Feeding the Artist Brain

The logical thing to do last night, after the first exhausting week back at school, would have been to go to bed at a reasonable hour. I yawned 700 times at the soccer game, fell asleep on the couch after dinner with my computer on my lap (apparently grading), snoring away while the kids stared. I was fucking tired. But no. The artist brain was whining, complaining. It wanted to finish the binding on that little quilt. It wanted it done. AND. AND. (it wanted to draw. it told me. i had ignored it for weeks…)

So the thing with the artist brain is that lots of us have this tendency to create, to make, but it’s harder to get off the couch and go into the studio and make than it is to just go to bed. I really should have gone to bed. But then I wouldn’t have the start of this drawing…

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Because that whole thing started at about 11 PM. And I kept feeding it with tea and wine and Walking Dead, and it kept spilling out…and at some point, it stopped…even though there’s a whole left side to fill in. But wow. I always forget how good it feels to just push the pen around on paper, to stare at the paper for 20 minutes sometimes, waiting for the image to spill out, and then it’s magically there. I don’t even remember uncapping the pen and making the lines. It’s just there. It’s not magic. It’s years of feeding the artist brain…of giving it the time and space and honestly respect to create, even though grades are due and I haven’t finished grading projects and at some point I’m just going to have to suck it up and be a teacher and do the work. You know, in ten years, I probably won’t be a teacher. I will still be an artist. So yes, I have to be a responsible teacher too…

But not last night. Friday nights are mine, dammit. Fuck work. There is nothing in my contract to state that I have to give my job my soul, despite what the politicians want teachers to do. Y’all don’t pay me enough to have my soul, you assholes.

I also numbered these two little guys…

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which have way more pieces than they should for their size. The smaller one is about 6″ square and the larger one is almost 9″ tall. I’m hoping to get those done in the next week. They’re kind of an experiment. Then I have one piece that’s supposed to be done in April and I need to look at the requirements…and the two in July…and a big one by Spring Break. Wow. I’m not overplanning or anything. Whatever. Artist brain demands. I am in the mood to keep feeding it.

I finished this one last night…

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And then I decided to add ink this morning…

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Hard to see the difference in the photos, but I know it’s there. I don’t know how old the drawing is, but I numbered it almost a year ago, thinking I would do some smaller quilts last year, and then the birds took over. It’s called Hold Me and it’s about 18″ square. It took 12 1/2 hours to complete. Doesn’t sound like much, until you realize I work a 60+ hour week as a teacher on a good week (bad weeks are 70-80 hours).

Nope. Sleep not a priority. Last night? I was not in the mood for sleeping once I took up pen and paper, needle and thread. Grading? Hell yeah, it was knocking me out. I suspect that tells me something important. How do I make so much art? Because it keeps me awake.

And you know I did all that after a full day at school and a couple hours at a soccer game. I love it when they play this field because of the colors…

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Girlchild got hit by three girls at one point and went down…

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Bruise on her jaw, her chest, and her head…no concussion. She’s a tough kid. College apps are done. Now we wait. Finals are next week. She’s a little emotional at the moment. Plus the boychild leaves tomorrow night. I think he’s relieved to go back…bored here? No one is ever home, it’s true. I will miss him again though. Cooking will get a bit easier though…no worrying about what we can’t cook, although he is much more likely to eat vegetables than he used to be. I’m glad of that. Too bad we can’t persuade him that pigs are food and steak is like manna from heaven, if heaven were made of cow.

Anyway, I’m hoping to get back to that drawing some time in the next week, and to get the two hands going…because I have to listen to that part of my brain. It keeps me centered…happy. It deserves to be fed.

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