Toward the end of January I bought a roll of paper and started a timeline for my art. I have a studio space at home and also a studio I rent in Escondido – so I have one of these in each studio – and they are both different, but similar. They are each close to 6 feet long with about 1 foot per month – so they run through June.
I usually have goals, and they usually get lost and/or forgotten Not these, and I am learning a lot from doing this. In January, I wrote down lofty goals and plans – and I mean lofty! How I would like things to go in a perfect world. I needed a place to start, and while they were really big goals, “You gotta start somewhere” and “if you don’t shoot for the stars you won’t even hit the moon” – you know, stuff like that.
Well, I did not meet my goals for January. None of them. I told my mentors I would complete 7 finished still life paintings and also 7 “my choice” paintings – total of 14 paintings. I knew it was a lot when I said it, but….I really thought I could do it. I didn’t.
I have been SO bothered by this it is – (was) - bordering on crazy. I talked to my husband about it and neither of us could remember a time that I did not do what I said I would do. It is an integrity issue for me. Say what you mean, mean what you say - and if your say you are going to do something – then do it! No excuses. I have been running through shame and embarrassment and anger and disappointment – you name it!
But I have reframed it and worked through it – mostly. I still have my moments.
So here is what I am learning from my studio walls:
This would not have been a problem if I were doing my little daily paintings. It’s a big problem doing bigger painting. They take longer – duh! Didn’t think of that. I learned I really do want to work larger – and I need to calculate my time differently now.
Yes, I could have cranked out 14 paintings in spite of all of the various set backs I had this month – but they would be mediocre at best. I learned that quality really is more important to me than quantity. More important than fulfilling a commitment even.
This mentorship program ultimately is centered on LEARNING – and that is what I am doing. I learned a few limitations and how to handle things differently, better.
I learned I need to factor in “ramp up” time. I used up a lot of my time looking for materials and trying to get the lighting right, etc. I finally kind of gave up because I had to get to producing some work – I will continue working on learning the technical aspects – like lighting and looking for props.
I learned it is good to have my goals posted in front of me – no matter how ridiculous they seem – it is easy to cross stuff off and correct them as I go and that somehow feels really good. It feels alive and flexible – like it’s not necessarily cast in concrete – more like clay.
I learned that I need to do a better job taking care of myself physically. Pushing myself to go to the studio and try to create when my body is screaming to go lay down is not only is a bad idea – but it actually set me back about 3 days work. I messed up everything I touched, had a miserable time, and then had the task of trying to correct it all.
I am reminded that I am an eternal being – I am not in a hurry. Relax, it’s not a race. Breathe. Be kind to myself. I forget that stuff.
Most importantly - I learned to “not let my mouth write checks that my a** can’t cash”
Yep – it’s all about learnin’ isn’t it?