Thursday, August 21, 2008

Rest in the Midst of Art

I mentioned in a previous entry a phrase by Rolland May in his book, "The Courage to Create" that always seemed profound and accurate: something about how "artists confront their art."

I would rather work at creating art than work at a so-called "real job," given the choice. When things are moving along and the inspiration is there, creating artwork seems to involve a combination of being in a meditative trance and being on meth ('tho' I must admit, I have no experience with the latter -- I have to make some assumptions here). We artists zero in on what we're doing, oblivious to time or even to hunger. Yet, we're filled with energy to continue creating for long periods of time, and interruptions can be particularly startling and frustrating. When the artwork turns out well, we (or at least I) reach an emotional high that, I would guess, outmatches any chemical high a person can get.

At the same time, artwork IS, after all, work. We confront our art every time we work on it. And it's work that requires focus and energy -- we can't fly along on autopilot as we create that next masterpiece.

So when one paints for a living and one is tired, distracted, lacking motivation or just needs a change of scenery, making art can seem like the hardest job in the universe -- including all of the alternate ones!

It doesn't help, either, when artists like me feel like we MUST paint all the time, forgetting there is a business side that must be attended to. AND we need downtime, too -- maybe one day a week for some guilt-free relaxation, a lot to ask of a driven, type-A personality like me!

God Himself took a day of rest, and He told us to take one day a week to rest, too. Maybe I otta take him up on that!

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