Identify and Eradicate

Typically I am a solitary artist. I work in a room with Christie in the other corner or in my studio with music but little else of the outside world. Today I broke that habit and traveled to Salem Common for an art date with my friend Jane McDonnell.

It was good to stretch my artistic wings and work in proximity to another artist, even if we did spend a good amount of time chatting. Though in our defense a good part of the time was spent talking about art, not just griping about work!

I painted some quick watercolors, we got some great coffee and did a lot of chatting about art. One of the main topics that came up was how to get into an art habit. I think this is an especially difficult thing for those of us who work a 40 hour a week job (in some cases more hours) and need to do that to make ends meet. When art goes from your full time job to your part time job I think it’s harder to stay in the art habit. That is making art on a regular basis becomes harder and easier to give up. I think that when you take art as a process and remove it from the ability to finish a given work in a regular amount of time to suddenly doubling your process time, it’s easy to get discouraged.

When you get discouraged it’s easy to give up.

How do you fight off discouragement? How do you keep the art habit living?

For me it’s always been about the visual journal- my sketchbook, idea book aka my art journal. It’s a simple thing but I look at my art journal daily, even if I’m not making art that day I look at the journal, flip through the pages and look at the art. Sometimes it’s as simple as looking right before bed and sometimes it’s more elaborate and I grab a couple of older books and flip through them in the afternoon with a good cup of tea. The art journal/visual sketchbook etc is a repository of information. It’s a goldmine of my thoughts.

After years of inactivity I gave myself the task to loosen up. I made a 3×5 inch journal with pages from a national geographic. I gesso’d every page and worked fast and loose, filling a page every night for a couple of month. Whatever came to mind, I journaled.  That was last summer. It set me off onto an art habit that has lasted until now. I had always art journaled previously but never to the extent that I started that summer.

I guess the real question is this: How do you go about making yourself get into your art habit? What do you need to make art everyday? For me I needed to loosen up and make art that didn’t matter to me, I need a journal that was pretty worthless and to work fast. Look at what is holding you back, identify it and eradicate it.