Travel Watercolors of Italy (& staying focused on art)

I’m still working on the nocturnal watercolor on yupo I mentioned in the last post, so stay tuned (or subscribe) for that coming soon…. In the meantime, I feel compelled to share a humorous, smart, thought-provoking essay on Why Procrastinators Procrastinate.

Are you in the Staller Club too? Do you wait till the eleventh hour to complete tasks with deadlines? Do you put off painting – even when you relish every little part of the art-making process – until AFTER you’ve emptied the dishwasher, folded all the laundry and completed errands to the post office, grocery store and dry cleaner?

Forget-me-Not blue trim on a shop near the village of Sault, in southern France

The Affliction of Procrastination

And by the time you get back from the errands, it’s time to meet the refrigerator repair man, or make dinner, or pick the kids up from school, so another day goes by with no painting…. Does this sound familiar? Yeah, me too.

Read this two part essay by Tim Urban about the affliction of procrastination, and let me know what you think in the comments. You can also watch his TED talk on the same subject. While you’re reading/watching (go ahead, it won’t take long), I’ll see if I can wrestle my Instant Gratification Monkey ???? into a cage. πŸ™‚

First Day in Italy under way, using a grid to lay out the drawing, and glazing techniques in watercolors

Strike While the Iron is Hot

The painting in this post was inspired by a snapshot taken on a trip to Italy a few years ago, but the experience is rejuvinated in my mind after last month’s trip to France. I’m incredibly fired up to paint images from the photos I snapped in Provence, and the carousel of ideas in my head is a little overwhelming.

I’m making lists, and trying to break the enormous monsoon of options into bite-sized tasks, and most important, I’m trying to move FAST while the ideas are all fresh, as recommended in this excellent essay: The Art of Momentum: Why your ideas need speed.

Similar glazing methods for the watercolor in this post are demonstrated in the above pen and ink watercolor tutorial video. You can also read this post about watercolor glazing.

Flowers in window boxes in the village of Sault, France

Better Focus via Exercise

Along the same lines as the essay on wrangling procrastination, have a look at this post on staying focused on exercise goals from the Mayo Clinic. (Did I tell you I started exercising 6 days a week in January to improve my general health & mental focus in the studio?)

Studies show that sitting for long periods of time (like an artist does while painting for a few hours a day) may negatively affect your health, so if you’ve been reading this for awhile, let’s stand up, stretch arms above our heads, shake out each leg, wiggle our hips and take a deep breath, shall we?????????

Beautiful spigot in a public fountain in Sault, France

Take the First Steps…

If procrastination is stopping you from making art, or it’s been a long while since you had time to paint or draw something in your sketchbook, I hope you’ll pull out your calendar, and plot a teeny little thirty minute or one hour slot in the next 48 hours to gift that time to yourself – just you and your art supplies.

Make it a date, hold it open on the schedule, and guard the time so you can re-kindle the love affair with making. You’re the only one who can make that move, because here’s the thing: Creative time is almost never given to us by someone else; you have to take it for yourself. It has to be your move. Reach for it now. ????

Rah-rahing for you, from way over here…

See you in the next post –


First Day in Italy 21 x 14 watercolor (available here)

Art Quote

Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life.

~Anne Lamott

12 thoughts on “Travel Watercolors of Italy (& staying focused on art)”

  1. Pingback: Still Life Painting Design Ideas - Adding Interest to your Art (even if it wasn't there) - Belinda Del Pesco

  2. Carolina Morelli

    Yupo is interesting ~ I’ve taught classes in it and find it very challenging yet fun. Thanks for your wonderful
    photos of belle France, I love visiting family there, it’s always so entertaining…

    1. Bonjour, Carolina! Yes, yupo gives control and takes it away at the same time. It definitely encourages adjustment on our approach to painting with watercolor, but I love that sort of process- stretch and the fun of it. πŸ™‚

  3. Love “First Day in Italy” and the spigot (gorgeous), but I am making the articles on procrastination and the Ted Talk game-changers for me. They effectively described and explained my own issues and gave a plan for tackling them. Thanks so much for sharing this info – here’s to actually doing what is most important in our lives!

    1. Hi Kathleen – you and I both on the game changer status! Art-twins! Now, to embrace and implement and stick to it, right? I applaud your enthusiasm, and your courage. Here’s to caging that monkey until we deem a portion of the day Playtime!

    1. Hi Kim, I know, there is so much to read and ponder and apply – as if the day wasn’t already overloaded! Feeding the Instant Gratification Monkey with even more fodder! πŸ™‚ Thanks for visiting!

  4. Oh yeah, that sounds familiar! And at the end of the day I’m left wondering why I never seem to have time to do the art that I claim I so desperately want to do. But no more, thanks to that link! I’m still wiping my eyes from laughing so hard. Those cartoons were priceless. I’m going to forward that post to everyone…after I do art.

    1. Hi Gabrielle – I had the same reaction to Tim Urban’s cartoons and anecdotes… Like he was talking to ME, directly. Humor makes the whole avalanche of self awareness quirks more digestible. πŸ™‚ So, yes, after you go make art, share the essay with like minded folks who might get a kick out of it. Thanks for your visit, and happy painting to you (more often). πŸ™‚

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