Time and Productivity
As I am getting older the concept of time is becoming a more frequent subject in my thoughts than ever before. Summer has been slow to announce it's self this year in Southern California, taking it's time to increase it's intensity incrementally, degree by subtle degree. Alas, I do feel that it is finally upon us at last... and we are in for the long and lethargic drudge through the blistering summer months.
There is something so very nostalgic about the summertime for me. When I was a child in Canada, Australia or Connecticut summers were synonymous with holidays, freedom from school, and long lazy afternoons pleasurably spent wasting time. My, how times have changed...
I do believe it is the predicament of the creative person to feel as it there is never enough hours in the day and never enough production happening within those hours to be satisfied. Unlike the long dreamy summers of my childhood, where a day spent rearranging all the books on my bookshelf alphabetically or lounging in the garden with my childhood dog was time well spent, I am now under a constant state of pressure and mild panic to find enough time to dedicate to my art making in my weekly schedule, along with all the other responsibilities necessary to fulfill in order participate the this oddity called life. Time is a commodity and one that I need ample amounts of, yet always feel in short supply. Even right now the ticking of the clock serves as a constant reminder that I am here, overindulging myself by writing this post, and not painting. Tick, tick, tick.
In order to nip the dread of anxiety in the bud I am trying to focus on balance. As trite as it sounds, it is important to remind ones self that there is more to life than simply ones output and productivity. Alongside the numerous meetings I have attended in the past few weeks and months, with the Forum group and the FA4 group, I have also had numerous medical appointments hijacking my precious time. Luckily, it turns out there is nothing major wrong with my body, however facing even the slightest health scare has made me re-dedicate myself to my general health and weave exercise into my weekly schedule. After all, a painting will not be able to save your life when push comes to shove.
|In my happy place, June 2018|
When the dread of meaninglessness caused by a dissatisfaction of productivity rears it's ugly head, there are a few things I think about to help settle my heart and mind. Firstly, it is important not to compare yourself with other artists. Especially artists on social media who seem to be in the studio everyday and cranking out works at prolific speeds. The amount of artists who are in this privileged position is the minority. Most of us have day jobs, and that it okay! Secondly, you are always going to be your harshest critic. As long as you are working on new work as often as you can, and staying true to yourself, you are already ahead of the game. Thirdly, Louise Bourgeois made some of her most iconic sculptures, her Spiders, when she was in her 80's and Lee Krasner made her best work after her marriage to Jackson Pollock ended (for obvious reasons) and she had the power to reclaim her time and focus on her own work. Point being: you have your whole life to be an artist!
In conclusion, I do feel that it is necessary to work hard and be as productive as possible. However, it is equally important to not get overwhelmed and bogged down with feelings of uselessness and anxiety when you hit periods of time where production is not at its peak. Exercising, reading, and spending time with other humans are all things which are important to include in your "art practice." Perhaps by making the act of living in itself an artful and creative expression, satisfaction can be found even where productivity isn't.