The Artwagon

We can make a million excuses for the absence of productivity. I’ve heard from many a successful artist that no excuse is good enough; there’s always time to make art if you really want to. They’re right, but there are life events that make it nigh impossible to do anything more than sketch. Sketching is great, and I know I should do it more often. But to me, it isn’t nearly as satisfying on working on a “finished” piece.

Sketching and its virtues notwithstanding, a lack of true artistic productivity is easy to start. You have guests. You have work done in your dwelling. You go out of town. Someone gets sick. Sketching… easy! Make saleable art… a bit tougher. And once I get started with my utter lack of output, it’s difficult to get going again. Not sure why — Newton’s First Law, perhaps? A productive artist will remain productive, and an artist who has excuses will remain artless. Anyone else have this problem?

It doesn’t take much to get me motivated again; drawing and painting are too exhilarating to abandon for long. However, there’s always a short wall to climb before I can get back on the artwagon. And it is in no way tied to the lack of art in this post. Not at all.

Actually, the same thing happens with workouts at the gym. *sigh*

7 thoughts on “The Artwagon”

  1. Next time you’re at the art store, check out the quality of the paper in a Raffine sketchbook. A sheet of 5×8 sketchbook paper could be cut into 3 ATC’s. Who says you can’t have it all?

    No time for the gym? Find some workout tapes/DVDs for days you’re stuck at home. Twenty minutes of Pilates cures the guilt with pleasantly surprising results. I get workout tapes from I think they must have every workout video ever made.

  2. I understand how you feel! Having a sick child hasn’t helped me feel motivated lately. Life gets so busy sometimes. But I think it helps to remember how enjoyable making art is. And hey, sketching is art too. Some people are making pretty good with those ATCs right now!
    :) Smiles!

  3. Yes, yes & yes! You wrote it so much better than I could though!

    & on another note my husband and I were having a mini daytime pub crawl on Memorial Day while in Seattle and came across the Old Town Ale House in Ballard. They supposedly have something like 50 Belgium beers on draft that they offer. Yum. & the pub was perfect – giant windows bringing in the Seattle sunshine (or not). Just thought I would share!

    Now I better get on that treadmill before that schlump lasts too long! It always seems like exercise and artwork output offset each other with me.


  4. I hear ya Meg. If it’s any consolation (or another excuse) I think that sometimes we need to stay off the art wagon to rejuvenate the creativity.
    I used to get into slumps that would last for about 2 weeks and now because I can see them coming at me waving and screaming I stop before they really attack me. So, two days go by where I won’t do any actual art and by day three I’m good to go again. I spend my two unproductive days doing business stuff like making cards, doing bookeeping…you know, that kind of wildly fun stuff.

    Oh, as for the whole exercise/ gym thing, you could go walking with your sketchbook and kill two birds with one stone. ;)

  5. Thanks for your advice, everyone! It’s motivating and refreshing to know I’m not alone in my art slumps.

    Lisa, I’ve been looking for a Raffine sketchbook since you posted about them. Haven’t found one yet, but I’ll keep my eyes peeled. And workout tapes sound like a great idea… having to drive to the gym always makes me feel like a hypocrite. ;)

    Kasie, I can’t imagine trying to do art while wrangling small kids, especially if one is sick. I’ll try to remember your feats next time I’m “too busy” to do art. :)

    Nicole, I know exactly how you feel about art vs exercise. Going to the gym takes up time and makes me tired. Doing art makes my butt go numb from all the sitting. I need balance! And thanks for the pub recommendation. Next time I’m in Seattle, I’ll pay them a visit.

    Rita, it is indeed a consolation (and a bit of a relief) to know other people have ways around this. You don’t know how good you have it until it’s taken away, right? Now I just need to learn how to see it coming. And I love your walk with the sketchbook idea!!

  6. I got the 5.5 x 8.5 from Jerry’s. Blick doesn’t carry it.

    I moved some free weights into the computer room so I can do curls and blog-read at the same time. How lazy is that?

  7. OK, thanks, I’ll go look on Jerry’s.

    Dumbbells in the computer room isn’t lazy at all – it’s multitasking! Brilliant! I’ve often wondered why our bosses haven’t installed stationary bikes in our cubes… it could help power our computers, or something.

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