Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Time and Space

“Time is the Great Teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its students.”
Hector Berlioz, French composer
I love this quote. It's ironic, it's true, and it makes me laugh. It takes time to learn, so time is our teacher. But so often we see time as our enemy. Like money...there is never enough of it. It saddens me when I hear a talented person say that they have not had time to paint. They want to. "But there just isn't enough time."

I am very fortunate, I know. I paint each and every day for long hours on end. Some days, I get carried away and will paint for up to fifteen hours! Actually, I’ve been known to paint for nineteen hours in one day…but that’s just nuts. Mostly, I try to keep it down to a sane nine. But I never know how long I will have the privilege of this lifestyle and I don’t want to have regrets down the road if it ever ends. I want to be sure I take advantage of each and every minute. (Plus, I love my studio.)

I don’t know your situation. Maybe you are a full-time caregiver. Or maybe you have two fulltime jobs and six kids under the age of five. I don’t know. But for those of you who want to paint but feel there just isn’t any time, I would like to offer a couple of suggestions. It still might not be feasible for you, but I’m going to give it a stab anyway.

First: It’s important to have a space to go to that is all ready set up for painting. I worked at the kitchen table for years when my kids were small. When I was growing up, I sat with a TV tray in a corner of the living room. But, wherever I worked, I always had my brushes and supplies ready to go—even if they had to be put up out of the reach of little hands. They had to be easy for me to get to. That is so important.

Next, the time thing: keep track of how much time you spend doing things (anything) that aren't absolutely necessary. I’m talking about TV, the Internet, talking on the phone, having coffee with your friends…these are just a few. Add up the minutes…hours. Now, imagine carving just ONE hour out of that time for you to paint. Do you know that you can get soooo much accomplished if you paint just one hour three or four days a week? It’s true! And you just never know…you might even get carried away and paint for two!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Is it worth it?

Why is it that so many artists start out and then quit? I have seen firsthand how most people don’t realize how much hard work & discipline art making requires. It can be overwhelming. Others let their fears get the better of them. They try to achieve success for the wrong reason. Their focus is to avoid failure rather than doing what they love. Some have a need for significance and when they don’t get it, they quit. In doing so, their work has become tainted by what they think others are expecting and in doing so, they make art that is not honest, sincere or truly personal. No one can relate to it. Not even themselves!

Robert Frost once wrote: “All great things are done for their own sake.”

Ask yourself this: "Does my work have a personal connection? Is it worth doing?”

Nothing you do is interesting if you are not interested in it.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Let it snow...

I don't mind the snow when I have work to do. Right now I have LOTS of work to do. I am having another solo exhibit in less than three weeks! It's going well, but I am working long hours every single day. And when it looks like this outside my studio door, there is nothing else I'd rather be doing. It is a magical walk to my sanctuary. Life is good.

Watch for new work to be posted on my website around the first week of February.

Monday, January 7, 2008

If I Aim At Nothing, I Will Surely Hit It

Okay…I’ll admit it…I am a dreamer. A huge dreamer, in fact. I am always dreaming about what is next in my life. Oh, I am aware of the dangers. I have learned the hard way that living the life of a dreamer makes it difficult to stay in the “now”, which I firmly believe is important. Vital for sanity and healthy relationships. Trust me. It is the battle of my mind each and every day as I stand at the easel. I paint and envision great things. Fantastic things! Then I put my brushes down and go make dinner.

I used to dream about having a loving husband and a family. I used to dream about being a professional artist and living in a vintage home on the south side of town with an expansive studio in the back. Well, I have that husband, family, the big house and the studio. I used to dream about traveling to Europe. So far, I have been to Europe six times in the past five years. Now I dream about living there. (It could happen.)

Bottom line: I would rather have big dreams and have half of them come to pass than small dreams and have all of them fulfilled.

What’s your dream? The problem with wanting your dreams to come true is the “sweat equity” involved. It’s all dressed up in overalls and looking like work. Well, don’t get overwhelmed by it. Just take baby steps towards it and see what happens. Paint that series. Practice that instrument. Read that Rick Steve’s book. Let me know what happens, okay?