Saturday, November 25, 2006

In The Mood

I was happy today. It wasn't the jittery, energetic, hypomanic feeling I used to think of as being 'up' but rather a sense of calm well being. Painting was pleasurable and easy.
I work every day, no matter how I feel but if I'm depressed or tired, painting is hard work.The day becomes long and dull and the paint fumes affect me more easily. Sometimes I become so anxious that I begin to tremble. I've learned to steady my hand by leaning on my outstretched little finger; for larger areas, I keep my wrist still and move my entire arm with each brush stroke. If the tremors are really bad, I breathe out, then make the stroke before I breath in again. It's pretty much the same technique as a marksman uses before triggering a rifle.
I used to work 120 hour weeks for months at a time when I had tight deadlines for exhibitions, prizes or commissions. I don't do that anymore. It's neither sustainable nor healthy. I believe that the difference between art as a vocation and art as a hobby is simply a commitment to work every day, without surrendering to excuses.
I hear so many people make excuses. They don't work because they don't feel like it or they're uninspired – they're "not in the mood". The need for inspiration is a 19th century Romantic myth. Inspiration and motivation are unquestionably an advantage but they almost always come with action – and a resolve to press ahead regardless of them.
The worst excuse, especially among my peers, is that there's plenty of time. No, there isn't. Time passes quickly and relentlessly. If you're intent on accomplishing anything, there is never enough of it.

3 comments:

jennie Rosenbaum said...

It is hard work, and it's hard to work every day, but I find the more I work the more I get 'inspired' the more I paint the more I can paint and the more I want to paint.

There is a belief that being an artist is an easy job. I think it is one of the hardest there is but if you are prepared to put in the milage it can pay off.

I hope you don't mind me saying this but you really do inspire me Hazel, Thanks for sharing with us :)

Lauren said...

I totally believe that action creates motivation, not the other way around. I paint whether I feel like it or not as well. It's just a way of life for me now, just what I do. There's no question about motivation or not wanting to do it, it's just a habit.

Jules Faber said...

I'm the same. If I take a day off, I feel ineffectual - like my life is colourless all of a sudden. Painting and drawing for me are the inspiration. I don't like my days when I'm not using them to create.

That being said, I enjoy taking an evening off after a day of progression. All work and no play and all that...