New Years Resolutions – Appreciating The Here And Now

An acquaintance of mine is a very prolific and successful artist. She is hard-working and professional and I’ve always admired her dedication to her career. The other day I was chatting (oh alright, gossiping) about her and a colleague said “Well, it’s fine for her – she’s already made it.”

This got me thinking about how easy it is to assume that because someone is more successful than you, they have nothing to worry about and, more to the point, that if only you could get to that stage in your career too, then all your worries will be over.

I think we all have the same concerns – for example, either working hard to keep that high powered London gallery instead of trying to get a foot in the door in the first place, or perhaps fighting to maintain sales levels compared to those early days when every sale was a novelty. And even an international artist with gallery representation in every major city might find it hard to keep the focus on their work, when the marketing side takes more and more time (although having just typed that, the thought that I should be so lucky, popped into my head momentarily…..)

And I suspect that those early worries – how to get your work seen, desperately hoping for sales, the best way to approach a gallery – only change and multiply in ways we can’t imagine until we climb that ladder and get there ourselves.

So I guess that appreciating the here and now is a good resolution to aim for, even if the here and now is a bit crap….

(By the way, Tina Mammoser has a good post on her blog – she’s not having resolutions this year, just a motto and in two words, she says what I’ve been trying to say rather more wordily here.)

New Years Resolutions -Getting Motivated

How do you motivate yourself, especially when the work’s not selling and no-one is remotely interested in it? You really have to keep showing up at the studio every day – at the very least to keep your work developing.

I paint very slowly and, if I thought about how long it would take to finish the painting sitting there in front of me, I’m not sure that I’d ever get started.
One thing I do to kick-start the session is to concentrate on just one small part of the painting, say a person with a scarf on – if nothing else, at least at the end of the day I can look at it and think what a cracking scarf I’ve just done there…

Generally I do hope to achieve a bit more than that but it does help me get going. And just the physical process of putting paint to canvas seems to do the trick and the ideas then start coming.
Or to put it another way – motivation follows action, not the other way around. Sitting around waiting for that one great idea means you don’t get much else done in the meantime.

As Chuck Close says “Inspiration is for amateurs. I just get to work”