When Art Becomes Work

It has been a very interesting month for me. As I’ve mentioned, I have a show to set up in Campbellford the first week in May, and I’ve been trying to tie up a lot of loose ends on old works of art, and have also been pulling old pieces back out to sell. This deadline looming has felt unusually stressful (on top of lots of other job and business shifts and opportunities).

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Last year, I wrote about wanting my art to be my work. A slow transition to full time self-employment (art and yoga teaching), and at that time paintings were flowing and selling, I seemed to have an abundance of custom orders, and my bi-annual art shows were quite successful. It seemed so possible!

So I’ve continued with that: painting as much as possible, planning more shows, attempting juried shows (I did not get into the Colborne gallery, but Jennifer Trefiak did and I’m super proud of her, two years in a row amazing!). And suddenly I’m “living the dream”… art is part of my work, my income, and IT’S HARD! People warned me about this, that as soon as creating becomes work it becomes stressful. It can lose it’s magic. That it might not be so enjoyable… and although I wouldn’t completely agree with that, I know there is a grain of truth in it, because in the past all the work I’ve done was more through inspiration than deadline.

I give myself 2 deadlines a year, and although I am always painting down to the last minute, it always feels… fun? Like a healthy challenge. Something to work towards in a positive way. This time is different; as this deadline approaches I’m working with old paintings I can’t seem to get a grip on. There’s no flow, and it feels forceful and awkward. My focus keeps turning to new works I want to do… and I find myself flipping between the two projects, with the one coming up continuing to fall behind.

Today I have 3 paintings to complete for the show set up on May 2nd; and even if I don’t feel inspired I do feel pressured (and therefore motivated) to get them done. Yet as a true procrastinator, I am  here writing about it instead of actually DOING IT. Wish me luck! At least the sun is shining 😉

Remember you can find me on Instagram @burkeuntitled or follow me on Facebook at Jennifer Anne Burke.

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