Window in Old Stone Building, Copyright Elaine Luther 2015

Window in Old Stone Building, Copyright Elaine Luther 2015, taken in West Virginia during my residency.

I set out to write a what I did this summer post, but the interesting thing turns out to be not so much what I did, but how I did it.

What works better for creatives? A complete re-set, getting away, as in a residency? Or a routine that just rocks and produces for you?

This summer was a big professional development summer for me. I didn’t set out to do that, but I guess I was on a roll, and just kept signing up for a variety of classes: in person, online, free, paid. Including webinars, I did about 14 classes, plus I attended two conferences.

I also went on a residency, which is what got me thinking about routine vs. a complete break in routine. Before I left, I was in a really good groove of art making and exercise and the trip out east for the residency really interrupted that. (I’m not sorry I went, and it raises interesting questions about one’s artistic practice.)

On my residency, I was attempting to do site-specific art installations, my first go at this. While some of my pieces made there are an interesting start on something, if I’m honest, I have to admit they weren’t really site-specific. All the pieces, hung in trees, could have just as easily been installed in my own yard, or a park near me.

But, I never would have made them for my yard. The preparation for the residency –– “Oh My God, what am I going to make?” combined with having to cart all my supplies out with me, meant I was required to really think, design, sketch and go buy supplies. The external deadline of the residency was quite useful.

I’ve been back home now for over six weeks and just now finally getting back into a solid exercise routine. Paid gigs and home repair are interfering some with the art making routine, but I’m getting there.

How about you? What’s better for you? Hitting the reset button and getting out of town? Or Rocking your routines?

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