Monday, March 1, 2010

reporting on my residency experience...

It must be March. My house is a jungle of flowering bulb plants. Who says winter has to be dreary? :-)

Here I am one month much for my intention to post some updates as the weeks went by. If I had to sum up my residency in one word, it would be 'fabulous'!

Here is a breakdown of the activities I pursued during my fabulous month:
  • My main goal was to spend time on my art and I did. I logged in many hours at the drafting table and it was most delicious.
  • I dusted off and read books on the art and careers of some of my favourite artists.
  • I purchased art magazines and read them.
  • I got out old art magazines and reread them as well.
  • I attended a presentation given by a very accomplished artist which was most inspiring.
  • I took lots of reference photos. I edited some of the photos into images that I will be working on in future.
  • I sorted through stuff in my studio.
  • I revisited my business plan and made decisions with regards to future activities.

My greatest success in February was in focusing on my art. They say that it takes a month or so to develop new habits, well I wanted new habits. I hoped to to strengthen my ability to put my art time first and I wanted to let go of habits and tasks that were not really serving me. I went cold turkey on computer time. I didn't read any blogs in February (okay, I read two posts that popped up in my google alerts in my email). I checked my email as little as possible and I only responded to the absolutely necessary messages. I was completely unprepared for the amount of time this unleashed in my life. I was shocked. I became intoxicated, drunk on the possibilities. I could have spent more time on art but I decided to be decadent across the board. I actually played the piano instead of just dusting it! I read books!! Lots of them. I can't remember the last time I had been to the library.

I am very grateful for this unexpected revelation. Lesson learned. Now the challenge will be to maintain my new habits! :-)

Oh and I did get skating on the Rideau Canal. Ottawa has the world's larges skating rink which winds through the city for 7.8 km (4.8 miles) . This year marks the 40th anniversary of this maintained ice surface. Part of the experience is to take a break and have a snack. The photo below shows me ready to tie into a BeaverTail (a delicious whole wheat pastry stretched into the shape of a beaver's tail, served warm and topped with goodies like cinnamon, butter and lemon, yum). I shared it and a hot chocolate with my husband.

Below is a picture of one of the resting areas on the canal. There are picnic tables, places to buy food and fire pits. We know how to do winter! :-)

While I didn't post any updates, I did take some pictures of a work in progress. My next post will have lots of photos detailing the work I put into my newest finished piece.


CountryDreaming said...

Welcome back, Teresa! You've been missed. Glad to hear your residency went so well, and thanks for sharing what you learned about time management. Sometimes while taking a break for art, it even helps to take a short break within a break from art.

Lynda Schumacher said...

Hey Teresa, missed you and glad you are back! Sounds like a great experience; look forward to seeing your art.

Stacy said...

Teresa, it sounds like you had a very enjoyable and productive residency. The idea of going "cold-turkey" and living without the computer sounds delightful to me. I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the computer. I love all the opportunities and information it provides, but dislike the way hours seem to disappear when I'm parked in front of the screen. I've set myself a pretty aggressive art schedule for the coming months, maybe I need to consider cutting back on screen time. It sure is tempting!

AutumnLeaves said...

Gosh Teresa! I'd wondered where you've been. I know you probably posted it but things seem to fall out of my head much quicker these days. I'm not sure, but I'd also forgotten that colored pencil was your medium. I am drawn more and more to them myself. Your ice skating information reminded me of Hans Brinker; what fun! Can't wait to see what is next!

Elizabeth Seaver said...

Congratulations on a successful effort to refocus your art life! Now, of course, comes the challenge of learning how to Keep it up while adding other activities back in!

Yes, it does look as if you all know how to do winter in Ottawa! What lovely pictures of your outing.

Brenda said...

Welcome back Teresa! I missed reading your blog but am so glad that you had such a wonderful month! It is so beneficial to hear about your experience and inspiring too!!

Susan Roux said...

Giving yourself a residency at home! Good for you!

Not many of us could menage that...

I wonder how you stayed focused and didn't get sidetracked by the usual distractions. Did you unplug the internet all together???

Do share.

Teresa Mallen said...

Hi CD and Lynda, nice to be missed! :-)

Stacy - yes time on the computer does really add up. I don't watch TV. I mean not at all, with the wee exception of Masterpiece Theatre classic episodes that air for 1 1/2 hours/week in the winter months. Going cold turkey from the computer allowed me to re-experience what life was like before blogging. What a revelation! Yet as you said, there are wonderful opportunities for information. My goal is to reintroduce the internet into my life very carefully! For me less is definitely more. I liken it to the adage that when you are on your death bed you won't wish you had spent more time at the office. Well, if I were on my death bed I would not be wishing I had spent more time surfing the net! :-)

Autumn Leaves, okay I am just a bit biased but cps are absolutely fabulous and they are way more versatile than people imagine!

Elizabeth - I am normally quite good about maintaining my core studio hours but it is amazing how stuff like getting ready for shows, teaching etc. can interfere with this. Some of this business stuff is unavoidable but some of it has to go. That is why I am not teaching this year and it looks like I shall be on the computer a lot less too!

Thanks Brenda!

Teresa Mallen said...

Hi Susan, I didn't actually physically dismantle our connection to the internet - although I think it would be a good option if necessary! :-) I simply made a commitment to myself and I honoured it. I so wanted a large chunk of time to really focus on my art that I became quite determined. In the early days, I stayed off the computer completely in order to get used to this new way of being. I found that when I would check my email every couple of days (and as I am running a business here, I couldn't stop doing that for a month) I would get tempted to have a look at my dashboard to have a quick peek at what my fellow bloggers might be getting up to. I didn't give in to that temptation and eventually the urge just got less and less. Just like ending any addiction really!! LOL Of course it didn't hurt that I was quite enjoying becoming reacquainted with other pleasures.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful Blog and really inspiring.

Teresa Mallen said...

S and B, welcome to my blog and thank you for your kind words. Thanks also for 'following'! :-)

Ann said...

Nice to see you are back, all refreshed from your "residency"! I like your new discipline of reducing computer time - I am trying to do that myself by making at least one day a week computer-free. It isn't always easy :-)

Teresa Mallen said...

Hi Ann, you are right it isn't easy but I do think the effort is worth it. Hang in there. :-)