Flexibility With Art Time

How can we as artists prevent time challenges from completely destroying our precious art time?

I recently had a wonderful email conversation with a fellow Artist Jeff Vehige. He was having some trouble with a bathroom renovation in his studio that had caused him to put art on hiatus for a while. He was frustrated about the interruption in his training but it had given him time to reflect.

Jeff works best when his art time is on a schedule. I feel the same. But, this unforeseen challenge has caused his art making to plummet into nothing.

It reminds me of wisdom by Mark Divine a commander in the navy seals that has written some amazing books. I still need to read The Way of the Seal completely.

“Related to elasticity and plasticity—the ability to change and morph as the challenges hit you rapid fire. In the SEALs we coined the term Semper Gumby, which meant always flexible. This was a nod to our Marine brothers, whose motto is Semper Fi—always faithful. SEALs are a bit counterculture in the military, and we thought the little green bendy toy Gumby was a pliable mascot. I mean, you could contort it to do all sorts of things, but it always came back to its normal shape with a little effort. Most days I felt like that.”

Mark Divine

Your challenges also remind me of Dan Siegel’s wisdom about the river of flexibility.

“Now the qualities of an integrated flow spelled a universally memorable word: FACES, for Flexible, Adaptive, Coherent, Energized, and Stable. We can say that any healthy complex system has a FACES flow. In other words, when the self-organizational movement of the system is maximizing complexity, it attains a harmonious flow that is at once flexible, adaptive, coherent, energized, and stable…

I like to imagine the FACES flow as a river. The central channel of the river is the ever- changing flow of integration and harmony. One boundary of this flow is chaos. The other boundary is rigidity. These are the two banks of the river of integration.”

Dan Siegel

As artists we need to be careful of the bank of rigidity. If we have too much structure we become fragile and break easily. A system where we can create anywhere at anytime allows us to be flexible, to bend with the challenges, work with them and come out in better shape at the end like Gumby.

We also need to be careful of chaos, we have need a balance. Some structure is always good such as defining an amount of time you will work on art every day.

Do you as a creative have large amounts of time where creativity dries up because of the normal day to day challenges?

How can you be more flexible with your art time so that you can be creative regularly?

Many of us artists are afraid of doing a bad painting, drawing something ugly or making mistakes in any way. This fear is preventing us from being creative and expression ourselves.

Let’s not see mistakes as these huge scary demons, but embrace them. Learning to love our mistakes and see them as opportunities to grow as artists will be our path to a more creative, confident and spontaneous future.

I love Adrian Belic’s (an academy award nominee for the movie Genghis Blues) quote, he says it perfectly.

“There are no successes and failures’ according to Belic, ‘there are only successes and opportunities. When I make a movie I shoot hundreds of hours, each of which has the potential to make the final cut. Most will not. The film that winds up on the cutting room floor shouldn’t be seen as failure though. Each frame was an important part of the overall process, even those that didn’t ultimately get used.”

Adrian Belic

Let’s treat our mistakes just like we are an actor in a movie. We have a mis-take, oh well, let’s do another take and get a little better the more we practice.

Or maybe you feel that your art time must be spent creating a finish amazing work and just working a few minutes a day will not accomplish anything. Well, if you feel that way than my whole philosophy and website will prove you wrong. Let’s see the awesome power in letting perfection go and just being an artist for just 30 minutes a day.

Be the navy seal of draftsmen, be the best actor/actress nominee of painters, confront your mistakes and see them as opportunities for growth as you envelope your life with creativity.

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