York City, NY, USA
I have to tell you that this quote, “Not all those who wander are lost” sings to my heart. It always gives me great comfort when I come back to the realization that my spirit is that of a wanderer. I believe if a wanderer can be true to this then she/he no longer has to worry about being lost… the universe supports all truths.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond our measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.”(Nelson Mandela, quoting Marianne Williamson)
You may be interested to know that artists from every state in the USA, except Nevada, every province in Canada, except PEI, and at least 75 countries worldwide have visited these pages in the last three days.
Thanks to all who continue to send in your confidential resolutions for the Year 2002. These will be carefully archived and sent back to you on December 31, 2002. Thanks also to the artists who wrote with circumnavigation advice — like this from Janet Morgan: “What is your route between Siberia and Le Havre? I could help you out with Kyrgzystan (had a show at the National Museum of Art & have friends there) and with Uzbekistan.” And Peggy Small whose husband Eric told her to tell me to take lots of oil (engine oil). And Noory Masliyah who asked if there might be a workshop or two along the way. (Thinking about it Noory)
(contributed by Terry Willox)
“If you don’t know where you’re going…all roads lead there”
“The irrational is not necessarily unreasonable”
“All modern thought is permeated by the idea of thinking the unthinkable”
“The sad thing about artificial intelligence, is that it lacks artifice and therefore intelligence”
(RG note) The Resource of Art Quotations is the largest collection of art quotes anywhere — and growing all the time. The four quotes above aren’t in yet, but they will be if we find out who said them. We are particularly looking at the present time for the valuable words of contemporary artists and arts educators. Thanks for sending your quotes.