This week I celebrated my 48th trip around the sun. I’m now barreling down the homestretch toward the big 5-0. When I turned 39 in 2013, I launched my first attempt at an art blog, LOT80 Studio, which has long since fallen into a digital abyss. A few months prior to launch, my husband, Alex, and I had closed a 7-year long business venture we were running in addition to our full-time regular jobs. My intent was to use the blog as a tool to encourage me to utilize my newly freed evenings to create and share my work. I had been dabbling with painting for a few years and wanted to get more serious with the medium.
The blogging went well at first. I had a considerable cache of digital and photo work that could easily be posted to build content on the site quickly, with plans to incorporate paintings, other hand-made art, and perhaps some poetry and writing. In early 2014, I over-committed myself to a themed project with a self-imposed requirement to post content daily. Then in July that same year, we lost a family member and tending to his estate tied up our weekends for the next two years. Creativity fell by the wayside. The end result was several projects languishing in a half-done, half-assed state. I accumulated piles of sketches, notes, torn pages and many more scraps with images, words, and whatnots to use as inspiration for future projects. Despite putting in time at my studio desk when I have been able, many of these “ideas” have not yet to come to fruition.
In October 2017, inspired by a month-long creative challenge on Instagram, the DEEMINZ were born. I received positive feedback from friends, colleagues and fellow artists. I’m happy to report they are still actively moving forward with their plans for world domination! This is one of the few ventures I have worked on for a years-long streak and am still excited to keep it going. **SHAMELESS PLUG: check out their site and social media, too!**
I still, however, need to address the elephant in the room, or rather, my studio — that being the piles of ideas referenced above. During a recent household purging session I consolidated everything to an expanding folder, my unfinished business. My plan has been to transfer years worth of collected ideas to two notebooks; one for DEEMINZ-related projects, and the other for regular/personal works. I must confess, I still need to work on that!
So, why now? The answer is because I have to, for me. Although the DEEMINZ venture is going well, I have been putting off creating other works outside of it for far too long. I have sporadically produced paintings over the years, but not enough to feel satisfied as an artist. Actually, I feel weird referring to myself as an artist because I don’t yet have enough personal work worth showing to fill a gallery. The older I get, the more I realize time is rapidly running out. We can’t get back time we have lost, and once our journey in this life comes to an end, we really don’t know what lies beyond.
Between April and July of this year, three friends I have known for the last 12 years from the local art and poetry scenes have passed away. Their zest for living creative lives is what I admire most about them. All three were passionate about their creative works and causes they believed in; they made an impact on everyone they met and the places they traveled. Two of them were an older married couple in their 70s and 80s. They were a real-life dynamic duo in the art scene with him having created incredible (and enviable) bodies of artistic and musical work spanning decades, and she being the driving force behind the business aspect of his multiple ventures. They passed within a month each other, truly meant to be together forever. The third was only 49, and had been living on borrowed time due to heart issues. He knew that, and had lived each day fully as if it would be his last. Though nearly 40 years separated him from the couple, he packed in what seemed like 80-some years’ worth of adventure and creativity. He accomplished more during his short stay than most do over a longer lifetime. I want to be like these folks when I grow up.
Like everyone who has gone before them, these friends leave behind their unfinished business: plans that won’t get seen through, works in progress now frozen in time, booked events that will now have empty chairs, etc. Few leave this life having done everything they wanted. The rest of us will leave many things incomplete and loose ends that will never be tied. I have my fair share of those as well, sitting right here on my desk staring at me.
“Today is the day!”
Two months ago, Alex and I met one of my dear poetry friends for brunch. We had amazing conversations about life, health, future plans, and eternal to-do’s. My friend mentioned he used to get more things done when wrote out his to-do list on a whiteboard, and had gotten out of the habit. “Today is the day!” Alex proclaimed. This gave him the boost he needed and he has been getting things done since!
I took this week off from work to do the same. In the weeks leading up to my “stay-cation” I compiled a pages-long list of things to work on — a handful of little things pertaining to household management, a few bucketfuls of things to get done on the in the studio, and a sprinkling of business regarding the creative front. I have checked many things off my list, and there are even many more to work on. I promised I wouldn’t beat myself up if I don’t get everything checked off during the week. Checking off some boxes is preferable to checking zero boxes. Once this vacation ends, I will still have evenings and weekends to work through the list, and I will need to make a point to have the list on hand and choose to do the things that are on it.
Less yappin’, more happen
Looking back at my attempt to run an art blog as tool for motivation, I realize my problem wasn’t so much with creating, but rather what I was creating. I was too focused on the appearance of the site, too concerned with adding content, and not investing enough time in making the art I intended to make. I spent too much time trying to design the perfect logo and making the website flashy. In the end, I had a decent looking blog with a lot of content, but not enough work from the heart.
I have talked about, and written down, the many projects I want to get done, but today is the day to shift from park to drive. My mantra for this next year is “less yappin’, more happen.” To start, I am launching this new site with no frills. A logo can be added later. The format can be freshened down the road. Until I get more items checked off, I will share content from the heart, and not simply post for the sake of posting. I have a lot of unfinished business to get to, and I have yapped enough!
If you’re reading this, thank you for tagging along!