4 ways to overcome when life gets in the way of creating art

When Life gets in the way of creating art

There are times when life gets in the way of creating art.  I cannot get into the studio!

Regardless of the plotting and planning beforehand,  I had to cry “I give up” last year when our project, replacing the borer-ridden floors in the older part of our home, took an onerous turn.

Originally, I dreamt I would create art, tucked away in the warmth of my light-filled studio, whilst the builder performed his magic. Reality soon crashed in around me.


When Life Gets In The Way Of Creating. Kitchen Demolition
Removing damaged kitchen floor
Bill Working On School Work By The Fire.
Bill working on school work by the fire.
Vinyl Flooring Went Down Before The New Kitchen Was Installed.
Vinyl flooring installed after repair

Cold weather and delays, totalling four weeks mocked ambitious art making and building schedules. Floors remained opened to the wintry blast. My studio served as refuge against the cold, dust, and disarray of the main living areas of our home. Creating art was put on hold so I could manage the project.

I wanted to face this with optimism and resolve. However, continuous delays and post-lockdown material shortages dampened my enthusiasm. Bill escaped through work teaching high school every weekday. Evenings and weekends, we tackled the logistics of cooking, clean-up, laundry, bathing and everyday living on a construction site.

It was a long, cold, slog. Sometimes, it got the best of me.  Too many times.  I knew it was time to “pull myself up by my own bootstraps!” (a saying  learnt in my American upbringing.) Bill’s love and encouragement helped.  In the end, of course, we did prevail and I’m living to tell the tale. We now have a beautiful functional home. You’ll see more in future posts.

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Creating Art Around Life

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Make-Shift Kitchen In The Old Dining Area
Make-shift cooking in the entrance to our old dining area.

How to Overcome when life gets in the way of Creating art

1. Be philosophical

I acknowledged my problems were actually first world ones. What we were enduring was very hard, but not fatal. In less than a year we would be glad we had made the sacrifice. The worst thing that happened was that I could not  participate in local art shows and events. I could live with that.

2. Make a commitment

Make a commitment to fully concentrate on resolving the situation that holds you back. Don’t allow distractions that arise keep you from sorting the big problem that is keeping out of the studio.

I managed and worked on the rebuild full-time. Making art had to be back burnered. I refused to be derailed by getting kicked off Facebook and Instagram, last July 2022, a couple of months into the restoration, when a hacker posted bad stuff on my personal Facebook page. I also postponed updating my website. It had been designed around Instagram interaction and needed to be redone. I had to focus on my home.

3. Set realistic deadlines. Stick to them.

There is nothing like a realistic deadline to make everyone, including myself, work smarter. The trade deadlines were readily met. 

Important personal deadlines loomed next.

After the drudgery and massive effort to restore our home, we agreed that the end of Bill’s teaching year in early December, would be the target to put all tools down.

We prepared up our newly remodelled home to celebrate our summertime Christmas and to welcome family and friends.

The second deadline I established was to get back into the studio!! First, I readied my home for the new school year. I got back into the studio on 15th of February.

Next week’s blog post and video  will be  the first episode of five of creating Red Playground: Finish What You Started.

4. Celebrate your achievement.

Because I wanted to fully celebrate the restoration of our home, I vowed to focus on embracing summer until after Waitangi Day, which is the start of the new school year at the high school where Bill teaches.

Our simple daily celebration, was to relax at our little table on the verandah, watching the Tui and Bellbird visiting their feeder hung in the Kowhai. There, we enjoyed most of our meals, along with the occasional late afternoon glass of New Zealand Rose.

Ahhhh. Life is good.


What life events keep you out of the studio?  What have you found that helps you cope?

What do you think of the “rules” I used to prevail?

Please let me know in the comments at the bottom of the page.


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