I was up late last night cleaning out my studio space... and what I mean by that is that I finally finished unpacking/ sorting/ repacking the rest of the boxes from our move a year ago. Upon returning from last week's mini-vacation I realized that I am ready to start taking action on all those ideas that have been bumbling about in my head and in my journal. I didn't plan on this sudden motivation, it just happened, and I'm not about to waste this strange burst of energy.
Clearing out and decluttering my studio space is an important step forward for me. You see, I haven't done a serious painting since before I moved. Sure, I've done plenty of artwork for the bookstore as well as a rather large mural commission--but nothing actually for myself. Way back last fall I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't get swept away by any major painting projects until I was done with my thesis. I did this because, over the years, I have learned that, creatively, I work best when I keep my energy focused on one art form at a time. Not to mention, I also know that I have a tendency to get obsessed with ideas once I get started. I don't generally do just one painting...oh no... I have to do an entire SERIES of paintings! I can't help it. I get going on an idea and doing just one piece is only enough to scratch the surface. It creates an itch of curiosity and I get drawn in. The more I paint, the deeper into the subject matter I find myself. When this happens, I usually find it hard to stop. Painting becomes my first priority; and everything else falls by the wayside.
Don't get me wrong, I love writing also. It is my first love, after all. But writing and painting are two different worlds. When I write, I feel my brain working hard, shifting through language, rhythm, memory, experience, emotion. When I write I feel like I am searching. On occasion, I find what I am looking for and, when this happens, the sensation is euphoric.
But when I paint...this is harder to describe. When I paint it is easier to lose myself. A part of my brain shuts off and I am more easily "in the zone." If things are going well, I form deep relationships with my subject matter. In many ways, painting is easier that writing. Even so, I cannot give up writing. Writing is like oxygen. Painting is like water. I need both. The difficulty is in finding a balance, but I am getting better at it. I am learning that when I am focusing on one art form, I will not lose the other. I take turns with each, and it seems that Writing and Painting have, finally, learned to be more patient with each other.
Yesterday brought with it an incredible sense of accomplishment. Between gardening and studio cleaning, I worked from the time I got up until the time I went to bed (well after midnight) and in the process I was able to complete two major projects. I got started and then I couldn't stop. It felt so good to finally FINALLY be getting things done that I didn't dare quit.
These days I am on the cusp of some new adventures.
#1: My husband and I will be launching our new web design business (more about this soon!).
#2: I will begin work on 2 new series of paintings in the very near future (one of portraits and the other of urban landscapes).
#3: I will be phasing out of the bookstore and phasing in art income.
By cleaning out my studio, I am giving myself permission to return to painting. And you know what? It feels good. Ever since waking up this morning I keep sneaking downstairs to take it in. The space is clean, organized, and much more open. The only thing it's missing is the smell of OIL PAINT. I'm even thinking about getting some fish for V's abandoned fish tank and putting them in the studio so I have something that needs my attention on a daily basis. Since fish need to be cared for, I will use them as lure to get me down there, even on days when I think I am too busy. Anyway, I think fish are beautiful. Maybe they will even inspire a series of fish paintings?
I spent the morning and early afternoon tying up a few more loose ends, cleaning the kitchen, and finally putting away the accumulated piles of books and paper in my writing room. This, right now, is a blogging break. Oh, how I love a good blogging break!
What next? Well, the rest of the day is dedicated to working on an essay for my thesis. To stay sane, I have started working in 2 hour blocks of time. 2 hours at the table in the back yard. Then a break to walk the dogs and eat dinner with V. Who knows...I might even lay in the hammock for a little while and soak up the warmth of the day. Then I'll pack up my laptop and papers and head to a coffee shop for a couple more hours of writing. Oh, sweet, blissful Mondays!
Today, my life feels new and the possibilities actually feel possible. Even though forward movement is rarely more than a series of many small actions, this is how momentum is gained. Today, my heart feels wide open. And this moment...this particular moment is the beginning of what happens next.
My mood: passionate. and hopeful, too.