Friday, November 5, 2010

Love the One You Are (Art Every Day Month, Days 1-5)

I have been pondering why it is so hard for me to do the things I want to do and the things I know are good for me to do. I want to do them so why don't I? It seems like it should be effortless. Yet, I will do any number of things, frittering away my time and my life, rather than do those things I say I want to do (art, writing, meditation and exercise, to name a few).

On October 30, I screwed my courage to the sticking point and signed up for Art Every Day Month 2010. I have been thinking about it (and the monsters had been arguing against it) for weeks. One of my heroes is Leah Piken Kolidas, an artist who writes the Creative Every Day blog and who invented Art Every Day Month eight years ago. Her intention was to create some art every day for one month and post it on her blog. She invited others to join her. This year more than 100 people are participating. (I used her widget to sign up but I am not listed… More about that later.)

I used this as an excuse to get some new toys. I bought a watercolor paper notebook and a new tray of 48 watercolors.
Here is what I produced during the first five days of AEDM:


  1. There is the painting inspired by the abscission cells of the last post.
  2. Delight of the Day: bare twigs against the blue sky.
  3. Still delighting in the fall.
  4. This one was about colors and paint.
  5. I looked at the paint tray and used the colors I hadn't yet used.

Leah provides some very generous rules for AEDM, but I had to add some of my own.
  1. Keep things simple; make it easy.The reason I chose a watercolor tray with because it's easy to start and stop using it. I don't have to spend time getting things ready or cleaning them up. That's also why I put the materials right where I will see them when I come in the door.
  2. Allow beginner's mind. "Do you know what you're going to do?" asked one of my friends upon hearing my plans to participate in AEDM. No. I am purposely facing the blank page with no plan. As soon as I get home, I take the dog for a walk and then I come in and paint. Sometimes, I am inspired by what's outside. Other times, I have started with
  3. Attach a target behavior to a habit. I take the dog out every day, so I made a rule that I would meditate as soon as I got inside and make art right after that. So far, that is working, but here comes the weekend when my schedule goes wacky and I will need a plan...
  4. Don't compare. This is an old 12-step adage and one I need to hold close.I subscribe to Leah's e-mail feed and, after looking at her beautiful productions, the monsters started shouting about what a crappy artist I am.  I had to take a deep breath and continue on.
  5. Remember why. When I revisited Leah's website, I discovered that my name was not on a list of those participating. Foo! I wanted recognition. I wanted to be on that list with other people who make good art. But why? Am I doing this to impress? No. I make art to practice the creative process and learn from it and that's what I'm doing here. Remembering that, results and recognition become less important.
Dealing with the Monster Voices

I know I will spend significant time this month with the not-good-enough/why-bother monster voices as my companions. In case you haven't noticed, anyone can make art better than mine. There really is no earthly reason for me to continue this charade… Etc.

About that time, I started hearing (in my head) Crosby Stills and Nash singing "Love the One You're With."

Today, when I was scanning in my results and the monster voices were very loud, I successfully shut them up by looking at parts of the paintings.

For instance, the first day's painting (which I really don't like):

Became this:

And this:

And this:

Now those I like!

If I can't produce the art I love, I need to love the art I produce.




1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks Kate for your lovely art. Thanks too for your suggestion for daily self care in a variety of ways. And I downloaded your favorite person for meditation and look forward to hearing it!
I'll think of you smiling as I listen to him. Julie K.