Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Thoughts on Procrastinating

"Even with the best of intentions, inspiration still sometimes strikes at the most inopportune moments.  It's impossible to always drop everything and act on it.  I picture a great warehouse out in the cosmos full of great work that was never realized because the spark was not acted upon.  It makes me a little sad to think that those "lost" great works are denied from this world forever."

This quote is from Clint Watson of, in a blog post titled "Why Great Artists Should Procrastinate".  I am in awe of his articulation of the feeling of the muse, the creating, and the expectations of  the world.  I should be getting some sleep, but this comment inspired me!  I found it while reading art blogs instead of doing art!
I am reminded of things I've read about Michelangelo describing his art: "Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it...I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free."  Think of this great artist working 500 years ago...and all the other artists--and writers over the centuries, who have struggled with following the inspiration or doing the stuff that needs to be done for living... hauling water from the well, finding and growing food, washing out cloth diapers, which had to be spun and woven to start with....  (Maybe those chores of living before modern conveniences explains some of why there are so few women artists known before the last century!)  Anyway...that is a lot of "lost great works" out there in what must be a huge explanation for the Milky Way?

Clint's entry mentions an essay by Paul Graham on procrastination, where he says, "impressive people I know are all procrastinators...they put off working on small stuff to work on big stuff...small stuff is work that has zero chance of being mentioned in your obituary.

My bills aren't paid, the class I'm teaching is not prepared, the county fair takes off in full force in the morning, the laundry is piling up, I forgot to think about supper tonight while I researched ways to save on communication expenses, and all I want to do is paint! For now, I am satisfied with procrastinating on sleep for the creativity of just writing this blog.  I can't procrastinate the fair in order to paint...we have two really big sheep, and an even bigger boy to prepare for tomorrow's show! So sometimes the difference in small stuff and big stuff has to be the timing of things beyond one's control. 

Paul Graham thinks, "the way to 'solve' the problem of procrastination is to let delight pull you instead of making a to-do list push you. Work on an ambitious project you really enjoy, and sail as close to the wind as you can, and you'll leave the right things undone."

Our youngest graduates from high school this year...soon we won't have as many activities, allowing me to open up some space in the cosmic warehouse!   Meanwhile, my current (and very long-term) ambitious project is being a great mother.  When I let the delight of that calling pull me, I can leave some painting undone and still end up with a decent obituary.  Thank you, Clint, for the thoughts.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A little escape from reality

Ha! I was enjoying a friend's blog where she posts free images for use in altered books and collages.   This image made me laugh and led me to wonder if the couple pictured here went through the same sorts of decisions, fun, frustrations, and stresses experienced in wedding planning of the 2010 variety.  Where did they go from this point in their life?  How many attended the wedding?  Was it a wonderful party?  Wouldn't a picnic in the woods seem appropriate?  Did they ever see those wedding guests again? Was he a military officer?  Did she have a career?  Were they successful...healthy...happy?  How many children did they have?  Did the parents in the background worry about them?  Did all those children gathered round them remember the event?  Whose shoe is the little boy in front hiding?  Did the dog act as ring bearer?  Isn't it interesting to notice the distinct age groups shown?

Three weeks out from my first daughter's wedding, number two just off to college, and number three gone to football is returning to its somewhat normal routine.  It gives me a chance to think again.  I'm cleaning house, finishing a painting, reading a book (The Fiery Cross by Gabaldon), and may do some filing and sorting...better hurry, because the county fair is next week!  That's always several days of intense distraction.  We'll do the sheep show again, and have a booth with the aerial photography.  The show choir sings and works concessions for the grandstand shows (Creedence Clearwater Revisited, Rodney Atkins).  And school starts in two weeks!   Isn't it fun to escape for a bit with this Victorian painting?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I've been a bit out of the blogger mode, while preparing and recovering for my oldest daughter's wedding.  My artistic (sewing) skills were in emergency demand when the dress returned from the alterations "expert", less than a week before the big day, in a lumpy mess:  twisted boning, crooked hem, puckered neckline, bent backward side seams and zipper, buttons that floated away from the zipper with no hooks... gathered skirt pulled with double fullness at the sides  I spent nearly all of 3+ days taking it all apart and putting it back together.  Then we drove 7 hours to the groom's graduation from USAF pilot training, and 7 hours back just in time for the rehearsal!  The photo shows the final fitting--at the church!  It worked...hallelujah!  She was fabulously beautiful and so happy.  I'm amazed at how much time it takes to de-compress from all that!  Check out her last 4 blog posts for a good laugh at the stressful situation: