Straight from the home office in Vincent, Ohio, the top ten things artists will do to avoid painting:

10. Brush the dog. Actually he needs a bath. Actually, he needs to go to the vet for his rabies booster shot so you drive fifteen miles each way and wait in the office 45 minutes for the doc to work him in.

9. Scan through all the old ArtyFacts for information on Pointillism, counting how many times Jim Lane has actually used the word "actually".

8. Read all the e-mail on your favorite mailing list, answering (in depth) at least half of them, then wait on additional postings as they come in so you can be the first to respond before someone else says what you want to say.

7. Water the grass. Use an umbrella if necessary. Or better yet, what the heck, put on your swimsuit and water yourself too.

6. Clean the toilet. Notice that the seat is loose. Spend the next half-hour flat on your back trying to tighten it from below.

5. Arrange the tubes of paint in your Art Bin alphabetically, making a note as to which ones are full, three-fourths full, half full, one-fourth full, or should have been thrown away a year ago while you could still get the cap off. Change your mind and rearrange them in rainbow order.

4. Have a stare-down with the cat, hoping for inspiration. Lose on both counts.

3. Get out a package of Oreos and see how high you can stack them before they fall over. Eat the rest.

2. Sharpen every pencil in the house. See if you can still snap one interwoven between three fingers like you use to do in high school. OUCH! Congratulations! You haven't lost your touch.

1. Stare at your latest painting long enough to recall an old art instructor's admonishment regarding "overworking" it. Decide the problem is too major to fix and not major enough to worry about.