Monday, June 29, 2009

Two Umbrellas

Before I retired, I had this vision of working non-stop into the wee hours of the morning to create a body of work. It did not work out that way. I find that I work in spurts, starting a piece in my home office, living with it for a while and then, carting it off to my "public" office to to finish off with oils. Or leave alone as the case may be.

I have discovered that it is not necessary for me to work eight hours a day seven days a week. In fact, I can't. I need to alternate my painting with my journalism with museum/gallery going, wool gathering, fun with friends and walks to nowhere place in particular. But what I do need, what I do is focus on getting the job done and continually refining my craft, whether it's the art of painting or the art of writing. I'm already an expert on the art of goofing off.

The writer Elmore Leonard got up at 5:00 am and wrote for two hours before going to work at an ad agency. He did it for ten years and turned out five books and 30 short stories.

I am not an early morning person, never have been, and, thank heavens, my days in the salt mines of UC are over. But I do get up by 8 or 9, and while drinking my tea, work an hour or two on the latest piece in the studio. Then, I go and set up my schedule for the rest of the day. I just took an inventory of the pieces in my studio - in four and a half years of retirement, I've painted over 100 new pieces, have made about a dozen artists books and an uncountable amount of work in watercolor, calligraphy and drawings. Now, I manage this blog as well as write for the SF Examiner. It does not take all day and it does not take the type of angst driven life style. It just takes focus, application and discipline and, to be honest, not in painful amounts. There is plenty of time of gazing out the window and aimless Internet surfing.


Zoomie said...

What a fun painting! And your days seem like the perfect combination for a happy retirement - some work, some play, some leisure, some "head work." You've composed the perfect life for yourself, haven't you?

Kathy Hodge said...

I am still struggling with having a full-time day job and trying to paint, but I find it easier when I realize that I am always "painting", even if it's just looking at the patterns that the tree branches on the side of the road make when I am stuck in traffic in my morning commute.

I think the ideal painting life would include plenty of leisure time. Many people who work their 40 hours and do not have additional full-time painting jobs have no guilt in sitting in front of a TV every night. It sounds like you are using your leisure time much more productively. And 20 paintings a year is nothing to scoff at!

namastenancy said...

When I worked full time, it was a struggle to find time to paint. When I look at my work from that period, my paintings were dark, abstract and full of swirls and clots of paint. I didn't have the energy to try to find my "real" voice. But I also have watercolors, altered artists books and a ton of calligraphy. I was very stressed and angry when I retired; my thirty years in UC's salt mines were a long hard slog, filled with awful supervisors and an impossible work load. I am loving being able to move past my anger and into a sunnier, more peaceful place. I think that my work shows it and more opportunities are opening up - more than I dreamed of.

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