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Examining Ambitions

Today I was talking to a friend at the life drawing session that I attend most Sundays. I was excited when she started talking about finding the motivation to paint, since that is what I’ve been writing about. She said that often she simply doesn’t feel like working every single day and that she ends up feeling badly about not doing it. I found that an astute observation, because I think it happens to a lot of artists.

I don’t recommend feeling badly about yourself for any reason, but if it actually helped to get you into the studio then it might be hard to argue against it. I think it is really helpful to examine for one self and to see if it works for you. Sometime we feel badly about ourselves because we actually believe that it is useful for some purpose. It’s good to check and see if it actually is useful.

Diane was also talking about using strategies like deciding on a reasonable (not overly ambitious) amount of time to spend painting and creating a schedule. This is important because it is easy to become turned off to the whole thing when we set expectations that are too ambitious. We may think we will suddenly start painting eight hours a day, six days a week, because that is what artists do (at least that’s the idea we have).

The other thing that I am starting to work with is not just how to get myself to paint more, but how to really want to paint more. How to really get into it. I also find that quite often I am deterred from working because of ambitions or expectations that are too high. I do not notice that I feel scared or intimidated; I might just feel completely uninspired.

In my next post I would like to talk about spontaneous painting and drawing as a way to get the juices flowing when there is no inspiration on the horizon. and also about mixing it up – not sticking with the same approach and why we are conditioned to believe that’s what we should do.

4 replies
  1. Diane Wile-Brumm
    Diane Wile-Brumm says:

    Showing the progress of your paintings is really interesting. I like the graphite image – especially the shape of the girl’s face and legs. You are brave to work purely from imagination.

    The struggle is universal, it seems. I copped your idea of working on one subject with different media – with some success. It felt good while doing it, at least in the sense of being ‘good practice’. This week I am trying out the idea of doing a couple long, more intense painting days, with days in between devoted to other pursuits, some creative, some more mundane. We’ll see how that goes.

    Love the blog.

    Reply
    • admin
      admin says:

      Thanks for looking at the blog, Diane. I’m really enjoying working from imagination. Everything takes on more meaning. I constantly find things that are not saying what I want them to say and need to be reworked. The position of the arm changes because I want more flow or movement, not because I am drawing what is in front of me.

      I like that your experiment, “felt good while doing it.” That’s really what I’m going after right now. I want to see if the rest will fall into place.

      Reply
  2. Thumbprint Cookie Recipe
    Thumbprint Cookie Recipe says:

    A thoughtful insight and ideas I will use on my blog. You’ve obviously spent some time on this. Congratulations!

    Reply

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