Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


20 Hour Challenge: Fits and Starts

Well, last week started out good as I found myself focused and ready to work in the studio. By the end of the week, I was focused more on business related activities.  I’m certainly in the studio for 20 hours; unfortunately I find myself unable to create art for an entire 20 hours. The reality is that when you have a small art business, a good chunk of time is spent on the busy-ness and not the arty-ness.

So, how did last week turn out: 24.25 hours total  = 7.75 hours on arty-ness and 16.5 on busy-ness.  Friday was Art Day at a friend’s house.  Because we hadn’t seen each other in so long, we spent the day talking and sharing art but not making art. So, I didn’t have any hours from that day to add to the arty-ness of the week, but the day still fed my creative soul.

I mentioned last time that I needed to eliminate some of the email newsletters I receive.  To that end I unsubbed from the daily Enneagram Thought and Oprah’s book club newsletter (apparently I became a subscriber when I participated in the webinar she did with Eckhart Tolle last year; completely forgot about that one.) I’m on the fence about a couple other newsletters and need to make a decision on their fate as well.

I also decided to consider my reading and meditation time as part of my preparation for working in the studio. It really does help me get my day started in the studio.

So along with the usual business stuff, I’m happy to say that I created the content for and sent out my August newsletter, updated my websites (though I didn’t publish the updates yet), and visited Skyline Boston to look at booth displays for the October Paradise City show.  And on Saturday, Eric and I visited the Peabody Historical Society to check out the Historical Interpretations exhibit. Here is Belle on display:


And on the art front, I started doodling. Now doesn’t that sound productive?  Actually, it is because doodling is another way to clear your mind. I found this beneficial during the week when I started to feel a little stressed. I sat myself down, created a doodle, and the tension seemed to melt away.  Here are some of my doodles from last week:




Check out these sites for more insight and inspiration in Doodling: SueDoodles and Mildly Creative

Remember those cat heads? They are starting to take on a little life of their own. The gray one has put in a request for a black and white striped suit. And the one I called a “demented rabbit” isn’t so scary now; though he does look more like a horse crossed with a rabbit.  Maybe Darwin would say he saw something similar on the Galapagos Islands.


Finally, a few wholesale orders rolled in so I have started working on business card cases, ink pens, and perfume pens.  To see what I offer in these lines visit here and here.



20 Hour Challenge, Accomplishments & Goals

20 Hour Challenge

I gave another try at the 20 hour challenge this past week. For whatever reason I seem to be stuck at working 2-3 hours in the studio per day. Well, okay, I did find myself enjoying the Twitterverse a bit more than I probably should have. On Monday I lost an entire day because we spent it on a whale watch. I did take a small sketch book with me which yielded a few pencil sketches (emphasis on the sketchy, especially when you’re sitting on the top deck in the wind.) But as I look at my time tracking, I have to ask myself what else did I do during some of those days?

My total time in the studio and on business related tasks totalled 24 hours for the week and breaks down as follows:

Studio time: 8.25 hours

Business stuff: 15.75 hours

This past week the business and other stuff included drive time to deliver an exhibit entry piece and to deliver inventory. There was time for blogging, twittering, reading/meditating and reading my affirmations, emails, phone calls, coaching, confirming a wholesale order, photography, editing photographs, bookkeeping, catching up on past e-newsletters, and spending time on the internets.

Hmph! The whole email thing is tough. On one hand I’m getting better at skimming through the morning emails and not reading most of them, only those I deem important at that time. Actually, I’ve gone so far this week as to shut my email program each night so I don’t see any little mail icons first thing when I wake up my computer. You know, better to remove the temptation.

As I write this I wonder if I subscribe to too many newsletters (4-5 that I really like to read and schedule into my to do list each week.) I also get a daily OM horoscope, a daily OM inspirational reading, Marianne Williamson’s Miracle Thought (audio recording), TUT: A Thought From the Universe, and an EnneaThought of the Day (based on my Enneagram number.) I will think about releasing some of these items.

But what about the internet and social networking. Always a tough one to deal with. I’ve tried the timer approach (set for 15 minutes per session), the “minimize the screen approach” (make it smaller so as not to distract me), and even made a sign that is taped to my monitor which reads “The computer is closed” (which is currently flipped over facing the back of my monitor. Useful huh?)

In reality, it all comes down to motivation, determination and discipline. Some days those skills come more easily than on other days. All I can say is I’ll just keep working on them. I mean, if I were perfect I wouldn’t have anything else left to work on, right?

This week I worked on sculpting cat heads; a tougher task than I imagined, even with two live models who will impetuously walk off the job in the middle of a session until they’ve received compensation. Here is a shot of the four heads. My first attempt looked more like a demented rabbit (which I’m sure will turn into a rather crazy art doll) but I was feeling more comfortable with the outcome by the time I got to #4.


I also prepped some magazine pages with matte medium with the intent of making my own custom paper for collage or ACEO backgrounds. I am following Liz Berg’s instructions in the March/April 2009 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors for this activity.

Finally, I bought a new book: Chi and Creativity: Vital Energy and Your Inner Artist by Elise Dirlam Ching and Kaleo Ching. The book focuses on “strategies to harness the power of  Chi and cultivate the inner artist” through exercises in Chi awareness, art, journaling, and guided imagery.  I love the idea of using movement to stimulate creativity. I’ll let you know what happens as a result.

June/July Accomplishments

Normally, my June accomplishments would’ve been posted in early July but since I was out of the country…so here are my accomplishments for both months.


•    Successfully completed Eric Maisel’s Creativity Coaching Training (16 weeks)
•    Restarted Christine Kane’s Uplevel Your Life Mastery class
•    Reviewing and reading aloud daily affirmations 2x/day
•    Delivered art donations to the Arts Alliance
•    Provided an artist demonstration at Five Crows Hand Crafts & Gifts
•    Watched Wayne Dyer’s PBS special “Excuses Begone”
•    Received unexpected income
•    Created content for & sent June e-newsletter to MA customers
•    Attended coaching call with Christine Kane
•    Watched “Music Instinct: Science & Song” on PBS
•    Completed and sent exhibit pieces for the ArtHouse Gallery Canvas Project


•    Traveled to Southern France for art workshop with Dayle Doroshow
•    Attended one stage of the Tour de France
•    Visited Durfort, Revel, Soreze, Albi, Foix, and Toulouse, France
•    Took a silk painting class
•    Attended coaching call with Christine Kane
•    Visited the Boston Museum of Fine Art’s Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese: Rivals in Renaissance Venice Exhibit
•    Attended coaching call with Quinn McDonald
•    Attended Tower of Power concert
•    Attended Uplevel Your Business Teleseminar call with Christine Kane
•    Completed exhibit piece for Peabody Historical Society
•    Enjoyed Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince movie in IMAX
•    Scheduled annual physical
•    Started 30-day exercise challenge

August Goals

Here are some of my goals for August (I did not write or post any goals for July as being in France was my biggest goal.)

  • Update my artist page on the Paradise City Arts Festival website
  • Update my personal websites
  • Create content for and deliver my August e-newsletter
  • Update my customer snail mail list
  • Add new pictures to my Flickr account
  • Clean up my blog: remove old or broken links, update bookshelf images, and general rearrangement
  • Update my LinkedIn page
  • Continue studio cleaning/clearing and house cleaning/clearing

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20 Hour Challenge: Goals and Guilt

The Goals

This past week (ending 6/27/09) I spent 19 hours in the studio; 8.25 hours spent making art, 10.75 hours spent on the business of art.

I completed the final three canvases for the Canvas Project 2.





The business portion of my week included:

  • studio clean up
  • bookkeeping
  • blogging
  • phone calls
  • answering emails
  • starting a Flickr page
  • working on my daily schedule
  • a coaching call
  • a visit to the post office
  • delivering inventory

A Little Guilt

In my mind, my discipline and focus fell apart toward the end of the week. I believe this happened for several reasons: I finished all of the 3″x 3″ canvases for the Canvas Project, I completed some production items needed for a local consignment store, and I started preparing for vacation and my workshop in France. I think my muse said “Enough; kick back and relax. You can either dive into some new project or just take it easy.”

Of course, the other muse, the more critical one said “You’re not keeping your end of the deal. You’re supposed to keep working, not get all loosey-goosey.”

My reality is that I did not put any tasks into my daily calendar for Thursday or Friday, other than reading my affirmations. I set no specific goals. I ended the week on a very open ended schedule.

I tell myself that this is okay; that giving oneself a break is important.  I mean, I am getting ready to take part in an awesome workshop in France…a dream of a lifetime. The hard part is convincing myself that this is okay without feeling some small amount of guilt for not scheduling tasks for every minute of the day. I know part of that is ingrained in me; that happens when your father is a workaholic.

I know I should celebrate my accomplishments: completing the canvases for the Canvas Project exhibit, setting up my Flickr page, and getting new inventory delivered. And I am happy I got those things done. But sometimes the critical perfectionist muse wants to win by making me feel guilty in the process.

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20 Hour Challenge

This week, as part of the 20 hour challenge, I spent 27.75 hours on art and business tasks. That breaks down as follows:

19.25 hours were spent on business specific items which included:

  • blogging (not including this post)
  • bookkeeping
  • submitting a seminar proposal to the International Polymer Clay Guild’s Synergy II conference
  • updating both of my websites
  • creating the content for and sending out my customer email newsletter
  • business related phone calls
  • updating my LinkedIn profile
  • packing and shipping wholesale orders
  • packing inventory for consignment stores
  • preparing for my artist demonstration at Five Crows (choosing art to take as well as materials and supplies)
  • preparing for my workshop with Dayle Doroshow
  • shopping for materials and supplies
  • drive time

8.5 hours were spent on art specific tasks which included

  • finishing up product for wholesale orders and consignment store inventory
  • creating finished canvases for the Canvas Project II exhibit
  • sculpting a head at the artist demo

The Canvas Project II exhibit is a non-juried exhibit of canvases, the content of which is inspired by select words sent to the artist by the exhibit organizers. Each participating artist receives 5 words and 5 3″x3″ canvases. Here are two of the canvases I completed this week:



When all 5 canvases are finished, I’ll post all of them along with the five words I was given to interpret.  To see the work of another artist participating in this exhibit, visit my friend Judy’s blog The Key to My Art.

Though not part of this challenge, I made a conscious decision to set my alarm for 6am three days a week which allows me a little more time in the studio in the morning. My goal is to start working in the studio (whether on art or business) by 9am. I also blocked off time for exercise this week and exercised 3 days in a row. That is 3 more days than I exercised the previous week, so I consider that progress!

How are you doing in your studio?


The 20 Hour Challenge

This week I joined the 20 hour challenge on Twitter. This challenge was created by Lori Woodward Simons and the idea behind it is to encourage artists to work in their studios for 20 hours a week. Lori explains that 20 hours may be hard for some people to attain and for others 20 hours in the studio may only be the tip of the iceberg toward creating. The time we spend in our studio may vary and we have to find what works for us.

In this first week I spent 14.5 hours in the studio. That time was evenly divided between making art and attending to the business of art. And when I looked at that division of time I felt a little depressed. I think that has to do with remembering how disciplined I was before the Paradise City show; how focused I was on making art for the show and how I spent less time online. And since finishing my spring shows the discipline has gone out the window.

It doesn’t help that in my mind I’m this highly productive artist who enters her studio and hits the ground running. Actually, that image and the feeling that image brings should help. But it just wasn’t working this past week. Sometimes, when you set expectations of yourself and you don’t meet those expectations, it really stinks!

In my head I know I shouldn’t get down on myself about the lack of discipline. We all fall off the cart sometimes and when that happens you just have to get back up and start again. I know my work week was shorter because we were on the road on Monday. And I had a couple of appointments during the week. Are those excuses for not making 20 hours in the studio? Perhaps and not really.

What did I accomplish:

  • adding/removing inventory from the winery’s retail store and assisting new artists in adding their work to the guild’s display
  • creating an email newsletter announcing my artist demonstration at Five Crows
  • buying supplies for Dayle’s workshop
  • creating polymer clay sheets for business card cases
  • curing business card cases
  • assembling and packing business card cases for shipping
  • updated my blog

What I created this week is production work (business card cases). I’m not posting pictures because this work isn’t really new. If you’d like to see my business card cases, you can visit this page on the Moonroom Crafts website.

Fiber artist Lisa Call (a fellow 20 hour challenge artist) has a nice post on her blog on how she is tracking her time and getting things done. You’ll find it here.

Finally, Lori Woodward Simons has created a blog dedicated to the 20 hour challenge. You can read various posts from Lori and other artists here.