Be reasonable

Sugaring Off, Anna Mary Robertson (Grandma) Moses, 1944. In some of her winter scenes, she achieves a Bruegelesque quality, perhaps in part because of the flat lighting.
I was outlining my next six months’ schedule to my friend Berna, and she asked, “And you are painting when?” It’s a thought that’s occurred to me more than once this year.
I took a workshop on the business of art. The instructor told us we should be spending half our time marketing. I think it’s more accurate to say that I spend a third of my time marketing, a third painting, and a third on overhead. After all, I’m not wealthy enough to pay someone else to do my bookkeeping, and management takes time. 
Anna Mary Robertson (Grandma) Moses with two of her children. After working as a farmhand and maid, she married at age 27 and gave birth to ten children, five of whom survived past infancy. Oddly enough, she didn’t have time to paint at this stage in her life.
Even if I could magically stretch out the work week to be 120 hours long, I wouldn’t have the energy for it. Fifty may be the new forty, but my joints haven’t gotten the message.
A sixty-something recently asked me how to start an art career. She’s been a wife, a mother, and a musician, and she recently earned her BFA. I’m the last person to rain on someone else’s dreams, but she’s going to be competing against youngsters with limitless energy. To succeed, she’s going to need to husband her resources.
Hoosick Falls, New York, in Winter, Anna Mary Robertson (Grandma) Moses, 1944. She was 84 when she painted this.
Yesterday I had three jobs blocked out: to wrap five bundles of stretcher bars, to deal with a small pile of paperwork for my trip to Maine next week, and to paint. The stretcher bars stretched out into early afternoon, and the ‘small’ pile of paperwork morphed into a bigger mess. I looked at the clock and it was 5 PM and I’d never lifted a brush.
Anna Mary Robertson (Grandma) Moses.
Oh, well. I suppose it’s better to be overly ambitious than to be too easily pleased.

Let me know if you’re interested in painting with me on the Schoodic Peninsula in beautiful Acadia National Park in 2015 or Rochester at any time. Click 
here for more information on my Maine workshops! Download a brochure here.
Carol Douglas

About Carol Douglas

Carol L. Douglas is a painter who lives, works and teaches in Rockport, ME. Her annual workshop will again be held on the Schoodic Peninsula in beautiful Acadia National Park, from August 6-11, 2017. Visit for more information.