Light from Above…or from Home Depot

A sunset winetasting at Page Springs Cellars – Page Springs, Arizona.

A nice way to end a beautiful weekend…

It was an especially good weekend, because wonderful hubby installed my new studio lights for me! (See my last post about this here.)

This is the BEFORE picture of my studio. Hardly any light. Certainly not enough to see what I’m painting – which could actually be a good thing!

Then, voila! LET THERE BE LIGHT!!!

I now have “daylight” fluorescent lights over both sides of my studio.

It would be nice to have more storage space and painting space, but I’m not complaining! I think I can make this work for the next year, until my new studio is ready for me.

Until then, onward and artward! Oh, one more thing: my random thought for the day.

Have you ever noticed that you’re taller when you wake up than when you went to bed??? IT’S TRUE! (If you want to know how I discovered this, just ask…)


Still Getting Those Ducks Lined Up

2011 has been very productive, so far. My daughter came up on Saturday and helped me decide on changes to my website and blog. My web designer is working on the blog changes right now. The BIG job will be the website changes.

Then Sunday morning it started snowing. Beautiful, but…

Start of the Storm

It was a great time to spend more time in my studio getting it reorganized.

Great Day to Be Inside

(By the way, those are our adobe walls that we laid ourselves 27 years ago! They’re a big reason why we haven’t had a heating bill in 27 years. The sun is the other reason. Oh, and our tile floors – thermal mass, you know.)

The first thing I did Sunday morning was take my computer out of my studio! I always thought that my studio was the perfect place for it – keep everything I needed for my art business in one room, you know.

But it has been the biggest hindrance to me painting in my studio for way too long, so out it went. I moved it to the guest bedroom, which is where I am sitting right now.

New Computer Setup

I set it up on two little TV trays, with a folding chair in front. I wanted to make sure it was NOT comfortable to sit at the computer (and trust me, it’s not!). I can’t wait to finish writing this so I can go stub my toe. Anything would be more comfortable.

But this is exactly what I needed. It feels very liberating!

Here’s a little painting I did:

Rocks and Waterfall, watercolor 7x9"

These little paintings are nice, and they’re fun, but I want to get after my big paintings again, now that the holidays are over. I’m not sure I can do them in my studio (I need lots of space), but I’ll give it a try.

My ducks are almost in a row.

How Denise Got Her Groove Back

How did I get my groove back?

Plain and simple: I hired an assistantfinally!!!

I got clearance from my accountant last month to hire someone. I told him my theory that my art business would be much more effective if all I had to do was the creative part (and quit spinning my wheels with the business part – I was not meant to do paperwork).

I’ll be in deep doo-doo come tax time if my theory/wimpy solution doesn’t work. But what is it that Julia Cameron says in The Artist’s Way? Jump…and the net will appear.

Well, in just 2 days (I thought my assistant had lost her mind even suggesting that it could be done that quickly. Maybe 2 weeks…), here was the result:

Room to work

Room to work

Room to paint!

Room to paint!

It’s actually even neater than in these pictures now. What used to be “a place for everything and everything all over the place” has become “a place for everything and everything in its place.”

Really, everything is out of sight, in the home I’ve always had for it. OMG, I can actually find things now! Rather than my old system of “knowing exactly how far down and in which pile it’s in.”

I can even¬†hula hoop in my studio again!!! Don’t laugh, it’s a great stress releaser.

Clearing the Outlook Inbox

Unfortunately, I was gone all day today and wasn’t able to work on my paper. I feel like I’m suffering withdrawal—but I still have one hour to work on it. Then I’m off to read more of Getting Things Done. I read it today while my car was getting new shocks, while I was waiting for my number to be called at a store, while I was waiting at the car wash (boy, did I need that!), and while I was waiting in a doctor’s office.

I have already read the book once, so I’m just hurrying through, trying to get to the good stuff, like, how to clear my Outlook Inbox. I actually had it totally empty last year, but then I went on vacation for two and a half weeks and never got back in the groove. I’m not saying it was easy to get it to empty. It was excruciatingly difficult! I had to be given a deadline of, for example, “4:00 p.m. Thursday.” I remember I was in a panic, sweating profusely, dry mouth, the whole bit, trying to meet the deadline (I’m embarrassed to admit that after days of whittling prior to my deadline, there were still over a thousand e-mails sitting there! Okay, maybe two thousand…).

Then, at 3:45 a wondrous idea came to me: put all of the e-mails that I couldn’t decide on into an Outlook folder that I named……??? See, I don’t even remember where I put all that stuff that was causing me so much anguish!? I hope I never find it. If I ever do I’ll have to have my husband push the delete button for me.

Moral of the story: don’t anguish over all that junk, just delete it! It’s like clutter. If you loved it, you’d have it in a loving place and you’d have a use for it. As FlyLady always says, “You can’t organize clutter; you have to get rid of it.”

The most amazing thing about today was that, for the first time ever, I came home with NO EXTRA PAPER! I brought home one teensy little business card with an appointment written on the back. The information will get entered into my Outlook Contacts, and the appointment will get put on my Outlook Calendar, with a reminder. Then the PAPER will go into the trash!

Back to painting tomorrow.

My Goal: A Paperless Studio!

This is my goal for 2008 – a paperless studio, where I can actually function and be creative and be productive. I’m cheating here, because this was the way it looked after getting some much-needed systems in place with the help of Alyson Stanfield.

Paperless Studio!

One of the books she recommended was David Allen’s book Getting Things Done. He had me pull all my paper into one place…and that’s when I got stuck. I am now blasting my way out!

Onward and upward for 2008!

Out of the Closet and into the Trash!

Have you ever noticed that when you start to really clean your house, things get a whole lot worse before they get better? My studio looked pretty bad to begin with, but now it looks like it EXPLODED! At least my dog can still fit in there – her tail is somewhere in the middle of it all. And notice that now I can at least close the closet door:

Paper Disaster!

My trash cans are nearly full! (Don’t worry, I’ll be recycling everything.) I am dumping years of “precious” accumulated STUFF, and it has been fairly painless. There is a small pile forming of things that I need to ask other people to help me get rid of, but other than that I’m doing quite well. For example, after being a Master Gardener for several years, I had an entire file-drawer’s worth of gardening-related paper. Oh, it was so wonderful to let go of it all! If I saw a paper that had to do with gardening it went straight in the trash–no thinking or reading allowed.

Full trash cans!

Normally, my downfall is that I start reading each piece of paper–everything is so interesting. Not allowed! (You should see me try to crumple paper to get a fire going in the wood stove. I have to use the Help-Wanted page or the Classifieds so that I don’t start reading all the interesting stuff.) I do know my weaknesses. When it comes time to recycle all of this, my husband will have to do it for me. I’ve learned that I cannot touch the pieces of paper again. That craving to read everything gets me every time!

Paper Mess!

After one year of use I find that my blog got deleted, so I have to start from scratch. I have decided to dive in here with a lament about the paper mess in my life. Alyson Stanfield advised me over a year ago to gather up all my paper and throw away – throw away! – everything that didn’t support me in my art business. Panic set in. You see, I have a love/hate relationship with paper. I love it, I crave it (especially if it has pretty colors on it). But once it’s in my life I hate it! Alyson’s solution sounded wonderful and freeing but there was no way I could let go of all that information, all those decisions…………until yesterday.

Something inside me finally clicked (with the help of a glass of wine) and said, “Nobody’s going to be mad if you throw this stuff away.” That sounded simple, but it also made me start to think. These piles of paper are hideous (!) and depressing and a huge burden, and I have no idea what’s even in them! I haven’t seen, nor needed to see, any of these papers in years. Unfortunately, there are maybe two pieces of important papers in the piles that I have to find. Everything else is going straight in the trash – yes, with some pangs of regret. But most of that regret should be that I hung onto this trash for so many years!

It’s time to pull down my pants, so to speak, and expose my messy studio (that I can’t function in anymore because there’s no room!). By the way, I have beautifully labeled, uncluttered file drawers, because I CAN’T FIND ANYTHING–IT’S ON THE FLOOR OR IN A PILE SOMEWHERE! These are the “before” pictures:

Paper Mess!

More Paper Mess!

My next post should be of my “after” pictures. Now, where’s that glass of wine?