This past February I participated in a virtual artist residency supported through the Artist Mother Network. It was a month full of creativity, productivity and getting me out of old habits and into new. While, not everything stuck, I found the experience and work is giving birth to new ideas just now.
Later in the year, the Artist Mother Network, host of the Artist Mother Podcast, merged with the Thrive Artists Network, giving birth to the Thrive Together Network, which I have been a member of since they formed. Building on the February residency idea, the new network put forth the idea of a September Virtual Residency. Part fear of missing out, and part needing a kick in the butt while going through many health challenges, I decided to participate.
What I neglected to consider is the whirlwind of September, due to the first month of school and both of my boys participating in baseball for the first time together, and my ongoing health challenges. I energetically pushed forward and created a plan with Thrive's guidance and some ideas from other artists on the network.
I worked out a schedule, created an overall intention and broke down goals, along with flexible goals. After the month passed and I reflected back on my goals and what I accomplished, I initially felt deflated. I had only completed what I thought was 50% of my intention. But, in looking deeper, and then chatting with some artists on Thrive during a weekly Art & Tea gathering, I was boosted by their contrary impression that it was impressive what I had accomplished, given all that was happening in my life in September.
The reality is that I finished the first commission, Finnigan the Pomeranian Toy Poodle, and prepared and exhibited at the Hermitage Handmade Festival hosted by the Hermitage Museum and Gardens in Norfolk, VA. Additionally, I sold a piece in preparation for the exhibit. I did get to three of my flexible goals - one I edited to mounting art, rather than making new; visiting an exhibit, and continuing the surface of a new painting. I didn't follow the schedule beyond the first week as my days filled with appointments and interruptions, or lack of energy. However, I did take my visit to the exhibit as my halfway celebration, but did not yet celebrate the accomplishments. I will get to that.
Thank you to everyone in the network for being amazing supporters of my work - constantly helping me reframe where I am, and remind me of my worth! I deeply appreciate the artists in the Triangle that I've connected with and am grateful for their support. My takeaway from the month of September is that I was as productive as I could be, and 50% is well more than 0%. I'm proud of the focus and hard work I was able to find, as well as many celebrations, the work that is starting to build now as I move into October, and the care of myself throughout the month. I just came across a book I must read, Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less, by Tiffany Dufu, and the following quote: “Trying to meet impossible expectations will only continue to harm our physical and psychological well-being.”
You can see more videos and details of the work I've been finishing, including Finnigan above, as well as new works developing on my Instagram Feed or YouTube Channel.
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.
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Want to read more from the past? Click here to read archived blog posts from my previous blog on Blogger.