It is easy, if I’ve finished a big project or had a really productive day or week in the studio, to take a break. “That’s a major accomplishment,” I’ll think to myself, “I deserve a rest.” Sometimes it seems like a little respite will do me good, will allow ideas to percolate and plans to come together. I tell myself that I have more than enough finished work for gallery-showing this year, that excess will just have to be stored. Sometimes I’m just tired.
No matter how convincing I can be, it is never a good idea to close the studio door. One day off leads to weeks or months away from the work at hand. Ideas that should have been “percolating” go up in smoke. Momentum disappears. All of my pride in a job well done turns into a false certainty that it was just a lucky fluke. I stop being an artist, and go back to being a person with a studio at the top of the stairs…used for storage, mostly.
Of course there will be days when I cannot go to the studio: when I am swamped with other obligations, or away from home, or sick. But when I am here, and when I am able, I have to keep going into the studio. There are days when I will not accomplish a single worthwhile thing. There are times when every attempt will only lead to frustration. Some days, I’ll plug away at a project by rote, and derive not a bit of joy from the task. Still, keep going.
Every day that I walk up the stairs and into the studio, I reestablish myself as an artist. I reaffirm the idea that I am a “maker,” sometimes just going through the motions, sometimes exulting in the process. Every day that I go to the studio, I give myself the opportunity to do something wonderful. It doesn’t always happen…but how can I deny myself the possibility?