Good morning to all who've subscribed to my blog. Life is busy, but I'm happy about it. One morning I was sitting on the couch (my thinking spot) and eating breakfast... brainstorming about how I can further my career...
Then a thought suddenly flooded my mind - one that I had probably never pondered in the past. Wow! This is probably about as good as it gets!
My health is OK. I'm painting with one of the most renowned artists in the world, I have supportive friends and a loving husband. (Yes, I'm still married to the same guy, but he gets better all the time). For years, I've been writing journals and stories, poetry... and now I get paid to do it. My art supplies are ample - I'm learning more about painting all the time.
Even if nothing else ever happened to improve my life - if it doesn't get worse, I'm content with the way it's going. And if things aren't perfect, well...that's just the way that life is, so I might was well get used to that.
Work is a blessing, and I'm happy to have work to do. It may not be the most important job in the world, but I probably couldn't handle the stress of a terribly important vocation. I'm happy that I can offer some small , and possibly helpful piece of advice to other artists, and create paintings that have the capability of bringing joy to others for their lifetime. Really, does it get any better?
Yes, there will be down times, sad times and some of my current opportunities will fade away, but today they are here, and I'm thankful for that. As they say, make hay while the sun shines. While I have my health and mind - I plan to be useful, and grow in my ability.
FYI, this is not a blog that will show up on Clint Watson's Fine Art Views. For those, my plan is to continue writing about increasing productivity and time management for artists. Next, the Optimally Organized Studio. When my belongings are in order, my work flows with efficiency. I'll get into specifics about what has made a difference for me.
Why is it that I don't have to put effort into establishing bad habits while gearing up for good habits takes every ounce of self-control I can muster up?
As an artist, I have a maximum of freedom and flexibility with my time, and this is one of the things that makes being a professional artist a joy, but at at the same time, it creates a war within me. The daily struggle to choose the right thing to do for the advancement of my artwork is VERY REAL. Now, if I am to succeed and produce lots of incredible artwork – thereby making a living at it, I'm going to need a great deal of self-discipline in order to overcome my natural inclination to treat my life as a vacation.
When I worked for someone else, I didn't need much self discipline because someone else was arranging my schedule and tasks. Either I did what I was supposed to do, or I'd get fired. As an artist, I mistakenly believe the lie that I can goof off and yet succeed. But nothing is further from the truth. Even though wasting time doesn't seem to cause me immediate pain, I am headed for disaster. Furthermore, because I have a spouse who makes the bulk of the household income, there isn't even the incentive to feed myself or pay bills.
I believe that in order to establish good working habits, the reality of failure needs to be extremely real and imminent. I need to scare myself into a regimented schedule – just as though I were working for someone else. In early adulthood, I supervised a group of 8 software testers, and my ability to get serious with them surprised me – as I intensely dislike conflict. Today, I am finding that pushy person inside to pressure myself into superb performance.
In order to scare myself with the facts, I make a list or imagine what will happen in the near future if I fail to practice good work habits. The first and most obvious result is that I will lose self-confidence and as I delay my working at the easel. This is a totally bad situation. Secondly, I will lack having paintings ready for opportunities that crop up – and they do crop up when I least expect it! Most importantly, not having paintings means that they will not exist for folks to enjoy for a lifetime. I must not lose sight of the real reason for making beautiful artwork... it contributes to beauty and moments of joy for myself and others. Not all art has this as its goal, but that's the goal for my work.
Succeeding as an artist is such a complex pursuit – I can hardly even touch on what it takes in the context of a blog. We are all individuals and have unique challenges. Folks who are not artists may think it's an easy life; however, because we have so much freedom, it can be a difficult life to manage. Even so, I would not chose any other career... it truly can be a labor of love, and will become that if I indeed establish good working habits.
My next blog will be on establishing those positive habits. I'll also touch on the rewards that hard work brings me. Last March, I wrote down in my journal with all caps - “EACH DAY I MUST DO SOMETHING, NO MATTER HOW SMALL, TO MOVE AHEAD WITH MY ART”. That means painting even when it's not going well. It means hanging in there and resolving difficult problems, starting a painting over, setting time aside to study and copy old masters, wasting paint with practicing, and ultimately becoming my personal best.
Until next blog,
Lori Woodward Simons