quiet times, busy times
December through mid-March was a relatively quiet time for me, without a travel or teaching schedule. Those days are behind me now--I've launched into a much busier schedule, and I'm looking back at the winter now with slight nostalgia. In retrospect this timing worked out well, coinciding with the cold, huddled down time of year. It was a very productive time in the studio. It's not that I miss winter itself (which we still seem to be in half the time, anyway) but I do miss the focus on simply painting and being in the studio.
Of course, I still had plenty to do all during that time--shipping work to Ireland, getting ready for my trip to Toronto, having my website updated. Life never seems completely quiet! But simply being at home most of the time, and making it to my studio nearly every day, makes me feel grounded and calm. Recognizing that this is good, I've started to consciously set up times of the year when the schedule is less demanding. My intention is to keep a similar block of time next year, early winter through early spring, as a period when I will avoid scheduling much.
Busy times have their own pleasures too, of course. I just had my first studio workshop of the year, and am feeling the glow of its success. Five artists from various distant places (including Sweden!) came together for three days of intense exploration of cold wax medium techniques. It was a friendly, compatible group, and the artists were very open and full of ideas. There is nothing like the energy that flows in these workshops! I have several more to look forward to through the spring and summer--two in the Carolinas in April, one in my studio in May, in Davenport Iowa in June, in Telluride, CO in July, and in Mineral Point, WI in August and again in October. Two of these are upper level classes that I'm adding for the first time this year, so they require planning and preparing the new material. (For details on all of my upcoming workshops, please click here
My travel plans include road trips for several of these classes, plus a residency in Ireland in September, at the Tyrone Guthrie center. I guess it's fortunate that I really enjoy travel, whether it's a road trip for a day or two, or off to another country. The class, the exhibit, or whatever the purpose of the trip may be provides structure--but there is also times for meeting new people, and often for spending time with old friends too, and seeing sights.
I have two exhibits scheduled at this point for 2011, one at Woodwalk Gallery
in Door County, Wisconsin (opening July 3) and one at at Darnell Fine Art
in Santa Fe (opening July 22.) In addition to creating work for those shows, I also just received a large commission for a 5x8 foot painting, for a cancer care center in Texas.
As I write all of this, my head starts to spin thinking of the mountain of to-do lists that will be generated by this schedule. I know that the key to handling a busy schedule is to take it one step at a time, and try not to freak out at the cumulative pile of stuff to do ahead. Also to pay attention to the usual advice: eat right, get exercise and good sleep (not always easy to shut down the brain!) and take time out for fun and for open-ended studio sessions, with no big agenda on my mind. It's the time of year to remind myself of all of this, breathe deeply and carry on.
The small untitled painting above (12"x12" oil on panel) is one I am sending to Woodwalk Gallery to start off their spring season.