It is so totally true... stuff just has to get done. My landlord, and friend, Lara, works hard. She puts her hours into her regular job, her family, and also mows my lawn- and that of several other people. I am sure there are other things she wants to do, but where to find the hours in a day to get to those things?
I have been away working on another task - an all consuming one at that. I want, more than anything, to be able to get better at painting. In order to do so, I must paint every day. The days get consumed, though, by must-do tasks. I can't always stop and just paint. I take photos of everything that catches my eye. Taking the photos keeps my eyes on the lookout, and the concept of composition in an ongoing conversation with myself, but it is not enough. When I get back to my actual paints and brushes, the materials seems foreign to me - even if I have only been away a week or so. This stuff, this not being able to paint everyday, gets downright depressing.
It is a viscous cycle of taking care of daily living, not getting to paint, feeling guilty about it, feeling like a total poser in the art world, feeling worthless from the lack of progress, and then finally pushing everything aside only to feel completely inept with the materials at hand. It makes me want to toss all my art supplies in a bin and search for what else I may be better at. Then stagnation sets in. Before you know it, I burst and actually make some art. It feels euphoric...but it does not last, again I am called to duty before I can attempt another go at it with my materials.
Stuff just has to get done.
In an effort to massage that viscous cycle and coerce it into a more fruitful direction, I have added simple sketching with a pencil to my day. It requires no effort to carry, to set up, or to clean up. It keeps my eye talking to my brain, my brain talking to my hand.
In the permanently unfinished image above, you see a sketch of a sofa I spent a few minutes on. There is no need for me to finish it as the purpose was for my eyes, brain, and hand to simply have a bit of a chat. My soft graphite Palomino pencil is new to me. It is a dream tool to work with. A bit costly for a "lowly pencil," but working with it is a dream. I like the sound it makes as I scratch the surface of the paper. It makes a good dark... something I need to push myself to to not lose in my drawings.
I made another quick sketch, one when my day had left me spent. I was too tired to set up my paints.
It it is not great, but it did the trick of getting rid of the guilt of not painting. The image is of where I was staying while working on project that was at the top of my stuff-that-has-to-get-done list. In retrospect, I realize that MAKE ART needs to be written at the top of that list. Sketching is one way that I can do that.