Pat Katz Pat Katz




PAUSE GEM #45 – Overwork: An Artful Life Perspective & Art 150.2

Editor’s Note: As they have for the last couple of years, your summer Pause messages will feature the ‘Best of Pause. These GEMS are readers’ favorite messages from earlier years. Whether you are a long time subscriber, or new to our list, I hope you enjoy them all. After Labor Day, your Pause messages will once again feature all new info and resources.

P.S. – Also, be sure to scan right to the end of this message. You’ll want to be sure to catch the details on my Canada 150 Summer Art Project and the unique Provinces of Canada paintings on offer each week. This week – Beautiful British Columbia.


An experienced artist recently shared a few thoughts about overworking in response to a question from a novice painter.

Although, the conversation centered on the negative impact of overworking a piece of art, as the discussion unfolded, I couldn’t help but notice the parallels between art and life.

The mentoring artist noted five causes of overwork:

  • Repeatedly going back over old ground rather than leaving well enough alone and moving on
  • Striving for perfection – spending time and energy on final finishing touches that don’t add appreciable value
  • Forcing the work – letting impatience over-ride the flow of the paint, the brush or the pen
  • Overusing a well developed skill when it’s not even called for in the work of the moment
  • Getting caught up in the fine detail without stopping to step back for the long view and gaining perspective

It seems to me that we might take a page or two from the Old Masters and put them to work in our everyday work-lives.

When you find yourself bogged down by overwork, take stock of these questions and see if they shift your behavior:

  • Does the extra effort advance something important – or just cover old ground in another way?
  • Is the task already done well enough to meet the basic needs? Would the extra 10% of effort be warranted in terms of the result?
  • Might you be pushing people and progress in ways that create unnecessary resistance?
  • Could you be engaging in tasks just because you have polished the skill to do them – not because they’re the best use of your time at the moment, or required by the enterprise at hand?
  • Have you stepped back to take a look at the big picture, or are you trapped by the minutiae of the moment?

It could be that in pausing for reflection you just might find that the extra effort isn’t necessary, or that you just hadn’t realized you were already there. Give it a whirl and see how it works.


QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Art is the elimination of the unnecessary. – Pablo Picasso.


RESOURCE OF THE WEEK: For a few additional thoughts see this Overworked and Overwhelmed article on


CANADA 150 SUMMER ART PROJECT:  In honor of our country’s 2017 anniversary celebrations, I’m delighted to introduce my very own Canada 150 Art Project. I’ve created one painting to honor each province – all ten of which I’ve had the joy of visiting over the years.

One unique provincial landscape, seascape or streetscape will be featured here at the end of the each of the summer GEMS messages. Ten paintings are up for grabs – one for each province – and one each week.

This week’s offering features British Columbia. Read on for what you need to know to make this painting yours.

Each painting is 8” x 10” in size and although it’s not shown here, each one will arrive mounted in a double white mat bringing the outer dimensions to 11” x 14” – ready to pop into a standard frame of your own choosing.

The price for each painting will be $150 (taxes included) plus $15 for shipping to anywhere in Canada.

Each painting will arrive with a written commentary on a few of my memories of that particular province.

If you are looking for a unique remembrance of Canada 150, and you’ve always wanted to buy an original watercolor from the Pauseworks Studio, here’s your chance.

Just send me an email message with the words ‘Canada 150 – I’ll Take It’ in the subject line. The first reader to call dibs on each week’s masterpiece takes it.  Good luck and Happy Canada 150.


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Artwork, Life Balance, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines

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