What to do next?

We grapple with this question over and over in our lives, year to year, day to day, and hour to hour.

There are some big questions about what to do next, but there are the simple prioritize-my-time sort as well. Because it is summer, I’ve had difficulty smashing-cramming-condensing four hours of exercise and gardening into two hours of delightful temperatures before the heat of the day makes these activities less fun. Eenie Meenie Mynie Moe. If it has just rained, then weeding jumps to the top of my list.

Sometimes I am so desperate to get a lot accomplished, that I shorten my first-thing stretch routine. What! No way! Some days I choose to walk the neighborhood. This takes only 17 minutes, but I might skip it anyway, and launch into weeding and clipping at one of the eight locations that I care for in town. Other days harvesting produce is a must, and sometimes some quick cooking of ingredients is a wise choice, because I might want to eat those green beans cooked and cold in a salad. Or….cook them tonight and eat them in the salad the next day?

In the afternoons, I welcome the retreat to my cool basement-level studio to create artwork. But the question of “what to do next?” is still in motion. Right now I have three competing projects, and only so much time! They are very different from one another.

One: I have a deadline for three commissioned pieces for the state of Wyoming. The first must be completed by the end of November (at the latest). Below is the small version that I created for the proposal. The commission is very large and will require many preparations in order to begin. For example, I will need to figure out a way to iron on top of my ping pong table, because my usual ironing surface is too small.

Long View


Two: I would like to enter something in my local art center’s annual fundraiser event. Other work is sold or committed elsewhere, so they are not options for entry. I must create new work. Entry deadline is Nov. 1st. I just completed an abstract piece for this entry, that I am happy with, but I probably don’t have time to create a second, but wish that I did have time!

Good Vibrations

Good Vibrations detail










Three: I have about 40 images of photographers (who are taking photos of people posing.) I am very excited to use many of these, and have been giving this thought while out on my morning walk. (At other times I am thinking about how to use green beans and summer squash.) Below is an example of the cartoon photographers that I wish to use. Yes, I am excited about doing cartoons (after a long time not using them) and hope that my enthusiasm does not leave town, while I work on the Wyoming commission. In the image below I have combined three photos, and in doing so, it looks as though the women on the right is taking a photo of the man’s crotch. Oh dear! That’s a rude thing to do! This might make an additional puzzle to the narrative of the artwork.


Cartoon of photographers


I am very grateful for my privileged situation, and the gift of having flexible time. Three art project choices is about perfect.

No choices would mean that my time is not my own and I am exhausted or in poor health. Sadly, even with extra time, some people have no passion for anything, and so there is no project (of the fun kind) wanting to be done.

Eight choices is too many. It would be much harder to juggle the weeding and clipping of eight gardens and also have eight art projects in play. Even with the cooler days beginning (thus increasing lovely hours to accomplish garden chores), I am still not in favor of also having many art projects overlapping. My working style is to finish one piece at a time, and have control over the moving parts in my studio.

You probably guessed that the recipe this month would feature green beans. For Fresh Green Bean Salad:  Wash and trim green beans, cut into bite size lengths and cook (I stream 5 minutes).  Large salads for two people will need 3 cups of beans. After beans are completely cooled, add half a red bell pepper diced, one avocado cut into bites, fresh herbs (dill, parsley or basil are great), olive oil and apple cider vinegar, crumbled feta cheese, and grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy.


Back Side of Good Vibrations


7 Responses to What to do next?


Joan, love the cartoon! You are so organized. I have too many things going! Thanks for your thoughts!

Robynn Rothleutner

Weeding and clipping 8 gardens!!! That’s my idea of a wonderful summer! I’m looking forward to the day I can do likewise! You’re blessed and the gardens I’ve seen under your care are splendid!

Christina M Gerrits

Love the concept for Seeing Far, so so Wyoming! Thank you for taking care of gardens, it does help things look great.

Shirley Neary

Joan, I especially like the part where you say you are grateful to have flexible time.
You are a person who also knows that work can make you happy!

Appreciate your personal perspective always,

Patty Hawkins

Thanks so, Joan!
Time management is everyone’s challenge, I do believe!

Marion Emerson

Hello Joan,
Thank you for having sent your blog my way. Reading about the stretch, walking, and art studio choices
resembles my attempts at creating a balanced life. It was inspiring.
I do walk my wonderful dog, Rocket, each morning. Back to working on my large bed quilt or running errands is my next choice. If my morning is about an errand the I quilt in the afternoon.
My current project is “The Monster” quilt ( no, you don’t have the time for the stories), and is now ready for the binding.
Next, my goal is to create a piece for the “CenturyofWomensProgress.com” due late Dec. early Jan.
The main material will be Mom’s grey wool cape. My mother wore it as a U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps in 1945-47.
Joan, I don’t know where you live in Colorado,but this nurse training was at St. Anthony’s Catholic Hospital in Denver.
Thank you again, for your blog. I look forward to more.

Joan Sowada Art

I live in Gillette, Wyoming.

Thanks for reading my words and thinking about the ideas.



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