To Move Forward, Sometimes You Have to Quit
Over the years, I've been so inspired by other artists who have incorporated daily practices into their daily routines. When I turned 36 this past November, I decided to do a daily painting exercise. My intention was to have fun with it, explore more with marks and pattern, and to push myself to try new things.
I read this interesting little book while I was visiting my family in Florida over Thanksgiving, "Daily Rituals: How Artists Work" by Mason Currey. The daily lives of artists and creatives of all types (painters, writers, musicians, mathematicians) were outlined. Many took daily walks, they slept few hours, some were tormented, some were refreshingly happy, it truly varied. (Note for perspective: Many of these artists, though not all, had maids, childcare, benefactors, etc.)
So I started posting my daily painting exercises on Instagram (my favorite social media) with the hashtag #paintcadadía. Cada día means "each day" in Spanish. It is a reminder to paint, but also that daily practice can make a big difference. I don't speak Spanish fluently, but I understood way more when was practicing daily a few years ago with a tutor.
It has been four months since I started this journey. While I think that daily practice is amazing, and would recommend it for anyone, frankly, I am flagging.
But that is okay. I have a full time job. I have a two year old boy that I am the primary caregiver to due to my husband's work schedule. I have to go to the laundromat. I have to cook. I want to draw more, but I cannot do everything I want all the time. At least not while maintaining my sanity and being present for my son, which is my most important priority right now.
What is that great quote? "You can do anything, but not everything."
So I'm going to stop this exercise. I will still paint as much as I can, but I'm not going to force myself to adhere to a strict schedule and feel bad about it if I chose to do something else that day, like play at the park with my son, read a book, take a nap, or lets be real - KonMari my house!
Did I do it for the whole year? No. But did I fail? Absolutely not.
I choose to say that I succeeded in my goal, even if I did it for 1/3 of the time originally slated. Let's just say I was remarkably efficient in my endeavors.
I had fun. I made wonderful connections with other artists.
I explored with my style which clarified what I want to focus on next, which is more abstract painting, food, and makeup product drawings. I want to try relying less on ink with my watercolor illustrations. I want to paint more interiors again.
I carved out time for myself to focus on something important to me. I showed my son that a mom should also have her own time to work on what she loves, which is part of being a good role model in my opinion (granted that child is fed first!).
And when I look at what I posted on Instagram, I'm proud of the variety and amount of drawings and paintings I created these 4 months. I even posted some of the watercolor paintings for sale as art prints on my new Society6 page.
I spoke to my goal oriented cousin this weekend, and I told her, you are "enough" doing what you're doing right now. That is enough! I'm glad I finally listened to my own advice.