Monday, February 24, 2014

Notes from My Sabbatical: Week 1

"Rekindling Begins"

So here begins my documentation of my "sabbatical," a break I'm taking to rekindle my passion, inspiration, energy, and focus.  I'm largely concentrating on my artistic life but I think that I'll benefit across the board by taking a little time and space to reevaluate where I'm at, where I want to go, and how I might get there.

This week, I got caught up on my notes for the "Year of the Fairy Tale" class and actually started working on the assignments.  Whoo hoo!  It felt so good to do art again just for me.  I also spent this first week doing a little bit of studio reorganizing.  I don't want to get too invested in this task so I'm only allowing myself about 15 minutes worth of digging, shuffling, filing, and cleaning a day.

What I need desperately is a reorganization (perhaps even a revolution) of how I spend my time.  Teaching, prepping for teaching, coping with health issues, household chores & maintenance, cooking, parenting, chauffeuring:  all these things and more still need to be done so I am working on making better use of my time.  I am very prone to losing my way when everyday life gets messy and busy.  Too often, art and self-care get shoved to the backburner and it has been to my detriment.  Ah well!  These are the sorts of things I hope to figure out in the coming months as I take a long, hard, deliberate look at the current state of affairs.  Right now, I only know that things have to change.  The "how" part of the equation will reveal itself as I go along.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Confessions, Realizations, and Plans

I confess:  For months now, I have felt deeply disconnected from and disinterested in my personal art.  It could be a result of a relentlessly cold and dismal winter, a clingy respiratory illness, everyday busyness or (most likely) a combination of all of the above.  Regardless of the cause, the interest and inspiration is gone.

I did manage to churn out 27 robot sculptures for my February show but only because I was whipped into action by a looming deadline and the specter of shame if I failed to meet a commitment that was splashed all over local newspapers.  Other than the robots and the flare of energy when I teach, I've done absolutely nothing to nurture and exercise the artist within.  And that bothers me.  I know I am a better person when I am creating.  However, after so long away, I had begun to wonder if I would ever get back.

So, a couple of nights ago, as I sat in front of the television contemplating and mourning the twin losses of my mojo and muse, I thought "I need a break." And then, just as quickly, I realized that, in fact, I needed a renewal.  And so, the wheels began turning and I started formulating a grand plan.

I am granting myself a six-month sabbatical.  Until the end of August, I am creating for myself constructive time away so I can get back to what I love.  I don't just want to "take a break" because that would just be a continuance of what I'm already doing: nothing.  I want to dig deep and dig myself out.  The artist in me hasn't really gone away; she's just tired, bored, and aimless.  So, that said, I have six sabbatical goals:
  1. Rest my body...
  2. Reflect on my overall purpose and direction...
  3. Renew my passion...
  4. Replenish my inspiration...
  5. Romp in my studio without outside pressures and, finally...
  6. Reconnect to (and perhaps reinvent) my artistic life
I'll still be teaching; that pursuit is an incredibly positive influence on my own art life.  I'll still need to keep up with all the everyday life stuff; there's nobody else to pick up the slack.  However, by declaring this sabbatical aloud, I am committing to action in all the spare moments I can gather.  To keep myself accountable, I will post here every Monday, reporting on my efforts and discoveries.  There may be additional posts here and there but in general, I plan to stay away from blogging.  I have this intense feeling that the time is now, that I have to do something concrete in a big way or my artistic self will perish from lack of love and exercise.

You are invited to stick around and follow my progress or to flee to more active hard feelings if you pack up your follower status.  This is something I have to do to save something I cherish.  I have to let go to make room to grab hold.

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Robot Army Stands at Attention

It was inevitable.  Since my last post, I have acquired the respiratory plague my son brought home a week ago.  I sound like a foghorn and feel like I have an elephant duct- taped to my chest.  *blech*  Since it is so hard to breathe, every move has to be slow and deliberate which isn't necessarily a horrible thing.  Every time I get sick with some bacterial or viral ick (which isn't often thankfully), I look at it as a sign from my body that I need to ease up and take a break from my normally hectic pace of living.

Believe or not, work on my upcoming show, "For the Love of Robots," is progressing steadily.  I'm just about finished with the robot sculptures and hopefully I'll have the energy somewhere deep down to get some drawings done as well before the official opening on the 14th.  I'll be showing more pics of these little dudes in coming posts but I wanted to share a group shot of the robot army as it stands.  They are just a kick in the pants to create and each one has its own personality.  I giggle frequently while assembling these found object characters and hope they bring a smile to someone else's face as well.
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