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Journey Through Time and Space Part Two

daily sketching illustrated journal life as an artist sketchbook Sep 30, 2022
Day 2  of 30 Day Sketchbook Challenge Ink & Watercolor

September 30, 2022.    Journey Through Time and Space Part Two

I believe old dogs CAN learn new tricks.  Currently, I'm on Day Six of an experiment to test whether or not that's true.  Since my visit to Parc André Citroën in August of 2021 I'm finding that my lifelong habit of letting clutter from completed projects, incomplete projects, reference notes for teaching workshops, business paperwork and inspirations torn out of magazines hold me back from delving even deeper into the new territory of my creativity.

As I look at the first thirty paintings in my PAC Series of 100 Drawings and Paintings I notice that the work falls into two categories. One of the categories reflects a very cluttered mind and the other reflects a very clear intent of purpose and focus.  The work in the second category is stronger and invites me to pursue that direction with all of my heart and soul.  When I think back on what my state of mind was and what my home environment was when creating the paintings, I see a direct correlation between the amount of clutter in my environment and the category into which the paintings fall.

In the past, I've not wanted to take the time to clean up or to organize because I wanted to move forward on whatever I was working on.  I didn't want to lose that initial inspiration and energy to get going.  Once I started, I became totally immersed in the work.  Rarely did I take time to contemplate why I was doing what I was doing, or to gain a deeper understanding of what I was doing or why I was doing it. I grabbed a pen or brush and just responded to the driving force of my creativity.  I thought that as long as I was drawing and painting daily, I was making progress. 

Flashbacks to previous experiences in my life, especially those of early childhood slipped in and out of my brain at an ever faster rate.  These flashbacks began during that pivotal walk in the Parc André Citroën. Thirteen months have past since that walk in the park.  My creative process has changed drastically. My daily habits have not changed as drastically. The habit of not taking time to deal with ever-growing clutter has taken its toll on my artistic growth.  I see it in my paintings.  There are far more chaotic paintings than paintings that express a deep understanding and exploration of the journey I've chosen to take in my life.

Six days ago I took on a new challenge.  I began Cheryl Tave's 30 Day Sketchbook Challenge with a specific goal in mind. I'm combining sketching and journaling to break my habit of cluttering.  I'm making the act of de-cluttering the inspiration for the thirty days of the challenge.  And ... it appears to be working.  


Progress is slow.  I'm allowing it to be slow rather than de-clutter in a frenzy in order to get back to painting.  I make a decision about each piece of paper and every object as I take it into my hand.  Rather than just make another, more organized pile, I either make the phone call, answer the letter, fill out the form, throw it away or I find where it should live on a shelf, file folder, drawer or in a sketchbook.

As my work spaces are becoming uncluttered, so is my brain. I start the day by sketching the clutter I've chosen to deal with that day.  Throughout the day, as I deal with the clutter in short segments of time, I add to the sketch as well as journal my thoughts.  What's fascinating is that as I'm going through this clutter, not only do those flashbacks reveal the source of my de-cluttering anxiety, they call attention to when and why this habit began.  I'm actually intrigued by how revealing this sketchbook challenge has already become.  There's a good chance that I will continue past the designated thirty days.

Thank you for reading my blog.

Chris Carter



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