Making Art Every Day in 2021
Kind of on a whim, but more inspired by Sybil Archibald, a local artist, friend, and collector's own daily practice, I finally felt moved to make this commitment. I've struggled for years feeling "not good enough" and wondering, "why can't I make this commitment to create every day"?
I am good enough, and my life has been very full of many responsibilities. But, that being said, I've increased my exercise practice, my meditation practice, but not my creative practice. I realized that I've been trying to encourage my students to do the same thing - but how can I if I'm not practicing what I preach? So . . . I've started. Officially on January 2nd, I made a commitment to minimally make art 30 minutes a day. To show up, because it's in the frequency and the work, that develops good work.
REALITY: I made it consecutively to day 39. It's not perfect, and some days I've allowed myself the compassion of counting a sketchbook session in front of the TV towards my practice. Other days I'm sneaking up to the studio after the kids have gone to bed while catching an episode of The Durrells in Corfu - a PBS program that I stream on Amazon. It truly makes me smile, giggle, and lets me travel to a beautiful place, if only for an hour. Then a few weeks later, we lost the boiler in our house, and we temporarily landed at my in-laws for a week. I didn't create much that week.
INSIGHT: I just took the CliftonStrengths test, inspired by some personal growth work my sis is doing and found out some incredibly affirming and enlightening things about myself. Created by Gallup, the test assesses your top ten strengths, and lists out a total of 34. My top tens are spot on, but the last one shocked me - consistency. It is a strength, but it is my weakest. This was freeing to learn - and explained a lot of the blips every time I attempt to complete a social media challenge! And, with that I'm allowing myself the space to skip days when I need to - because if I can't be consistent those days, it's because my other strengths, like being responsible to my clients or family, will win out.
The above artworks are only about 1/2 of what I've created for the month of January. I have another series going on simultaneously, as well as working on some intermittent commissions. At this point in mid-March, I've completed 16 new pieces - I've surpassed my production last year, so I'm thrilled with this.
The upshot for you? I'm going to be dropping these works in small groups every Friday, beginning March 19th, to my VIPS who subscribe to my newsletter. They will have 24 hours to snatch up these new works. Then, if the works are still available, I'll release them on Instagram. Much of the works will be unframed watercolors on handmade papers featuring my new TeaScapes. Additionally, I'm participating in the #ArtistSupportPledge which asks that I agree to sell works that are $200 or less, and once I hit $1000 in sales, I spend $200 on collecting another artist's work.
SOUND GOOD? Please sign up below to become a VIP to make certain you have early access and first dibs at these new wonders coming out of my studio. Until Friday, you can follow my Instagram / Facebook feeds, and you can explore all of the progress in my #ArtEveryDay Story on IG.
Sometimes all you need to be creative are some basic tools, a framework, and a nurturing guide within which to make something. During the 1st annual NJ Makers Day on Saturday, March 21st, I will be offering visitors to the West Orange Public Library an opportunity to creatively contribute their mark without intimidation or expectations.
I hear all the time from adults "I can't even draw a stick figure" and "I'm not creative". Banish those thoughts and let me help you contribute to a community "Handala". Influenced by the structure of mandalas, the "Handala", a concept I discovered from artist, Ron Hornung, is a mandala made of hands. (While rooted in Buddhism and Hinduism, mandalas in their simplest constructs are visual structures, which represent wholeness, because of their arrangement of integrated elements around a unifying center.) Visitors both young and young at heart, will be asked to trace their own hand and embellish it or the space around it with colored pencils.
During the making of the "Handala" hopefully I'll dispel some myths about art making, giving you a chance to express yourself without fear, as well as a chance to learn more about a very old artistic / spiritual symbol. The completed "Handalas" will remain at the library for display after the event. Children and adults are welcome. I guided students and parents in making "Handalas" at Gregory School's Happy Healthy Kids Night in the Fall and saw many self-conscious adults in particular, sit down, get past their fear and make something with their kids.
I will be at the library from 1:30 - 4pm on the 21st. Many other STEM activities will be offered throughout the day including creating recycled jewelry and family activities involving technology demos and art. Check out the article in The Alternative Press for more information about workshops, demos, makers, and hours. I hope you'll save the time to participate in a day that promotes the culture of making!
JUMPSTART: A Weekly Session for Adults
"Your job is to learn to work on your work." David Bayles and Ted Orland, Art and Fear.
Are you afraid to pull out those dusty art materials? I've worked with many adult students over the past 8 years who had some past experience or interest in art, but for many reasons stopped creating or never started. Fear is often the inhibitor. Through my nurturing approach, I've successfully jumpstarted several students into making art again, and turning it into a priority in their life.
I am starting a small group class beginning November 4th on Tuesday mornings, called JUMPSTART, for adults who want to get back to their art and are afraid of where to begin. The sessions will be minimally, 1 hour in length, with an option to extend to two if there is interest. I intend to schedule the sessions between the hours of 9:30 - 11:30, to be determined once we have a group together. There will be some wiggle room to play with the time depending on the individuals in the group.
We will be working mostly 2-dimensionally and media will be determined on an individual basis. I begin getting to know my students, learning their backgrounds and goals. My approach is a mixture of nurture and constructive criticism to get you back to making art. Where we go from there becomes a journey we take together, eventually developing a direction or vision for one's own work.
Prospective students must realize that there will be fun, but sometimes growth is connected to frustration and roadblocks. I will be there to get you through them and achieve those "aha" moments when stuff clicks.
If interested in enrolling and taking this journey with me, you can explore more at traillworks.com/art-lessons--workshops.html. There are two offers for you: refer / enroll other students and save 15% on your tuition or enroll yourself by October 31st and save 15%*. I would love to invite you into my studio this Tuesday morning for coffee and conversation about enrolling in JUMPSTART. Email me with your interest or fill out the form below.
*registration fee does not qualify for discount.
Jennie Traill Schaeffer
Sometimes called the Kitchen God's Artist, I'm balancing mothering two energetic sons, our new pup, Cider, while making and teaching art. TraillWorks is the apron under which I create and teach. My own art develops mostly in my home studio, but is often spurred through my teaching, and travels. I just relocated to Durham, NC, from West Orange, NJ, so my studio is in renovation right now.
Join my VIPs for First Dibs
Want to read more from the past? Click here to read archived blog posts from my previous blog on Blogger.