In my attempt to read A Book A Month this year (completed, btw--EARLY, LIKE A BOSS, *fistbump*), I dusted off the copy of "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield that David gave to me last year. Sometimes these types of books come off as a little cheesy. Maybe the message was right for me, maybe it was the timing, maybe a little of both. But this one hit the mark for me.
I have been in a CREATIVE FUNK for quite some time now. Corporate life will do that to you, I suppose. In many ways, I learned so much, but in the end I was bled pretty dry. I have always sort of straddled this line between fine arts and design, not knowing which way was the right way for me. I love design. I love working in a field where I can give my talents and make a comfortable living doing so. Not everyone is so lucky. But I have been missing out on one of my bigger passions, that of drawing and painting. Oh, I am so incredibly rusty...it is embarrassing. I feel behind in my development as an artist because I put so much energy into designing for the masses. I love working in Photoshop in Illustrator, don't get me wrong. But there is nothing like getting your hands a little dirty in traditional materials.
I pride myself in having a wide variety of skills when it comes to the arts and crafts. And I enjoy many things. This makes it difficult to focus. I think for quite some time I have been sort of trying out many different things and avoiding what I REALLY want to be doing...out of fear, maybe. Probably. Whatever the reason, when I began working from home I was excited to have more time and less stress, so that I could begin to work on my personal art too. I have dabbled in this and that over the past year or so, and I got an idea this spring for a large project that led me to purchase many materials, and dedicate much of my time to learning how to build it. I realized recently that my heart was not in it. David hit the nail on the head when he said to me, "This is the biggest procrastination project I have ever seen." He was so right. I have been avoiding at all cost the thing that I actually want to be doing.
Steven Pressfield would call this misguided project an act of THE RESISTANCE. That force which prevents us from achieving what we are truly meant to do. It shows up when you procrastinate, when you are distracted, when you don't have a routine. So I cleared out my studio and kept only the things I needed to work towards my goal of becoming a more skillful painter and sketch artist. I applied for an online private mentorship with one of my favorite painters, which will be happening later this month. And I begin to refocus on where my true passion lies.
I think it is great to be skilled at many things. There are few people who can find even one thing that brings them joy. I had a friend tell me a long time ago that if I spread myself so thin with all these different activities, I would not be good at anything. Yep. He was right too.
I will continue to design, and pursue my personal passions on the side. They feed each other, and let's be honest: design allows me the luxury of working on my art and not starving! But I feel a lot better having narrowed my life down to these two things. Maybe having a baby makes you think about how you really want to be spending your time. I don't know. I'm just glad to have a little more direction.