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?

 

 

Advertisements

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.

watercolor

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

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?

20170728_081615

Reflections on the Journey.

When thinking about getting somewhere, it has always been about setting goals and getting there. But how do I define there? Where is there?  My journey has not been a smooth one, and I am still far from where I want to be.  I hit a patch of serious depression, where even getting up in the morning was hard. During that time I lost control of the web domains I had been building a brand upon. RennataTropeano and GrowingUnique. Today as I look at this, I could buy growingunique back for only $3695, which is not happening. RennataTropeano seems to have been take over by some alt Rennata, it looks like a personal blog, but with posts by the user gotham. But not me.

So, I loop back and gather myself again and start anew. Creative. No question there, being creative is the thing that keeps the depression at bay. Unique. I have always embraced that term.  Different is not okay in our modern society. Conformity is the norm.  Unique, however has enough style to be okay, so I have always sought to be unique. What is the direction that my creativity and artwork is taking?   A bit of magic and mystical, wandering to faery.  This led me to updating my mission statement. “Growing Unique is about my quest for a life that is unique, creative and magical. I enjoy helping people move from dreaming their life, to living their dream.”

I have become very interested in the links between creativity and mental health. I have not quite yet figured out how to fit that into my mission statement, but when I do, it will be there.

Furry Friends, a work in progress

When searching through my collection of images for the theme of Furry Friend this little black squirrel. I am enjoying this challenge of doing 30 watercolors in July for #WorldWatercolorMonth hosted by Doodlewash.comWIP Furry Friends, I have found that daily creativity is one of the best habits I can have. I start by blocking out 25 minutes for painting in the morning as a starting point. Many times it goes longer than that because it is going well and I am enjoying it. But, I seem to be more productive in other areas when after I have started with creating.  I am also taking a course on creativity from Coursera. One of the things that jumped out at me is a quote.

“To live is to have problems and to solve problems is to grow creatively” J.P. Guilford

I think process of working creatively also does the converse, it frees that part of your mind that solves problems, so you get more done as you spend less time looking for answers to the small things.

 

Choosing to be Unique

In today society there is an emphasis on Conformity and sameness. Fashion magazines tell us how we need to dress and advertisements tell us what product we need.  One thing I often struggle with is the polar opposites of being an artist. When I was learning to draw and paint, the emphasis was on getting the painting to look as realistic as possible. Now, what I am told is that people want to see my unique style.  Art should be unique and be about your vision as an artist. This blog is about my journey to find just that, My own inner vision and voice. Once, when telling someone about something I had created, I said something about wanting to bring a bit of magic,  mystery and beauty to people’s lives. To help them learn to choose being unique. Dragon Book