Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Anita Baedke-Plucker - "A Time to Create"
This week's Artisans Road Trip featured artist is Anita (Katie) Baedke-Plucker from Terril, Iowa. Katie is speaking to a subject all artists struggle for and with - "a time to create".
I hear so often of the frustration and disappointment of people, mostly women, who want to spend more time on/at their art. However, the reality and responsibilities of everyday life get in the way. I have and will probably continue to experience those same frustrations myself. I can only speak as to my experience: first, I remember saying to myself, “if I only had a day to paint.” I have realized that I can get a lot of watercolor painting done in 30 minutes! If that is the fragment of time you have, take it! Make the most of it. Stay connected with the piece. Last year I did not plan my annual 'Arts Adventure'; no workshops or classes, no exhibits; and no 'art-in-the-parks'. My goal was to sort through, organize, and clean 60 years of 'treasures' on the family farm, hoping that time, Mom and Dad would move to an assisted living villa. Most of my time was spent out on the farm. However, 2009 was probably one of my most productive years in producing art and releasing prints. I took advantage of those fragments of time. I knew that is all I had. Plus, I could not afford a negative attitude about all of this and making excuses. I found myself repeating over and over to myself in my mind, "I have plenty of time to get everything done." The mind is very powerful.
Second: If you have to get your art supplies out of the closet in order to paint, you probably won’t. And you will use up valuable limited time in the preparation and the putting-away. Find an area or a room where you can work and leave you supplies and
materials out, if it’s only a card table in a corner somewhere. When my sons were babies and toddlers, I was a stay-at-home mom plus took care of three other children, as well. I had a space in the corner of my kitchen (I will admit it was a very large kitchen.) and “while the macaroni was cooking” I was in the corner either analyzing work or painting a few strokes of watercolor. I had and have a terrific thirst, a need to create, and found a way, if only for a few minutes. Sooooooo get that space ready. I really believe this to be true, “If you want something bad enough, you will find a way; if not, you will find an excuse.” Become aware of the roadblocks we can throw up to prevent ourselves from getting what we desire.
And...if you are working ‘large’, having small fragments of time here and there to complete a large piece alone can be frustrating and overwhelming and make you feel defeated. You may lose that initial energy and excitement which led you to begin the work. Perhaps work in a smaller format??? a smaller size??? I know many artists who would argue that idea with me. Very simply, do the math. I recently read of an artist who paints one painting per day and posts it on her website each day for sale. One painting every day! They are small, I think they were 6”x6”, but 365 per year and she was working, painting every day. That alone, must be fulfilling.
Also, I believe there is a “season” for the chapters in your life – caring and nurturing your children, employment to financially support the family, caring for an ill/disabled spouse, parent or child, etc. Often these chapters will require almost all of your time and commitment. And that is the way it is supposed to be. The season for your art will come. Knowing that and accepting that will lessen the frustration and deliver a certain amount of peace as you turn the pages of those chapters.
Another battle can be the idea that people do not take artists seriously. Our need to create is seen as a hobby, a fun way to spend time or a waste of time. If you have people around you who feel that way about your art, that can be a huge difficult obstacle. My heart goes out to you. My art is a real need. “I just gotta make me something.” And I am the happiest when I have taken any opportunity to create. I am reminded it is the process that is the most enjoyable part in creating. Robert Henri wrote, "Museums of art will not make a country an art country. But where there is the art spirit there will be precious works to fill museums. Better still, there will be the happiness that is in the making."
Remember to stop back from time to time for another glimpse at the artists from the Artisans Road Trip!