Sunday, December 5, 2010

Committing to My Art

"Objects of Healing Series" / Acrylic on Canvas / 48x53 cm

As an artist who views painting and creating other art disciplines as the great loves of my life, I have made a commitment to my work.  One might say that I am married to my work in that I regularly spend time producing it, learning new things about it, developing it and loving it.

Like any commitment, some days are better than others.  Yesterday was not a good painting day for me.  My painting session started out well with the first two hours generating an undistracted flow between brain, heart and brush.  I was in the zone where time passed without being noticed.

But then something shifted, and I don't know at what point it happened.  All I know is that I was now entering the third hour with a painting problem to be resolved.  Had I stopped earlier, even when my physical fatigue was less apparent to me, this problem might not have occurred, particularly so unusually early in the process.

If I were not committed to my work, I might possibly have scrapped the work in frustration and walked away.  But even though that does happen occasionally, this was not one of those times.  Experience has taught me to intuitively know when a work is worth saving - and most of them are - if you're willing to find solutions to problems that sometimes arise.  Patience is a critical asset to problem-solving in art, as is being disciplined in creating art.

Being an artist requires commitment, which means being with the work by doing the work.  An artist is a person who creates art - on a regular basis.  One painting a year doesn't count, and neither does that great painting you did ten years ago.  Furthermore, an artist must continue to paint even when the work is not going well.  This is how we learn and how we develop our work.

As I mentioned, development of our work will be one of many visible rewards of a pursuit requiring time, sacrifice, love, energy, creativity, patience, discipline, education, skill and ...commitment.