An unlikely pairing
I thought it might be useful and timely to write something about planning and creativity. They make an unlikely pair. To me creativity has a wild, born-free, feline quality about it. Planning has more clean-cut, controlled lines like a Lipizzaner stallion performing classical dressage.
Talking of planning I have some good news to report. Following on from my last article I put my 13-day weeks into action. They’re marked out in my diary. So now having done 10 days of work I can start my 3 day weekend guilt-free. My longer weeks are working well and it’s within this new framework that my most recent planning has taken place. A friend trying out a ten day week has said “It’s definitely easier to plan my creative projects using these bigger blocks of time.”
Planning works for me if there are some good objectives behind it. In October 2010 I took a holiday in Lyme Regis. There I came across the work of an abstract artist called Zdzislaw Ruszkowski (1907-1991). He studied art in Krakow and Warsaw and was inspired by Cezanne in Paris . Later, joining the Polish forces, he moved to Scotland in 1940. Then he moved to London in 1944. Working as an artist and art teacher he had a studio in Hampstead, North London as well as his studio in Lyme Regis. Looking at the books about his life’s work and also the original paintings dressing the walls around me I was truly inspired by his mastery of colour and light. I decided that my personal painting objective for 2011 would be to concentrate on - and hopefully master in my own way - light. I’ve found this focus on just one aspect of painting really helpful. It’s also had an impact on what I choose to paint.
They say it’s a material world so looking at income and outgoings has to be part of the big planning picture. It would certainly be business-like to consider the number of works you are going to produce this year and the return you expect from selling them. I’ve also been looking at outgoings like the costs of exhibiting and particularly the cost of materials. Skips, dumps, gardens and beaches supply free resources for many professional artists and sculptors. However, if like me you’re not a good forager then building merchants like Wickes, or DIY stores, might be good places to explore. A sheet of white faced hardboard, 1220 x 600mm, costs about £4.28. That’s enough for 8 small paintings about 300mm (1 foot) square. Plain hardboard in the same size will set you back about £2.25. A sheet double that size in external plywood (now, that’s an interesting material to consider for those outdoor exhibitions coming up!) costs £13.60. In some places staff are happy to cut the big sheets into smaller pieces for you. I’ve noticed local art shops often have sales so it is worth doing the rounds. If you went to art college and have lost touch with your alumni association, link up again, because these days alumni perks can include good deals from specific suppliers. Some unexpected outlets with big buying power have cost effective art materials and stationery – for example garden centres and also home furnishing outlets such as Dunelm Mill.
This is also the best time of year to plan your Open Studio partnerships. Inviting others to exhibit at your studio or home has several benefits. There are more people to take shifts, or it can be like a long party with all of you there all the time. Single artists can have a range of diverse talents but a group could have even more potential to create a varied and exciting experience for art lovers. Consider how to involve your Open Studios visitors in creative activities too. More about that another day. In the meantime good luck with your objectives and planning for the creative year ahead.
If you would like to share your ideas or experience of planning your creative year, how you generate creative objectives for yourself, where you find your art materials and how you forge creative partnerships, then please add your comments below…