Monday, July 26, 2010

The discipline of creativity?

I've often wondered about how "professional" artists work. You know, people who have made art their career and their livelihood. I suppose the answers are as varied as the artists, and yet there has to be some discipline in order to consistently produce quality work, and in enough quantity to be a viable commodity to sell. I've read about people who have set themselves a daily creative task for a set number of days - like producing one drawing a day for 50 days, or listing a new item in their shop 5 days a week for a month. I'm not sure what I think of that, except that I'm pretty sure it would be tough for me to do that. Can creativity be a discipline? Does good discipline lead to creativity? Chicken, egg, chicken, egg. . . .

Still, I've been motivated to try to consciously be at work on my craft multiple times during the week. Maybe not every day, but several days out of the week I've been trying to do SOMETHING. Today was a productive day: I finished one drawing, and started (actually almost finished) another. Yesterday I started prepping two canvas panels with color to overdraw. I can already tell I like one, and I'm not satisfied with the other. I'll have to step back and consider what to do about that one. I guess that's just another step in my process of growing as an artist - practice, goof, practice again, get better, practice more.

It's only this year that I've started to tell people that I'm an artist when they ask what I do. Yes yes, I've been a teacher, but that's not how I prefer to define myself at this point in my life. I CAN teach, but I don't want to now. I CAN and WANT to create art. Still, it's hard not to feel, well, pretentious calling myself an artist. Why is that? It was okay to call myself a teacher. It was okay to call myself a home schooling mother of two. It's even okay to call myself an avid gardener, even though I have no professional credential. But "an artist"? I'm still getting my head around that one.

Maybe after I've sold more of my work, it will be easier to call myself what I already am. I don't want to be pretentious or ridiculous (which I felt when I had all these drawings and ceramic pieces, but no one was buying them). I'm also nervous about trying to find a gallery (or two) to sell my work. The art world is downright strange, a whole new world I've just dabbled my toe in while looking at the breakers offshore.

Too much philosophy too late in the day - I think I need to think about this more, and ask some good friends for their wisdom and input.