Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What Is Your Heart Trying To Tell You?...

A new painting completed! Yeah -
I have been so busy with other things that it has been a long time since I have worked on a "painting".
It felt oh-so-good to complete this yesterday.

I am going to go out on a limb here and be really honest . . .and I hope I don't offend anyone. If I do - that is not my intention, I am just venting my personal frustration  -

Recently, I have been engaging in a discussion with a variety of artists on Facebook about how difficult it is to find time to create when you have a full-time job as well.It really helped to follow this particular discussion, but it is an issue I struggle with every single day. As I have said before, many, many times - I would like nothing more than to do art full time. However - things like health insurance make it a necessity to work at my day job.
And I am ok with that.
Most days I am finding ways to negotiate through the balance.
But on days when things are particularly stressful or I am exceptionally tired,
I find myself resentful.
And when I escape to places like fellow-artist blogs or Facebook,
I read about how many hours other people are spending on their craft and their business accomplishments and I begin to feel a whole rush of emotions.
Envy, resentment, frustration, anger, sadness . . .
And then the proverbial question "why?" starts to haunt me.

But here is the thing -
I know that every artist struggles with finding that balance.
Every person! - no matter what their passionate direction is - struggles with that.

I know that for me - I am very grateful for my studio space.
I waited for years to have a whole room to myself.
With four children, spare rooms were not available.
I remember the first time I carved out an official space of my own that was not on the dining room table.
My husband installed a small work table in my laundry room. It was 2ft x 4ft.
Now if you could see my laundry room, you would understand just how ridiculous that was. My laundry room can hardly be called a room - I know people with larger walk-in closets! But - it worked.
That space gives me permission and the gentle probe needed to keep at it.
It truly is my space of refuge.

As a creative of any type, I have learned a few very important lessons that I try to live by every day.

1. Do NOT compare yourself to others - especially when it comes to timelines or age or abilities. We are all on our own journey and there will always be someone who is younger, or better or further along than we are. To compare is very damaging to our journey.
2. Remember that the little steps matter - even it is just a simple phone call or email. If it is in relation to the creative progress, it was not a step wasted and it takes you closer to your goal.
3. Recognize what it is you do well and leave the rest to someone else.
 I paint.
 Others do mosaic or glass or pottery. I love those crafts and would love to learn them - but I can't afford to diversify that much. So I will perfect what I do and love appreciate the work of others who do other forms of art.
4. Create a space that you can call your own - no matter how small it is - where your supplies can be gathered together and at your disposal.
When I step into my studio space, my creative side is ready to come out and play.
Before I created a space for myself, I needed large blocks of time to paint because I needed to get everything out, prep the table and then set up my supplies before I could start. And then I had to clean up and put it away . . .
now I walk in the room and I am painting within minutes.
5. Touch your art EVERY SINGLE DAY! Even if it is only for a few minutes. This keeps the creative brain awake and engaged.
6. Enjoy the inspiration of others - look at blogs, attend art festivals, read books, take part in a retreat, etc.
7. When someone asks for something, invites you somewhere or wants you to participate in something, ask yourself - "Will this take me closer or farther away from my goal?" If not - "is it worth the diversion?"
If the answer to both of those questions is "no" - then I feel no guilt in declining.
8. When you think you have no time for your creative endeavors - then it is time to take a hard look at how you spend your time.
Children and family will not wait.
My day job is non-negotiable.
But television and playing on the computer and games on my phone are not a productive use of my very precious time.
9. No project is ever wasted - even if it didn't turn out the way I had hoped.
10. Give yourself permission to take a break.
I am always working on this one! Sometimes I do need to watch a mindless television show or read a great novel or do something that has nothing to do with the creative business.

And in the end - to quote Mr. Abe Lincoln -
"it's not about the years in your life, but the life in your years."

1 comment:

Giggles said...

Wonderful sage advice. I have read blogs and know artists who do it full time. Unless you are licensed you are always chasing the dollar for survival. Many have the same complaint, all the business end, and marketing time take them away from their creativity. So there are always trade offs. Often the continuous rejections for silly reasons make them frustrated too! It takes a lot of time, energy and funds to keep sending out packages. Sometimes there is so much pressure it stunts the artist. You are such a wonderful artist, try to enjoy the journey best you can!

Hugs Giggles