Worthy Creative Advice

July 2, 2014

“Identify the primary distraction that keeps you from your creative work and deal with it. If you have an issue, be it weight, lack of exercise or family worries, do your best to resolve that issue or reduce it's power of distraction on your time and energy.” – Julieanne Kost (of Adobe Systems)

As I dive into a renewed commitment to my own creative efforts this quote is my scale. It is especially appropriate since I am slowly moving into using Lightroom and yes, that which I have avoided for years: Photoshop. I have always maintained that a good photographer shouldn't need to do much in software if an image is shot properly. I still believe this. Yes, a crop or exposure tweak after the fact may be needed but all the bells and whistles of Photoshop are not required. I realize that Photoshop has become a standard tool and by avoiding it I am just being contrary. Sometimes that's just how I roll.

But now I have owned Lightroom for about six months. I have barely had time to really get to know it. I have found by using the cataloging feature that I have tens of thousands of photographs. It will probably take me years to troll through them much less learn how to use Lightroom. I know… it must be time for a class to shorten my learning curve. After setting Lightroom onto my photographs to catalog them, I had to own that I am a photographer. I should just stop being quiet about it (since it was staring me in the face) and own that since I actually have about 15,000 or more photographs I've taken just from the last 5 or 6 years. Click happy me.

So in an effort to reduce the power of distraction on my time and energy I am going to stop teaching. I already spend a lot of time mentoring artists every day at ArtWorks and through the EDGE Program each Winter. I have come to realize that one can only mentor so much and I need my own creative time.

Light Dawns at the End of the Day, Meredith Arnold, 2014

I have a lot of jewelry to make and am excited about the prospect of digital collage as well as a lot of other projects I have in mind. Onward and upward!




  All of  us artistic types experience “dry” times when the ideas don’t seem to flow and everything feels like slogging through mud.   So the question I pose when I hear about someone kicking themselves for not getting into the studio to do some work is this: 

  Can you work every minute of every day? Do you know anyone that can work every minute of every day?

  Think about that.  As an artist, that’s what you’re doing whether you know it or not. Your mind is always churning, looking at color combinations or shapes, putting things together in a pleasing fashion or processing through some artistic challenge all the time.  Other people go home after work and transition their focus to their life at home.  Artists often go home after work and start thinking about their art or how they’re not doing their art.  Seems to me it’s a lot to ask an artist to be “producing” tangible work all the time they aren’t at the day job – even if you don’t have a day job!  Especially when that artist mind is always in overdrive whether you’re conscious of it or not.

  I say let your mind percolate; sift through thoughts, ideas, juxtapositions or whatever.  Don’t hassle it.  Let it go.  When the time is right you won’t be able to keep yourself from going into the studio or your work area and put your hand to making something.  Especially when it hits you that your “real life” is when you’re making your art!  Get your mind around that thought.  Real life = making my art.  NOT “real life” first, making my art, later.

 Check this out: http://blogs.personallifemedia.com/creative/  These are free podcasts from Eric Maisel about creative obstacles.  It’s worth the 8 minutes of your time to listen to an episode.  There are a number of episodes on creative obstacles that are easy to listen to while you work, walk, drive, or wake up to the day.

  Remember that being a creative personality is a rich experience and not one to be diminished by some wierdly imposed standard that we apply only to ourselves, (maybe so that we can stay disappointed in ourselves and thereby avoid what we really need to do – make art).  We have so much going on in our heads, our feelings and how best to express ourselves that the actual time we spend putting a brush to canvas or pen to paper is the smaller percentage of our time.  I know the feeling of wishing to be working in my studio more than anything else but not being able to get myself in there.  As a group we are susceptible to putting our desire to make art on hold but do not forget that the play we do in our heads is just as important as playing with our materials.

  At the same time it’s important for us to know that making art is a worthy, WORTHY goal when that is what you’re meant to do.  Enjoy the process whether it’s in your head or you’re bringing it out into the world.  It’s ALL good.