Three Things To Consider Before Quitting Your Blog

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Writer’s Block is the culprit.  Over the past months I’ve learned, accomplished and experienced so much yet I’ve struggled to get myself to this place where my fingers are once again typing a blog post.  I’ve even considered giving up on the whole wordpress thing as life has evolved but in doing so I would be erasing seven years of this journey, 186 posts to be exact.  In some ways I wonder if it would be a good thing to light an imaginary smudge stick and let the smoke envelope my ramblings.  In so many other ways I am comforted to know that there is a chronicle of my slip into creative madness, a journal of sorts that my kids and my grandkids can use to avoid the pitfalls of the same condition unless of course they are also compelled to be Artists.  

You may also find yourself at a junction where you are considering giving up your blog.  If it has anything to do with something that you enjoy and are passionate about I offer you three things to consider before walking away.

  1. Before quitting be sure to ask yourself why you chose to start it in the first place.  If your dreams and passions have changed then by all means burn the bridge and move forward but if you still hold close the same hopes and desires as you did then wouldn’t it make more sense to keep at it?
  2. Just because you blog has underperformed in the past doesn’t mean that it can’t be an important cog in the wheel in the future.  Look for ways to make it fresh, alive and more convenient to add to.  When was the last time you changed your banner, your bio or page theme?  If your long winded posts don’t seem to be getting traction, look for  ways to abbreviate them.  Likewise, if the short one liners with a picture aren’t engaging your audience consider posting more substance, less often.  When was the last time you checked to make sure your links to your other websites and social media are current?  Chances are that if you give your blog some TLC, it will in return make a difference. 
  3. If you have any followers at all chances are there are some who have been touched or encouraged by your outreach.  They notice when you don’t post and wonder what became of you.  Some will assume that you have given up on your dream and in some way that may take the wind out of their sails.  Giving up on your blog also means giving up on those contacts.
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Recent Paintings at The Gallery

Note To Self: Don’t Forget To Make Contact

www.artspiritvillage.com

“Headless Manikin Man”

Okay, so I’m having a bit of a blogging identity crisis. For several years now, I’ve held fast to the notion that a reader friendly post should include a couple of images and about three paragraphs of good copy. I do enjoy post of all sorts and I read and follow a ton of them, but I have to admit my attention span and my patience does have its limits. Am I saying that I prefer single image posts with a short caption? Not at all, in fact I often wonder if some people have simply not heard of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Am I saying that I devour well written novelettes disguised as blog posts, or that I seek out Photo Essays that require page scrolls until my fingers cramp to fully appreciate, definitely not. In my view, the ideal blog post falls somewhere in the middle ground. Look at my last few posts and you will see that I’ve strayed. My recent trip to Guatemala has turned me into a Monster, a Mr. Sit Down On The Couch And Look at My Photo Albums Guy. I’m so ashamed and I’ve gotta get back on track.

Architecture of Antigua

Architecture of Antigua

People of Antigua

People of Antigua

Back in the old days, we used contact sheets to show off our slides and negatives. You would throw them down on a light table and let others pick and choose what they wanted to see in more detail, perhaps through a magnified viewer. If one or two of the images were exceptional, you would invest the time and money necessary to further process them to a more presentable format. Sounds pretty ideal doesn’t it? It wasn’t, for if it were I wouldn’t have boxes of contact sheets and prints collecting dust in the basement. Digital did change everything and mostly for the better. We now have the ability to invite the WORLD to sit at our light table but it’s still important to hand them the contact sheets and not the sixteen by twenties.

Drying Her Tears

“Drying Her Tears”

Do you periodically get confused about your blogging identity? What do you think about bringing back the Contact Sheet?

This Father's Daughter

This Father’s Daughter

Before I go, I want to tell you about Photographer Rudy Giron in Antigua. First of all, he is an incredible Photographer with some of the best images of Guatemala that I’ve seen. Second of all, he has a popular Photo Walk Business where guides tourists/photographers through the streets of Antigua, giving history and cultural lessons and photo tips all at the same time. Thanks Rudy for re-kindling my desire to shoot people (with a camera of course). If you want to see a great example of an Artist who is thriving in his own originality, look him up.

Photographer Rudy Giron

Photographer Rudy Giron

The Enduring Glow Of A Beautiful Life

The Enduring Glow Of A Beautiful Life 10" x 20"  Acrylic on canvas

“The Enduring Glow Of A Beautiful Life”
10″ x 20″ Acrylic on canvas

Monday evening, as I drove home I witnessed the most incredible sunset.  A glowing orange and yellow sky over the latent silhouette of the front range.  Too much traffic and visual obstruction to pull over and take a photo, I captured the image in my mind instead.  I had just left my folks at the Denver Hospice Care Center at Lowry where my Dad would undergo a procedure the next morning that would make him more comfortable as he suffered from the later stages of Parkinson’s Disease.  Before I said goodnight to my Father for the last time, we talked about how beautiful the facility was and I told him that Robin Williams had passed away (he loved Robin Williams).  One of the night nurses graciously brought them a tuna fish sandwich to share even though they had “checked in” too late for dinner and after I left I understand that Dad ate most of it.

Oh how much it hurts to loose someone you Love so much.  The grief might even cause a person to jump out of bed, start and finish a painting as the sun rises, which is exactly what I did this morning.  I am compelled to paint my Father’s setting sun and this small sketch will be used for a piece that is 20 times larger.   I want this memory to be larger than life.

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Me with my mind’s image

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Mom, Dad, Tammy(took pic) and Me at the Denver Art Museum three weeks ago

 

 

My Wonderful Father

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A Sunday at Denver’s Museum of History and Science (8/3/14)

My lengthy hiatus from this effort (my blogs) is attributed significantly to the long, long path that I was able to walk alongside my Father and Mother while in the Autumn of Dad’s life. For seven years, they had to endure difficult circumstances, one after another, all somehow related to the harm that Parkinson’s Disease can inflict. Yesterday Afternoon, Dad crossed over from this life to the next. It was the first completely cloudless day in Denver in as long as I can remember and he left this world so peacefully, so quickly that I am profoundly moved. For so long, I have wanted to write and be read; I have wanted to share the experiences that I have had in my own personal walk as an Artist and as a Son. Yet for so long, these experiences belonged in my heart and not on published pages.

My Father’s passing comes like the opening of a flood gate. I am ready to share once again and I hope to somehow kindle a flame of inspiration if even in just one person.

Even on his death bed, it would not have shocked me if my Father had awakened from his final sleep to recite word for word the following quote by William Shakespeare. “Cowards die many deaths, The Valiant never taste of death but once. Of all the wonders that I yet have heard, it seems to me most strange that men should fear; Seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come.” Seriously, the man had a knack for reciting poetry and singing funny songs at the most inappropriate times. This time, he did not awaken from his slumber but his words are still with me.

Before I close this post, I want to share a few thoughts about Denver Hospice. Yesterday morning, before I understood that it would be Dad’s final sunrise, I wrote the following words. Mom and Dad finally found their way back to the “Hilton”. The Denver Hospice Inpatient Care Center at Lowry Field is a living masterpiece. Oddly, the kind of place that makes you want to live. As my Dad would say, it is a “castle on the hillside”. In some ways you might think that such a place would be cruel and unusual punishment for those who find themselves at the exit door of life. Not So, I say! The architectural marvel is more than matched by the compassion, dignity and understanding that permeates from its walls. The halls echo in celebration of all that is good in Mankind. For me personally, this place is an inspiration. The Exhibition of artwork on display is incredible. Much care was given to select original works that might trigger a warm memory; that might remind one how precious life is. And then the admirable culture that dwells in the care center goes completely over the top. So different than what you will find in a hospital, where the goal is physical healing and profit. Denver Hospice defines success much differently, to create comfort for the body and the spirit. Perhaps the ultimate goal of Hospice is to mirror what we hope for on the other side of death. These are the things that have touched me profoundly, that have nudged the trajectory of my life in the most beautiful way.

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One of the beautiful paintings that hangs in the Denver Hospice Care Center at Lowry

True Confessions Of A Creative Eclectic


Every Great and commanding movement in the annals of the world is a triumph of enthusiasm ~ Emerson

Where was I when they passed out the roadmaps to creative success?  If that happened in Art School, I missed it because I was in the other building learning about statistics, debits and credits.  I’m not complaining.  In fact I feel fortunate that I wasn’t programmed with artistic shortcuts and principles as I was in business school. “Pick one thing that you like, do it well and you will succeed”.  The next time somebody hears me give that advise to one of my kids, I hope they slap me because I wouldn’t be walking the talk.  At times I feel so scattered, I don’t know what to do next.

As a blogger, I spend a lot of time reading the posts of others, looking for insights and inspiration.  Last week I read a post by JoDee Luna, the author of an innovative book called Refrain From The IdenticalAlmost immediately, I picked up on her description of the “Creative Eclectic” and I knew that she had coined a name for my affliction.

I am a Creative Eclectic.  About five years ago, I found myself enthusiastically pursuing a plethora of ambitions that I had neither the training nor the time for.  Sketching, painting, writing, producing videos and even making music on garage band began filling my free time and taking priority over getting a good night sleep.  Today, as you might gather from a visit to my websites and blogs, I’m like a kid in a candy store.  You might also realize that like a confident (or cocky) gambler, I’ve left behind my day job and I’m now “All In”.  I do have moments when I catch myself saying out-loud, “Am I Crazy?  This is never going to work!”  But somehow, some way, I know that it will all come together.  After all, the most beautiful symphonies have roots in madness.

As of late, I have a half dozen or so unfinished paintings hanging haphazardly in the studio and I’m excited to finish them.  But as life goes, you can only peel one potato at a time, and right now I’m working on my video business.  My wife and I together, have created a new blog called The Local Tourist – Colorado.  It is all about finding adventure in our own backyard and documenting those adventures through our video production enterprise.  We would love it if you would check it out.

aLL oF LIfE iS An eXpeRimeNt

Try, and try again.

Cracking open a fortune cookie after enjoying a meal at a favorite Chinese restaurant is one of life’s odd rituals.  The routine is familiar to most of us.  Eat until full, put leftovers in box, then break the tiny dessert into two pieces revealing a little slip of paper that has something wise written on it.   When I like my fortune, I slip it into my wallet for safekeeping.  When I don’t particularly understand its relevance, I bid for a trade or light heartedly ask the waiter for another.

A few days ago while pulling a credit card out of my wallet, a fortune fell out that said, “Do not be too timid or squeamish about your actions, all of life is an experiment”.  I know well why I tucked this one away.  You see, I am in the midst of big life changes and have been for some time.  I left behind the safety and security of a successful, yet ultimately un-fulfilling business path years ago and have been searching for creative enlightenment and fulfillment every since.

Along the way, I have tried many new things and I have suffered failures.  At times, these failures have caused so much pain that I have literally coiled up into the fetal position wishing to return somehow to what is sure and safe.  Fortunately, the bridge to the past is no longer standing.  Fortunately, I have no choice but to move forward, taking the lessons that I have learned from my defeats and applying them boldly to my future “experiments”.  Am I talking about art, or business, or relationships?  The wise message in my fortune cookie applies just as it says, to “all of life”.

The Winds of Change

                           Don’t ever stop believing that there is something better, yet to be discovered, just beneath the surface. 

"Treasure Beneath" 20"x20" oil on canvas

Hey, What happened to Summer?  I swear it was just here!  The days were long and the light breezes made the soft leaves dance in the trees.  What happened to the tall grass and the delicate flowers that blanketed the earth and why aren’t the critters dashing and fluttering about?

The winds of change are blowing winter into the Colorado high country with a certain intensity that I have not seen in several years.  Adjusting to the cold and snow after reveling in the warm colors and textures of summer is always a challenge, but this year the transition seems unusually harsh and perhaps even cruel.   For me, lamenting the loss of summer is an annual ritual.  As though I have lost a dear friend, I beat my breast in defiance until I finally accept it’s passing.  And with the awakening, I turn my gaze from what has been toward what will be.