Start with Joy by Kelly Anne Powers

Posted February 01 2016

Guest Column

Start with Joy
by Kelly Anne Powers

We make art because we love something about the process, product or both. Part of why I love painting is because I love the intellectual challenge of it. I love creating problems to try and then solve them. I love that painting gives me a venue for overthinking, one of my favorite past times. I love how painting has changed how I see the world. I love how painting has brought me closer to my mother and grandmother (both incredible artists) and introduced me to some of the most amazing people I know.

And yet, for all of that love, art is not always an easy love. Sometimes I'm not real excited about showing up. Yes, I do have the days when I leap out of bed...but mostly I wake up kind of cranky and have to coerce myself into the studio with promises of coffee. My love of art didn't suddenly make me a morning person.

But maybe that's because I've been doing it wrong. Each of us has to find, through probably some serious trial and error, how we work best. To kick off January, I took part in two daily art challenges. For 31 days, I started each morning with Lisa Congdon's simple line drawings. It was low stakes, and often fairly straightforward. And a surprising thing happened: I started the day with a pure and simple joy. Unsurprising, however, was that starting my day with joy meant the whole day was better, and it propelled me eagerly into the more challenging artist problems awaiting me.

So now for February that's what I've been doing. I start the day with something simple, somewhat easy, and filled with joy.

How do you start your day? With the hard stuff or the easy stuff?

Kelly is a full-time artist living in Portland, Oregon.  The author of the blog and a freelance writer.