So much of visual art happens in a vacuum. It’s just you and your studio and your own private battles putting pencil to paper. Super social art form it is not. Honestly it's one of the things I love about visual arts. You get to do your creativity in private. (Unlike filmmaking which is so wholly a social art form...and that is terrifying.) Isolation can feel like a normal state.
And while that may be true, at some point a few months ago I looked around and realized that I didn’t want it to be the normal state for me anymore. That the act of creating art was also generating a whole host of questions that couldn’t be met by me and my brain in isolation. And one thing led to another and in that past two weeks I’ve met more Portland visual artists than I have in my previous three years of living in Portland.
And it’s been amazing.
Image note: Today's unfinished frustrations. (Also Google+.)
This blog isn’t just about learning to create art. It is also about learning to create a life that is set up to create art. And in that vein, I’m on day one of a week long experiment. If my goal is to paint every day and exercise every day (because again, the latter helps the former) then I have to do it right when I get up. That is the only way I can guarantee it will happen.
I’m best in mornings. That however is not to say that I am a morning person. I am only a morning person if I have gotten 9 hours of sleep before that morning starts. And because I do a lot of work from home, there is no external force saying I have to be at a desk by 8:30AM, which means when I wake up at 10, I start the day overwhelmed by the pull of paid work and paid deadlines. My promises of art and exercise later rarely come to fruition.
So for me, it all starts the night before. I have to go to bed early enough that I get enough sleep so that I wake up early enough so that I actually exercise and work in my studio first thing.
Image note: In progress from this week's studio time.
This article popped up on my, and everyone else's, Facebook feed, yesterday. It’s a call for us to stop setting goals but to instead focus on creating the lifestyle that will help us reach those goals. For example, instead of saying, “My goal is to learn to paint,” I would say, “I want to paint everyday.”
This falls in line a bit with how I already wanted to approach goals this year. I’m calling them goals as shorthand for whatever falls under that big umbrella.
This year my goals surround a bigger mission of living a life that supports creativity. However that is a post for another day, but for now:
Brain to self: I like this painting. Now panic.
For me, and I imagine many other people learning to paint, there is an outer struggle and then there is the inner struggle. The outer struggle is how to draw the curve of the nose or how much medium you need to add to paint so that it has intensity but doesn’t obliterate all things underneath.
(Official 2014 Resolutions come later.)
I need a fake clock somewhere on my blog where I can keep track of how many hours I spend drawing or painting. Today I would have logged 4-5.
A few things I learned right off the bat:
I should draw between drying layers. It helps distract me for a moment, and it gets me drawing.