Tag Archives: creative inspiration

Discovering a New Kind of Zen

"Serenity Mountain," watercolor by Mary Gow
“Serenity Mountain,” watercolor by Mary Gow

A few days ago, on a whim I decided to bring this painting to the monthly competition of an art club I’m in. It won Third Place.

The following day I found out a photo I submitted to Forum Magazine, a literary journal at City College of San Francisco, was selected for their Fall 2017 edition!

For over two years I’ve been painting almost every single day. I’m noticing some creative shifts by honoring the practice of creating on a regular basis.

Thank you for coming back to read this if you’re a fan of my blog. I appreciate that you’re here.

I’d like to say it doesn’t matter if I win awards or not. I’m not creating in order to win them. In fact my indifference to them makes me wonder if I have a big enough ego to be an “artist.”

It’s not essential that my work appear in museums either.

What matters to me is that my work bring a bit of Light to the world. That what I write/create inspires you or touches you in a way that uplifts you.

When I paint I often have no intent and just being, not preplanning anything. I literally go with the flow, as I did when I created this painting.

I’ve been falling in love with watercolor more and more each day.

The medium is spontaneous. Unlike acrylics, I can’t keep changing it.

I love the time element with watercolors that dry so quickly I cannot ruminate over any placement, any stroke, any color. I must trust my gut. (This is not to say there’s anything “wrong” with methodical plotted out paintings. It’s simply not my style).

Watercolor is easy to paint with, easy to transport, easy to clean up.

Keep the brush moving.

I go with the flow.

Living in the moment.

I’m embracing the Zen of watercolors!

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Three Key Questions for Following Your Bliss

Quote from Rumi on a Brush Dance card designed by Michael Green, translation by Coleman Barks.
Quote from Rumi on a Brush Dance card designed by Michael Green, translation by Coleman Barks.

The “do what you love and the money will follow” phrase was popular a few decades ago. As I study entrepreneurship and how to run a successful business, that phrase often garners heavy criticism. Simply loving something, such as hot tea, doesn’t mean money will follow.

Various popular marketers I’ve been studying suggest you get a blank sheet of paper and draw two circles that overlap. Inside one circle write what you love to do. And in the other circle write what you think the world needs. The golden answers are in the section where the circles overlap.

I think there’s one other key question to ask that belongs in this method: what where you want to offer help.

Draw a third circle and write in it what you feel passion for improving in the world. Then look at where the three circles overlap.

Don’t be too quick to disregard what you love because you don’t think the world needs it.

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” -Howard Thurman

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Day 8 – 17 Qualities of a ‘Pro’

The Yes Tree, by Mary Gow
The Yes Tree, watercolor and pencil on paper, by Mary Gow
As promised from an earlier post, I’m revisiting Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art and what distinguishes a “Professional” from an “Amateur.”

According to Pressfield a professional:

1. Is Patient.
2. Seeks Order.
3. Demystifies.
4. Acts in the Face of Fear.
5. Accepts No Excuses.
6. Plays It as It Lays.
7. Is Prepared.
8. Does Not Show Off.
9. Dedicates Herself to Mastering Technique.
10. Does Not Hesitate to Ask for Help.
11. Distances Herself from Her Instrument.
12. Does Not Take Failure (or Success) Personally.
13. Endures Adversity.
14. Self-Validates.
15. Recognizes Her Limitations.
16. Reinvents Herself.
17. Is Recognized by Other Professionals.

(from pgs. 75 to 96, The War of Art)

Watch a video here and see Marie Forleo’s most recent interview with Pressfield about his latest book, Turning Pro.

My painting today is titled “The Yes Tree.” It’s about following the ‘yes’ that feels right in your gut.

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