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A Little Support

(or Better Late Than Never)

It's been a while since I've managed to post an update.

Picture showing new work, with arrows.
Doesn't look like a lot?

It actually involved a lot of time, but since the new additions are mostly structural and spread out, it doesn't look like too much. The overhead beams have been added, as well as the support posts within the frame. Those alone took a deceptively long amount of time.

Other additions:

  • The posts have capital ornaments based on traditional fantasy creatures (to the right is a detail of one of the post capitals).
  • Hidden behind the bottles above the mirror is an easily overlooked back panel deeply buried in the shadows.
  • The thick, carved and painted post at the end of the mirror along with its decorations
  • The coats and hat rack in the rear entrance are no longer blank spaces.
detail of post with carved top.
However, it definitely does not repesent five months of work.

So what happened?

What do I have to say for myself, mister?

I could explain that I've had more out-of-town trips, family visits, and other interruptions than normal. I have finished a number of other projects in those five months- a book cover, a friend's wedding invitation, reworking some dragon quilting patterns, a new 8"x10" black and white piece ... but in truth these are just excuses! They don't answer the real question of why. Why did those other projects get in the way? Passing them off as an excuse doesn't help me in the future. So I'll try to explain a little better.

The real cause of the barroom brawl derailment is poor time management.

Problem #1: Procrastintion

There was a lot more downtime from my artwork than can be explained by visitors and trips.

Well, when a major disruption occurs I tend to let it get me off track. For about a week beforehand I think, ``I don't have time to get anything started now; I'll wait until after I get back.'' Then I spend several nights doing nothing, one or two getting ready for the trip, and then another couple nights getting even more nothing done. Then when I get back I spend another week thinking, ``I need a few days to relax before I can focus on a project again."

See the problem?

If I leave for one week but lose nearly three weeks of productivity. That's a pretty bad equation and one I need to work on.

In reality, my projects don't require definite start and stop dates. Even when I am in town, I will often work one night and then not get back to work for three or four nights. That's just the simple truth of life's schedule. So a week vacation shouldn't be that much more than a week's disruption! There's no reason that I can't put in a few odd nights all the way up to leaving and get back to work the night after returning home... but in order to do so, I need to recognize this for what it is- procrastination.

Artwork is fun. Artwork is relaxing. But when I come home from my job, it's all to easy to think that sitting down in front of the TV is somehow more relaxing.

Problem #2: Favors

The other big problem is trying to do too much for too many people, getting involved in too many ``pro bono" projects.

This is a much tougher problem for me to figure out. When a friend or family member comes asking for a small art favor, how do you say no? How do you balance working on your own projects with helping others? If you decline, are you being selfish and cold? But if you say yes, are you hurting your own work and letting other people walk on you? If there is some form of middle ground, how do you find it? Then how do you enforce it without alienating the people you care about?

I enjoy doing favors for others, but it can be all too easy for small favors to turn into being taken advantage of.

I haven't figured this all out yet. On the one hand, I wouldn't decline any of the projects I've done recently if I were asked again. On the other hand, with five months since the last update, there's no question that these favors contributed to my inability to prepare another update. It's a tricky minefield, and one that has taken me years to recognize. Hopefully it won't take me too many more to find a workable solution.

Hope ...

For the immediate future, my plate is clean. I can get back to work on the brawl. Well, as soon as I get back from Archon 25, that is... and I get this year's Christmas cards finished... oh, and then there's that wedding trip, and...


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This document last updated Mon Oct 2 11:00:31 2006.