On The Clock
I wear many hats in life and just one of them is of an Artist.
For the better part of my week, I work in finance, am a happy member of a family-of-four with increasingly complex lives, and sleep. From there, I allocate the remaining time to a variety of activities, among which I include art.
My point is that I am not currently a full-time artist. Making time for that pursuit is an increasingly important part of my life, but it takes effort. Throughout the years where I focused on learning to paint, I found myself under pressure to always finish a piece. That was my unconscious, self-imposed goal and I'm not really sure why. The process may have been incremental inside the studio, but the goal was always to bring something to a finish. Outside was the same, only worse due to even more aggressive time constraints, and painting outside is hard enough.
I put pressure on myself to make the most of my disposable time painting and always felt on the clock to produce! I failed to realize that was only part of the equation and I missed the much bigger picture (no pun intended).
Being self-guided, I had no mentor or teacher to stop me in my tracks and make me PRACTICE!
With some experience and self-realization, it dawned on me that it was okay and even better to allocate time to practice. It wasn't a waste of canvas, paint, or time. In fact, it was a perfectly appropriate use of all of those resources.
As described in different post on the "Theory of Readiness", I finally realized that allowing time to practice will make me better in the long run. Only through that process was I ready to receive a different form of education and re-align my expectations.
So, I intend to put some examples of practice exercises on my site. They represent some of the things I've picked up from workshops, reading, recommendations, and advice that I found rewarding.
Somewhat ironically, I found an outstanding podcast by Artists Helping Artists that speaks to many of these, as well. (You can find it here.)
These exercises are not revolutionary or proprietary, so check them out, use them as references, and generally explore.
My goal in pointing out this flaw is to say that practice is important. Critical. Allow yourself time to go outside and just observe. Look for nuances. Develop a more sensitive eye and learn to see differently. Make quick studies without any intent of finishing. Use that as reference. Develop the practice of deeper learning.
These are the tools that will allow growth and, most likely, more rapid growth.
I understand that full-time artists are not immune from this problem, either. Pressures for a commission deadline, extensive show material, social events, and marketing demands are all part of the business. I get it, and one day aspire for such commitments. As my career progresses, I make a pledge to continue allowing myself space and time for practice and artistic growth.
Will you do the same with me?