Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Summer Schedules

Pencils and sketchpads at the ready!

Ah, June. It's officially Summer now: swim team is under way and school is out on Thursday. I haven't been in the studio for about 4 weeks, with my youngest begin out of school already, and it has really been getting to me. I have new bodies of work to get going on here! It's very ironic since I just wrote about finding time to create, in fact I wrote that as a reminder to myself that this would be happening and I would need to adapt.

Having been reading Twyla Tharp's The Creative Habit, it finally got through to my slow brain that I need to reframe my thoughts. I was thinking "How can I get studio time?" which was totally defeating. I reframed this to "I have lost my studio and the ability to paint, how can I still create?". I looked at what I can still do - I don't bring my acrylics into the house for safety reasons, but sketchbooks and pencils do not spark my daughter (age 4) to demand that I 'share' my art materials with her. She has her own.

I know I need to spend more time drawing from life and I am trying to view this as an extended sketching trip, collecting material to use in studio paintings later. I have never worked quite this way before. I like my studio and without the location prompting me to work I find it hard to settle into creating. I get distracted easily, and not just by the kids. The computer is the worst, but even the housework can get me on a bad day. Working in other locations is a skill I need to develop however.

All the necessary supplies have been moved into the house so I am ready to go as soon as I've set the kids up with their own projects. I am going to try out colored pencils and little sketching trips. I may even grow to like the watercolor pencils I got so long ago!

How often do you look back through your sketchbooks? In my case, not very often, so I will also look back through older sketchbooks and pull out notes relevant to my new work.

Finishing creative projects in the house is something else that can be done. I think that clearing these things up allows some space to clear in your mind so that new ideas can come in. I have some photo collages to finish and reference photos and clippings to sort out - how about you?

Tomorrow I start Alyson Stanfield's Blast Off class, which is very exciting. I have had art school projects to drive me to the easel for the last 3 years but now I know that I am ready to work alone. Since I can't get in the studio to paint anyhow I will enjoy working on goal-setting.

If the school holidays affect your work, how do you cope? If you cannot create as you normally would right now, how can you reframe your thoughts and find new ways to create and move forward?


  1. Hi Caroline,

    Great post, and food for thought for me. I also have different materials to use when oil painting is not possible because I'm not in the studio.

    My sketchbook is my friend because I can draw anytime, anyplace my ideas. It also helps me to "hear" myself think.

    I appreciate how you have found a way to continue to create. And your post on scheduling is helping me immensely as I'm really challenged by my time management. Your ideas have really helped me, and have found a way to begin a realistic schedule for myself.

    Have a good Summer creating, and would love to see your colored pencil work.

    fondly, Magdalena

  2. Caroline:
    Your post hit home with me on any fronts. Twyla Tharps book is probably the best read I have found on carving out a creative life. Just yesterday I rediscovered my color pencils and enjoyed their portability. My sketchbook is my creative ally in and out of the studio.

    Enjoy your summer and creative times with your chldren.

  3. Caroline, an insightful post and one that many struggle with. I like the change in your thinking, not "how can I get into the studio", but how to still be creative? I might look into Twyla Tharp's book, thanks for the recommendation. Have fun in Alyson's Blast Off class. Let us know how the class is going. You'll be sure to have your goals reset and back in painting action!

  4. I have been trying to draw while watching the kids. It has not been going as well as I would like. (Judo is hard to draw)
    My art history teacher gave me a good tip last year. "If you have work with you you can get in ten mins while waiting for the bus."
    So I carry my sketch book and not my reading book.