Lessons, new techniques, and improving my morning routine

Discipline is something that takes longer to develop in some folks. I was bad at it forever.

High school homework? Rarely got done.

I rarely came to tests prepared. Usually either forgot they occurred altogether or crammed the night before. Both, the wrong way to do things.

This kind of poor discipline generally leads to bad health habits as well. Luckily for me though, I loved sports so much that I didn’t get fat until my 40s.

One day, I saw myself in the mirror without my shirt on and got disgusted. Who was this guy staring back at me with noodle arms and a beer gut? I didn’t like being him. So I hired a coach.

Bit by bit, I started to get more disciplined at certain things. Music in my 20s. Money in my 30s. Health in my 40s.

Morning routines

Mornings are the best time to establish good discipline. You can start the morning right, and already accomplish something by the time you head out the door for work.

I now start off with 50 push-ups, a 60 second plank, lemon and salt water, coffee, a quick Romanian lesson, and quick gesture drawings.

Already forty-five minutes from waking up, I’ve accomplished something. Good habits early.

Do you have a morning routine? If so, anything you need to add from it? Or replace?

Art lessons

You’ll see winners are constantly hiring coaches. Is Tom Brady really a better quarterback than Aaron Rodgers? Up for debate.

Rodgers has the stronger arm. More mobility. The highest passer rating of all time.

He makes passes that other quarterbacks (who don’t have long term deals with the Kansas City Chiefs) simply can’t make.

But who cares? Brady has the rings.

We all know who has the better coaches.

I still think along the same lines. I’m always comparing art and sports. That’s why I progress so much faster than normal people. I still to this day have a sports/competitive mindset.

There’s a humility to athletes that non-athletes won’t understand. Non-athletes mistake athletes as stuck-up. In fact, the opposite is true. Athletes may come across as stuck-up to non-athletes in day-to-day situations, but when you see an athlete with his coaches, he’s all ears and no mouth.

My paintings sell. I already have a following. I know I’m good. But, I also know I could be better.

Heck, even when I sell million dollar paintings (which will happen in my lifetime), I’ll still demand more coaching. And like an athlete, when I’m with a coach, I’m all ears and no mouth.

So yes, I’m currently enrolled in art lessons. In fact, I just started my first painting that’s based off a gesture rather than “draw what I see,” which is how I’ve always drawn in the past.

No longer. Now I draw the gesture first and add the details later.

Tips from other artists

Plus, aside from art lessons, I’m all ears when it comes to other artists.

One girl on Twitter suggested that I put flowers in the girls’ hair for added color. I’ve been using plain black gouache for Roxy’s hair.

I thought that was a fantastic idea! Now, Roxy gets flowers.

A professional photographer suggested I study Dynamic Symmetry. I had no idea what it was until I did an image search. Oh yeah! That stuff. Really good stuff.

That’s probably jumping the gun as my art teacher will eventually get to that. But, I remember the good students in high school often skipped ahead.

So I watched some videos for photographers. Yes, I’ve talked many times about studying outside your discipline. Highly recommend.

Anyways, several of the photographers referenced Renaissance and Baroque paintings. They even technically call that line from the bottom left to the top right “the Baroque line.”

I took their advice. Start simple. Start with the Baroque line and add a few more lines.

I started with five total. The Baroque line, plus two horizontal lines and two vertical lines. Super simple.

And noticed the painting looks quite alive. I love it! I’ll definitely use this technique more often.

I’m all ears when other artists share their hot tips.

Roxy and Allie with dolphins and mermaids

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