Paint Schoodic

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Be reasonable

Sugaring Off, Anna Mary Robertson (Grandma) Moses, 1944. In some of her winter scenes, she achieves a Bruegelesque quality, perhaps in part because of the flat lighting.
I was outlining my next six months’ schedule to my friend Berna, and she asked, “And you are painting when?” It’s a thought that’s occurred to me more than once this year.

I took a workshop on the business of art. The instructor told us we should be spending half our time marketing. I think it’s more accurate to say that I spend a third of my time marketing, a third painting, and a third on overhead. After all, I’m not wealthy enough to pay someone else to do my bookkeeping, and management takes time. 

Anna Mary Robertson (Grandma) Moses with two of her children. After working as a farmhand and maid, she married at age 27 and gave birth to ten children, five of whom survived past infancy. Oddly enough, she didn't have time to paint at this stage in her life.
Even if I could magically stretch out the work week to be 120 hours long, I wouldn’t have the energy for it. Fifty may be the new forty, but my joints haven’t gotten the message.

A sixty-something recently asked me how to start an art career. She’s been a wife, a mother, and a musician, and she recently earned her BFA. I’m the last person to rain on someone else’s dreams, but she’s going to be competing against youngsters with limitless energy. To succeed, she’s going to need to husband her resources.

Hoosick Falls, New York, in Winter, Anna Mary Robertson (Grandma) Moses, 1944. She was 84 when she painted this.
Yesterday I had three jobs blocked out: to wrap five bundles of stretcher bars, to deal with a small pile of paperwork for my trip to Maine next week, and to paint. The stretcher bars stretched out into early afternoon, and the ‘small’ pile of paperwork morphed into a bigger mess. I looked at the clock and it was 5 PM and I’d never lifted a brush.

Anna Mary Robertson (Grandma) Moses.
Oh, well. I suppose it’s better to be overly ambitious than to be too easily pleased.

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3 comments:

Ivan Ramos said...

this is where time blocking the 'big rocks' might help... the big rocks go into the jar first, followed by stones, sand & water. if painting is a big rock, it goes IN first... an easy concept to understand, not so easy to institute.

Carol Douglas said...

I was asking myself this morning why I wasn't using that structure, and I think the problem right now is that packing up my workshop and the paperwork for my closing ARE the big rocks.

Sandy said...

Carol, when will you be moving? One of the reasons I faithfully attend the art class at the community college is because I know I will be guaranteed at least one afternoon a week of painting. I strive for a couple more each week, but I know I'll have at least one.