Thursday, June 27, 2013

Rainy Days And Mondays

What I've got they used to call the blues
Nothin' is really wrong
Feelin' like I don't belong
Walkin' around, some kind of lonely clown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down

Some of you know the song, some don't. Some of you are smiling because you can instantly relate, others are puzzled as to why I am posting this. I am posting this because sometimes trying to do something you love for a living can make you feel this way. I freely admit that I feel this way sometimes. I also freely admit that I love the Carpenters...and I am straight, have a girlfriend, mentioned her here before... still love the Carpenters.

I think the verse of that song is often overlooked today. We prescribe drugs, recommend therapy, self help books, and gurus, all to combat something which very often is nothing more than the blues.

I am not a doctor and certainly don't want to preach but I do like to share. Here are ten things I have noticed recently that bring me down, and how I have dealt with them. This is not a one way conversation and I hope some of you reading this will share your experiences as well.

10. Facebook - I have GREATLY reduced the amount of time I spend on Facebook. I miss conversations with about ten to twenty people but unfortunately, the other thousand or so friends of mine were posting things that were bringing me down. They were not doing it deliberately, I just don't always need to see or know what every other artist in the country is up to, what shows they got into, and how many paintings they sold. I'm not against them posting it, I do it too. It's part of the business, and I'm sure I'll be back. I just needed a break from it. I have been spending more time posting on my "fan page" because other peoples posts don't show up on the side. I function very well in my own world. I need to stay there, however I do invite anyone to stop by.

9. Don't Skip The Workout - I do the 10 minute workout or go for a walk after I wake up and then start working. I go for a walk on the beach at least three times a week, It's a great way to start the day and I notice that I paint better on those days.

8. Don't Get Mad At The Work Or Yourself - Develop a checklist as to what you expect from what you are doing and be able to accurately determine whether it is good or bad. Recognize why it is bad and fix it. This may seem like a simple rule but without the ability to determine what is wrong with your own work you will never get better. Getting mad, throwing things around, crying hysterically when a painting isn't going well*, will get you nowhere. Be calm, figure it out, keep going.

*That one was for the ladies reading this. Men - if you have ever cried hysterically because a painting wasn't going well you need to watch a few movies. The Magnificent Seven, Oceans 11, anything with Steve McQueen, Jimmy Stewart, Sean Connery, or Frank Sinatra. Also Clive Owen is modern day cool. If you are a man who has ever had on a pair of skinny jeans I would suggest watching these movies as well.

7. Check email and social media after dinner, not in the morning. - If something online is going to upset me, the last time I want it to be is first thing in the morning. I like after dinner because just before bed is also a bad idea for the same reasons.

6. Be grateful for what you have already - I'm always grateful when I don't wake up with a sore throat. Having a sore throat is one of the worst non-serious things that can happen to a person. The funny thing is, that most people never think about them until they get one. Not me, I am grateful every morning that I wake up without one...Unless you happen to be bizarrely suffer from chronic sore throats, It will help you start your day off happy.

5. Don't say "good enough" - I think when people say "it's good enough" then you know it is not your best work. I am not saying that everything has to be the best in the world. I am saying to have a standard of quality you set for yourself and try not to fall below it. In fact, always trying to get better and better. I don't try to make my next painting the best one ever. I just try to make each one better then the one before. If I know I can make it better though, I do.

4. Do whatever it takes to make your work fun. - If it is not fun you will hate doing it. Sometimes when I go to a figure drawing class I am uninterested in the model. When that happens, I will do caricatures or slightly cartoon them. Sometimes I make up stories in my head about whatever it is I am working on. And sometimes I just need to paint something that excites me even if I don't think it will sell.

3. Don't compare yourself to other painters. - It is so easy to go to Ebay or Daily Paint Works and say "What!!  That thing is at $300.00. WHY!!!!???? Just try not to look. If someone is selling well, it has nothing to do with you. Only two things can happen from you looking. One, you will feel bad if you are not selling as well, you may even get angry if you think your work is better. The other thing is that you may be tempted to copy some element of what they are doing, which is even worse. Stay on track, keep your thing going, (or invent your own thing) whatever it is, and make it happen. Other people have no place in your work. - Except to buy it.

2. Don't get mad at Ebay or auction sites - This is a big one because it is easy to fall into. Let me give you an example. You have a painting on ebay that is one of your better paintings. It has been up for the asking price of $49.00 and it has no bids. Suddenly it gets a bid in the last ten seconds, and sells for $49.00. You are fuming!!!! On Ebay it is called "sniping" If the painting had that bid in the first ten seconds maybe it would have created some interest and had a chance to sell for more money. Instead, someone hid there interest just to get that painting for the best price they could, which is crippling to you... and it happens all of the time. Don't get mad, after all you posted your work there. Be grateful it sold at all. On the other hand, I don't think that many people realize that the great deal they just got is killing you. It also hurts them. In order for the painting they just bought to go up in value, people need to know who you are. I could and will, make a separate blog post on this at some point.

1. Never let anyone, ever, tell you you can't. - (If you are a reasonable person that is)  If you are trying to date Jennifer Anniston and you are a 300lb software programmer in a torn Star Wars T-Shirt, your chances are slim. But if your goal is realistic, or even slightly realistic. Don't let anyone stop you...actually, if you are a 300lb software programmer looking for Jennifer Anniston, give it a shot, hey you never know. Surround yourself with people who support what you do and encourage you. If I hear "you can't, I can't, he, she, or it can't", I walk away. Tell me how you can, never why you can't.


  1. Hello Mr. Hobart,

    Some really good stuff in this post.
    10. I never did see the attraction of FB, I guess I'm just an old dinosaur. I think the web is a great marketing and business tool but you have to know how to use it, not abuse it.
    9. Amen.
    8. Great list of "men" I would add John Wayne, I watched The Shootist last night.
    7. I do check it in the morning, just so I have enough time to "fix" anything I need to before the end of the day.
    6. Amen, here too. But for me it's a stuffy nose, breathing is kind of critical.
    5. I must admit I'm guilty of this at times, but I do strive for continuous self improvement.
    4. Amen (disclaimer: I'm not religious, just agreeing with strong emphasis)
    3. This is very difficult for me. I look at the skill level of some of the young painters around and I immediately get the blues. Then I get inspired and try to improve.
    2. I dont get mad, but I dont like to see paintings selling for under $300, unless it is very small 5x7 or smaller, or a quick sketch. We all paint at different speeds and some of us can churn out nice work very quickly but I think there is an inherent value to art that we are ignoring by pricing work too low. I know that times are difficult and the market is what it is, but artists in particular tend to under value their work and it makes it difficult for us to be able to make a living at art. I also dont like to see "average" work selling for $50,000. I guess I'm hard to please.
    1. AMEN!
    Thanks for another great post.

    1. I didn't add John Wayne to the list because I haven't actually seen that many of his films. I love old movies but not a big fan of westerns. I will watch "The Shootist" I have never seen that. One of my favorites is "Bell, Book, and Candle" with Jimmy Stewart.

      Be careful when feeling down about skill level. Remember only a few of them are really that good. Most of them are tracing, projecting, or copying photographs. Look for life skills, still-life from life and portraits done in three hours or less. That is what separates the men from the boys...

  2. Thank you for this post, it is exactly what I needed right now. I have seen the various ways artist cope with this. Some artists makes jokes about and I have seen temper tantrums which is not good PR. I just keep enough irons in the fire so something uplifting will come along to cancel out the bad.
    Your artwork is amazing!

    1. Thank you!!! I'm happy you liked it.
      I think getting mad in general is bad PR. A good friend of mine likes to say "just be a pleasure to be around". It's the best PR move you can make.
      Thanks again!

  3. Wow, ditto. Just what I needed. As I'm new to painting I let myself get overwhelmed when I see art like yours - thinking, I'll never be able to paint this well.... - then I count how many paintings I've done and realize, just need to keep practicing, learning, practicing. And sometimes, you just have to let yourself have the blues. Gratitude: #1. I "died" on March 16 of this year and they brought me back. I wake up every morning and thank my heart for still beating!

    I love your work.

    1. WOW! That is something, Glad you are OK!
      I always consider each painting to be practice and I try to learn something new from each one. I don't always succeed, but I try!
      The important thing is to keep going!
      Thank you!!

  4. Thanks for this post. It will serve me well when I get discouraged. You and Jordan do such nice work. I love looking at all the paintings.