Between Artists: December edition

 |  December 9, 2021

This was actually supposed to be November edition, but I had a hard time getting to the question which is funny because it kind of has to do with how it can be difficult to get to the studio to work. The question from Jen was: why is the business of making art sometimes so hard?

At first I thought her question was more about the business side of art making and I was like, oh geez, that answer would require multiple posts and I’m afraid that I would come off as whiny and complaining as it’s freaking hard!! ha! Then I realized that she meant the actual making of art which I think includes procrastination, creative blocks, etc.

At the time I was actually going through my own flailing around in the studio and not sure what direction I wanted to go in and I didn’t have any hard deadlines and I was trying to adjust to the crazy schedules of my family after a quiet year and half of pandemic life, plus my tendency to read the the terrible news about climate change and political craziness that leaves me feeling like what’s the point of anything… Yeah, that tendency can really get in the way of being productive in the studio. But when you have to make not only for your sanity, but also to pay bills, then it’s necessary to get over it and get to work.

in my journal, trying to figure things out, 11.3.21

I don’t think I have an answer for Jen’s question. I think for me I definitely need deadlines. I’ve always been that way since I was a kid. It helps me to focus and helps me schedule my time better. But when I don’t have hard deadlines and/or I want to change directions, I do tend to flounder.

What helps me is journaling. Keeping that dialogue open with myself. Reading. Listening to interesting podcasts. watching interesting movies or documentaries. Basically filling my brain up. And being easy with myself. I think one of the things that makes making art hard at times is putting all those expectations on ourselves. In this age of sharing, there is also that pressure of having to share finished work. But work takes time. So maybe taking off that social pressure would help. This whole sharing with the world immediately is a very new phenomenon and probably not the best on our psyches. There are pluses though, no doubt. The comraderie with other creatives can be wonderful.

I actually have been wanting to change directions for a while now, as I wrote about last time. Well is it really changing directions if it’s something I have been doing for several years, but not focusing on? Maybe it’s more like taking a side trail. And I did have reservations about starting. Fear maybe? Fear of not being able to execute what my brain/spirit wants to create? Fear of people who are used to and like my mixed media work to be like, what the heck is she doing? Fear of my galleries being like, what the heck is she doing? Fear of me painting and me being like, what the heck am I doing? I think all of the above held me back a bit longer from starting than I wanted to.

But now that I’ve started, all I want to do is come into my studio and paint. And when I’m not in my studio, I’m thinking about it. So I’m taking that as a positive sign of being on the right side trail. And who knows, maybe this side trail will replenish me when I get back to my mixed media work? It’s an itch I need to scratch right now and it feels good. All that to say, that there’s always hope that once you start working, something sparks. So don’t give up!

While I was painting this afternoon, I listened to this episode of the Laura Horn podcast and it was interesting to hear her talk in a similar vein.

“Vision, Uncertainty, and Knowledge of Materials are inevitabilities that all artists must acknowledge and learn from: vision is always ahead of execution, knowledge of materials is your contact with reality, and uncertainty is a virtue.” ―David Bayles


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