Motivation Monday 11

I go so busy creating art that I forgot about the Motivation Monday blog post!

Usually I do a quick bit of art then type up the blog post. Not yesterday. I spent hours on it. There were lots of little details and fiddly bits. Then I colored it in… which takes me forever with colored pencil.

Yesterday’s quote comes from Robert Green Ingersoll. Wikipedia says he was a lawyer, orator (talker,) teacher, and even a military vet from the civil war. His father was very religious, which made an impact on his views later in life. He was referred to as “the great agnostic.” I like this guy more with ever sentence I read about him! He sounds like a well rounded guy that loved to think and understand things. A great person to get a motivational quote from.

“A great man is a torch in the darkness, a beacon in superstition’s night, an inspiration and a prophesy.” Robert Green Ingersoll.

I had a hard time picking a quote. I wanted to honor September 11th in some way. That did not work out for me. Everything I saw was overly religious or very hateful to various groups of people. There were some funny sarcastic ones, but sarcasm is often lost in text. There was not a lot about the courage to rebuild or how people join together. That made me sad.

Torch_MotivationMonday_THUMBI settled on Mr. Ingersoll’s quote because it was a good medium between where I wanted to go and what was available.

You cannot always tell who is great when they are walking down the street. We all look pretty much the same when en-mass. Lots of people just trying to get from point a to point b efficiently and in a similar condition as we were when we started (unmolested physically, mentally, and spiritually.) I made my ‘great’ people a different color so the art would reflect the quote more.

What makes a ‘great’ person anyway? Are they more generous than most others? Are they better at a specific thing? Or maybe they are “good” at a bunch of little things? Is greatness a personality trait or a way of life? Can it be taught or is it innate?

There are lots of books out there on how to be a “better” you. Will a better you be great?

What do you think makes a great person? I am interested in knowing.


Eyes to See

On my way home a quote came to mind.  Something about having eyes to see, ears to hear, hands to touch, a heart to feel and a mind to think.  Then a mouth to give voice to your experiences.

Now that I am at home I cannot find the quote. I have a feeling it is probably a religious quote of some sort.  While doing a quick search I found another quote that I really like and think about a few times a week.  Maybe not in the exact words, but pretty darn close.

“Nature is painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty if only we have eyes to see them.” 

~John Ruskin

I like this quote much better.

Every day, when I start to take things for granted, I go for a walk and see the awesome pictures nature is painting.  The walk puts my mind in a better place and I can continue on with my day.  When things get rough, I know I can go outside and see a new painting, a new wonder.

Today I drew “eyes to see.”  I have three variations.  I like the purple ones, but the gradient ones are all dark and broody, which is interesting.  Enjoy.


“Eyes to see” with a bit of a gradient on top. I think it makes the eyes a bit broody.


“Eyes to see” with a bit of a gradient on top. I think it makes the eyes a bit broody.


“Eyes to see” no gradient, I only adjusted the black/white to remove the weird lighting that happens with cellphone pictures

Motivation!? Where Have You Gone?

My Motivation to do has gone missing again.  Usually it comes back when I have fun projects to do.  Not this time.  Like a child looking for it’s favorite toy, I search for my Motivation.


Lately I have been bouncing around “Minimum Engagement” and “Unhappy.” I am usually at “Work with Passion” and “New Ideas.” I don’t like being unhappy. I need my Motivation BACK!

Has the warmer than pleasant weather made it go into hiding?  I think so.  Then again there is the waiting.  The waiting on other people to do their part in things.  My Motivation may have gotten bored and went for a stroll some place far away.

I look around my office at my unfinished painting(s), boxes that need packing and papers that need filing.  I poke around my computer and see the projects I should be working on.  The small chores the usually get done as I move around the house are also piling up.

I have become something of a potato, suck in one spot staring into space, or sleeping. I have not even been planning my next paintings, dreams, books to read, games to play.  All good past times that require little effort.  Instead of DOing, I lamenting over my missing Motivation.

Perhaps my Motivation went on a holiday.  Was I over working it? I want to go on a holiday!  Lazing around the beach or better, a nice lake with lots of shade.  Make my Motivation wait on me for a change.


Of course, I could not really care. Maybe I am trying to fake it? Interesting thought. Office Space, you are such a good movie.

Motivation, Please come back!  I miss you.


Deep. To bad I am not motivated to think about it to hard.


Inspiration and Motivation

Artists and all of the subclasses (coders, writers, dancers, singers, musicians, sculptors, painters, wood workers, potters and all of the others I did not think of) are always looking for inspiration.  The Muse can be as fickle as Lady Luck and just as important. Inspiration is what makes the switch in an artists brain turn on and something brilliant comes out.  Without inspiration there is no art, no music, no software or hardware to create graphic arts with.

If there is no problem with inspiration there can be the problem of motivation.  Motivation is the drive to take the actions needed to create something. Even if you have some great and amazing ideas you might not be motivated to do anything with the idea.

Motivation can be a problem for me.  Inspiration is all around.  I see, hear, taste, smell, touch and “feel” inspiration all over the place.  I can come up with some great ideas while out for a walk or even when working on another project.  The problem come to being motivated to work on the project. 

Its not that I don’t want to do it.  I just don’t do anything except think about working on the project.  It really is annoying.  Usually it happens after a long stretch of hyper activity.  Working on school classes, photographing Emerald City Comic Con, and finishing three paintings really took all of my energy. 

I know I am not alone in getting like this.  The problem is getting your motivation back.  You can read all the self help books you want and even watch videos.  In the end you are the only person that can find your motivation again.

I thought I would pass on some things that get me motivated again.  They might help or not.  All one can do is try.

1. Give yourself a break.  Take a few weeks off and do nothing.

2. Start small.  Do take care of something that can be done, but can and should be done.  Hang curtains or blinds, clean the freezer or organize a cupboard.  As corny as it sounds start taking walks or exercising.  It does not have to be related to your particular field, just something that you have been putting off.

3. Pick something project related and break it down into a bunch of smaller parts.  When I paint and have motivational problems I like to break the project down to sketch, fine tune, transfer sketch to canvas, paint background and so on.  I will try to work on the project for 30 – 45 min each day.  You may be working slow but you are working!

4. Keep at it.  Even if you are not completely submerged in the project at least you are working on it. 

Warning –

When lacking inspiration or motivation your final product is usually less than it could be if you were inspired and motivated.  Unfortunately that is the way it is.  In most cases you can go back and improve your work when you are back in top form.

I hope this helps a few people.

Today’s image is from Cyanide and Happiness.  One of my favorite web comics.


The Creative High

Like many other people I have hobbies.  My primary hobby is “fine art.”  I love to paint and draw.  It is one hobby that I try very hard to protect from becoming a “job.”  I protect it because I always want to have an escape that is still productive and creative.  I paint things for people I know or topics I think are interesting.  I do not sell the pieces, I give them away.  When it stops being fun I take a break from it and try another hobby.

People ask why I like painting.  I usually tell them about the “Creative High.”  The “Creative High” happens to pretty much everyone. In artists and other creative people it is caused by a project turning out as envisioned or much better.  It is that lovely sense of accomplishment that keeps me painting.  It is also what keeps me working on web design projects.

Like fine artists, programmers, developers and designers are artists.  They just use code instead of paints and stone.  Getting a function to work properly is the same as getting the detail in a part of a painting or sculpture just right.  It makes you feel like a genius!  Like you can do anything and everything if you chose.  It only gets better when all the parts work together and you are finished. In fact the harder you have to work for it the better it is.  Your fingers can be cramping and getting that last detail just right makes it all go away.  Some how when you are done your fingers can dance across the keyboard and tell the world (or just your friends) what you accomplished.

The “Creative High” is one of the best feelings there is. 

I got to experience it in C# yesterday.  I was able to complete a method that was giving me issues.  I had an epiphany while I was out walking.  Some things are so easy when you take a step away.

I leave on this happy inspirational note.  Even if your project is hard.  You can finish it.  Just break down the problem and walk away for a bit.  Take a walk.  It is amazing where your brain goes when it is not forced to think about something.  It sees things in a whole new way.

I leave you with two of my paintings that gave me great “Creative Highs.”  I hope you like them as much as I do.

DeathWing Warhammer Banner

DeathWing Banner ~ a Warhammer 40K army ~ by Carissa Carnahan


Cherry Blossoms ~ a Painting for a friends first female child. ~by Carissa Carnahan



Go for a Walk

This world we live in encourages us to get from point ‘a’ to point ‘b’ as fast as we can. We have no time to dawdle, no time to see the world around us and no time to interact with people. All things that are important in society and to artists.

Driving is the fastest way the average person can get to where they are going. Driving also allows us to take things with us, “in case” we need them. It also keeps people at a distance; it is hard to communicate to another person on the highway through tinted windows. Driving alone has become a shelter to some people and a cage to others. There are people that will drive the 20 ft to their mailboxes or drive 3 or 4 blocks to get to work.

As an artist I walk where ever and when ever I can. I walk so I can see things in this world.

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One of my morning walks in the fog. A street light is filtered by the fog and a tree.

I walk in the summer to see the flowers in bloom, fighting with the concrete and brick for space to grow. I walk and see the people in their summer cloths, squinting into the sun and dancing. People who say hello to everyone they pass on the streets, the light thawing their hearts and letting their light out to compete with the sun.

I walk in the fall to see the leaves change and fall. To see the way the angle of the sun changes how the trees and buildings look. I walk and see how the openness of people changes when the weather is colder. Once happy outgoing people now shrug into their coats and nod as they pass. Their light once again covered by the clouds.

I walk in the winter to see the bones of the forests. The way the light changes and the ingenuity we humans have in creating artificial lights to line the streets. I see the generosity of the people that are warm to the people that have less; their light shining, no matter how dimly, once again.

I walk in the spring when new life starting to find its place amongst the cracks in the sidewalks. I see the businesses become bright and shiny again and people start truly coming out of their winter shells. I see how “new” everything is too many people.

I also see how things remain the same or show age. I see how the new curtains and awning of that shop hide the rusty struts or how the new paint only covers the public facing sides of a building. I see the hope in people’s eyes that this year will be better.

I can see all of this and more, just by taking the time to walk, to see the world around me. You cannot see the world speeding down the highway, taking the road well traveled. You cannot see the world through tinted windows that separate you from the other people on the road.

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Taken on my way home on 30Jan2015. I was running behind and would never have seen the sun interact with the trees like this if I had been “on time.”

You cannot connect to the world if you are not willing to take the time to do so.

Go for a walk. Look at the ordinary things. How well maintained is the fire hydrant on your block? Is it red, silver, yellow or blue? Is the paint new? Is there trash around it? How about the street lights?

Go for a walk. Look at nature. Is nature winning and growing out of the sidewalk? Have the birds set upon the wires in an interesting pattern? Is the light hitting something and changing the colors? Did the leaves change color in an interesting way?

Go for a walk. Look at the people. Are they having fun? Wearing interesting cloths? Do the shop owners look happy? Do their goods look good? Are they standing in unusual positions to look at things?

Take a camera, if it will help. You can document your view and refer to them later. The camera will also help you see in a different way.

* ALWAYS ASK people if you plan on using their photos, it is the courteous thing to do and may prevent legal issues later.*

I strongly encourage people to walk. Not because of the health benefits or environmental benefits. I encourage people to walk so they can truly see and experience things.

Go for a walk.

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Just an interesting design created by the drying wood. I took this while I was walking at a local beach in early January.