Embrace Yourself (Carolyn Henderson)

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FineArtViews Daily Newsletter | Tuesday, August 16, 2011 | Issue 1003
 • Embrace Yourself  (Carolyn Henderson)
 • Benefits of Being Organized (Keith Bond), Revisited
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Embrace Yourself
by Carolyn Henderson
Dear ,
This article is by Carolyn Henderson, the managing half of Steve Henderson Fine Art. She is a Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews and her  freelance writing appears in regional newspapers, online magazines, and her humor blog, Middle-Aged Plague.
Yesterday was one of those days when I was late to every appointment, but it didn’t matter because everybody else was later than I was and I spent my time in waiting room after waiting room, reading boring magazines.
So, how boring were the mags?  CEO Progressive! speaks volumes about . . . I’m not sure what.
What Your House Should Look Like But Doesn’t featured a five-member family living without clutter in an eco-friendly 600-square foot house made from recycled plastic grocery bags.
Today’s Post-Modern Lady Elegance trumpeted, “I Bought Two-Week’s Worth of Groceries for $2.65 by Cleverly Using Coupons.”
I particularly detest the latter, not being clever with scissors.
That said, in real life, I Saved $65 by Making a Phone Call.
Geography being the province of the Norwegian Artist and not the Polish Writer, I had miscalculated just how long it takes to ship a painting from one side of the United States to the other, and I was faced with the choice of paying the $65 shipping upgrade to get the work there by deadline, or to have it arrive too late to be photographed for the show catalog.
No brainer on that one – my mistake, a costly one, but getting into the catalog is important.
Before I hit the Submit This Shipment button, though, I picked up the phone and hit 10 more, calling the supervisor of the show. I confessed my sins, explained the choices, and asked how much of my salvation would be lost if the work arrived on Tuesday as opposed to Friday.
“Let me get this clear,” she said. “If it arrives Friday, it costs you $65 more, but if it arrives Tuesday, it doesn’t cost you $65?”
“Save the $65. My photographer rescheduled, and he won’t be here until Wednesday anyway.”
Those of you who read Nicholas Sparks know that not all stories have happy endings, but this one did. Keeping in line with my philosophy of Why Don’t You Ask, I did so, simultaneously recognizing that
1)      The potential shipping problem resulted from an error on my part, so I had no right to ask for a favor
2)      I wasn’t asking for a favor, and was fully prepared to plunk down the $65
3)      Circumstances change, and with them, deadlines
4)      I would never know if the deadline had changed unless I asked, and
5)      We all screw up, most of us recognize this, and if we can help a penitent with a minimum of fuss, everyone wins
Like you, I do my best to ensure that I don’t get into this situation in the first place: I keep nominally organized using Outlook’s calendar, show schedule spreadsheets, and that exceptional memory of mind, but, also like you, I mess up now and then, and some of the mess-ups are more costly than others. I consider the day successful when the mistakes involve overcooking the chicken to that dry, stringy stage as opposed to sending a painting destined to Florida off to Hawaii, something I, mercifully, haven’t yet managed to do.
But I have managed my share of unique screw ups, most of which result from too much going on in too small of a time frame – not a good situation, es verdad, but better than the opposite, which is absolutely nothing happening anytime soon.
Don’t be a control freak. At some point, as you experiment and progress and add new events and try out for something you’ve never done before, you’ll find yourself overextended and missing a deadline, or misplacing a check, or forgetting to return a phone call, with consequences ranging 1 to 10.
The smaller number’s better, but if you do pull a 10, the world won’t end, and the lessons learned will be unforgettable indeed.
Such as this: dry, stringy chicken is still edible; toast for dinner is perfectly acceptable; and the dog eats anything except Grandma’s Sweet Potato Casserole.
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Related Articles:
Connecting With Your Inner Despot
If Something Sounds Wrong, It Usually Is
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The Importance of Being Earnestly Friendly
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Copyright 2011 - Carolyn Henderson


Carolyn is manager of Steve Henderson Fine Art.


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Benefits of Being Organized (Keith Bond), Revisited
Here are the first five comments regarding yesterday's article:
Karen Winters
via faso.com
I'm not as organized as I'd like to be - yet - but I'm probably more organized than I used to be.
Among the organizational tools I use:
To do lists - which I break down into smaller steps
I use the Mac's Mobile Me compliant address book to keep my client list updated. I can export this to an excel document, if I need to. It syncs with my iphone so I always have those contacts with me.
I use FileMaker Pro's standalone application - Bento - to keep my paintings organized. It's also searchable by keyword and other variables.
I photograph all of my paintings and have those files backed up. On my hard drive(s) I can use those images to plan what shows I'm going to submit to. Through the years, it provides a permanent "at a glance" record of what I submitted for every show - just by looking at the thumbnails of the paintings.
I use iphoto to keep my photo reference library organized, also keyworded. If I need a photo of cattle grazing along the Eastern Sierra (as I did this morning) I can find it within minutes.
I use a simple Word document to keep track of my sales for tax purposes. The info gets added with each sale and end of fiscal year sales tax reporting couldn't be easier.
I have other things I keep track of, too, like supply levels, price sheets from vendors, etc., but the things above are my primary organizing systems and tools.
Hope this helps someone. Yes, it does take hours away from painting, but it would take more hours (and lost sales) if I wasn't organized.
jack white
via faso.com
Nice topic.
We are two of the most organized artists you will meet. Our system is very simple. Have a place for everything and put them back when we finish.
For files we cut large FedEx boxes in half, placing them on special closets shelves. On the end we use a big sharpie to list the contents.
Every piece is photographed and we have a room for canvases and a closet for our paint supplies. We arrange the colors on the shelves as we do on our palette. This allows us to glance and see what we need without looking at tubes.
I could go on and on about our system.
Sue Martin
via faso.com
Brian, you've hit a nerve with this post. I'm great at setting up organizational systems but poor at sustaining them. My inventory is the sorest point. I set up the system using Excel, but it's woefully out of date. I waste a lot of time looking up measurements or remeasuring paintings. The best thing I do is photograph every art work and keep an image file on my computer, iPad, and iPhone. I'll eagerly look for tips in other comments.
Sharon Weaver
via faso.com
I know Karen and she is one of the most organized artists out there. The FileMaker Pro sounds like an interesting program. I assume they also have a PC version. I don't have a Smart Phone yet but it seems to provide everything you need no matter where you are right on the phone. Another good reason to get one. Most of the artists I know are very organized because they have to be. Too little time and too much to do force you to organize or become overwhelmed in the mess.
Karen Winters
via faso.com
Thank you, Sharon. I just checked and sadly, Bento is only available for Mac, iphone and ipad. But most likely someone else uses Filemaker pro to make other applications for PCs. Bento isn't just for art - it's whatever you want it to use it for. I created my own system for keeping track of my paintings by setting up fields for size, medium, year created, a unique ID number, keywords, purchaser, and so on. I wanted to have a system that synched with iphone and most of the other solutions I found didn't do that. They were good for laptops or home computers, but you can't take that with you when you're out in public.
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