Making art when when life gets complicated
I’m creating 52 works by May 2024. That’s about 1 abstract per week.
I have finished 3 of the my target 52 works. Next week I begin and finish works 4, 5, and 6.
What do you do when life gets complicated and you don’t feel like making art?
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The impact of closing my business
A few years back my home was filled with stuff emptied from the three storey historic bank where my former business lived. The clutter was almost overwhelming. I felt that creating art would not be a part of my life anytime soon.
The business of closing down the business, after spending the day remodelling our rental property, found me battling exhaustion. And, I was still processing the loss of my mother. I had plenty on my mind but didn’t really want to sacrifice art.
What could I do?
I looked for a project to work on in the small space I had forged in the middle of all the stuff stacked in my lounge and dining space. Money was tight, so I chose to limit myself to the materials I already had on hand, and could locate in the middle of the muddle.
Whatever I made had to be done with minimal apprehension. My own expectations, often impossibly high, had to go!
How did I do this?
To avoid the pressure I often felt when I created narrative realistic work, I chose to create circles, squares, and lines. Primary colours, red, blue and yellow were used because I didn’t want to worry about mixing colours. Mark making with pigment ink pens completed the works.
My main challenges
My main challenges boiled down to space, time, money and battling fatigue.
The battle against fatigue is why I chose to create ‘Can Blue Come out to Play’, which was a continuation of an earlier series, Can Red Come Out to Play. I simply had to follow on from the time I had started earlier.
Leftover inktense and small sheets of watercolour paper were in my stash of art supplies. So, I didn’t have to spend money.
Supports were stapled to a backboard fashioned from a reclaimed wooden cabinet door. That solved my space and storage problem.
I loved the results, mostly. Most importantly, I felt my creative nature reinvigorated. I was making art once again.
How to get back to creating in the midst of challenging circumstances?
- Determine what you can do within your boundaries.
- Make a list your challenges
- Find simple ways to meet them
- Write down your challenges on paper along with the simple solutions you come up with.
Kickstart your creativity
Kick-start your creativity by looking for ideas based on work you’ve already made, or use simple geometric shapes.
If all this sounds like too much, just do one thing each day. For example:
Day 1 – Choose the support you’ll use, that is, the paper canvas or wood that you create on. Get out the support and prepare it for use, if needed.
Day 2 – Choose your medium from art supplies you already own. If you don’t own any, everyone has graphite pencils, ink pens, or crayons. Start with those.
Day 3 – Start creating. If you don’t know what to do, do what I did and use basic geometric shapes.
Start and celebrate
Remember, take the pressure off yourself. Nothing is a mistake. The point is to simply start doing. If you don’t like how it turns out, it’s not a disaster. The win is—you are making art once again!
Find a way to celebrate your victory every time. Mine was really simple. I stepped up to the mirror and gave myself a high-five. Then I wiped off the finger prints.
Then lather, rinse, and repeat!
My final challenge was time. Art was important to me, so I chose to schedule it as an appointment in my diary. Evenings a few dedicated times a week.
By persistently making these steps, you’ll soon have an interesting collection of works of your own and, most importantly, you will be making art again.
These rules proved to be useful once again last year when we had to pull up and restore the floors in the older part of our home. Which brought a lot of chaos. Click here to read ‘4 ways to overcome when life gets in the way of creating art’.
What challenges are keeping you from creating art? How are you working around those challenges? Let me know in the comments below.
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Is there a better title?
I’ve finished ‘Red Playground-Finish what you started’ AND ‘Red Playground 8′ AND Red Playground 9’. These are working titles. I’d appreciate your help with a better final title. Please comment your ideas below!