When I envision my perfect studio, well one that isn't a thriving shop somewhere, I think of a lovely large and long room that has double glass-paned doors that come off the living room. Those doors can be shut and I can still see the house, or open and life can flow in and out as needed. I see a sink, a long table, counters, shelves, multiple easels, windows. Oh, it would be fabulous. The space to spread out and the ability to continue to stay organized.
I have long come to terms with the fact that running your passion as a business requires a level of organization and planning. I've done well with it in the past, but lately I just sort of let everything slip. I got off track during the holidays and never quite reigned myself back in. I think it's kind of like dieting, and allowing yourself all those goodies over the holidays, but forgetting to get back to healthy eating in January. Whoops.
So here I sit, at the end of January (almost) working out my goals for 2013 that should have been worked out in 2012. I start with what seems like a simple question, but is actually the hardest: What do I want to have accomplished by December 31st 2013? I'm making my list right now, and I think I'm pretty close to being done with it. Once I have all those answers lined up, I can set deadlines on some of them (like all calendar work needs to be done by October so I can get them printed.) Then I can divide the work up by the months and deadlines accordingly. I'm not dividing down by week until I get to the week before the next month, so if there is something carrying over I can make room for it without it all stacking up behind me like a derailed freight train!
I'm excited to get this done so I can feel like I'm back on track once again. I have a real need to get my body of work back up to levels it's supposed to be at, and this is the way to do it. Beyond that, however, I realize that organizing my business goals like this allows me room. It's like a messy closet; if you get it organized and put in some storage and shelving, you realize you can actually fit more stuff into the space! I'm making room for the occasional commission, but more than that - I am making room to play.
I'm scheduling in my play. I know that seems like it would take the play out of playing, but I don't think it will. For example, this year I am going to experiment with dragons. I used to paint them (long ago, art school long ago!) While working through my Alice series, I realized that my Jabberwocky is on the dragonish side of things, and it led to wanting to include a few to see how I like them. Play.
I realize that I need to paint as if nothing will sell. I need to paint for me, with no other goal than to please myself. My best work, my very best, is that which I paint with no goal in mind other than to create. If I allow myself to create something with the thought in my mind "no one will want this, and that will be OK. I'm going to make this for me. If someone likes it later, that's fine, but it's perfectly fine if this doesn't sell" then I set myself free.
So, even though I'm creating a pretty heavy schedule of what I need to get done this year, it's really all about setting myself free!