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Studio Time. A Reflection on Time Based Competition for Getting Art Done

There's Dust on My Guitar Notebook by TET. Available from Redbubble.
There's Dust on My Guitar Notebook by TET.
Available from Redbubble.
Studio Time is the time I spend in my studio actually creating an artwork...or so it has come to be defined. It seems to suggest that the actual execution is more important than the collection of ideas or time to just absorb and reflect. Perhaps I should explain.

In order to get more art done, myself and some fellow artists, have come up with the concept of recording 'studio time'. Essentially clocking on when you start to paint and clocking off when you're done for the day. 

You then set yourself a weekly quota of hours and try to reach that in studio time. The final piece of explanation is, you partner with another artist and compete to reach, not just your quota, but more, if possible, with the winner being the artist who records the most studio time over a given period.

It's a great idea in theory, and works really well when you're on a role with lots of ideas pouring out of you one after the other. However, when you're in a lull it becomes a lot of pressure just to produce anything.

Two wooden artist model figures sitting in a bathroom caddy on my studio wall.
One of the many photos I snapped.
Today I've been pottering around my studio for almost four hours. I've looked through old sketchbooks and past notes. 

I've played my favorite music. I've taken photos of the interior of my studio from many different angles. 

I saw a pink fairy out on the road, which almost inspired an idea (no really I did see that. I think there was a children's party happening and I caught a glimpse of an adult women dressed as a pink fairy - complete with pink wings). I've done maybe half a sketch for an idea that faded into 'I can't really get behind that concept'.

So, having produced nothing but a bit of a sketch and 44 digital photos of various aspects of my studio, I'm now writing this. Should any of this be counted as 'studio time'?

I could've done some more work on 'The Shortest Story' which is sitting on my easel once again. Somehow it just seems wrong to finish it. Maybe it's because in the end the baby dies? Or maybe it's because over a year and a half later I've moved on.

My last painting, 'The Lord Sings from my Window Sill', looks great but was so forced to create that starting a new work seems, well... like work. The whole point of doing what I do is because I enjoy it...right?

Sometimes I look through my back catalogue of work and think maybe my best work has already been done? Back when I really looked forward to painting, drawing and creating. I can still produce good work now but do I really want to?

Maybe I'm just doing time... Studio Time.

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