Love, love, love December 31st and January 1st , the two days of the year when all hope is permitted, when all options appear open and everything seems possible !
The time when dreams can be made and when the will to take the necessary steps to bring them to fruition is alive! Ahhh the New Year, the best time of the year !
Time to look back and think about everything positive that happened during the year and think about where we want to go. The perfect time to reflect on life.
During the week before, I finished a great book by David Bayles and Ted Orland on the perils and rewards of art making and called “Art and fear”. I simply love this book, and plan on applying its wisdom to my art-making in the New Year and forward.
As artists, we are always pulled in different directions, pulled between what we want to do and what we THINK our audience wants to see. The book really brings home the contrast between our personal and emotional involvement in our work and that of the viewer who‘s appreciation of our work is not based at all on our motivations or history. Nor is it based on the time required to write an article, a book or paint a particular image. The main thing the viewer wants is to connect with the art in his/her own special way. But seeking approval, even that of our peers, is a trap since it puts a lot of power into the hands of someone outside of ourselves.
The book talks about the fear that invades us, that is ever present, the fear that transforms itself into procrastination, resistance to deadlines, irritation at a lack of time or at our materials, our surroundings, distraction over the achievements of others… Indeed fear of being open to outsiders, of showing ourselves raw, the fear of being too honest, the fear of rejection…
As we start this New Year, I want to forget about all these underlying fears, put them aside and move forward. I would like to learn to live with them, accept them but don’t let them control me.
The book is reassuring. We recognize ourselves in it, whether painter, sculptor, writer or performing artist. It talks about dry spells, a totally normal occurrence that happens to all of us. Unfortunately, we often tend to treat these as personal failures each time they occur, when we should simply accept them and continue with our art-making routine.
I know talking about routine is not very romantic but routine is what anchors our art in our day to day life. So for 2016, my plan is to get back into my routine of art-making and stick to it and not beat myself down if I don’t produce as much or as well as I would like.
It has become harder and harder for me to stick to a routine, especially since my October 2014 accident. I feel pulled in several directions and love to get together with friends and see my family. Art-making takes time away from all this. It is difficult to balance friendships, family and painting/writing time, on top of all other obligations and actions that we need to take on a daily basis. After all, life is full of priorities and presents us with a lot of opportunities and challenges.
When you are doing something, engaging into any activity, you necessarily forego something else. I don’t understand people that talk about boredom. For me, there are never enough hours in the day or days in the week to do all that interests me, all that I want to see, all that I want to love !
So, following my reflection of the last two days, I decided that today is my organizing day. I have made a few decisions this morning:
No more e-mails, social media or reading the news first thing in the morning. From now on, I will leave all my devices OFF until I have accomplished something on my “To do” list. This includes painting and/or writing everyday. Phone calls until then, will be limited to what needs to be accomplished that day.
I am planning to respect my time and force others to respect it too.
I am planning to respect my art and I, by only doing art that I care about. I basically do this already but sometimes, the temptation to produce for a show and letting our guard down on our ideas can be strong.
Happy New Year to all and Good self-reflection!