Monday, May 24, 2010

Work spaces, inside and out.

Sometimes it can be very difficult for me to focus on one thing. At times like those it's not easy for me to sit still and concentrate on one project. Frustrating, yes. I've learned not to fight against it. Even with a deadline, I won't get good results by forcing that sort of creativity. It doesn't mean I can't be productive.

I spent most of Saturday in the greenhouse. Each plant got checked and attended. The stages of a greenhouse seem to be a bit like those of a studio, or any other work area. When it's new, it's oh so 'pretty.'
Then reality and functionality step up. The space becomes much more about the plants (or work) than the space. So things get moved, and changed, and undone and redone. After that, more plants (or work) are produced.
Have you looked at your work space recently? If you're working in it, eventually it will most likely evolve to fit you. If you're working, but not in the space you want to be, it might be time to rethink some things.

Anyway, this weekend I did a lot of work in the greenhouse, and a little work on several art projects. I told myself that any work I do is useful, and contributes to the whole. True enough, what I'd wanted was to be 'in the zone.' Here I was, with time on my hands, an empty, quiet space to work in. A few years ago I would've forced myself to work on whatever 'the thing' was. And work on 'the thing' would have been accomplished. But, at what cost? It takes a lot of energy to get from 'here' to 'there.' Sometimes it's necessary----as for a performer when the curtain opens. But if it's not, I can be flexible. Like spaces, it's better for me to let my work rearrange itself to fit the energy that's there to put into it. To focus on projects that fit the moment, or the state of mind. It's taken quite a number of crappy choices--including stressing and spinning wheels, to convince me that this looser approach works better.

So I spent my weekend with plants, a Sunday hike with Spencer and dinner made with stuff grown right outside my back door. I worked in between and ended up with a couple of little pieces I truly like and a mental start on a new painting that came easily, very possibly because I was relaxed and open to the process.

Summer is coming. It's the desert. Practicing calm now will help me when the sun makes us all a little crazy. I hope, I hope, I hope.



Melissa P said...

It's the Buddha Pace--living in the now and all that it entails. You are so right about how it helps to match our state of mind to our tasks. Excellent advice.

cmw said...

Good advice. You're so generous to share your process.

I get the fiddle-fart-arounds every once in a while when I'm supposed to be working on something. I've learned (the hard way) to just go with it. As long as I cycle back to my desk -- I fiddle-fart-around until I'm ready to commit.


lisa said...

Hi Melissa: It's true. I feel best when I'm living in the present. I think it's why I go for 'the zone' as often as I can. Still, thinking, and putting things into perspective and context are part of being an artist. And you know what thinking leads to---those feelings of dread and uncertainty. Silly humans.

cmw: I do enjoy sharing the process. Every time I give a lecture I wonder if I'm an idiot---that everybody already knows everything I have to offer. But the truth is that some will, and will appreciate the affirmations---others won't, and will appreciate the tips.
Fiddle-farting is as good a name as any for the behavior.

Melissa P said...

No doubt about it--thinking can lead to the Darkness all too quickly. I keep hoping to learn the secret to harnessing anxiety. So far...slogging through in spite of myself is the best I can do.

I hope your week is full of small unexpected moments of delight.