Marketing Mondays: Did You Work This Weekend?

And how was your Fourth?

It’s the biggest non-denominational holiday of the year. If you’re like most artists, you worked over the weekend—either at your income-earning job, or in the studio because it was the only time off you had from your income-earning job, or because you’re a workaholic and there’s always something that needs to get done. Plus, of course, there’s that other thing: we like what we do, even if we overdo it.

But sometimes we work until we feel like we’ll explode.

So on the heels of a weekend when most of America went to the beach, a barbeque or sat around by the pool, I’m curious:
. Did you work this weekend?
. If so, was it in the studio?
. Do you feel the compulsion to put in that extra hour in the studio?
. Do you still pull all-nighters?
. Do you feel guilty if you take a day off?
. When you take time off, is it still art related (galleries, museums, studio visits) or do actually chill?
. And here’s a biggie: How many hours a week—combination of paying job, if you have one, and studio practice—do you work?
Gotta run. I'm writing this on the Fourth and I've got work to do.


Mel said...

I'm a self employed bookbinder and my boyfriend has a full time graphic design job and freelances on the side. We definitely worked this weekend! It was a perfect long weekend to get in some time in the studio and bounce ideas off of one another.

I think when you're an artist you are constantly working. Even when you are out taking time off, your brain doesn't stop collection ideas or stop observing your surroundings for new inspiration.

annell said...

Glad you asked. I have been at it for almost five decades, and I work approximately 9 hours a day, and 7 days a week, and I know it is not enough. There is so much to do, or to try to finish, or to learn. It does seem the more you work, the more you have to work. And I remember my last instructor, really hit home, about the difference in "piddling and working." As he said, many artist will say, "I've been in the studio all day," but it turns out they were organizing. And all that needs to be done, but it isn't painting. And I think that was his point. It is the focus that is important. And when I take a day off, it is usually art related. I almost never work all night, that was something I would do in the early days, but my routine is so set, I am tired by the end of the day, and often fall asleep on the sofa shortly after dinner.

Hope you had a happy 4th!

Karen Schifano said...

Boy did you hit the spot with me on this one!
I think I was pretty good this weekend and took off Saturday, but will have worked in my studio on Friday, Sunday and today. I have a job during the week, 34 hours, go to my studio or to openings two of the evenings each week, and generally work in my studio and/or galleries on three of the days I'm off. My partner and I have negotiated an evening or two during the week that I'm home, and usually an afternoon on the weekend.
That said, I'm still guilty if I can't be productive in some way -I get up early and am online doing practical things, etc. I think that guilt is completely useless and I'm working on losing it, since the love of doing art, I feel, shouldn't be subject to those awful compulsive thoughts. They seem to kill the joy. On the other hand, having two jobs plus a relationship seems to demand serious discipline.
It's hard to balance the time we all need to relax and dream, which is important for creativity, with this constant need to be productive.
Although I actually do like what I do for a living (painting restoration), I still dream of, and try to visualize, not having to go to a job and be a full time artist. And I buy lottery tickets here and there just in case.

Deb said...

I was very happy to NOT have any social commitments this weekend and spent most of yesterday ironing and sorting fabric and selecting groups for new works. I also started over-dyeing a bunch of less than stellar pieces. It was hot and sunny here - a dye day not to be wasted. Back to the day job tomorrow - the biggest vampire of my time.

Jan Yates, SCA said...

I agree with Mel re 'Even when you are out taking time off, your brain doesn't stop collection of ideas or stop observing your surroundings for new inspiration.'

I must confess that I become anxious and resentful whenever there is a holiday..My studio is at home, I have a routine and I don't want it interrupted. Holidays mean time for my significant other and my family--nothing personal and I love them to bits but there's never enough time to make art!

Sarah Winkler said...

Too funny. Even though I did have a BBQ, went to a friends wedding, joined in the neighborhood 4th events and saw fireworks, I still "worked" in my Studio-gallery 2 days, went to art after dark gallery hopping and spent time on my computer catching up on emails and supply ordering etc.

I love what I do and it seems to be a lifestyle choice that doesn''t have and ON and OFF switch. It all runs together and co-mingles nicely.

Stephanie Sachs said...

Recently visited my sister and my 10 year old niece said to me, " You never work"
"What do mean?" I replied, "I always work."
"But you do not go to a job." she said.
"Yes but I work over 60 hours a week all the time, and on the weekends."
"Why do you do that?" she asked surprised.
"Because I work for myself and that is what self employed people with no employees do."

Guess because I do not live near my family they still think self employed artist means loafer. The irony.

kathryn gordon said...

This holiday weekend was unusual as I had 'planned' not to work due to a scheduled oral surgery. But, Lo and Behold! All went so well that the next day I managed to together a new piece of studio furniture and attend a local gallery show opening - one piece of mine. Next day I painted for about 6 hours, surfed the net in research for art materials, techniques, etc. for another 6 hours - did get to watch some Wimbledon. Yesterday was my 'day off' as I painted for about 2 hours and catalogued some pics. Today back at the studio painting in amongst my mandatory Monday readings (This blog as a few others on working artists). All this and holding down a 32 hour 'day job'

Funny how the 'holiday' seems so much more fulfilling when I can work at my hearts desire....

And to all those friends and family who think being an artist is just loafing - let them try it for a month! Just learning the self-discipline is more than most can handle.

Joanne Mattera said...

I know what you mean, Stephanie. Some years ago when I lived in the country and maintained a studio in my home, there were a few unemployed buddies who would stop in during the day. I was young and just learning how to be assertive. After a few afternoons eaten up by useless hanging out, I finally said, "See this studio? I am working. Do not come during the day unless I invite you." Thereafter I put a sign on my door that said, "Artist at work. No visitors today." Feathers were ruffled, but I maintained my focus and rhythm.

Hylla Evans said...

Except for Saturdays, when I do not create anything, if my eyes are open, I am working.
Work can be making paint and related materials, walking the farm, training the chickens or collecting eggs. Work can be talking to customers/artists or teaching.
How can we tell if it's 'work' or play? They are one and the same.
Work defines us and gives us purpose. Work is creative life.

Pam Farrell said...

--Yes, I worked this weekend.
--In the studio, mostly, and on the computer (aside from doing business, research, correspondence, etc. I also work on my digital photo-based art), delivering work, buying supplies.
--I generally push myself into that "extra hour" No all-nighters unless I have a deadline. I have my limits. Sort of.
--What's a day off? I cannot remember the last time I had a day when I wasn't working at my private practice and did nothing art-related.
--Combination paying job (30 hrs) + studio practice (30 hrs)= 60 hrs avg.
Whew. I need a vacation.

Lynette Haggard said...

I took the weekend OFF! A LONG WEEKEND! WOOHOO!! My job is full time approx. 45 hours/week including the commute. Then I put in evenings and weekends to a total of between 18-30 hours per week at the studio. This weekend was truly "off" but we did see some galleries when away. I agree with Karen, juggling is tough, and my husband works on the weekends often so we have to work at "time" spent together. (That was our long weekend motivation, and we had to plan it months in advance).
Joanne, I know what you mean about the "hang out" factor. When I'm at my studio (in a space shared with about 15 other artists) a couple of them like to come in an park and chat. I have had to really work at this, using a do not disturb sign and setting limits. Those folks don't have jobs and they just don't seem to get how precious my time in the studio is. Happy 4th all.

Sharon McCartney said...

This topic really hit home for me as well. I constantly feel the pull of the studio for me despite the fact that I put in an average of 7-8 hours a day, and work 1 or more weekend days depending on what's happening in the rest of my life. I usually try to keep a 10-6 or 7 schedule with a few breaks during the day to clear my head and to keep my dog in touch with the outdoors. If I start late, I tend to work later, and if I take a day or part of a day off during the week, I generally put in the time during the weekend. So yes, I did work in the studio this weekend, and was happy just to turn on the air-conditioning and lose myself in my current piece.
Sometimes I really have to force myself to take time off, and to recognize that work for an artist has many forms beyond the studio: visiting shows, and talking to other artists, researching new materials, cultivating inspiration and yes, even the occasional non-art related activity that allows one to return to the studio refreshed.

Marie Kazalia said...

I worked hard all weekend (and today Monday), planing my art making tasks to coincide w/the heat and the cool of the day.
Stretched two large canvases in cool early morning,
prepared several panels later the gesso and paint dried super fast in 89 degree F. temp.

I dont watch TV, and I feel more balanced seeing the sun rise every morning and set every evening. There is never enough time in a day even working on my art 12-15 hours each day. But as long as I am making progress...

Supria Karmakar said...

Hi Joanne:
Yes here in Canada we celebrated Canada Day on the Thurs. 1st..and I worked on that day as well, as the weekend...on the July 4th holiday...my schedule right now is 6- 12 Noon in the studio to beat the heat and to still have time with the family doing those other fun balancing type of things...but I have to say now on the Monday July 5th...it is all catchin up..not as young I used to be...Working is a definite constant...it is just at odd hours...all the time etc. if not in the studio, on the computer etc.

Chris Rusak said...

There was a holiday this weekend?

(I worked my ass off. 3am seemed to be the appropriate sleep time, after hours working on self-promotion and code writing for a better website.)

(This, of course, now allows a week of studio time.)

Kudos to everyone on their fourth decade of working their asses off, or more. I hope I'm still kicking then.

Donna Dodson said...

Great post, Joanne!

To answer your questions...

I set up 3 shows this week, 2 solo and 1 group, 2 in Boston where I live and 1 in P'town.
The opening was Friday night in P'town followed by a meet & greet on Saturday afternoon in P'town so we camped on the cape and managed to fit in some hikes on the beach and we got a tip about a pod of 200-300 gray seals that are nesting on the cape at low tide, so we hiked out to see them- they howl and moan like the wind- it was very magical & spiritual. I like when art & life mix & mingle like that.

Sunday we worked half a day then met up with a bunch of artist friends to paddle out on the Charles River to see the fireworks and hear the Boston Pops. That was great fun as well. Monday we went to see an art exhibit in east Boston and then went for a dip and a canoe ride/picnic. Most of the time I take off is art related, to see shows, visit artist studios & socilize. Very seldom is it just chilling with my partner who is also an artist. Almost never do I have down time all to myself except for the studio time.

I work at least 30h studio and 30h job every week. It's a life.

Peggradyart said...

Was at the studio/gallery on Friday and Saturday, used one day to experiment with new techniques with my studio partner, the other to paint and schmooze with other artists and (potential) collectors, went gallery hopping at night, worked on an assemblage piece that was giving me the blues (with inspiration from what was shown at a new gallery in town), went to a parade, celebrated the 29th anniversary with my partner of playing house together, put in some hours on a self-portrait assemblage then tore the whole thing apart, went online to search out galleries...but none of this is "work" it's all life and separating these hours into work and non-work would be damn near impossible.

I used to work at a job I hated in order to pay the bills. When you dread going to a job, that's work. When you wake up in the morning with the solution to the problem in the assemblage that's been driving you crazy, that's a joy.

grovecanada said...

Gee wow, I didn't realize this was a "thing", thought it was only me...I'm a Virgo (translation for those who don't know: Virgos work all the time...) Was wondering, if the work all the time thing is true, are there a preponderance of artists who are Virgos?

cathsheard said...

I work full-time as a librarian, publish a community newspaper, am caregiver for my aged Mum and paint p/t. So...

Did you work this weekend? Yes.

If so, was it in the studio? Yes, working on a small series for an upcoming exhibition.

Do you feel the compulsion to put in that extra hour in the studio? Yes!

Do you still pull all-nighters? No, too old; my eyes hurt.

Do you feel guilty if you take a day off? Yes, usually.

When you take time off, is it still art related (galleries, museums, studio visits) or do actually chill? A bit of both usually.

And here’s a biggie: How many hours a week — combination of paying job, if you have one, and studio practice — do you work? Uh-oh, that *is* a big question. 76 on average.

dining room tables said...

Excellent post you have in there. It is very interesting. Every weekend is my rest and time for my family. I make sure that it is going to a great day.

Joanne Mattera said...

So here's a little summary:

. Hylla cuts to the heart of the matter: "If my eyes are open, I am working."
. We love what we do
. We work evenings, weekends, holidays
. We put in between 60 and 80 hours a week--or as Chris put it, we work our asses off
. Yes, we feel guilty when we're not in the studio
. Pam articulates what we're all feeling: "I need a vacation."
. Chris sums it up: "There was a holiday this weekend?"

Kudos to Lynette who actually took the weekend off--but we know you're already feeling the need to make up for that "lost" time.

diana green said...

I'm a teacher at college level, so summer is very schizophrenic for me- much work to do, one of my busiest seasons, but very low income. Somehow i always make it through. My studio art has taken a back burner to writing and teaching for a long time now, but I can't completely let it go and I don't think I should have to.
This weekend I just did some sketching and planning. My big studio day this week will probably be Friday.

chewy said...

The sounds and visual explosions of fireworks stimulated me to paint.

Jenni said...

I teach full time in a university art department, so it appears to the rest of the world that I have my summers "off". On the contrary, summer is the time when I eagerly get to work in my studio and feel like I am finally working at my real job. The last couple summers I've had to teach summer school which has seriously gotten in the way of my routine. I actually didn't work over the holiday because I had family come to visit and had to clean the house up from the neglect caused by too much work!
I love teaching, but get very anxious when it gets in the way of painting. I don't know what I'd do without the summers. Now that I've just finished summer school people are asking me what my plans are for "vacation". sigh.

Anonymous said...

4:57 am and I just finished working in the studio. Worked everyday in last ten. Noticed fireworks at some point. Usual schedule.