Three Inspiring Quotes About Thinking Big

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“Greatness” – My wife hugs a very big tree

                                “Whatever Your Mind Can Conceive And Believe It Can Achieve” ~ Napoleon Hill

Chances are, you and I are kindred spirits in that we both have something great that we want to do with our lives. If so, we both understand what it is to dream big and we both know how quickly our confidence can be shaken. “What was I thinking?” are the words that the inner critic whispers in my head when fear and doubt sneak up on me. The words of Napoleon Hill have a way of echoing through space and time to reach me just when I need them the most. Three quotes that always inspire me to think BIG and Persevere are:

1. “Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.”

2. “The strongest oak of the forest is not the one that is protected from the storm andhidden from the sun. It’s the one that stands in the open where it is compelled to struggle for its existence against the winds and rains and the scorching sun.”

3. “If the winds of fortune are temporarily blowing against you, remember that you can harness them and make them carry you toward your definite purpose, through the use of your imagination.”

"Back In The Day"

“Back In The Day” – Click To Help Me With Your Vote

Currently, I have a short term goal of getting 250 people to vote for this photo which will carry me to the judging round of Fine Art America’s National Photo Contest. It sounds so easy…its not. Of my three entries, “Back In The Day” is the one that I’m pushing. In any event, you my friend are my greatest chance to get one more vote. If you have the time and want to help me achieve a small goal in a great way, click on the truck photo and give me your vote. I’ll like you a thousand times over.:)

Facebook And The Art Of Shameless Self Promotion

"Back In The Day" (Click Photo To Vote)

“Back In The Day” (Click Photo To Vote)

Okay, this is the moment I’ve been waiting for.  After several years of dipping my toes in the current of social media I’ve arrived at a moment of truth.  It’s time for me to determine if this high tech voodoo will actually do something to help me in a little shameless self promotion experiment.  I’ve gotta tell you, my Facebook balance sheet has thus far been heavily out of whack to the negative.

I’m 53 years old, yet I voluntarily jumped right back into the hornets nest of adolescent social life.    There must be something virtuous about putting myself out there even though it reminds me of how awkward and unpopular I was in grade school.  There must be a reason why people I used to know in real life are now knocking on my virtual door and asking if I can come out and play games like Candy Crush Saga or Farmville.   There must be a life lesson in having to listen quietly and respectfully to the strong opinions of others over and over and over again and resisting the urge to “unfriend” them because I don’t want to hurt their feelings.  There must be an advantage to handing your face over to every facial recognition server in the world, to telling every government agency and terrorists organization all about your personal life.   Finally, there must be a reward for managing to adapt to the counterintuitive culture of Facebook.  It used to be that “Status” had to do with relationships.  Now we are expected to know that “Status” is FB code for what the rest of the world knows as a “Post”.  Why is Facebook trying to reinvent the wheel.  To make things even more messed up, when someone posts a “status” like “my dog died and I’m very sad”, people who are supposed to be your friends are hitting the “Like” button.

Understandably, I’ve probable offended a few folks here and cannot reasonably expect them to assist with my shameless self promotion experiment.  To the rest of you, please add a few debits to my Facebook balance sheet by clicking on each of these three photos and voting for them.  Your votes and yes your Facebook Shares will make it all worth while.

Question of the day:  Do you Love or Hate Facebook?  or both?

prehistoric paradise blog framed

“Prehistoric Paradise” Click Photo to Vote

townmoonblog

“Super Moon Over Denver” – Click Photo To Vote

Living The Dream

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” Livin’ The Dream” (36″x96″) a work in progress

I’m gonna keep this post short so I don’t insult anyone with one of those embarrassing typo’s that goes viral. I’m adding this post via iPad and I gotta tell you I look like an absolute high school freshman in typing class. Well there I go showing my age. I’m sure the classroom full of Smith Caronas went by the wayside decades ago. My MacBook Pro took a dive and has been sent off for surgery so I’m adding this post via iPad, this sucks.  My seperation anxiety is already leading to desperate thoughts.  How will I fare in the zombie apocalypse.

I know now I could never get work at the Apple Store. The guy who checked me and my MacPro in at the Genius Bar yesterday typed out the case notes incredibly fast on his iPad as he recommended a logic board replacement.   Ok, young people can actually type on these things. Woo hoo! But do they know anything about carbon paper, ribbons and white out?  Do they even know how essential a good set of Encyclopedias are for research and what about a Texas Instuments calculator for productivity?  Do they know how to process film in a darkroom?  No, I didn’t think so.

So here I am feeling like a fish out is water, completely lost and somewhat agitated without my MacPro. To avoid the temptation of visiting the antique store in search of a Smith Carona, I’m just gonna focus on painting. When was the last time you were separated from your favorite computer?

I Have A Dream Too

Civic Center - Denver, Co.

Civic Center – Denver, Co.

An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Yesterday was an exceptionally warm day for January in Colorado. My Wife and I celebrated by visiting Denver’s Civic Center to take photos. It was a time to play with art, to get inspired and to take in a good dose of vitamin D. For those of you who haven’t been there, Civic Center is encompassed by the Colorado Capital, the Denver City and County building, the Denver Art Museum and high-rise central. The setting is one that reminds me of what one might find in Washington D.C., it’s a place where a lot of people can gather to express themselves collectively whether in celebration or demonstration. I couldn’t hold back thoughts of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream”speech. Ironically, just this morning did I realize that Monday is the annual government holiday in honor of him.

When I watch the news about national and world events these days I ponder, Will we ever mature to the point where we deserve to call ourselves ManKind? The current state of human existence seems to be much more about selfish agendas, ideological muscle flexing on steroids. Personally, I’m getting fed up with the polarized extremist factions on both sides of the aisle, on all sides of religion and at the ends of the earth. I’m getting fed up with the radical minority of who ruthlessly kill and destroy to get what they want and I’m getting fed up with the vocal minority who preach Love and demonstrate intolerance.

Paris is a wake up call, even an unfortunate and likely foreshadowing of the future. The pissing match of the extremes will continue to escalate until we find a new world order. MLK was all about overcoming the odds and establishing just that. “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend” he said a half century ago. And here we are now celebrating the birth of the man, yet in so many ways we seem to have forgotten his message. He said “The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood” and those words created a spark that changed the world. That was then and this is now.

As Artists, we are often the first to stand up and lay claim to the First Amendment. To us, freedom of speech equals an unalienable right to express ourselves through our Art. The thing that Hollywood and perhaps even a partisan satirical magazine seems to have forgotten is that if we use our art to alienate others based on their religious beliefs or ideology, we are guilty of violating the very spirit of the first amendment. If we use our art (and our RIGHTS) to taunt those who are different, how are we any better than the playground bully?

I’ve seen the healing power and the dividing power of Art. Shouldn’t Art transcend Religion and Ideology. Shouldn’t Artists be Peacemakers? MLK said “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity”. Like MLK, I’ve got a dream too. I have a dream that the world wide web might serve as a world wide venue for a demonstration of positive change. I have a dream that my children and their children will grow up in a more enlightened world. I have a dream that future generations will look back at this dark time and see that the re-birth of Mankind grew from a seeds that were planted by Artists .

The Golden Staircase And The Demise Of The Self-Taught Artist

“There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive. This ecstasy, this forgetfulness of living, comes to the artist, caught up and out of himself in a sheet of flame.”
― Jack London, The Call of the Wild

Stairway to Heaven 20x24 Large framed

Stairway to Heaven (20″x24″) acrylic on canvas

Have you heard stories from the late 1800’s of the Klondike Gold Rush? If so, you’ve probably also learned about how the pioneering prospectors crossed Chilkoot Pass on foot to get from coastal Alaska the Yukon interior? While climbing to the summit, any man who ventured off the path would fall through the snow to his waste, he would quickly discover that the path less taken was not a good thing. The Golden Staircase was the way and step by step the benefit of following the person ahead was indisputable. The Golden Staircase made it possible for each man to go up and down repeatedly until he hauled all of the supplies that would be necessary to become independent on the other side. Every man’s goal was to stake his own claim.

The Golden Staircase at Chilkoot Pass  (photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

The Golden Staircase at Chilkoot Pass (photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

The creative process can also be a slippery slope and we all go about gaining traction in different ways. Some seek out as much instruction as possible. Why re-invent the wheel when if you don’t have to. Some strike out on their own and forge new ground, holding fast to the notion that creative Nirvana is the product of autonomy. Perhaps the person who only imitates others will never experience the joy of expression. Likewise, the person who never seeks guidance or help from others might get bogged down in minutia of the process, never to see the light of day in the land of innovation. Luckily for us, we live in a day and age where we can learn about art everywhere we look. I believe we are living in the greatest renaissance in history thanks to the golden staircase we call the internet. Today, it’s practically impossible to not be influenced by other’s work and not to be inspired by other’s originality. The open sharing of ideas is creating solid steps that will allow us to climb to creative heights that were unimaginable 100 years ago.

A few years ago, I mistakenly considered myself to be a self taught painter because I’ve had very little in the way of formal instruction. In fact I held fast the false notion that the influence of others would taint my independence and originality. Only in the past couple of years have I come to realize and appreciate that greater heights of independence and originality are made possible by participating in the greater whole. The collective body of knowledge, inspiration and interaction that I’ve found via the internet has become my Golden Staircase. Do you think originality will Benefit or Suffer, because of the internet? How have you been inspired by others through the internet?

Please Vote Yes On The Resolution Rewind

Finding Balance (24"x36") oil on canvas

Finding Balance (24″x36″) oil on canvas

Hold on, Hold Everything! Has the expiration for New Years Resolutions past? Surely there is a grace period, right? If not I want one and I want it Now. Does 30 days seem reasonable to you? If we had a grace period of 30 days, all of those resolutions that are blown within the first 48 hours could be resurrected for another try. Failed resolutions could be replaced by new, easier to keep versions or we could go back to the drawing board and re-imagine the resolutions that will make a difference. A rule change would be good for all of us, do you agree?

Today is January 11th and I’m gonna make my case for Resolution Rewind. You see, I am absolutely worn out, sick to death of allowing selfish, negative people to influence how my time is spent. We all have a finite amount of time in this life to learn, love and create, yet there are troubled individuals out there who apparently have made it their mission to prevent folks from accomplishing those things. My new goal for 2015 is to learn how to remain calm when confronted with one of these Unfortunate Souls. For lack of a more sympathetic name for the contemptible type that I’m focusing on I’ll just call them PTA’s (People To Avoid).

You can usually identify a PTA pretty quickly when you observe the following characteristics:

1. The PTA is intolerant and has no capacity for authentic compassion and understanding.
2. The PTA already knows everything and has no interest in learning, therefore they make the same mistakes over and over.
3. The PTA spends all of their time looking for faults in others and none of their time looking four their own shortcomings.
4. The PTA takes no responsibility for mistakes that they have made, yet they hold others accountable for theirs.
5. The PTA lives by a social balance sheet, making sure they never give more than they receive.
6. The PTA loves to talk and hates to listen.
7. The PTA is long on talk and short on action.
8. The PTA is short on facts and long on opinions.
9. The PTA prefers complaining to helping.
10. The PTA slanders others indirectly, thereby robbing their slandered victims of a reply.
11. The PTA accuses others of exactly the same things that they are guilty of.
12. The PTA brags about immoral victories, then quotes enlightened words when they feel that they have been wronged.
13. The PTA always has to have the last word.

Normally this blog is a complaint free zone, all positive, no negative. But I am the self proclaimed Mayor of Art Spirit Village and I really think that we need to follow through with this Resolution do-over thing. Nothing could be more positive. In 2015 I will breathe in peace and fairness and I’ll breathe out the toxicity that radiates from these unwanted PTAs. I may discover that Yoga, Meditation and Prayer are the magic ingredients to succeeding in my newfound resolution. Or perhaps just really focussing on compassion for these less fortunate individuals will help me to accept and move on. I’m really excited about the prospect of liberating myself from the tyranny of the PTA. I will reclaim the time that has been stolen to me and I’ll apply it to a greater realization of peace, grace, productivity and above all Creativity.

There is always the possibility some PTA out there might take offense to this post, To that person I say in the nicest way possible…”GET A LIFE, ASS HOLE”. 🙂

Two Questions: What do you think about the Resolution Rewind concept? Is there a PTA that you need to free yourself from?

Hang Loose, Make Art

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“All IN” (10″x20″) acrylic on canvas

For those of you who haven’t heard, The North Shore of Oahu has some fairly impressive waves, especially in Winter. I can spend hours on end there, allowing all of my senses to witness what happens when moving water meets land in the middle of the largest ocean on earth, it’s a spectacular show. The unleashed energy of the tide is rhythmic, yet random. It always catches me by surprise to see a person methodically attempting to harness that power, if even for just a few short seconds. What would inspire a person to strip themselves of most of their clothing, jump onto a floating board and paddle their way against the relentless current in search of an opportunity to surf a really big wave? Apparently the rush of traversing that vertical slab of water over a shallow and razor sharp coral reef is pretty addictive.

Artists tend to approach life much like the surfer. Look at all of the effort we put forth, all in the name of feeding our addiction. Beach Bum…Art Bum, its really all the same. For us, feeding the soul always seems to take precedence over feeding the bank account. We tend to base our decisions, not on good business, but on good faith that finding the right line of expression is what its all about. Like the surfer, our victories are often un-noticed by others. How many surfers have household names and make a living doing what they do? The comparison of those who don’t is easily demonstrated with a decimal point and lots of zeros.
What other lessons do we gain from the surfer? In order to ride a wave, you have to go “all in”, you have to commit yourself to the effort long enough to have a chance at success. We can state all day long that failure is not an option, but the truth is that failure is a distinct possibility and more likely than we wish to admit in any endeavor we pursue. When failure does happen, the thing that prevents it from becoming defeat is our perseverance. A little bit smarter and a little bit stronger, we ride out the turbulence, turn our board around and give it another try.

I’d love it if you would share the things that you are passionate about. Have you bypassed practical opportunities in the interest of feeding your dream? How do you pick up the pieces and get moving again after a crash?

My Flight Plan For 2015

Shore Dance #3 - Uplift framed

Shore Dance #3 – Uplift (16″x20″) Acrylic on Canvas

In my dreams, I believe I can fly and therefore, I do. ~ me

As promised, I’ve completed the third painting in this series. Pardon the pun and the cliche, but I find this one to be “uplifting”. The second half of 2014 was productive in that I returned to the easel with a renewed determination to learn, to improve, to produce. I’ve also re-committed myself to this blog after a long dry spell, adding to my recent sense of accomplishment. Those of you who know a little more about me, also know that I am not one to sit idle. In recent years I’ve re-invented myself as a professional photographer, video producer and family caregiver. I’ve been busy.

2015 brings with it a time to pause, reflect and envision the path forward. I truly believe that this will be the year of synergy. I understand as well as anyone that it’s wise to find a niche, to discover what you love, to focus on what you are good at. However my efforts have been complicated a bit due to the fact that I’m pretty good at a number of things that I Love to do. Hey, its not like I want to be a heart surgeon And an astronaut. How will I transform my virtues into a healthy, interdependent livelihood? Do I need to give something up to advance from pretty good to really good? Do you have multiple ambitions that you hope to blend successfully?