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

Seven Truths About Being an Artist

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“All About The Journey” (24×24) Acrylic on Canvas (12/2017)

To be an artist is to know what it is to be terrified and thrilled about what you do all at the same time.

To be an artist is to understand that every time we share a tangible form of our creative expressions we risk being judged and ridiculed.

To be an artist is to know that the sting of another’s criticism pales in comparison to the bite of our own.

To be an artist is to understand that embarrassments are temporary and dreams are relentless.

To be an artist is to comprehend that continuing on with our quest is not an option, it is something that must be done.

To be an artist is to know first hand how good it feels to grab a thought from the universe, work with it until it materializes then release it back into the universe. .

To be an artist is to understand that we no longer strive for a destination, we simply accept that the journey is what it is all about.

If you like this one please watch the Two Minute Video to see how I did it.  The original painting and giclee prints are available in my Etsy Shop.

 

Lost Treasure From 2017

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“More gold has been mined from the thoughts of men than has ever been taken from the earth” ~ Napoleon Hill

When I’m out and about exploring interesting and beautiful places with my camera in hand it is not unusual for me to slip into a kind of hypnotic trance and the subjects of my photographs seem to choose me rather than the other way around.  Over the course of a year I can acquire thousands and thousands of Raw images.  As you might imagine I spend hours upon hours scouring through digital files, looking for and developing the creme of the crop while the ones that aren’t quite so obviously great fall through the cracks become forgotten.

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Being the creature of habit that I am, as I become introspective about the year that was each December, I pull that imaginary shoe box full of “negatives” from the top shelf of my imaginary closet and I look through them one more time in hopes of discovering lost treasure.  The images in this post are just a few emerging stars from 2017, all taken in late summer at the Oregon coast.

There is always a specific reason that I click the shutter release when I do but sometimes it takes a second or third cutting to remember why.

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Paint Me A Moon

 

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“Pulp Friction” (20″x20″) Acrylic on Canvas

For me, Ski Season has become a time of year that images of winter dance in my head and materialize onto canvas with little or no real effort.  Remember “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”?  Think of me as a crazed Richard Dryfus painting moons rather than molding the Devils Tower.  My Studio is beginning to resemble a Super Moon Factory and it is time for a year end liquidation sale so I can make room for more.  Keep an eye on my etsy shop for details.

I’ve often read that when you are on the right path composition wise, you can look at a painting upside down and still think it works.  This tidbit of advice is finally starting to resonate with me on a personal level for the first time since I started painting some ten years ago.  The revelation came to me as I flipped this canvas to paint the sides.  Perhaps it has to do with the fact that I’m focussing more on anchoring my compositions with fewer and larger objects.  Perhaps it is because I’m having so much fun.

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What If

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“Drawn By Fire”

From time to time my inner critic screams at me “Where is your focus Man? Don’t you know that a jack of all trade is a master of none?”. He has a point. I do have a tendency to be overly eclectic in my pursuits and I agree that in some ways life might be easier had I narrowed the field. The thing is that over and over again the words “WHAT IF” pop into my brain and I must drop what I’m doing and listen to the words that follow. What if I leave behind the safety of that solid career to try to build a new business from the ground up? That was a big one! What if I create videos that showcase the beauty of nature? What if those videos can promote tourism and the arts or sell real estate? What if I follow my childhood dream of being a photographer? What if I pick up a brush and move some paint around to see what happens? What if I use this time that I’m coping with illness to paint full moon winter scenes with cabins and skiers and full moons? WHAT IF? WHAT IF? WHAT IF?

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The truth is that listening to the “what if’s” can and will result in spinning wheels. You may be led down a few dead end paths and at times you may feel completely stranded but if you just keep the wheels moving eventually you will find traction. If you keep the wheels moving you will find yourself on a path to completeness that never would have been found had you played it safe. Don’t ever forget that “Every Brilliant Idea begins with ‘What If’”

 

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“Two Steps Forward”

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“Fetching Water”

 

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My Wall In The Denver Art District at Grace Gallery

 

Show And Tell

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The older one gets, the faster time seems to move. Do we all agree? Holy Cow It’s mid-October and I find myself refusing to believe that the autumn leaves are really falling to the ground. Where did those long summer days go?

I’ve been a busy boy. After returning from the annual late summer sojourn to the great northwest, I’ve been working around the clock to prepare for my first ever outdoor art festival. I completely underestimated the amount of time and energy that would be involved in purchasing and outfitting a show tent with marketable photography prints. Finally with a successful show behind me I have a chance to do some show and tell.

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The show was a complete success and the response to my work was overwhelmingly positive. I’ve been marketing my photography commercially and online for a number of years and it is super exciting to now have a tangible show space as well. I’m already beginning the process of establishing a show schedule for next summer. Michael Scott Studio is born.

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Necessity is the Mother of Invention! For me, the biggest challenge of the preparation process was to design and produce a framing system for my work printed on metal. I’ve had success in the past creating a wooden backboard on which the metal prints are mounted and they look great. The problem with the backboards is that they are heavy and therefor difficult to hang and expensive to ship. The answer came after a number of prototypes in the form of a lightweight solid wood shadow box . I’m now building these pieces by hand and on demand and I love the way they complete the art. What do you think?

 

A Time To Celebrate

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A Painting and a Poem for my Son and new Daughter on their wedding day.

Inhale this moment with all of your senses and hold it in your heart forever. It will be the second wind that will carry you over the peaks and through the valleys ahead. It will be a cache of gratitude that you will draw upon when the bitter headwinds blow. Pause and feel the warmth of the summer sun on your shoulders. Notice the gentle breeze, how it cools your brow and causes the fields to sway and vibrate. Breathe in the fragrance of the flowers and the fresh perfume of life. Hear the velvet noise of the distant tumbling water, a fitting accompaniment for the Lyric of the songbird.

This moment is special! In your mind’s eye you can see pools of deep turquoise colored water reflecting granite and snow and sky. Emerging trickles meander without haste through the high alpine meadows. Ever so steadily these head-waters gain might and agility and vigor. Youthful streams rush down the mountainsides as if there were no tomorrow and in the mist of the cascades, indigo and violet complete the spectrum before you. In your minds eye, it is here that you witness and celebrate the merging of two streams. From this point forward the path will be carved by the strength of the two together. Yes this moment is special! Inhale it with all of your senses and hold it in your heart forever.

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Return To Crested Butte

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“Moonrise Over Slate River”

I don’t know where time goes, only that it does.  Suddenly Summer is in full swing and I’ve already returned from the annual pilgrimage to Crested Butte to shoot rivers and wildflowers and all sorts of natural beauty.  This part of Colorado received a historic snowfall last winter and the rivers are as full as I’ve seen them this late in the season.

It felt great to get out and hike although my illness prevented anything very aggressive.  I hope you enjoy these wild water shots.   Which one is your favorite?

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“Gnarly”

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“Return To oh Be Joyful”

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“Dogleg Left”

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“Enchanted Moment”

 

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Lost Souls Of The Grand Staircase

 

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The month of May found me in a state of improving health and the itch for adventure and exercise needed attention. My Wife and I didn’t have to study the map long before placing a pin on the Red Rock Country of Southern Utah. We even arranged to rendezvous with my In-Laws so that we could share the experience.  Why Southern Utah you might ask. For one thing, Denver was still getting pounded by turbulent Spring weather just as high pressure was taking hold to the West. Furthermore, this is the time of the year that deep canyon floors are thriving with green hues and runoff from the high country. The two of us and our Italian Greyhound Gracie were packed and on the road, destination Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.

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The Staircase is special. It is one of the most remote and beautiful places in the desert southwest and during previous visits my exploration had only scratched the surface. The plan for this trip was to do as much desert hiking as possible and to experience the solitude of a wilderness that is now at risk of losing its protected status. I also needed to get a photography fix in the worst way. I had hardly picked up the camera since last fall when I fell ill and I couldn’t wait to get back to it. For hiking, I pulled my old trustee Asolo boots out of storage. They had carried me up half of Colorado’s Fourteeners when I was much younger. Surely they would serve me well in the desert.

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It’s always good to have an audio book on hand for long drives. For this trip I selected “Finding Everett Ruess” by David Roberts. His true story documents the life of a free spirited explorer who vanished without a trace from the Escalante region in the 1930’s. The book originally caught my attention because the forward was written by John Krakauer who wrote “Into the Wild”, one of my favorites. The subject of Krakauer’s book was Christopher McCandless, also a free spirited explorer who spent a great deal of time in the Desert Southwest. McCandless, who ended up starving to death in the Alaska wilderness, went by the alias “Alexander Supertramp”. I so much love the story that I named my camper “Alexander Supertramp” long ago.

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Sometimes the Universe aligns itself in such a way that you cannot deny that something is meant to be. That is exactly what happened on this trip to the Grand Staircase. Here we were in a rig named “Alexander Supertramp” following the footsteps of a free spirited lost soul and while hiking near the last know location of Everett Ruess, the soles of my Asolo boots peeled off, one after another. You can’t make this stuff up. It was a great trip!

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Keeping The Home Fire Burning

 

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Alpenglow Winter Adventure #8  (24 x 12) Acrylic on Board

The repetition of painting in a series is an effective way to experiment with subtle variations in technique and color.  Capturing the essence of alpenglow has not been easy but slowly I feel that I’m getting closer.  The bad thing about moving so quickly is that the similar compositions make it a challenge to come up with a meaningful title for each piece.

I have big news to share!  Much of the work that I completed this winter has now been dispersed to two gallery spaces and is beginning to sell.  I can’t explain how good it feels to have successfully made something positive out of my illness.  I do believe they call it making lemonade out of lemons.

On the health front things are looking up as well.  My energy level continues to improve and I’ve been successfully weaning myself off of the steroids.  At the current rate of improvement, I’m hoping to be in remission by the end of the summer.  (Polymyalgia Rheumatica)

Have a great Weekend!

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Small Paintings to take to this weeks “First Friday” at the Denver Art District

 

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