I have found that to stay motivated I have to press pause and go somewhere outdoors amongst trees, dirt and bees. However, every time I have lived in a medium to large city the great outdoors were fairly inaccessible.
A car is necessary to drive far distances to reach the nearest park or preserve. A wild piece of land with nature growing freely beyond fences, landlords and fees is hard to come by near a city.
Did you know there are hardly any sidewalks in the city of Nashville, TN? Pedestrians have to walk next to the edge of the road, and walk past benches with advertisements cautioning drivers to look out for pedestrians.
Downtown has plenty of sidewalks, and some upperclass neighborhoods get some sidewalks but not the whole city. Since when is providing a safe stretch of land to go out for a walk only for some and not for everyone?
The pressure to be constantly interacting online and to self-promote daily as a freelancer gives me anxiety. I was a late bloomer when I discovered Instagram many years after it launched. I have been interacting for years now and although I love supporting the community, I can’t shake the feeling that it is a shiny distraction hindering my long-term growth.
So I am testing my theory for the next 7 months by removing myself from the Instagram realm to see what I experience because during the time when I didn’t know of it’s existence I created the largest body of work. Science and research are fascinating to me so I made myself the test subject.
My mind needs time to process everything I throw at it every second of the day. Time to reflect on what is a true priority. What goals do I want to devote my laser focus towards this year?
It has almost been a month since I uninstalled the social App and it does feel strange to not be constantly connected. I am surprised by how much more time there is to play with, it almost feels like going backwards in time. This freed up time is different, it is like walking into an empty room both silent and vulnerable. What I make in that time is invisible to everyone else which highlights three questions:
Why am I making this? why does it matter? Is this the best use of my limited time?
In this month’s time I have created two new paintings and in the process I used the extra pockets of time to experiment with new techniques for the sake of curiosity. In addition, I write more every day to improve my skills so I can tell clearer stories. In fact, this is the longest article I have ever written on my blog. A blog I actually started to pressure myself into practicing the art of writing.
Most of 2019 has been spent working on digital mediums. Learning new techniques using digital software and keeping my digital design skills sharp. But I have missed the feel of a pencil scratching the surface of a blank piece of paper.
The above painting was made using traditional materials. Gouache and Watercolor. Every time I look at it I am reminded of the tiny moments that came together to make this image. There is no going back once you start a watercolor painting. You have to commit or start all over again, and perhaps that is what I like about traditional media. The assertiveness it demands. That I had to just keep moving forward because the option to go back and erase was not available.
Head over to a grocery store or health food store and pick up the March/April 2018 issue of Spirituality & Health Magazine. One of my watercolor and gouache paintings is featured with a very interesting article about protecting our ‘Flow’ by AllanHamiltonMD.
Protecting the flow is an ever important aspect of the creative journey. Specially in our social media times where attention vampires are everywhere trying to drain every second of our focus and addict us to multitasking. In fact, halfway through writing this I got up to do the dishes and clean the bathroom before I realized I had lost my focus for the writing. Multitasking is a habit I’m trying to wean myself away from as much as is realistically possible in my daily life, and definitely in my studio time and art making process.
Many of you know that creative practices take a lot of work and energy, hours upon hours. It’s not magic. Sometimes I have to uninstall Apps for a while to focus on the work that I love and have been doing since I was a kid simply because it filled my soul back up with joy after a long day or a difficult time. As well as to regain the clarity that living on this Earth is a one-of-a-kind opportunity.