Pat Fiorello - Art Elevates Life

Art & Inspiration from professional artist and instructor Pat Fiorello. Pat is known for her romantic landscape, garden and floral paintings in oil and watercolor. Her paintings often depict beautiful places like Italy and France. Pat teaches painting workshops in the U.S., Caribbean and Europe. She is passionate about inspiring others to include art in their life. Whether creating it or simply appreciating and enjoying it, there are so many ways that art elevates life!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Creatures of Habit

“First we make our habits, then our habits make us”
John Dryden 17th century English poet

Many of the results that we produce in life are a function of the habits we have - the repeated patterns of behavior that we do almost without thinking. We might have habits that support what we are committed to( like going to the gym  every Tuesday and Thursday or taking a daily walk) or habits undermine what we say we are committed to ( e.g. eating that second bowl of ice cream while watching tv- in that moment maybe our commitment to indulgence and feeling good trumps our commitment to health).

Many times we are unconcious to our habits- they are just automatic. But if you start noticing them, that is the first step to change.

 I noticed a couple this week as it relates to art. First, I seem to get a lot of oil paint all over me and my brush handles while painting.  One day, I noticed the paper towel I lay the brushes down on was covered in paint and the light bulb went off- aha- no wonder these handles get full of paint.  I had no awareness that I habitually laid out the paper towel that way which caused the entire length of the brush and handle to be resting on a towel  full of paint. I was so busy concentrating on  the painting and palette, that I never even noticed that small thing that was causing an annoyance. So I reoriented the position of  the towels to just rest the tips or the brushes( not the handles) on the paper towels and problem solved.

 I also noticed I am pressing the full brush, rather thatn the tip ,down on the canvas with quite a bit of pressure which can muddy the paint. That is a helpful habit or stroke I acquired for watercolor, which had been my main medium for years, but it is not so effective for oils. Also, I kept washing brushes in between color changes in the turpentine cup ( another habit from years of waterecolor where it does help to rinse brushes in clean watec between color changes)  and that can contribute to muddy color. So I have the turp holder out- but I now keep the cover on so that I have to actively take it off if I want to use some turp. This has cut down on that habit dramatically. 

By  becoming more alert to what I am actually doing,  I am now more aware and making small changes that are helping.  None of them are earthshattering- but they were minor things that each took away from the expeience or results of my painting sessions. I'm sure there are others, so now I am on the lookout .

What  unconscious habits do you have that might undermine you? Do you consistently put other things before time for art? Organize or use your materials in an incovenient fashion? Get lazy about putting out fresh paint at the end of a  painting session so you compromise by using sub-optimal colors? Are you doing anything that leads to an annoyance that detracts from your painting experience or prevents your art from being the best that it can be?

Become more mindful of your habits, tendencies and automatic behaviors and notice if they are supporting the results you want . If not, how can you alter things?  I've heard it  takes 21 days to form a habit and that you must replace a bad/old habit with a new one behavior ( not simply remove the old one) to be effective, so be patient with yourself.

If you have noticed anything  that you are habitually doing that would be helpful  share with others, please feel free to comment .
Happy Painting!
""Bad habits are like a comfortable bed, easy to get into, but hard to get out of"
-- Anonymous

Why are habits so Important?  Here's what Jim Rohm had to say:
"Motivation is what gets you started.  Habit is what keeps you going.” 

No comments:

Post a Comment