The Laws of Nature

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Artists' Round Table (A.R.T.)

I'll take a short break from reviewing Orland's book today to discuss my morning. Some wonderful local artists joined me in a round table discussion about the various aspects of being a professional artist. There was no agenda so the conversation could freely expand and contract around our personal interests and experiences. As a friend of mine used to say, we discussed everything "from strawberries to the moon!" - as long as it was related to art.

One topic was the importance of dedicating time to make art; that is, having regular hours and sticking to it. However, a more important point was made by our good friend Carolyn , who wisely noted that making time in our heads is essential. This means clearing from our thoughts the numerous distractions and trivial concerns that prevent us from focusing on artmaking. That can be especially difficult for those of us who've spent a lifetime as caretakers of children, spouses, and parents. Our thoughts tend to stray even when we're in our studios and we tend to abandon our artmaking on a moment's notice when needed elsewhere.

So, a change in thinking must precede a change in our physical habits. This was an important and meaningful take-away from our meeting. I wonder what we'll discuss next month?


Linda Roth said...

Since January, I've noticed that I can make a regular time for painting between three and five most afternoons, and drawing most evenings. I would prefer to paint in the mornings, 6:30 to 8:30, but that has turned into blog time and both blogging and drawing/painting has cut into exercise time. Not good. Painting and exercise are a must. So recently, I've decided it's my blogging that needs to be cut back.

As much as I love the writing and comments, I intend to do that in January. Drawing-of-the-day will be deleted and I'll start one that isn't so demanding. The daily blog helped me establish the habit, I can now discard the tool.

Robin said...

I have been very fortunate to attend weekly business round table discussions where I live now for the last 3 years and they have been invaluable!
The facilitator reminds us that business issues are the same no matter what your business is and most times she is correct:)
I hope your group will continue to meet and maybe use Alyson Stanfields book, 'I'd Rather be in the Studio' as a loose guide to keep you focused on growing your art business.

Carolyn Abrams said...

Kathy, This was a great morning indeed. and i love the name. It's perfect!! These discussions are so important to us as we make our way through the art path. Unlike many people who go to work each day and have break room talks with coworkers we artists don't have that connection so meeting and talking art on a regular basis is great. Thank you for putting this together!

Anonymous said...

Hi Kathy, An artist round table sounds wonderful! I have noticed that I have a tendency to clear all sorts of tasks before I get down to painting. The result is that I often paint in the evening. Might need to work on that!

Celeste Bergin said...

I love our art discussion meetings. I wish they were a little more organized, because they are sort of "free form". I might bring up this scheduling thing in the next meeting. It is a valuable discussion!

-Don said...

I like Carolyn's break room analogy. It's really true. Right now I have one person that I meet with regularly for round table discussions. I blogged about her the other day. Other than that, my online friends are my "artists' round table". You've all been a blessing.

As for distractions, I found that once I committed to creating daily the distractions in my life ended up being my artwork. No matter what I'm doing, there is creating or planning occurring in my psyche - always. While watching TV my wife and kids have all commented on the fact that I don't see commercials most of the time - my mind is elsewhere - usually in my studio. When I'm doing chores my mind is in my studio. When I made a wrong turn at the intersection and had my navigator call me on it, I was probably thinking about my latest work on the easel. When I go lay down in bed in a few minutes my mind will be going over what I've created today and begin planning tomorrow's adventure. When I take my daughter to school tomorrow morning we'll probably talk about what she has coming up for the day and what I created yesterday.


M said...

Love the name and the concept of your meetings.
Certainly clearing our minds to embrace art making is important. I've seen the results of a cluttered mind on my own practice this summer. My output is hugely decreased. Life takes over. Even through all that I think about art daily in some form or other and I think it will all work out in the end.

Unknown said...

Hi L.W. - I agree. I've had to cut back on the amount of time I spend blogging and facebooking. Like you, I value painting and exercise each day. It's important.

Hi Robin - thanks for the recommendation! I'll look for it.

Hi Carolyn - that's a great way to see it! Thanks and thanks for a great discussion.

Hi Peggy - wish you lived close enough to join us!!

Hi Celeste - we discussed whether or not to have an agenda but decided against it. So, we'll see where this goes. Thanks for your input!

Hi Don - I can tell that your mind is always at work when it comes to artistry and related professional activities. You're on fire!

Hi Margaret - it WILL work out in the end because you're dedicated to that outcome. I, for one, can't wait to see what you creat next!

Mark Sheeky said...

There's time and quality time. It's really important for me to have an hour of complete silence at night. Oddly, it's not the silence that is restful but the idea of it because after a few minutes I tend to put some classical music on. Either way it's a curious truth that one of the greatest assets to my creativity as a visual artist has been my relatively recent blindfold.