Healthy Boundaries for Creatives: Art's Sake Project

When I am passionate about something I have a hard time setting boundaries and not throwing my self all in...and I mean all in. Sometimes when I have an idea that I am excited about, or a new project that I am inspired by, I get tunnel vision and I have a hard time focusing on anything else. I think this is very common with creatives. It is part of how we turn passion and vision into something tangible. We can't always control when the flurry of inspiration will strike and when it does we feel we need to embrace it before it goes away! I think part of this is just the way it works being an artist. It is something I will always have as part of my process, it is embedded very deep. Now that I have a child though I need to find ways to shut it off when I need to be focused on her. I have been trying to figure out how to balance the passion and the drive that makes up my core, and the little person that needs my attention seemingly every moment. I have realized that it is not very good to try and do them both at the same time. At times I have resorted to increasing my childcare when I am in a mode that I feel I have to stay in until it is complete. This way at least she is getting the attention she deserves while I power through my inspiration. Other than that I don't have an answer for you to this one, and if you have one please let me know!

The other type of boundaries that I wanted to show with this week's art, involves only taking on what you can handle. It feels to me sometimes that opportunities all come in waves. One minute nothing is happening and the next you have 4 different opportunities to embrace as well as several people that need your help with something. Do you take on all of them? Do you feel like you can't say no? why? Which do you say no to? I am working on realizing that I am not doing anyone any good when I try to take on too much. I am learning that I need to choose my opportunities that I want to pursue the most, and make sure I am also having some time to still help and serve people as well. Sometimes if we are struggling financially we feel that we have to take any and all work that comes our way, no matter what that means to our sanity or the quality of our work. I learned over time that having balance, and being able to put my best energy and creativity into less projects takes those projects to a level they would never reach if my time was spread too thin. This ultimately makes the project, and myself as an artist, more successful.


Edited with Actions from The Shoppe Actions & Designs

arts sake week 25




For Art's Sake Project: A 52 Week Journey ~ A Professional Photographer's Challenge

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For Art's Sake Project: A 52 Week Journey to Rekindle the Love of Art

by Meghan Aileen

When I was a child I loved to paint. I used to sit in the basement with oil paint, canvas, and the smell of turpentine for hours and hours, happy as could be. I painted landscapes. Bob Ross taught me techniques on the TV. I would get so frustrated that I could not finish a masterpiece in 30 minutes like he did, but I kept trying, not because I had to, but because I had passion - there was a rawness to what I was doing. I was not tainted by the difficulties of combining art with making a living. I did it because I loved it and only because I loved it.

I eventually went to college and learned the business of commercial art. I could make money making art. What could be better than this? Don't get me wrong I am very grateful that I have made a living only from the world of art, in some way, for 15 years. I do not take this for granted; however, it is not without difficulties. It changes the way you view art and after awhile it is very hard to have it continue to be your passion when it is also the thing that pays your bills. We must take jobs we are not inspired by or even dislike. We must take input from others, and many times, do what they want over what we want. We are forced to be creative even when it is not how we feel, and to keep going even when we are just burnt out.

I woke up one day and realized that I did not remember why I was doing this. I would listen to people talk about art inspiring them and and I felt disconnected, like I could not relate. This scared me. It was such a huge part of me, how could I lose that? I know how. I lost it when I was worrying about how many Facebook fans we had, and how many sales we got this week… I lost it worrying about what products/designs people would buy…. what style would be popular. I lost it paying attention to what my competition was doing.

I say all of this as a photographer and a designer, but most of all an artist at heart. I started as a painter and an illustrator. I mostly taught myself photography and graphic design and then eventually I got lost focusing on the business aspect, the marketing and promotion, taxes and calendars, and employee payroll. These things are important for sure. This project is not designed to get us all to go live in a cabin in the woods and not run a business. (Although right now that is tempting!) It is designed to remind us why we do what we do. To help us discover/remember who we are as artists, and maybe even what style represents who you are now. As we know life is movement, art is as well.

Join me if you feel you need this. I will create something each week: Art for Art's Sake. It may not be great, it might not even be a photograph, but I will create something and talk with you about the challenges I face on this journey and the challenges I have faced over the last 15 years. And hopefully, at the end of it, I will remember the passion I felt as a child painting in the basement. I will revive the gifts that God gave me, I will make my business better, and hopefully help someone else on the same journey.


To begin my For Art's Sake Project: A 52 Week Journey to Rekindle a Love of Art I share with you 3 paintings I did my senior year in college. They were illustrations done with oil on wood for fictional book covers. It was a made up project, so to speak, for school it is the last time I remember having complete freedom in my art. Sometimes freedom means just the right kind of boundaries, not no boundaries at all. We can get lost as artists with NO boundaries as well...


Hope to see you next week,


Meghan Aileen