Do you remember happy?
We’re not talking about the positive thinking, or the grinning like an idiot type of happy. We’re just talking about the kind of contentment which makes you smile when you put your head on the pillow at night; the type of satisfaction that makes you feel you’ve made a contribution to society. It’s that subtle feeling of contentment, like you’ve really added something to the world.
It may be that the piece you finished was a soul inspiring breakthrough; that you painted, sang or wrote excessively well that day. You may have even finished a project on time…or you might have even had a relatively unproductive day (at least by any business coach’s standards). Either way it doesn’t matter, because no matter how productive or unproductive your day was, you have a life commitment, one where you put in your time, give it all you have, and no matter what happens tomorrow you know you made a difference (for yourself and for others.) This is the true meaning of that yellow smiley face; this is what they mean when they say you had a good day, and a good life. The secret lies in finding your purpose in life.
It is true joy when you find your commitment in life – and recognize yourself as being a mighty one; that is the feeling I get from my icon painting. This is my purpose.
It is in being a force of nature that you find that joy within; instead of conforming to being a person focused purely on grievances, complaints and a clod of ailments. Time to face facts – the world doesn’t make you happy. It is in finding your purpose in life, whether this be in the arts, through self-awareness, or through the giving to others that you find true joy.
As George Bernard Shaw said, “I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake.”
So when working in the field of art, being productive is not necessarily about cramming a bunch of stuff into your crazy busy day. It’s not really about working harder, but it’s about rediscovering who you are and the joy in the creative process – leaving aside the worry about the final work of art. Icon painting as all art, is about finding the balance between “getting it done” and finding the time to enjoy ourselves in the process. In my own experience, I find that following these five habits of happy artists gives me this contentment.
1. Feed the Inner Self
You need to get outside of your head once in a while – – see the world, talk to others and see things from their perspective. In life, we are all apprentices, so no matter how experienced you are, like an apprentice you need to find a way to absorb and study the work of other masters or artist you admire. As a writer read the works of other authors. As an artist study other people’s work. For some, especially those that are inexperienced, this may feel like you’re wasting your time, but don’t underestimate the importance of replenishing your creative mind. As an artist we all must learn to be self-nourishing. We have to consciously feed our creative soul, especially as we draw on its knowledge.
2. Practice Your Art
okay so now that the internet’s available, we all know about the 10,000 hour rule; the one that says you have to have 10,000 hours of experience before you could be called an expert. But finding that contentment in your life is not just about practice, it’s about finding your purpose, doing what you were meant to do. It’s about honoring that creative voices in your head, the one that refuses to be buried beneath the family and work commitments.
3. Do Something Every Day
Steve Jobs once said “The real artists ships.” And I guess, I can’t disagree with that. First we need to create something, but we also have pics posted, show it to the world. It’s not enough to just paint something… I leave it in your attic or basement until a family member find that someday. It’s not real… until others can enjoy it.
You have to share what you make – and just too many artists are afraid to show their work for fear of criticism. In this day and age, creating and exposing your work is so much simpler. Websites, blogs and social media help promote your work, show your icon painting or any other artwork you perform. Put it up on Flickr, Tumbler, Facebook or on your own blog. There are thousands of places where you can put it and get it viewed.
Find a way to do something productive with your art every day, whether it’s just taking a snapshot, working a little on a project or coming up with a great idea. Then once you finish put it out there for the world to enjoy and move on. This may not seem like much, but the more often you do it less emotionally attached you become your work, and the easier it will be to expose it, show it off and share with their others.
as important as it is to get your own work out, it’s also very important that you comment, inspire and give others feedback are is a two-way street and you soon find that the amount of support you get is each will to the amount of support you give. Obviously, you can do this in art galleries, showings or with other artists you know, but if you have a blog you also want to do this with other artists websites; offering comments, suggestions, mentions and anything that can support or help a fellow artist.
Remember, You Get What You Give.
5. Give of Yourself… And Step Away
Step back from the worry, from the tension of delivering your art. Stop worrying about whether it’s good enough; or whether it would be better or worse, or what you’ve done before. It’s about creating, letting yourself be true your hand and your mind, putting it out there for others to enjoy, and then moving on to another creative project.
The worst thing you can do is sit there and do well on it, wondering whether you could’ve done better whether your work is worse than it was before. You can’t second-guess yourself or worry too much about your audience. Create for yourself and not for your audience, as creating for others quickly becomes a recipe for disaster.
peace be with you