MY STUDIO PRACTICE – INSIGHTS & CONFUSIONS OF A WORKING ARTIST
This month I have failed 🙁 I have not practiced what I preach. I have been interrupted by computer melt downs and meetings and it has swallowed much of my ‘art making’ time. I have not spent near enough time in my lovely studio, and, my in-house art critic, Sketch, the cat, has no trouble reminding me. He lies patiently at the studio door waiting for me to return.
Time management is one task that seems to challenge all of us. So many of my art students (and myself) struggle with finding the extra hours in the day to create. And I tell all of them that there are no ‘extra hours’. There are only 24, so you have to work out what to cut out in order to get your art in. This is a life long practice. It is funny, that the busiest of us, seem to be haunted the most by not having enough hours in the day. I guess we just don’t want to waste any of them.
The thing is that when the 36 hour ‘to do list’ doesn’t get done, and we can’t fit the art making in at the end of it. We beat ourselves up! We feel that we have failed our tasks and we feel like we will never get to do our art. Somewhere we decided that our art is our reward at the end if we successfully cross off that endless list. It makes us feel sad, exhausted and bad. And we know that this is not the attitude in which to start your creative ‘flow’.
These interruptions are what American author, Steven Pressfield calls ‘resistance’. There are many types of resistance but they are all the same. They are the enemy. And the enemy wants to slay you!
I am always banging on about ‘fighting for your art life and this is what I am getting at. Resistance is the enemy. As Pressfield says…
‘We can never eliminate Resistance. It will never go away. But we can outsmart it, and we can enlist allies that are as powerful as it is.
I seem to successfully coach others through this process, alas I am not very good at taking my own advice. Truth is some days we are not going to make it through the list. The challenge is to put the art making at the top of this list and not at the end of it! I realise the irony of this sentence as I am writing it, sitting here in front of a computer instead of painting in the studio. In some way, it is my own reprimand. But tomorrow is another day. Resistance may have got my last month, but I am reminded that there will be times when you just need to load up the battle gear and get on with it. Maybe the washing doesn’t get done until tomorrow, or dinner turns into scrambled eggs but at least the art happened. It doesn’t even have to be a lot, it just has to be something. Something is always better than nothing!
This practice of putting your art over other things takes time, and a lot of will power. just like exercise, persistence and continuity is the key. As long as you are even thinking about making your art, it’s a whole lot better than wasting your brain power getting down about how you never have any time to create. It’s a step in the right direction.
In light of my own reprimand, I’m going to focus on some of the things that have happened over the last month, rather than the ones that didn’t!
New work happening in the studio…
Lot’s of ‘work in progress for upcoming shows in 2019. I am not a speedy painter and my process involves lots of layers of colour so I usually have a lot of works on the go and build them up progressively.
POND is a new series I have started, inspired by my visits to the tropic lily ponds of Fiji and my love for habitation around water. The reflections and movements around life on the pond provide an endless supple of colourful palettes. Floating florals are a fabulous way to work with my Fragmatism® style.
New work too on the next series in the Coastal collection. This time the waterways of Sydney provide the inspiration for the coastal edges. These works will be available in the Outliers Show at the Shop Gallery in Glebe May 30-12 June.
… at the gallery
Two new works in the Coastal collection now available from Manyung Gallery and on show at the Flinders Gallery.
Here’s some links to my artist statement about the works:
Many of the lessons with my students include the support of the family pets. They provide a great source of inspiration and are always appreciative of the effort! I teach adults and kids. I always think teaching helps you be a better artist as you have to problem solve and translate visual into workable steps.
Like I needed reminding… ‘Sketch’ my inhouse art critic, and his ‘Catittude’ letting me know that a little computer work is ok, but a lot is not! His silent stand is a ‘sleep in’ on the studio stairs.
What was your resistance this month? How do you balance your art and real life? Let me know, send me pics and I will load it up on my next blog! Email me at email@example.com
This blog focuses on my studio practice. How I go about my art, what I use and the challenges I encounter. My initial aim is that it offers some insight into the life of a practicing artist and some useful tips for other creatives. In hindsight I think it may help me more that others. The self reflection about what you do can uncover some sloppy habits and manic moments. Maybe it’s my self therapy? As an artist we spend a lot of time in our heads. This blog will expose my thoughts, focus points and revelations. I can’t guarantee it will all be pretty or insightful, but I’m inviting you to join the ride anyway … strap yourself in for a seat on THE GINGERNUT EXPRESS!
To those lovely folks who have heard me bang on about some of these topics before I send my apologies. It is sure to happen again as I bang on a lot!
The Gingernut Express is a monthly blog, written and produced by Visual Artist and Arts Educator, Kristine Ballard on www.kristineballard.com
© Kristine Ballard 2019