|Islands on the Bear River, 13″ x 23″, acrylic on canvas|
While studying deliberate practise I’ve come to realize that a critical aspect of learning is maintaining a calm state of mind. Stress and worry do nothing but derail the learning process. Recently it has become obvious that in addition to crafting beautiful art we need to craft lives that are worth living. We love what we do and it is often too easy to push too hard. One of the implicit but erroneous tenants of deliberate practice is if we aren’t honing our craft night and day we are losing ground.
Hitting the wall of exhaustion and burnout not only defeats our purpose of creating amazing art but leads to an impoverished life. One remedy is to craft a life that does not adhere to formulas or expectations but is adapted to our unique nature. Surprisingly this can be done in a variety of ways and has been practised by many artists through the ages.
One of the best books on the subject of creating a unique life is Refuse To Choose by Barbara Sher. It is subtitled A Revolutionary Program for Doing Everything That You Love. It advances the nearly unique idea that we do not have to submit to the tyranny of specialization. The author acknowledges that many creative people love doing a variety of creative projects and that to limit them makes them less efficient, less creative, and most importantly, less happy. She outlines practical strategies that do not rely on supervisors, companies, or society. Essentially she advocates using our creativity to become our own patrons.
Brad Teare–February 2015