The way I see it, we each spend far too much time focused on the ‘have to’s that have to get done that we don’t make the time to follow our ‘must do’s’ that feed our soul.
So to combat this, I’m getting accountable and holding nothing back in a series and exhibition called 'Balancing Act,' a behind the scenes insight into balancing commitments and creativity.
The first Monday of the month I’ll share a monthly insight into the studio of how I balanced the previous month’s workload, life and business with the pursuit of something that’s on the heart - a Solo show. This will be packed with honesty, tips and lessons learned from deconstructing the month.
This is how I balanced April.
April and Honouring the Intrinsic
Last year, three other artists and I worked on a touring exhibition called ‘Materiality’ in which we created a new piece of artwork for each new show.. The idea came about because we all decided that we needed a way of balancing making a living from art with making art for a full living.
A subtle but important difference.
You see, when you or your art becomes a business, it can be a balancing act to continue to carve time to support your own creativity and make art for yourself, purely for art's sake.
Materiality was created to facilitate this and a comment left about my work perfectly summed up my thoughts:
'There is something super twisted but beautiful about these.....like little human knots.'
What this Materiality series revealed was that I had become utterly stuck. I’d spent so much time on the needs of building my business, my income, my ‘have to’s’ and my security and that I had lost sight of the very reason for starting in the first place - my intrinsic need to create, my ‘must do.’
As such, my artwork had retreated to the subconscious, feeling out of grasp and often tying me into knots that I had not been creating.
The Materiality exhibitions last year, my solo show coming up in October and this monthly review series have all been put in place to provide accountability and awaken my sculptural work out of this almost dream like state.
And it’s working.
April was the first month in a long while that my work started to feel real again and the reason is because I finally began to commit to myself. I disregarded any notions of selfishness and just created within scheduled ‘power blocks’, a 1.5 hour distraction free session to work on something creative.
If you feel like you’re blocked, in a creative vacuum or wonder why you've lost your art, unashamedly commit to yourself and honour your intrinsic need. You don’t need to commit much, just one power block, then another, and then the next.
Because power blocks stack - they build a wall of protection around your creativity.
Inside the Studio
Week beginning 1st: was spent within my editorial calendar drafting out new website posts, emails and starting a Pinterest account. A few moments away from the laptop and this corner of my brain included delivering a demonstration on Skin Tones to an Art club, my Niece’s birthday and our Friday Friendly Art Club at Ards Art Centre for people recently diagnosed with Dementia.
Week beginning 8th: completed the first term of beginners hand-building ceramics at the Island Art Centre ceramic course, attending an Inter-generational Arts Conference and starting the first of a two part sculpting the face workshop. Alongside this, I was in the studio, power blocking away at my sculpture.
Week beginning 15th: was taken up with kiln maintenance alongside finishing off the making of Interlinked Sculpture. A personal and heartfelt journey to visit my uncle’s grave to plant one of my wedding bouquet porcelain flowers gave a chance to reminisce with my mother and brother in a part of Ireland we spent many summers in. Finally, the second part of our Sculpting the Face workshop was completed with some mind blowing results.
Week beginning 22nd: I took most of this week off to spend with my husband, friends and family over the Easter period. Spent a few mornings in the studio beginning a new sculpture but mainly I concentrated on connecting with loved ones, particularly as we both move into our next busy season where Mark and I become ships in the night again.
Week beginning 29th: was devoted to studio time where work began on new sculptures. Completed 2 mini watercolour portrait commissions, visited the Leonardo da Vinci exhibition, had a meeting about a new Inter-generational project, updated website with Spring courses and reconnected with the Friday Friendlies’ art class for people recently diagnosed with Dementia.
Next Month: I’ll start to enter into the next busy season with classes, projects and commissions mounting up. I intend to focus much of the first half of the month on the solo show to get the next large piece finished. Smaller works can be created during intervals within the busy season..
April Website Updates:
On the Journal:
Balancing Act Quick Links:
If you’re just catching this now, here’s what’s happened so far:
January Tactic: Balance and Accountability
January Review: White Space
February Tactic: Define the Pace
February Review: Wrestling Resistance
March Tactic: Action Versus Reaction
March Review: The Knock-on Effect
April Tactic: Go Wide or Go Deep
May Tactic: Sow a Mustdo Seed
What about you?
Let me know in the comments below how you found this month, what you’ve created, or what you’re struggling with and particularly if you ever feel blocked or guilt about devoting time to your own creativity. And if you want an added dose of support, sign up to Studio notes to receive free tips, lessons, discounts and insights into the studio right to your inbox.
I hope you have a creative April and stay tuned for the second part of Balancing Act - a thought, tactic or strategy to help you make time for your he[art] coming out on Monday 20 April.