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“Just walk through the door” — Plein air painting motivation from Al Bundy?

Sometime ago, I remember listening to an interview with Ed O'Neill (the actor who played Al Bundy on Married with Children and Jay Pritchett on Modern Family). I was surprised to learn that he had an impressive background in athletics, played football professionally for a brief time and more recently he achieved his black belt in jujitsu.

While in his youth, he was an incredible athlete, he started his journey into the world of jujitsu a little bit later in life, and found it extraordinarily difficult. Often times he would be very discouraged, physically exhausted and beat up.

He explained in this interview that he adopted the practice of encouraging himself with some positive self talk by saying "just walk through the door."

This was his adopted motto when he did not want to go to training or when he would find it difficult to get up off the couch and walk to the car to start his trip to his training center.

Low and behold time passed, he kept this practice going, and he achieved his goal. After 16 years of dedicated training he was awarded his black belt.

Lately I find much more enjoyment while painting from direct observation. I really have little interest in painting from photos or painting indoors much at all. So when milder weather is here, I want to take every opportunity to get outside and paint. I enjoy it more and quite frankly I think it's better for my physical and mental well-being.

Today I remembered this story. I had a voice inside me that said "you should go outside and paint." Moments later that same voice said "you don't have time... there's nothing worth painting outside... by the time you find a nice view you're going to have to come back and head to work."

At some point during this internal struggle, I thought of Al Bundy and I said "just walk out the door and paint something you see" ...that's what I did.

*** Here's one recent interview with Ed O'Neill where he described the process a little differently but it is still interesting and still emphasizes the importance of consistency and walking in to train and doing what is needed.

Not the same interview I remembered but it's still a great story...

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