Friday, January 29, 2010

Dare we discuss?

Do we dare discuss procrastination?

Does this even apply to us?Really, one would wonder that artists ever wish to procrastinate. I mean don't we just absolutely love what we do - getting to be creative and all?

Well, what about that commission you know you should be working on, or that last one in your latest series that isn't really too exciting for you these days? You get the idea...

So what leads you to procrastinate and what things do you do when you attempt to avoid your work?

Me, I am apt to start procrastinating when a piece is almost finished. I have spent a lot of time on it and I am liking how it looks. I know that spending a few more hours to bump up values and such will really add to the piece but I start to get bored and I get itching to work on something fresh. I am also prone to put off working on a piece if I hit a technically difficult part or an area in which I have done the fun stuff and only the other stuff remains (like the background on Neptune's Leaves, many, many inches to cover and lots of pigment to get down).

I tend to put off dealing with the non-art part of the business. I receive many emails every week from arts organizations. They are advising me of conferences in other cities, opportunities to participate in charity auctions, would I like to participate in their art in the park exhibition this summer - that sort of thing. I need to think about these opportunities and see how they fit into my plans so unfortunately I cannot just delete or file these items as they appear. Also, if I am teaching, I tend to procrastinate setting up my studio as a teaching room (because I love it as a working studio) and I tend to put off printing off the material for the students and cutting the paper they need, etc. Dead boring...I also put off framing in a big way! (Simply because it is a lot of work.)

So that is what I procrastinate and now for what I do when I wish to procrastinate. Well, if I am at my drafting table and I start to get fidgety, my first act of diversion is to head to the kitchen for a cup of tea or something. Or I can suddenly need to get out of my chair to change the CD. I just might select a CD that requires some singing along and dancing... :-) I might think of something that I had been meaning to look up on-line and well gosh if I don't do it now I might forget later. I can be overwhelmed with a desire to check my email, or check for comments on my latest blog post. I will also start going through my reference images - I'm working, just working on my next piece. :-) Finally, I can procrastinate by sorting and organizing the stuff in my studio - this one is rather a last resort.

So now it is your turn in the discussion. Do you procrastinate? What are you avoiding doing and what are your preferred acts of procrastination? (I'm sure someone will mention chocolate!)


Gillian said...

Well, I was going to comment but I'll put it off for a while .....

CountryDreaming said...

Back in 1978, there was an article in the Buffalo Courier Express on the National Procrastinator's Club. I really meant to join, but the newspaper with the contact info was tossed in the trash. By the time I got around to researching the news article, years had passed and the Courier Express had gone out of business ...

What I procrastinate the most on is the simple task of keeping things neat and clean.

The odd thing is, as a tech writer who takes contract assignments when they come up, I think I'm actually more productive as an artist at those times in my life when I'm working full time at a normal desk job. If you've ever heard of Hugh Macleod of gapingvoid, I seem to be in his camp ... don't quit your day job, use it to finance your art career.

I also owe a certain art blogger an e-mail ... and one will be on its way ASAP! :-)

Gillian said...

OK - just kidding - yes -I'm the world's worst procrastinator, especially if the work is important to me. I once read about an author who stated that he staves off writer's block by always stopping work for the day at a point where he knows where the plot is going next - never at a point when he's dried up on ideas.
If only I could apply that to my artwork.
Thanks for your comment on my blog btw, Teresa. You give hope to us all! x

Brenda said...

Procrastinate? I procrastinate horribly at the beginning of a piece of art. The layout has been decided and the pencil must hit the paper. I have mulled over the idea almost to death and have a tendency to feel like the piece has already been created a dozen times! Thankfully that goes away in the first half an hour after the pencil has hit the paper!

What do I do to avoid work? I take it to the extreme point of even balancing my checkbook!! Or make myself feel guilty about doing things for the family, checking in on family over the phone, or heaven forbid I turn on the radio to dance music! Pretty much anything! I will even just get up and pace. I am trying to get myself better on disciplining myself to get on a schedule. And yes, my tiny studio even got a once over!

Teresa Mallen said...

Woo-hoo! Thanks ladies, I'm relieved to read I'm not the only one!!

LOL Gillian, good one!

C.D. - A National Procrastinator's Club?! Now that is a hoot! I shall have to google for it. I am so with you on the notion of being more productive when doing a day job. That has been my own experience. That is why I now work hard to maintain a regular work schedule - within my flexible schedule, if that makes sense. What I mean is that if I spend some of my morning walking my dog when it is warmer and daylight, I make up for it by getting to work very early or I work in the evening. I also agree that for a lot of people the day job is a very good thing and yes, use it to finance the art career. For most of us there are lean years in the beginning. Stressing over finances isn't a great place to create from. And are you procrastinating emailing me?! LOL

Oh Gillian, when the work is important to you - very insightful and so true! And yes, it is so much easier to get started the next day when you know just where you are headed with a piece! Love those days. :-)

Hi Brenda, balancing your cheque book? Ooohhh, now that is procrastination at one of its highest levels! LOL Sounds like some of us end up with tidy studios if things get desperate enough! Thanks for adding your thoughts!!!

Dianna said...

Oh sound sooo much like me! I have procrastinated for the longest time to complete my last piece in my water series (4). The only thing that motivated me was that my representative wanted some new pieces for a convention hall. I desperately wanted to complete my story of ..."the journey". If you're interested you can find it on my website All I had to do was build up the values and that was boring. I wanted to start on my next project...a wave of water!!!
I did the things I had to get caught up on...laundry, organizing art supplies, serfing the web for new artist blogs and trying out a new flavor of tea.
You can only guess that I am procrasting now to begin the wave of water! Hmmmm...I'm just waiting for that sudden urge of motivation.
My husband left for a spiritual retreat this weekend and I am enjoying solitude!!!
Thanks for allowing me to procrastinate for just five more minutes. :)

jinx1764 said...

I usually not a procrastinator but lately I've been bad about finishing two pieces. One is a custom portrait for a memorial- I guess it's just too depressing since her bird was a similar species as mine. And I contracted to write a medical CE article a few months ago and I have total brain lock. ARGH! That doesn't usually happen to me when I write but I just don't want to write this article for some reason.

I also hate reorganizing my work space cause it just gets messed up again anyhow!

Leslie Hawes said...

heehee...I was going to do what Gillian did...except later.
I wrote all about my "expert procrastination techniques". If anyone can use them, be my guest.

Teresa said...

Guilty! Oh me... the times I have procrastinated and then had to cram several days work into one (very long) day. Wish there was a prescription for it!

Teresa Mallen said...

Hi Dianna, your water series is beautiful! I look forward to seeing the 'waves'. Please, feel free to stop by and procrastinate anytime. :-)

So Heather, you usually are not a procrastinator - congratulations! The memorial portrait sounds like it would be a difficult piece to work on.

Hi Leslie. Gosh, expert procrastination techniques, I'll have to check that out!

Good point Teresa - the downside of our procrastination and having to cram. Ouch!! That is me and framing. I am always pulling late nights just before an exhibition trying to get my latest work framed. Every time I say this is absolutely the last time. BTW, last November was definitely the last time... :-)

AutumnLeaves said...

Theresa, thank you so much for your words to me in Gillian's blog. I really appreciate them, too. I believe I said just the opposite in a recent blog entry of my own! LOLOL Just something that rankles and saddens me within, honestly. But I hope I can prove you right and me wrong! I am excited to have found your blog, too!

Jeanette said...

I think procrastination is built into most people, artists included. We put off things that our whole heart my not be into, such as finished that background, completing a painting, tidying the basement...and so on.

If we think we have lots of time, then we are happy to put it off. But if you add the concept of deadlines or lack of time or someone coming to visit, we suddenly find ourselves able to produce work at a great pace.

I think its all just human nature to put off the inevitable, even if we usually enjoy what we're doing.

Now, I'm off to prep some paper. Ok, after another coffee...See??

Teresa Mallen said...

Hi A.L.! Yes I noticed that post! LOL Having a naturally talented daughter isn't fair is it? :-) Yes, please do prove me right! You can become the artist you long to be. Do the work, learn as you go and be patient. You'll see!

Hi Jeanette - I so agree that we can work up a storm when deadlines loom. Some of us even swear we work best under pressure! LOL

Prabha N. said...

I havent painted properly in three months. Reading this post nails my current situation. Hell!