the artist's notebook










the creative life

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inspirational artists




handling time alone

Painting every day means spending a lot of time alone. Artists have different ways of handling this time. Some, like Georgia O'Keefe, worked in silence. Others, like Chuck Close, enjoy playing music in his studio as he paints. I sometimes play music from iTunes, but also enjoy old movies on TCM or online lectures. I look for something mildly interesting, as not to hold my total focus away from my work, yet entertaining and without advertising. I refuse to listen to advertising.

Recently, I have discovered the course lectures of Positive Psychology 1504. Taught by Tal Ben-Shahar (PhD), this is the most popular course in the history of Harvard, with an enrollment of over 1400 students in the spring of 2006. These lectures are refreshing. While I have a bachelors in psychology, my course load was mostly memorizing personality theories and negative psychological conditions. 1504 is an in-depth discussion of decades of research into the positive aspects of people, such as the behaviors and attitudes which will lead us towards a happier life.

Because I am concentrating on my painting work as I listen to this lecture series, I miss a great deal. In fact, I think one of the lectures mentions how multitasking is not good. LOL. Today, I am now listening to it for the third time as I stand as the easel, hoping some more facts will somehow sink in.