Finding the time to practice our craft is difficult, but it is incredibly important. And our nine to five job can feel at times like an intrusion on our creative lives, but it is actually quite the opposite. I would even dare to say that it is necessary. Yes, necessary.
I myself struggle with this on a regular basis: organization...my mind is constantly on the move (both in productive and non-productive mode). As an artist, I tend to be distracted very easily. Day-to-day tasks are a challenge for me if I don't have music playing, or a notepad handy where I can capture a fleeting thought before I lose it. So having a day job allows me to focus on the task at hand....to get from point A to point B and ultimately complete a series of tasks. Then when it's time to leave, I go home and rest my brain. I feel like I have accomplished something within my allotted time, and it also allows my creativity to run wild.
It's a lot like this picture here. It gives me a feeling of: "Finally! My long awaited free time...lets DO this!" I feel like a little kid. Free and ready to tackle something. (In my head, of course...and without the spunky pigtails). Are you feelin' the drive? Here's the catch...when I follow those "ah ha" moments into creative oblivion...I'm only sitting in my apartment. I'm not sitting under an oak tree in a field of poppies, conjuring up visions of completed future masterpieces. I'm at home. In my room. And the unfortunate thing is that the world loves to try and convince us that this lifestyle is "boring" and that it makes us a "boring" person. I can't tell you how many times I've been told that I should "let loose" or "go out and have some fun for once". The truth is, I do make time to have fun and take breaks. So I would like to provide you with some encouragement if you have ever experienced what I'm talking about. When the world tries to make you feel like what you're doing isn't exciting enough...
DON'T LISTEN TO IT!
When you have a dream, you're obligated to take the road less traveled! So from one creative spirit to another, you're not alone. Make your own path and stick to it...even if people think it's boring.
Alright folks. Happy Wednesday! My sincerest apologies for not leaving a post for you this past Sunday. You see, what had happened that day was paralyzing. Let me explain:
...It was early morning. For some reason on this particular day, I woke up much earlier than expected...no alarm set. As my eyes opened, I could just make out silhouettes of figures scattered around my room. The time, 7:03 a.m. glowed across the room in a green haze. Blink once. The shape of a dresser emerges and begins to take shape. My alarm clock, my lamp, picture frames..all coming into focus now. Blink twice. This is when everything changed. My focus adjusts to the ceiling where the room begins jumping at a rapid pace. Back and forth it leaps in a horizontal motion, as if it were dancing to the rhythm of Beethoven's 'The Tempest'. My heart begins to skip a beat. In a panic, I squeeze my eyes shut tight.
"One mississippi, two mississippi...."
With a full breath held in my lungs, I open my eyes.
Was I dreaming? At that point, there surely was no hope for getting any more sleep. With heart pounding, I peeled myself off the bed and stumbled down the hall to the bathroom sink. Ice cold water would do the trick. I splashed what felt like glassfuls of water onto my face. Wiping the water from my eyes, my gaze fell upon the blue toothbrush resting upright in its dish in front of me. I hadn't paid much attention to the brand name stamped on its handle before. Blink once. Squinting my eyes, I strain myself to read the letters. They seem jumbled. Blink twice. What does it say? It's obviously in English....but I can't read it. I can't read it? Goodness, I can't read it! Did I bump my head?
Frantically, I reach for something in the medicine cabinet. Anything with a label on it. A lotion bottle...and the label; all written in English...I can't comprehend any of it. What is happening? Mouthwash...can't read it. Contact solution bottle...can't read it either. Suddenly realizing the worst has happened to me and it simply cannot be explained, my stomach completely drops. How am I going to type something for my blog today when I can't even read? That's it. I have forgotten the English language. Just...gone. And so, I took the day off to rest my eyes until I was able to regain focus.
Okay, don't be mad...but I made up this story to make a point. This didn't really happen to me. BUT. Can you imagine a world where this is your reality? I believe that you can to an extent. After all, we did go on a bit of a short-lived journey together, didn't we? (For like...a minute). I don't claim to be any sort of miraculous storyteller, but I do believe that we are all capable of forming our own realities. On P. 89 of the book "Steal Like an Artist", included in my previous post, author Austin Kleon talks about what it means to "Build your own world." We may be confined to one room or a specific location when creating, but we have the power to control that space and manipulate it to make it our own.
This post is all about you! I want to hear what your world looks like. Maybe you think of tangible materials that you use such as inspirational magazine clippings or notes that you leave for yourself. When you build that world for yourself, be it mentally or perhaps a physical space of inspiration, what does that look like for you?
So leave a comment below and let's share worlds, even if it's just for a moment...
In New York Times Bestseller "Steal Like an Artist", Author Austin Kleon gives a playful yet no-nonsense perspective on how to make work, and keep making more. Have you seen this book? You should probably take what you know about the concept of stealing someone's idea, and throw it right out the window. The insight contained in this little book has kept me motivated at times when I felt my creative ideas had suddenly hit that daunting brick wall. Here is why...
Think of the last time you sat down to brainstorm for an idea. Maybe you were sitting at a desk jotting some notes down on a piece of paper. Or maybe your best thinking time is done outside jogging; breathing in the fresh air. Wherever you find yourself, whatever that looks like for you, we have all experienced that moment when we just feel STUCK. It's an uncomfortable feeling, right?
For me, I feel like this hamster... generally running in circles without taking very much ground. So without completely spoiling all of the beautiful pieces of knowledge that this book has to offer, I would like to share perhaps my favorite piece to chew on.....are you ready?
Nothing is original.
That's right, NOTHING is original. (Whew!) How exciting!!! I don't know about you, but when I simply think about the stress and strain we put on our bodies and brains to come up with the 'next big thing' or the 'idea that's going to sell' because the creative juices just aren't flowing, doesn't it lift such a weight off of your shoulders to know that YOU don't have to come up with something NEW? In both business and creative endeavors, all things can be referenced from something in the past or previous time. Which means: In order to come up with our best work, we must pull from our own experiences and others around us. What inspires you? When I paint, I like to reference 3 artists in particular. When the painting is finished, it doesn't look like that person's work...it becomes my own. It's not stealing, it's called referencing.
It's "Stealing" like an artist.
Happy Brainstorming :)
The materials I use for a painting are a compilation of supplies I've collected over the years & new purchases: Bundles of pencils that originated from different homes, graciously gifted canvases, and the basic paint necessities any artist needs to lay foreground...
My go-to base color right now is World's Best Buff Titanium Gesso. A can of this little acrylic guy is expensive, but I haven't found quite the same color anywhere else! You can mix it with cooler colors for an opaque, subtle warm tint...OR it really is a great color all by itself. I love using it to brighten up highlighted areas on flesh tones and especially when blocking in a flat area of "sand" in my Beach Series.