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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Welcoming Back A Challenger!

"What's Left Of Fall"
© Dora Sislian Themelis
The first entry of Dora's challenge
Dora started the 100 Paintings Challenge in late January 2011. She was able to complete 56 paintings—that's more than one painting per week! As we all know, juggling priorities, unexpected/unplanned challenges and just plain old life can get in the way of our artistic goals. Dora and I had the chance to talk about what challenges she faced, what she learned and why she's decided to go for another year at the 100 Paintings Challenge.

Laure Ferlita (LF): Congratulations, Dora! Fifty-six paintings in one year is no small feat! I also know there were challenges you faced during the last year with regard to your artistic goals. Can you tell us a little about that?

Dora Sislian Themelis (DT): Laure, thank you very much for the opportunity to take another go at the 100 Paintings Challenge. At first I was disappointed that I didn't meet the goal of 100 pieces of work, but it has been a wonderful year of 56 solid paintings I would not have done had I not been accountable any other way.

At the time I found the challenge I wanted to push myself to paint on a regular schedule, to build a body of new work, and experiment further in watercolors. As I hummed along painting small works that took twenty to thirty minutes, I did two still life works a week. In the spring I joined a vegetable share and lo and behold I found I loved painting arrangements of the harvest and the sunflowers. Suddenly I was painting much larger work which took longer to complete. Add in that I was sitting for my granddaughter who started staying awake longer than napping! There went painting time!

Add in some resistance and feelings of low motivation.

However, I developed a year of good work. I followed your suggestions and kept going. To my surprise I sold a couple of paintings from the collection. And yes, this past year is a collection of work that stands on it's own, as does each individual painting. As the year ended in the challenge I evaluated the group, minus the couple I sold. I can proudly say I accomplished something!

The challenge gave me some well needed confidence and I learned to better schedule my painting time. I'd like this next year to try to get to the goal and further hone those skills. Wish me luck!

LF: Dora, you mention feelings of resistance as well as low motivation....I think everyone who's reading this can relate to those feelings. Sometimes just recognizing the the resistance is a huge step forward. Other times, we're still stuck. How did you overcome the resistance and the low motivation?

DT: To get past resistance I would switch gears and do another activity like knitting, or clean up the studio. Deciding I could stop painting would relax my brain enough to try again later on. I tried not to let too much time go between sessions, because I found when I did paint I was excited to do it again the next day. Positive self-talk helped too.
#56 Four Shells With Rock
© Dora Sislian Themelis
LF: Sounds like a lot of new mindsets for you—shifting away from resistance by doing an alternative activity, giving yourself space so that you could relax as well as staying on target to keep the momentum going. What has been the most important thing you've learned in your first year of the challenge?

DT: Well, the challenge kept me accountable and I was happy with the direction my work was going. And, although I'm not really the competitive type, I want to see if I can reach the goal. If something inside me is saying You can do it, I have to give it another shot.

LF: Any thoughts on what you'll do differently this year than last to help you reach your goal?

DT: I've finally got my head in the right place as far as scheduling my painting time. I plan to take care of house stuff early in my day so my brain is free to concentrate on art after lunchtime with evenings for family. I heard another artist does this and it felt like the right fit for me too. I've ever had a regular schedule for art. That's the plan anyway!

LF: I would recommend artists make a plan, develop a schedule they can live with and dive in. I had to push through my own resistance, knock down walls of my own making. Just say yes to the opportunity and see what happens!
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Dora, welcome back and best of luck on another fabulous year of painting! To see more of Dora's work, please visit her at her blog, Coffee and Paint Drips!
#24 Sunflowers Outside
© Dora Sislian Themelis
 

The painting, Sunflowers Outside, sold during a weekend class that Dora attended. During the Shameless Self Promotion class by Alyson B. Stanfield, my table mate looked through my portfolio of work and said she HAD to have that painting!!

4 comments:

Mary Ahern said...

I admire Dora's strong commitment to her work! I've been following her since before I met her at Alyson Stanfield's most excellent "Shameless Self Promotion Workshop" last year. Dora continues to inspire me!

Kelly said...

...glad you're coming back, Dora! Being part of the challenge definitely helps keep me on track with my painting goals!

Dora said...

Mary, thank you for the glowing compliments!

Kelly, thanks. I need this to keep my in line!

Claire M said...

Welcome back... I'm trying to give it another shot as well.