Monday, March 28, 2011

Here I wander in April.....

Here I wander in April
Cold, grey-headed; and still to my
Heart, Spring comes with a bound, Spring the deliverer,
Spring, song-leader in woods, chorally resonant;
Spring, flower-planter in meadows...........
.R.L Stevenson

An Abstract Take on Nature, Mixed Media 14"x14", 2011

Spring is here! That's what the calender keeps telling us ; as well as the racks at the departmental store, with their skimpy clothes already out! But here in Connecticut, old man winter just refuses to leave! We actually had a few inches of snow on last Friday! Ridiculous.But spring is in my heart, that's for sure.  I decided to do a whole series of paintings on spring! Or in other words, what I associate with spring: Life! Floweres are bursting throught the hardened grounds, the birds are returning to my window sill and I anticiapte the warmth that is sure to come ! Hopefully soon. After the winter we had,  no one should deny us the  pleasure of  bright sunshine, gentle breeze and heady aroma of floweres!!
Well, we might have to wait for few more weeks for that , but I am already there, though my paintings!

First puff of perfume mingled, Mixed Media, 8"x10", 2011

Undertones of Life, Mixed Media 9"x12", 2011

Off to the land where dreams come true.Mixed Media, 12"x16", 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bragging for Bliss

How do you feel about bragging? Do you ever do it? If you are like me, probably you shy away from talking about yourself (and I do talk a lot!).  Heck, I tend to shy away from people who brags! Nothing is more annoying than people who turns everything into self praise! I understand, if we don't promote ourselves, no one will.... But to be flagrant about it does not sit well with me.Obviously I want to know about other artist's work and accomplishments but I don't want to be assaulted by their" bragolouges" !

 Author Peggy Klaus, in her book How to Toot Your Own Horn Without Blowing it, discusses how to effectively brag about yourself without boring people to death! She suggests that bragging can be pretty effective if you know how. If you don't like the word brag then she advises to think of it as advertisement. And the best way to do it is through stories. If you know how to weave your accomplishments in a story format you stand a chance of people at least paying some attention. As long as you are telling the truth and telling it in an entertaing way people will listen. Instead of saying, " I got into this prestigious galley", it might sound much better if you say, " I am very fortunate that the gallery has decided to show my work". You are basically saying the same thing but the second version doesn't make you look like a braggart!

To effectively brag about yourself you should obviously be prepared to talk about yourself! And Klaus, provides a questionnaire on her website to help through the process. I have provided a link to the page. But just in case here is the list:
  1. What would you and others say are five of your personality pluses?
  2. What are the ten most interesting things you have done or that have happened to you?
  3. What do you do for a living and how did you end up doing it?
  4. What do you like/love about your current job/career?
  5. How does your job/career use your skills and talents, and what projects are you working on right now that best showcase them?
  6. What career successes are you most proud of having accomplished (from current position and past jobs)?
  7. What new skills have you learned in the last year?
  8. What obstacles have you overcome to get where you are today, both professionally and personally, and what essential lessons have you learned from some of your mistakes?
  9. What training/education have you completed and what did you gain from those experiences?
  10. What professional organizations are you associated with and in what ways_member, board, treasurer, or the like?
  11. How do you spend your time outside of work, including hobbies, interests, sports, family, and volunteer activities?
  12. In what ways are you making a difference in people's lives?
 So, brag away my friends and do let me know how it is going! So far I am still tongue tied and embarrassed about bragging. Maybe you can help me with your insights!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Case for Not Setting "Goals"

It might sound like a strange topic but do we really need goals to succeed? Most of you (and I) will say, of course! This quote by Bill Copeland  puts it very succinctly:

“The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score”! 

Without goals we will just float around and have no anchor to hold us to a vision! Our goals might be small or big, but I would say that we do need them, right?

Well, I came across an article in a blog I follow (Zenhabits), which states that we really don't need a goal to succeed! Actually, according to the author, setting goals limit us and binds us to a single path and kills spontaneity. Having a goal that was relevant for us a year for even weeks before, might not be relevant anymore. And doggedly following that goal will only make us miserable! This quote by the author sums up the crux of the whole article"

"Being liberated from goals means you will always be excited about what you’re doing. And yes, you’ll accomplish things. You’ll get somewhere great — you just might not have known you’d ever end up there when you started."-Zenhabits

The Zenhabits author, instead asks us to "focus" on what we want and that will help us get it (um, we need something to focus on : a goal, perhaps?). By being excited about something is enough to get it done! 

I find this article contradictory. Focus to me is the handmaiden of goals. We need something to focus on! Maybe what the author means, is that we should not "laminate" our goals and put it on the mantle? That we should leave some room to evolve and as we change so would our goals? I agree  that we should stay flexible but  I can't agree that setting goals should be chucked all together! Specially for simple mortals like myslef! Without a beacon I would just flounder and probably sleep all day!!

So, what do you think? Should we set goals for ourselves or learn the art of "focusing" to get what we want?