Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Balancing Act

My life is like one big balancing act: attempting to keep an even keel between my family life, our social life (what is left of it these days!), and my art life.  I am now devoting every morning that I am home to my art.  That means, if we're not in Atlanta or on a trip (or taking my Mom to the Dr.), I am in my studio.  Don't call me and ask me to do anything in the morning!  The afternoons are now dedicated to other such mundane tasks as running a few errands (C does most of that for me, and I am grateful!), visiting with my Mom, and going to the gym.  On Wednesday afternoons I reward myself with two hours of knitting with my wonderful and therapeutic group.  I usually try to carve out a few extra hours in the evenings to get back into the art groove.  

So, I want to know about you.  Are you a full time studio artist?  If so, how exactly would you define that term?  Does that mean you 'work' in your studio five to six days a week for eight hours?  If that is the case, how do you manage the other sectors in your life?  Are your friends and family respectful of your studio time, or does it sometimes get ugly with you having to reinforce your rules?  Do you work at home or do you have a studio elsewhere?  Which do you think is preferable, and why?  

We entertained our church dinner group here today for a lovely brunch.  I made a cold, marinated bean salad; a potato salad; roasted vegetables; a salad of sliced beets, Balsamic vinegar, and Feta cheese on a bed of baby spinach; and homemade frozen yogurt with caramel sauce.  C smoked two of the most delicious pork tenderloins I have ever tasted.  We enjoyed them, and then turned to see Barker running off across the kitchen with the remnants!  He has been a member of our family for five years, but we're still not used to the fact that he can (and will) nab a tasty tidbit or two off of the kitchen counter!  But he's a great dog and I can't fault him for being just that: a dog, can I?  

So let me know your thoughts on your art does it work with your family life, your social life, etc.  From what I gather, I have a very indulgent spouse who honors and somewhat understands my need for art time.  He never protests, and though he doesn't encourage me he acquiesces to my needs for studio/art time.  Please share your personal experiences.



Beverly said...

You are lucky to be able to dedicate most mornings to your art. My studio time is what keeps me sane from my full time job. I usually try to dedicate one day of my three day weekends to the studio. My spouse tolerates it- I do think he understands I'd be really grumpy without it. Some evenings I have enough energy for some art time, but not often. Housework gets done, but on my schedule- and some weekends I just don't feel like it!

Gerrie said...

Ha ha! I can just see it. Scooter is jealous. You already know how I struggle for my art. I couldn't do it without the support of Mr C. I have my good weeks and then bad weeks like the last one. I just keep plugging along - trying to stay balanced and in love with what I do. I don't want it to be a struggle at this time in my life.

Carol said...

Oh, Barker! What a doggy thing to do. Even the most well behaved dog (or cat) will see an opportunity and take it - the last episode in our house involved a birthday cake and a corgi. I can't really contribute to the discussion on art time because I'm in a slump at the moment. However, my ideal would be a situation like yours, and as I'm virtually on my own, I have no one to suggest I should be doing anything else. Except for all those little children. Hugs to Barker OOO

Eva said...

As I don't have a firm job, I can dedicate a lot of time to my artwork. And my husband J is a great admirer of my art and appreciates it. But there isn't enough room. I have a tiny drawing table to paint and print on; I have an easle for painting, but no room to store cavas, so I don't paint large pictures, but rather paint over old ones. I cut up used textiles, so most of the material rotates within my place. I do parts of the needlework in the living room, and every night we have supper at the same table, and J says: "Would you please remove your toys." Toys!

Rayna said...

Don't I wish! I have not been in my studio for months, except to pay the rent. Soon.

Mandi said...

I am lucky in that I have been able to arrange my life so it allows for me to be free to create. I have a great husband who supports me in all ways, and we have chosen not to have kids so that we can both devote ourselves to our work (he's a computer guy).

And when I am not going through depression as I did this spring and early summer, I can work as much as possible (as I am doing now!).

I can't imagine any other life, and don't ever feel like anything is missing.

Joyce said...

I'm retired with kids all gone from home so I can work when I like. THis summer has been crazy with visitors and travelling though. I like the travel but am fed up with visiting. THe problem is that all the people who come are nice but I wish they'd all come at the same time and leave me in peace the rest of the time. I can't wait for winter!

Elizabeth said...

Balance, What Balance???? No ones fault tho except perhaps mine!!!At this time in my life, my job is my kids and seeing that they are well on their way and doing ok. That takes time and energy. I also am 100% committed to the entire family sitting down for dinner TOGETHER every night that it is at all possible, tho with the commute out of DC lately we have had to go ahead and eat ahead of Tom. SIGH!!!
I try to do something creative everyday, it may not be down in the studio, but upstairs doing handwork so I can be with the rest of the family. Once we are back on our school schedule, I am going to try really hard to keep myself on a schedule similar to yours- art in the morning, errands, cleaning other stuff in the pm, with a night cap of handwork with the family.
Right now I am having a struggle as Matthew is lonely and that hurts my Mommy heart. He is not the most outgoing ot kids and finds making new friends or finding those with similar interests a struggle. i can't do it for him but wish that I ahd a magic wand and could make it easier. Sigh!!! it wil get better!in the meantime, I will ART ON!!!!

Karoda said...

I like to think in terms of flow rather than balance. Have a dedicated schedule is something I'll always try to achieve but family (elderly mother, children, and grandchildren, partner, myself) involvement makes it impossible to have a set schedule. But I know that when I'm away from my studio 3 days or more I start to become edgy and with each day I grow more and more edgy until I'm on the verge of passing out from holding myself in check. I am at the studio at least 3 days each week during the week in warmer weather leaving the weekends for home and family. But my schedule will change once it gets colder and I'll be there shorter hours during the day and at least one day over the weekends. As you know, I'm now working from 2 spots, the basement at my parent's and the studio I pay rent on but find myself being at the studio more and enjoying that space much more than the basement of late. I actually love the studio but the hard part is when I have to leave...and then there are the nights I can't sleep and I wish I had a space to go to when it is 1 or 2 am.

Angela said...

I don't schedule time, I just go with the flow from day to day. My time with my art is dependent on many things, mostly my physical being on any given day. And the needs of my elderly father. I am a fairly disciplined person so I can motivate myself. I decided that I wasn't going to stress over getting things done, I would do what I could, when I could. That is the beauty of art, it waits for you to come back to it when you can. That is very freeing for me.
Art has been a sustaining force in my life and has given me a new way to channel my energy. It has added new dimensions to my life. I am very independent, no children in the house anymore. So I have no other external pressures, and my husband is a musician and art is important to him as well.
It has helped me adjust to major lifestyle changes and brings me so much joy!

And Judy now I have met you!

Diane said...

Well, out of the woodwork, I come. I never quite got the art of balancing what I would like to do in the art world, vs. what I need to to in the "being responsible" world.

Ian took his life 7 weeks ago. I am trying to figure it out, but, you know, I can't. Tom did retire, but it is bittersweet.

He, too, tries to be supportive. I have drifted from surface design to other fiber pursuits, and he does what he can to keep me going.

Your sock yarn is lovely. Glad to see your knitting has been a source of pursuit for you, too.