Thursday, December 2, 2021

Coming Back To Art Full Time

Coming back to art full time © 2021 Christy Sheeler Artist
My process and path:  My return to creating again.

The end of August marked the end of my part time job of nannying.  It was part time in that I was working full time about 6 months out of the year.  From March to August, my art making was not in full swing but I painted in the pockets of available free time.  I enjoyed that job very much yet missed this pursuit even more.  The Carpenter family continues to be close to my heart and we'll be friends that are more like family for many more years to come.

With other things that were happening in my personal life and family needs being our top priority, I didn't jump right into art creating right away.  In fact, I felt rusty and awkward about the painting sessions in September.  As frustrated as I felt with the results, I knew it was important to keep showing up to paint.  The easy thing would be to not show up because it might not end with a masterpiece.  Instead, I chose to push forward and give myself permission to be unhappy with whatever my brush and I made that day.  Sometimes the time spent painting is just for my own self care, not because I need to have a painting to sell.  I don't ever want to be driven by the goal of selling.  That creates so much pressure that intimidates and stifles me creatively.  When the painting time feels like nothing came of it from an bystander's perspective, I face that head on.  Brush it off and come back tomorrow.  And with time, it all started to come back to me.  I continue picking up my brush.

A very happy me back in my studio. © 2021 Christy Sheeler Artist

I have been painting on a regular basis but before August I was not always rested and able to spend several hours painting in one sitting.  Some paintings I love and others have brought me frustration.  That's just how this goes.  Many of my paintings have been 5" x 7" sizes because they are more manageable in short spurts of time.  They can easily be finished in one or two sittings.  I don't lose my momentum and vision when working in pockets of time.  And so for that reason, it's much harder when the paper is larger.  I have two large paintings in process right now that are not pleasing me, not what I want, and I don't know what to do next.  I keep telling myself to relax and not let that define me.

Color mixing notes or charts.  Making these is relaxing for me.© 2021 Christy Sheeler Artist

So, my beginning stages of getting comfortable in the art room again took a round about path.  With work projects in the garden and back yard to be completed before winter makes its arrival, I brought in quite a few potted plants.  There are green onions and a variety of herbs.  My spinach and lettuce are not doing well and I believe that is lack of sufficient lighting.  Our days are shorter now and my lights need replacing most likely.  Long winters in Montana are easier to handle when there's some plants growing here in my space.

Bringing green inside; my herbs take the table by the window. © 2021 Christy Sheeler Artist

I moved my main painting location back to a previous work table.  It's closer to the center of the room which will be warmer during the winter months.  Funny how this feels more comfortable for me and I am glad I made the change.  I am sensitive about what clutter is bothering me and tackle those areas a little at a time.  I am structuring this space so it is primed for creative atmosphere, like I can come to this space that has a spa like atmosphere.  I am making decisions for designing a sanctuary for creativity.

Now rearranged again, my view of the windows.  © 2021 Christy Sheeler Artist

I have so much space for storage and it seems to be overflowing with stuff.  I felt so overwhelmed and anxious in the room that it was very obvious this needed to be overhauled in a big way.  I went through under table shelves and boxes.  I emptied out cupboards and chose what to get rid of to make room for what supplies are a higher priority to my art creating process.  There are still a few piles to go through but it's much more manageable now.

Clearing out the extra and boxing up for give away.© 2021 Christy Sheeler Artist

In reality, I would just rather keep showing up and doing nothing else but paint more art.  The stacks of new artwork need to be given time and focus though.  I am getting more organized with my planning so that projects are being tackled in the most effective way.  Paintings are getting pressed under weight of heavy books to remove the paper's buckling.  Inventory spreadsheets are being readied for titles to come soon.  I am looking at the weather for best sunshine to help with photographing artwork for the website.  Large sheets of watercolor paper is soon to be cut into dimensions I enjoy most.  Those smaller sheets of watercolor paper will be taped to boards so they are ready to grab for new paintings.

Feeling overwhelmed by this chaos, I need to work out solutions. © 2021 Christy Sheeler Artist

I have been aware in the past that my best time for painting is mid morning.  I might do a bit of light housework before but I need to be cautious not to come to my paint sessions already worn out.  That only brings frustration much sooner.  If there is vacuuming to be done, it should be done late afternoon because that activity is so hard on my arms and wrists.  I am becoming so much more aware of bringing my freshest self to painting time.

Practicing the habit of beginning with a few watercolor sketches. © 2021 Christy Sheeler Artist

As I move into fall and winter months, I am focusing on creating a routine of good habits for pursuit of art.  I am being gentle and patient with myself.  I fight the feeling that I should be catching up to where fulltime artists are at this time of year with their promoting and selling.  A frustrated and anxious artist will not be happy in the creating and the art will reflect this as well.  So, I take each day with its goals and tasks and remind myself to be patient.  I am choosing to enjoy the journey and love that I have the time available to be here.  I am hopeful and excited.

One of the newest pieces to be completed while in progress.  © 2021 Christy Sheeler Artist

Yesterday, I sat down to write here not knowing what I would have to say.  It happens like this so often.  And yet somehow I find the words for what I want to say.  I do love sharing what happens here in the art room and along the scenic drives to finding art reference photograph.  I look forward to living this way, being my everyday experience and soaking up owning my identity as an artist.  It was difficult to be away from this so much though I didn't express it as often as I felt it.  My mind loves the thought of creating my interpretation of what I have seen and felt as it relates to nature.  I have a feeling that more change is coming my way with how I hold the brush and fill the page and I am in love with that more than I can say.  In fact, we have plans in motion for making weekend getaways to the mountains a regular habit.  Spring of 2022, I will be able to share more about that exciting development.  I am dreaming of plein air painting and travel art supplies getting much more use!

As the day fades and I wrap up work for the day.  © 2021 Christy Sheeler Artist

Thank you for taking time out of your day to join me here.  This is my creative journey as an artist.  I have more to bring and share here.  I won't make a promise to be here each week.  I hope that happens but life has a way of bringing detours.  As it is possible, I do have a goal of posting on Thursdays for whatever reason.  I have been organizing my photos into online albums and that has helped me realize there is plenty of material for new blog posts.  More progressive posts to come, meaning I will share the completed artwork with photos taken along its journey and a few photos of the place that inspired me to paint it in the first place.  If that excites you, stay tuned!  

She must make art.

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