Saturday, April 4, 2009

Process

Over the last few weeks I have been trying to trust the process of my work and life. Sometimes this is difficult, however I have found how important it truly is to do this from time to time. As an American I have been raised to believe the more time I put in, the more productive I will be. All of these years I have failed to recognize just what it is that encompasses "time put into my work". Lately I have concluded there are many aspects of this art making which involves putting in that time and it is not always in my studio producing the next painting. Sometimes I have to step back and evaluate what I have done, read things which have an influence on the direction I am heading or where I have been, sometimes it means I have to explore other art forms and how they impact my own work...or allow them to impact it.

Recently I heard about a company in the US northeast who felt they had to cut back their work force since they were not getting the clients in this economic climate. They did not really want to lay people off, so they decided they were going to try the basic French model of working. Their employees were all cut back to a 35 hour work week (yes, I know the French have recently increased that back to 40 hours), required to take a month off (without pay at this point) in addition to their regular paid vacation. Do you know what happened? The productivity and creativity of the employees increased, their client list began to grow again and they are doing well now and have happy employees and clients. I thought this said a great deal about not only this company, but about how we sometimes have to take more time to effectively produce.

No, I have not stopped painting, I remain true to my mark a day (at minimum), but I have started to evaluate what it truly takes to do this work. So now you know what I have been doing over the last little bit. Yes, I have been painting, but in a different way and with a different attitude. It feels fresh and exciting, so I think that is a good thing.

I also appreciate you being so patient with me throughout this process. I hope to be a more regular blog poster and reader...not every day, but with more substance, too.

Oh, and this little photo at the top...just another crop from some recent "play".

How about your process? Do you sometimes have to step away and take stock in your work and your work process?

Have a Great Weekend!

30 comments:

Jessie Lilac said...

Hi Kim, I believe the more time I put in, the more productive I am. But I classify 'productive' as moving forward with creative thinking too, not necessarily just producting a finished piece. The creative process is a delicate thing isn't it?!x

Kim said...

Hi Jess,

You are right it is a very delicate thing indeed. I think we are always putting in our time, but for me it is a lot about just what it is I am doing. Sometimes seemingly unrelated tasks help me to step away and re-evaluate what is going on or help me to see what I am doing in a very different way. For me, that helps. Of course there are those tasks I detest, but need to be done...does that count?

Thanks Jess...I always appreciate your insights here.

Love,

Kim

soulbrush said...

we're always around waiting to see you. take it easy, don't be hard on yourself.

Kim said...

Thank you so much, Sweet Soul!

Love,

Kim

Cynthia said...

I just love your reflective process. I agree that it is the way to go...ride the wave of creativity and then replenish. I wonder what happened in that company...maybe people appreciate and plan for the time off...work more focused? It seems more humane to allow people to keep their jobs. <3

Elis Cooke said...

Hi Kim
I think I have spent the last year re-evaluating my process lol! My best days do seem to be what I call flowing-- when it doesn't matter if I am painting or building supports or washing brushes or doing dishes-- it all just flows together-- and gets done. lovely passage you've posted-- i love the flings [of course] but am especially intrigued by the underlying lines/scratches/texture? the marking are really evocative and have me thinking! thanks so much for the inspiration! namaste

fiona long said...

Hey Kim,

Don't you worry about the regularity of your posting or painting. We all love it when you do but everyone needs a break and time to take stock every now and then. You've always been very patient with me when I go offline and that can be for months!

I love your story about the company. What a great idea and I'm so pleased how well it worked. It's a great analogy for the creative ebb and flow too.

I have plenty of creative ebbs as in, the productivity is reduced. In fact, I'm having one now but I'm gradually learning to cope with them and recognise them better. I'm usually at my happiest when I'm producing wild amounts of work but sadly it can't always be that way. And really, it's not actually sad because if I were always making and never thinking, the quality of the work would suffer. I go into long periods of either introspection or exploration and that's when the thinking gets done. Then it goes into a thinking by doing phase and then another manic making/painting phase. Oh goodness, I'm making myself sound quite mad now aren't I? The point is that although some points in this creative cycle are more obviously fun than others, we could never truly improve if we just got on with it the whole time. We need periods of "subconscious rehearsal", as my Dad calls it, too :0)

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

Sounds like you are doing all the right things for you and for your art making. I think taking stock, really looking at one's work and making choices on next steps is necessary to stay strong. Feedback can be halpful too, I have a few trusted artist friends that ask me great questions! Always enjoy your thoughts on the subject!!

Dianne said...

Dear Kim,
I am so sorry to have missed your birthday a few weeks ago, I hope you had a great time.

I so enjoyed reading this posting, as usual, you get me really thinking! This creative process is so convoluted and multidimensional, there are so many small steps that we take every day that contribute towards our creativitiy. Old Leonardo got into huge trouble when he spent so much time just gazing at The Last Supper. I find if I don't spend time thinking about my paintings, I can't progress with them. It would be so much easier if it were a purely instinctive process!

yvette said...

yes Kim, you sometimes have to follow the way inside to get outside.
And yes now I cannot work as I would work, which frustrates me very from time to time, I can explore other things.

Kim said...

Hi Cynthia, I think with that company they were forced to try out the process which allows for people to be more creative...and they learned that creativity actually did mean productive. In their case, productivity paid off in the best possible way. We just never know what lessons we are going to be presented with. It seems to me in this case, everyone is the winner. Interesting how that works.

Thank you, Cynthia for your kind words of support!

Love,

Kim

Kim said...

Hello Elis,

Yes, you are right...it is the flow from one stage to the next. I suppose we keep evaluating and re-evaluating to keep outselves together in this creative life. It seems I keep writing about this over and over, but it truly is what is on my mind these days.

I am glad you like this bit. I am venturing a guess here, but I would say some of what you are attracted to with this piece is the paper I used to paint upon. When I pulled in close with the photo, you are able to see those parts which intrigued you!

Thanks Elis!

Love,

Kim

Kim said...

Hello Fiona,

Yes, that is what I am honestly doing...taking stock! It truly does feel like a renewal to me right now, too. Like you, I feel a real wild spurt about to explode here.

It is funny, I am also the happiest when I am in a real explosion of work...of course that is when I basically ignore everyone else and they are not as happy about it as I am. LOL

I am not thinking you sound mad at all. I actually feel you make quite a bit of sense and are mirroring the way things work for me, too. There also seems to be so much which needs to happen aside from producing and those things pull me out of my artist self...do you know what I mean? It is like I love living inside of me when I am creating, but I have to be on the outside of me when I am doing these other things which need to be done. Oh, I suppose it is all very much a balance. Right...'subconscious rehearsal'...that is what this is all about.

Thanks Fiona!

Love,

Kim

Kim said...

Thank you, Mary Ann! This one seems to be lasting for quite some time. I don't think it is a bad thing, just a bit different than before. I feel as though I have hit the middle of it, though. As I said before, I am feeling that creative rush about to happen here. It feels good, too.

Yes, we do not seem to be able to have creativity without those 'taking stock' times.

Thanks Mary Ann!

Love,

Kim

Kim said...

Hi Dianne,

Oh, thanks for the birthday wishes...it was a lovely day to be sure.

Convoluted...I love that! It feels as though it is a perfect descriptor for creativity. One just can't look at it as a linear process which works each time. I think that is why this blogging is positive...it helps to confirm we are really not crazy and hopefully keeps us from getting into trouble as Leo did! :)

I always enjoy your insights here, Dianne! Thank you so much for helping me to think through all of this.

Love,

Kim

Kim said...

Hello Yvette,

It is interesting how sometimes we have to change our way of working for some reason or another. While it is often very difficult to grasp...as we do like to stick to what we know, don't we?...I try to look at adversity as an opportunity. Do you notice I said TRY? It is difficult, however it is also helpful when I can accomplish that attitude!

Thank you so much for reminding me to stay focused on the positive of the process, Yvette!

Love,

Kim

~Babs said...

Good to see you Kim,,Good Things are coming out of your time of 'reflecting', re: your photo.
Kim's Signature colors, and the movement often seen in your work.

I think it's always good to take time away from 'the usual' whatever that usual might be. Otherwise, it's easy to fall into a rut, dig the hole deeper and stay there. Or worse, pull the hole in behind you!
Good to know that you're still painting while you reflect!
Carry on with what makes you Kim!

San said...

Kim, I'm used to putting in several solitary days in the studio painting, then going to the gallery and being a "people person." For now, that rhythm works for me. I usually experience a day of re-entry when I return to the studio, a day in which nothing much ostensibly happens. It's all under the surface as I become re-attuned to the process.

I enjoyed the story of the company and the success of their 'French' schedule. And thank you for your generosity in sharing your own push-me-pull-you process. We all relate.

Sabi said...

Hi kim, its been a long time i havent visit your blog kind of very busy so how are you? did you get the vote?

Take care

Paula said...

Yep......been there, done that....what I think is most important here is that we recognize our process and find a way to honor that for ourselves...

I so enjoy reading your posts. Always so much substance that gives me a moment of pause and revelation.

Man that chocolate fountain is great.

Kim said...

Ah Babs, you are a love!

I think your 'hole' analogy is perfect. I just keep working to re-invent myself and hopefully doing it better and better, you know?

It is so great to come here and get all of this incredible support in just being myself and knowing so many others go through the same thing all the time. In my world, away from the blog one, I do not find many people who can grasp what I am talking about. Some even look at me with the strangest blend of confusion and concern on their faces. I come here and get the "thata' girl" with a beautiful digital smile of knowing.

Thanks Sweet Babs for all of your support and kind words.

Love,

Kim

Kim said...

Hi San,

You know, I do admire you going into your gallery like you do. I have always wondered if you find that experience informs your art when you get into the studio? Do you think it takes time for that to happen or is it immediate in the next studio session?

I can sure imagine how it would take some extended time in order to transition into your creative mode. I know when I have to step outside myself it takes quite a bit of time to get stuck back in.

As I said to Babs, it is so great to come here and read how people are so supportive of the creative process of re-inventing myself.

Thanks San for being there and helping me to further understand the process.

Love,

Kim

Kim said...

Hi Paula,

You know your posts do similar thing for me...I am always quite reflective after visiting you. It is a lovely community, isn't it?

Ah, the great joy of a group of 'knowing' people. I love the euphoria of that! Thank you.

Ah, we kept imaginging we could smell the chocolate through the window! LOL It is beautiful to be sure.

Thanks Paula,

Love,

Kim

sukipoet said...

hi kim. good to see your wonderful painting and to hear your reflective words. it is always good to reassess ones approach to things. i myself am trying to do that re: approach to home buying. it is good you are able to step back and to move forward too with some work at your own pace, which is what is should always be. good luck.

Cestandrea said...

Kim, I left a comment here two days ago, can't believe it but it's gone...
New ways of approaching things, yes, I believe we do need this all the time. Your painting looks great, much movement there.
Have a happy Easter, (I must add that I don't care much about the "Easter" thing but am happy that Monday I have a day off:)
Have a good weekend,
love

Andrea

Kim said...

Hello Sweet Suki,

As always your words are wise. I always appreciate what you have to share here.

Home buying will absolutely make you take stock in your life. Whew what a time. We have done it so much, but even after 9 buys (and many more moves) the process can still overwhelm us. I am going to pop over to see how you are getting along.

Thanks Suki and have a beautiful day!

Love,

Kim

Kim said...

Tee Hee! I am glad you have the day off, too, Andrea, and how about Happy Springtime! There were no days off here, but the weekend was lovely.

Oh I really hate it when blogger eats my comments...that has happened to me a couple of times. I am sorry it has happened to you here.

As you can see, I am continuing on my quest here with yet another post about evaluation and exploring renewal. It is spring, right? LOL

I am glad you like what you see here...you know your thoughts mean a great deal to me.

Have a Beautiful Day Off!

Love,

Kim

Kim said...

My Apologies, Sabi!

It seems as though I missed your kind comment here. It has been a while since we last talked. I hope you are well!

Have a Beautiful Day!

Love,

Kim

PS Yes, I did vote...and was very proud to do so.

d.edlen said...

I try to listen to my gut without judgement. That leads me to do whatever Life directs. Sometimes I feel more like the medium than my paint. I serve my art, so I don't really categorize process. It removes guilt and "should" and "failure" and just allows creativity.

Peace.

Kim said...

D, this is beautifully said. I love how you say you feel often more like the medium. That makes so much sense.

You know, anything which can remove those negative issues is what it is all about!

Thank you so much for your wonderful, thoughtful comment here. I am off to visit your blog, now!

Love,

Kim