Monday, January 12, 2009

Inquiry: Living into Life

I took yesterday off. Except for a few details drawn in this piece. that I've been working on for a couple of days. This collage in my journal reminding me to live my life, to use my art to enrich my life. Life comes first. Riches come next. That means I have to step back from the ambition sometimes and just BE there in the day, in the moment, in the body.


Yes I did. I didn't feel guilty about not writing (well, maybe a little, until I decided a Sunday without work wasn't a bad thing). I struggle with the concept of taking a day off as I work on developing my daily writing habit. That's the struggle right there. If I want a daily writing habit, then how can I take a day off?

But, more than anything, I want to have a sustainable writing habit. What good is an everyday habit that exhausts me so I give up writing in a month? There has to be room for me to let go, if I am going to keep it up, I think.

Maybe if my day job was one where I had a couple of days off it would be a different story. But I barely get any non sleeping hours off of my day job. And my boss has a tendency to wake up with poopy diapers and/or crawl into bed in the middle of the night, so there's no guarantee I get time off during sleep, either.

On an interesting note, I wrote 3500 words today. Maybe if I log details like this, I will find out if my productivity increases regularly after taking a rest.

Anyway, it's interesting that during the Portfolio Project, which seems like it should be about PRODUCT, I am renewing my interest in process and in living. Living, not doing. Being.

Hey. I just had a thought.

When I teach, the portfolio is not simply a body of work. It is a record of the work the students have done, the things that they have learned, the struggles that they have overcome. Perhaps this version of a portfolio has influenced me more than a professional portfolio of work to sell or image to market.

I think my portfolio for me, right now, is not about that creating of a professional portfolio, but a document of my INQUIRY into how to become a working artist. How to live an artist's life.

You know what else I just did? I opened up my planning and idea notebook and made a list of questions I had about the business of art. Questions like what queries should look like, if I needed a business license to sell art, what to do about taxes. Maybe, just like I had my students do, I should do an idea web taking stock about what I already know about the business off art. I bet it's more than I thought I knew. That would give me a base to start on to BUILD the life I want to live, even in the areas where I am the most insecure.

And it is about building.

There is no way to have that castle in the sky dream without having the structure underneath it to hold it up.
City in the trees, or How We Rise
Pitt Artist Pens, White Gel Pen, Golden Fluid Acrylic

Coincidence that I drew this little city in the trees? No. I don't think so. Do you see all the building verbs in the trunk? I imagine the roots of the tree to have words about my past and education and experiences and all the things that have gotten me to the point where I can start building my little tree house of life.

I like to think that building a life takes all the elements that it might take to grow a tree, the fire of passion and the sun, the water of soul and fluidity, the earth to ground us, and the air that allows us to breathe, to think, to imagine.


Genie Sea said...

"I have to step back from the ambition sometimes and just BE there in the day, in the moment, in the body."
Love that! Bingo!

It is my belief in order to build the life that you want is to live the life that you want :)

I love your tree city and your journal piece!

mapelba said...

I love houses in trees. Keep exploring your imagination--it is taking us to great places.

I know this probably all wrong because I only see these bits of your life that you put here and that you comment there, and I certainly know what a limited view of anyone that can be, but (this sentence is too long) even when you write about your issues with your creative life, you seem to have direction anyway.

Not a straight line direction, necessarily, but you have got hold of something here. Just wanted to say because it is a good thing to get to see your pictures and read your your process.

Jeannine said...

Beautiful illustration.

Shayla said...

Another delightful piece! plus the art journal is fabulous. You're good at explaining your art, too. OMG, 3500 words, in one day?! You were flying along. I usually do work better after a rest.

paintandink said...

LOVE the city in the trees.

On a practical note, I did just find out that here in Chesapeake, I do have to have a business license to sell my artwork out of my home.

Karen Mowrey said...

Hi Rowena! It is taking me a while to catch up with everything. I love both of these, especially the tree city.

I hate the business side of art btw, I registerd my name a few years ago, tax id etc. Now keeping track of everything is not my cup of tea and at some point I have to show my sales exceeding my cost which is hard in the art world. Supplies are not all used up on one piece, etc...ok I'm rambling now...Basically I try not to look at the business side until I really have to and have trust it will all pan out. Easy for me since I have that "cage" job to afford my share of our needs. One step at a time, onceI get better at the business side I will transition out of the cage some more!

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