Creativity Needs Peace and Quiet by Mike Rooney
I’ve had an epiphany sometime over the last few months. Slow down and do better paintings.
I thought you might like to see how I corrected a dangerous course of action so you’ll have something to think about before you go down the same road or have to correct course like me.
Here’s the skinny.
I’ve been a full-time painter selling in a dozen galleries up and down the eastern seaboard for almost five years now. All the wisdom of the day when I started said that you needed miles and miles of canvas behind you before you got any good. Well they were (and still are) right. But what I didn’t hear was miles and miles of decent work.
Don’t you look at your screen with that look on your face. If you paint, or draw, or sculpt, you haven’t always sold your very best work 100% of the time, now have you. It’s human nature to do what you can with what you’ve got on hand.
I ran from painting to painting, averaging three or four a day for years. Some call that prolific. I now call it stupid.
How can you find time to do your very best work if you hardly have time to each lunch or return a dealers phone call?
Note to self: Being frazzled is counterproductive. Seems like common sense, right? Not so much, when you’re trying to pay bills, keep galleries happy, and stay ahead of the tax man. Being pushed also keeps you from thinking through the design, accepting little things you know aren’t right in the painting (but getting onto the next one helps you conveniently forget), and can lead to professional burnout.
So my new mantra is not “how many can I do in a day,” it’s “how many really good ones can I do, no matter how long it takes.”
If you’re shaking your head up and down frantically, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Slow it down. Think through the design a little more than you do now. Don’t let something go out to a gallery that you wouldn’t want on the front page of your local newspaper with your photo next to it and your name in huge type. What an acid test that is huh?
Ouch…..After saying that…. if you’ll excuse me I’ve got to quit typing and go work on a few paintings some more that I thought were good enough to show.