It’s that time

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#trincoll Fall is coming

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It is that time, Back to school and Fall.

This year I am heading back to school as part of the Trinity College IDP. I am looking forward to the challenge and learning to print from film in black and white.

When starting something new, I am always excited and want to jump in. What is nice about this is that in many ways is a circling back to where I started. One of my early loves was picture taking and I wore my camera as a fashion accessory.

To circle back as I start school has me setting the intention of looking at things with the enthusiasm I had as a girl and bringing the experience I have learned over the years to the assignments.

A New Year, A Day

Or something like that. I found this post in drafts, never published. I have decided to pick back up blogging about my art, and decided this might be a good start, reviewing my goals. What do I want to accomplish, other than finally finishing my Studio Arts degree. So flash back to Pre Covid thoughts…..

Goals are designed to train your brain to visual the end result you want to achieve. The more specific you are, the higher the likelihood is that you will define things you can accomplish.

Gina Bianchini

Resolutions and goals, I talk about them often, but rarely hold myself accountable for them. As we start this new year the quote above and similar wisdom in a couple of books  have me deciding to once again set goals. I found that process of making this very specific set of goals different than other goals I have set in the past in that I have included specific things that require specific actions. Some of them were very much goals I have set in the past. “I want to make a living as an artist” But what does that really mean? I tried very hard with this list to be SMART, (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time based) while also defining where I want to be as an artist.

The following are my goals from the book, “I would Rather be in the Studio” by

Alyson Stanfield

Produce at least one completed work of Art a month.

Spend time each day working on improving quality of work. Choose a specific skill to work on each month.

Exhibit in at least three public venues.

Create a teaching curriculum and teach at least three classes.

Visit a museum or art gallery at least once a month.

Finish setting up the in home studio.


Practice swimming and self care three times  a week.

Leadership roles

Published work- have at least one piece of artwork or writing published by the end of the year.

Increase visits to the blog by 10% each month.

Add five Subscribers to your newsletter each month

Social media connections increase by 5%

Create a book for publication and have at least 20 copies sold.

Have sales of Artwork and related services be equivalent to my last job by end of year.

Have at least one grants received

Write at least one article a month.

Jail wagon from True Grit

Getting back to Basics-Setting Goals

This morning my eye was drawn to an image for a post I made. The post was about focus. I gave an statement on what I wanted to focus:

I wish to make a living as a creator, writer and artist whose work is based on the principal of fostering uniqueness and creativity in a world that values conformity.

Since I made that post I have moved to a new state and started  a new job that is quite demanding.  So naturally I began looking into productivity tools to help me manage this demanding overflow of tasks.

One of the first question that comes up about focus and goals, and what the difference is. I was particularly drawn to the definition given by Peter Bregman

“A goal defines an outcome you want to achieve; an area of focus establishes activities you want to spend your time doing. A goal is a result; an area of focus is a path. A goal points to a future you intend to reach; an area of focus settles you into the present.”

Working in an Office, reaching defined goals such as getting the end of month financials wrapped up by a certain date makes a lot of sense. The next action is dependent on that goal being met.  This is not always the case. One painting can be left to sit or “incubate” as they call it in project management terms, while another is completed. The process is much more about the journey.

I thinking on this I started thinking about the various kinds of journeys.  I have hiked with very goal driven people, who want to get from here to there. I have also hiked with people who were content to sit and sketch or watch a ladybug, or to just stand and watch a fox up the path.  I have also been on hikes with some of each type in the group. The two can blend or they can conflict. What I am thinking about is how do I help myself maintain focus while also achieving goals.  What tools would you use for this?



What is your focus?

Focus, and why it matters.

While I was looking for a flower picture for a project recently I came across this one of water drops on the tulips. I was struck by the play of the colors and its hint of spring coming.  My second thought was that it was not clear to me what I had been intending as the focal point.  Usually in a close up with this much variety of focus there is a clear point of interest. This one lacks one so it ends up being more about the contrasting colors and delicate watercolor shades of the tulips.  The focus matter, because having that clear focal point is the difference between a good picture and a great picture.

Finding focus.

I sat and looked at the picture and realized that I needed focus in more areas than this picture.  I have always had the goal to be an Artist, but that goal is blurry and lacks definition. When I have tried to answer the question with more depth “Making a living from creating art”.  That answer is still blurry because it still does not create a clear picture of what that would look like.  I sat and thought on all I do and how do I bring that in to focus so that I will have a crystal clear image of what I am trying to do. I have many artistic interests and have always enjoyed teaching.  I pursue a number of different artist mediums and have always been interested in learning something new.  I looked at the tulips again and I was still drawn to the image. Perhaps it was time to define what I wanted, to let go of the single word and find a definition that would be a focus for me.

My Focus.

I wish to make a living as a creator, writer and artist whose work is based on the principal of fostering uniqueness and creativity in a world that values conformity.

What is your focus?

A hint of Spring, ©2012 Rennata Tropeano
A breath of Spring 

The Importance of Play

As I typed the title of this post, I thought *hmm, have I used that before?* I looked it up, way back in 2009, I made a post titled “The Importance of Play and Accident”. In the process of looking it up I learned two things. One I have never used the tag play, and two I use the word play a lot. In the creativity course I am taking one of the lessons starts with the following:

“Play has a way of dimming the critical mind so we can try new things without judging ourselves.”

This spoke to me and really defined why play is important. Growth comes in those time we reach outside of ourself to try something new. I find the converse true, dimming the critical mind can make most things play and provide that space where true creativity and growth.   Think about setting aside all those thoughts of judgement and just play, you will be amazed at what you can do.


Pooh Sticks, A water color by Rennata Tropeano. 8-4-2017  Watercolor on acid free Strathmore cold press 140 lb. Part of the daily themes for #worldwatercolorgroup

Cherry Lemon and Turquoise

watercolor 11
Cherry, Lemon and Turquoise

This piece was created as part of a series of watercolors created for #WorldWatercolorMonth. Each day featured a theme for the day. The bright colors were originally going to be an underpainting for a colorful sky sunset, but when I saw them upside down, it looked more like a beach and as soon as I read the theme of Cherry, Lemon and Turquoise, I knew what that it was going to be a beach scene, not a sunset.

Today I am busy about the work part of art, getting them listed in my database and prepared for sale. And of course, as always on Monday, it is a #microblogmondays. A special welcome to those visiting from challenge.

When is it done?

“Art is never finished, only abandoned.”
― Leonardo da Vinci

One of the downsides to creating a lot of artwork in a short period of time is the question of when is it done.  Once it is off the board it usually a start. The next question is sorting out those pieces I am going to offer for sale. Some paintings I look at and know that as they are, I am not going to offer them for sale. Some go in the pile to be prepared for sale, and some become something else. For those that I look at on the second view and decide not for sale, not for a card or gift, t becomes a question of what to do with them. Is it a matter of needing more work or should I paste them into my how I have grown book.  do they need more. The prepare for sale pile…. That is my big to do, so very many parts to that. Mounting and or framing. Photographing, Adding to the product data base. Add to website and/or list.  The painting and creating is the more fun part of it. When do you consider your artwork done?