Would you keep on making your art if no-one gave you any money or recognition for it? For how long?
This is a question I sometimes have to ask my clients.
For more creators than we care to imagine, recognition can take a lifetime to achieve - if it comes at all.
‘Body of work.’ Whenever I heard that term, it seemed to represent a mysterious cohesion of vision that I would never be capable of.
It took me forever to understand what a body of work really is and why I might need to create one.
I just couldn’t wait to get started!
I finished up a big client project and I wanted to use the freed up time for a writing project of my own. But I didn’t take account of needing some quality downtime between putting the client work to bed, and starting my own project.
"I work very, very slowly." I admitted, rather shamefacedly.
I was replying to the artist son of a friend of mine about progress on my artist's books.
I can't tell you the relief I felt when he told me that he also works very slowly and finds the work so intense and demanding that he can't focus at it for more than a few hours a day.
In that brief conversation, I realised that working slowly and deliberately - often getting up very close to the piece - is how I find focus. It's how I reach that place called Flow. (A topic that featured heavily in my last post.)
Of course, there are times when I speed up! (Yes, I am the girl who once made 365 pieces of art in a year!) When I'm deeply in the flow sometimes it feels like I catch an updraft and am carried along without volition, barely able to keep up with the things I want to get done.
But when that's not happening, I plod along in the tortoise-like manner that is fundamental to who I am as an artist. And I need to be ok with that.
So here's what I've been on working slowly since January.
From thrift shop find to triptych artist's book
Unusually for me, as the new year dawned, I had no clue what I was going to be working on art-wise. Then a couple of days into the year, I almost literally stumbled across this vintage mirror outside a local 'retro' shop.
I had no idea what I was going to do with it but, at £5, I knew it was worth buying on spec.
I started off with a vague idea of something Japanese-style and black, but somehow it evolved into a red-riding hood parable. (There's probably another post in the evolution of the idea.)-
The front is still unfinished: I have some more work to do on the figure and the trees. And then there's the wolf. (Is it's ok to have a wolf that appears to be smiling in a friendly way?)
And, beyond initial sketches, I haven't begun on the inside, so I still have a long way to go.
But all I can do is emulate the title of one of my favourite podcasts, and hurry slowly.
(Oh, and I promise to post blog updates of my WIP's more regularly for those of you who aren't on social media - which I totally understand, btw. But please make sure you subscribe to my blog feed, so you don't miss the updates!)
What if I were to tell you that you probably already have the mindset and MO necessary to become outstanding in your creative career or business?
And that to do it, you need to be even more your artist-self…?