Blocking in…

This has been a rather quiet week, and I have to say that I’ve enjoyed it immensely! I have accomplished a few things, and even mailed off one more order today, but for the most part, I have puttered around the house. No rush. No hustle. Not even any bustle. All. Week. Long.

I talked to Kate this morning, and we both concurred that creativity takes thought. It’s not something you can schedule. You can’t be creative because you block in an hour on your calendar. You can produce something in one hour, but you can’t just muster up creativity. It takes thinking and playing and pondering and lots and lots of puttering to get the creative juices flowing freely. Too many days or weeks or months of “production” can squash creativity. Squash it flat.

Thus is the dilemma of the artist who runs a business.

All the business folks tell you to plan, schedule, and produce.
All the creativity folks tell you to putter aimlessly.
How in the world do you find the balance?

I think, maybe, it would be helpful to plan blocks of time where there is nothing pressing on you. Even if you have to pretend there’s nothing that has to be done yesterday. Maybe a couple of afternoons a week? Or an entire week off? This week has been a help to me… even though I still washed dishes and folded laundry, if the urge to sketch something struck me, I was able to put down the dish towel and go sketch. I can’t make a list of what I got done this week, but I can say I definitely recharged my creative batteries!

I’m working on a couple of oil paintings for a class I’m taking, and attempted to “produce” them a couple weeks ago. I had never really experienced working with oil, and just figured I’d do a simple painting or two and move on to another medium. Wrong. It took me half the afternoon to paint the background tones, and then I discovered I had added too much linseed oil to the paint, so my thin, watery (oily?) background took DAYS to dry. And this week… today… the last day of the week… was the first time I felt brave enough to fool with that messy stinky paint again.

First I played with paint… making tints and shades and tones…

…and discovered with oil paint, you can’t even rush that. I could have turned out a color wheel in no time flat with another medium, but today I only managed to work with yellow and violet. But I started to get a feel for the paint. It’s a lot more creamier than acrylics. And it’s supposed to go on thicker than watercolor. And it doesn’t smell as bad as I originally thought.

Then, before I washed things up and put it away, I took another look at those finally dry canvases. And went out to take photos of my chickens. ADD tendencies? Maybe. But this…

And this…

Turned into this…

And this…

That’s as far as I got with them, but I did what I should have done in the first place… blocked in the basic shapes of what I wanted to paint. I have no real hopes of these becoming fine paintings, and actually no real plan as to how they will turn out. But they are blocked in. Next time I get out the oil paints, I’ll have somewhere to start… a blocked in spot for something creative to develop.

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