Monday, March 12, 2012

Give Up On Your Dream? No Way!

'Worship in His Presence"   36x48 inches   Watercolor and Ink  ©Toni Ruppert

My sister-in-law, Bridgette, called me the other day and asked me "Aren’t you glad you didn’t give up on your dream?” I almost ‘died’ right there because that day, I felt like I was in the middle of a Job-like experience and my current dream seemed out of reach.

But after speaking to Bridgette, I discovered that it’s all in perspective.  She reminded me of the year 2004 - a significant year for me.  That was the last time I worked as a secretary-who-really-wanted-to-be-a-full-time-artist. 

She brought to my mind how all I had hoped for at the time was to schlep my stuff to a Borders bookstore.  Maybe, just maybe -  “they” would give me permission to show in their cafe.   

After she said that, it prompted me to review my journal from March, 2004.  I saw: 

--I wanted to be in an art show and barely had an artist statement together
--I wondered if the local park district would let get a spare wall to paint on
--My Thursday night watercolor class with Lenox Wallace at The Center in Palos Heights was my lifeline and only artistic outlet
--I tried to share my portfolio with an admissions person at a local fine arts college (she did not return my phone call because her father died--but I took it personally)
--I brought my portfolio to work to show to the public relations rep. - I longed to paint something  - anything - for my employer

Lots of dreaming, hoping and praying in March 2004.  

Then, in 2008, God prompted me to take a step of faith. That one step was to walk through a door HE opened for me. That door led to my second public art project for a city library. That second project was huge and helped me and two other artisans financially.

As I contemplate my sister in law’s question, “Aren't you glad you didn't give up on your dream?,” I know my answer. 

And there are more creative dreams for 2012 that I’m not going to give up on.  Here are three resources I'm utilizing:

4 Recommended Resources for Dreamers
  1. Tory Johnson's Spark & Hustle  I declared my goal after getting motivated on this site
  2. Put Your Dream to the Test by John Maxwell.  I read and reread this book often.
  3. The Path by Laurie Beth Jones.  Her ideas on creative tension is a must read for dreamers.
  4. The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson.  Sure to become a favorite.
What dream are you not giving up on?

Monday, March 5, 2012

20 Minutes a Day (How to Get it Done)

Do you have an immovable project?  No sure how you'll tackle your next goal? Try working on it 20 minutes a day. Check out this 1.5 minute video where I share a concept that is helping me: http://youtu.be/LOgT1MfA09k



As I shared in the video, my latest oil portrait painting is being created in about 20 minutes a day. I get my paints out. I set my timer and get to work. Some days are good and some days... 

But since I’ve been at this for about 3 weeks - lo and behold, the painting has started forming.  I looked up after a painting session and saw the portrait beginning to take shape.

Before that, I was horribly blocked.  The painting, which is of my grandparents, reminded me of some unresolved issues from my childhood.  As time went on, I kept allowing other projects to distract me.  Though I'm working through those issues, I still thought I needed hours upon hours of painting time.

Solution? 20 minutes a day. 

I obtained the idea from author Julia Cameron in her book, Finding Water: The Art of Perseverance.   In one of her suggested tasks, she advises readers to spend twenty minutes daily in their art form.  She also suggests utilizing believing mirrors - “friends who are friends to our work” to help us stay accountable. 

So I enlisted my friend Lisa to help me.  I checked in with her either before or after I painted.  She was tough too and yet very encouraging as I made progress.

Day 1 - Oil Sketch on Canvas - ©Toni Ruppert

Week 2 - Oil on Canvas - ©Toni Ruppert

 I lost count here but this was further along in the process...

This one below is where the painting is now.  Just a few more sessions and it will be completed.
"Granddad and Grandma" - Oil on Canvas - ©Toni Ruppert

Again, perhaps you have something in your path- a goal or a monster project.  These words have encouraged me as I take my 20 minutes and place them in God’s hands...

  • “Who dares despise the day of small things...”(Bible-- Zechariah 4:10)
  • “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don't be afraid or discouraged by the size of the task, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” (Bible--1 Chronicles 28:20)
  • “The odds stacked against us as an artist immediately lessen if we are in fact doing our work.” ~Julia Cameron
I believe paintings and other goals can be completed with small actions.  So go ahead.  Locate that goal in your heart.  Find your timer and get started.  It’s “just” twenty minutes.

Question:
What huge projects have you completed using small doable actions?  What goals can you still achieve using the "20 minutes a day" method?