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I spent some more time with myself after Sunday's post, thinking about my resistance, working to get to the bottom of it.  Then I tried to dodge around the answer I kept getting to, but I kept ending up back there.  Setting the goals, getting them down right now feels restrictive.  I'm not ready for this yet.

I feel a little bit like this flower--crushed and flattened.

On the one hand I feel like I completely blew it, like this was a complete bomb.  On the other hand, I think it's important to show the failures, setbacks, wrong turns, etc.  The more of us who share *all* aspects of our creative journeys the better.  It helps those of us creating on our own to see that other creatives go through all of these phases, too.  Your favorite artists, authors, musicians and other creative people go through this, too.  It's normal. It happens.  It's part of the process.

This absolutely doesn't mean the R.E.A.L. G.O.A.L.S.™ system doesn't work.  Just means it isn't working for me, at least not right now.  It may be something I'll want to revisit in future when I'm more ready for it.  For now, though, I'm going to set aside this experiment and move on to other things.

This week, I'm feeling the need for some easy, soft activities.  I'm going to take this week off from experimenting to play in my art journal, think about where I am and where I might be going and generally let my brain loosen up a bit.  So I'm not going to do an experiment this week, but if I get to a finished stage on any of my art journal pages, I might post a pic or two.

I'd still love to hear about your experiences if you're working with R.E.A.L. G.O.A.L.S.™  Please leave a comment or drop me a note and let me know how it's going.

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This week, I once again learned that I need to take my own advice.  I'm always telling people to take it easy on themselves, give themselves some slack, allow for the flow of their creativity and emotions and work with that flow.  And yet I repeatedly forget that this applies to me, too!  But it does.

Sometimes you meet with resistance when you're working on something emotionally deep or intense--like goal setting, for example.  I hit a huge wall of resistance over this goal setting experiment, and no matter how much I tried to push through it, I was stuck.  Sometimes you can push through resistance, but it doesn't always work.  Sometimes the resistance is deep, and it needs more finesse than force.  You might have to adjust your schedule to make room for dealing with the resistance and the emotions that crop up.

I think this is something important for creatives to keep in mind because what we do is deeply, strongly tied to our subconscious minds and our emotions, and those two things do not always follow the schedules and plans we set.  This week, I am reminding myself of this, and I am reminding you, too.

Back to the goal setting.  All week, I found myself putting off doing the work I had set for myself.  At first I told myself it was because I was busy, and I promised I would get to it soon.  But I didn't.  I kept making excuses, and then it got really hot out, and that became another excuse (my studio is upstairs, and we don't have air conditioning).  So here I am on Sunday night with only a start to this week's project and only a vague idea of how I want to proceed.  But I thought it's important to show others how all of the creative process looks, and that includes the rough times and the resistance.

Meanwhile, I do have the beginnings of my goal setting:

The beginning of goal setting is always to look at your dream.  What is it that you want when you are dreaming wild and free and not censoring?  That's your starting point, and that will help you set goals that mean enough for you to keep pushing toward them even when the going gets tough.

That's where I am right now.  At the beginning, still trying to figure it all out.  I'll be back on Tuesday with more thoughts and the next step in this creative trip.  See you then!

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2

This week, I'm going to look at the first three of the R.E.A.L. G.O.A.L.S.™:

I'll be writing out some goals and examining them based on these criteria.

  • Reasonable: can actually be done; the resources are available or can be gotten without breaking the bank; will work with the rest of my life
  • Expectations: make sure I'm following my desires and expectations and no one else's
  • Authentic: Make sure the expectations are my own and from my heart and not coming from a desire for money, fame, popularity, or anything else besides following my own path

One last thing.  If you are following along with these posts and creating your own goals, don't censor yourself because you're worried about fitting your goals into these categories.  First, write down your goals and dreams no matter what they are.  Then, when you have it all down, go back and hone your goals.  You can edit them so they flow with the system and therefore become more "doable," but first make sure you get them all down so you have something real to work with.

Let me know what you're working on.  I'd love to hear about who's planning along with me!

See you Sunday with my "raw" dreams and goals and the beginnings of honing them with the R.E.A.L. G.O.A.L.S.™ system.

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I'm starting my examination of R.E.A.L. G.O.A.L.S.™ (Reasonable, Expectations, Authentic, Living, Good, Orderly, Actions, Leading to, Success) with an overview.  I think before you can use a system, you need to have a good understanding of what each part of the system means for you.   Because my vision of "reasonable" or "success" won't look the same as yours, and if you're going to create and achieve goals, you need to make sure that they're really your own.

Here's what I'm starting with to create my R.E.A.L. G.O.A.L.S.™:

To get yourself started with your own list, ask yourself , "What does this mean to me?"  In my journal page, I wrote down a few things that I'm going to want to keep in mind about each category as I form my goals.  Use my lists to help get your thoughts flowing, but remember to make sure what you are writing down works for you and feels right for you.

On Tuesday, I'll write a bit about Reasonable, Expectations and Authentic and give you my breakdown of what I think those categories should be about for me.  Meanwhile, if you start working with this, leave me a comment and let me know.

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2

I think about goals a lot, or at least I think about the things I want to do, and I make vague plans in my head about how I might go about doing them. I make lists and notes sometimes, and sometimes that even helps. But I have a deep desire to find a way to get myself organized, motivated, and moving forward. I know from talking with people in person and online that I'm not alone in feeling this way, so I'm going to start working on some goal setting and productivity systems, and I'll do it here so you can follow along and maybe we can cheer each other on.

My art journal

I don't know if my goals and productivity pieces will all fall into the "experiments" category, but I'm going to get started that way. We'll see where things go from here.

To start out, I'm going to look at a goal system created by Jules at Big Girl Bombshell.  She went beyond the usual S.M.A.R.T. goals (Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic Timely) and created something a little deeper, broader, and maybe more accessible to some of us.  She created R.E.A.L. G.O.A.L.S.™ It stands for:

  • Reasonable
  • Expectations
  • Authentic
  • Living
  • Good
  • Orderly
  • Actions
  • Leading to
  • Success

Some wishes for the year

I'm going to spend the next few weeks working with this in my art journal--I might add in some work with the S.M.A.R.T. goals, too--to see if by getting my goals more firmly settled in my mind I can find a way to start working on them more consistently.

I hope you'll join me in this exploration.  If you're going to experiment along with me, please leave a note in the comments and leave a link to your blog if that's where you're going to be examining these issues.  I'd love to have the company and would love to see what you're up to!

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2

I was going to use a more neutral color on this since it's intended to be a background for a collage, but orange kept calling my name.  I'm so glad I listened!  I just love how this came out, especially the streaky bits.  I let the brush get a bit dry to get some of the streaks.  I also went back over a couple of spots with a damp paper towel to pull off some paint and get a more streaky effect.

Now, although this isn't actually part of the experiment, I have to mention the brush I used for this.  I have been wanting to switch to synthetic brushes, so I've been trying out a few of the less expensive ones.  So far, I hadn't found any I was thrilled with.  Then I read about RealValue™ brushes from the Princeton Art & Brush Company.  I bought two sets this weekend.  (They have non-synthetic brushes as well.)  They are awesome!  Seriously.  Smooth, the bristles stay together, they hold paint wonderfully, they don't leave bristles behind when you paint.  And the bristles stay together beautifully after you clean them. I have only used a couple of them one time so far, but I love how they handle.  It doesn't hurt that one of the sets has raspberry pink colored wooden handles.  So, if you're looking for good but inexpensive brushes, give these a try--I found them in my local art supply store, and you can find them several places online.

That's it for last week's experiment. See you tomorrow for the launch of a slightly different sort of experiment.

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I don't normally split my experiment posts up, but this weekend gifted me with unexpected visits with family and friends.  I didn't have as much time to work on my project as I'd hoped for, but I can't say I regret the time spent visiting.

I didn't want to leave everyone hanging, though, so here's what I have finished so far on the recycled magazine project.

First, sewing the pages together.  I don't have a sewing machine that will let me do the freestyle embroidery the instructions called for.  So, I sewed the pages by hand and went for a simple and less full pattern of loops and swirls.

Next, I added just a few colorful images and gessoed over the whole thing.  I used a damp paper towel to lighten the gesso in some areas.

I'll admit it was really time consuming and a bit of a pain doing the sewing by hand, but I am really liking how this looks so far.  I also really like the feel of the magazine pages.  Even though there are seven of them, there's a really flexible feeling to the pages that I think is going to lend itself beautifully to making journals.  I'm hoping I'll be able to use a sewing machine to get the fuller (and faster) stitching effects for the next time I do this, but I definitely want to do more of these.

Did anyone else try this project?  If you did, let me know how it went--just leave a comment here.  And if you have photos, please leave a link. I love seeing your work!

I'll be back tomorrow with the final, painted project.

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4

This week I found a project to try that I think will be fun and also useful for a lot of us.  I love being able to combine making art with doing something useful, so I can hardly wait to get going on this one!

I've noticed that many creatives--myself included--lean in the pack rat direction.  And one of the things many of us love to collect is magazines.  It makes sense, really.  They're fabulous!  Craft magazines have projects to try, most magazines have lots of full color pictures that are great for collages, there's plenty of reading material mixed in, and all for a price that's usually less than a paperback book.  The one problem with magazines is the way they pile up.  I'm pretty sure some of mine are breeding in my closet when I'm not looking.  A couple of times a year, I have to go through and clear out the magazine piles around the house.  I try to pull out the best images, and I save my favorite magazines.  But I hate just getting rid of them even when I'm recycling them.  Enter this week's project.

Alma Stoller wrote an article for Cloth Paper Scissors in 2007 about recycling magazines, and she reposted the info on her blog.  This looks like a fantastic way to use up the piles of magazines lying about while getting cool backgrounds for collages and journal pages. I'm thinking that these might even make good covers for pamphlet style books, so I might give that a try after I create a few of these.

So how do you recycle or reuse things in your art?  I'd love to hear more ideas if you have them.

See you Sunday with my cool, recycled magazine pages!

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And to go along with that easy summer living, I'm keeping this post short and sweet.  Here are images from my week of searching for summer.  The Portland weather even cooperated a bit and gave us some sunshine!

How's your summer so far?  Any great images or adventure stories?  I'd love to hear what you're up to.

And now, Summer:

See you tomorrow for the next art adventure!

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