The War of Art

Keep going. Instagram inspired not intimidated.

After fixing my pen I got a lot of drawings done and am now nearly finished with my Doodle Book. It is a satisfying book to thumb through because I have been working on it slowly but steadily for months now and the book actually dates back a few years and has some old sketches from back then in it as well. They are so bad! Such bad drawings. I get discouraged drawing easily and often, especially when I look at all the talent and success on Instagram. But all I need to do is look at myself and know that I will get there. I have already come so far. The art on Instagram is super inspiring and I am so glad to be following all these talented artists. But I can't let intimidation rule. Keep going. Keep working hard and I will get where I need to go. 


What Works/ Find Time For

Making lists again. Love having paper on my desk so I can write down whatever comes to mind whenever it comes to mind. Pens are never in short supply in my studio. It is on my list of things that are currently working for me. Taking stock of what is working and what I need to work harder on. Each thing that has made it into the first column has taken time to become habit. I didn't used to write every morning, blogging used to be a huge chore with month long breaks in between posts and it used to take me a year to fill a sketchbook. My goal for the next few weeks is to pick one thing from the Find Time For column and move it to the What Works column. Thinking either Etsy or Exercise or maybe focusing on Gratitude. Do you make lists? What is on your lists?   

List Making

The lies we tell ourselves and the truth that's even scarier.

Ten frightening lies that mask the truth that I am scared of failure and I often use that as an excuse to not act. Too bad that doesn't work. I keep this carefully hand lettered list posted in my art studio so I can confront it every day while I am working instead of merely listen to the whispers in my head. It is still hard, but I have reasons to keep going and I will never succeed if I don't try. Maybe someday I will start crossing off the items, or tear up the list or burn it. But for now it sits taped up by my desk next to a more encouraging list. Together they help keep me striving and pushing through the stalls that happen all the time.


Fear: Keep Going!

That is how I learn. I have nothing to lose by trying. I have everything to lose if I don't try and keep experimenting. Embarrassing creations are part of the learning process and they are good and not a waste of time. The reality is that I often have no idea if what I am doing is good while I am making it. If I'm lucky I will know when I am done, but often I am unsure. But that the fear is actually a good sign that I am onto something and not playing it safe anymore. Being an artist is rarely comfortable. Be wary of comfort as an artist. I ripped up an old collage that I did not like and salvaged the board to experiment with this portrait of my daughters. I may eventually do the same with this but for now I am happy that I tried something.


Coping with Failure

These collagraph plates are the start of a failure. I worked hard cutting out these shapes last week but what I didn't take into account was the lines from the corrugated cardboard printing in a very distracting pattern. Nothing to be done but reuse the prints for some other purpose, trash the plates and chalk the whole thing up as a learning experience. It is upsetting and very frustrating. I get discouraged and a little depressed about it. Being a beginner and learning is hard but so important. The well tread safe route rarely (never) leads to breakthroughs. In honor of my artistic growth and change I am currently offering all my older prints at a discount on Etsy. Get them while they are still around. Keep doing the work through the problem and come out on the other side better off for the struggle. Can't say that about every painful experience in life.


Time to Carve (again)

Not much of a break from carving when I am in the zone. Winter skin has forced me to step back and take a break from printing because all the extra hand washing and ink is hard on my already dry winter skin. Giving myself some time to heal. But as long as I don't cut myself carving does no such damage to my skin. I still have plenty of time to sketch every day when I am out of the house. But carving is something that I can only do at home and I need to use that time whenever I feel the push. I am feeling it. This is not a collaborative piece but my own simple design based from my sketchbook. 


Leap of Faith, Lent and Fasting

Feeling some artistic anxiety as I work on this project with Alex and work on this blog. I need to get another blog post up today and I am out of rough drafts to post from. Anxiety about the work and figuring out the next step on this exciting inspired project. Been thinking about my church and their annual Leap of Faith leading up to Easter. The whole idea is that I focus on prayer and fasting for something rather specific. In the past it has been health, pregnancy and other more vague prayers and I have given up a variety of foods, TV and the ever popular Facebook. Some years I have been more devoted to the fasting and prayer and others I have not. A few years I have sat the whole thing out completely. Usually my personal results seem to tie in to my level of commitment. This time around I am giving up complaining and worry. Worrying about the art business and complaining in general. Just do the work and keep going as The War of Art advises. Good advice.And what I am praying for is to see a path of success with my art for it to be more than just a hobby business.


Thanks Ira! I will keep going and work hard every day.

Keep going. Over and over again. Thanks Ira Glass for the stellar advice and encouragement. A week into the hard focused work and it is already paying off. Of course I already knew this from my own life experience and from books I have read like The Artist's Way and The War of Art. It is so obvious that even my little kids do it. They are always working hard and practicing every skill that they know new and old over and over again. I leave out a scrap of paper and my eldest writes and draws all over it. She can't help herself. But adult me still forget and needs a fresh reminder from time to time. Now I am finding ideas that I didn't have two weeks ago are suddenly coming out of apparent thin air. I can feel my brain working better. Sticking to my Core Hours and working is begetting more energy and more ideas to work with. Planning ahead for summer and fall.



Paper is my big hoarder collection. I have piles of it that I either made or collected over the years. Thankfully it doesn't take up too much space, but keeping it orderly is another issue. Among the art that I have made on paper and the scraps of art I have various art papers. The most special to me are the washi papers. I mostly use them in my sketchbooks these days where a little washi highlight can go a long way. So beautiful.


Core Hours

Big changes are in the work for next fall when my littlest goes off to preschool four full days a week. But this month she is starting preschool four mornings a week and that is the perfect amount of change for right now. So lucky to have the rest of this winter and spring to ease into everything. And four mornings is just enough for me to give myself the gift of work. Morning meetings with myself contained within my daily Morning Pages, followed by walking both kids to school together. Then I have about an hour to run any errands or get a coffee or do some laundry before I start my core hours in the studio with my printmaking apron on at ten and work until lunchtime at noon. Then it is time to pick the littlest one up at school. Two hours four days a week is sounding pretty fabulous after six years of cobbling time together and never having enough time to tackle the big projects.  


Clean Start

After the holidays made a mess of my little studio I took some time to clean and clear it out a bit and focus on work. I got rid of a few broken tools and some old drawing assignments from my freshman art school days and suddenly I can breath again. I'm ready to work. Everyday. When I finish carving the block that I am currently working on and print from it it will either go in a drawer or a stack. I stack the larger blocks and put the midsize to small ones in a drawer. Then I can print from them whenever I want for years to come. But I will need to restock my paper supply first. That is always fun!


Carving Again. Why wait?

It's been a few months since I worked on art for myself. How did that happen? Why the delay? No more of that thank you. This is a busy week for me but I have this morning free so I carve. Resistance won November and December, but it will not be taking my January. Not anymore. Springlike weather has me wanting to print and to print I need to finish carving this block and it isn't going to carve itself sitting on a shelf.


Resistance and the War of Art

What keeps so many of us from doing what we long to do? Why is there a naysayer within? How can we avoid the roadblocks of any creative endeavor—be it starting up a dream business venture, writing a novel, or painting a masterpiece?