Working in my new home studio has proved to be as challenging as it has been conducive. The main obstacle has been acclimating my studio routine to a situation filled with distractions. Realistically, the actually challenge is simply a matter of willpower. Despite the many other things I could (and sometimes should) be doing I have to make myself walk into the other room, close myself off, and get to work.
I’m forever telling students (or thinking my response so intently that it might as well be spoken aloud) that excuses for not making art are just that – excuses. If one wants to find the time (for anything, really) they will make the time. And, like most things said by good teachers, this comes not from a place of judgement but from experience. This certainly does not make it easier to follow through.
I believe that everything we do is a choice and, for me, maintaining a consistent studio practice is a choice I have to make daily (even hourly) regardless of the many good reasons there may be to go alternative routes. I love making work but sometimes the everyday things get in the way, particularly if I allow them too.
My minor struggle largely involves adjusting my habits to accommodate my two cats – really just one of my two cats. One furred demon in particular has a penchant for chewing on the edges of things – specifically plastic and paper. I work best by having a large portion of materials scattered about so that I can make connections and this does not work well with a chewer.
I’ve figured out a few things to distract the little beast from my stacks of paper, tubes of paint, and water jars. As time has gone by my actions are no longer accompanied by the siren song they once were. The most successful solutions have been sitting a stool near the edge of my primary table (where the cats can sit and watch without feeling the need to be on the actual table top) and hanging a bird feeder on the window near my secondary table (which gives them something more interesting to stare at than me).
As the cat and I have come to an understanding, so too have I come to some sort of understanding with myself. I’m slowly learning how to fit working at home into my home-life. Working toward a show has helped keep me motivated and encouraged me to find better solutions to whatever issue I might face.
I’ve discovered that moving my art practice from an academic to home environment has helped me shift my view of my work as well. Rather than see my pieces as something created “for school” I now view them as something created for myself. These two views were always there while in school but rather, their balance was proportionally different than they are now. This perspective has enabled me to hear my own voice more clearly and respond to my own instincts with more confidence.
My work feels more my own then it ever has and this is wonderfully encouraging as I begin my life as a professional artist and educator.
Here is are a few small works from my upcoming solo show entitled “Charting A Course” which opens on August 5th at the Tipton Gallery in Johnson City, TN.