I spent time over the weekend preparing for Art Every Day Month. I scanned a bunch of old sketches I plan to use after working on a computer problem I am having with my system. I sketched out a painting and applied a mask so all I would need to do was pick up a brush in the morning.
I even thought about food. I had leftovers for lunch, I started soaking beans for dinner chili the night before. I fed the cats, ate breakfast and started the beans cooking. I walked into my office/studio, did a quick email check to make sure there was nothing pressing. Walked over to my painting, put down the first layer, and sprinkled it with salt.
There are always distractions
My painting needed to dry before the next layer, and I hadn’t prepared another piece of paper. Often, I work back and forth on multiple paintings just for this reason. This time I walked over to my computer, then the phone rang. Now it’s after noon and I have burnt beans and no painting progress. Not to mention an expensive stainless pan encrusted with a black mess.
Not leaving time for the unexpected
I tend to fill my schedule full, and I play games with myself to make it not look that way. It’s not that I schedule my time, its that I have todo lists that can’t possibly be completed even if things go well. Then the phone rings and the beans burn, and I don’t have a time cushion. The thing that most often gets put aside is my art.
You can do art in your spare time
I’ve heard this my whole life. From well intentioned people who are concerned for my well being. Mostly those who are terrified if I’m an artist I will starve and become a bag lady on the street. Which may be true. So far I’ve always found ways to avoid it.
Even though I have not embraced this on the surface, I recognize that the message has seeped deeply into my inner core and drives my behavior on a daily basis. I know I can’t do something full time and do quality work in my exhausted extra moments. It’s clear if I am working for someone else, but slippery when I am the mean boss controlling my own time.
Walking between what I say and what I do
Clearly this is a place with an opportunity for growth. Art Every Day Month gives me a nudge to take more time to create, but ultimately I have to make the commitment to sit down and do it. It’s very much like exercise. I enjoy it when I do it, but play all sorts of games that result in not getting there. One of my success factors is devoting peak creative time to art. Not email. I have to stop allowing my morning hours to get sucked up online.
Art of the day
This is a digital collage created in Photoshop. It’s a combination of a photograph I took of the pumpkin with a scan of a citrosolv melted magazine page. This is a great example of why I love working digitally, I can melt elements together in ways that aren’t possible using traditional materials. When I work exclusively on the computer my work is much stiffer, so I look to create elements that add more energy to the images.
I like to hear your comments and stay in touch.
I’m working on a new series of tools for personal and professional development. To be the first to know about them and introductory specials, sign up to be on the Early Explorer list.