Now that the holidays are over and my work schedule has settled back into a normal pattern, I’ve been able to get into my studio on a more regular basis. It always takes me a while to get back into the routine.
The first step is just showing up. That’s also the hardest thing. Even though my studio space is right here in my house, there are obstacles.
My job, with driving time, keeps me away from home for up to ten hours a day, five days a week. My other job – after school art classes for kindergarten through eighth graders – occupies much of the sixth day, with planning and preparation. The dogs – and I – need a daily walk; I try to fit in a bit of other exercise as well. I live alone, so any house-cleaning, laundry, home-maintenance, yard work or gardening that gets done falls into my schedule, too. I cook for myself most days. There is, then, the computer, with all of the distractions it offers; books in progress and magazines waiting to be read; there are people I should call, and letters I should write. There are issues of personal upkeep, and – though I long ago wrote off things like manicures and dying my hair – the older I get the longer it seems to take, just to maintain some standard of personal hygiene and good grooming! So, there are plenty of excuses for not working in the studio!
Once I’ve re-committed myself to art-making, it’s a matter of letting myself play, and letting myself fail. Success never comes right away, no matter how many good ideas were floating around in my head before I got there. It’s hardest to stick it out through the first few days, the crude attempts at merging colors and shapes. That’s when the “inner critic” is strongest, too. After awhile, though, things start to fall into place. One idea leads to another and then another. Patterns start to emerge. That’s when I get excited about getting up the stairs into the studio!
This little collage is one of several I am putting finishing touches on. I put one together quickly each day, like a gesture drawing. They incorporate bits and scraps I’ve pocketed or saved, and generally reflect my mood. It takes several more sessions to finish them, adding watercolor washes and other colors as needed, to balance the design.
I like the small, square size. Framed, they measure 14×14 inches. I’d like to display them in rows, like dates on a calendar if – instead of numbers – we used our wildest thoughts and feelings to mark our days.