Last week I was in Phoenix for several days, giving an artist talk during a reception for my show, Upstairs & Around the Corner at Balcony Gallery@London Gold in Scottsdale. Below is a photo of the talk, taken by my wonderful husband, photographer James Cowlin.

Artist talk, many thanks to the people who battled the heat and traffic to come and listen and see the show

After a mid-exhibit artist reception it’s time to plunge back to work. Below is the state of my studio right now, just the way I like it, busy, messy and calling to me.

Now on to the bubble, as advertised in the title of this post…There are temptations everywhere for an artist to avoid the work, in my case, creating paintings. In Oracle there are fewer distractions than if we lived in a big city. Still there are always plenty of pressing activities that can edge me away from painting. And so it’s a constant, ongoing effort to make sure that my studio time doesn’t fade away. It would be oh, so easy to let that happen.

Over the years I’ve learned to visualize this precious studio time as a bubble. It’s a constant struggle to keep the bubble blown up so that I can step inside to paint. Yes, this bubble expands and contracts as other things come up to pull me away, but so long as it doesn’t completely deflate, with determination I can blow it up and get to work. Inside the bubble I’ve trained myself to focus—no internet, no phone calls, nothing but staying on track. It doesn’t matter whether I feel like it or not, I plug away. Sometimes the days when I feel least like painting and have to force myself to get started, turn out to be really productive. Other times I’m just dying to get to work and yet the time I spend falls flat. The trick is to keep on anyway. It’s in the realm of you never know. One of the best comments an art professor ever made, luckily early on in my art career, was “let inspiration find you working”. It turns out it’s a paraphrase from something Picasso said. It’s never far from my mind.

I keep a pretty rigid schedule—work at my computer (like I’m doing now) in the morning and painting in the afternoon from about 1-5 or so. With a 3pm 15 or 20 minute break to sit and look at art books. Not a ton of time, but I get a lot done in this bubble.

Each day I have to make a conscious decision to make the bubble of time happen, over and over and over again.