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.
While I may not have actually painted or drawn an original artwork every day, and may not have even made it into the studio, when I look back at what I've actually accomplished, I'm astounded! I chose to voluntarily participate in artist Leah Piken Kolidas' Art Every Day Month 2015 challenge. Looking back over the month and seeing my paintings in one place, I'm amazed by the number of works I've created in a short period.
Caring for two young kids, a husband who is traveling out of state three days a week, and my teaching schedule has not been easy. Some days are harder then others and I wonder why I do this to myself. But, at the end of the day, or in this case, the month, the fruits of my labor (as well as the growth in my kids and special time we've spent celebrating 7th and 40th birthdays, Thanksgiving, and more) has been worth it. I know when I've been painting, drawing, or creating in my studio, I'm a happier mom, artist, wife, and all around person. And, even if I'm not creating my own work in the studio, every day I am creating for my kids and my students. But this was a month dedicated to my own growth in my artwork.
I still have more work to do for my upcoming solo show at Hat City Kitchen, slated to open on December 14th. But I feel more confident than ever in my ability to meet my goals in the studio. Thank you to Leah and the community that she has developed that helped keep me accountable, and to my husband and kids for understanding the late nights and weekend work time. If you're in the NJ area on December 14th, please consider joining me for my opening of my first solo show in several years, over a delicious Cajun-style meal at Orange's Hat City Kitchen, in the Valley Arts District.
Jennie Traill Schaeffer
Deemed the Kitchen God's Artist by NJ Savvy Living for my sainted appliances, I'm now known more for my vibrant, meditational paintings of chairs set surprisingly in landscapes. Since relocating to NC from NJ, mothering my two sons, and caring for our rescue pup, Cider, took the lead. Now, that my Durham home studio is renovated it's open again for virtual art coaching and the resumption of my personal art and commissions. The work I make is inspired by my joy of teaching, exploring nature, and traveling. On The Teaching Artist Blog, I share my approach to teaching and educate my readers about my creative process.
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.