Day In The Life Of An Artist (And Single Creative Mom)

I tried to put the ‘Creative’ in Italics, but the topic cannot be Italic.
Maybe there is no reason for the word to be.

I wanted to describe what the day of a not-doing-much-creatives looks like.

5.00: wake up, think, read, prepare and write the blog post.
7.00: baby wakes up, we eat, I make him even more beautiful &
8.20: take him to the childcare (2 days a week, 300 euros per month)
9.00: have to visit the supermarket to be forced not to forget about eating (and cleaning)
9.30: make, edit and put new photos of paintings available on homepage and other places
10.30: leave for an educative talk for entrepreneurs at Viru Conference Centre
12.20: at library for learning about brand export, patent, and legal timelines; comparing articles of associations etc // half way there //
13.20: baby became weepy and grippy, had to be brought back from childcare and all other plans cancelled.
14.20: new plan: painting: new works to be made and weaker old ones to be continued (there’ll be another post about that one because growing dissatisfaction is good for culture)
…that continues throughout the day, together with regime of cleaning, cooking and playing, because you never know what the next moment demands.

Definitely you need to have several full attentions.

Definitely you have to stop your very bright ideas at their best moments.
With the ability to continue whenever you can.

That trial might end the same way. 10 times. (Jesus could say, 100 000 times that is!)

Definitely you need full concentration on every aspect of the two main attention acquirers at the same time and the gills of nerves made in iron. (No, that doesn’t work: the steel was hard-bitten.)
You have to learn how to stay calm in this rat race.

Well, I feel my best in doing so, at least better than ever before. Now is the time,

and the time, of course, the Time is pretty creative.

must mesi ja õied. 2015-2017, õli, lõuend, 80 x 60 cm

Black Honey And Blossoms. 2015-2017. Oil on canvas, 80 x 60 cm.

Taking Good Care Of Things

Just yesterday morning, I covered my painting brushes again with oil. I had ran out of linen oil, and gave them the only one I had at home, which was coconut oil. To my surprise, the brushes had drank it all by the evening. How is that even possible? Do the brushes feel what they get and enjoy when it is better, softer, tastier?

Having the idea of taking care of paintings (& creation in general) in mind, I left the bed before sunrise, put the dressing sack on and poured myself a nice big cup of creamy coffee, I would like to say; but another, realistic – real – version of me knows, that taking care of several things means leaving the bed rather in rush to get the story done before the baby wakes up.

That keeps it modernly short to highlight the serious points.

OUR SOULS GIVE LIFE TO THINGS.


As the artist gets older, receives more wrinkles (honorary badges for experiences), becomes more precise with bony fingers, it mostly means better materials become available for use. Because they cost more. And they might be harder to get.
The study years are spent thinking way less about quality than the years to come.
After some time, the soul wants to residue on a better realm.

For some reason, I have not noticed such persnickety among art lovers.
Known fact, the old masters used anything from fruit boxes to bed sheets.

But now, I think every artist becomes a bit more responsible for their works on walls.
Also I have experienced clientele (I still hate the word! They own pieces of my soul!), who come back with worry that the underframes have changed their posture. Those have been the early works. Nothing catastrophical. Change the underframe, straighten it with a wire or a piece of wood. Who has time for that?

If such a poor thing has happened, I’m glad only in Estonia, I’ve taken responsibility, paid in time and money for having chosen the cheaper or easier road (a right thing to do when building works are on every other road), asking someone I know to put hands on or gave instructions what to do. In a free world, I deeply recommend avoiding such overwork by thinking about the possibility beforehand.

It is rather reasonable to pay more for something that lasts. You don’t want to let your painting be dragged by every clam. Now, I use the best of frames and the best of linen, so such things have not happened. But: give them worst scenario weather and they will try to run away, dance in the rain, and cause an architectural piece, changing into conceptual art….

One can have a lot of personal traits, but I deeply recommend considering the materials before buying the painting: modern era: make fast, sell fast, is not the ideal that makes art last. The safest is to buy only (not mixed) oil on linen (or canvas or cardboard). No water-based and oil-based colours mixed together (who does that?). Unless you need an effective crackleware under the decorative frame for an evening at your place.

Otherwise, as always, things you love last. You check them from time to time, do so rather with groove as a routine; get yourself a wonderful last century squirrel tail brush that you can have – if you are lucky – from an antique shop, to remove the dust so the painting can see that you are still there, loving in return.
Otherwise it is like a mirror, it wants to see you, too.

5 Things I Perceive Sharper. I Am An Artist.

Liis Koger. Tree Of Life Started From The Sea, 2017, oil on canvas, 90 x 60 cm

Liis Koger. Tree Of Life Started From The Sea. 2017, oil on canvas, 90 x 60 cm

 

At times when physicality-oriented lifestyle tips are everywhere, it is a necessary addition to give a short look out of this box to let your mind be out of survival mode (food, sleep, sex). I’ve put together five things everyone can learn from artists that don’t involve handwork, just to give you hints to feel more connected to everything that is (and isn’t) to keep you sane on a too face-paced world. 

1. Put Your Purpose Higher Than Your Habits 

There are no contradictions if and when you know what you want. The habits form, the behaviour serves the purpose. All works in harmony for your mission. But you have to have the mission first, it is not about having a lifestyle in place: important is finding the ‘why’ – that has kept people alive and sane in poorest of conditions. Energy affects outcomes, but outcomes carry the energy. The healthiest thing is not to put the physical body first as this is just the carrier of a message.

2. Do It Now

When the first sentence of a poem comes to my mind at 3am, I have to leave the warm bed. When an idea needs to be put on paper or canvas or I am in trance to finish the painting, I am giving birth – noone can stop coming it through. In a deep Soviet time when nobody could travel anywhere because of the Iron Curtain, an Estonian author was offered a trip to USA. He said ’no’ because his book was not finished. This is the real thing about a man who has got to do what a man has got to do.

3. Whatever You Think, You Are Right

If you think you cannot make it, you won’t cross the finish line. If you try, you might. If you seriously want, you will make it happen whatever comes your way. I’ve been doing things for 12 hours, stopping every 5 minutes, but I finish. When artists don’t have those perfect, expensive materials, we make something great out of crap. When Picasso didn’t have blue, he used green. You can make the best out of your life with willpower.

4. Live A Less Complicated Life

Simple acts of worshipping everyday are all-important. You don’t have to follow a sad-faced yogi or up your diet with the newest superfood. Practice cheap and real kindness everyday. Chants and scents are helping you here, but don’t look badly at people crossing your way, smoking in front of your child – that’s the only way they know how to deal with pain. You may not understand it now, but they most likely haven’t got the knowledge to deal with problems in a proper way. If you really believe everything is connected, you are one with that which changes like colours of the day.

5. Humbleness Leads To Happiness

Everything is temporary and you won’t be remembered. The form is just a form. The truth doesn’t have boundaries. The beauty of the world is available to everyone who can read this just equally. Get the priorities right. Take care of yourself without extremes. Expressing joy of life, just for being alive, should be your everyday prayer. If your dog is happier than your yoga teacher, the lovely animal could apply becoming a mentor at the local studio. Think where you find true meaning when everyday actions like diet and excercise are in place and you don’t need to think about them. What enriches your life?

11 Things Artists Do Differently

I have encountered a lot of lifestyle ‘tips’ lately, reaching from one deep end to the enlightening other, peaking at – let’s say – which way to have your coffee (most popular: not to have it at all!). For some reason, I have not encountered much of admitting, it does not really matter what you add or what you remove from your life. Your life itself is a really subjective thing! It is not even a thing, it is just Life. Like all the life around!

So why do people care so much about habits? Behaviour should be working for the purpose. But there is no purpose, the talk is all about habits. If the purpose is strong enough, wouldn’t the habits find their correct way to exist or not to exist themselves – intuitively, that is practically ‘automatically’?

So, I found it necessary to add a little bit of different view on life, that seems to be much too forgotten. Just a few decades ago, when people were not messed up by too much information, it was easy to understand the first basic concept I am going to write about, this one and utmost important skill:

1. Managing the Passage of Time

Managing the passage of time means simply understanding, that when you are following your truest calling, your mission, the time is irrelevant. You do what you have to do: now.  What is important for you, you will find time for it. When I am painting, the time is gone. I am inside the painting. When I need to write a poem that makes me wake up at 3 am, I  leave the warm bed. At every moment of life, living from the heart is the only way not missing love. It is the way of the fearless.

2. Understanding the Flow of Seasons

Accept that there is a force working through you that you may not be able to direct. As the seasons change, the director of the play has to consider the bigger picture. If something is not working out fine, change the situation OR the way you think about it. Sometimes you have to wait, but you can appreciate both the blossoms and the fruit and specially when there is nothing yet to be seen: it is the highest manifestation of what can be, and you already know it.

3. Seeing the Thing behind the Name

Artists create artworks that have soul. We are travelling around that soul to be brought out like the Earth is travelling around the Sun. First is the immaterial thought, then the physicality. For the money-oriented people, all is different businesses for the same outcome of how much you can earn, so you can spend. You spend it on a Louis Vuitton, not understanding that what you are paying €€€€(€) for, is a pair of trousers. Then, you want another, better pair of trousers. Endless circle that is fed not by greed, but the growing hole in people’s soul of not knowing what to fill the hole with! Labels are well-marketed to start with.

Artworks are often numbered. Many don’t have titles. Some don’t even have names of the authors.  That doesn’t change what they consist of. Often, it is not what is pictured on the painting, but the energy, memory or a dream that it is containing. This beauty of passion is contagious. Artists, true to their nature, are disappointed for their works to be taken as products. There are many reasons for that, but mostly, one must understand that a person can create something magnificent in a short period of time, but for the time to arrive, (s)he has to have affairs in order: the artist is ‘at work’ 24/7, all life, gathering inspiration, studying the techniques, communicating with muses & coaches, so life can be thoroughly an expansion of energy – all that which will be shown and shared. Shown and shared with everybody for free at exhibitions.

4. Earning to do the (Light)Work

Most of humans are working, so they can afford different things and services. We, artists, are working so we can create more beauty, maybe even beautiful pain, but we absolutely need to have it on the table. There are no Sundays. We breath to ‘work’, work is the first condition – it is what we pay with for being alive. The precious few who appreciate art and can afford to own it (if you have an iPhone, you can own it) are the ones who allow us to continue earning, so we can work.

5. Appreciating the Need for Connection

…with understanding that connection can be achieved in solitude. We need both others’ eyes and our own, but sometimes, we need to communicate in terms hard to understand for others as usual glitter might not satisfy us. To be back at point nr 1: rare opportunity travels must sometimes be said ‘no’ to, birthday parties left unattended, promises be broken. An Estonian author said ‘no’ to a trip to USA during the time of Soviet Union when nobody could travel anywhere because of the Iron Curtain. But his book was not finished. That is the cost of an artwork that comes out at a time only itself can choose. Giving birth is like that.

6. Accepting the Brightness and Darkness Within

We, artists are not better persons. As Sadhguru nicely put it, the first requirement to get to heaven, is to become dead. We just have a mission and our priorities are in service of purpose. In a spiritual world, or in poor conditions, it would be utmost ignorant to speak badly about a bread because of gluten or avoid yoghurt because of dairy. Become more than your perceiving of your physical body is. Be grateful. Appreciate. Do things for better tomorrow, do not think about yourself only. I don’t think it really makes you a better nor a happier person to focus your attention on your preferations. Shift your understanding of life to a greater scale to feel one with all there is. (A parallel to the previous foodie example would be about scenery. There is not only downtown in a city, there might be other parts, more rural or violent areas. Discover them. The knowledge of experience gives you freedom.)

7. Don’t take Gurus for Granted

It is not reasonable to follow the know-all people. Nobody knows everything. Nobody is in charge of you nor knows better than you do for yourself. Most of the people who say so are willing to get paid to help you become a better version of yourself The Way They See It. Why should you become that? If you can ask a question about something that is going on in your life, there is an answer right inside you. Let your gut not applaud to something your mind likes to read. If the yogi has a sad face, he is not someone to be copied! If a child of 2-years is happier, there is something to learn. All our existence should be in service of our happiness. Otherwise it is not worth it.

8. Inside is the First Emperor

The ‘doing’ here really is an ‘inside job’. Your surrounding has a great effect on you, that is true. But the best of us can write perfectly balanced poetry on NY streets. They have a focus of that kind. That is attainable. You just need practice. You will train your mind if you have the will in your soul. It is time to put out the light above mirrors and start shining the light from within. There is no other way to achieve the goal of life that is living the life to become one with, not focusing on yourself separately from it.

9. Finding Ways not Excuses

I have a 1,5yo son on my lap, I’ve been writing this article since very morning. After every 5 minutes, he does or wants something, and I am getting it for him. I stop, but I start again. I continue until I am finished. Finding ways not excuses is the reason many of things are the way they are. If an artist doesn’t have blue, he uses green. Picasso did it. If the expensive, perfect materials are not available, we use some crap. But we make something out of it. We don’t stay complaining about the missing pieces (also in ourselves, and that leads to the next paragraph).

10. Not taking Yourself too Seriously

Artists create, but we are not the rulers of the world. Nobody is. If and when you are gone, the world will go perfectly on with or without you and your (art)work. Accept it now to have the freedom you’ve always desired. Live with less, plant for more: you’ll have more life inside that blossoms right when the weather is ready. Staying funny, bringing joy like a balloon, using what we have, painting ourselves empty to make room for new – I think that’s what has kept us alive. Space. It is only acceptance of the lack of form symbolised boundaries that leads us to –

11. Thinking Outside of Survival Mode

At all circumstances, this does not make sense, because this is exactly the group of people (artists) who has less, but it is the fundamental principle of happiness. According to general thought, artists are the ones worrying how to pay the rent and buy food, and it is often true, but the thing is, we have more important things to keep in our minds! We are living on a high speed globe that humans are not developed to function at, mental clarity is questionable for many. Food and sex should not be problems, but this is what many are thinking and writing about.

It is time to get out of survival mode into a more imaginative being. How to do that? Welcome to the world of art. After you have stepped in, you would be sad like a child with pieces of a broken balloon if and when you should leave. Make yourself at home in a world without limits.

 

Slow Fall From The Secret Town

Liis Koger. Slow Fall From Secret Town. 2016, oil on canvas, 100 x 140 cm