Wednesday, April 6, 2011

"Staying Engaged Outside the Studio"

Since January, I began doodling and sketching at nite instead of keeping up with my journal writing.  This cold winter in my Los Angeles loft cut my studio time short and a new strategy developed.  The anxiety of shortened studio days of working on paintings led me to a funny idea of my "I can't sleep pages" as well as a "One Sketch A Day" process and discipline.  

Staying engaged with art is extremely important as I have experienced many cycles of stopping and starting.  The personal life challenges and big transitions continue to push-- keeping me digging deeper and learning faster and faster.  

As artists, we can become limited by our inner and outter life disturbances.  I've discussed this in other posts -- these changes whether positive or seemingly negative have an impact.  The limitations when these unexpected periods occur, create feelings of failure and sometimes a loss of purpose for our intended dreams of wanting to follow the work with discipline, honesty and enthusiasm.

The longer I stay distanced from working, the more energy it takes for me to return.  My return is about the regularity, discipline and engagement.  Working within my sketchbooks has become an enjoyable and different kind of engagement.  There is no pressure, no feeling of failure and a new format to explore.  

Staying engaged with these art journals is cultivating patience and motivating a flow of discipline during a workflow adjustment.  A type of waiting without feeling idle.  As we know, waiting is a big part of the art game -- responses from the world frequently takes a very long time....if and when it comes.  Making art requires waiting and very often while you're waiting, staying engaged is everything.  

It would be nice to know what will happen with our work and our life, but we can't know.  I find staying close to your work, whatever it is that works for you, facilitates maintaining one's mental health!  Who hasn't experienced mood swings -- ups and downs... The shifts in our circumstances and mistakes in decisions and executions --not to mention lots of rejection and experiences of feeling dismissed. 

 Always a constant updating of your plan, especially now with the intensity of the internet and social networking media.  Adjusting to our day to day life is more constant than we realize.   The cold navigating comes when we are forced to be tougher with ourselves and forced to personally establish stronger boundaries to survive.  More energy is demanded when adding in the factor of detaching from the work that is out of our reach, and making that shift to committing to new work that wants to come.  Or, coming to terms with the reality that we can't make that shift or take that risk right now.  It's never easy but showing up is still the ultimate bottom line.  

Here are some of the images from my pages that I feel most connected to right now.  This one was my first entry.    

I keep showing up because it's much harder to stay dis-engaged.

The next post will be about the "mini-processes" going on with this personal dialogue, and my experiential feedback from the composite of drawings and sketches.  There's an active element and observation seeking to unfold.  

  "All space is space in which to create -- go directly to work!" 
                                _Eric Maisel, author "Fearless Creating" 


  1. Cyndy, I'm going to link to this in my blog. It hit me right in the solar plexus. It's what I need to be doing! Some weeks it's difficult just to get out there and plant my feet in the studio. Not because I don't want to, but because of the distractions of life. But this I can do.

    I used to to Morning Pages, but for years now I haven't written in long hand much at all because of being spoiled by the computer. So even that feels like an effort. But thinking in shapes and color would be the perfect thing!

    You are a wise woman. (And the products of your process are more than fabulous too!!)


  2. M -- Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this and nice to know that we among many others i'm sure are sloghing along in the same way! I know you are doing it -- your daily posts prove your deep committment to your work. I'm at a new place now where I push myself to work even when I don't feel like it. Interesting to watch the resistance and pushing through and get what you get.

    Yes, Morning Pages... I still do long hand once a day but not as many pages as in the past. You'll enjoy transitioning from the writing to sketching in your half blank journals! Color, Shapes & exploring with all the cool drawing tool will blow your mind! Get some watercolor pencils and a Japanese water pen!

    Thanks always for your support and staying connected! oh, and for back-linking to me! that's awesome!
    big hug - Cyndy

  3. thanks Cyndy. I needed yours and Martha's comments right now. I also tried to do morning pages but I have found that my blogs postings have taken their place. Last year, when I was going through a difficult time, my constant play in my sketchbooks kept me moving forward. I'm looking forward to following your work and words


  4. Hi Lottie - Great that your blog postings are happening! I've been the opposite, morning pages and not blogging... I think whatever expression calls, following it is the right response. Your line drawings are beautiful and keep engaging in whatever works. Thanks for stopping by and look forward to sharing more about this process through these posts. :) Cyndy

  5. hi cindy
    thank you for writing this. its helping to get going post a long break from art for me.

  6. Shilpa,
    I'm glad this post could give you something to get going again! Thanks for stopping by and I'll be returning to this dialogue hopefully in the next few days! You've just given me a nudge! :)