On my worktable

(Please remember that new blog posts will only be appearing here till the end of December – in order to keep following my blog you will need to hop on over to my new website and the http://www.gillianleesmithartist.com/blog-3/ from then on.)

There has not been much happening on the easel this week due to work and last minute Christmas shopping but I did manage to get a couple of painted journal pages done. Relatively quick and unfinished but it is always good to get the paints out even for a short while.

Painted journal page

I have a weekend of studio time ahead of me and then a couple more days to work right up till Christmas eve and then I will be taking a few days off to spend with hubby and family. Bliss.

Have a great weekend! x

Painted journal page

On my worktable

As I mentioned in these three posts, I feel it is important to make art just for yourself as a reward or a gift. One of my most treasured possessions is my large watercolour Moleskine where I fill the pages with imagery, paint and writing. I don’t usually have any idea what I am going to paint when I begin but whenever I am starting a new painting I love to flick through the pages to look at each one, remember how I was feeling when I was painting it and to read the words written there.

Painted journal page

To give myself that time – just to paint something that I will have forever (I hope) gives me the freedom to express whatever I wish, also giving me permission to create something far from perfect but that satisfies something deep inside. I also then find the images hugely inspiring for later work. I am really enjoying imagining my figures and characters in particular settings at the moment – wondering where they are and what they are thinking.

 2013-12-08 22.30.21

I am very close to finishing this, my first large Moleskine and am looking forward to buying and starting a new one. Some of the older pages I am very tempted to paint over as they seem very different to me now but I shall leave them for a time and see how I feel again.

Painted journal page

PS – handy painting tip for the day – this was the beginning stages of the painting above – notice how even though the finished piece ended up with quite a pale face – there was a lot of layers of colour applied in different stages before hand – this lends a lot of depth and character to the final layers of paint adding extra interest. I build up my layers over the over and they all add to the rich texture of the final piece. So even if you know something is going to be a particular colour – try painting different tones and colours first and see how much depth this gives.

Have a great weekend! I plan to paint as much as I can.

PS also don’t forget that I am having a prize draw for a print which I will be closing tonight and picking a name out of the hat tomorrow morning so don’t forget to comment on this post, my facebook page or via my contact form if you haven’t already to be entered. (Sorry – draw is now closed and name chosen!)

Also, thank you so much for all the comments, feedback and general loveliness regarding the new website and the ‘Getting to the easel posts’ – I appreciate every single one and am so glad that you are enjoying my more regular blog posts. I am always looking for new things to blog about so if you have any suggestions feel free to make them!

xxx

Getting to the easel – part two

Following on from my last post I have been thinking even more on the subject of procrastination and getting to the easel. One of the biggest myths I have discovered – is that artists need freedom – freedom to decide where and when to work, no rules, just a desire to create good work. On the face of it, this seems like the perfect way of working but in reality, trying to create in this way meant that I got very little done.

Getting to the easel

The more routines I put in place and restrictions I put on my time the more work I get done. The structure of a routine gives me the freedom to work within the boundaries I have set myself.

This is really important: Just because you are working to a routine, it does not mean that your work becomes a routine (i.e formulaic) – the routine and structure just build a little safety zone around a period of time where you can create without distraction.

Page of opportunity

So what stopped me working before? How has my thought process changed?

1. Fear – fear of not getting enough done in my days in the studio (I don’t have enough time, I don’t have enough time, oops now I have no time)

Answer: The more I worry about lack of time, the less I get done – the best thing is just to get down and do the work in the time that you do have.

2. Fear – fear of spending a whole day creating rubbish and not having anything to show for it. (if I don’t create anything then none of can be rubbish so that must be better, right? Wrong!)

Answer: If you only create one piece of work a month or a week there is an awful lot of pressure on that piece of work to be good. If you create 50 pieces of work in a month or a week then if 4o of those are rubbish, 5 are mediocre and 5 are good/great then you have 5 successful pieces and 45 pieces to learn from! The more you create, the more chance there is of creating the occasional gem. The rubbish works are the journey to the great ones.

3. Distractions – phone, internet, dishes, gazing out the window, anything but painting.

Answer: At the end of the day (honestly) what would I rather be doing? The dishes or painting? Painting. So why am I doing the dishes then? That was my answer. (Gazing out of the window is allowed – dreaming is good)

4. Deadlines. Working to a deadline sends me into the typical formula of 95% of the time till deadline messing about, 5% of the time at the end trying to get everything done.

Answer: I don’t do well with deadlines. I do better when I just do some work, some thing every day. It all adds up and suits me better.

I think these are the most important lessons I have learned in my time creating art.

Wow there is so much to write about this. Tomorrow – a little about my studio routine and hints and tips for getting down to work.

Whilst thinking about this subject and researching I found some really interesting links.

Read more here. You won’t regret it.

Wake up, Wash Face, Do Routine, Now Paint

Being productive in the studio

There is also this book which I think I may purchase as it looks such an interesting read.

Would love to hear your comments and experiences on this subject.

x x x

 

Productive Flourishing

Productive Flourishing

To say that in the past I have had difficulties with time-management and getting stuff done would be a vast understatement. The last couple of years have seen a great improvement in planning my weeks and days but I am still the ultimate to-do-list maker and when there are some weekends closing in and I have tackled only a tiny fraction of that to-do list I am easily disheartened.

I guess in my imagination I am living a life where all I need to do is show up to the studio and get to work, the days are long and full of potential and I have all the time in the world. Hmm well that would be bliss but the reality is somewhat different. Such a shame. I am definitely a girl trying to live another life hampered by modern living.

A peer recommended me this ‘planner for creatives‘ and I have been using it for a month and really, it is helping me to change the way I work and prioritise my week. When you are constantly adding to that daily or weekly list it is really difficult to keep seeing the bigger picture and your longer term goals and it is all to easy (for me anyway) to let dreams slide and get too caught up in the distractions of things that take longer than they need to.

With a few big projects planned for next year (e-course, solo show, more teaching, trying to cut work hours to focus more on my art) I need all the help I can get. It really isn’t rocket science and I am not using all of the Productive Flourishing as there is some overlap and I still really like writing in my diary every week but the parts that I am using are great! For instance I have not printed out the ‘daily planner’ as for me it is enough to have the annual, quarterly, monthly and weekly planner and then transfer the weeks tasks into my moleskine diary and colour highlight according to the project.

It is teaching me how to choose my goals wisely, not to over-reach, how to break down the scariness of a looming New Year into manageable tasks and it is encouraging me to get stuff done in ways that don’t seem overwhelming. For instance have you noticed that I have blogged more in the past few weeks than I probably have all year?? Progress indeed  So far I have been using the Action Planners more than the Project Planners but I can see me using both equally as each project becomes more imminent.

Take a look. It might not be for you but it also seems very flexible in that you can choose the parts that make more sense.  It is very affordable and I really would recommend it – plus their blog is full of handy tips and info too.

PS I am not being paid in any way for this – just passing on something I have found works for me : )

x x x

On my worktable

On my worktable

When the studio is a mess the temptation is to either feel overwhelmed or get to tidying. But sometimes that mess means there is a lot going on and that is A Very Good Thing. So, no tidying for me today – I am just getting in there and embracing the chaos. This is just my small worktable. The real mess is behind me which is rather a good thing!

Happy Monday!

x x x

Sketchbook Sunday

Painted moleskine

Sundays were made for working in sketchbooks right? I think so. I have several on the go at all times but probably my favourite one is my large A3 watercolour Moleskine.

I have taken it to the last few shows I have exhibited at and it gets as much attention (if not more, dammit) as my framed work. People love flicking through the pages, running their hands over them (I don’t mind really) or holding the edges of each page with a kind of reverence, surprised that I allow anyone to look through. I do because I love seeing that expression on someone’s face who gets it. Who feels the way that I do. That paint is magical and to have that medium to express yourself is truly a treasure.

I paint in this book in the way that I would like to paint on canvas. With complete freedom to make lines and put down colours with no thought or worry about it having to be perfect. An idea for a painting or just a face that is waiting to be put on paper. Whatever I feel at that moment in time.

This was today’s and I kind of like ‘him’. I am pretty sure it is a Him.

x x x