I’ve been working in shorter fits and starts this year, because, you know, life is full. I’m relatively efficient at the transition between calamity of boisterous family time & social events, and the submarine dive into alone art-making in the studio, even if only for an hour. With family, a social life, new-projects and the business side of being an artist, studio time can get pretty squeezed if I’m not careful to prioritize it, and press it like quick-drying grout between the tiles of space on my calendar. I’m sure many of you reading this are experts at this shuffling.
I love to be alone, sitting in my studio, bent over my work. I’m lucky to feel that way. There are plenty of artists who struggle with solo time. Decades ago, at UMASS, friends in the studio arts program shared collaborative workspaces, and I remember their stress over never getting enough work done because they were hanging out together on thrift store couches, discussing the art they were going to make. This could be evidence of youth, but I have much older and wiser artist friends who still wrestle with showing up to chat when they meant to show up to work. Add to this discipline the acquired skill to dart back and forth: quiet working all week, and then talking to hundreds of people at an exhibit, and then back to quiet studio work. Efficient swimming between extreme variables like that is not easy for many artists.
Here is a good article on this subject, written by John P. Weiss for Fine Art Views. If You Want to be an Artist, Understand Loneliness. If you’ve ever dreamed about becoming a full time artist, being alone is something to consider in your check list of Appealing-versus-Awful columns. How do you handle the volley between weeks of solo working time, and weekends loaded with shows and art-loving audiences? And if after weeks of hard work, exhibit sales are less than stellar… What then?
Late nights of sustained creation. Early morning epiphanies. Private frustrations and repetitive rituals. Long stretches of weekends and canvas time where you are deep in the thick of it. Navigating the whispers of inspiration, personal expression and tortured execution. This is a big part of what it means to be an artist. ~John P. Weiss
Speaking of art-loving audiences, will you be in San Diego to attend the Artwalk this weekend? (<–Click the link for more info.) I’ll be painting on Beech Street in booth #171 Saturday and Sunday from 11:00am to 6:00pm. Weather predictions say sunshine and highs of 80 degrees, so wear sunscreen and a hat, and come say hello. I’d love to see you and catch up.
Have a great week in the meantime, and I’ll see you in the next post,
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Instructions for living a life.
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