Incomplete Manifesto for Growth


With a nod Christine Mauersberger for the pointer, I love the Incomplete Manifesto for Growth by Bruce Mau.

Some of my favorite statements

3. Process is more important than outcome.

9. Begin anywhere. [great advice if you are stuck]

30. Organization = Liberty.

41. Laugh.

And I would add one more:

Think Big!

Read the entire manifesto here: Incomplete Manifesto for Growth.

Wrap Up

Which statements speak to you?
I invite you to become a fan of MakeBigArt on social media where I’ll be sharing additional tips and comments.
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Thinking Big about Art

Time Management: The Artist and the Internet

Create Denver Workshop

Yesterday I gave a workshop/talk at the Create Denver Expo on Time Management and the Internet. A black sink hole of time for many of us.

Much of the talk centered around goals and systems as a way to structure our time on the internet. The rest of the talk was tips and tools to help.

I’ve uploaded the power point from my talk as a pdf and you can down load it here: Time Management: The Artist and the Internet

Wrap Up

As these are just the slides and not the rest of the content, which I delivered verbally, those that weren’t in attendance will miss some of the information.

I’m working out plans on how to deliver the entire content to those on the internet, in a fun way, so stay tuned for more details.

I invite you to become a fan of MakeBigArt on social media where I’ll be sharing additional tips and comments.
MakeBigArt fanpage
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In addition you can also find me here:

My Blog
On Twitter
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Lisa Call – Textile Paintings Fan Page


Thinking Big about Art

Make a Big Bold Statement about your Art

Big Intentions

I wrote the following on my blog and facebook fanpage today:

Having created a significant body of work over the last decade (nearly 200* completed quilts), I plan to continue pushing myself to excellence by building on past successes and learning from the mistakes. Working as a professional artist, with any eye to creating a lasting legacy for my artwork, is my intention.

A lasting legacy for my artwork. That is big. Hello museums and important collections!

Feels great to think big and set big intentions. Just making the statement generates a zillion ideas for how to move to forward to meet the goals.

Wrap Up

What big bold statement can you make about your art? Your art career? Leave a comment below or post it on your blog, facebook/twitter and leave a link here.

Be Big!

I invite you to become a fan of MakeBigArt on social media where I’ll be sharing additional tips and comments.
MakeBigArt fanpage
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In addition you can also find me here:

My Blog
On Twitter
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Lisa Call – Textile Paintings Fan Page


Thinking Big about Art


Not Doing It All

A few weeks back I looked at the calendar and realized I had only 7 weeks to prepare for a solo exhibit. I came up with a schedule that is aggressive, yet doable to create all new work for the show over those 7 weeks.

It’s doable in the sense that if I quit doing most everything else in my life, like paying bills, marketing my artwork, cooking dinner, writing long blog posts, hanging out with friends all weekend, etc… I can get all of the artwork completed by the delivery date.

I’ve had a vision for this show for a long time and I decided to go for it even it it generates some imbalance in my immediate future.

What is Balance?

Which brings up the question – exactly what is balance?

Looking in the dictionary for balance these defintions jump out at me:

5 a : stability produced by even distribution of weight on each side of the vertical axis b : equipoise between contrasting, opposing, or interacting elements
6 a : an aesthetically pleasing integration of elements
9 : mental and emotional steadiness

That sounds about right. Stability, integration, steadiness. Bring it all together and making it all work, magically.

Embracing the Imbalance

There are few days, or even weeks, in my life where I feel I’ve balanced all of my desires, intentions and responsibilities. Something always seems to have to give.

My life is chronically out of balance on a day to day basis, yet if I step back and look at the big picture (such as my list of 100 accomplishments for 2009) everything seems to work out.

I need to just relax and accept that on the micro-level things feel imbalanced.

When I was a stay at home mom, we called this sequencing and much as been written on the topic.

The idea is we can have it all, just not all at once. Keeping this in mind is supremely helpful in remaining relaxed as paperwork, laundry, email and blog comments pile up while I’m creating in my studio.

Wrap Up

If you are feeling unbalanced, take a look back over the long term, are things really unbalanced or are you sequencing?

I invite you to become a fan of MakeBigArt on facebook: fanpage – I’ll be sharing additional tips and comments on facebook throughout the week and writing longer articles on the blog.

In addition you can also find me here:

My Blog
On Twitter
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Lisa Call – Textile Paintings Fan Page


Thinking Big about Art

The Magic of Completion

The Studio

In April of 2009 I completed a major house remodeling project that include the addition of a beautiful new studio. Within weeks I had the studio 95% completed and then moved in and started making art.

I had a huge deadline looming for an exhibit in Germany and needed every spare moment to create. The remaining work on the studio could wait.

Then a week after making my deadline I left town for a month in South Africa, with the studio still not finished.

Upon my return there was a family event that required a large chunk of my energy.

And I had artwork presold that had to be completed, so what free time I did have went to creating.

Completion of the studio was still undone.

Every time I went in my studio I saw the mess and it drained me. I thought “I never have time to finish it” and that thought drained me more.

I have an exhibit coming up and instead of working on the art for the show, I stressed about the studio not being finished. I thought “I’ll start the art for the show once the studio is done”. And I never seemed to find time for finishing things up.

And on and on it went for 4 months after my return from South Africa.

Until yesterday. Yesterday I decided I’d have enough and I completed my studio. Done.

And it is FABULOUS.

The new energy in the room is amazing. Today I jumped right in and started the artwork for my upcoming exhibit. My outlook on my art career was given a huge boost.

And of course I think – “why didn’t I just do this earlier – it was only 6 hours of work”.


Completion is huge
. It’s massive and energy altering.

Completing a project can give you a boost. From big tasks like my studio. Or small tasks like mailing a collector a thank you note.

The act of getting something done, crossing it off a list, is magical. All the energy that was being used to worry about, stress over, keep track of, think about, complain about, etc – all that energy is freed up and suddenly available for new projects, thoughts and inspiration.

Completing a task or project builds your self confidence. You realize “hey, I can do this”. So the next task becomes just a tiny bit easier and your productivity increases and things are cross off the list and energy is freed up. Its the snowball effect. Next thing you know you are invincible.

Projects that were blocked suddenly become viable. New ideas are generated opening up new possibilities.

The power of completion is huge.

Wrap Up

What project or task can you complete right now, today, this week to give yourself a little boost forward and free up some energy for other projects?

What are you waiting for?

I invite you to become a fan of MakeBigArt on facebook: fanpage – I’ll be sharing additional tips and comments on facebook throughout the week and writing longer articles on the blog. I update this facebook page about once a day and welcome your comments.

In addition you can also find me here:

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Thinking Big about Art

PS – Ironically I was going to bail out on writing this post and take a bath. But I realized I’d just wake up tomorrow and feel drained as I have set my intention to get back on track with weekly posts on

Success is Getting Back in the Saddle

Taking a Break

When I left for South Africa at the end of July I had the intention to continue to write blog posts on makebigart during my month long vacation.

I had a list of topics for the posts I would write while gone and one day near the beginning of the trip I even spent an hour or so working on a draft.

And then reality hit me – I was on vacation and I loving relaxing and taking a break from doing stuff all the time. I decided to drop the idea I needed to WORK on my vacation and just relaxed and had the most amazing time. I didn’t even get around to writing blog posts about all my adventures as I was staying in the moment and just enjoying the trip.

It was fabulous.

My intention was to jump right back into art and blogging and art business stuff upon my return in late august, well rested and relaxed.

Life Happens

Life had other plans for me and upon my return home there were 3 significant changes to my life that threw me off course:

1) My mom was sick and in the hospital out of state. Now 3 1/2 months later, and a tremendous amount of time and energy from myself and my siblings, my mom is now living in Denver near me.
2) My project at work was canceled, resulting in a very stressful 2-3 month transition. We are just now hitting our stride on a new project and things are settling down on that front. (I work as a software engineer as my day job).
3) I met a wonderful guy and started a new romantic relationship.

The result was little to no studio time or art business time, including writing blog posts. MakeBigArt and my entire art career were just dusty memories generating guilt in the back of my mind as I focused on the issues at hand.

All sense of balance was gone. When I wasn’t dealing with my mom or work, I was getting to know my new boyfriend.

There was no “me” time at all.

Thoughts of Failure

As time marched on and I still wasn’t motivating myself to my studio I began to sink into the feeling that I was failing. Feeling my art career was trashed and makebigart should just be shut down as I clearly will have lost all my readers after a 5 month break on a brand new blog.

It’s easy to fall into this trap when we get off track. Since things aren’t perfect today might as well just give up all together.

I’d set an intention to work on my art or write a blog post for makebigart, and it wouldn’t happen. Priorities were elsewhere so my focus went elsewhere. So back I went to feeling miserable about it all.

Success is Starting Again

I’d like to say I never had those thoughts as I know better, but I did.

Fortunately, I also had a voice in the back of my mind that kept reminding me that success isn’t about not failing, but about continuing to move forward even in the face of failure.

I’ve now reached a point where I believe I can start getting back to a consistent studio and writing schedule.

While my todo list is still a mile long for thing that must be done for my mother, it no longer includes things like “pack up house, move all belongings to Denver”, which require full time focus and energy.

There is still the issue of balancing relationships (I now have a boyfriend and a mother to fit into my life on a consistent basis) and there is much work that will be needed on that front and will certainly be the topic of future posts.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel and I feel like any minute I could break free and make it to fresh air. I might stumble again before I reach solid ground but I know where I’m headed and if I fall off course again I’ll take a deep breath and keep going.

And this is success.

– My readers to makebigart will return.
– My art career will be fine, if I don’t turn a profit on my art this year I will next year.
– Contacts I had been cultivating will either reconnect or be replaced by new.
– Any missed opportunities will be quickly forgotten as I recreate new ones.

Taking a break isn’t failure.

Not getting back up and starting again is.


I’d love to include a recipe for how to get back up again after such a break.

Something like “The 12 steps you need to follow to regain your focus” as these are the types of blog posts that generate big readership.

Thing is I don’t have the answer. I can tell you a few things I’ve done or could have done, that might help.

1. Exercise

In the past 3 months I’ve done almost no yoga or any other physical activity. I have no doubt had I made it a priority to do yoga at least 3 mornings a week and gone on walks I would have felt more balanced. I didn’t, but my advice to anyone going through a stressful time is to try to find time to do this. I knew I should, but just couldn’t get there.

I do know that unless I fit yoga back into my life each morning I am unlikely to return to a studio schedule, as at this point it’s a top priority for me.

2. Diet

I ate a lot of really crappy food the last 3 months. Lots of chips and dessert and general crap. Before I left for African I had removed sugar from my diet.

Fortunately the stress won over the bad food and I’ve lost 7 pounds since my return from Africa (where I managed to gain 5 pounds in 1 month in my decadent vacation eating) so I’m about even on the weight.

I’m now much more aware of what I’m eating and know that a significant weight gain would have added to feelings of failure.

3. Self Care

In the past 3 months I’ve had a couple massages. I’m contemplating signing up for a monthly massage to make this a routine. Nothing beats pampering for a sense of well being.

4. Sleep

I’ve had an extremely difficult time sleeping since my return home. The stress and changes in my life resulted in some unpleasant and bad sleep habits. When one is sleep deprived it’s hard to make good decisions or feel positive about life.

I admit to being extremely reluctant to address this issue in my own life, but I do know that had I gotten some help sleeping things would have looked up a lot quicker.

5. Battling Depression

There were days and weeks in the last month were I lacked all motivation to do anything and the future was looking grim. Add up the numbers and depression is the word most likely used in such situations.

I went back to my acupuncturist for help in this area and I swear it is truly magical. Your mileage may vary and other forms of help for depression may be needed (from therapy, which I also participate in, to medication).

There is no reason to be depressed. Acupuncture may not be cheap but my mental health is of primary importance and worth every penny of it.

6. Get Help

My todo list was miles long when we realized we needed to move my mom out to Colorado to live by me and I’m the type of person that rarely, if ever, asks for help. This time around I had no choice. While I didn’t reach out often, the few times I did I was always met with a warm reception and helping hand.

Lightening the load can free up some time for exercise or a dip into the studio.

7. Spend Time with Friends

I’m slowly reconnecting with my friends and know that the time spent with those I care about is very healing and inspiring. When one is too busy to make art it’s hard to imagine how finding time for friends will help, but it does, by helping us reconnect with what is important to us.

Spending time with friends that share our passions is a wonderful way back to those passions.

8. Feed Your Soul

When things are bad, I turn to a few people that have magical uplifting effect on my psyche. For me the book Eat, Pray, Love is one such source of inspiration. It never fails to feed my soul, as do the word of Pema Chodron.

Wrap Up

How have you re-focused after a significant break? Any tips you can offer? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

I invite you to become a fan of MakeBigArt on facebook: fanpage – I’ll be sharing additional tips and comments on facebook throughout the week and writing longer articles on the blog.

In addition you can also find me here:

My Blog
On Twitter
Facebook Profile
Lisa Call – Textile Paintings Fan Page


Thinking Big about Art

Stop Thrashing and Start Processing

The Long To Do List

I’m leaving for South African in a couple days and have a todo list a mile long of things I think I need to do before I go. I’ve found myself getting very little done on that list over the last week even though I had plenty of free time in which to do things. A typical hour might look like this:

– “I need to get my new netbook set up – hm – where is it”. Hunt for netbook, get it started up, realize that it’s a netbook, ie slow so look for something else to do in the meantime. Like…
– “I need to write my studio newsletter, let see – where is that file”. Find the file, get it opened up which reminds me I’m to the section where I need to finish those 2 ACEOs first, so off to the studio I go. A few minutes later…
– “Oh yeah, I was doing my netbook, I’ll just kick off a download then come back to the studio.” So back down to the office where the netbook has to be restarted meanwhile I think…
– “I need to buy a memory stick so I can get files off my laptop onto this little thing before I go – I need to make a shopping list”. So hunt down a piece of paper where the first list was started, and I come across my partial todo list that I’m trying to work on, which reminds me…
– “I need a ride to the airport next week, I bet I can schedule that online”

Which then took almost 2 hours because I’d get only part way through and get distracted with something else and then the session would time out and I’d have to start over. But I did get the super shuttle scheduled, so hurray.

Ack, this is no way to get things done. It’s mostly a way to drive myself crazy. I needed a new plan.

A Bit of Geekiness

I love using computer concepts to describe real life situations. It’s the result of an undergraduate degree plus an additional 4 years of graduate school in computer science. All that time surrounded by geeks, talking about theory, and just surviving school. Or maybe it’s how my brain works, being a geek myself at times.

I’ve always loved the term Thrashing and think it perfectly describes what I was doing.

From wikipedia:

In computer science, thrash (verb), is the term used to describe a degenerate situation on a computer where increasing resources are used to do a decreasing amount of work. In this situation the system is said to be thrashing.

This is usually because the computer is switching back and forth between different jobs it needs to do and by the time it loads back up all the stuff it needs to work on a job, the time allocated to do that work is over and it moves onto a new job, where again it has to load back up all the stuff that job was using. In the end all the computer ends up doing is loading stuff into memory and it never gets any real work done.

Exactly what I was doing. I had plenty of resources to get stuff done. I was just switching back and forth between them too often and never really got going on anything because I never got past the set up. Multitasking gone wild.

Algorithms to Get Back on Track

Algorithm: a finite sequence of instructions, an explicit, step-by-step procedure for solving a problem.

The solutions to handle thrashing in a computer system can also apply to getting more done for us humans.

1. Prioritize

In the computer world, a system where jobs are run one at a time, in priority order, does not thrash. Each job has the full use of the entire computer so it is able to complete with no problem.

If you want to get things done, prioritizing your list and work through the tasks one at a time. Put on your blinders and focus. Soon things will start getting crossed off the list.

When I realized I was just spinning my wheels, I stopped what I was doing and relaxed. Then I sat down and wrote down everything I needed to do before I left and lumped them into 3 groups:

– Absolutely must get done
– I really really want to do these things
– Would be nice

Within each group I identified priorities between the different tasks and noted any deadlines. I then started to work on the highest priority items on my Absolutely must get done list one at a time without interruption and made some forward progress.


What I’ve just described is the different between multitasking and doing things one at a time, which is no surprise because thrashing is a direct result of multitasking (and virtual memory but you probably don’t want to know about that). The term multitaksing came from the computer world, although we humans have been doing it long before we invented machines that could do it much better.

The down side to not multitasking is there are a lot of wasted resources when a job is waiting for something, the computer (and the human) just sit around twiddling their thumbs. The other problem is that really big and very high priority jobs can “starve” the rest of the jobs in the system by hogging up all the resources and the lower priority stuff never gets a chance happen.

This is one reason why we multitask, both in real life and on the computer – we want to fill up the down time with stuff and, therefore, get more done. We also have some lower priority stuff that we want to do and so we interrupt that super important high priority thing before it finishes cause we need to attend to other things also.

Much has been written about the horrors of multitasking and how we need to not do this. Sure, there are times when slowing down and doing things one at a time is what’s called for. There are other times when going for maximum throughput is the goal, and hence multitasking is the answer.

So let’s go for healthy multitasking vs. thrashing.

2. Increase Resources

According wikipedia the best long term solution to thrashing is to increase the amount of memory in the computer. I certainly agree, if your computer is slow, toss more memory at it and that should definitely help. What happens is less time is needed to reload all of a job’s stuff into memory when it starts up because it’s mostly still in memory when that job gets a turn to run again.

So of what use is this advice for humans? I don’t seem to have any extra spaces for memory.

What you do have is the ability to delegate. Give the cleaning to someone else to do so you don’t get interrupted when marketing or creating art to go do the dishes or vacuum the carpet.

You can also hire someone to do some of the work inside your business also. Someone to do the bookkeeping, someone to do the packaging, someone to put the hangers on the paintings, etc. You are then free to work on the highest value jobs in your business.

3. Decrease the number of jobs

Another solution to thrashing is to decrease the number of jobs that the computer switches between. This leaves more resources for the jobs that are still getting to run. And it means faster context switches, the amount of time a computer needs to load up everything needed to run a job.

This is how I handled my todo list for my trip preparation. I decided to switch between at most 2 different jobs. So when one became blocked I’d go to a second one, but only between these 2 until one finished. I’d then add in the next highest priority task. I was able to switch between jobs much quicker.

When you are trying to do a million things at once and getting no where, try to do just 3 or 4 or maybe 2 things at once and see if that helps. Your brain will remember better what you’ve been working on when you work on just 2 jobs instead of 18 at once. The result is faster context switches as it’s easier to remember where you left off.

4. Replace programs that are memory-heavy with equivalents that use less memory.

In other words, find more efficient ways of doing things.

– Do you always forget how you do things? Write some notes with your step by step process so you don’t have to relearn it every time you decide to crack open the books.
– Do you forget where you’ve stored things? Maybe you need to revamp your storage systems.
– Are the tools you need scattered through your house? Maybe you can keep them all in 1 place for quicker access.
– Do you forget what you were working on the day before and have to puzzle through it for a while to get started? Try jotting down a few notes before you leave the studio to jog your memory. Some people also stop in the middle of something that is very easy to start back up and doesn’t require a lot of analyzing.

5. Handling Distractions

This isn’t a problem for computers. They pretty much just keep doing what they are supposed to over and over again. Well that is, unless there is a bug (something that makes the computer do something that wasn’t intended).

It’s pretty unlikely that when you click on the Word icon in window that the computer is going to get distracted and open up firefox instead because it would rather go check facebook.

As humans it’s not so easy. Because facebooks sounds like so much more fun than excel some days. And we think “oh just for a minute I’ll check my wall then I’ll come back and work” and next thing we know 2 hours have gone by.

This is where responsibility comes in, as I wrote about a few weeks back. If you take full responsibility for your actions you realize that only you can decide where you put you attention. Do you want to get your next painting finished tonight, or do you want to write witty comments to your friends. Your choice – and also your responsibility.

6. Having Fun

This has nothing to do with computers either. They don’t get bummed out if something that sounds fun but is a lower priority never happens. Creating art and writing a business plan are all the same to a computer.

When I made my todo lists there weren’t a lot of “fun” things on the must do list. To keep from getting burned out on all the work, I’ve been adding in some fun activities from the Would-Be-Nice list. Yesterday I made the time to visit the Denver Art museum for an hour, taking a break from travel preparations.

When you are feeling overwhelmed and feeling you aren’t getting anything done, try just dropping everything and relaxing for a while, or take a walk to clear your mind, watch a movie, have dinner with a friend. Have some fun also.

Wrap Up

Do you have any tips for dealing with thrashing? How do you handle the pitfalls of multitasking? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

I invite you to become a fan of MakeBigArt on facebook: fanpage – I’ll be sharing additional tips and comments on facebook throughout the week and writing longer articles on the blog.

In addition you can also find me here:

My Blog
On Twitter
Facebook Profile
Lisa Call – Textile Paintings Fan Page


Thinking Big about Art

Psychological Pricing

Odd Pricing

In the internet marketing world there is a rule that prices should end in a 7. Looking for an ebook or information product? Chances are the price will end in a 7.

We’re all used to prices end in a 9 in the retail world – such as $19.99.

These are examples of psychological pricing, which is a theory that certain prices have a psychological impact.

The idea is the marketer wants the consumer to respond on an emotional, rather than rational basis. It’s about leveraging the buyer’s ego and self image. The general assumption is price is an indication of quality and the goal with psychological pricing is to exploit that as much as possible.

Prices ending in 99 indicate low prices and signal “this is a value”. There are several studies that have been done around using prices ending in a 9 to increase sales. This technique works, and it works well. (A google search on psychological pricing yields some interesting reading).

It’s harder to find any concrete information about the now ubiquitous 7 used in internet marketing but give it a few years and I suspect some will appear. There are theories that 7 is the most friendly number so it will increase sales but I was unable to find any definitive answers on why 7 would be superior to the use of 9 (except a sketchy looking ebook that cost $47 that I was able to resist). Some say that 7 and 9 work equally well when pricing and by using a 7 internet marketers leave $2 (or $.02) on the table on every transaction.

Odd Pricing and Art

Few artists price their work to end in odd numbers.

Given the standard of odd prices, using even prices is also essentially psychological pricing.

Nordstroms uses even prices as an indication of their quality and sophistication. They stand out in the retail world as different.

I price my work in even numbers. Work that is $5000 is $5000, not $4900. My ACEOs are priced at $40 not $39. I do this for the same reason Nordstroms does – to indicate the product I am selling is a unique one of a kind piece of art.

[ACEO stands for “art cards, editions and originals”. Originally known as ATC, Artist Trading Card, and are traded between artists. When sold to the public they are referred to as ACEOs. The primary rule for an ACEO or ATC is they be 3 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ – the size of a trading card. They are created in many different mediums and are collectible, trade able and affordable art for everyone.]

Leveraging Psychological Pricing

As an interesting study it might be fun to lower the price for 6 months to $39 and see what effect this has on sales and perceived quality. If it increases sales by 10% the loss in $1 income on each ACEO I would still come out ahead in terms of sales. This is easy to measure as I know the rate at which I sell ACEOs today.

Where would I be in terms of perception of the quality of my artwork? That would be harder to study as I’m not exactly sure how to measure this. My gut feeling is that the perceived quality of my art would not be hurt by this small change as odd pricing is a standard and my prices are high enough to distinguish my artwork as most ACEOs sell for $10-$20 range.

As artists we should not be afraid of trying out new pricing ideas. There are no rules that say we much price with even prices. There is much we can learn about marketing if we get over our need to be special and study how other people sell their goods and services.

Wrap Up

Pricing is notoriously a difficult subject for artists as we tend to identify emotionally with our art. Spending the time to research pricing strategies, such as psychological pricing, can help us to overcome the emotion and make better choices with our pricing.

Over time I’ll be visiting several pricing strategies on because an informed artist is an empowered artist.

Do you use odd pricing / psychological pricing with your artwork? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

I invite you to become a fan of MakeBigArt on facebook: fanpage

In addition you can also find me here:

My Blog
On Twitter
Facebook Profile
Lisa Call – Textile Paintings Fan Page

Thinking Big about Art

Motivation by Accountability


Motivation: the condition of being motivated

Motivate: to provide with a motive

Motive: something (as a need or desire) that causes a person to act

In the last post, The Power of Responsibility I wrote about how each of us is solely responsible for how we spend our time.

For many, most (all?) of us this often means accepting the responsibility for not getting the things done we’d like to. A very common phrase we use is “I wasn’t motivated”. There was no need or desire that compelled us to act.

What we need is something that matters enough to get us off our butts and into the studio. Or off of twitter and back to updating our website. Or off the couch and to the museum or library to do research.

Motivation is a big topic and one I’ll revisit often here on MakeBigArt as it is one of the 4 big M-words I’m focusing on: Marketing, Mindsets, Motivation and Management.


Accountability: subject to giving an account

Account: a statement explaining one’s conduct

For me one of the best ways to get motivated is to have some accountability for my actions. This can take on several different forms.

1. Personal Accountability

This is possibly the ideal state, where you are capable of always doing what you want because you hold yourself accountable. On many many things we all do this every day. From brushing our teeth to living in harmony with our values.

For me I use personal accountability to work in my studio at least 15 hours each week. It’s important enough for me that I don’t need any other motivation. This wasn’t always the case and in future articles I’ll talk about the systems I put in place to make it easier to fulfill this goal.

Thing is, personal accountability is often not enough when you are parked in from of the TV.

2. Hire a Coach


  • Assist people to identify specific goals and then reach those goals faster and with ease.
  • Provide client with the tools, perspective and structure to accomplish more through a process of accountability.
  • Reframe beliefs and create a point of focus for clients to reflect upon.

For those not familiar with coaching: An overview from the international coach directory website. Also a good starting place to finding a coach.

Coaching is not regulated and there is no training necessary to call oneself a coach so do your homework before hiring one. Every coach is different as are their strengths, focus and fees (from $50 and hour to thousands).

I’ve worked with a coach off and on for many years. One of the primary things I look for in a coach is someone that is good at holding me accountable for my actions. Having someone I report back to every few weeks is an excellent way for me to stay on track and keep motivated.

3. Use a Contract

My coach, who I just started working with again, is having me write a contract for getting my website updated. We talked about what motivates me and this sounded like the best plan of action for getting this done.

I’ll be writing the contract over the next week and at our next meeting we’ll go over it together.

You can use this technique, writing a contract with yourself, for just about any tasks that you are putting off. I will be including monetary penalties and rewards in my contract (donating money to causes I don’t support if I fail, massages and other treats if I fulfill my contract).

4. Accountability Partner

One of my favorite ways of getting things done is to work with an accountability partner. Daily or weekly I email my partner my to-do list for the upcoming day or week. I also include a run down of how the previous week went. They do the same with their goals.

I prefer to send my emails in the evening as I plan my day the night before. Yesterdays email would have looked like this:

Goals for saturday:
YES – 1) Work in studio 13 hours
YES – 2) Update social media
YES – 3) Run

Goals for sunday:
1) Work in studio 13 hours
2) Blog post for makebigart
3) Enter writing competition
4) Blog post for my art blog

In this way we hold each other accountable and make great forward progress. In addition to the accountability my accountability partner is a great person to celebrate completion and success with.

To find an accountability partner look around at your friends and acquaintance and start asking likely candidates if they’d like to try this out.

There are no rules so tailor the idea to fit your needs. Instead of email you can talk in person, or on the phone or text or twitter or whatever works.

5. Public Accountability

Publicly stating your goals is also a huge motivator and I use this technique often. I’ve posted goals on my blog, on twitter, on facebook or told friends. I find the more I talk about my goals and intentions in public the more likely I am to follow through with doing them.

Not only does it provide accountability but it also brings me into alignment with my stated intentions. They become more real and, if you believe in the law of attraction, this is because I am manifesting the outcome.

Whether or not that manifesting is true (I think there is some power in it) the more I talk about them, the more likely I am to take action upon them. And action definitely brings things into existence.

Wrap Up

How do you use accountability to achieve your goals? Please share you experiences in the comments.

Now back to the studio to make my goals for today (or at least come close).

I invite you to become a fan of MakeBigArt on facebook: fanpage

In addition you can also find me here:

My Blog
On Twitter
Facebook Profile
Lisa Call – Textile Paintings Fan Page

Thinking Big about Art

(Definitions in this post from Merriam Webster online)

The Power of Responsibility


What is responsibility? In the words of Deepak Chopra it is the ability to have a response:

If you look at the word ‘re-spon-si-bil-i-ty’, it means the ability to have a response. Responsibility means to have a creative response to a challenge… So what responsibility means is expanding your awareness.

I really love this take on the definition of responsibility.

I recently decided I needed to revisit my health and make some improvements. In addition to daily yoga and eating healthy (no more refined sugar for me), I’ve started running again. In addition to the physical benefits, I love the mental clarity it brings me. I do a lot of thinking while out there pounding the asphalt and it keeps the self-defeating thoughts in check.

I’ve been repeating the affirmation “I am responsible” these days while running and it feels powerful. When a problem or thought pops into my head I repeat the mantra to myself and generally a solution presents itself. Taking ownership of my life makes me feel powerful.

With this power I am not waiting around and asking for permission to move forward with my plans. Whether or not I take action is my choice. Whether or not I choose to view a situation positively or negatively is also my choice. I find I am spending much less time looking for excuses and much more time looking for solutions.

Responsibility for Artists

I also use this notion of responsibility in relationship to my art career, which again, brings me great power as an artist. At first it’s a bit scary to accept the responsibility we have, but once we do, we can fly. We think big. Nothing can stop us.

1. You are responsible for how you spend your time

Yep – it’s you. It’s not the internet or your tv or your family that stops you from spending time in your studio. It is your responsibility to prioritize this time into your life. If you say it is a top priority to spend 20 hours a week creating art there is only 1 person that is responsible for making that happen.

Yeah sure, sometimes unexpected things happen and our best intentions don’t come about. But if week after week after week you are saying “I wanted to work more in my studio but I just couldn’t find the time” who but you is responsible for changing this outcome?

Sometimes we need help or tools to overcome the obstacles stopping us from spending time the way we choose, but again, we are the ones that have to seek that help and stick with the remedy.

2. You are responsible for your skills

Be it in the studio or in the office, you are ultimately responsible for what you know and what you can do. If a lack of skillset is holding you back take lessons, hire a coach, surf the internet, etc. It is your responsibility to fill that gap.

I spent years lamenting the lack of quality of my artwork photography. This year I got tired of using this excuse (just how lame does it sound year after year to say “I don’t know photograph my artwork”). So I hired a professional to help me out.

I’m well on my way to significantly better art images. What power and freedom this gives me because I finally took responsibility for my own learning.

What lack of skillset is is holding you back?

3. You are responsible for your marketing

Like it or not, marketing is a vitally important part of an art career. Be it marketing yourself to galleries/consultants (so they can market your art for you) or marketing your art directly to your collectors, it’s is your responsibility to do this.

Don’t know how? Check out #2 above (and stay tuned as I’ll be writing about it here on makebigart).

4. You are responsible for your success

First step is to define success for yourself. Only you can do this as we all have different ideas of what that means.

Second step is to take action to move yourself towards that success.

Run into an obstacle along the way? Take responsibility for that also and keep going.

Remember, taking responsibility means choosing how to respond. If you say the economy is stopping you from reaching success, what can you do in response? There is much power in taking action and not making excuses.

5. You are responsible for your art career

The entire thing is in your hands. Where are you going to take it?

Not Blame

Responsibility is not about blame or guilt. It’s not yet another opportunity for you to beat yourself up. No guilt here.

Instead it’s a chance to step up and think big about where you are and how you want to respond to your current circumstances. There is no value in berating yourself for being where you are, only value in moving towards where you want to be.

Next Up

I didn’t want to give the impression this blog was only about facebook or how-to’s so I decided to jump right into some mindset stuff this week. I believe thinking big requires responsibility.

How about you? I welcome your thoughts about this post in the comments below.

I invite you to become a fan of MakeBigArt on facebook: fanpage

In addition you can also find me here:

My Blog
On Twitter
Facebook Profile
Lisa Call – Textile Paintings Fan Page

Thinking Big about Art