Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Passion to Create

#3 by Michael Cunningham
I'm dreadfully late in getting back to a question posed several weeks ago.... ah life. It can get in the way of the best intentions. I ruminated and pontificated on fitting art into your life in this post. It was in response to a very thoughtful and heart felt question from Michael Cuningham. Here is the long overdue answer to the second part of his question - "with all of the "life" that gets in the way of creating, how do you keep the passion going?"

As I ponder this question I think it has to do with your long term goals. Life ebbs and flows and there are seasons and times for focusing on different things. But if you have long term goals you can see past a current ebb and over the long run, life will flow in the direction of those goals.

Keep your goals realistic. I only think about one or two goals regarding my art each year. This year, they didn't even include any sort of concrete production goals. I wanted to improve my attitude (by being grateful) and develop some studio discipline. That's it. My youngest goes off to school next year and I want to be better about utilizing the uninterrupted studio time I'll gain. Right now I know I have bad habits. I waste far too much time on my computer. I need to go re-read Twyla Tharp's "The Creative Habit". It's a favorite.

Family Ties: Knit Together
So - if something fits and helps me achieve that goal then I need to work on it. If it doesn't it's OK to let it go. I let several application deadlines slide by me last week - they weren't high on my list of priorities getting towards this goal. Next year - they are part of my goal set.

Now, if you've lost the desire to finish a project or goal - is it a goal you truly want to keep working at or should you give it up? That's the first question to answer. Then ask why. Then ask why again. If you choose to keep that goal on your priority list - remember to figure out the underlying reason you have that goal. Where will it get you and is that the place you want to end up?

If yes is the answer and you still have creative ennui... first check your health. Are you taking your vitamins and getting enough sleep? Do so.

Family Ties: Knit Together
Is the task too overwhelming that you have set for yourself? Just choose to do a little chunk of it. I end up being amazingly productive if I force myself to set a timer and do actual creating of work for ten minutes BEFORE I check my email. Those ten minutes always turn into the full time I have. If I turn to the computer first whatever time I had is frittered away. 

Sometimes limitations result in greater freedom to create. Sounds a little backwards? How many times have you looked at a blank piece of cloth or canvas or sketchbook page and been frozen with fear. Or indecision. Or just plain nothing comes to mind?

What if instead, you give yourself a subject to start with. Or a color. Or a size limitation. My Family Ties series started out as a color study. Red. Using vintage and recycled cloth and lace. Funny that the first three in the series barely had any red in them at all - but I had in my minds eye an idea - a direction - a heading. Nothing says you must stick strictly to your limitations. They are simply a starting point.

I'm getting long winded again - and could go on for ages and never actually get this posted. So I'll stop for now and solicit your ideas. 

Family Ties

How do you keep the passion to create alive when LIFE gets in the way?
(Remember - I think LIFE can be more important at times - and that's OK)