Dear Artist,

When Paul McCartney was a boy, his Dad’s big catchphrase was, “Do It Now.” “You know, you would sort of say, “No, well, I’ll do it later”, wrote Paul. “And he would say, ‘No, do it now.’” He called it ‘DIN’. “That was just his particular little catchphrase.”

Our Army, Our Protectors (1978) Gouache, paper 61 x 86 cm by Maria Prymachenko (1909–1997)

Our Army, Our Protectors (1978)
Gouache, paper
61 x 86 cm
by Maria Prymachenko (1909–1997)

Here’s an idea. Apply a system whereby for a period of, say, a week, every time you have a creative idea, no matter how small or ambitious, dumb, impractical or off-course, prioritize it immediately and make some physical something that honours it. Change your values, if only temporarily, regarding what is actually urgent. I mean, do it now. I woke up recently after having dreamt clearly of a painting I had not yet made. Without the usual planning, choring, contemplation or attempts at bettering it, I instead rose from bed, went to my studio and painted it. I can personally verify that this system can work wonders for a funk, creative anxiety and other doldrums. It can also advance an entire practice. DIN is a shortcut to reassuring us, in the ineffable way that making something can, of the value of motion.

Two Headed Chicken, 1977 gouache, fluorescent paint, paper 62.8 x 85.4 cm by Maria Primachenko One of 25 of the artist's works burned in the Ivankiv Historical Museum, as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Two Headed Chicken, 1977
Gouache, fluorescent paint, paper
62.8 x 85.4 cm
by Maria Primachenko
One of 25 of the artist’s works burned in the Ivankiv Historical Museum, as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

And while it is not necessary to try to exhibit or monetize this creative system by Making a Delivery (my own Dad’s tried-and-true catchphrase), when I sent my DIN to my gallery, my dealer asked me how she might pitch it to a prospective client. “I dreamt it,” I said. It almost felt silly – after 30 years of intellectual justifications, to reply in such a way. She sold the painting, which was a feat, because it was a new idea, and it was large and unwieldy. I asked myself what it could all mean; for something to be so simple and straightforward, in a process I had always been convinced to be anything but.

Do It Now challenges not just our impulses to delay and procrastinate, but also why we do so. Perhaps we believe that our ideas need to be worthy of executing; that some steps must be taken before the wonderful thing gets to exist. I re-evaluated how I determined the worthiness of my ideas and my own output altogether; how difficult things needed to be and how I earn the joy of the actual activity of painting. “If you do not act on a suggestion at first,” wrote Robert Henri, “you grow dull to its message.” When forced to face the power and effectiveness of DIN, self-sabotaging habits become a little harder to ignore. Perhaps time and experience, a great collaborator, flow and other magic elements were also on my side that day. But still, even when in the river rapids, where work and ideas rush in the downstream, there is an ocean of creative plenty, ever closer, in doing it now. “A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work,” wrote E. B. White, “will die without putting a word to paper.”

The threat of War, 1986 by Maria Primachenko

The Threat of War, 1986
63.5 x 85 cm
by Maria Primachenko



PS: “The shortest answer is doing the thing.” (Ernest Hemingway)

Esoterica: By doing it now, you risk creating immediately, more beauty, more communication, helping someone, and nourishing others and yourself. In 2018, after hundreds of songs, Paul finally wrote one about the early instruction that informed one of the most important and impactful creative lives in history – his. “This has always been in my mind, this ‘Do it now’ thing,” he said. “I’m on a journey, I’ve been invited to go somewhere, so if I’m going in my imagination somewhere, and the idea is that if I don’t do it now, I may never get to this place. Basically it’s a song, an imaginary journey suggested by the fact that my Dad would have said, “Go on that journey now, don’t leave it till it’s too late.”

Birds, 1982 Gouache 61 x 85 cm by Maria Primachenko

Birds, 1982
61 x 85 cm
by Maria Primachenko

“Got the time, the inclination
I have answered your invitation
I’ll be leaving in the morning
Watch me go
I don’t know where the wind is blowing
Got directions to where I’m going
Nothing’s certain
That’s the only thing I know

Do it now, do it now
While the vision is clear
Do it now
While the feeling is here
If you leave it too late
It could all disappear
Do it now
While your vision is clear

I don’t regret the steps I’m taking
The decision that I’m making
Is the right one
Or I’m never gonna know
Got the time, the inclination
I have answered your invitation
I’ll be leaving in the morning
Watch me go

So do it now, do it now
While your vision is clear
Do it now
While the feeling is here
If you leave it too late
It could all disappear
So do it now
While your vision is clear” (Paul McCartney, Do it Now, 2018)



  1. Thank you for a wonderful article to kick off the weekend! Reminded me of a quote I once heard, and for the life of me, can’t remember who said it or exactly how it goes, but paraphrasing, “An idea is like a beam of light traveling through space, and without a surface for it to land on, it will fade and die.” I totally butchered it, but maybe someone else may remember the quote a little better. Have a great weekend, everyone!

  2. Beautiful article, Sara–thank you! I’ve had no problem getting motivated, it was a by-product of my dad being tragically killed when he was just 39. I was 5 years old, and 6 days. I write six days, as I realized thereafter not to waste a single day. That tomorrow wasn’t promised to me. To anyone of us. I have had the good fortune to mentor many an artist. Some don’t know death intimately like I. Below is yesterday’s press release that I sent out that explores the subject matter Sara Genn so beautiful wrote and tackled. I’ve deleted the direct URL, as my post wouldn’t appear, wouldn’t go online. Thus, if you’d like to read “I Am Worthy” just cut & paste the URL. I thank you and hope that each and everyone within this most beautiful commUNITY has their best day!



    Subject: I Am Worthy
    Release Date: Mar. 17, 2022

    “Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes
    the conditions perfect.”
    – Alan Cohen

    My article: “I Am Worthy” features thirty years of research into human
    growth and development that has helped millions of lives from around the
    world. The article’s release led to an invitation for me to speak in Kenya
    in August of 2017 (please read testimonial below). It is also a true account
    of the obstacles Dr. Tom Scott (from Landis, Saskatchewan, my home province)
    faced and how he overcame them to become head researcher for a well-known
    global company based in Spain.

    Dear Miles,
    I am an Evangelist and media personality here in Nairobi, Kenya. I share
    inspirational stories on the radio and utilize them during my many sermons.
    As of late, I have been sharing what I receive from you. You are such an
    inspiration. The inspirations you post on the internet have given millions
    of my listeners hope. Long live and may God bless you.
    Evangelist Lucy Wa Ngunjiri

    To read “I Am Worthy” please cut & paste:

    As always, love is the way,

    Miles Patrick Yohnke

  3. This was meant to fall in to my inbox today! I can “hear” and “see” my dad saying just this to me, and he often did. Even up to the end of his physical journey. Thank you for the reminder to seize the now.

  4. Thank you, Sara–this is amazing. You and Paul McCartney (one of my early creative heroes!) have woken me up in just the way I needed today. I love the idea of shifting the definition of urgency to respond immediately to those creative ideas. We are so conditioned to put them aside in order to serve more conventional masters. It takes being true to oneself to fulfill the urge to create first.

  5. Marvin Humphrey on

    Someone said once, that ideas are like wild geese. They are here momentarily, loud , flapping their wings, then they’re gone.

  6. That little anecdote from Macca literally changed my life, almost overnight since I heard him say it. Can’t tell you how many time throughout the day, I’ve been inclined to procrastinate from something, and heard Paul say, “do it now.” Including writing this….

  7. Thanks, Sara, for this piece–so appropriate for the times we’re living in. My heart goes out to Maria Primachenko whose 25 artworks have been lost due to the war. I got my first change in what I focus on that’s important during the pandemic, and now this. I procrastinate, research, and over-think what to paint to the point that I never get around to doing it after all. I need to re-read Eckhart Tolle’s ‘The Power of Now’ and LIVE it! I’m going to start painting intuitively, fast, and not allow myself any self-editing, since usually the freshest art is the first go at it. DIN is my motto now. Here are some links to Ukrainian art & music: http://www.instagram.com/DariaHlazatova (currently creating her art in a bomb shelter); and modern Ukrainian folk music: https://carterhaughschool.com/remixing-updating-and-transforming-ukrainian-folk-music

  8. Such good advise! I liked reading the quotes from some of the writers, E.B. White, Ernest Hemingway and Paul McCartney. I know he is mainly known for his music and singing, but he did write a lot of great lyrics, along with the other three, of the Fab Four! And thanks for including those paintings. Beautiful paintings. Sad situation. Thanks, Sara, for an encouraging letter!

  9. Love this, love Paul’s lyrics, too. I, however, have to wait to do-it-now because the now demands me in other ways most of the day. I have learned the discipline of making a specific time to paint and no matter what still needs to be done at the time in the evening, it gets left because I have to do-it-now. I regret I wasn’t more disciplined when younger and I could have done-it-now more often. I am reminded of sitting in the kitchen crying and complaining over a deadline and huge project I was needing to get finished, and my Mom saying… ” all the time you’ve spent sitting there complaining over this project you could have had it done by now, go do it now! “

  10. Shushana Caplan on

    As women we often feel obliged to put aside the need to do it now. Many other demands need to be done now like childcare and housework and the million demands of the everyday life. We always promise ourselves we’ll do it when everything else is done. But as the expression goes, “A woman’s work is never done,” and if we don’t stop and do it now, that need is never filled. I agree with Mary Ann Laing; carve out that period of time that is yours alone and no matter what else has to be done, do it now. You know what that it is.

  11. Tried to sign up to receive your letters again but since my address was already in your system it won’t accept it! artyheart@aol.com
    Would love to be back on your list!
    Thank you, Deborah Sims

  12. Dear Sara,
    Fully agree! First thoughts for a poet, are like the immediate artistic follow up on a dream. I’ve learned this at a poetry and writing workshop in Johannesburg, called ‘Writers Write’. Since then I’ve been following this ‘DIN’-Ritual religiously. It works for me. I have combined my artistic work of drawings, paintings, and writing since then and BoD-Books on Demand, Norderstedt, has assisted with my self-publishing efforts.
    Thank you for your efforts and time of sharing your thoughts and ideas with us,

  13. What an affirmative article.. thank you Sara! I’m so glad to read about your nocturnal awakenings – to make ART! Oh, the number of times I’ve woken up at some ungodly hour, with that sense of immediacy, an urgent need to write or sketch a thought or image, as if channeled through a divine being. Much like dreams, if you let them go too long, they disappear. Thank you also for sharing photos of Maria’s paintings; it behooves us to consider the massive loss of artwork and other cultural artifacts that’s going on these days as well. By posting them on your site, it feels like a blessing of preservation and posterity. Amen.

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August 22, 2022 to August 25, 2022

image002 (1)Permission to Paint Expressively Series   Session 2 

August 22-25, 2022 

Join Ellie Harold for “Expressive Painting: Making Your  Marks.”  With a focus on intuitive mark-making, this workshop is designed to facilitate a fuller expression of your deepest and most essential artist Self. Content, process and lightly structured exercises give you permission to create the art that wants to be made by you in the safe space of Ellie’s studio and the fresh air and cool light of northern Michigan near Sleeping Bear Dunes. You’ll return home with a specific art “care plan” to assure support for “Making Your  Marks” in the world. Details and registration at www.EllieHarold.com.





https://painterskeys.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Basket-Weaver-800-wpcf_239x300.jpgBasket Weaver, 2012
Watercolor and Pastel
15 x 19 inches

Featured Artist

Creativity has always been my calling however I didn’t realize that it would be primarily art related, until later in my life. Passing on knowledge is also a natural aspect of who I am. For me teaching skills to others is both a continuous joy and a personal education.

I love to draw and to paint with watercolor, pastel and mixed media, but I am also intrigued by the process and challenges of printmaking.

To me, figures and busts in clay just seem to come alive by themselves, in their own three dimensional world.

My subject matter is quite varied overall, but my personal favorites are always faces and figures of all types.


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