Laziness

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Dear Artist,

Many of the problems that plague artists can be traced back to common old garden-variety laziness. I’m an authority on the subject. Early identified as chronic, this malaise has plagued me for a lifetime (my grade three report card stated “Bobby has lazy habits”). I’ve also devised various ploys to cure it. People are always telling me I’m the most un-lazy person they know.

How have I managed to fool them? Some say I’ve programmed myself like a zombie. I go about my interests, they say, like an automaton. I tell them I’m contented in my zombiehood.

But that’s not the whole story. Like a lot of teenagers, I found myself wasting a lot of time. I had to teach myself respect for time. If you too feel you might have a touch of sloth, here are a few ploys you might find useful:

To become enthusiastic, act enthusiastically.

Retrain to the better habits you know you can have.

Keep track of time and pay attention to the clock.

Know that acquired proficiency breeds love of work.

Count your jobs completed, not your time spent.

Reprogram regularity into your life.

See the value in what you’re doing.

Be a loving collector of your own accomplishments.

Unfortunately, in spite of all this picker-upper stuff, it’s important to keep in mind that what appears to be laziness or lassitude may be the result of clinical depression. Depressed people can have trouble with willpower. This may call for professional help.

Recent research at the University of Miami indicates that religious people tend to score higher in the exercise of willpower. It seems that the regular act of prayer or meditation gives the brain a sort of anaerobic workout in self-control. It may not be the content of the prayer or even the particular deity involved that tunes people up. Apparently it’s the regularity of the act and the committed repetition. A good example is the Muslim ritual of facing Mecca and kneeling on a prayer rug five times a day. Reading a different encyclopedia article at proscribed intervals might do the trick for some folks. For many of us, it means the formalized and regular act of entering the cathedral of our studios and rebooting ourselves at the altar of our easels.

Best regards,

Robert

PS: “He who would not be idle, let him fall in love.” (Ovid) “Work is love made visible.” (Kahlil Gibran)

Esoterica: For many artists, particularly the overly thoughtful and imaginative ones, self-sabotage can be a big boo-boo. Procrastination, avoidance activity and general lying around are some of the symptoms. If you look at the big picture, you may see yourself as a minor player, but it’s also possible to see and hold dear the sacred value of each individual’s life and times, yours in particular. With this view, simply making a contribution lets work-effort seem worthwhile and even inevitable.

 

What about reflection?
by Mayssan Shora Farra
 

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“Alien Mask”
clay by Mayssan Shora Farra

But …Is it really laziness if you need that time to rejuvenate? Are you shirking work if you are still on the outside with a churning inside looking for a solution or posing a question? Are you lazy if you rest long but when you work, you work twice as hard and fast? And what about mistakes? Do you make more if you do not take time to reflect? Or is this all an excuse for laziness?

 

 



There is 1 comment for What about reflection? by Mayssan Shora Farra

From: Patricia Peterson — Jan 18, 2009

I agree wholeheartedly about reflection to consider which next steps to take in a work, to avoid an error in judgment and also during the course of developing a body of work. One needs to take pause to consider more deeply at times the desired result. Neutral moments create the ultimate magic in art to surpass academic excellence.

 

Do it, even when you don’t want to
by Donald Demers, Eliot, ME, USA
 

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“Along the creuse river”
oil painting by Donald Demers

The topic of laziness is an interesting one. We as creative people are the bridge between the spiritual and the real. We are the link that takes an idea and makes it manifest in the physical world. I’ve run into people I knew in high school who have said to me “It must be great to be an artist and have a free life style and work when you’re in the mood.” As you know, that could not be further from the truth. I’ve been drawing and painting all of my life and professionally for 30 years and I know that, more times than not, I’ve gone into the studio when I didn’t feel like it. But when you make a move, and pick up a tool, and begin to make marks, the greater power takes over and you’re off and running. You are doing what you’re meant to. If you don’t, all of your ideas are nothing but “bar room talk.”



There is 1 comment for Do it, even when you don’t want to by Donald Demers

From: Marie B. Pinschmidt — Jan 09, 2009

 

Reaching for joy
by Stella Reinwald, Santa Fe, NM, USA
 

“Depressed people can have trouble with willpower.” Amen Robert. To put a finer point on it, the willpower you refer to remains potentially accessible, only the “spark” is absent. It’s as if you were a powerful car, all fueled up, engine tuned and ready to go. . . but the spark plugs won’t fire. In our depressed brains, the motivation or expectation for any joy of accomplishment goes missing. The longer it goes on the more likely it is to keep going on, a perfect feedback loop. To the rest of the world, we can muddle through our days, feeding the dog, going to our jobs and taking care of business. . . but those are all tasks done to avoid disaster, not invite pleasure. Avoidance of pain is not a great way to live. It is the same with any of my friends/family who suffer from this dread condition. Even when antidepressants work well to help keep you on an even keel and functioning, passion/excitement (of every kind) seems to be the price to be paid.



There is 1 comment for Reaching for joy by Stella Reinwald

From: Patricia Peterson — Jan 18, 2009

Having a chronic disease with one of the symptoms being low energy and depression for years, it is willpower alone to persist working creatively sans inspiration and passion. There is no doubt from my experience that regular practice of artistic discipline makes a difficult life significantly better, despite not producing the best work one is capable of. Creative efforts relieve life’s trials despite the laboring that sometimes is the only way.

 

Half-hour pieces
by Karen King, Bakersfield, CA, USA
 

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“The red umbrella”
oil painting by Karen King

When I retired two years ago I announced to everyone I was going to set aside four hours a day just for painting. Besides, how hard could that be? I’d been putting in eight hours a day at my job and squeezing in painting times whenever I could.

Well, as you can imagine, it didn’t happen. Yes, I did make time to paint more often, but still not nearly as often as I had hoped. Yet, anyone who knows me would never call me lazy. I’m almost super organized and plan each day to accomplish as much as I can. Still, the days seemed to melt away with a lot accomplished… but little or no painting.

I finally got an “aha moment” and realized what the real problem is. It has been my expectation that I would find three- or four-hour segments of time to do this a day, and that rarely happens. But when I look for half-hour segments of time, there are plenty of those; just not all strung together. So now, my goal is to find half-hour periods to paint in daily. Frequently, (as you might imagine), those short segments seem to become one hour or more, but even if they don’t, I know that I can find more of those half-hour pieces throughout the day. Why did it take me so long to figure that out?

 

Selective laziness
by Rick Rotante, Tujunga, CA, USA
 

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Untitled
original painting
by Rick Rotante

Ah laziness. It has many faces. And we are easily fooled and seduced by it. When you say others think you “un-lazy” and you fool them is something we all do to some extent. I’m productive in the areas I choose, but say promoting, No! I sure can be classified as lazy. Painting, I don’t have time in the day for that.

I’ve been writing an art instruction book — five years now. I just can’t make myself sit at the computer and get it finished. Prepping canvas — twice a month religiously or more as the need arises. Gallery hunting No! Lazy.

I think we all suffer selective “lazativity” (my word). My productivity is very high, but do I do things around the house that my wife needs doing? No! Lazy. I don’t beat myself up too much. I guess this goes to the previous letter regarding passion.

 

Too much to do
by Terry Mason, Sarasota, FL, USA
 

I suspect that having too much time on one’s hands might make one lazy. But there are always children to care for, bills to pay, homes to tend, and relationships to be kept meaningful because I love the people I love. Then there is my dog who in exchange for total love does want to be fed, walked, and played with every day. There are the rituals of life. Cooking meals, taking showers, washing clothes, tending the home and car, tending the living plants around me. And, oh yes, I have to walk four miles a day. I am strict about this. No walk, no painting so that walk gets done!

When I do get to lounge with a book that is not about art, languid in the sun, half sleepy, and rested, I am happy. The easel does not glare at me from the summer studio on the lanai. It is imbued with no human qualities. And I know that most every day the easel will accumulate one more smear of paint and my paintings will continue to emerge.

 

No time-clock artist
by Paul deMarrais, TN, USA
 

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“Trip With Tom #2”
pastel by Paul deMarrais

I think depression plays a big part in artistic laziness. Many artists struggle with depression. I know I have. It can be a serious matter. Fear and depression go hand in hand. Inactivity is a breeding ground for these troublesome twins. Artist block can set in and you wonder if you can or will ever produce another halfway decent painting. For me the inactivity seems to fuel a frustration which builds to an explosive release of painting energy at some point. A blitz of painting clears the air like a good thundershower and I am back in action. A doctor buddy of mine labeled me a “manic depressive lite” due to the cyclical nature of my productivity. I can’t seem to be a time clock artist who heads out to the studio at 9 a.m. every day. Such a routine might be noble but I know that I would produce a bunch of lousy paintings with this routine. It’s like the fable of the race between the tortoise and the hare. The plodding tortoise might win the race but I have learned to live with my bunny-like nature. I run hard, then nap, then run hard again. When napping, I can sure look like a lazy bum!

 

Production dysmorphia
by Jolene Monheim, Great Falls, MT, USA
 

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“She won’t let me go”
original painting
by Jolene Monheim

I’ve also identified myself as lazy…. and it can’t really be true based upon my artistic production, the development and refinement of my other loves – dance, reading, dog training, yoga, motherhood, grand motherhood, wifehood… watching clouds move. The order and priorities switch around, which keeps me stimulated and happy. I don’t think it’s depression. I blame it on my ancestry – I’m at least a quarter German. And like my cattle dog, who struggles with not having a herd to round up, I have this gnawing feeling that I’m just not doing enough. I’m not organized enough, and I hate cleaning my messes. Like body dysmorphia, I have production dysmorphia. Or some weird perverted work unethic. I resist routine, but feel best when I have structure. In my case it may be that the productive and passive parts of me gyrate much like the ongoing balancing act that we all have with our desire for connection and the concurrent desire for autonomy.



There is 1 comment for Production dysmorphia by Jolene Monheim

From: mesu — Jan 09, 2009

Ha, now I know what’s the matter with me! I’m full blooded German and don’t do enough, hate cleaning messes, not organized enough, resist routine and many more lazy traits… LOL, Thanks for clearing this up for me.

 

What is the hurry?
by Peter Brown, Oakland, CA, USA
 

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“Father and son”
original painting by Peter Brown

May I submit a few words in defense of laziness? The idea that the go-getter, Type A personality, is some sort human ideal is quite misguided. What is the hurry? Laziness is often the mother of invention. Slowing down can be very good for the soul.

What is wrong with goofing off? A lazy, rainy, Sunday in bed with crossword puzzles and pillow talk with a couple of cheesy old science fiction movies on the tube, is perhaps “wasted” time, but I would not trade those hours for studio time, or a more tidy home environment.

Naps are very healthy, as well. This idea that we must be ever so, and constantly, industrious and hardworking is a crock. Life is far too short to squander it with being always busy. On that final deathbed, who regrets that they spent too much time looking into a lover’s eyes, or just staring at the stars or clouds, or just listening to the rain fall?

Moderation in all things. Hard work is good in its place. But sloth also provides many rewards. Obsession and compulsion are a disease and it is epidemic in the Western world. The idea that I must show up at my easel on a certain schedule turns art into a mere job. And, the idea that my paintings are more important than my grandson, or my sweet wife, is an egotistical delusion. The world will survive without another painting by Peter Brown, but some things are truly much more important, like lavishing time doing little with the ones you love.



There are 5 comments for What is the hurry? by Peter Brown

From: Marion Jean Hall — Jan 09, 2009

Hear! Hear!

From: Stefanie Graves — Jan 09, 2009

You have it absolutely right.

From: Darrell Baschak — Jan 09, 2009

Peter, what timely words yours are. If there is one thing that we can all learn in these tough economic times it is that we have permission to opt out of the rat race and get back in touch with our true selves. Great painting!

From: Ron — Jan 09, 2009

Very well put, Peter. Now I feel so much better about my use of my time.

From: Sandra Muscat — Jan 10, 2009

Thank you for your keen, crispy clear wisdom. Having been raised to be busy all the time I fight with guilt constantly when my studio sits empty. To compensate, I take care of others and other things rather than engaging in emotional down time. But I am learning that I work in fits of frenzy – I will work long days for weeks at a time, producing 10 or so pieces, then I need a long rest. I hope one day I can arrive at embracing this rhythm of working/living without the guilt.

 

Being frozen
by Ann McRae, New York, NY, USA
 

I hate the word lazy. As a child it was often used by authority figures as a term to describe what THEY thought I OUGHT to be doing. In fact, the fear and insecurity that is part of being human (and I imagine particularly for artists) and manifested itself as “frozenness” (laziness to others) was exacerbated by this shame-inducing criticism.

Eventually I adopted the belief system others used to describe my fear and anxiety (the knowledge of which I was completely oblivious) and used it to beat myself up on a daily basis in every aspect of my life. Shame, frozenness, shame, frozenness, etc…

The fear and insecurity I experience(d) in my work may not be real to anyone else and it may seem to others to be the perfect excuse for doing nothing at all, but to me it is an important part of my process/progress as an artist and as a human being. It is a tender place which everyone visits occasionally and where I personally connect to other artists and humans. It is where I find the courage so necessary for me to work with and through to take another step forward in my work and in this beautiful journey called life. If a successful (however that is defined) artist says to me they relate to my fear and self-doubt (the roots of my ‘laziness’) and to keep on keeping on, then THAT’S where I find my encouragement — not in their success and certainly not in being called lazy by myself or anyone else. Part of what makes the process so beautiful is the gentle, self-acceptance and self-encouragement that follows and that hopefully/ultimately will be shared with someone else who feels the pain and shame of the ‘laziness’ label. And while all work doesn’t have to spring from the place of encouragement, it is no doubt the feeling I must occasionally have or I would surely abandon the entire process altogether.

 

Acedia and Me
by Colleen Taylor, Duval, SK, Canada
 

I recently picked up a new book by Kathleen Norris: Acedia and Me: a marriage, monks, and a writer’s life. She gives tremendous, contemporary insight into this long-lost word, acedia, linking it to both sloth and work-a-holism, differentiating it from depression (acedia is a temptation, depression is a disease), reflecting on its place in her own life and the lives of many others, and suggesting antidotes. Only 3 chapters in (and several websites browsed), I’m enthralled and convicted. Highly recommend it.

 

The War of Art
by Wayne Leidenfrost, Vancouver, BC, Canada
 

Once upon a time we met. When not working as an artist I am also a photographer with The Province newspaper (no, I don’t expect you to remember me!). You and Toni Onley have always been a good standard to say, “Yes, you can make a living as an artist.” Your high profile only contributes to this. Your letters are wonderful, inspiring, and sometimes a wake-up call. Being creative is a wonderful gift. And sometimes a curse. Your thoughts on “managing” it make me think.

Having just read your piece on laziness, I feel I can offer something. I have two jobs, and yet often feel I am lazy! So, I offer you a wonderful book to read — The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. It is funny, brilliant, and full of good ideas to keep the motor running.



There is 1 comment for The War of Art by Wayne Leidenfrost

From: Patricia Peterson — Jan 18, 2009

I looked into the recommended Pressfield book and purchased it. Your comment reminded me of a master in another creative pursuit, dance. Martha Graham is among my favorite people “…art is eternal for it reveals the inner landscape, which is the soul of man. The main thing, of course, always is the fact that there is only one of you in the world, just one, and if that is not fulfilled then something has been lost. Ambition is not enough; necessity is everything. It is through this that the legends of the soul’s journey are retold with all their tragedy and their bitterness and sweetness of living.”

 

 

World of Art Featured artist Wendy Chaney, Lake Forest, IL, USA  

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Forsythia

pastel on paper by
Wendy Chaney, Lake Forest, IL, USA

 

You may be interested to know that artists from every state in the USA, every province in Canada, and at least 115 countries worldwide have visited these pages since January 1, 2013.

That includes Alex Nodopaka who wrote, “Except for depression it is all meditation. I know. Capablanca knew. It’s not laziness to think one move ahead in chess as long as it is the best move of all. And for that it takes years of practice. One brush stroke, one line at a time.”
 

 

Archived Comments

Enjoy the past comments below for Laziness

 

 

From: Darla — Jan 06, 2009

I’ve had the habit of laziness about practically everything, especially when it seems that trying is tantamount to failing. Right now, one of my resolutions is to adhere to a schedule. How do you disassociate endeavor from failure, especially when you know failure will happen more often than success? Is it counting each day that you make the attempt as a success in itself? It sure doesn’t feel that way.

From: Joyce Goden — Jan 06, 2009

Darla, a schedule is on my list for this year too.

For me its not so much lazy as side tracked, it seems I’m always busy. I love to paint, so why don’t I do it more? Maybe its self esteem.

I remember getting a horrible grade on the left side of my report card in second or third grade in the Uses Time Wisely section.

From: Gwen Fox — Jan 06, 2009

Laziness was such a nasty word when I grew up on a farm in East Tennessee. Each day we arose with the sun, ate a hardy breakfast, laughed and talked about what we were to accomplish that day. This prepared me for how I look and act in the world today. It is said that being an artist is a lonely job but my paintings are my friends….sometimes my enemies. We conduct many conversations with each other. Each conversation is about how we can improve. I find having decided what I am going to work on before entering the studio each morning helps tremendously in the laziness realm. I also think entering the studio with the knowledge that we are the luckiest people in the world because we are able to do what we have chosen to do with our lives……what a gift.

From: Joy Gush — Jan 06, 2009
From: Rick Rotante — Jan 06, 2009

Darla – What you choose to call “failures” are only learning steps not failures. When a baby starts to walk, it falls, this isn’t failure, it’s a learning curve. Balance follows and eventually the baby walks. We are the same when we do anything. Where would be the thrill if everything you did came easily. No challange no reward. Don’t see your attempts as failures but necessary steps to an end. Your only failure would be not doing.

From: Jean Anaporte — Jan 06, 2009

The suggestion that stopped me was, “Keep track of time and pay attention to the clock.” I can do that, but I can’t be creative at the same time. All my passion funnels into order until I have to drink bourbon and stay up all night to write. And then of course the order is thoroughly shot. I thank you for crystallizing my struggle.

From: John Ferrie — Jan 06, 2009

I do not think anyone procrastinates more than artists. I have come to believe that this is all part of the creative process. We let that anxiety fuel us and the fear of not getting our work complete makes us carve out time from friends and family in order to do what it is we do.

From there, I have really come to loath people who are late. We are all five to ten minutes late and I think that is socially acceptable. But when people are consistently 1/2 to 45 minutes late time and time again are the people I have come to be bothered by. I have come to the conclusion that these people are nothing more than arrogant. Their time is more important to them that anyone else. They also seem to think the world will end if they stop what they are doing or who they are with to excuse themselves in order to be on time with someone else. All this “learn to manage your time”, “prioritize your projects” and Bla Bla Bla is nothing short of being self centered and naval gazing.

I have actually had to let go of these types of people. If I can be on time, anyone can!!

From: Lisa Schaus — Jan 06, 2009

This morning I received an e-mail from a client in Montana who had me remove a white line from the beak of his macaw I am painting in pastel. I was more than happy to continue working through these details with him, and then realized how my progress had been repeatedly thrown off by requests to remove certain touches of color in the painting. I must be careful to satisfy my client, and I did pass on this note to him in my defense:

Artists place spots, lines, strokes of color randomly to balance eye travel across a painting. In photo realism this also occurs but very, very subtly. The viewer when back at a reasonable viewing distance melds these accents into the whole and rarely discerns them. For a more literally perceiving mind these spots, strokes, or accents, will trouble the viewer due to their non- correlation to “reality”. The key to “seeing” art versus illustration is relaxing and sensing a wholeness of expression rather than a representation of reality.

From: Ross — Jan 06, 2009

Some advice my Karate instructor had, which I catch myself doing, is Don’t Think……….. Just Do! I don’t know how many times I’ve heard the “voice”……… maybe, I should work on this painting, or maybe do this or that ….. come 10 a.m. all I have done is “thought” about what I should or could do….when I hear this voice, the “bigger voice” has to say “All you’ve done is Think, Now it is time to DO. No sense having “your engine running” if you never put in in gear!”

This is part of life training, the more you practice it the better you get. I have to practice all the time.

Enough said……………Time to do!

From: Joe Faith — Jan 06, 2009

I almost didn’t even open this email. “Just another don’t-be-lazy rant” I thought. But in the interest of dealing with all of the email I get I decided to read through and planned to file it away. So now I’m completely intrigued with the effects of acting enthusiastic. But I’m afraid that most people who know me will just put it down to sarcasm. OK, let’s give it a try at the office anyway! I hope I don’t start drawing those motivational posters … oops, BOY I can’t wait to get to work and try something new!

From: Daniele — Jan 06, 2009
From: Rick Rotante — Jan 07, 2009

Lisa Schau — Two things. One- they came to you because they believed in your work. That is why they are buying it. Don’t give in to changes. You are the artist. It’s your conception they are buying, stand your ground. You will find they will never be satisfied. If they could do it themselves, they wouldn’t need you. This is only a control issue on their part.

Second – If you give in once you will give in repeatedly. I did a twenty minutes pastel sketch at a show for $20.00 (a gimmick to get people to linger at my booth.) One women sat, paid, left and came back saying her relatives think the nose was too long, I changed it and she left. She came back again, the hair was too long in the front, I changed it, and she left. She came back again saying her relatives think her eyes were not blue enough –I gave her her money back took the sketch back saying if she wanted a full portrait it would be $500.00 and three full days to sit. She took the sketch and never came back.

I never change a piece after I’m happy with it and I’m done.

From: Joyce Goden — Jan 07, 2009

Lisa, my best teacher would charge fifty bucks a pop for revisions, and that was 14 years ago….

(some people want you to paint whats in their head, like your working for them instead of them buying your art).

A friend and neighbor hired me for a commission of her two daughters in a round wooden old fashion bathing tub. Of course I dragged my feet on this project, and every time I saw her she would add more details.

After about 6 months after I told her I am not going to do it, she asked why, I said I just don’t want to.

Of course she thought it was I could not do it, and came back to tell me about a cake decorator that did a star wars wedding cake for her sister in law with every detail that was asked for….

lol

ps this kind of crap stifles artistic enthusiasm

From: Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki — Jan 07, 2009

There is a simple solution to laziness. Just find out what it is that you enjoy doing and always be very busy with that.

I never change paintings because of comments – I file the comment in my mind and let it sit there for a while. If after a few days it still nags at me it usually means it was a good comment – then I might make a change. Bad or useless comments are quickly forgotten, or filed in the “amusement” category.

From: Liz Reday — Jan 07, 2009

$50.- a pop for revisions. That is going on my studio wall! I did a 8″ X 10″ plein air sketch of two old guys on a bench in front of a red caboose, and several days later, one of the guys wanted to buy it. I quoted a price and forgot all about it, but he persisted in wanting to buy it at the price stated. Time went by, and he still insisted that he wanted to buy the painting, so we arranged the sale. The day after the sale he called, insisting that his family thought that the other guy in the painting had a ‘bear face” and could I change it? I did, but it took a few hours since the faces were small. He got it back, then wanted his face in more detail. sigh. By the time I finished, the darn painting took me an extra ten hours of hard detailed work. Live and learn. If they want a portrait, they need to agree on those terms, but not being a portrait painter, I was caught unawares. Now that the market for paintings has thinned out, many artists may be thinking of doing those commissions that we ignored or delayed when our work was selling well. But some of those commissions can come at a hefty price for the artist if one is inexperienced in dealing with these customer “add-ons”. I usually chalk it up as practical experience, but we must keep in mind our own worth as a practicing artist and not let the client negotiate us into endless “what ifs”. Back when I did interior decorator art, I would get requests for “a pair”. If one painting was successful, they invariably wanted another one to go on the other side of the sofa or whatever. It’s very hard to create another painting in the same mood, similar subject matter (from another angle) or corresponding complementary colors and have it be as successful as the original one, unless you started the project as two paintings in the first place. So it was a recipe for a watered down derivative of the original and no-one was satisfied. I discovered that it’s really hard to understand the idea in the head of a client. “I’ll know it when I see it” is a deadly refrain. Never ever try to intuit what vague concept lies in the client’s mind. Always make them pick from a selection of your work and question them on every single detail that you can imagine. Insist on color swatches and prevailing mood, media and materials. All this questioning costs time and money, so add it to your estimate and get half of the projected price upfront. Happy hunting!

From: Darla — Jan 08, 2009

About painting revisions: I’ve only been asked for revisions on portraits and logos, never other paintings. I say up front that if they want detailed backgrounds on portraits, that is 30% extra, and I will do 3 small changes for free on completed graphic art or portraits done after the sketch is approved. Further changes or detailing will cost more money. You do have to charge for your time — just think of the last time a repairman came out to your house or you took your car to the shop. If you just tell people that up front and have it in your contract, they will not feel blindsided by the bill.

From: Sue Rowe — Jan 08, 2009

In my youth I was teasingly called “Lazy Susan” – and probably rightly so. Later I became a self-employed workaholic – but not as an artist. Now I am a full-time artist and can, for the most part, balance family, art, business, and goofing off. One needs both self-discipline and the ability to say Time to goof off.”

Currently, the studio is in the midst of being cleaned and re-organized – a task that can be totally absorbing and time sucking. However, I am treating myself to small chunks of time to paint on a new bear face pastel. Because he’s being created in short spurts he isn’t in too much danger of being overworked. And the work time spent making him is actually fun. Perhaps I’ll learn to clean the studio more often!

From: Sandra Donohue — Jan 09, 2009

All of these comments are so thoughtfully stated, and appreciated. To me, they will be motivation to take myself more seriously as an artist and be more generous to myself with my time. Thank you all for sharing them!

From: Mary — Jan 09, 2009

Thanks for your comments. I have used online images to find a picture of a bird or animal to use in a painting that called for a living thing to give it some pizzaz. I have felt guilty, but did not copy exactly..I just needed to be sure that I knew the structure well enough to portray the bird/animal so that it was at least recognizable. However, when seeing a painting that I loved, but could not possibly afford, I did paint a copy (as close as I am technically able) to hang on my wall. I would never attempt to sell, or not let anyone know that it was a copy of the particular artist. Was this illegal? Am I a thief?

From: Rick Rotante — Jan 09, 2009

Mary – Don’t get paranoid. Your copy is fine, legal and an added compliment to your home. What you can do on the back or on the front is write “after..so and so” (original artist) and you and world will sleep easier at night.

p.s. Hang it don’t attempt to sell it and your okay. Enjoy

p.s.s. I have several copies in my studio of masters I enjoy everyday.

From: Judy Roberto — Jan 09, 2009

Oh Robert – you’re part of the road, for sure – It is almost impossible to pull up your site at rgenn@saraphina! (I did a cut and paste) Two different sites come up (I think one is your daughter’s, and that’s sorta ok, but another is a fashion site. AnyWAY – I love your Stewart Brand quotes. San Jose First Act hosted him recently in a “great cities” lecture. What a visionary! Maybe he’ll give you permission to make t-shirts with the “part of the road” quote. I’ll buy!

From: Laurie — Jan 10, 2009

When I was in grade one a teacher wrote on my report card, “Laurie needs to slow down, she is a perfectionist at heart”. yet growing up my stepfather was always calling me lazy and a failure and saying I would never amount to anything. Only now as an adult do I know he was projecting his own ideas of himself onto me. It scarred me and I am forever feeling that I don’t paint or write enough.

Having said that, because of a disability I have now, I can’t work. I make my living from painting. A meager one at that. I go through a weird process before starting a new piece, that I have learned to identify. Clean the studio, prepare a canvas, get coffee or food, sit at computer, lay down underpainting, get coffee, sit at computer, for days even, totally unmotivated, beat myself up internally, waste my creativity on non paying work like fixing my own computer problems, putter around, clean the house, avoid avoid avoid..What the heck is all that about? I think I need to read some of the aforementioned books….I keep busy but feel like I am being lazy because I am not producing work.

From: Edna Waller — Jan 10, 2009

Judy: The rgenn@— is the email address. All you have to do is click on the proper link in the current letter and you will be taken right to the site.

From: Karen Martin Sampson — Jan 10, 2009
From: G. Armour Van Horn — Jan 10, 2009

I always enjoyed Robert Heinlein’s story of the World’s Laziest Man. Of course, he wasn’t lazy at all, he just figured out exactly how to get the maximum result from the least exertion, or the least physical exertion. He had to be very clever to arrange things so he didn’t actually have to do much work.

From: Toni — Jan 12, 2009

Sometimes it takes me weeks to work out in my head the what and how of a painting or sculpture. I am sure to others I am procrastinating or am lazy. Stretching paper, preparing clay, looking for certain reference material. Watching the finch feed in the lawn. Cleaning the kitchen. Lying on the floor staring up at the ceiling. All of it is a process. I pretty much paint or sculpt the entire work in my head before beginning. It used to drive my ex crazy. He would say “Why are you being so lazy. Just paint!” and I would say, “I am!”

Sure enough, when I am so engorged I am sure I will errupt, I begin to paint and can’t stop until I’m done.

I thought that was just being an artist.

From: woodie — May 05, 2009

I find I’m only lazy about things which my unconscious tells me are not priority. Quality of life is a priority. That might involve being perceived as being lazy. But who would wish pain over quality? Is it not easier to stay on the path than wonder through the briers?

 

 

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