Five Months – No Art
My life the last 5 months:
- April and May – packing up my house in Denver and putting it all in a container headed to New Zealand.
- June – exhibiting at my very first art fairs in New Zealand and packing up my apartment in New Zealand.
- June/July – 3 weeks in Australia teaching
- July/August – the container arrives from Denver – six weeks unpacking and moving into my new home on the beach on the Kapiti Coast of New Zealand.
No studio time!
And really, since I arrived in New Zealand in April 2015 I have no had a regular studio practice. I spent most of my free time traveling and relaxing.
Getting the Habit Back
I miss being an artist on a daily basis. It is a core part of who I am.
Yet there has been some fear around getting back to my practice. What if I can’t do it?
What if I forgot how to make art???
I always think that after a break from the studio. It’s really rather silly, yet the thought seems to always surface.
I used it as an excuse to set up my kitchen before setting up my studio.
I walked on the beach vs set up my studio. I sorted out my spices vs set up my studio.
I needed a nudge to get moving.
100 Days Project
Then I heard about the New Zealand based 100 days project. Do something every day for 100 days – then post it to the group website – every day. Could be art – could be anything.
What a perfect way to get back to a regular studio practice. What if I committed to making a completed artwork every single day?
- It would force me to get my studio set up.
- It would provide an external deadline (I love deadlines!)
- It was long term, so my regular studio practice would be re-established.
It was perfect.
But I had just days to get the studio set up and that seemed rather daunting.
So I thought about doing something really easy and quick that didn’t require my studio so I wouldn’t fail. Because failing is no fun. Especially publicly.
I also thought about skipping it and just waiting until next year – when I could do it right.
Making a Commitment
And then that part of me that wants the best for me. The part of me that makes the right decisions and isn’t afraid of risk – she jumped in and committed to making a completed 6×6″ textile painting each day. For 100 days.
A commitment of 2-5 hours a day. For 100 days.
That’s all I needed. A commitment.
Result – I got my studio set up on time. I posted my first completed textile painting on Day 1 on time.
By getting clear on my intention – “return to my regular studio practice by leveraging the 100 day project” – I was able to take action.
Almost. The afternoon of Day 1 I left town. For 5 days. A bit of an impromptu vacation.
So I immediately fell behind. Which was okay.
Because that smart part of me is smart, I committed to make 90 out of the 100 days. I told people I was aiming for imperfect action.
At least on paper.
Upon my return from vacation I tried to catch up before I posted any more days. Because I didn’t want to actually be imperfect.
Result – I just got further behind and I started avoiding the studio.
Fortunately the part of me that got me into this in the first place, she stepped in and said “embrace the imperfect”.
The goal is rekindling my studio practice – not proving to the world I am super human.
And so here I am on day #20 with 9 completed textile paintings (only 6 posted online).
Which is excellent – because I’ve been working in my studio 2-3 hours a day. Most days.
And that was the goal. Will I catch up? Will I make 90 out of 100 completed works of art?
It doesn’t matter.
Imperfect action is getting me exactly where I want to be – in the studio, rebuilding my studio practice.
Learning and Growing Imperfectly
I find I often skip taking classes and seminars for the same reason – because I know I can’t do it perfectly.
Classes that I really really want to take.
Years go by without signing up because I’m sure the time will be better later. Because next time I’ll have time to listen to every single recording and do every single exercise.
And of course next time I’m busy with something else because the reality is I will never not be busy.
Inspired by my imperfect studio action, last week I signed up to learn from someone I’ve been wanting to work with for over 8 years.
- I won’t be able to attend the live event. I signed up anyway.
- I’m likely not going to be able to do all the homework. I signed up anyway.
- I’m going to miss things as my mind wanders off while listening to the content. I signed up anyway.
Why sign up if I’m not going to get 100% out of it? Because that isn’t the point – to be the perfect student.
What is the point? The point is that I want to move forward with adding more coaching into my business and this program is going to help me to that.
Right now I feel like I’m treading water with my business. It’s time to get it moving forward. One imperfect step at a time.
Where might you accept imperfect action in exchange for moving towards where you want to be?
I invite you to become a fan of MakeBigArt on facebook where I share additional tips and comments about thinking big about your art.
PS – Registration is now open for 3 workshops starting soon in September and October – Working in a Series, Advancing the Series and Finding Meaning in Your Art. Learn more here.