Friday, May 20, 2011

A Question I Might Not Like The Answer To

Does she know something I don't know?
Last Saturday was cold and wet: just right for a studio day. I managed to get the old television above my drawing table working and I listened to PBS for the afternoon while I sketched on watercolor paper. I want to say that it was a pleasant way to spend my time but I'm not entirely convinced. As it was, I took every opportunity to get up and walk away from the drawing table. And when Boo leapt into my lap at one point and pushed me away from my work, I was more than happy to take a break....
The neighborhood was up bright and early the next morning, taking advantage of the sunshine. I woke to the drone of chainsaws and woodchippers as someone somewhere eradicated the shade on their property.... I put morning glories in the ground and added manure to the vegetable patch. James cut conduit pipe and built a trellis for the peas, and I threaded it with jute. I sowed chard and spinach and mesclun, cukes and lima beans. Then together we surrounded the bed with chicken wire to keep out Bad Bunny, last year's little garden bandit that nibbled every pea-ling off at its knees.... By the end of the day I was beat. The knees of my jeans were caked with mud, there was dirt under my already too short fingernails. I felt sore and wonderful and eager to get back out there again....
And now as I look at those two paragraphs, I've begun to wonder: Obviously I'm avoiding my art. Is it just the advent of warm weather after a long Minnesota winter that has me way more interested in peas and dirty fingernails than in pencils and watercolor paper? Or does the idea of drawing seem like work to me, and frolicking in the humus and dandelions seems more like play?
Or is it something more?


  1. Perhaps daily "studio hours" scheduled so you get into focused habit of "This is Art time". The rest of the day is devoted to gardens and grandbugs and love and life and little birds in nests and snacks and monkey slipper dances in the kitchen.
    I think it was Ray Bradbury, who after "becoming a writer" got up in the morning, dressed in a coat and tie, had breakfast, then went in to his office to write for 8hours, "just like any other job, for it was now his ONLY job".

  2. Great comment, Mary. I'm embarrassed to say that I think I used to do just this, back when art became my only job too.... And then I felt obligated to take on the rest of the stuff that needs doing around here. It's easy to forget one's priorities.

  3. Recently I mentioned to someone that I'm having difficulty getting into a daily routine. I don't feel like I'm accomplishing much of anything, especially with no deadlines or craft shows looming.

    Art does require some discipline, of course, otherwise there would be no drawings or paintings or pictures or words or ....

    But you can't force it either. Take the time to refresh your soul and the drawing will take care of itself.

    If that doesn't work, call me and let's do lunch! I'm in the same funk....

  4. Thanks for the comment, Laurel! I need to be reminded that creative time comes in many guises, and that none of it is wasted time. It's so easy to fall into the habit of thinking that unless I'm Doing It All, I'm essentially Doing Nothing. (In my world apparently there's no In-Between!) It's nice to have permission to refresh....