Maintenance Required

Thank heavens for these reminders. A notification pops up on our car dash, a text message from our salon reminding us of our next appointment (although with my very short hair, I am always looking forward to my next haircut!), the envelope from the IRS shows up reminding us of quarterly tax filing, or a calendar notation pops up on our phone to remind us of an important birthday next week. There are many ways we are made aware throughout our daily routines that maintenance of some sort is required.

But how do we recognize that maintenance is required in our art practice? What are the signs?  Some can be real,  IN YOUR FACE, look at me reminders!  I often try to put something down only to find every available surface is covered with art in progress, collage or gelli print work, last week’s unemptied pallets or piles of reference material. Maintenance is definitely required in the form of cleaning (not buying more tables!).

Other signs are very subtle.  A lack of enthusiasm over a current series, or an avoidance of a particular task.  Maybe you sigh when you enter your workspace, or start painting only to feel as if you are just going through the motions.  These too are signs that maintenance is required.  But unlike an oil change or haircut, this is maintenance only we can perform!

Once we recognize these signs, we can start to work out why we are feeling this way.  Sometimes it comes easily once acknowledged.  More often it requires some focused thought or soul searching.  Some will discover answers through a meditation practice.  Others will journal about it.  Getting some exercise, or getting out in nature, can get us on the path to a resolution.  Asking a series of “why” questions may get us an answer.  Regardless of the method, or the time it takes, achieving an awareness will help us grow into ourselves and improve our ability to practice and play at our art.

So the next time you are feeling less than happy to get in there and play, take a moment to see if Maintenance is Required.