I surrender, but the “white flag” does not mean I’ve given up.
Last night when I painted, I felt very frustrated with having the camera on me.
So far, I’ve been trying to angle the camera, and myself, in such a way that hopefully the viewer could see what I was painting. It is an ergonomic nightmare. My neck, back, arms all end up sore after a few hours of painting that way.
And still, it has been increasingly difficult to keep myself out of the shot. Beyond vanity, my concern is that I am at a point in the painting that I need to spend some time very close to the canvas, as I add detail. Which means if I ignore the camera, there may be long periods of just my back.
At the same time, I am also at the point where I need to be constantly backing up to look at the painting as a whole, then going in to make adjustments to value etc.
Who you are is how you paint
The way I paint is not efficient, I would not teach someone to paint this way. When I have a colour on my brush, I use it up, wherever I can on the canvas, before cleaning the brush and changing colour. Call me cheap.
And maybe also impatient. I’ve never been the kind of artist that uses small brushes and starts in one corner of the canvas working a little section until is is complete, and moving on until the whole canvas is done. Sure, it would make for an awesome timelapse video. But that is very much against my personality.
My method is more a frenzy of colour, followed by hours and hours of small adjustments, pushing and pulling until I’ve hopefully tidied up the embarrassing bits.
Re-reading that, I have to laugh at myself. Why do I feel compelled to write this stuff, and even crazier, share it with the …. umm … millions who read my blog? And I compare the tone of my writing, to a male artist friend who tags his art on instagram #acrylicgenius #artinovator. Ah, to be a male artist.
Anyway, getting back to my frustration. My studio space is crowded right now, and having the camera on a tripod directly behind me is literally cramping my style.
So these are the excuses I’m offering up to explain the white flag.
The video below might illustrate my confusion, I was adding in detail, but I wasn’t close enough to get what I wanted, and kept getting the stroke, or the colour wrong. So I went to bed.
Twenty four hours later I’m writing this blog post, to say this might be the last time-lapse this month. Unlucky #13.
It is Valentine’s day – or it was when I started writing this – and I was reminded that self-love, self-care is a very important part of finding balance in everyday life.
The 30 in 30 challenge was necessary, a defibrillator for my artistic practice. I was spending more and more time on volunteer activities, and less and less on creating art, and on my business.
The first couple of days were hard because I had to miss certain events so that I could paint, blog etc. But from the first day, my painting mojo was back.
And a week and a half into it, my priorities had already shifted. I didn’t really mind the other things that were falling away/behind while I focused on the 30 in 30.
In the last few days though, I’ve realized that the pendulum has swung to the other extreme. Now I’m failing in other areas of my life. Not sleeping enough, reverting back to bad eating habits. Not getting exercise. Not connecting with family & friends, trying to help the kids with homework and paint/blog at the same time.
Even my to do list for the volunteer work, & my actual business, were stagnating. And we’re not even going to talk about the housework.
So this is how I spent Valentine’s Day – I hoisted my white flag. Then I napped for 3 hours once the kids were off to school -I’d only slept for 3-4 hours before waking them up. I tidied up a bit, caught up on a bit of computer work & errands, went to my first yoga class in a long, long time. Exchanged gifts with hubby. Helped my youngest study for a science test, wrote this blog.
I have a bunch more things to take care of, so I may not end up painting tomorrow either. But I will reorganize the studio a bit to make more space for me to move about when working on this bigger (4’wide) painting.
On being an artist and a mom
We have a 4 day weekend coming up, and it would be easy to sit at my easel, and computer each day. But then the Mom guilt would kick in. Experience tells me that 50% of the rest of my family would then spend the whole time on their electronics.
My youngest would spend 50 % of his time on x-box gaming with his school friends who are at their houses, and 50% in my studio asking what he can eat next, and reading his dream journal to me, showing me the latest video he’s made using his artwork, or skits he’s acted out, & new cool apps etc. etc.
And I’ll have to wear my headphones because he’ll be watching Good Mythical Morning, or Nerdy Nummies without headphones while he’s making video game characters out of polymer clay. Yeah, I love it.
But come Monday night when the eldest wants to stay up crazy hours to complete homework, I’ll also be regretting not pushing to get us all out of the house, socializing, being active.
When I started the 30 in 30 I was not trying to create a painting every day, or to sell more paintings, or become a daily painter. I just wanted to re-activate my painting mojo, and build some momentum as I start a new series of paintings. And to try making time-lapse videos.
I feel that that ball is back in the air now. And the real goal is balance.
The 30 in 30 is a great accountability tool, but you have to make it work for you. It is important to know when to shift, adjust, pivot, to wave the white flag etc.
So, I’m going to follow my intuition, but I’m not going to make any promises about when next I’m going to post, what I might post etc.
I will say that “Journey to Self” is a self-portrait, even though I am not the figure in it.
It is the starting point of a body of work which for now, I will call FLOW. And turning the camera off will give me the freedom I need to explore and develop this work.
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