Self-ish

  
Have you experienced Adobe’s Slate app? It’s free and simple to use. I created a ‘story’ called ‘Self-ish: A Journey of Self Portraiture’ with it. Lots of possibilities for creating illustrative stories effortlessly! 

Give it a try!

https://slate.adobe.com/a/G8y5k

What’s Your Story?

  

The other day I received what I consider to be my first ‘negative’ comment on my Instagram feed. It wasn’t necessarily a bad comment but one I felt definitely had negative intentions.  

I can honestly say, though, the comment was eye opening – in more ways than one.  

The comment came after I’d received several complimentary comments about a particular (abstract) image I had posted.  

This commenter wanted to know: ‘What is abstract art?’, ‘Where is the talent??’ and ‘Would someone please explain this to me!!’

For some reason I felt compelled to give an explanation even though I had doubts as to the sincerity of the question. Wouldn’t an ‘artist’ know what ‘abstract art’ was? Especially an artist with such ‘confidence’?

And when I said the comment was eye-opening I did mean it in a good way!

First of all it caused me to stop and think what ‘having talent’ actually means.

How is talent defined? Who gets to decide who is talented and who is not? And, more importantly, why did this person even care? Did my ‘lack of talent’ offend him? Did it take away from his ability to make art? It may sound as if his comment really bothered me but I assure you it did not.

It made me think

Why do I create the art I create? 

Why in this style, in this way? With these subjects and these colors?

Why?

I realized his comments made me want to defend my art but not in a defensive way at all. (And no one could have been any more surprised by this fact than me!)

‘Abstract art’, I informed him, ‘is a visual language that does not attempt to represent an accurate reality but instead uses shapes, colors, forms and gestural marks to achieve its effect. If it engages the viewer it is considered successful. All art is ultimately valuable for its effect on the viewer and (in most cases involving true artists) for the effect is has on the artist who creates it. Whether or not the artist is viewed as ‘having talent’ is a non-issue for it is far more important for the artist to be able to tell their story through their art. Thanks for asking!”

And here it was.

The answer to the question I did not know I needed an answer to.  

I do what I do because this is my story to tell. And this is how I choose to tell it. I hope you enjoy it but its ok if you don’t. I share it because I can only hope you might benefit from it in some small way (or even in a large way) that it might change your day for the better or simply serve as inspiration. I create this art because I can’t NOT create it. If it helps you too then it’s a good day – whether talent is involved or not!
You can see my stories unfold at: http://www.instagram.com/AKALIGHTBLUE

Productive Procrastination

  
Do you follow Austin Kleon?

He’s a writer and artist who’s work has been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition, PBS NewsHour, The Wall Street Journal and the art website 20×200.com.

He’s also published a couple of books and I want to share something from his (New York Times Bestseller) ‘Steal Like an Artist’. He talks about the importance of artist’s ‘side projects’; the stuff that we do for fun. He says that these side projects are actually “the good stuff” – and that this is when the magic happens. 

That’s pretty interesting information and something to think about. 

It reminds me of the quote (which he also includes in the chapter):  “The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.” – Jessica Hische.

Now that really is something to think about!

If you’d like to see what procrastination looks like…check out my Instagram feed at: http://www.instagram.com/akalightblue

You can sign up for a weekly newsletter with lots of great information from Austin Kleon at: http://www.austinkleon.com

And you can see what Jessica Hische is up to at: http://www.jessicahische.is

Twilight Twinkle

  Did you know…

That in only two places in the entire world there is a phenomenon called ‘simultaneous bioluminescence’ where fireflies in the area sync up their flashes so they all light up at the same time repeatedly all night long. This happens (apparently) in Southeast Asia and Smoky Mountain National Park.

I had no idea!

Found on ‘The Magic & Folklore of Fireflies’

This image is another one of my iPad creations.

Food for Thought

 

 A few months ago I made the decision to get a personal trainer to help with my healthy lifestyle goals.  As is typical, we had a discussion about nutrition and exercise at our first meeting.  One thing we discussed that I wasn’t familiar with was learning my ‘Calorie Maintenance Level’.


It didn’t sound that important at first (just more diet and nutrition stuff) but for some reason I was paying attention, made note and decided to investigate further when I got home.   Thanks, Google!  You can read more about it at:  www.acaloriecounter.com.  


But if you’re not into the research thing like I am – here is a (very) brief summary:

In order to reach your goal; whether the goal is weight loss, fat loss or muscle building it’s important to know where you are starting from.   Your calorie maintenance level will tell you that.  Once you know this number it will be much easier to calculate and successfully reach your goal –and in the most efficient manner possible.


Think about it this way.  If you were about to embark on a road trip, you wouldn’t just jump in the car, start driving and hope to get there.  Yes, you might end up at your destination but it might also take you a really long time to get there.  Enough said!    


The key take-away point to all of this is: whenever we’re trying to eat healthy, or get into better shape there is a tendency to WAY over estimate the value of our efforts assuming that EVERY effort is a MAJOR one on our part; when in fact, this is (usually) never the case.   And, as expected, this will only lead to disappointment and disillusionment when our goals are not immediately met.   


So, if you’re really serious about achieving a new healthy lifestyle goal – do yourself a favor and find out what your ‘calorie maintenance level’ is – trust me, it will be an eye-opener  – and will save you a lot of angst in the long run!

Now, believe it or not this blog post really isn’t about how to lose weight or gain muscle…it’s really about how this information can be applied elsewhere – with any goal.


It’s really easy to set goals.  We get a great idea in our head about how wonderful it would be to accomplish A, B or C. We get excited and we plan.  We’re confident we can achieve anything at this point. 


And then reality hits.  


But I don’t think it’s so much a problem of not following through as it is improper planning.  


I think we set ourselves up for defeat from the beginning because we’re not honest about our starting point. 


We tend to do the opposite of sandbagging – we exaggerate our credentials.  Just like when we’re ‘calculating’ how many calories that Turkey-Melt sandwich has.


I think being honest with who we are and what we want to achieve in a reasonable time frame would help us more in the long run.  No matter what the goal is. 


Just something to think about.

 

Space-Time Continuum

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I’ve commented often (and have even written a blog post or two) about the speed in which time seems to be passing. People will always say that time just passes faster once you get older but, in all honesty we know this really isn’t true.

I still hold on to my theory that time seems to be passing faster now because there are no longer ‘start’ and ‘stop’ markers to our day; that cell phones, emails, texts and computer access have made it too easy to be available 24 hours a day.

I still think this is a large part of the problem and since I don’t see this life-style changing anytime soon – we need to figure out a way to work around it. And I think I may have stumbled upon that ‘way’ totally by accident!

If you really want to slow down the clock – set a goal. Nothing slows time like anticipation!

And not just any goal – a goal you actually plan on achieving. One that is important to you and that requires a little bit of focus (well, maybe just a little more than a little); nothing too painful though. The goal needs to be one that is within fairly easy reach (that you can achieve within a reasonable amount of time) and one that will give you measurable results (i.e. pounds of weight loss, money saved for a vacation, paying off a credit card, etc., etc.).

Here are the steps:

1. Set your goal.

2. Decide on your method of attack.

3. Commit to it.

It really comes down to that.

This plan doesn’t work for people who set goals and then give up after a day or two – sorry; this will only work for people who are serious about reaching their goals. You have to be at that place – you have to want it bad enough. I know this all too well because I’ve been ‘that person’.

The best part is – all this goal-setting has a two-fold benefit. Not only does it help to slow down the clock, it will get you excited about the future. Setting and reaching goals is a very productive way to spend your time – not to mention being very empowering. Once you accomplish one goal, you will be motivated to set another. And then another.

“In a year from now, you’ll wish you’d started today.”

What a great quote – and so true – and what better way to spend all the extra time you’ll now have!

Evidence



“I want to write something
so simply
about love
or about pain
that even
as you are reading
you feel it
and as you read
you keep feeling it
and though it be my story
it will be common,
though it be singular
it will be known to you
so that by the end
you will think—
no, you will realize—
that it was all the while
yourself arranging the words,
that it was all the time
words that you yourself,
out of your heart

had been saying.”

Evidence – Mary Oliver