This year has been an interesting reshuffling of my usual way of working in the studio. Typically I teach all year and paint all year and somehow, in the past, these two activities have meshed perfectly. But for the summer of 2011, several classes didn't run and I unexpectedly found myself with six weeks completely free.
Ordinarily this would have scared me, six weeks with no income. But luckily, about a month before I realized I wouldn't have my usual summer teaching load and paycheck, my mother had kindly given me a financial advice book called "How to Get What You Want In Life With the Money You Already Have" by Carol Keeffe. This book showed me how to prioritize my desires, plan my finances accordingly, and then forge ahead with confidence. So with my new financial plan in place, I was able to take advantage of this sudden "free" time and use every minute of it to devote to my studio practice.
Many wonderful paintings resulted. But by mid-August, I was DONE with painting and needed a break! At that time, I taught two intensive-level classes Monday through Friday 9 to 5, and from then until a week ago, I had NO desire to pick up a brush! I really needed a complete rest from painting. So rather than living a two-part life of painting while teaching, I did just one, and then just the other.
Interestingly, when the urge to paint returned last week, I started right back where I left off in early August, when I had completed the painting below:
And here is my most recent painting, completed a few days ago, inspired by the composition and techniques of the earlier piece, but using more varied colorations and a cool palette.
The next step will be to expand this painting to a larger scale (I just stretched a 40 inch square canvas this morning) and see how that turns out.
I found having my summers available just for painting to be such a productive arrangement that I have determined to save enough money during the fall, winter and spring semesters so that I can devote six weeks every summer entirely to my studio.