So I made a promise to my husband after this, the Worst Year in the History of Education in the Western World, I would take it easy this summer. I wouldn't make too many commitments. I'm not sure I really know what that exactly means. I mean how many is too many and what exactly is a commitment anyway? I mean, does doing several things a week I really like not taking it easy? So I've been bumbling with indecision these past few months. And I realized in all honesty that one of the roadblocks I have been stumbling over for years (and not admitting it to myself) is common enough for most artists: I've been finding seemingly important and worthy activities to fill up my summer days and employ my energy that are not specifically my making art. Hmmm...but I thought I Liked making art? I do. I can say that without a doubt, but, why is facing unstructured time in the studio so difficult. What is it about an empty canvas that is so difficult to face? Why is the opportunity to "play" (as my colleague in the studio adjacent to mine at school would say) with materials seemingly a waste of time? Must I always have a goal or product in mind?
I suppose I could get very psychoanalytic about the whole thing and relate all of this to some over achieving work ethic that was instilled in me by my family culture in childhood. But, I'm a firm believer that after the age of 25 you are captain of your own ship in life for better or worse. Blaming yourself or others and dwelling on your past or circumstances is simply a waste of time. So here I am, at the start of a beautiful summer of my own making and choosing that this is the summer (hopefully) that I will face up to my own art in a more authentic way and just see what happens. Since I like a little structure I've decided I'm going to give myself some summer goals. This is something I also ask my own student to do, so in the spirit of "Physician, heal thyself" here are my goals:
1. Keep a summer sketch book and draw in it every day.
2. Read a few good books. Right now I'm finishing D.H. Lawrence's Women in Love and next on the agenda is Sarton's The Education of Harriet Hatfield.
3. Learn how to read, write and speak, a little Chinese.
4. Finish an unfinished painting I've been looking at too long.
5. Teach myself how to bind a book with a leather cover.
6. Finish my 3 Sparrows multi-color woodblock print.
7. Finish my fish etching.
8. Draw bonsai and maybe...
9. Work on my mukahanga foxes, birds, and bugs
10. Write two new lesson plans: one on Keeping and Walking Sketchbook and the other on Making a Poem into a Book.
I think that's enough for now. So if you are a student or colleague of mine and your are reading this, feel free to ask me about the above list. Now, I think I'll go make a cake...well, maybe draw first :-)