I've been working closely with Lisa Call in her Artist's Master Class for the last 6 months. A combination of coaching, goal setting and support from fellow artists, the class has challenged me to examine the parts of my life that do NOT support my art/life.
I've taken classes with Lisa before and the pace, challenges and comradery are exhilarating. I had expected the same approach in the Master Class. But initially, I was frustrated-- I wanted to move full speed ahead with my artwork. Instead, I discovered all the things that got in my way.
On the short list for roadblocks were my health and my job. My health was suffering because I was burning out from the intense pace of hospital art therapy. All the self care that I could muster; yoga, therapy, exercise, massage, you name it, didn't seem to budge my exhaustion or my myriad collection of maladies.
Lisa invited me to slow down and piece together the elements that weren't working. Then, I was to imagine what might help me grow stronger. I put down my ideas: acupuncture, more time with friends and more travel, less time in the studio. A couple of the myriad maladies began to melt away as I put my ideas into action.
My favorite exercise is one that cost nothing in time or money; a values inventory. I thought about the values that circumscribe my life: intuition, stewardship, tikkun o'lam*, healing, acknowledgement, responsibility, respect and compassion.
After coming up with my list, I decided to bring each of these values, one by one, into my art work. I was amazed--because I actually began to relax.
Although I have deadlines for exhibits. I've began to be more thoughtful in my process; less let's get it done! and more what is it that I'm doing?
And slowing down is good. It's hot, it's summer, but beyond that I'm simply enjoying the ride, curious to find out how my ideas about art will change as I do.
How do your values affect the art you make?
*A Jewish principle that means to heal the world, to fit the broken pieces together, and in modern terms to talk about fixing what is broken in society.