Inspired by 'The Martian' super creative problem solving

A few weeks ago I finished reading 'The Martian' by Andy Weir. As I've mentioned in a previous post I'm a bit of a sci-fi geek, and now with the added bonus of a Ridley Scott film adaptation of this book released later this year. In a nutshell an astronaut, Mark Watney is accidently left on the Red Planet & the novel charts his endeavors to stay alive. Yes there is a lot of physics, chemistry, botany, NASA speak and 70's disco music reference. The real core of this novel is about highly creative problem solving, lateral thinking and keeping a positive mental attitude. There is also much assessing, and re-assessing of goals and deadlines (almost literally)

There is also much maths, Mark often works backwards from a specific date, weighing up options and possible outcomes. With this in mind I reflected on my next major deadline - 22nd July. Thats the beginning of my kids school summer vacation (in the UK) We have an important family event that weekend. Then closely followed by a train ride down to the South of France, my destination for two weeks.

This is what I aim to fit in by 22nd July

-follow up art from Surtex (maybe 8+ collections)

-new collections for Printsource in August (4+ collections)

-have my 30 illustrated recipes submitted to They Draw and Cook for book consideration

So I'm doing the maths...I'm 20 recipes in...which leaves me with 10 recipes left to illustrate. That means submitting TWO recipes whenever possible for the whole of June!! Here's my most recent TDAC art....

plum jam
elderflower lemonade
layered vegetable pilaf

Still thinking along the lines of Mark Watney maximizing the best use of his time and resources, I took a long look at where I could improve my time keeping. I am blessed with two very bright kids who are always ready to start the day at 6.30am!!! This gives me an hour and a half to set up the day - laundry, prep evening meal and general cleaning. So after school drop off I am able to concentrate on art until 3pm. That is until the end of term.

Whilst my life does not depend ticking off everything before the July deadline (I will not decompress for example) - I have calculated realistically and honestly the hours I will have for art from mid August - with the kids around. I intend to involve & integrate my children with many arty projects...starting with a sketch a day or #the100dayproject. There will be trips to London and Cambridge and most likely make use of old canvas's and papier mache.

I have worked steadfastly this year and I'm still keeping my eye on the prize. I think these summer hols more than others I'm just going to lean into it - be kind on myself, and not be too anxious about producing amazing 'polished' art. And also use this time to reflect on my successes thus far, re-coup & plan for the next set of goals. I'm sure a fortnight in Provence will also be most inspiring and I will come back refreshed & full of ideas.

Goals Book & Beyond

Last year I eagerly read almost every blog post I could find about artists experience of Surtex, whether the exhibiting or 'walking' the show. I was lucky that my friend Jacqui posted a photo of herself and other artists we knew at Victoria Johnson's booth. This image really sparked my imagination, and I made up my mind I NEEDED to attend in 2015.

So I pasted that image into my goals book, along with 'I am overjoyed to walk Surtex with my friends' - see below

I am now onto my third goals book. I use a sketch book to fill in a goal on each page with any relevant images. Its based on personal,career, health, relationships and spiritual goals. Some of them have changed from year to year but fundamentally my goals remain the same.

The theory goes if you phrase a statement with 'Iam......' and are able to visualize and imagine the fulfillment of this goal, your subconscious brain (and creative mind) will somehow figure out a way of making it come to fruition. It may take a while and involves the right effort but it would be worth it.

At the very beginning of this year I created another goals book- here's one of the pages.

A day later I asked Victoria Johnson Design if she would consider my help at her 2015 Surtex booth. I was so grateful and happy she said yes. Then the creative part of my brain again whirred into action to figure out the practicalities of such a trip.

Another page of my 2015 goals book says 'I am seeing golden opportunities everywhere'

In March a friend suggested I show some of my art to her agent Brenda Manley . I had not considered finding a licensing agent as major goal for this year. After manly emails and questions Brenda came across as persistent, positive, knowledgeable and very easy to communicate with. I was re-assured that any editorial, packaging and advertising commissions would be dealt with by myself. I was more than satisfied by her manner and approach so I am delighted to announce I have an agent who will also be at Surtex !!

Exhibiting at Surtex in 2015 was not a goal...but this opportunity came up and it was great timing. The last 6 weeks have been a steep learning curve, but an exciting one with Brenda to give me direction and advice.

It may take a while for some of my other goals to present themselves but I am open to all possibilities, as long as I stay determined and committed. In the near future I hope to qualify as PADI wreck diver or underwater photographer.