When I prepare myself for a period of intensive painting and the deadline of the exhibition is fast approaching, I find it helpful to read about the life of another artist, especially one I admire. It helps me to get into the mode of intense concentration and helps me to focus on what I want to achieve. As my other activities fade away (although never disappear completely), I learn to prioritize and the book helps me with this.
So I am reading an interesting book at the moment, "Full Bloom - the art and life of Georgia O'Keeffe" by Hunter Drohojowska-Philp. It is an intimate portrait of Georgia O'Keeffe and I find it very inspiring. The author says:
'After reading the book on decision making, she [O'Keeffe] opened a notebook and wrote "yes" at the top of the left hand page and "no" at the top of the right, then proceeded to confront all of the decisions she needed to make and put them in one of the categories. The simple system revealed what she really wanted to do and what others wanted her to do. It provided a core of discipline that served her well. She later explained, "The essential question was always: if you want to do this, can you do that?"
Art (and life) is about choices we make. There is a time for surrendering, for letting go and there is a time for getting a grip on yourself and being your own master, your own guru. Disciplining myself doesn't come easily, but it needs to be done. It doesn't mean starting to behave in a rigid, insensitive way, but it is a sort of training that has to be done in order to open up in the direction that I want to go. This channeling of my energy allows me to make progress and not spread myself too thinly.
My aim is to paint 8 oil on canvas paintings in 4 weeks. Wish me luck.