Wednesday, January 27, 2010

cleaning out the clutter

I love all my treasures, the bits and pieces from trips to the collection of kid art that adorns the fridge. However sometimes I just feel overwhelmed by all the clutter from what is on my desk to what is clogging my email in box or jamming up my living room. This visual clutter is just too much to take and starts to diminish my creative ability. Yes, I do NOT create well with clutter.

Being that today is one of the few sunny days we have had in Portland over the last few months, I am very aware that winter has started to pile up. From boots by the front door, to blankets piled on sofas, to the stacks of paper on my desk. Compound this with my new computer configuration, which is a workaround- laptop attached to cinema display. Yes I can see that my creativity will take a steep jump up once I put some crap away.

My good friend Kriss who is a textile pattern maker used to say the clean-up was required to 'clear the birth canal'. Which to a chick is a good analogy. And I must say as a visual person I don't really want to visualize that statement but...I do think there is a truth to it. I can't create when I am all stuffed up with stuff.

With that said, I am going to eject the two dogs and the cat from my office, open a window for some fresh air, and start purging!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

training a dog is a lot like making a career in art

Really? Do you question my post title? Well let me tell you, as both an artist and an owner of a young dog, they really are quite similar. How you ask? Let me tell you...

1) Patience ; yes it takes patience to train a dog, lots and lots of patience. And it takes patience to have a career in art. With a dog the patience required is due to the repetition, the amount of time it takes your dog to 'get it' when you try and teach him/her a trick or preferred behavior. As an artist it takes a mountain of patience to keep working, keep submitting, and finally to get accepted.

2) Repetition ; oh yes Virginia it takes repetition. For the dog it is simple, teaching them the task/trick/behavior over and over until they get it. This dovetails nicely into the previous 'patience'. As for artists, repetition in creating a style, in sticking with a genre, a system for follow through with contacts. Repetition in not giving up at the first rejection letter (yes I said rejection).

3) Reward ; this is obvious for dogs, if they do what you want they get a reward. Now as artists we don't have any control over getting a reward. I suppose you could say the reward is a contract signed. But that sort of doesn't reward us for achieving a goal that is behind the scenes but equally important to making art. So, my suggestion is, reward YOURSELF when you accomplish something. It can be a cup of coffee, a new piece of jewelry, an afternoon off. But you have to reward yourself.

Now, can you argue with that? Of course not, because you know I am right. With that said, I am going to take my 6 month old golden retriever puppy for a long walk. Get him all tired out so I can draw without guilt!