Recently, Ed Kissane of Wantagh, New York wrote, "I'm
constantly fighting a flood of paper that comes into my life. I have a
bedroom and a studio and I try to keep the areas clear, but it grows every
day like a giant amoeba. I try to downsize but I'm losing. The piles of
paper diminish my time at the easel. (Magazines, book reviews, etc.) There
is always something to read and once again the creative moments lose out.
Thanks, Ed. Whenever I hear this one I think "avoidance
system." I once knew a painter who subscribed to all the magazines,
including ones in foreign languages he didn't understand. His wholesale
subscriptions kept him easel-free for several decades. One day he thought
he might paint, but it was too late. That night he subscribed to the big
bundle in the sky.
"Moody Blues" 16x20 oil on acrylic underpainting canvas
For self-employed artists, desire needs to trump distraction.
Even regular checks in the mail shouldn't hinder an artist from his
There's something else as well. Too many art magazines may be
bad for you. It's great to keep informed of the latest trends in New York,
London and Paris, but what about the trending of your own creativity? Too
much awareness of what's out there can give an artist a dose of,
"What's the use? If everybody else is so wonderful, what chance is
there for little old me?"
"Kindred Spirits I" 24x30 acrylic on canvas
How does one act against these common self-destructive
tendencies? Taking into account that personal progress may have something
to do with available talent or ego-drive, here are a few ideas:
·Begin work before you're fully awake.
·Name and claim your own creative processes.
·Fall in love with your daily work habits.
·Take time for creative novelty and
·Teach yourself the arts of multitask and
·Alternate energetic activity with relaxation
·Live in the work of your own making, not
that of others.
·Pencil in projects and set the unconscious
·Have your magazines delivered somewhere
The story of individual progress is largely one of moving from
the business of being entertained to the business of entertaining yourself.
Blessed are those whose main entertainment is their work.
"First Daffodil" 16x20 acrylic on canvas
laptopping you from Yu Yuan (Garden of Peace and Comfort) in Shanghai,
China. Koi circle among the yellow and white lotus as a rhododendron drops
petals, forming a miniature fleet that moves slowly away on the stillness
of the pond. A green heron waits for my thoughts from a nearby rocky ledge,
and I'm remembering a kiosk just outside the dragon wall hawking magazines
and newspapers printed in Mandarin and Cantonese. Alone in this inner
fragrance, I'm considering the nature of passion.
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