Nurturing creativity with art, animals, and science fiction

Tag: creative projects

My brain has too many tabs open.

Too busy

According to the Wisdom of the Internet I am either too self-centered to be a good friend, or I’m powerfully purpose-driven. Either way, I’m too busy.

This quote from Mandy Hale says, "A person being 'too busy' is a myth. People make time for the things that are really important to them!"
Sorry, Mandy, I disagree. This concept that being “too busy” is a myth can be a really toxic idea. It belittles the struggles of those whose lives sometimes become overwhelming. If being too busy were a myth, then no one would ever need to set boundaries, or “‘make time’ for the things that are really important.” (Quote from LiveLifeHappy)
This image says, "My brain has too many tabs open."
This. Yes. This is how I feel too often, lately. (Quote from BrainScape)

What’s the problem?

These last few weeks have been packed, for me. Sometimes urgencies that are not under my control elbowed their way in. I was pulled away from work that took longer than expected, by planned things that “needed doing.”

I’ve missed normal schedules for blog posts (such as this one, for instance!). Stayed up too late, even for me (the graveyard shift is my most productive time). Been forced to drop some things half-done. 

And there you have the nub of it. I have a lot of unfinished business. Pulled away too often. Too many things dropped half-done.

This quote from David Allen says, "Much of the stress that people feel doesn't come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they started."
David Allen makes a really good point. It’s true I have a whole bunch of stuff to do in a short period. But the picking-it-up-then-having-to-put-it-down-and-shift-focus routine is what makes me truly frazzled. (Quote image from TooMuchOnHerPlate).

Now, it’s not as if I’m running in place. I can see that incremental progress is indeed happening on several long-term goals. All that effort does appear to be having an effect. But I still feel I’m a long way from finishing several big priorities that mean a lot to me.

Why so busy?

It’s a busy season for me, for several reasons. It’s the turn of the year. That means it’s the end of a fiscal year for my personal business, Artdog Studio, as well as for my new LLC, Weird Sisters Publishing. Reports, wrapping up bookkeeping, and strategic planning for the year to come are all part of that.

My own personal blogging has been disrupted more than I expected by the need to prepare a post every week for The Weird BlogI’d gotten to the point where I was regularly producing three posts per week for Artdog Adventures, so I figured it’d be easy enough to add just one more, especially with my sister writing approximately half of them. 

Well, guess what? Not as easy as it looked.

On the personal front, there’s my 95-year-old father needing more care and attention (thank God the whole family’s pitching in on that), and my daughter’s chronic illness has flared up twice since the end of 2019.

But don’t forget the fun stuff

Oh, yeah, and there’s also making artwriting another bookshepherding the cover design process for two different books (more on those in future posts), and figuring out how to market everything.

This quote from Kangngaudaube Irang says, "Being busy is not a curse to mankind. Being busy is all about a struggle for better lives. And being busy is how you get to enjoy the real service of life. Being idle is empty. And being idle is being so small of your world. Stay busy."
Kangngaudaube Irang thinks more the way I do. I don’t like to be idle. It’s empty and It’s also boring. Being busy is better, as long as one doesn’t get too busy. It’s a difficult balance to walk. (Quote from YourQuote)

So, no. I’m not unhappy about my currently too busy life. To a certain extent I’m apologizing for my irregular blog-posting schedule. I also hope to offer a glimpse of what’s been going on with me. Next week, things should smooth out. Several major hurdles should be in the rearview.

And when I finally get to roll out some of those creative projects I’ve been working on, I dearly hope you’ll be pleased.

This quote from Eleanor Roosevelt says, "In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility."
Here’s hoping I’m making the right ones, Eleanor!  (Quote image from TooMuchOnHerPlate).

IMAGE CREDITS: Many thanks toLiveLifeHappy for the quote from Mandy Hale, even though I respectfully disagree. I also want to thank BrainScape for the “too many tabs” image,  and TooMuchOnHerPlate for the quotes from David Allen and Eleanor Roosevelt. Finally, thanks also to Kangngaudaube Irang and YourQuote for the “stay busy” sentiment.

An improvisation with legs

The Artdog Image of Interest 

This is the first spark of the idea–an image finished at last! The First Guardian (2013-18) still needs a mat, but I hope to start exhibiting it soon.


rediscovered a forgotten piece of artwork the other day. Well, it was part of a piece of artwork. I knew it wasn’t finished yet. I’d put it together sometime back in 2015 or 2016 (I’d like to say I keep better records than that, but no. There are gaps).

At the time, I couldn’t figure out how I wanted to finish it, so I did what I usually do with such pieces. I set it aside. Recently I figured out a background and color scheme I liked, put them together, and as soon as I can get it matted I’ll begin exhibiting this work at science fiction conventions.

Part of this piece was based on a corner of my much-exhibited “mainstream” piece, Nine-Part Herbal Fantasy (2013), which made the rounds of national juried shows all over the country in its two-year heyday.

Nine-Part Herbal Fantasy (2013) was a success, by certain standards. However, it now resides in a box on a shelf in my studio. Meanwhile, more and more of my “Guardians” multiple originals series have found new homes and given pleasure, thanks to art shows at science fiction conventions.

Those “mainstream” shows cost a lot to enter, and a lot to ship a framed piece to (not to mention the cost of framing the piece in the first place). They are somewhat prestigious, but I never sold anything at any of them, and my quantity of output was always too low to interest a gallery. I have stopped exhibiting work in those shows since then.

Originally, there was going to be a “light cycle” of Nine-Part Herbal Fantasy and a “dark cycle.” I had several of the “nine parts” finished or partially finished for the “dark cycle” when I shifted the focus of my art exhibition efforts to smaller and more overtly fantasy artworks, designed for science fiction conventions. Those suddenly-orphaned parts joined bits and parts from at least a dozen other projects in a collection of storage boxes.

You might recognize some of these “art parts” from other finished artworks I’ve created. In the future, you may see more of these bits, bobs and elements used in new artwork I haven’t created yet.

Periodically I’ll pull all the boxes of pieces-of-pieces out, play with combining them in different configurations, and see what kind of compositions I can come up with. Sometimes I’ll see possibilities for combining parts from two or more different former projects, often with new pieces added, new backgrounds, or other additional elements.

These are the “Guardians” multiple-original compositions. They are: Top row L-R: Fierce and BraveBottom row L-R: Defender and Protector. I am delighted to report that they have been well-received each time I’ve exhibited them.

There are several differences between the piece I finally just recently finished and have titled The First Guardian, and the multiple-original editions I call the “Guardians” series. I based them on the earlier, improvised piece, but I think you’ll notice several differences, too.

For me, this is one of the fun things about my paper sculpture–but it’s also one of the frustrating things. The creative process isn’t always (make that: is almost NEVER) straightforward. An idea I’m sure will be fantastic . . . doesn’t always work out that way. Parts don’t always go together the way I think they will. And sometimes things come together in ways I never would have imagined when I started the earliest parts.

IMAGES: All of the photos in this post were taken by me, Jan S. Gephardt, of my own artwork and art-making materials. If you wish to re-post or re-blog any of them, please attribute them to me and include links back to this post. Thank you!

Desk piles

There’s only so much you can do in advance.

That’s what I keep trying to remind myself. There are some things that can’t be totaled up or capped off until after the fireworks go off at 12:01 a.m. January 1. 

For days now, I’ve been planning to write a blog about “desk piles of the future” (considerations of what we might clutter our offices with, in the purportedly “paperless” future). 

This was gonna be the week!

This isn’t gonna be the week. Too many desk piles of of the present. 

These are actually not my own personal desk-piles. Mine aren’t anywhere near this extensive and chaotic. These are more like a dramatization of how mine feel at the moment.

So please excuse this all-too-brief mid-week blog post, while I work on my 2016 Year Review, and my 2017 Year Plan With Interim Benchmarks, while also working on final revisions for Going to the XK9s and squeezing some art-making in edgewise from time to time.

Also, wish me luck, please.

IMAGES: Many thanks to Point It Digital Marketing, for the 2016-to-2017 image, and to Craig Jarrow’s Time Management Ninja website, for photo of the not-so-virtual desk piles.

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