Wednesday, January 23, 2013

5 Changes to the Way you make art, so you can keep making it when your life changes

The last two posts in this series have dealt with finding time for creative pursuits. Today we look at some changes in HOW you create art to stay productive when you become a parent, or get a high needs dog or start taking care of your aging parents, or whatever...

1.Factory flow

sewing many hats at once, sometimes franklin was even in the room with me.


It is tempting to get precious with our mysterious creative process, those magical visits from the muse that cannot be interrupted. The truth is, after the inspiration comes the making real. And that making can often be broken into smaller, less glamorous tasks. For example, my creative flow is in the moment I am cutting up a sweater and imagining the animal it will become or the pattern I will stitch into a tshirt hat. It is difficult for me to do that with half attention. But then there are several more steps to create the product. Some parts can be efficiently lumped together, some can be done at home with Franklin underfoot and some can be done when I am sitting in my market booth. Steeb has taken this approach with his paintings too. He may have a day applying gesso, then he brings boards home to draw on them, then takes them back to the studio to add color. If you are transporting your works in process, you may need to shift your scale or medium.
paintings in process from me and steeb's show at the old town cafe this fall


You may need to change the size of your work. Perhaps you need to make something that can be stashed in your bag, transported back and forth, easily pulled out and put away. If you have work space at home you may need to share that space with additional members of your household as your family changes.You may need to work larger so that your baby won't choke on your amazing miniatures. Also you should consider how size affects your ability to finish a piece and the price point for that size of work.


You may need to shift your medium completely due to toxicity, cost of materials, space or time available for your work. This could be almost in perceivable to your fans, like switching from oil paints to acrylic or could be a huge leap, from paints to fibers.Trust that your essential style and the story you need to tell will come through no matter if you are sculpting in fine porcelain or empty toilet paper tubes.


I could spend hours at the studio waiting for the inspiration, setting up the right mix of coffee and music and taking breaks to visit studio neighbors. I don't have three hours to get in the mood if I want to accomplish anything these days. Now I take notes in a sketchbook, often finding inspiration when playing with Franklin. I think up solutions to design problems while putting him down for a nap or sitting at the park. I let our life together inspire me. I try to stay loose and open throughout the day for ideas and then get down to business in my 2-4 hours at the studio. Also, your subject matter may change as you let life change you. It is natural to have a major life experience be processed in some way through your art.
making art together isn't usually for sale, but keeps things fresh in the studio.


You may need to seriously reexamine your attitude to the importance of art in your life. If you do not believe art is a vital part of your health, well being and true wealth, it will be really hard to make time for it when there are bills to be paid and children tugging on your sleeve whining. When you are relatively care free and in control of all your hours, these assumptions are not tested. But especially if a once balanced partnership shifts with parenting duties, you may have to really define and defend your values. It may feel like a selfish luxury to ask for private creative time. Ask for it anyway.  Recognize that your art is important to the world, that doing what you love will open doors and that one of the most awesome acts we can perform as parents is to let our children see us making time to follow our dreams.

Know that it is not easy and that you are not alone. I can't wait to see what we create.

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