August 14, 2015

Where’d You Go, Studio Night?

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but my Studio Night posting has dwindled lately. I continue to preach the merits of Studio Night, but I am practicing what I preach less and less. I still believe in Studio Night, but lately I allow other things to creep in and diminish it. The other things are things that I also love: teaching, and Urban Sketchers board and symposium work. But also sometimes laundry.

Every Studio Night starts with the best of intentions – I have a series of paintings started that I’m excited about working on. But I think about that one big thing I need to do for USk, and I decide to work on that so that on the NEXT Studio Night I’ll have all the time in the world to paint. The next Studio Night, however, is likely to require class prep, or to be a scheduled class.

So what do I do to get back to painting? During non-studio hours I spend a lot of time thinking about how to squeeze all of the things I want to do around my 8-hour workday, my fondness for sleep and for spending time with my husband, and my need for dinner and clean laundry. I keep looking for a formula of adjusting an hour here, skipping a lunch there, but I end up in a loop of not figuring anything out.

Another approach that I try is to consider giving up one of the things. The 8-hour workday isn’t going anywhere, nor is husband-time or sleep. I’ve already given up cleaning my house. So that leaves contemplating giving up painting, teaching, or participating on the USk board. If I think about giving up painting, I immediately start to cry, so that is out.

When I think about reasons to give up either teaching or Urban Sketchers, all I do is think about reasons not to give them up, and I’m back on that endless loop.

(Then I think about rearranging my studio. Then I roll my eyes at myself.)

Maybe part of the problem is that I'm making the problem about USk and about teaching instead of making it about painting. I'm trying to get those things out of the way so that I can paint, instead of making painting the priority, like it once was.

I don’t need inspiration, or ideas, or tips, or (surprisingly) a plan, or a deadline to work toward. I think I know what I need. I need the opposite of crying-because-I-let-myself-think-about-giving-up-painting. I need a jolt of need.

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