I started exercising again recently. Oh what a difference it has brought to my art. The work I’m producing isn’t necessarily better but I have the energy to actually get into my studio. That’s something I struggle with when I’m not exercising regularly. It’s even more of a struggle when life is in transition, which, perhaps, it always is.
We all know the starving artist myth, but there’s another myth: An artist who works so hard it kills him. That artist ignores the other areas of his life because his work is everything. It comes at the sake of his health, his finances, and his relationships. Sure, that can maybe produce great art but it creates a terrible life.
For a long time, I lived in extremes. I’d focus all of my energy on one thing until the rest of life piled up so high I could no longer ignore it. It wasn’t a bad way to live while I was in my 20s, but as I move farther and farther out from that decade, I understand that if I want a lifetime devoted to art, I have to instill habits that create a more balanced approach to living.
A healthy balancing act is hard to put in place. But the great artists do it. I’ve had the good fortune to meet a lot of artists who have been at this for decades. They are all people who have their act together enough to plan and film a workshop. Enough to travel across the country to teach. Enough to go back into the studio day in and day out and produce. One of my favorite memories is driving artist Jane Davies from the airport to our Albany studio. During that 90 minute drive I learned just how healthy an artist could be. She understood a very important truth. She understood that a healthy body is a creative body.
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