Keep Moving Forward…and Don’t Go Back

While I was visiting with Donna at her retreat home, I learned and discovered the power of many lessons, as related to art and life. One such lesson is about moving forward.

As many of you know, I ran the New York City Marathon a little over 2 years ago. And in order to accomplish such a feat, I literally had to focus on one step at a time, placing one foot in front of the other, over and over again, until I got past the finish line…and then some because it wasn’t a short walk out of Central Park! And so, this mantra has stuck with me…one step at a time, and just keep moving. However, I have never really specified a direction to keep moving…only to not be still.

And so, this is the state I find myself in my art business, always moving, often in circles or back and forth from one task to the next and back again because nothing ever really feels “finished”. And I have been blaming the return of perfectionism into my life, a new layer to deal with. But what if it’s not that simple? What if, it’s even more simple? What if it’s not about completing tasks perfectly at all, but rather, a lack of defining the direction of desired movement?

At Donna’s, I returned to my commitment to paint 100 6×6 faces in oils, that I had started and quickly abandoned one year ago. I introduced myself to my oil paints, and played around with a few images myself before receiving a lesson and demonstration from Donna. Once I learned her methods, and clarified a few questions where I was getting confused or hung up, I wanted to go back and “fix” my previous paintings. Donna strongly urged me to leave them, and keep moving forward. Do more paintings, but don’t go back.

This repeated over and over in my head for the rest of the week, and every day since I’ve been home, as I’m trying to complete my commission list. “Keep moving forward…and don’t go back.”

When I was at Donna’s, over the course of 5 days, and really only painting for 4 because the day I left I didn’t start a new painting, I completed 10, yes 10 paintings. I have been trying to complete 3 commissions per week for 2 months, and barely get one completed in a 7 day week, let alone 10! The biggest difference was my mindset. Keep moving forward, one at a time, and when I move on from one painting to another, I don’t go back. Since returning home, I have not been quite as productive. BUT, I have adopted the idea of one at a time, and I have completed 3 paintings because of my focus!

Do you work one painting at a time start to finish or multiple at once? Does this work for you? How do you prevent yourself from getting stuck in the never-done cycle?

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