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An Artist's Balancing Act

Updated: Jul 23, 2023

There are only so many hours in a day. 24 to be exact. I would like to share with you my recent experiences at finding equilibrium.

The inability to complete an impossible task felt like defeat. I had to sit myself down last night and perform a reality check. I'd been in the zone painting and enjoying the process, loving how the piece was progressing, and thinking that it would be perfect to submit to a particular art show. The only trouble was that the deadline for submission was the day after tomorrow. And life seemed to get in the way. My personal life! How dare it?

Do I rush through to meet the deadline? How would the time crunch effect the finished work of art? I'm sure all you artists out there are answering these questions as you are reading this blog post. (No. Horrible. Always paint from the heart. Do your best work!)

And then I could hear my own little voice in my head yelling, "Get your priorities in order!"

I have been an artist all my life. I have come to realize that there is a time and a season to create, to refrain from creating, to create in a different way. There is art and life. I cannot seem to separate the two so I like to think I live an artful life. My husband and I are both highly creative types. So it's easy to plunge headlong into all that is new and fun. We love those shiny pennies.

But I have found that a periodic check on those balances is a key to regaining and maintaining the calm horizontal strokes, as Seurat would say, that constitute a well tempered artist. I revisit my plan every 3 months or so.

Here are some questions I had to answer along my artist's journey:

1. Where are you going with your art? Professional or hobbyist?

2. How many hours in a week do you want to put in on art?

3. Do you want to work weekends?

4. How much energy do you have to give?

As you can see, each of these simple questions is a stepping off point for another discussion with one's self. But they can be helpful when the crunch time happens.

For example, establishing how many hours a week I wanted to put into my art business helped my inner voice talk me off the ledge over completing that painting for a show deadline that was self-imposed. Looking back at my calendar proved I've been putting in the time. More likely my expectations were unrealistic and out of balance.

I am purposely not overlaying the personal in this discussion because that is the other side of the coin. Everyone has unique circumstances that comprise their life: children, elders, f/t jobs, medical constraints.

My point is to rein in or expand the art side of life so that it stays in the balance you set with the personal. As a sage of an artist told me recently, "Put the blinders on so you are not compelled to constantly compare yourself as an artist to others. Set your own goals and work at your own pace." The simple wisdom of these words help me maintain an artful lifestyle that I can totally enjoy.

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