Creating with interruptions

If you are living in the modern world and attempting to create art of any kind – music, painting, pottery, writing, etc .- you are faced with interruptions. My opinion, one of the most interrupted people in the world are mothers.

 Its like there is this unwritten code that once you’ve given birth your body, life, breasts, time, solitude, and mind space now belong now to that which came from you and surrounding people who call themselves ‘family’ and take every ounce unless you set firm boundaries and decree otherwise. Yeah, Ok, some of my personal shite is coming up here but we’re all connected so I know I’m not alone here. Hello, I am an artist, I 

have ideas and passions and these require time so I can dwell on them, research them, expand them, create them, edit them, and bring them into the world just as I did you. You are born now, let me birth others.

 “mama, I need….”  ( seriously as I write this maybe 4 – 5 interuptions with request, demands, questions….)

Don't be fooled by how cute she is. Here is she is, my girl Ruthie, thinking about her next move to distract and interupt me. (:o)Look at that, she even has the gull to sit on my studio painting table and plan her next move!

 So, how do we stay on track, keep the momentum going, gestate and birth our creative creations, even despite and within the interruptions?

 I do a few things that work for me, but really I’m just dying to hear from you. So if you are super successful and have a private office/studio and a nanny taking care of your shopping, laundry, dinner, and kids you can refrain from commenting. Sit back, grin, remember the good old times when things were otherwise, but please don’t’ torture us folks here on the other side. I’m speaking to those of us who are on our way but not quite there yet and still mainly doing all of the above on our own plus making an effort to carve out some time for our own creative pursuits.

 “ Hey Deb, will you….” (ever notice how every one wants something exactly the minute you begin to get really into your project)

 For one, to stay focused and so I don’t forget, I post a sticky note right above where I am working. It’s got two words on it.

  1. Focus
  2. On writing this blog (what you are working on)

That way, every time  “ mama!mama!...” I can answer it, and remember what the heck I was doing. Really, I know mothers would understand this but really all parents in general.

This one I don’t recommend but quite frankly I become like a caged animal and that would be in simple speak pretty nasty to be around because as Jill Badonsky puts in her book 9 Modern Day Muses and a Body guard, we mortals get cranky when we don’t create. So I either piss everyone off or scare them away but honestly I hate getting to this point and I had a ‘friend’ recommend a hypnosis program for anger management which I’m gladly looking into.

 I’m also wishing the next man I date realizes that when I'm crabby its more than likely because I haven’t painted and that he puts a paint brush in my hand and takes my kid for a drive.  Thank you God in advance.

 Bring! Bring! ( this  is supposed to be a telephone)

 Ok that reminds me. We have some control here. We can turn off the phone, shut down the computer, turn off skype, click off facebook, shut the door, put up a sign, nicely tell everyone we will be busy for the next hour. Mommy time. Get out the body guard (read 9 Modern Day Muses and a Body guard) Let me know if that works for you, or for that matter what works for you.

So what about you? How are you making time for your creative pursuits in amoungst the noise and distractions of life?


Looking for a unique and personal gift?  Tote bagsMugsApronsPrints & Greeting Cards.All with Deb's original artwork. The Little Inspiration Book, Sand in my Bra Written/co-written by Deb.

Original ART  available to view and purchase Beverly Hills  paintings at SWITCH Boutique Santa Barbara at Java Station Coffee House Los Angeles at Via Roma Boutique.

Deb Chaney Contemporary Abstract Artist PO Box 3931 Santa Barbara, CA 93130 805-570-1582

Making Art in the Midst of Life

My friend John, who is a writer, told me last time we were hanging out that his 

dream was to work & save up some money, and then go somewhere and rent a little cabin and write.  It’s a great dream and know
ing him he’ll probably do it. The only part of it that makes me a little uneasy is the concept that the writing will be put off until that time. Fundamentally any art – writing, painting, pottery, running, singing 

needs to be done regularly, daily, and with some kind of consistently even in the midst of life.

 There is a good chapter in Eric Maisel’s book Coaching the Artist Within  entitled Creating in the Middle of Things in which Eric talks exactly about how we must learn to do our art even in the middle of our every day lives. To quote from this chapter;

 “ Unless you are impervious to the facts of existence – and no one is – you must learn how to create in the middle of things.  You must learn how to create when wares are raging and when your hormones are raging.  You must learn how to create even if you hate your country’s policies or your own painting style.  You must learn how to create even if you are embroiled in a bad marriage or living alone and lonely.  You must learn how to create even if you work eight hours a day at a silly job or, sometimes worse, find yourself at home with time on your hands.”

 I whole heartedly agree. We can’t be waiting for the perfect time, mood, or place. The time is now to make our art. It will never be perfect even when we have millions in the bank and are sitting cozy and comfy in our little retreat cabin. The time and place is now, in the midst of our lives, just as they are!

 Currently I have just moved with my daughter (now 6 years old) – third move in the last eight months, this was the biggest move from Southern California to Washington State. Thank God my Dad came down and helped us drive the UHAUL the 1500 + miles. That on top of being in the middle of a divorce, unpacking, re-doing my website, finishing my 08 taxes, filing for UI, editing a short video about my techniques and latest Pure Abstraction work, that on top of making daily meals and dishes and laundry and the other day to day of life. So there is a full life here but still room for art in the midsts of it. Always room for art, for the joy that it brings its worth the discipline to go and do it.

Boxes may be left unpacked, dirty dishes in the sink, but I’m still doing some art – however small. The photo in this blog is one my friend Lyza caught me when she brought by some boxes for us. One of my art tables folded up, ready to be packed, made the perfect little painting area and I started hand painting some journal covers the day before we packed the UHAUL the next day and drove up north….

 SO WHAT, I’m going to do some art anyways!

Looking for a unique and personal gift? Check out this one of a kind Breakthrough re-usable tote bag. MugsApronsPrints & Greeting Cards. Need a little inspiration? The Little Inspiration Book, ideas to empower women by DEB & Sand in my Bra, funny women write from the road.

Deb Chaney's original art can be viewed and purchased at the following locations...
in Beverly Hills Raw Expression paintings at SWITCH Boutique238 S Beverly Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90212-3805, (310) 860-1650  
in Santa Barbara at Java Station Coffee House4447 Hollister Ave, Santa Barbara, CA 93110-1734, (805) 681-0202 
in Los Angeles Patchwork Paper - framed originals - at Via Roma Boutique17215 Ventura Boulevard, Encino,Ca, 91316 (818) 386 - 0736

Deb Chaney Contemporary Abstract Artist PO Box 3931 Santa Barbara, CA 93130
P. 805-570-1582  E. W. W.

Balancing Parenting and Painting - what works for me

Photo of Ruthie splattering liquitex white gesso over a canvas
(I was hoping she'd paint it smooth but this parenting thing seems to be  all about letting go....)

I had someone  in the comments section of this blog a few weeks back ask me how I balance parenting and painting so I wanted to speak to that in terms of what works for me and how I create time for my creativity and mostly single parent my daughter!

The first big thing I would suggest is have your art project(s) out in a place where you can see them regularly. Even if you're not working on it, your brain will be while you're busy doing other things.  Ahhhhh the power of the subconscious. This is actually a very powerful way to work. Put it out there and let the answers - that next layer, brush broke, collage piece - come to you.

I just recently moved and converted the living room of our apartment into my studio workspace. I purposefully leave paintings around so that when I walk by in the morning making my little girl's lunch, breakfast, dinner, snacks, cleaning up her lunch, breakfast, dinner and snacks I always have a good view of my paintings in progress. That way I am still 'working' on them.

Which brings me to bridging a concept which I've written about in previous blogs. Basically its a fancy word for being set up. Make sure you have your work area totally ready to go so when you have a moment - the kids finally takes a nap or gets absorbed into a game or is invited to a play date at a friends house (hallelujah), you can start working immediately. Have you water, paints, brushes, tools, notepad, canvas, paper all easily accessible and ready to go.

I have a stock pile of ready to go projects set up for her ahead of time: play dough, water colours, stamping box, kitchen play, water play, sorting coins and buttons, cutlery, making kitchen stuff - she likes mixing flour, eggs, water & spices, her own 'creations', stuff set up for making her own collages with stickers, glitter, colored construction paper, books, music, you get the idea - and this is really age dependent, but you know your child's needs best.

Sometimes I even let her paint on my paintings! ugh! This is not my favourite thing but it is sometimes necessary to let her in on the fun. In the up and coming 'Pure Abstraction' video about my work, techniques, beliefs and new Pure Abstraction paintings, there is a scene where I let Ruthie come and paint with me. It's a double edge sword because she looooves it but also I have to completely let go of what I was working on. My ego hates the loss of control!

(Stay will be released in April along with the new website)

Above are my core methods of balancing parenting and painting and then there are the obvious ones such as:

- do small projects  that you can do anywhere in small amounts of time (Personally, I have a hard time with this one as I'm a sucker for big paintings and big projects!)
- set boundaries and let them know this is YOUR time
- hire a sitter
- off load children to willing friends, play dates, grandparents, sister, aunts uncles, etc (I envy those of you with  local and helpful relatives!)
- get up early and paint when they are sleeping! 
-put them to bed and paint when they are sleeping!

And... I've got  number of artist friend with children - Rosemary Gara-Hill, Desiree Davidson, Russel Young, Amy Roemer. So I will ask them to add their thoughts, comments, tips too. 

Good luck!