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Hours For Art: May Update

Hours For Art telethonAre you wondering how the Hours For Art pledgers are doing, one month into their commitments?

I was wondering, so I asked them. (I started an email list so the pledgers can keep in touch with each other.) Here are a few of their updates.

Liz Danforth

Liz is primarily known as an artist/illustrator, but she also writes ~ and she set out to put some more time into writing fiction. She’s written a detailed post at her own blog about her results so far, and I love her specificity around when and how she would meet her pledge. This woman knows how to build labyrinths!

The sixteen hours I put in did not net me a lot of readable pages but it took the project from a gleam in my eye, populated by a handful of interesting characters, to a still-somewhat-rickety framework on which the tapestry can actually be woven. It went from a wannabe novel to a novel in progress. I’ll take that.

Liz declares this month a win, and I totally concur. Make sure you check out her thoughts on the benefits of writing early in the morning.

Rachel Gordon

Rachel is a visual artist and photographer who wanted to spend more time drawing. She had another project show up and preempt the drawing for a few weeks, but is looking forward to getting back to it.

Alison, I’m so glad you set up the list – turns out I needed the nudge.  Hmmm, that might be a negative voice telling me ‘I’m doing it wrong.’  The truth is that my pledge was to draw 4 nights a week for 1/2 hour each time.  I did it fabulously the first week – even one night when I could barely see straight I was so tired I managed to encourage myself to take that time for my art.  Then my husband, with whom I collaborate on art projects, came up with a cool project that involved spending a lot of late nights out of the house.  I’ve also been putting in tons of hours organizing my photos for an upcoming show.  Long and short – I’ve been putting in a lot of art hours in the last month, but I have not been putting in my drawing hours.  HOWEVER, yesterday I was asked to possibly illustrate a children’s book.  That will give me lots of drawing time.  Regardless, the project with my husband ends next week and I plan to find a very visible place for my drawing materials so I’ll have a tangible reminder to keep working on my pledge.

Glad to see Rachel catching the voice of “you’re doing it wrong” and questioning it. There’s a lot right about spending many hours on art in the last month, even if it wasn’t on the project she intended.

Rhonda Douglas

Rhonda, a poet and fiction writer, is using her pledge to figure out how much writing she can actually do in a week.

Well, I have to be honest and say that I thought I was making a pledge for ONE WEEK which is why I pledged so high, knowing I had some days off work that week.  I don’t think my life can sustain that amount of writing per week, but I may be surprised.  I think at this point I need to revisit the pledge and see what’s realistically possible.  Revisiting how I’ve set up my labyrinth is probably also a good idea!  I did get some work done in May but nothing like double digits per week.  However, I feel okay about that…the pledge and all the set-up around that week gave me some good momentum.

I like Rhonda’s commitment to renegotiating her pledge rather than dropping it altogether.

Laureen Marchand

Laureen is a painter who has made some big changes to open time for her art practice, and is beginning to reap the benefits.

I knew when I made the pledge that it was an ongoing development sort of pledge rather than an immediate one, and that has definitely been the case. However, there has been no time since I made it when I haven’t been aware of it. And that awareness has helped moved me toward keeping it.

For the first month, art time has probably been about 8 hours per week rather than 16. I still had some structural work to do and worked at that in support of my pledge, making the pledge more of a possibility than a dream. As well,  I operate a seasonal commercial gallery on the edge of one of Canada’s most beautiful and remote national parks (www.grasslandsgallery.com), and its season has now started. This means some time has gone into preparation and creation of the season. Some other time went into taking days off – my last chance until September, and I grabbed it!

As I fashioned the gallery to have a small studio corner, I am now working there instead of in my home studio. I’ve been concentrating really hard on developing the skills needed to combine the art gallery business and the art-making business on an comfortable and ongoing basis. I don’t count time spent lugging art supplies and setting up lights and generally fiddling around, just time actually working on images. Incredibly, this coming week looks good to bring 12 to 15 hours of images. It requires both desire and discipline, but remembering what I pledged to do is making a lot of difference in getting me there. Wahoo!

One of the results of making the pledge for me has been a connection to a new community – of Alison’s Hours for Art Pledge Makers. Because the area where I live is so remote and the population so small, it’s a delight to have this link to an engaged and searching group of international art-makers. I look forward to all the unfolding chapters!

Laureen has been a long-time client and I love seeing her put these structures in place that will pay off for weeks and months to come.

Brenda Gribbon

Brenda is a mixed media visual artist who hit a bump in the road shortly after making her pledge.

How did it go? Well, I had surgery 4/27 that has kept be “down” and physically unable to spend the time in my studio as pledged. During my recovery time, though, I’ve been reading, watching creative programs and keeping notes on ideas for NEXT month. I’ve also created two new projects for clients who are excited, so this will keep the fire burning!

Surprised at results? Mostly disappointed in the timing and not being able to really get into it. I am very thankful for the accountability and look forward to continuing to hear and share!

And I’m really glad to be supporting Brenda and the other pledgers on their quest. These updates are a great illustration of how our good intentions fare when they hit the realities of life. Nice to see persistence and positivity when things don’t go exactly as planned.

Until next month . . . I wish you all Hours For Art.

{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Riv May 27, 2011, 7:35 pm

    I’ve been swamped this week (so much that I didn’t have time to compose a nice writeup of how things have been going after the pledge!), but I’ve definitely made the time for my art! I think that I’m still in that mode from the call where I don’t feel like I’m having “typical” weeks, but they’re still involving a lot of time in the studio. I’m currently pondering whether there really is such a thing as a “typical” week for me. Figuring out how to construct a labyrinth that can wind around the chaos. I think that manageable goals and projects are a better way to get things done than scheduling–if I know I *need* to finish something this week, I’ll make time when I can find it, but if I’m busy, I’m tempted to drop that nebulous “go to the studio and do… something” block out of my schedule.

    • Alison May 27, 2011, 7:42 pm

      Hi Riv! Glad you showed up. I really dig your differentiation between schedules and projects as ways to get things done. I can’t seem to keep general appointments with myself either, but I am unstoppable if I’ve got a deliverable and a deadline that I’m completely aligned with.

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