Artists, Art Studios, & Creating Balance in Life

dreamzcatering.comDo you feel your life is balanced? Do you yearn for more balance? When I was 19 and a senior in college at Emory University, I was taking overloads to graduate early. One summer day I passed by the student union building and saw a poster for an introductory talk on meditation. I reflected how there were always interesting things going on that I didn’t have time for, since I was carrying such heavy courseloads. I thought about the need for balance, and how there was not balance in my life.

Refuge Reliquary. Sherri Silverman. Paper collage, wasp nest, and plastic container.

Refuge Reliquary. Sherri Silverman. Paper collage, wasp nest, and plastic container.

Fast forward fifty years. (OMG, it’s been that long?) Today I had a conversation with another artist who feels challenged about this balance issue and never seems to have adequate real studio time. Do you spend hours in your studio every day? Many of my artist friends are agitated about having enough daily studio time due to having to work a job to support themselves, do caretaking for a sick husband, or just take care of the time-eating demands of 21st century life. There is also the issue of posting on social media, applying for artist residencies, and looking for representation. So many time-consuming things eat away at actual art-making.

Often feel people like they are running from iceflow to iceflow, jumping across expanses of water, running almost vertically up a slope to jump to another spot, and so forth, a la Little Eva in Uncle Tom’s (Very stressful. Thank goodness I have my meditation practices. I don’t know how people manage without that tool.)

Meditation forms the ground for my work. I couldn't have been an artist without its allowing me to be connected. It's the wellspring. I don’t know how people manage to get balanced in life — or create — without it. It’s the key to balance.

“Deep silence is the mother of creativity. 

No creativity can come out of one who is too busy, worried, over-ambitious or “  

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

dreamzcatering.comIf you need to spend more time working on a deadline or taking care of your health or someone' else’s health, see it as a natural part of life rather than an obstacle. Just knowing and reminding yourself that there are ebbs and flows in life takes away some of that pressure. Nature has rhythms and cycles. You can bring back your studio time again. Until it becomes regular again, even sitting in your studio, cleaning off a painting table, reading through your art journals or inspirational clippings counts as creative incubation time. One friend has managed to get studio time back into her schedule by spending ten minutes a day making art. Even that little bit of time chiseled out of her work schedule brings her greater peace of mind and a feeling of connecting to her creative process.

And regular meditation practice enhances your connection with the source of creativity so that you will be “further along” in your development artistically, or at least more able to just pick up your art materials and begin again.

dreamzcatering.comIn 1989 and 1990, I visited artist Agnes Martin at her home and studio in Galisteo, New Mexico. Basically, I wanted to meet her, so I looked her up in the Santa Fe phonebook. When I called her, she invited me to come. My home and studio were on Upper Canyon Road in Santa Fe, so it was only about a half hour drive. I think I brought her a flower on that first visit. I was surprised that her home was very simple, modest, small, and mostly unadorned. There was a small Woody Gwyn painting in the kitchen.

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creativity is joyous: inspiration from alice walker

alice walker emory poet

"It’s really ecstatic. I just feel such joy that I feel transparent; and if there is a time when it’s a struggle, I have learned by now that you just stop and do something else, and if it never comes back, whatever the thought was, let it go...something else will come. It seems to me that creativity, creation itself, is joyous, and if it’s not really, you’re up the wrong creek."

Alice Walker

I love that inspirational author donated her archives to my alma mater Emory University’s library, where I spent hundreds of hours during college. I quote her frequently, including in my dissertation on the arts.
dreamzcatering.comSherri Silverman