Tip Tuesday

Appreciation is Contagious. Better Catch It. by Mary Jennings

Loving The Rain! I posted a status on my FB account this morning.  I had to.  I couldn’t help it.  I really wanted to share the amazing delight I was feeling at that very moment.  I just knew that others would enjoy what I was experiencing.  Finding the right words to express my moment were also part of the fun.

It got quite a few likes, but it also made me think about how fortunate I felt to be experiencing something so simple and so impossible for me to create by my own hand or skill.  I was wholly appreciative.  I have noticed some other grateful updates being posted by some of my other friends on some other social media sites.

A young photographer friend was prompting people to make sure to take time to stop and notice the beautiful sunrise and sunsets we are blessed with daily.  Such wise advice for such a young girl.  She might have been preaching to the choir, though.  I have seen an increase in stunning sky photos on FB and Instagram with people doing just that; looking up.  Vacation will have that effect on you.  I’ve enjoyed looking at and clicking like on every last post I’m fortunate enough to encounter.

Beauty Discovered

I also love that I have several artist friends who are able to see the beauty in some not so expectedly beautiful things and are generous enough to share their discoveries (and be thankful on top of that).  This was posted by a friend and former Moore College of Art classmate who made my day with her midnight snack.

So, all of this is to say, look up, stand still, soak in and share.  Appreciation is contagious; better catch it and share.  It might just also be the cure for all that ails.

Build and They Will Come - How To Attract Your Purple Cow by Mary Jennings

Prepare For The Rush When I was in college, I had a job at a restaurant named Eden's in Center City Philadelphia, PA.  I loved that job because it taught me so much.  It was owned and managed by a fellow that was formerly a top executive at Proctor and Gamble Corporation.  He ran a tight ship and that was no easy task with a bunch of art students, musicians and other transient staff.  One lesson to remember was to stay at your station.  As much as I wanted to leave the cash register to bus tables, I was not allowed.  The other (most commonly used to this day) is during the down times, prepare for the rush.  In the restaurant world, particularly in a busy city like Philadelphia, the rush can crush your business, staff and reputation if not properly prepared for.  The magic of making that rush a positive or even fruitful time, all depends on the work accomplished in preparation.

For you, in search of your own success, what does preparing for the rush look like.  Well, for starters, you have to be clear on what success looks like for you.  I have covered the importance of honesty with yourself in Is This a Purple Cow or A Faux Pas and am talking about attracting your special breed of success in this posting.  With knowing what you love and where you want to go with it, you are ready to experience the rush.

You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.

- Maya Angelou

This posting is one of six about how to find and keep your purple cow.  If we were to put all of this in barnyard details, I would say, build the barn, stock the food, read all the latest news on weather conditions, healthcare and maintenance of your wonderful purple cow.

Another point is to have faith.  Hebrews 11:1 says, "Faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see."  Preparing for a rush or building for success that is nowhere in sight takes a lot of courage and passion.

Next Tuesday, I will be adding to this series with a post on being willing to grow and refine your success (purple cow).

 

 

Experiencing Observation: Gratitude by Mary Jennings

"Discovery"

36"x36" oil on canvas. SOLD I didn't doubt that I would make it to this sixth installment of my blog series on experiencing observation, but I didn't actually lightheartedly skip along the pathway either.  It can be told that I have loved writing about all the subtle differences in observation.  Who knew that looking around could be so distinctive depending on a certain mindset?  I'm not sure I even appreciated this until I began to write about it.

So far, I have covered getting caught, making memories, being restored, hunting, capturing and now I am going to write about experiencing observation through the lens of gratitude.  With a mindset of thankfulness, what you see is not simply what it is.  It becomes greater in its substance due to the context in which it is being viewed.

A sunset, with its color, movement and mood, has a pretty good jump-start in being receptive to gratitude filled observations.  Not everything has it this easy.  With some things like a pile of unfolded laundry, a flat tire, an icy walkway, or a bad hair day, it takes a little bit of work getting a fruitful observation experience with a mindset of gratitude.  And because of this struggle, it is so very rewarding when you do see what others may not see.  This is a highly creative experience.  This is the stuff great poetry is made of.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "What is a weed?  A plant whose virtues have yet to be discovered."  I agree.  We are given so many wonderful "weeds" in life and we try to eliminate, hide and sometimes ignore them and their virtues.  In the spring of 2009, I did a video with a focus on inspiration and determination using the dandelion to support my message.  It is extremely consistent with the message I offer many times to this day.  It was nice to see I am staying on track to help inspire and encourage creativity.

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Watch it and see how I demonstrate how rich our observations become with a heart of gratitude.  Gratitude is a great place to take NOTHING and turn it in to a treasure.

Turn that frown upside down.  Turn that trouble into triumph.  Celebrate your creativity by seeing things that are good, helpful and productive from what we would avoid finding any beauty in at all.  With a mindset of gratitude, experience observation where treasures can be found in trash.

Share any observations you have made in the comment section below.  We want to see what you see.

Experiencing Observation: Photographic by Mary Jennings

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Have you seen my....? You can just about insert any item into the blank left at the end of the request. As a young girl, living in a messy house and now as a mother in a busy household, I am able to provide a location of pretty much any lost item. I have the opportunity to experience observation with my skills of photographic memory. I love to use these skills but would love to get paid for the workout they are getting with my sons "help me find it" requests. In this, the fifth posting about experiencing observation in different ways, I am either going to help you determine a skill you already have or help you develop a new skill. This form of almost photographic observation not only comes in handy when looking for something that is out-of-place, but it also serves as a tool to help your art become more well-rounded. It helps create an internal reference library of regular life stills. Colors, objects, arrangements, conditions and unlikely combinations are all retained for future use.

If you've seen it, you may be able to recall and use that information to add or complete a detail in your art. It makes a defining difference.

Blessing and Curse

At times, I am called upon to help a friend recall where they put their purse, or help my husband find his keys, but every now and again I am interested in recalling a certain color I might have observed in a leaf of a tree or in the shadow on the snow. These are important pieces of information that will help 'validate' a piece of art while painting. This is real information that might make or break a work of art. It might be the piece that adds real soul to your work.

The best direction that I can offer in developing the skill of photographic observation is to PAY ATTENTION. This might mean putting your smart phone or other device down *GASP*. The world is full of subtle details and they're all around you 24/7. Pay attention at all times. Take mental notes of how things are when you look at them. Make mental note of the environment and conditions surrounding the observation. Does it all make sense? If not, why? These bits of information might help complete the picture.

Project for You

I have an exercise for you to complete. For a very average part of your day, pay careful attention to every detail of your surroundings and events. Just do this for a few hours. In a notebook or sketchbook, I want you to write or draw some details that you noticed. These details aren't the ones that would stand out to everybody simply passing by, these are details that are well, detailed.

Feel free to share some of your average and not-so-average observations in the comment section below. I would love to read all about it.

Experiencing Observation - Focus by Mary Jennings

In this fourth installation of posts on Experiencing Observation, I will cover the duty of seeking. This requires a high level of observational skills and a multi-sensory focus. It has many applications and can be a benefit to exercise, but if over used becomes a problem by causing unwanted mental fatigue otherwise known as “UGH!”

Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most!

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“Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most” reads a plaque I was given when I was a busy Interior Designer with Martha Child Interiors early in my career. It was very appropriately given and gratefully received. This was my first job out of college and I worked extremely long hours and was always looking for fabric, furniture, lighting, finishes and yes, my lost mind. I experienced incredible focus while employed for this position. Part of my job was to head to the Design Center in Washington, D.C. to select the perfect fabrics for every piece of furniture, window treatment and pillow for the Sunrise Retirement Homes. I would comb through 3 floors of designer fabric showrooms and come home with several bags (4-6) full of fabric swatches. I was really good a zeroing in on the right color, texture and price for the potential destination of this fabric. It was wonderful and unbelievably exhausting. I was so thankful the Design Center had so much to choose from in every showroom I entered.

If you are woman who wears earrings, you have most likely experienced this kind of focused, dutiful, and quest filled observation. Finding the perfect pair in a pile of many can require extreme patients, if you don’t have these beauties all laid out and organized. As I get older, I am driven to spending less and less time in this journey. Organization and general simplification of appearance help. I won’t even go into the frenzied focus involved in finding a LOST item.

Just this morning, I created a perfectly funny joke, complete with set-up and punch. This is always a great thing for my role as a novice stand-up comedian. I was busy at the time and didn’t stop to write it down with the thought of getting back to it without any great effort after finishing my busy work. Within a short period of time, I was shocked to find the joke completely gone from my mind. I immediately began to dig in to all of my sensual memory to try to capture that joke again. I remember having the visualization of me sharing it with a delighted audience. It was so concrete and yet not. I am still mentally standing here with all my doors open, on full alert, waiting for that little treasure to blow on in. Otherwise, I might have to make a joke about the one that got away like the fisherman’s fictitious big fish.

I trust my skills for observation and will report in the comment section below if it manages to come to me. I’m working on it. Tell me if you have ever experienced this kind of observation.  I would love to hear your story. I hope you are benefiting from my efforts to encourage your experiences of observation.