do it. create. walk and see. cut and paste. scratch and sniff.
do whatever you have to do to feed your soul.
this is my commitment.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

finish it: one small project

flowers by kari maxwell
spring flowers, colored pencil on paper bag

After spending more time than I have in awhile in my studio last week, I was reminded of one of my creative cycles.  When I have a studio day, I usually start painting around 7 am and if I find myself in the flow, this usually continues until around 2 in the afternoon.  I always have several large canvases going simultaneously so, when I need to take a break with one, I can move right onto another.

The process of painting at the easel in my studio is different than the process of painting elsewhere.  It's extremely satisfying, rhythmic, like a dance where - all of the sudden - I know the choreography.  What's difficult about this, though, is at 2, when I am clearly done and need to leave my studio (I am tired, I need to eat, get out and walk or the choreography, all the sudden, becomes forced etc), all my work is still in process.  And this is difficult.  It's difficult for me to have not accomplished something tangible, to have not produced, finished anything and to have absolutely NO IDEA when I will.  Hmmmm....the unknown.  I still am challenged by this.  Luckily, for me, those seven hours of zen-like painting are enough to bring me back for more so that, eventually, a painting is finished.

If you are a creative soul or want to be, you are probably familiar with the phrase the process is more valuable than product.  In the long run, this is ABSOLUTELY true.  It wouldn't make any sense for me to spend hours, days, weeks, months on a painting only to finish the piece.  But I was thinking: there is  SO MUCH to be said about finishing something too.  There is such a different assortment of feelings that are associated with this and we deserve to experience these too.  I think this is why I practice my daily creative commitments.  With these, I have the opportunity to finish something small, everyday.  Whether I like what I have finished or not is an entirely different story, but, nonetheless, I have finished something.  It allows for a big breath of release, it's rewarding, it's motivating.  This also, in it's own way, keeps me coming back.

What can you finish in a day?  What small project can you accomplish?  Set yourself up for success.  Make it manageable.  Perhaps there's a short book you've been meaning to read, maybe there is something in your knitting basket.  Is there a drawer in your house that can be cleansed in some way?

What project can you finish in one day?  You deserve to experience a sense of accomplishment.  Do it. Let us know what happened.  Leave a comment.  Share your experience with us.  We all want to hear from you.  

Ready, set, go....


  1. I love the insights in this post. I never really thought about my small daily(ish) projects in this way. I do enjoy working on my more elaborate projects (these days, printmaking), but it's absolutely rewarding to finish a little doodle or pattern and be done with it at the end of the day. Another thing I like about daily work is that it's almost disposable. If I mess it up, I always know I can make something else tomorrow. Very freeing. As always, I loved several of your recent blog posts. Thanks!

  2. LOVE your insight, Tricia. Thank you for sharing!

  3. I love the idea that the creative daily commitment gives the sense of accomplishment but also how it helps to allow the space for "simmering"in ongoing works.