The Diary of a Hermit

My husband just called me a recluse…a hermit.  I felt my hackles start to rise, a little growl of offense about to break and then in a split second of reasoning, I agreed with him.

Shrug.

He’s right.

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.

Try it.

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!!

x Mia

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6 thoughts on “The Diary of a Hermit

  1. Wow… I love that you have a little space of your own, I love that you have shared how you spend your days and weeks, you are very lucky to have organised yourself to work in a way that works…… and so many painting to show for it….

    • Thank Nicole…I wish I had discovered the key to work long before now, but everything sorts itself out eventually. I have a beautiful space…like your lovely photo studio, but messier!!

  2. This sounds quite a bit like a post I wrote titled Pushing Past Your Creative Block. You are right in that you cannot be a social butterfly and a serious artist at the same time. I never knew an artist that did not need to be alone with their work and it’s hard when you have a family.I have six kids all grown now but when they were school age I would get up at 4:00 AM in order to have two hours in my studio before they woke. Whatever it takes is what you need to do and must do for your art and for yourself. I always know when a student is ready to fly: it’s when they start producing at home without me. I am always very proud when that happens!
    Keep up the good work and stay in touch! June

    • Hi June, I was worried when I posted this blog at how similar to was to your post…I had already started to write it pre reading yours and almost put it on the back burner for another time but decided to hit post as I am sure there are many artists with a familiar pattern to their studio practises. Apologies if you felt it was a copy…I can assure you it wasnt!! I cannot believe how you managed to get your art done with 6 children!!! Not many people understand when you pull back so hard from friendships of the goal that is being aimed for. I feel so close but still a million miles away from achieving my goal of being a professional artist. It is wonderful to be able to network, via the net with artists who have attained their goals. Your work is lovely and I look forward to reading one of your art stories again soon. I love writing about the story of a piece…for me it feels the last step to finishing it.

      • I am not concerned about your post. Truth be told we all borrow from artist throughout the ages and that goes for writing also.There is a difference between being inspired by an artist and outright copying. I have had my work “stolen” and duplicated to make money and that makes me angry. I usually go after the thief but I also keep in mind that as fast as they copy me I will have another original. They cannot get inside my mind. You have wonderfu artwork and I look forward to your stories about it. that’s why I rebloged it on Facebook.
        Yes I have three girls and three boys: wonderfu people of who I am very proud. I have one who is autistic and very impared but he also has given more than he took away and made our whole family compassionate towards people who are different. He has no speech but has a way of getting his point across. I will write about him in the future.

        You have a gift! Don’t let anyone stop you!

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