Step AWAY From the Canvas


‘Doc’ – My Studio Manager

Everyone needs someone to remind them to step away from the canvas every now and again. When I was still taking regular art classes, it was my instructor who’d remind me. The point she was trying to make was that often, we can’t see what is and is not working in what we’ve completed, until we view it from some distance. Now that I’m on my own though, it’s up to me and ‘Doc’, my studio ‘mascot’ to remember to step away every now and again. (That’s ‘Doc’, above. Interestingly, he looks startlingly like my dear dad, who passed away about a year ago.)

It’s just so easy to get caught up in the productivity of making stroke after stroke. It’s freeing! Blissful! The paint is flying – my brush is humming! But then. Abruptly. The lighting I was so proud of is suddenly gone. Oh no, now that clump of poplars have lost their volume. And that luscious freshness I’d created in the foreground – what the heck happened to it? Yup. My beautiful canvas just turned into a four-sided frisbee.

So many things are like this when we’re working on our small businesses. When new opportunities start tumbling in, each one seems to justify our full attention. It’s hard not to get caught up in it because let’s face it – it’s exciting! It’s validating – wow, people like us! And these days, lord knows, validation of our self-worth is in short supply. So, we keep working faster and faster to keep up with it all. But I’m realizing that just like with my canvas, it’s the hurrying that causes the frisbee effect.

And so I begin to slow my pace. Start thinking more carefully. How much time do I really have – for marketing, for promotions, for the fancy new database – so that I don’t sacrifice my time in my studio? How much time can I spend in my studio without sacrificing much-needed time out interacting with my students and other artists? New opportunities are heavenly. It’s intoxicating to begin realizing all the benefits we’ve been working so hard for. But each new opportunity must included in the right amounts, relative to the other elements in our business. When we step away from that canvas, we can ensure we maintain and continue to improve our perspective, composition and balance! It’s up to us now to remind ourselves to step away when we need to. But I believe it’s manageable, even if sometimes we need a little help from our friends (like Doc!) to remind us.

Happy painting everyone! Thanks for reading. Cheryl.

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