Drawing Life in general People Subway drawings

Subway Sketches and Exploding Head Decisions

Subway heads 1, ink in Small Moleskine sketchbook
Subway heads on way to work, ink in Small Moleskine sketchbook

It’s appropriate to be posting sketches of heads since mine feels like it might explode if I have to make one more decision! There is so much going on in my little life right now, and so many important and non-important choices to make that my brain wants to go on strike.

Some of the decisions have to do with traveling with oil paints for the first time to the Rose Frantzen 5-day workshop in Arizona in early February (ship supplies by UPS or USPS? risk checking paints in my suitcase? how to get wet paintings home? live-in or drop-by cat sitter while I’m gone? plus all the travel worries a homebody like me can drum up).

Subway heads 2, ink in small Moleskine sketchbook
Subway heads on way to San Francisco, ink in small Moleskine sketchbook

The guy on the left above was actually standing right above me on the subway and interested in what I had been drawing, posed for me. He was nice enough to say he liked it. I wanted to tell him I’d fallen in love with his chin, but figured that would be stupid.

Subway 3, Waiting
Subway people waiting, drawing slowly

Other decisions I’m dealing with have to do with some remodeling of my duplex to prepare the back unit (currently my studio) as a rental unit, replacing both kitchen/pantry/laundry room floors, moving my studio out to the new former-garage studio (easier now thanks to space planning help from my sister the amazing interior designer), and lots of sorting and getting rid of stuff to prepare for the moves.

And all the above lead to leaving my half-time day job and getting to paint full-time. But of course there are decisions related to that too, like when to take the leap, currently planned for about a year from now.

I’m grateful these decisions are all about happy, exciting, positive changes. But even happy things can be stressful. There’s even a word for that: eustress.

eustress: noun.  Stress that is deemed healthful or giving one the feeling of fulfillment. From Greek: eu ‘well, good’ + stress, modeled on distress

The trick for me is to just make each decision once and not rethink it. Decide. Done. Next. I’m getting there.

5 replies on “Subway Sketches and Exploding Head Decisions”

No wonder you feel like your head is exploding! But it sounds like an exciting time in your life!! To be able to paint full time…wow!! I wish you the best of luck in fulfilling our fantasies!


A list of random thoughts generated by your blog entry:
1. Oh no, more remodeling? My sympathies – maybe you can stay in Arizona until it is finished!
2. I love sorting, organizing and getting rid of stuff. Is there a disease that is the opposite of hoarding?
3. There is a book out called “Quitter” by Jon Acuff. It is about how to know when to quit your day job. You might find it helpful if your decision isn’t yet made. If your decision is made, be sure to start reading Alyson Stanfield’s Art Biz blog for lots of great tips for artists. Let me know if I can help you with any more resources!


Hi Jana, Thanks for your as always humorous and helpful note! 1. It looks like the work may not get done until I return since rain is predicted for the weekend when the carpenter is available (he works full time at a job and freelances on the weekends–has way more energy than me!) and the flooring I wanted most isn’t in stock and takes a few weeks to order. 2.I like sorting, organizing and getting rid of stuff too. My motto is “Dare to Dump It!” But on top of all the other decisions, it wasn’t feeling like the fun it normally is. 3. Thanks for the wonderful tips and resources. I’ll definitely check out the Quitter book. I do follow Alyson’s ArtBizBlog and have gotten lots of good ideas in the art biz arena for when I have more time to focus on that stuff. I will have a few different income sources (all modest, but enough to not have to depend solely on art teaching and sales). Jana


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