Making Art & Making Time

May 16, 2014 § 1 Comment

A poster I made based on an Andy Warhol quote recently prompted some lively conversation in a Facebook thread.

dontthinkaboutit2

One friend commented that she knew many artists, writers and musicians who seem reticent to follow their artistic passion, for a whole bunch of reasons… and how she’d read something years ago that stayed with her ~ something to the effect that if you don’t let your creativity out it will beat you bloody inside.

I tend to agree. With both Warhol and my friend’s observation.

Actually, make that, I pretty much wholeheartedly agree. It’s something I’ve experienced first hand. Never expected to ~ because art, writing, etc was “just something I did”, I flowed merrily along. I took it for granted. But at a time when I became swallowed up in life’s other demands that didn’t allow room for all that stuff I “just did”, I thought I’d implode.

At first I didn’t realize the source of my misery. I didn’t know how inextricably tied my creativity was to my well-being. I even felt guilty when I sat down at a canvas after many months off ~ there were more responsible things I should, and could, be doing! But my spirit was suffocating; I finally understood what was meant when they say an artist is “driven”, that it’s something they “have to do”. And yet, I wasn’t giving myself permission. That awareness came in the unexpected form of an ex – in a rare, remarkable show of support at the time – who actually put it into words. He happened to stop by during that pivotal moment at the easel and said: “Don’t be stupid. Don’t feel guilty. You’re meant to do this. You have to.” It truly hadn’t dawned on me, in quite that way.

That all said, I’ve been fortunate to be able to incorporate a few forms of my creativity into a living all these years ~ but if it’s not part of your daily experience, I’m a huge advocate of doing what you can when you can! It does you no good, nor anyone else, to let creativity smolder and stew inside you. Ideas and inspirations are there to be used and expressed. So if you’re called to, or just want to – do make more art!

Make time. Find time. Carve it out of stone if you must. Maybe a kick in the rear is called for. According to a (rather wonderful) post by Elizabeth Gilbert, setting a timer for half an hour every day can do wonders for creating discipline. Maybe you set aside a whole day. Evenings. Something that’s “doable”.  Stick to it. 

And one more thing. You have to trust the process.

Maybe you set aside your half hour or half a day and wondrous things flow and you feel great! But, maybe, you stare at a blank page the whole time and feel awful. But guess what? ~ so what! That’s going to happen sometimes, and it’s okay. It really doesn’t mean a thing.

The process you have to trust is that there’s an ebb and flow to creativity just as in all things in nature. We don’t always have control (an understatement, right?!). Best laid plans and all that. The point is to keep going. Exercise the muscle.

You have something to express, and it’ll find its way ~ you just need to give it the time and space to breathe on out, so it doesn’t manifest as tension gone inward. Don’t think ~ “just get it done.” 

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