Wednesday, March 10, 2010

No More Left-Turns

One time in college, I was driving across campus in a big hurry to get somewhere when I remembered I forgot something back at my apartment. Not thinking, I attempted to make a left turn from the far right lane. As you might have guessed, I didn't make it and slammed right into an air-conditioning truck. So typical of my life. I'm always in a hurry to get somewhere and something gets me side-tracked.
Fast-forward XX years and I'm really making a concerted effort to focus on my art in 2010. Nothing's holding me back now. Chandler (hubby) has set me up with all the electronic bells and whistles. "No more excuses!" he says. I've cleaned up my studio. I'm taking a couple of art classes at Crealde in Winter Park to freshen up my skills. I'm joining some fellow artists online with Marisa Haedike and Creative Thursday for an e-course, "In the Fish Bowl—Life as an Artist. Online."  And I've started this blog. Woohoo! I'm on my way. Finally! Hoping I can stay on track with this. No more left-turns! 

Here are a couple of questions us "fishies" have been asked to answer in our e-course this week...

Q: Why do you love what you create?
A: I feel so blessed that I have an artistic talent. When I am creating whatever it is, a painting, a craft project, a Ben Franklin costume for my son's 2nd grade book report—time flies. It's what I truly love to do!  I feel like when I'm done with a piece, I know I'm done. It's the best it can be. And therein lies my problem. I'm a perfectionist, when it comes to creativity (not cleaning house, mind you) so I spend way too long on a project. Or worse, I stop what I'm doing in the middle of it because I know I can't put in the time needed to make it the absolute best it can be so I don't finish it. That's what I do with a lot of things in my life and that's why I'm taking this e-course to help me focus on being an artist with something to show for it.

Q: What are you working on when you lose all sense of time?
A: Oh, give me a few minutes of free time and I can get lost for ya! I can be out in my studio painting or making something crafty. I look up at the clock and it's 9pm, then I look again and it's 1am. How does that happen? I can also spend an entire evening just surfing the web at different blogs and web sites. My friend, Kelley and I call it ADH-GOOGLE-D. I'll start with a goal in mind to just check out my usual sites, then suddenly it's four hours later I've gotten nothing accomplished, but I've discovered 14 new projects I want to start. I love it and I hate it! Then there's deadline creative. Being in advertising for 15 years, deadlines are a way of life for me. I usually leave projects until the last minute waiting for my ah-ha creative moment. And when it finally comes (it always does, even though I stress that it won't) I go full-force and drop everything for the sake of the project. The kids might get chicken nuggets three nights in a row. If we run out of milk, we'll just have to do without until my deadline is met.  I'll search every morning through the unfolded basket of laundry for underwear and socks (for all of us). The dogs wait patiently while their morning walks are put on hold. I go through the usual routine with the kids: school, homework, swimming, piano, baths, books, bed, bla, bla, bla. But the entire time, my head is in the project, burning the midnight oil trying to make it better and better. Then, anywhere from 8 to 72 hours later, my project is done. I've met my deadline. And I walk out of my studio and back in to reality...and a very messy house. But that creative high carries me for days!

Q: What is success to you? (in terms of your art)
A: Success to me is a finished piece of artwork, or creative idea that I'm proud to say I did. That's short term success anyway. I also let that get in my way. I tend to  feel like I can't do it again (as in create another work of art). Long term success is something I haven't achieved yet, but am hoping to in the coming year. It's becoming an artist online; selling my pieces on etsy; being in art shows; getting to know other artists online and learning from them; sharing what I've learned... and making money while I'm at it.


  1. Hi; just popped in from the fishbowl and am grateful to see your answers to our first week's questions :)

    I'm just delving into it now.



  2. Hi Melanie,

    I love your post and I'm so excited for you and the adventure of it all.

    What type of art classes are you taking right now?


  3. Hi, Melanie. I printed out your post a few days ago, but finally got to reading it. Loved the content. Congrats on starting your blog.
    From a fellow fishie,

  4. Hey there! I am in the fish bowl class with you. Nice to meet you. Amen to this post! My left brain husband always laughs... because my philosophy is if you go RIGHT you can't go wrong. I so get the LEFT Turn...sheesh! Looks like we are in the right class to get us on our way. I enjoyed looking over you blog! See you in class! Kim

  5. Hi Melanie! Thanks for sharing your answers. It's is always so insightful to see how we all work, what our work means to us ~ and my favorite part, hearing what success means to everyone. I have a feeling you'll do just fine and you'll be achieving your wish for success, soon! So happy to have you in class!

  6. i'm so glad to read your answers too. it sounds as though you are very focused when you need to be! the type of work i've done in the past has also made me very deadline oriented, and i'm trying to find a way to be that productive now that i'm doing what i want to rather than what i have to! it's hard though when one has so many interests!!
    your website is gorgeous btw!!



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