Friday, December 19, 2008

Fitting It All In

Two Door Barn, Oil on Gessobord, 6x6

I figured I better get this post up now, otherwise there is a very good chance that I won't be able to later on. We are getting a good old winter storm today, possibly 10" of snow by tonight and when that happens we usually lose our satellite signal. And since I have actually been posting every day so far this month, I am not going to let a silly little storm mess me up.

The above painting (my cousin Judy may recognize it, it's a barn on her farm in Ohio) is one that I eeked out yesterday in between all the running up and down the stairs, letting the dogs in and out and picking up and/or dropping off the kids. Janelle left a comment wondering how I could paint in the midst of so much and my answer to that is that I am not exactly sure. Sometimes I can't. And I sure couldn't 23 years ago when I was in college, everything distracted me then. But mostly I can do it now because I really want to paint and if I want to keep painting, well then I better figure out how to fit it in with everything else, because the other stuff isn't going away for quite awhile.

It's a new thing for me to be able to be this determined and sure. That all changed when I had babies. Before that I had been a bit scattered, but after giving birth I turned into some kind of strange wonderwoman that can do all kinds of things that I never thought I could or would want to do. I chose to give painting up for awhile but when I got back to it-look out mama! Learning to multi-task saved me too and I am able to juggle a lot of different things if necessary.

However, having different compartments helps a lot too. My daily schedule is pretty regular now-there are always a few chores each morning, then I usually have a chunk of time during the day while the kids are at school when I had better use my time effectively (I don't always, and lately I haven't much at all!) and then the late afternoon and evening get pretty hectic with the kid's activities, dinner, homework, etc. If I can get my work done during the day it all works pretty well. If I don't, or have too much to do and things begin to overlap, then I definitely have a tough time focusing on both my work and the family. Everyone gets shortchanged.

On the other hand, interruptions can be welcome. I have a tendency to get too involved in what I am doing which can cause me to overwork a painting. I have noticed in the past few years that I often spend a good part of my studio time on the computer or doing other things, then breeze on up to my easel and whip out a really awesome painting. So having a lot of time isn't always the key either and briefly getting out of the zone can help.

I am not as organized as some folks, however I am not unorganized either. A strict schedule tends to stress me out and I like to be able to do what I want( a quality that makes me a very bad employee, heh). Since I do usually know what I need to do in order to keep being productive and to make good art (art being entirely subjective of course, I mean art that I think is good) I try to follow my intuition each day as much as possible.

Of course, sometimes I don't wanna listen to my intuition, but that's a whole different post. Heh.


Stacey Peterson said...

Hehe... I just had a long argument with my hubby about my work habits in the studio. He was trying to tell me I'm not being productive when I sit down and check my email/blogs/etc while I'm in the studio. I argued that sometimes I need a break from the painting I'm working on, and without that short break I'll overwork things or make bad decisions. Art isn't like other things - sometimes it's better to multitask and give your brain a break so you don't over-obsess about a painting. I'm glad I'm not the only one who works this way =)

Angela Wales Rockett said...

It's all about balance, isn't it. I really resonated with, "If I don't, or have too much to do and things begin to overlap, then I definitely have a tough time focusing on both my work and the family. Everyone gets shortchanged." When I'm happily painting every day (or near every day), I can get so much more done in my life outside of art too. But if, in spite of my best efforts, all that somehow preempts art, then it all just spirals out of control (and I get very cranky).

You're not the first mother I've heard say that about motherhood. Sadly, having babies is not an option for me, but it would be cool to find some other way to tap into that wonderwoman power.

Tracy said...

Stacey, i have had similar discussions with my husband too. And I do waste a lot of time at the computer, but sometimes I just need to. Um, but not always. Glad to hear we all argue about the same topics:))

Angela, sorry if I put my foot in mouth with that comment, after I posted it I thought I might have, but I am trying to not second guess myself so much and then look what happens.

I would have been a different kind of artist if I had not had kids, and that would have been ok too. We all find how we need to work, that's all. In fact I often wonder how things will change when I don't have the daily demands on my time, I am sure my habits and abilities will shift and change yet again.

But maybe very needy twin puppies would help with the multi-tasking?:))

Angela Wales Rockett said...

No worries, Tracy. I'm usually very okay with the no babies thing - I've had lots of time (decades) to accept it. Right now I seem to be surrounded by pregnant friends and that can make it more difficult at times, but overall, I'm just happy for them.

Also wanted to say that I'm glad I'm not the only one who seems to often work in fits and starts. Sometimes I just feel so frustrated that I'm not working non-stop for hours on end. I'm not really sure where the idea that I'm supposed to be doing that came from.

Tracy said...

Angela, and not to mention that as one ahem, ages, physically it gets more difficult to work for hours on end. I used to be able to just paint for hours without getting up, now if I do that I get a crick in my neck and maybe even leg cramps:)

I think my body is telling me to move around more often as much as my head is these days....

Tracy said...

You know, to prevent blood clots:))

Janelle Goodwin said...

Tracy, I agree that breaks are vital to the painting process and sometimes life interrupts at just the right time. There is nothing more disappointing to me than when I overwork a painting. I have two grown kids but when they were young I zeroed in on creating in between carpooling and a million other things. I love the fact that you and other female artists stay in touch with the wellspring of creativity.