Like a children's nursery rhyme:
The spiders are packed
Their ghost buddies near
With those boxes now closed
Black Friday ads appear
Because that’s how it is now.
And honestly, I don’t mind. But it does make me as an artist sort of panic. "Wait, should I be doing something?"
This phrase is both a great creator and a great destroyer of goals.
Great because it can lead you down some wonderful paths.
But also sometimes, you’ll be cruising along making your goals work (after months of struggle and stops and starts) and you’ll have gotten down your SYSTEM. You’re doing it! You’re showing up. You’re putting in the time. You’re navigating laundry and pick ups AND getting time with your paint.
And then you see a fellow artist do something cool like a shop update and you think, “Wait, should I be doing something?”
And by adding one tiny thing (and it never is), you watch your whole beautiful system collapse.
Art is full of systems. And systems are fragile ecosystems.
Not always. Not forever. I’m getting better at knowing when mine are or aren’t… and then acting in accordance to my goals.
In the spring, art got second billing after my day job. So I would have that thought, “Wait, should I be doing something?!” And at that particular time, I could very reasonably shout an enthusiastic, “YES!” and then go do it...and STILL show up in the studio to make art.
One of the very big benefits of giving something high priority means that you can create a robust system around it.
This fall and winter, art time gets third priority. And it will for the foreseeable future for wonderful reasons. I’m getting to focus on creating a podcast and all the creative energy involved there. (You can check out the podcast here.)
But it does mean art doesn’t have the same kind of time or energy allocated for it as in the spring. And it means that my systems around it need to change.
And that my friends is how I got to this: A 7 Month Selling Sabbatical.
The 7 Month Selling Sabbatical
For the next seven months (starting Monday Nov. 15th) I’m closing my shop. I’m going to work to not even *think* about selling work until June 1st when I can reassess with the new data I’ll have then.
If I start a series, that series may begin and end and get covered all up in paint. I’m going to reuse canvases that have paintings I like *okay.* I’m going to try and stop holding onto half finished pieces and just begin anew. I’ll be taking a LOT of photos to remember...and then covering it up with acrylic.
Not selling also (I hope) gives me permission to make some really ugly art. To share it with you here and talk about what I’m learning through it and because of it.
I’ll be asking myself: How does my relationship to my art change if and when nothing can be sold? Is that good or bad? Does it help me get closer or push me farther from my artistic goals?
It’s an experiment, like all things in art are. And like so many things it’s not about something being good or bad. Instead it’s just a question about whether it takes you closer or further from your particular art goals. And you can’t know, unless you try.
Here’s to trying!