Friday, July 21, 2017

Be protective of your environment to set yourself for success

How do I do this and how do I do that? I get that question a lot. Many people approach me and ask me how I have the energy, the motivation, the drive to do the things I do. Crossfit, Painting, driving to Seattle every day. A day job in engineering. And the reality is that I have narrowed it down to a couple items I will mention below. But what's really hard is not how I do it, but to be consistent and persistent with it. Now, that's something I might have been born with. My mom is very much like me in that. But if you have those traits, then I am going to tell you what I tell all my friends that ask me, hey ale, how can you do so much?

Many books and articles have been written about this subject but... I am particularly going through a moment in my life where this has become more than essential.

Want to be a good painter? surround yourself with the masters. Study their process, how much do they paint? how do they paint? what other activities or accessory work do they do to help them be good? and start doing it. Not only watch them, but start walking the walk, your own walk.
But before you can paint your way, you have to paint like the master whose work you love. Or at least, try to do it. This is not copying, this is learning.
Do it and do it so much that it becomes natural to you. Do this taking from several not just one artist whose work you admire.

Eventually your "style" will emerge. It just takes time. I am still trying, but I can see how it has taken me further already. Closer to my goals, closer to liking the paintings I produce.

Hang out with people that love art, just like you do. If you only go through life not connecting with people that love what you love, you will become confused. You will end up in a spot where you feel disconnected, like you are the only one who cares. This has happened to me many times. To the point that it throws me on a spin of depression and mental illness. Surely enough, when I push myself to spend quality time with people that share the passion, it feels like a super energy boost. Motivation comes back, life feels better. Inspiration comes back. Everything has meaning again.

Yesterday, I drove all the way to Mt. Vernon (a one hour and half from home) to visit the Dakota Art Store warehouse and to spend quality time with my artist friends. I got to see Richard McKinley and talk to him about painting and life. On the way home I was in so much better mood than before.

Lisa, Rebecca, me and Patricia. They are all inspiration to me.

Some random guy I found on the street. He is very funny! :)

I was talking to an artist there about why I have my pastel box clean and organized all the time.
Well... as painters, we do make a mess, and pastels in particular become grayish when in use.
The reason I clean my pastels when I am done with a painting or even before, between sittings, is part of a strategy. I noticed a long time ago, that when they are clean and the colors are vibrant, I get more attracted to come back and carry on with the work. It also helps me get started. If the box is dirty and disorganized it really affects me. It wont stop me, but: it doesn't help.

My studio. Watercolors, pastels, oils, and .... and ....

Want to lose weight? be healthier? surround yourself with people that strive to do the same. If you only hang out with people that don't care so much about those things, you will not do it. Or it will be so much harder you will give up on your goal easily.

I went to my gym and talked with coach Alex, the fittest guy I know.  I asked him how he does it. Yeah, I bought an apple watch and I have to log my food all the time, but guess what: I have lost those pesky 5lbs I wanted to lose for so long. The watch sure makes it fun.

My fridge - relatively healthy food overall.

Whenever I am feeling like I am not making much progress I look for him at the gym and just say hi. That's it, then all we talked about exercise and nutrition comes back to me and I feel supported again. It's like "ok Ale, you are on the right track, you can do it".

So remember, your environment has to support your goals. Be protective of it, find the time to adjust it and make sure you are setting yourself up to succeed.

And remember to always have fun!

"Early Fog" 9x12 pastel.

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