Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Running out of space

Topics in the blog today:

  • creating a good work schedule (that works for everyone)
  • applying art on everything

Working vs working
I used to think that I was able to do anything, I set my mind to and that getting stressed out was merely a question of poor planning. Perhaps it's a question of putting too much on my plate, realizing that some people can have quite a lot on their's and manage it quite well, while others struggle to handle just a few things without losing grip.

Now, having decided to set new goals for myself, I also had to make the decision about when to work on achieving these goals. This decision was made on a subconscious level, but I've found that a lot of other artist's actually do the same, when they're planning their work. In my case it's a question of juggling the regular full-time teaching job at the local school with the routines of having kids and all that comes along with that and my desire and need to paint. 

First of all, it is relatively easy, once you've mapped out the different elements of your everyday life. The teaching job, I have, is a fairly good one. However, it takes up about 75% of my life and consciousness in general. Everything from planning each lesson to meetings with colleagues and parents, while running into your students daily when doing your grocery shopping or on your way to the dentist etc. It is more than often the last thing, I think about before falling asleep, and the first thing I think about, when I wake up. This job provides us with money to buy food and other vital things. I'm told that I'm good at it. 

Where I find it limiting is, when I have to follow the same schedule for 40 weeks. On the other hand it gives me an enormous freedom to plan around those 40 weeks. I can plan my weeks as well. The schedule remains the same and I'm lucky to have a few very good slots in it that enable me to work some early afternoons and one early morning. And let's face it - most people concentrate and focus much better, when they aren't interrupted by their children or other distractions. I'm one of those people. On the other hand I don't want to dismiss the kids, when we're all together. Our time together is so precious in our day and age, and I know they'll be moving out soon enough even though they're only 6 and 10 yrs old right now. So, I work (wether it's blogging or painting), when the kids aren't home. And occasionally at night when they're sleeping. It's not always, though, that I've got endless amounts of energy, but sometimes I get lucky. This gives me a total of about 16-20 hrs per week blogging or in the workshop, which is not bad. I wonder what it would be like to work full-time in the workshop.

Yesterday, I received a blog update from Robert Genn focusing on distraction issues in the studio - and I can only agree with him. He suggests the Pomodoro Technique to help bring back focus and intention. While my studio was only just set up this summer, I am still enjoying the private and personal workspace, which is secluded from the rest of our home. I used to work in what was a combined living- and bedroom, which suffered heavily under the dust that is inevitable no matter how much you air and vacuum the room. Some of RG's other suggestions to create a steady and productive workday will certainly come in handy to someone as fluttery as me. Thanks.

When there's no more canvas
 ... then it's time to look around at what else you've got, that you can paint on! I won't discuss the reasons for why there's not sufficient canvas in my studio, since it seems obvious. You either haven't ordered it in in due time or funds are lacking. 

Not long ago I began decorating old wooden wine boxes. It is a challenge to confine yourself to such a limited amount of space when you're used to working on relatively large canvas. An old friend once introduced me to the fun it can be to also decorate and paint on furniture, which in my case would include shelves and tables. But anything goes really. On my private Facebook-profile I have created a photo album to give you an impression of the last couple of years working on all sorts of hard surfaces.

Once you're used to the brush reacting slightly different to a hard surface as opposed to the somewhat bouncy canvas, you discover new techniques and alternatives to the big surface. Besides, it's fun - and that too has to be important!

Oh, by the way - I sorted out the time settings on Blogger. Phew, was beginning to actually be envious of myself NOT living on the West Coast of the US, preferably San Francisco or L.A. Now I'm back on the East Coast of chilly Denmark facing wintertime.

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