Sunday, November 27, 2011
from the BRG archives: marathon painting
I am a week short of a deadline and painting like a maniac. Recently a 9 to 5er pointed out that as freelancers we don't HAVE to do everything at the last minute... painting into the wee hours, and ignoring any and all other commitments to make a deadline. Its true and a really good point I think that many times there is an option, that a carefully planned out schedule could prevent the last minute crunch that often happens. Now granted there are times when a publisher will rush you, spend a long time with revisions and then expect that you can magically cut your work time in half to make the deadline. But that is not always the case.
Often times I think we illustrators (and writers perhaps too?) let this situation happen on purpose. There is something about the momentum of focusing ALL your time, energy and attention on one thing that is really gratifying. Its like a little break from your ordinary life where everything becomes really simple and your paintings become the only thing that is important. Even when you are doing other things... eating a meal, talking with a friend, making the occasional venture outside the house, your creative mind is still engaged. Sometimes in the middle of a conversation about, I don't know, the weather or something, I will bust out with "WAIT, thats what I need to do, a little more green!" Usually the comment is met with silence. Or if the person knows me, they'll just say "Go."
This kind of feast or famine intensity is something I've struggled with over the years. There is something satisfying about it, and yet as I get older, sometimes I don't want such an extreme lifestyle. Sometimes I want to be able to disengage and go to the movies, without obsessing about the project at hand. But its a tough balance to strike. Sometimes I just think this is the nature of the beast.
Originally published October 10th, 2006