What is success? How is it measured?

Today, I woke up feeling, well, accomplished. Why? Readers may ask is it because I got my holiday decorations up one week before Thanksgiving.

No, not exactly, but maybe just maybe putting up the Christmas tree was the catalysts or spark that gave me the boost of endorphins to feel that sense of success.

The real reason I feel accomplished this cold Texas morning is the fact that I have completed two successful art shows with Conception Arts in Austin and Dallas. I have met new and wonderful people full of life, joy, dreams and energy. I have taken an empty structure and created a home for myself and family, all by myself. Ok, Snowpo did help a little. She surely kept me entertained through all the ups and downs.  My list goes on and on, but I do not want to waste your time listing each and every item.

Today, I would say I am successful. The success I feel today can not be measured in dollars; instead, it is measured with each accomplished task I have completed. When I wake up unmotivated, I say to myself, “I must make one minor step in the direction I want to be in.”

For example, during my grueling days of living in a house full of empty boxes it meant to open one box at a time. To focus only on that one single box and its random contents. In my business my daily goal was establish my office. To get every painting on the wall.  To organize my art supplies. To post to social media daily. With my family, I took time out of every day to text, chat or call my loved ones. I took a step forward towards each important element of my life.

My son, a video gamer, tells me that video games give him a sense of accomplishment or success. When he logs into Fall Out , Fan Boy has to collect items, build things, find food. In completing each simple task he can see how his character’s life, home, health and environment improve. I am not saying we all must play video games; however, to children this is a more simple or clear way to see that life is improving.

Success can be measured in so many ways. The most important of them all is to measure where you started. You must look back at where you started life. Think about each and every step you have taken to get to where you are right now. Remembering how far away you were to get to where you are now should give you a sense of success. It is the journey that you and I have traveled towards your goal that makes each one of us successful.

The next time you feel discouraged, take a break. Sip on your favorite beverage. Have a wonderful meal and just relax. Thumb through old photos, Facebook posts or just close your eyes and imagine all the wonderful places you have been. The feelings that came from the first trip you ever took. The taste of the first meal fine meal you ate. Take time to just pat yourself on the back for all the steps you have taken to get to where you are. The key to success is to never stop moving forward.  If that does not work, well then watch the trailer to Fall Out Vault 76. That should do it!

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Bah Humbug!

Bah Humbug! Those were the words running through my mind. I just recently moved. My garage looks like an episode of Hoarders. I miss my old friends, house, neighbors, groups, shops, art studio, art contests, artists, festivals and everything else that makes you feel like a thriving part of a community.

Friday, I posted on Facebook, “Should I decorate for Christmas early?”

The response was an overwhelming yes.

What? Yes? Fiddlesticks! I really didn’t think anyone would answer my mumbo jumbo question. Ugh!

Saturday, instead of just opening any random cardboard moving box, I opened the ones marked “Christmas.” The first box was easy.  It contained a snowman rug along with a few animated stuffed snowmen. Next, I opened five boxes moving boxes that blocked my path to the guest room. Inside each one of those boxes included clothing, desk items, movies and a few books. Yes, our movers took special attention to ensure that one item from each room of our former home would be placed in each box.  Instead of opening one box with all the contents from one designated room, I get to take one or a few items from each box and walk around the house to find a place to put it. It is like a reverse Easter egg hunt, but without the chocolate and fun. No, this is more like mere madness.

Lunch time, I sit on the sofa with Snowpo and watch the Hallmark movie on. I see one Christmas tree, followed by another Christmas tree, next to another Christmas tree, right alongside another Christmas tree all in about five minutes into the story.  That is when I jump off the sofa.  Go into the garage and drag the large Christmas tree box all the way across the house to the living room.

Two days later and my home looks like Christmas.

You know what? I am glad I did. I have cured my Bah Humbug blues.  Snowpo is enjoying all the Christmas decorations too.

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Paintings by JCV

About four years ago, I began to play in oil paints. My first painting was created under the influence of margaritas and laughter of my neighbor. She and I had so much fun just playing around with the brush, oil paints and a blank canvas. My creation was a abstract horse. It was vibrant and beautiful. I posted it on ebay on Monday. By Friday, I had a full price offer. My first creation was off to the hands of a new owner.

It was that sale that gave me the confidence to attempt another painting. This was the beginning of new journey for me. I have always been talented at crafts and writing, but painting was a new game for me. The truth is my family has always had the talent of painting. My grandmother, whom I never met, painted many fabulous paintings one of which hung over my bed.

The more I began to learn the craft the more I wanted to learn. It was the critical voice of my son that encouraged me to start sketching that really improved my skills. The odd thing about painting, as opposed to writing, was that I was willing to openly receive criticism. It was the criticism that brought my skills up to a level that I have even become impressed with.

What I am trying to say is that maybe it took a little alcohol to become lucid enough to try something new, but it helped me find a valuable genetic skill that laid dormant all these years. I am not endorsing getting drunk, but what I am endorsing is the notion that maybe sometimes we just need to step outside of ourselves to find ourselves.

I am excited to say that my endeavors as a painter has taken off. I have since sold many paintings some original, some prints and some t-shirts. I have had my art juried and exhibited.  That is not even the exciting part. The art it’s self is the one thing that continues to amaze me. My most recent painting, Doris, stuns me. When I look at it I think; how did I do it?  It is by far my best piece ever.

“Doris” will be part of the Critical Mass Exhibit at the Shreveport, Louisiana ARTSPACE. CRITICAL MASS 6 EXHIBITION DATES, Saturday, March 3 – Saturday, May 5 (9 weeks) on two floors of ARTSPACE.

Please come and see my best work yet.

 

Writing my Artist Biography

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Last month, I was told to have my artist biography available for tomorrow. Today, I woke up made breakfast, painted, started laundry, checked my email, checked Twitter, checked Facebook then made a cup of coffee, watched Good Morning America, cleaned the living room, cooked lunch and then started my artist biography.

“What the hell is wrong with me? Why can’t I just sit down and type this out? It is not rocket science.”

The truth is, “I don’t know.” I always make great strides and then freeze. Yep, that is me. I am sitting on the edge of greatness. Oh, yes, let me catch you up. I am going to have some of my art work for sale at the “Holidaze Gallery” at Artspace in Shreveport, LA. I am so stoked! But, yes, big But… I am afraid of what if I say or write something wrong? What if I offend someone? What if someone likes it and I have to talk. Damn it! I am a writer and painter, I don’t talk. Pft…talking that is so 2010. Maybe I could act like I have a cough? Then I could wear one of those little hospital masks and mumble, or maybe I could just talk… hmmm…. That is weird. I never know what is going to fall out of these lips. Well, either way, I did finish my artist biography. Now, I am on my way to Holidaze. I guess I just have to be willing to make those mistakes in order to move forward. Come visit me, make fun of me, bring me a hospital mask, buy some of my art or  just come. I will be at the opening on November 16 and throughout the holidays. Shoot me a message.

ArtSpace Shreveport Louisiana 708 Texas Street https://www.facebook.com/ArtspaceShreveport/

What is Holidaze?

https://www.facebook.com/events/1679638525412937/

 

Deck the Halls, Fa La La, Goody Gumdrops and Holly Jolly! Tis the Season for a holiday shopping spree and artspace is the place to rock around the Christmas tree, Saturday, November 25, 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. It’s SHOP LOCAL ART – and SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY, but HOLIDAZE is so big it’s going to take a full month (through December 30) and three entire floors to unwrap all there is to see and do.

“artspace PRESENTS” features one-of-a-kind gifts created by 26 Northwest Louisiana
Artists selected to show and sell works on two floors in artspace. GIFTSPACE introduces new jewelry designs with special holiday “trunk” shows. The Holidaze BAZAAR is located downstairs in FUNSPACE will be filled with art, holiday gifts and specialty items from local Artists. And the family can enjoy “make and take” holiday crafts while snacking on sweet treats during this special Saturday HOLIDAZE opening event. Live Entertainment will kick off the “Songs and Sounds of the Season.” The Opening Event is free and open to all who dare to “SHOP LOCAL ART!”