One of the more underrated aspects of achieving success in life would have to be having fantastic support from those around you.
I am more than blessed in this regard, I have a great wife.
We have a young family (5 year old and a 3 year old) and working full time, it can be a challenge to find the time and clarity of mind to practice my skills uninterrupted. This was probably never a realistic possibility but it doesn’t stop me trying!
My wife is so supportive of my goals in working to becoming an artist that it was her suggestion that I take a weekend off and head to Middleton on the southern coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula, where I could spend a couple of nights in what she called an ‘Artists Retreat’ at the shack we regularly stay as a family.
I was pretty reluctant to go to begin with because I didn’t feel right in leaving her alone with the kids for the weekend while I was swanning around down on the coast, but she insisted that I should be grateful of the offer and if the roles were reversed, she’d be off in a flash!
So with her blessing (and still some residual guilt) I took the time to meander slowly down the coast, stopping a various galleries to peruse various works, artists and techniques – without feeling rushed because the kids were getting bored! – spread out in the shack, take walks along the beach with my camera and create what ever I wanted for a couple of days.
Unfortunately I may have built it up too much in terms of what I expected to achieve while I was there for my skill and experience level – I had visions of how I would paint this and sketch that and come home with a car full of masterpieces – so the resulting paralysis of analysis meant I spent too much time deciding what to do first and ended up doing nothing.
Once I got over this, I was able to take the time to relax, take walks and many reference photos and decided instead of getting wound up about painting something without a clear idea in mind, I’d just sit down and draw.
I came home refreshed (and still a little disappointed that I hadn’t been massively productive) but my wife reminded me that it is all about learning and developing and taking a breather from everyday life, not about going hell for leather knocking out painting after painting on a production line.
I found the experience so rewarding in terms of where my head was and is now at, that I offered my wife the same opportunity when she saw fit, and we have spoken about making it a annual opportunity for the both of us.
I just need to be a bit more prepared mentally next time about what I want to achieve and not expect everything to happen overnight.