Sunny side up

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Dear Artist,

Our attitudes determine our accomplishments. Recent emails about shared studio spaces, male-female dynamics, creative progress etc., showed us those who see the glass half empty and those who see it half full. Could it be, we wondered, that the half-empty folks were destined to have emptier and emptier glasses, while the half-full folks were bound to have fuller and fuller ones?

Could there be truth in such a simple and timeworn concept?

Maybe it’s the time of year — dark days in the Northern Hemisphere (right now our Down Under subscribers are generally upbeat). Anyway, a lot of negativity is out there. Okay, so maybe it’s tough being an artist, but maybe we need to delude ourselves that it isn’t tough at all — like it’s a joy, a privilege, an opportunity to enrich those around us, and a lot of fun to boot.

Psychologists tell us we tend to believe what we say, especially when we chant it over and over. It doesn’t seem to matter how unlikely the stuff is either — actions following words is one of the hazards of speaking, writing and thinking.

Here in the dark days of winter are a few words that might just keep your sunny side up:

Have a decent ego; cultivate self-esteem and individualism.

Keep an open mind; there’s more than one way to do things.

Focus on your processes; that’s where the joy comes in.

Be kind; it never hurts to give to others, even praise.

Be innocent; have a childlike — not childish — approach.

Be thankful, even for the smallest of blessings.

Be a perpetual student — be curious and seeking.

Filter your priorities — and don’t suffer fools.

Be creative; it’s the highest form of life.

Honour and respect time; it’s the main gift.

Be optimistic; the opposite holds no charms.

Develop good habits — they will develop you.

Be thrifty — waste not, want not.

Work to please yourself.

Be hard to please.

Best regards,

Robert

PS: “Keep your thoughts positive, because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive, because your words become your behaviours. Keep your behaviours positive, because your behaviours become your habits. Keep your habits positive, because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive, because your values become your destiny.” (Mahatma Gandhi)

Esoterica: A note regarding the clickbacks: We treasure all our mail. Very often, depending on which one of us is looking after it, we assemble the clickbacks from the first 50 or so letters that come in each time. We try for a range of opinion, new angles, fresh insights. Other times we’re dealing with conventional wisdom. Further, many excellent letters are too late for inclusion. As you may have noticed, we sometimes add these to the live comments. Wisdom and humour are always appreciated. Recently, an anonymous subscriber reminded us: “People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.”

 


Fill the glass
by Mike Young, Oakville, ON, Canada
 

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“Expect less”
mixed media
by Mike Young

One solution for the “glass half empty” folks is to get a smaller glass. Better still, be determined to fill the glass. Robert’s prescriptions are a start.

There again, in a sustainable world, we may all have to expect less and learn to embrace with what we do have or what we can give.

 



There are 3 comments for Fill the glass by Mike Young

From: Brenda — Jan 15, 2010

‘Expect less’… get less; Expect more … get more! “As a man (someone) thinks in his heart, so is he.” Our ‘glass’ is as full as we want it to be.

From: sharon cory — Jan 15, 2010

Love the Art and the practical wisdom for a sustainable life.

From: Anonymous — Jan 17, 2010

One gets what one expects and excepts.

 


Artist, give thanks
by Paula Cravens, Canal Flats, BC, Canada
 

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“Beverly and Bonita”
acrylic painting, 16 x 20 inches
by Paula Cravens

My favourite winter solstice prayer begins with “Thank you for the darkness, without it we would not appreciate the light.” To which I will add thanks for being an artist, one of those people who sees the beauty in a sunset, a wave, the rust on an old vehicle or the freckles on a draft horse. I believe artists experience this world more profoundly than other people and are then compelled to try and share their discoveries. What could be better than that?

 

 



There is 1 comment for Artist, give thanks by Paula Cravens

From: Anonymous — Jan 15, 2010

Not much Paula, not much!

Jeffrey J. Boron

 


Not sharing core ideas
by Cindy Michaud, FL, USA
 

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“Viera Wetlands”
pastel painting
by Cindy Michaud

Recently, an anonymous subscriber reminded us: “People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.”

I could not agree more, Mr. Genn, and I thank you for reminding me of this… I thought maybe it was just the folks I sometimes hang with! I have recently started NOT sharing my big ideas for projects or series or new experiments. I just write them down and mull them over (and over and over) and suddenly (hours, days, weeks or sometimes months later) the key as to how to make something work “magically” appears. I have learned the hard way that sharing a new idea early in its formative stages was as good as burying it, as those with no energy, no imagination or no curiosity (the half-empty-ers) would poke at it and beat on it until I had no hope of making it happen. They not only took the wind from my sails but they made me appear foolish for even wanting to try. Keeping my “projects” under wraps and close to the vest has shielded them (and me) until they were ready to make their grand debut to the admiring and shocked masses. A couple of books, several successful series and a grand collaborative project later, I still keep the core idea a secret until fertile ground presents itself!!



There are 3 comments for Not sharing core ideas by Cindy Michaud

From: Martha Haulani Vockrodt — Jan 14, 2010

My mentor, classical artist Julian Ritter,from east USA, retired on Maui Hawaii now deceased, known for his sensuous nudes and clown paintings, shared at a workshop “dont talk about your works in progress” it just resticts the creativity.

From: Connie — Jan 14, 2010

I have sabotaged myself too many times by opening my mouth too soon and not realizing this was a problem. Thanks for the insight. I will maintain my silence until I have something to show for my thoughts.

From: Anonymous — Jan 15, 2010

it’s not over ’till the fat lady sings and you sing!!D. Weed

 


Erroneous assumptions
by Nicoletta Baumeister, Vancouver, BC, Canada
 

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“Looking For The Bright Spots”
acrylic painting
by Nicoletta Baumeister

Not only do we tend to believe what we say, but we tend to answer whatever question we give our brains to work on. Commonly asked questions such as why do rotten things keep happening to me, why can’t I get this right, or why is this painting so horrible, will invariably be answered but not in a constructive way. In the first question, the asker is assuming that rotten things are always happening and focuses all attention away from the positive things. In the second, the assumption is that nothing is right, whereas usually most of what we do is reasonably effective. Changing the question to ‘what am I not getting right’ will lead much more quickly to a useable answer. Why is this painting so horrible? Well, is the composition balanced or not, cluttered or clear, dramatic or lackadaisical; is the colour harmonious or not, is there too much of every colour, or not enough warm or cold, is the light source consistent? Are there too many highlights? You get the drift. A large vague question is not useful, and an erroneous assumption will naturally lead to an erroneous answer…

 


Putting in the time
by James Lane, Markham, ON, Canada
 

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“Infinite Possibilities”
acrylic painting, 48 x 48 inches
by James Lane

I find that if I “just put the time in,” at times I discover my “groove,” I’m pleased with the work and that makes me happy. Of course when I’m on the outside of my “groove,” I’m not pleased with my work and that makes me miserable.

I find my batting average is 300 (3 out of 10 paintings). So I’m happy 33% of the time.

The only reason I’m responding to you is that I’m in that 33% zone.

I have to learn to anticipate that 33% of good groove when I’m in the 66% bad groove.



There are 3 comments for Putting in the time by James Lane

From: annonomyus — Jan 14, 2010

WORK HARDER. PAINT MORE.

Its hit or miss in the art world.Youll get a better batting average.

From: anonomyous — Jan 15, 2010

Love this painting…colors are vibrant.

From: Anonymous — Jan 15, 2010

Still sounds like we are talking baseball. Art right now is hit or miss. Am working from things (landscapes) in my mind and it is difficult. Need to get the muse back or color control. D. Weed

 

Painting again
by Sara Sparks, Wakefield, QC, Canada
 

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“Sara’s Labyrinth”
photograph
by Sara Sparks

I understand the “negative”… I’d lost my muse, or we weren’t communicating or something… but it had been years since I’d painted with any of the enthusiasm I once did. My work had progressed, it was technically excellent, but somewhere in my heart I was missing a real connection… What was I painting??? I could “render” anything, but when I’d sit down to paint it was a chore… for years. At one point I very nearly let go of my art but knew I couldn’t… so it dragged on.

I’d been getting your emails for… 10 years, but couldn’t read them. It was too painful to know that others were stepping up to the plate, while I seemed to be missing the point altogether. Terrible artists were thrilled with their work. I could hardly speak with anyone about my art. I even typed in “I have lost my muse” in google search and there were a myriad of other lost souls… mostly writers, but what they were saying I heard loud and clear.

Kind people suggested “the right things to do”… but I knew by the responses that these creative souls were in the same dark hole as I. Writing drivel… or in my case… painting it… and then, I don’t know what happened but my muse came back.

Just like that, I’m painting again. I’m not doing great stuff, it doesn’t have huge depth, but I’m once more putting paint on canvas and I’m resisting the ever present urge to start critiquing it. My goal is to use up all the paint I’ve purchased… repeats of colors that I bought to try and encourage and jump start my inspiration… so I have four tubes of burnt sienna, 4 of yellow ochre, 4 burnt umber… etc … I’m going to use it all up. That’s my goal… not a show, or an amount of work, just use up my paint. Once I do that I shall reward myself with really excellent quality paint and brushes.

And, in theory, while trying to achieve this goal, I shall have a body of work which I may exhibit.

I understand the blanket a person can get under. Heavy and dark, but keep plugging away, like Sisyphus rolling the eternal rock perhaps the muse will take pity and sit down beside you again.



There are 3 comments for Painting again by Sara Sparks

From: Anonymous — Jan 15, 2010

Good for you, Sara. What a wonderful goal – just use up all the paint on hand. I’ll bet you’ll find that that muse is really just you. Bon courage.

George

From: Anonymous — Jan 15, 2010

You Go , Girl !!!! I ,too, have lost my muse … I don’t know where it went or even when it went. But its gone, and I bid it good bye and now I am ready to empty tubes of beautiful colour and plan to reward myself with the purchase of new tubes of even more glorious colour because I am geting into the groove and its happening NOW. Reading your letter was like reading what I had been experiencing and now I am going to experience a “new attitude” !

From: Dianne — Jan 15, 2010

The use of our muse is what sets us apart from the influence of technology. How cumbersome – albiet there’s been great advances of late in our technological world – is our world of machinery, in comparison to an original thought. Keep listening to your muse every day. See where it leads.

 


Start right now!
by Anne M. Huskey-Lockard
 

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“Love Entwined”
original painting
by Anne M. Huskey-Lockard

After a recent major surgery, and laying about for too long (okay, two weeks…) with nothing I could do other than recoup and exercise, I found that my love of my studio was a great inspiration. And the desire grew deeper and deeper to get out there and work. It has nothing to do (for the most part) with the dark of winter — how much do you love your work? I mean, really LOVE it? Do you live and breathe it? Do you want it more than anything?

While I have overdone it a bit physically, I have been limping about with joy, making simple mixed media and in general, being happy and totally unaware of whether it is daylight or dark. Or Winter or Summer.

I normally would say I go through “half empty” spells, but I have readjusted my attitude after two surgeries in one year. My glass is almost FULL! At least, as full as I can carry without spilling! Don’t wait for something traumatic to set your thinking right; start that path right now!

Attitude, awareness of seasonal depressive tendencies, and the willingness to put the work into changing how we think and perceive our life has much to do with us as artists. Frequently, for some, this is a second job — maintaining mental health and the ability to work. Keeping the process flowing.

If all else fails, fill a glass with water, set it within eye sight with a scribbled sign; “I am not empty. I am full. And I can always be refilled. So please keep me that way.”



There is 1 comment for Start right now! by Anne M. Huskey-Lockard

From: Sarah — Jan 15, 2010

Love your expression “…At least, as full as I can carry without spilling.” There is so much hope in that phrase, and a lot of wisdom.

 


Positive growth
by Veronica Funk, Airdrie, AB, Canada
 

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“Quiet”
acrylic painting, 36 x 40 inches
by Veronica Funk

I was so excited to read your letter today as I feel I’ve definitely experienced growth because of ‘the positive.’ A few years ago I thought I’d take advantage of one of the latest art marketing books, which, as I began to read through it felt absolutely inauthentic to me. So, I decided to follow my heart instead by utilizing my skills to be a contributing member of our community through my love of art. I began to volunteer as an art teacher on occasion in schools and the local public library, became a founding member of our local ARTS Society, an Art Committee Board Member for a nearby small town library and donated some of my finer pieces to great charities. All the while I kept painting and in the process made amazing friends who have been such a great support and encouragement, have sold work and received commissions for more, and have recently been hired as the Art Program Coordinator for our local library where I get to curate exhibits and arrange classes for our Junior Artists program. I get paid to have fun. And I believe it’s all come about because I’ve been giving instead of worrying about getting. I’ve certainly received much, much more than I’ve given and it has increased not only my self-esteem but my positive outlook on life.



There is 1 comment for Positive growth by Veronica Funk

From: Jeanette — Jan 15, 2010

Great painting! I love the simplicity of shapes and the color scheme.

 


A double-edged sword
by Chris Boghosian, Los Angeles, CA, USA
 

By nature, I am an immensely sensitive person, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I believe most artists are and need to be. And at times, I feel this sensitivity is a double-edged sword.

On the positive side, it informs and inspires our work. It allows us to observe elements in life which most take for granted or miss all together. Consequently, our art helps people to see afresh and anew.

On the flip side, our sensitivity ceaselessly reminds us of the immense corruption, brokenness, and depravity in the world. It is overwhelming at times, and, worse, gives the artist a sense of futility, i.e., nothing he/she does will make a difference. One’s motto becomes, “What’s the point?”

Perhaps productive artists are either overly optimistic people, insatiably driven to succeed, or simply disciplined. And maybe there is another type: the one who is broken and sad about the world and simply wants to cry through their art.



There are 2 comments for A double-edged sword by Chris Boghosian

From: Dorenda Crager Watson — Jan 15, 2010

This rings very true to me, Chris, as I have been told many times that I am “way too sensitive.” And there have been more times than I can count where I shut down with the thought of “what’s the point.” However, I urge the artists that are feeling broken and sad to please, please, please offer yourself and your art process to a child. Hang out with a niece or nephew, son or daughter, and create a work of art, volunteer to do a one-day art class at a local rec center or arts organization, organize an art day at a children’s hospital… you would be AMAZED at how this will lift your spirit, as you will be hanging out with beings that are truly creating without thought of consequence. No, it won’t stop the corruption in this world, but for a moment or two, it does give you hope! :)

From: anon — Jan 18, 2010

I think that artist’s (healthy) ego is very helpful when “what’s the point” strikes. I have been there many times and only lately I recognize my internal “savior” as ego. It’s just simply doing it’s job — getting me off my butt to do my work — period. For those like me, my advice is — cherish your fragile ego.

 


Expectations for 2010
by oliver, TX, USA
 

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“SIL24”
photograph
by oliver

A year or so ago you wrote a letter about getting prepared for tough economies. As I recall you said some important things like, get out of debt, work, work, work and set your expectations reasonably, appropriately and perhaps more modestly.

In addition to the physical dark days for us in the Northern Hemisphere — days are getting longer now YEA. I wonder how many of those who didn’t take your sage advice and get properly prepared as you advised are now struggling with lack of planning and too high a set of expectations and not enough internal satisfaction?

The economy is supposedly going to recover a little this year, but art sales are generally, except for the cream of the cream and a rare exception, going to be difficult again with artists competing very heavily for the opportunities that are there. Art sales, and luxury goods are usually amongst the last to recover. Most consumers will make sure they have a roof, buy a nicer meal, replace a worn wardrobe, car or tv before buying art. Your “filter priorities” and “waste not want not” speak to this yet again. People worried about losing their jobs will be paying off debt and saving as they can rather than splurging. We have a reported 10% unemployment and many say it may be as high as 17% because many have simply given up looking for work.

All that said I think your advice of a year ago as I recall it holds true again for this year and if expectations are properly set, “be thankful for the smallest blessings,” it will be easier to see the glass half full or full because you will have done well according to plan. I notice many of your plan items below state get satisfaction from the work itself and sharing with others.

Setting the table properly and getting prepared in tough times demonstrates you are a survivor and you will have grown, be well positioned and be ready for better times ahead. Just surviving with new good work, a few influential people knowing that you survived, still improving your work may be a great accomplishment for 2010.

 

Comments

comments

 

woa
 
011210_eden-compton-artwork

Newport Mooring

oil painting 6 x 6 inches
by Eden Compton

 

You may be interested to know that artists from every state in the USA, every province in Canada, and at least 115 countries worldwide have visited these pages since January 1, 2013.

That includes Al Wilson of Okanagan Falls, BC, Canada, who wrote, “I read an interesting review of a new book by Barbara Ehrenreich, Bright-Sided with subtitle: ‘How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America.’ The book stimulates thought regarding the somewhat unquestioning acceptance (by optimists such as myself) of ‘the power of positive thinking.’ ”

And also Doug Williams of Vancouver, BC, Canada, who wrote, “This is all very lovely positive stuff, Robert. Take a look at this for the other view.

And also Jill Charuk of Canada, who wrote, “This is very timely advice. It reminds me of the Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. The first one is “Be impeccable with your word.” Our word can do great damage, especially by “cursing” someone, calling them stupid or untalented. Artists at times can curse themselves. Time to stop and be gentle.”

 

Archived Comments

Enjoy the past comments below for Sunny side up

 

 

From: Sue Rowe www.suerowe.com — Jan 11, 2010

Gandhi was right. Also, if you can be positive around others they often carry on the practice. Drop the pebble. Make the wave.

From: Dave C — Jan 11, 2010

You’re right Sue. As a believer in the Law of Attraction I believe that we surround ourselves as best we can, with people that are on the same wave length we are. If we are generally upbeat and positive, then we will tend to associate with those that are upbeat. If someone that is dark and brooding steps into our group, we tend to tolerate it for only so long, before we begin to find reasons to avoid them. One of my hobbies, besides art, is ballroom dancing. Not because I’m any good at it, but because I enjoy being around the people that are drawn to ballroom dancing. You can’t go out on Friday or Saturday night for some waltzes and foxtrots without having a fun time and everyone that is there is there to have fun.

From: Stede Barber — Jan 11, 2010

So perfect for the winter months! I loved the reminder that those enjoying longer daylight hours are a bit sunnier just naturally…I just don’t take my discourage moments too seriously…and feed myself wonderful quotes and reminders, like this article. Humor helps too…thanks!

From: Deb Droog — Jan 11, 2010

All of us at one time or another experience dark days and I believe this is just part of being alive and living in the moment. I’ve been told it is the artist in me, which I personally don’t believe, although I do allow others to believe it, for the drama if nothing else. I believe the sun comes up each morning and we chose whether we open the blinds or not. It is my choice to be sunny side up or not. But then everything revolves around choices. Fortunately there are many in my life that burst in and throw open the blinds and kick start my go-get-em. Surrounding yourself with positive sunshine seekers is the way to go. Positive people, a good debate, a solid cause, good music, cokes, and laughter are sunshine on the darkest days. Fill your life with them and your days and work will reflect it.

From: Anna — Jan 11, 2010

Yes indeed! Surround yourself with good people, and life will be good. If someone does not enhance your life they are most likely detracting from it. I must admit I do spend more time than I would like trying to work out how to “Nicely” end associations with people who bring me down, not easy when you are a person who tends to hide from confrontation. I spent far to many years humouring people who seemed to enjoy my company far more than I ever enjoyed theirs. It took a few decades to realize that a few good friends are worth their weight in gold, and are to be cherished, whereas associates have their place but must be treated with caution as often they are not who they led you to believe them to be. I can now say with confidence “I Love my Life and my people”.

From: Darla — Jan 12, 2010

I don’t think it’s as easy as all that. A lot of times emotions are like the weather — you take what you get on any given day. While counting your blessings and trying to take an interest in things around you can help (like an umbrella), they don’t stop the rain.

Though I have noticed that the really bad days are when you can’t seem to see outside your own problems, and good days are when you can take joy in other people and things.

From: Maria Luisa from Italy — Jan 12, 2010
From: Judith — Jan 12, 2010

Recently, an anonymous subscriber reminded us: “People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.”

We always told our kids that it didn’t matter whether or not you said you can, or you can’t; you’ll be right.

From: Rick Rotante — Jan 12, 2010

I have to thank my students who have given me renewed insight on painting. I learn from you every day and try and use this knowledge in my own work.

I also want to thank those who have taken the time and made the effort to contact me thoughtout the year from this site.

Thanks and may all your painting days by satisfactory.

From: Madison Mason — Jan 12, 2010

I read your periodic missives with gratitude and, often, bemusement. I won’t comment on what I think of some of the silly people you have to deal with other than to quote for their edification, in this case, the late, great Johnny Mercer:

“Ya gotta ac-cen-tuate the positive, e-lim-inate the negative, latch on to the affirmative, and DON’T MESS WITH Mr. In-between.”

Tell that to your fans who so confuse themselves with nonsense.

From: Paul deMarrais — Jan 12, 2010

My father had a phrase he used that still sticks with me. He used to encourage me to ‘suspend my disbelief’. Hearing that phrase as a teenager didn’t do much for me, but now I see it as a very important idea. To believe is to have faith and to have faith conquers fear every time. It is much easier to doubt and to fear, to seek out failure like a comfortable warm bed. Why do we seek failure? Because for many of us , it is failure that runs through our personal story, the short narrative that replays over and over in our brain. ‘ Wouldn’t you know, I got screwed again’. ‘The world is a cruel place, just a series of kicks to the head” etc. etc. Lately I’ve been reading a similar idea in a few different books. Why not ‘change the story?” Think back over an event, and change your interpretation to a more positive one….and then move on. I am finding it works! With each new interpretation, I feel like a skeleton key is turning the lock of a rusty prison cell and i’m rushing out to a beautiful landscape. It’s slowly clearing out space for a creative thought, a positive thought, a loving thought. Thoughts are the gasoline that runs our engine. Better thoughts, better performance. Naturally my good buddies fear and failure are there to hang out with me at every moment I seek them out. I’ve started the process to banish them from my home and studio. I’m starting to think and thinking is good. I think I’m going to be happy, to enjoy each day, to be grateful for small blessings, to treat myself and other people well, to live life like it is the great gift it is. Thinking will eventually make me change my ways.

From: Joe Faith — Jan 12, 2010

I’ve come to the realization that the glass half empty is a myth. Despite the insistence of hords of comtrollers, fearmongers and salespersons who would have you believe otherwise.

And thanks for the Ghandi quote.

From: Dave Reid — Jan 12, 2010

Most of us have an inner critic we have to debate with in order to carry on with the project we are planning to do. Keeping a positive, sunny, attitude helps make light (pun intended) of our critic’s negativity. it’s not always easy to keep arguing but one can build a list of wins which keeps fear at a distance.

Joining a group with common interests (like the ballroom dancer) helps keep one’s life in a perspective such that we can look at the sunny side of the street.

From: Loraine Wellman — Jan 12, 2010

I think this time of year is when a lot of us are thinking “where do I go from here?” Most artists seem to be eternal students and sometimes we turn too critical. But, paint we must, because we are driven to it- and you are so right to point out the necessity of seeing things “sunny side up”. I often think of a quote from Mary Cassatt about her contribution . “I have touched with a sense of art some people- they have felt the love and the life. Can you offer me anything to compare to that joy for an artist? ”

, Richmond, B.C.

From: Richard Smith — Jan 12, 2010

I once saw a terrific poster in a winery where I worked, which started off with all those “feel good” kind of statements that are in this letter. But the last line said, “but when you’re up to your ass in alligators, it’s hard to remember your main objective was to drain the swamp.” Now me, I’m a pretty positive kind of guy, but I swear, there are times when I feel like I’m “up to my ass in alligators”.

From: Kristina Zallinger — Jan 13, 2010

Positivity breeds positivity while negativity breeds negativity. This seems like a simple ditty. Having a positive life means that you are moving forward to reach goals, life accomplishments and the right to happiness in this world. If you are negative, you get what you ask for; an inability to pursue a life of dreams, of thoughts, of joy.

In regard to your art, we all know, based on my above said comments, that the same repercussions will occur. A painting, for instance, will blossom in the light of the positive painter. Colors take over, wheras the darkness of negativity leaves the artist with a muddy canvas.

Personally, I am positive. I get up in the morning saying the day is “great”! With this positive proclamation, I am destined to have a greater than good day. It works. Try this mantra as an artist living in your realm of art.

Negative behavior; complaining about the day, being generally sour in attitude will give you that sort of result.

Throw positive accolades into the atmosphere and you have embellished the Universe as well as yourself!

From: Haim Mizrahi — Jan 13, 2010

Sometimes it does not pay to be kind, because kindness triggers complacency.

what do I mean by that?

well, we are not in the “business” of art and the creative process for the sake of an artiticial relief and the wonder of placebo.

this is the real world, the sharp pain that hightens the sensitivity of awerness, any attempt to ease the pain will pull us back to the darkness of premature speculations. there is only one way to explain it, there is only one way to feel it, there is only one way to express is there is only one way to digest it…. the way through which words cannot penetrate the quiete meaning, and that is to say: if you cannot take the heat, find another occupation, do not waste your time figuring-out the half-empty and the half full. creating art is all about the extreme commitment to the seed that shows a new face every day, if you can understand that, you rule the territory of doubt and hessitation.

I, sometimes, feel that you are dealing with serious issues with an uncalled for shallowness, talk more about the nerve ends that leave us puzzeled in the midst of a crucial decision making process, think about it, scratch your head and when you think you are ready to write about it, scratch your head again.

it is nice to be considerate and kind but in the “business” of art harshness, sometimes, helps you relax, and the truth, that no one speaks about, helps find the real calling.

From: tatjana — Jan 13, 2010

I think that this “positivity” thing is being seriously misused. When I realize that I am not on the preferred end with banks, employers and such abusers, their positivity and enthusiasm to push common folks down doesn’t breed any positivity in me.

From: Susan Reid — Jan 14, 2010

you always have time for the things you put first…

From: anonymous — Jan 14, 2010

They said it couldn’t be done,

They said it was not worth the fight.

But when we started to do it,

We said, my God, they were right!

From: Michael Nachoff — Jan 14, 2010

“If you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right” – Henry Ford

From: Rodney Mackay — Jan 14, 2010

All of this is very, very well but we are never, never in control of this world we live in as recent events make clear. Reality does indeed intrude.

From: Karen Gillis Taylor — Jan 14, 2010

Just picking up a brush is the beginning of an act of faith. A young child does this without even thinking. “Oh look, paints, let’s see what I can make!” Lessons we can learn from children really can help us get beyond the self-doubt or discouragement that sabotages our artistic process. First grade kids are eager to grab the paintbrush and get started, even if they aren’t sure what the outcome will be. They paint with abandon and for the joy of the process. It would be a worthwhile experiment to begin with a new approach, project or subject matter. Try painting something you’ve never dreamed of painting before. It will be your chance to “try on” the childlike spirit in a real way. You may even discover a new path that could be just what you’ve been waiting for. Oh, and there is no harm in remembering that fun is allowed in painting!

Niwot, CO

From: Suzanne Smith — Jan 14, 2010

Your list was wonderful right up to that last item. Being hard to

please causes a lot of trouble. No No No

From: Rusty (Lee) Mothes — Jan 14, 2010

I’ll add one word, three times: “Appreciate, appreciate, appreciate”

From: Eric Chilvers — Jan 14, 2010

In most of our activities we have a choice. The entrepreneurial spirit, to which most artists subscribe, suggests we need sharp brushes and shiny shoes.

From: Erin Prais-Hintz — Jan 14, 2010

I am not a painter…okay, maybe I am a painter wannabe… I have the brushes and the canvas and the paints, but I have only painted sporadically. But as a jewelry artist I can pretty much say that this applies no matter your chosen medium. I have been reflecting on the nature of our attitudes of late. Like many others I have picked a word for 2010 that I hope will frame my time this year. INSPIRE. I want to be inspired by all that is around me and I want to inspire others. To be whatever they want to be.

I also decided that wasn’t enough. I needed another word. My glass is half full and filling rapidly and I believe it has a lot to do with my success. People gravitate to me because I am looking up. So that is my second word. UP…chin up, keep it up, live it up, give it up, bubble up, don’t give up… UP is the way to be.

Thank you for sharing your inspiration today. I am so glad that I found you.

Enjoy the day!

Erin

From: Dayle Ann Stratton — Jan 15, 2010

I have always disliked the glass-half-full-half-empty metaphor. To me, it is meaningless, an over simplification that makes something black/white rather than with shades of meaning. I too think that there is an over emphasis on false optimism, as if everything could be made ok if we just don’t let ourselves feel the bad things. Pain, anger, disappointment, anguish, fear are all real and need to be felt and embraced in order to for us to let go of them and keep them from hindering growth. They coexist with the myriad small joys of life, and all are part of living in connection with the world and our neighbors (and therefore, of art).

If I were to speak of a glass, mine empties and refills, more like the flow of the tides than a finite bounded space. There is beauty in the empty glass and joy in refilling it, nourishment in drinking from it, security in knowing that it is there.

From: Mary Hicks — Jan 15, 2010

I enjoy reading of how other creative people come to terms with the up and down cycles in work and life in general. I like to think I’m a half full thinker and act on that premise.

Even with this attitude, I know there are times when the glass is empty. I start looking about to figure out how to “jump start” the filling process, not wasting energy mourning the empty glass.

 

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