momentum in the studio

Let’s hear it for shelving!

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I’ve had piles of stuff on every available surface. It’s nice to free up some space for working. And, speaking of working, that is a new piece on the left. 

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A detail.  It was an early bird painting that just wasn’t up to standard.  So I painted over it and started over.  I like the way the painted embroidery looks mixed with the new embroidery.  Sometimes, when I can let go of a painting that isn’t working, great things happen.  It’s the letting go that is hard. Sometimes I try to paint around my favorite part, to try to save something, and that’s almost always an undisputed disaster. It’s better to just see the failed painting as a source of potential. Creative potential. A base for something new.

 I’ve got a lot of new work started- paintings on canvas mostly, but also preparing some panels for some new encaustics.  Back in September, I asked myself what I wanted my creative life to look like, and the answer that came was that I wanted momentum. The most important measure of success for me is not about how many paintings I’ve sold, or how many shows I’ve been in, but whether I’m living an integrated, full creative life. And whether that creativity rolls from one day to the next, carrying itself along, and me along with it.  This doesn’t just happen.  It must be cultivated. Sung to. Nurtured. So this is the deal I made with myself:  I need to get my butt into my studio every day that I can.  Sometimes I’m not home, or I’m sick, but almost every day I go into my studio.  I don’t have to paint, draw, or really be physically productive in any way- I just have to show up. Even if it’s only for a few minutes.  I can sit in my chair and stare around blankly if I want (which I have done!). I can empty the trash or just spend a few minutes looking at the work in progress.  One day I took my book out there and read.  But lots of times I go out there with no creative agenda, just to visit, and I end up staying, fiddling, rearranging something. And next thing I know, I’m squeezing some paint out, or starting something new. Just being in the space, and integrating it into my daily life gets (and keeps) things going. It keeps everything greased and flowing. And yesterday I was in there hanging shelves and looking around at all of the new work, and it occurred to me:  this looks a lot like…..momentum!

I’m off now to do my first creative act of the day- pancakes for my (not so) little one… 

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