Licking the Dog’s Nose

17 Feb

A friend mentioned to me that someone challenged her to read, within one year, a particularly long and demanding book.

“I didn’t really want to do it,” she confessed. “But he’s knowledgeable and he was insistent, so I did.”

My first thought was, “Why?” which goes to show why I don’t play well in groups, followed by, “That’s as reasonable as children accepting a dare – to lick the dog’s nose, say – simply because someone confronted them and told them to do so.”

With the quantity and type of trees out there, you do not have to limit yourself to painting the same one. Last Light in Zion by Steve Henderson

Within art circles, people challenge themselves to do all sorts of odd things – like paint the same tree, every day for three months — simply because someone who wrote a book did so and instructed readers to do the same.

Why?

I mean, do you really want to paint the same tree, 90 days in succession? With the limited time that you have to pursue painting, is this what you want to do?

Paint what you want -- trees, figures, alley cats -- not what someone tells you to paint. Garden Gatherings by Steve Henderson

If the answer is no with the caveat, “But he’s knowledgeable and he’s insistent that this is how I will grow as an artist,” then reconsider licking the dog’s nose.

The idea of regularly painting over the course of 90 days, so that you can get gently ensconce yourself into the habit of doing so, isn’t such a bad one, and maybe that is one of the things the author is trying to teach. But you can accomplish this by announcing to your people in the room, “For the next 90 days, I will be in the studio from 6 to 8 p.m., painting.”

And then go paint. What you want. How you want. One work every day, or seven days for one work. The very act of doing it regularly (it’s okay to miss a day; don’t get weird) will propel you to the next level, on your terms.

Dare you.

By the way, if you like the Norwegian Artist’s work, it is available in original, miniature originalarchival print, and note card form, in a variety of sizes and prices, the latter starting at $55 (for the prints).

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