This month we're talking about dreams, resolutions, goals, planning and balance. As part of that, we want to share how we have personally tackled these topics in our lives. You can read what we wrote about finding balance here, and this week, Sara shares her story of keeping her art practice going while big changes happened in her life.
Last summer I lost my studio. I was seven months pregnant and knew that it didn't make financial sense to go looking for a new space, since the likelihood of me using it regularly was not good once the baby came. Not having a studio scared me. It was the sacred space where I went to make work, think, process, and be alone. I realized that I needed a way to keep that connection to my art practice even once I lost the physical space. On Labor Day 2015 (exactly a month to the day before I was to go into labor myself), I decided to commit to a daily drawing practice. I would set aside 30 minutes to an hour each day to spend with a piece of paper and some drawing materials (which so far have included pens, pencils, watercolors, gouache, conté crayons, colored pencils, thread and yarn). It was a way of staying connected to an art practice while canvases, panels and paints were impractical to use, and it was a way for me to be alone at the kitchen table to think, meditate, or zone out. I knew it would be challenging to keep this up once the baby arrived, but for that first month of September, it saved me. It was the highlight of each day, which otherwise included physical discomfort, baby preparation errands, exhaustion, and the anticipation of the unknown. In order to hold myself accountable to making a drawing a day, I posted them to my Instagram account. Even though I don't have that many followers, I do have many friends (and some strangers) now anticipating my posts. It is just the right amount of pressure I need to keep up with the daily practice, and the results have been really inspiring. There are many drawings I've made which I think will become the inspiration for future big paintings, and I am looking forward to editing the drawings into a book. There have been several occasions where I have been out an art opening or other gathering where people have approached me to talk about my drawings because they have seen them on Instagram. It's been a rewarding way to stay part of a bigger conversation while my daily life is otherwise occupied with raising my daughter.
So far, I've "slacked" twice with the commitment I've made to post a drawing every day. The first time was when my daughter was born (I took a week off), and then I gave myself a break over the Christmas holidays so that I could concentrate fully on my family. While it's important to set goals and find ways to hold yourself accountable, it's equally important to not be too hard on yourself when things don't go exactly as planned (and it's important to take breaks, too!)
I admit that it's really hard to commit to a time-based project like this when you're fully immersed in raising a baby, but it has been a really good way to step out of the daily feeding/napping/diaper changing routine and take a few minutes for myself. I've added mother to the list of roles that make up my identity, but it is important for me that my daughter grows up seeing that "artist" is still way up high on that list.
What goals have you set for yourself, and how are you making sure that you can reach them?
Join us in a fun project this January! On Instagram and Facebook use the hashtag #kagoals along with a photo of what you are working on that makes you one step closer to fulfilling your professional goals this year. Inspire us!