I do have a very reclusive tendency.
I have to.
I spend hours by myself with no more than a paintbrush and a furchild… or two… or three to keep me company. I have become very use to the solitary nature of my work.
I couldn’t do what I do if I needed constant human companionship. I couldn’t paint as often as I do if I was more social. There is not enough time, without a huge juggle and amazing organisation skills…and a house that cleans itself…and children with driving skills that don’t get me carted off by social services.
Knowing my nature and my ability to switch off from the world and knowing that I can get lost in my little art world, I have learnt to diarise my week, including house commitments, Mummy duties and even social gatherings.
Yes, this may seem clinical and boring (and I do have occasional enjoyable changes to this routine) but it works for me. I’ve learnt to work my week into segments…it has helped with the running of the house and with being a switched on Mum and it has also helped to stop “artist’s block”.
Prior to the building of my gorgeous studio, I suffered creative burn out regularly…weekly…daily. I had no routine, no strict calendar; and family, friends and ironing piles that sought my attention at every turn.
I’ve had my studio for nearly 12 months…I have 10 paintings to show for this time frame. AMAZING.
And NO artist block. None.
So if you are seeking some creative inspiration in your own life…these are my tips –
Have a space…all of your own. It doesn’t have to be any place too special. It doesn’t have to be a gorgeous weatherboard, glorified shed like mine…just a corner of a room, sectioned off to be your designated space…and claim it as your own. Hands off everyone else. When the girls were very little, I had a desk in the playroom. I was doing children’s illustration and I painted only with watercolour and gouache for safety reasons and to make it easy to pack up. It wasn’t ideal but I managed. I worked when babies were sleeping and at night. As the girls grew…and we moved to a bigger house…I claimed a spare room with great light as MY space. I spread out a little more and I worked a little more…but something was still missing. I thought the problem was working inside the house. I was convinced that if I had a studio outside of the house, away from the washing machine and dishes and dog hair, I would work more.
My studio was finally built (8 years of using that spare room!) After spending weeks pinching myself that this divine space was actually mine, I came to the realisation that it was no different to having a room in the house if I didn’t work my art as a job. To actually have a day or days that I went to work…and here fits the weekly diary. House days, art days, social days, family days.
The second thing to organise then, is how to break down your creative work day. When the girls’ head off to school, my first priority is to exercise. Both furchild and I need our walk to settle smoothly into work mode.
Then its coffee with a read of some inspirational words and a quick Facebook fix (at least I’m honest about my addiction!))…then the art uniform get pulled on, the paint palette’s are pulled from the freezer and I head to my studio. My day is then further broken up into work time, tea and meal breaks and clean up. It’s a normal, though short, work day…just like I would have in an office or retail…minus the regular income…or…ahem… any income.
It has worked for me…finally.
It only took me….15 years and alot of practise and ripping of one’s hair out, to get this!!!! Ok, so I’m a little slow, I didn’t have a plan of action…but you do… I’ve just given you one.
So go grab your diary…put on your hermit hat and get creative!!