Facing a white canvas or sheet of watercolor paper is a daunting task in the new year. Our strokes are timid and insecure. Our rhythms uncertain. Our confidence waning. I have faced this problem year after year when the holiday festivities pull us toward celebration and fun, which is certainly welcome, but away from the daily practice that makes for good art-making. No athlete in any sport would be able to turn out a peak performance without the constant and daily training demanded of him or her. OK, then. This year I decided to keep a few small canvases on hand for the couple of here-and-there hours that are freed up in just keep my brush moving. In the past, my preference has been a total clean-up of the studio area in order to complement the activities in the other rooms of the house. Not this year. I was able to find some in-between time to paint when my guests had other things to do and other friends to visit. As a result, the gap between the years was not so wide and so daunting.