Friday, January 05, 2018

New Year, New Life

January 5, 2018

"Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man."   - Benjamin Franklin

It's a brand new year and many people will make resolutions. 

I will not. 

I learned a long time ago that the best way to get anything out of life is to make it a habit.

For example, if I want to be a better Artist, I devote time to it. One of the most precious things we have in this life is time. We devote our time to many things, including our families, our work and our hobbies. Whatever it is you want out of life, if you make it a habit, it'll be far more achievable than if you make it a New Years resolution.

Resolutions are easily broken, habits are not.

Honda CB450 Vintage Bike - Ink Wash in sketchbook

For example, I set aside 30 minutes a day to devote to art. Sketching, drawing, painting, learning a new technique, all fall into my commitment. No matter what's going on or how busy we become, I forcefully find the time for art. Okay, I'll admit that I am absolutley passionate about it, so that makes it easier. And that's part of the secret, finding your passion. 

Cyndie DeRidder is reading - Ink Wash in sketchbook

Your new habit doesn't have to be art or art related. If I want a better relationship with my kids, I spend more time with them. If I want to improve a skill at work, I spend time on it. Time is also the greatest equalizer.

For example, of you see someone online who has tremendous artistic talent and you think to yourself, "I could never paint that well". That's just bad thinking, because if you devote time to it, if you practice it, you can overcome almost any lack of natural ability. It's easier if you have passion, but it can certainly be done if you're willing to devote time to it. I've seen it happen and I've experienced it myself.

Admit it, how often have you said to yourself, "I wish I was better at (fill-in-the-blank)"? Only to find you haven't spent any time on it. I've done that myself, more often than I'd like to admit. It really makes no sense. If you want to be better, you have to make time to become better.

Waiting for a cup of joe - Ink wash in sketch book
Since life is short, you may as well work on something that feeds your soul or your family or your passion and possibly all three. Make it a habit and it will happen. It's like magic. Leave me a note and let me know what you're passionate about and what your dreams are for a New Year.

Contemplation - Ink and Watercolor
Ziggy - Watercolor on 140lb 100% Cotton Hahnemuhle Paper


  1. Anonymous12:38 PM

    Thanks for posting this fantastic post. I'm a long time reader however I've never been compelled to leave a comment.
    I've bookmarked your site and shared this on my Twitter.

    Thanks again for a great article!

  2. Anonymous11:53 AM

    Marty, not only is this a wonderful article, your portrait of Ziggy is so alive, so 'full of Ziggy', whoever Ziggy is.
    You know, This piece of writing would be beautiful as audio read in your voice over these and other paintings of yours with maybe a bit of background music. It truly is an inspirational piece. And my second thought is this .... you do a lot to showcase other artists and not yourself so much. Maybe more of Marty, especially these well written thoughts and of course your art.
    Thanks for this post. I popped over here to see what a blogspot website could look like since this might be a first step for me, and I found this treasure.
    Have a great day.

    1. Hi Patricia - Thank you for the very kind and thoughtful remarks. Ziggy was the beloved family pet of some good friends of mine. The commissioned me to do a watercolor painting of him.

      I like your idea of adding these musings to a video and I'll have to think of how to incorporate them.

      I love showcasing other Artists, it really is enjoyable and I always learn something great from them. I always hope the viewers are getting as much out of it as I am, but I never really know for sure until I hear from people, like you.

      Blogger is a great place to start your own site. Super easy to use and the best part is, it's free, completely free. :-)

    2. Anonymous2:28 PM

      Yes, as I look more at Blogspot I'm thinking it would be a great place for me to start. And it's free!!

      By the way, I do enjoy your artists showcase.

  3. Anonymous9:09 AM

    Hi Marty,
    I didn't know how else to get this info to you so I'm taking a chance and posting it here. Please delete it if you like.
    I wanted to refer you to an artist I just came across when I was on the M Graham website. His name is Bill Hock and he works in water colour. His sketchbook alone blew my socks off. He does a combination of tight/loose urban industrial water colours as well as other subject matter.
    I found his work thrilling and immediately thought of you because you love to share other artists, and of course I thought of Steve Mitchell because Bill Hock uses M Graham.
    Again, by all means delete this since it is referring another artist on your blog.
    Here is the link to his site:
    Have a great day!