What you pay attention to – expands

The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.

~ Marcus Aurelius

As an un-planned follow-up to last week’s email about praising children for what they’ve done in a literal manner, here’s a bit more parenting advice. “Don’t constantly point out when a child is behaving badly,” the advice goes. “Instead, try to acknowledge when the child is behaving well. Because what you pay attention to – expands.”

What you pay attention to – expands. This law goes far beyond parenting. It’s the basis for some of our most lasting folk wisdom: Look left, go left. See the glass half-full. Keep on the sunny side of life. At the very least these sayings suggest a psychological benefit to controlling what we pay attention to. But many philosophies go even further, and suggest that our attention carries a sort of spiritual power. Some claim that the world will magically serve us more of what we notice.

  • This week’s artist is – Denitza– whose work a friend shared with me. To see even more, check out her website or instagram!
  • Lucas Achtschellinck would have been 398 on Tuesday!
  • The city has a call for artists for bike racks and benches at Schneider Park. Proposals must be submitted by Jan 21st. Here’s more info.
  • You may have run across a lot of year-end lists. Here’s why one reader didn’t make one.
  • Here’s how one person does his weekly review – visually.
  • 2023 Astronomy Photographer of the Year shortlist.
  • This is the math behind tying shoes – and how to do it correctly.
  • These short wood joinery videos are a lot of fun to watch – the sound makes it even more satisfying.
  • Life comes at you fast. Here are 7 tips for navigating life’s curveballs and keeping your art practice on track.
  • 😎 Fun Fact: Michelangelo’s The Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel was controversial because of the nudity in the painting, leading to a censorship campaign known as the “Fig-Leaf Campaign.”
  • Archaeologists discover an extraordinary 2,100-year-old mosaic near the Colosseum.
  • A new image from NASA’s James Webb Telescope captures icy Uranus’s elusive rings and extreme conditions.
  • This shading mini-tutorial will work with any sort of graphite pencil.
  • From familiar classics to obscure treasures, a trove of literature, art, film, and music has just become easier to access. On January 1, thousands of books, films, plays, artworks, sound recordings, and more entered the public domain, which means they may be used freely without compensating or needing to obtain permission from the owner. Most notable on the list this year are the very first adventures of Disney icon Mickey Mouse—and Minnie!—in Steamboat Willie and the silent version of Plane Crazy.
  • It’s the 10th anniversary of the Cat Art Show.
  • Planning Ahead – Melinda Malone will be providing guidance in April’s Quilting Class at Bayfield’s Pine River Library. The class is free but students are required to provide their own supplies and have use of their own sewing machine. It runs all Wednesdays in April from 1:30-3:30.
  • The Bayfield Library offers a lot of programs – too many for me to list here. But you can check out their calendar (which also covers the broader Bayfield community.)
  • Tired of renting? Join the Homebuyer Education Class. Learn what it takes to become a homeowner and gain access to local down payment assistance funds. Topics covered include: Budget, Credit, Insurance, Lending, Down payment Assistance Programs, Real Estate, Inspection, and Home Maintenance. Space is limited. To register please visit: – Saturdays | 3 Classes | 8:30 – 4:30 | Jan 20, Feb 10, March 9
  • Christmas tree drop off is running through Jan. 31, at Santa Rita Park
  • There’s still a Slow Bluegrass Jam at the General Palmer on Tuesday from 5:30-7:30, in case you’re a beginner/intermediate acoustic music player looking to play more. This weekly jam is welcoming to all players, with a focus on slower tempo improvisation solos and chord changes. If you can play the I, IV and V chords in G, D and A then you know enough to play at this jam!
  • There are classes/workshops/projects available at the Dancing Spirit Center for the ArtsLet’s Letter Together, the Scrapbook NookCreate Art and Tea, Durango Sustainable Goods the 4 Corners Gem and Mineral Club, Seed Studio, and the Durango Arts Center. There are a lot more things happening that I don’t include – so if you’re ever looking for something to do, start at
  • We found a different source for lino blocks. These are easy to carve, come in both the standard sizes you expect and these fun 2″ circles! Plus, we also have some of the usual suspects on hand.

We rolled the dial over to a new year recently. During that transition I feel like I heard more than a few comments of “good riddance” about last year. At least for me, there were certainly ups and downs. Over all, I’d say it was a good year. Part of that is my focus. Until I think about it, I tend to forget about some of the negatives. They happened, were dealt with, and now they’re behind me. I try to focus on the positive, the good things, or just look into the future (and read some Calvin and Hobbes along the way.)

I want to pay attention to the good things so they expand. As part of one New Year’s planning recommendation article, I ran across this question:

What worked well this year (2023) and is worth doubling down on in 2024?

I thought it would be a great reminder. There had to be something good about it (hopefully visits to the Art Supply House, at minimum). Whatever that thing is, do more of that this year (swing by more often – inspiration and smiles are always available!)

Pursue your creativity – at least the parts that are working. Find the step of the process that is nourishing you and figure out how you can do more of that. Maybe you don’t finish a piece this year – that’s ok. Start all of them and enjoy the exciting newness! Whatever form it takes – the world needs your art.

Matthew & the Art Supply House crew