Saturday, December 22, 2012

Art Tip No. 7 - Work Hard & Celebrate

My daughter earned her Black Belt earlier this year.

Two nights a week, every week for the past 4 years, I'd take her to class.  I'd sit in the back of the room and watch the little guys sweat their butts off, practicing their roundhouse kicks and punches.

I was in awe of the kids' hard work; I loved seeing what they were capable of accomplishing.

I loved watching the instructor, Miss Judy, too.   A 5th degree black belt, she'd have a stern but tender, effective way of pushing them to greater things.  She taught them to both work hard and enjoy their journey.

Each time the kids promoted to their new belt color ("kyu" in Japanese ranking), she'd always rouse them up and ask,  "What's the first thing we do when we reach a goal??"

The kids, all sweaty and proud of themselves, would shout, "Celebrate!"  

"What's the 2nd thing we do?"

They would reply, "Make new goals!"  

We'd then go out for an ice-cream cone.

I love how she taught that hard-work & celebration go hand-in-hand.

It helped me with my own artwork too.

After pouring hours into a drawing, I used to look at a finished piece and frown.  "Not good enough".
Then I wouldn't draw for months afterwards.  And why would I, if I always felt crummy about my work?

Miss Judy's words started to stick with me.

If I made a goal to spend 15 minutes on a drawing one evening, and I reached that accomplishment, well then, gosh-darnit, I celebrated that.  (Side note:  I think committing any of your time to a cause or an outlet is an accomplishment.)   I started celebrating by feeling good about myself, instead of picking apart my work.  I gave myself a pat on the back.  I treated myself to new pencils, washi-tape,  other fun supplies.  Once I got the celebration thing down, I made more goals.  With every goal that I accomplished, I made a conscious decision to CELEBRATE!   It was a very new and wonderful discovery for me.

So....   that is my most recent Art (and life) Tip to you too:

And make new goals!
Enjoy the journey. 

What cool things have you accomplished recently?


  1. love this, jenny! wow, what an accomplishment for your daughter (and you) sticking to all this work in karate. that teacher sounds wonderful--great balanced perspective for life. appreciate your sweet encouragement. by the sound of this post, i could do better at setting goals. laying a brand new garden plot with my husband this year was awesome.

  2. I also need to set some art goals and not think so much if it's not 'perfect'. We often are too hard on ourselves. Love your art... and always look forward to seeing what you've done.

  3. Thanks so much, Amy & Shawna. We are often too hard on ourselves...It's so sad. I hope to continue to get better at both making goals & celebrating myself/others, in a humble, authentic way. (I am definitely a work in progress!) I hope I can inspire others to do the same. :)

  4. What a nice story! I need to think about how I can apply the two rules. I believe I accomplish a lot this year, I really have to sit down and make a list.

  5. What a terrific post! And I'm with Sofia as list making gets things done. And sitting and thinking, too. Especially like the 15 minute a day thing. I'm in.

  6. Hi Jenny...
    I just found your journal pages from a pin on pinterest, and am so happy that I did. I would LOVE to know what kind of journal or book you use to do your daily pages. I just LOVE the way it all looks.

  7. Thank you so much, guys! Dena: thanks. I am experimenting with different journals, but I'm using Handbook Journals for now. I've posted a few different thoughts on them:

    I hope this helps! ♥

  8. Ha! I am learning to accept myself. As I am. ugh. Easier said than done. But, grace is amazing.
    Thanks for your sketchbook inspiration.