Saturday, May 31, 2014

What Makes an Artist?

You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. ― Joseph Campbell

I have no new work to show, all paintings are on hold as I am doing a special project, very hush hush, so I can't share yet, but I will be able to at some point and you will be the first to know :-).
I have a deadline and that always scares me, but also feels good. I always make my deadlines :-).
I wanted to talk about what being an artist means these days. You have to be good at your craft and that means working. But you also have to be a photographer, a computer whiz, a marketing whiz. A shipper and a packer, or if you are lucky enough to have enough money to hire people to do all that stuff. I dream of the day I have an assistant :-). Add to that if you are single like me, you do all the cleaning and cooking and dog walking and shopping. Then add a part time job, down to 17 hours a week, so not so bad.
My question really is, is being an artist all about the work or do other things factor in? These days everyone is driven, do more, keep pushing. I struggle with this as it is my belief and experience that is not the case.
As an artist I need long walks in the forest, I need to sit and read and watch the birds, I need to see and visit with friends, I sometimes need a good movie. These are all things I love as much as I love art and they inform my work. These things take time and art takes time. I am not one who can do a quick painting, my work is process driven, it is what I love and it takes time. Sometimes one piece takes a month or 2 and part of that time is spent slowing down and living life, taking in each moment and really paying attention to it.
I am wondering what all you other artists, including writers, think of this, do you, like me, sometimes feel guilty that you are not doing your craft while you read a book :-).  Happy weekend. XOXO

 “The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place; from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.
—  Pablo Picasso


sukipoet said...

well said. Even the most driven artist/writer must take time out for eating, sleeping, shopping, walks. but the focus of creating something makes the artist do more and want to do more, like parallel lives. Sometimes the underlife of artmaking is hidden and friends do not even know about it. A writer can sometimes be more hidden than a painter. New project sounds fun. Suki

Annie said...

Suki, I agree, I don;t think non artists understand how important down time is to an artist. xoxo

Houseelf said...

I think we are like soup- everything goes into the pot of our creativity, then bits are dished up from our experiences. I have a hard time juggling what I want to do with what I know needs to be done. There are times though, when you do just have to walk away and detach yourself from the intense creative proces and just breathe and feel the sun on your skin.

Annie said...

Melanie, Amen, that is what I am saying. xoxo said...

i couldn't have said it better! and i really like what the others have said here too. Especially sukipoet "living parallel lives"...that is a perfect explanation for myself as darn near EVERY single eye contact with the "regular" part of our days...meanders off to thinking of creative ways to encorporate the physical and emotional ties! thank you for a wonderful sharing post! ;)

Annie said...

Wanda, Thank you. It does seem that life as an artist is we are always thinking of the work :-). xoxo

Judy Shreve said...

Annie - great post and you know I've been thinking about the same things. I definitely agree in order to create, we need alone time - not 'down' time, - if I get too crazy busy that doesn't happen. I think most non-artists don't realize that we are always working . . .but the processing takes solitude.
And you are also right about having to wear so many hats - marketer, computer whiz, shipper, photographer - besides all the things necessary to living our lives.
Exciting about your new project - looking forward to hearing about it soon.

Annie said...

Judy, you are right, being single and some what of a hermit (by choice) I have lots of alone time, but if I am striving and have lots to do, that does not seem to matter.
I think we need both, alone time and time to do other things besides art in a slow and relaxed manner.
I am afraid it will be a while before I will be able to reveal my secret, but once I am done with the project I will have other art to share. xoxo

Unknown said...

Oh, an assistant! What a thing to fantasize about! Yes, I agree with you on all counts. The many hats we wear as artists, the other day-to-day things that take time away from our work, and time needed to fuel the creative spirit.
Yup, I can relate.

Annie said...

Karine, I figured I could not be the only one :-). xoxo

kj said...

Annie, I love when I just let it flow and by it I mean I do what I feel like. I also love when I write. This summer I am going to swing in the hammock and think about my characters :-)

I like knowing what you're up to. It makes me happy


Annie said...

Kj, Oh yes, lots of swinging going on :-)xoxo

Lisa Graham said...

This is a great post and lots of great thoughts here. I have been sort of backing away from my art a bit...puttering around the house...reading (without guilt)...gardening...and it feels great. But there is something inside me that says this is all to get ready for the next wave of creativity...whenever or whatever it may be. It's true...and artist is always working.

Annie said...

Lisa, Yes, we are always working :-). Enjoy your time gardening and puttering something will come of it, it always does :-). xoxo

Hastypearl said...

Art is a garden. Art is a phone call. Art is your dogs expression. Those don't pay the bills, but they nourish your souls. I hear a lot, about artists wearing out from the circuit, but being afraid to stop. That's the circuit, not art. Appreciate your candor, as I am just getting started. Laura

annie said...


If you are an artist then everything you see and do gets put into your work. Good luck with your
artistic life, it is all about balance. xoxo

Unknown said...

I know exactly what you mean, Annie! Art takes time and I am more than aware that artists have lots of little routines before they can sit down and start lifting that paint brush to paint. I guess the best way to actually start making art is to sit down and just paint, right? To silence the world for a minute and sit in front of a canvas until it eats you up, delightfully. I think assistants would really be a big help if art takes your time as much as you say it does. Anyway, I love your work. I hope to see more. All the best! :)

Mary Hughes @ Sorted-PA