Tuesday, February 24, 2015

What Motivates and Inspires You to Take Action?

What inspires you these days: A book or an author; a famous sports figure or an actor; a remarkable hero, a friend, an unusual painting?

Nature inspires me; the miracle of seed, growth, and transformation into something extraordinary, edible, nutritious or just plain beautiful. Whatever causes you to pause, to contemplate, or to turn your head may be the beginning of a great idea.

From the book “Transform: Dramatically Improve Your Career, Business, Relationships, and Life . . . One Simple Step at a Time," the author, Jeff Haden wrote: “In the dictionary ‘idea’ is a noun. Idea really should be a verb because an idea is not real until you turn your inspiration into action.”

How many opportunities have you missed because you failed to act on your ideas? Sometimes it boils down to laziness or an unwillingness to put in the needed effort.

(These seeds inspire me. The inside is exquisite!)
I heard Mark Cuban say on the CNBC show “Shark Tank,” “If you’re not willing to work 24/7 to build your business, you won’t make it.”

How motivated are you to succeed? What pushes your buttons? For some it’s money, pure and simple. For others it’s a need to feel important or to be involved in a cause bigger than themselves. Family is an important reason for many; the drive to keep the family afloat and to provide every opportunity for their children.

Self-fulfillment and satisfaction is a great motivator for a large segment of the population. Creating something out of nothing or turning a basic idea into something meaningful is just as important as any monetary gratification.

(I gather up a few of these each year, just so I can watch them open and unfold.)
In the March Better Homes and Gardens this quote caught my eye:  “Inspiration is everywhere – Add a touch of fabulous!”

Making your own life “fabulous” or someone else’s is pretty high on my list of perks. My husband gave me these lovely roses for Valentine’s Day. I love roses, especially red ones. I photographed them because I also love to paint them for practice. I don’t sell many paintings of roses, but painting them has given me experience in shading, shape, subtle changes in value and delicate brushwork. Roses inspire me to paint.


So do People. The landscape of the figure, the detail in the face and hands inspire me to improve my skill. Right now I’m juggling the differences between oil and acrylic and how dramatically their unique features demand color and application changes.

With acrylics, skin color goes on darker and the brush strokes bolder. With oils, it is possible to portray silky smoothness and seamless movement from one color to the next. I switched from oils to acrylics not by desire, but for health reasons. I’m never completely satisfied with the look of acrylic portraits. It’s an acquired taste, and an expert development of skill that makes all the difference.

(This painting has an acrylic underpainting and was finished in oils.)
You can achieve an almost oil-like appearance with acrylics, but it requires many layers of paint to achieve. Patience is the key. Once you have reached the look you desire, leave that area and go onto the next. Overworking can ruin that just put-down freshness that enlivens a canvas.

(This painting was done in acrylics. The smooth skin is a result of subtle color changes and layering.)
Passion defines those who are inspired and those who are not. Don’t paint something just because you know you can do it. Pour into your paintings only those scenes or images that you are passionate about. Because you love what you are doing, others will fall in love with the result. 

Life is like that, too. Fall in love with your life by being passionate about what you do. If the people you are around drag you down and make you sad – choose different friends. Don’t get involved in causes that are nothing more than “busy work.”  Without the passion and the drive, you’ll end up feeling overworked and frustrated. Love what you do, and do what you love!
(I would love to paint this half-opened bud!)