Making Art

Bringing Art Making Into Your Life

Top six ways to avoid making art.

We all do things to sabotage our art making. Yet we say we want to make some art. It can be hard to see what we are doing to ourselves, and we can come up with all sorts excuses to tell ourselves.

Here is my list of some of the best [worst?] excuses we use to avoid making art/ write a song/ choreograph a dance/write your novel.

  1. Tell ourselves we’ll do it tomorrow after we’ve done our chores
  2. Say, after I finish my studies/big project/the kids are bigger, I will have time for art.
  3. Tell ourselves no-one will like it or it won’t be good enough.
  4. Book our selves up with many ‘important and noble’ activities.
  5. Let our creative work take a back seat to another’s ‘more important career’.
  6. Say I’ll definitely make some art when I catch up on my sleep, [my health improves, we finish our renovations, etc.]

There’s a woman I know vaguely, who used to be a busy art-maker. Since she had a child she’s had trouble getting back into her creative head space. Her partner is also a creative person who seems to have had no trouble continuing with his creative career.  She actively supports him, but underneath is seething and angry at him. She thinks his career is important [and it is bringing in the bacon], but has also reached the point where she is feeling very frustrated. He’s not exactly your hands on, change a nappy type of dad. [That maybe putting it mildly]. But here’s where it gets weird. She hasn’t actually told him she needs his support to start making her work again. [Yes maybe he should mind read, but he’s just happily noodling along, doing his own thing]. She complains about having a lack of time for herself, but she keeps booking up her time, joining ’causes’. Yes I am all for helping causes, but there can be a limit: you still need to nurture yourself. I don’t know this woman well enough to even make a guess at what’s going on in her head, but obviously it’s not all the fault of her slack husband.

I know that after  I had my little person, if I had a few moments to myself I was far more likely to read a tacky magazine than make some art. Its ok! You don’t have to beat yourself up about wanting to do something else. But there’s also no point  in constantly having ‘Do a drawing’ on your daily to do list if all its doing is making you feel bad. At some point, your genuine interest revives, and you will be able to start making again.

And just maybe the scary truth is you only think you want to make some art. Was there a time in your life when you used to be quite creative and you yearn for that time? Do you think it would be cool to write a song? Do you have romantic notions about the artist at work, but you just don’t really want to make something? Or you see yourself as a creative person but at the moment you really are too tired/sick/busy to get your ideas out of your head.

Lately I have been ‘wanting to do more exercise’, and yet THIS HAS NOT HAPPENED. I have many excuses:

  • It’s too hot/cold/rainy
  • I’m too tired
  • Too busy
  • It’s too expensive

There have been times in my life where I have been quite fit. And this is good.  Its makes me feel good about myself, feel healthy and look better too. But you know what? I think at the moment what I really want is to lie on a beach and drink margaritas. I want to want to exercise. If I really wanted to I would pop my runners on and jump on the running machine. Maybe there will come  a time when exercise makes it back into my life. I went camping a few weeks ago and yes everyday big walks and swimming. Brilliant. Easy

Ok so we’ve gone though some of our excuses, what are the real reasons we aren’t making any art?

Another friend of mine invited me to join her in entering a big drawing competition. There are two weeks [ and counting] to go. She suggested it about two weeks ago, got her paper, did her drawing and now its at the framers. Mine is…. non existent. ‘Why?’ you ask. Well first we were going camping and I had to organise a lot of things for that, and then we all got a tummy bug, then I had to organise a dress for a black tie event, then I had to recover from my hangover for said black tie event, buy my husband a birthday present, then the house was super messy, and we were having people over……….. or to cut a long story short,  I’m feeling a bit un-confidant about entering this big wig competition and my idea is very complicated and I’m not sure I can pull it off…..there I said it. So now what. Well I better bloody decide if I am entering or not, because I am running out of time.

Above: The only thing I have done on my entry so far is play with a few ideas with pen, ink and watercolour.

We often can do something under difficult conditions, if we really want to. I’m sitting here writing this post even though I have another tummy bug, and feel like I might need to go for a little vomit, because I’ve committed to posting every week. Why is this different from my abandoned commitments to exercise? I guess the difference is I really do want to do this. Maybe it’s that simple.

Of course there are genuine reasons why we don’t make art, but once they pass, you make some art right?  It can take quite a while to get your head back into the space but you will if you want to.

And remember, make it easy for yourself to make some art. My top six ways to let yourself make art:

  1. Just start with whatever supplies you already have, and leave them set up if you can.
  2. Keep writing your ideas in your notebook , so when you do get a chance you’re not left staring at a blank page.
  3. Remember it’s about being true to yourself, not pleasing others with your work.
  4. Do a little at a time. It doesn’t take that long to do a little bit of art making.
  5. Make it a priority. Do it before the dishwashing. It is legal you know.
  6. Don’t wait for circumstances to be perfect. They never will be, so just make some art anyway.

As for me and entering a drawing in the competition…. I will tell you next time how well I battled my art demons. It’s going to be a mighty battle!

2 comments on “Top six ways to avoid making art.

  1. Pingback: Battling Your Art Demons « Making Art

  2. Pingback: Take an Art Retreat – my tips for making it worthwhile. | Making Art

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This entry was posted on November 1, 2012 by in creativity, Making art and tagged , .
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