Aspirational versus delusional

Aspirational versus delusional

Being an artist is a continual learning curve for me. When we all went into lockdown I decided to try to make the most of it. Without the need to commute or go to any meetings/functions, I scheduled my diary within an inch of its life in an attempt to pack in as much as possible.

Some would call it aspirational. I now realise it was delusional. Here’s a real snapshot of one of the days:

7.30am Wake up and have brekkie
8.00am Read the newspapers (yes I read the real printed ones)
9.15am Varnish a painting 
9.30am Go through email inbox
10.00am Practice cello
10.45am Varnish another painting 
11.00am Mentoring phone calls with masterclass members
12noon Create materials for online course
1.30pm Lunch
2.00pm Do laundry and tidy up
2.30pm Take photos and upload new artwork to Bluethumb Art
3.00pm Go to art studio and work on painting
5.00pm Create monotype for #100daysofprintmaking
6.00pm Research case studies for freelance story
7.00pm Start making dinner

While I certainly had the best of intentions, I lasted about a week with this kind of schedule. It was very stop-start and I thought that if I gave myself tight deadlines, I’d complete what I needed to do in the time given. I had that saying echoing in my ears: “If you want something done, give it to a busy person.” I figured that I’d get busy, and get stuff done!

Well, how did that work out for me?

  • I did get stuff done. But it was very dis-satisfying. And it left no room for creativity.
  • I was very efficient in the art studio, completing several paintings, but I didn’t give myself a chance to explore and come up with new ideas. 
  • The activity that suffered the most was printmaking. In fact, if you followed along my #100daysofprintmaking on Instagram Stories, you’ll see that I only lasted up to Day 9! 

I would only just get into a creative flow when the timer on my watch would buzz loudly to let me know it was time to move on to my next activity! (Yes, I took it that seriously.) While I do intend to return to my #100daysofprintmaking project, it’s now on the backburner. I’ve rearranged my schedule to one that’s more realistic and I’ve reminded myself that to succeed as an artist or creative, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Once I made this shift, I was less frenzied, much calmer and was able to come up with new ideas and create artworks that made my heart sing. 

Original artwork by Valerie Khoo

Original artwork by Valerie Khoo

Shop original artwork at Bluethumb Art

Big thanks to those of you who have been so supportive of me taking the plunge to put my artwork on Bluethumb Art. I’ve added more pieces there now. You can check them out here if you’re interested.

One of the reasons I love working with them is that they provide free delivery within Australian and the artworks are fully insured.


In other news, I am:

Watching: Schmigadoon on Apple TV. If you love musicals (as I do) check this out. It’s about a couple who find themselves trapped in a musical! 

Reading: ‘The Wolf’s Howl’, a fab middle grade novel written by my pal and podcast co-host Allison Tait (who writes as A.L. Tait) 

Loving: My new shed! Yes, I now have a ‘She-Shed’ and it will undoubtedly become a little project for the rest of lockdown as I convert this humble garden shed into a creative space in my backyard. Sneak peek of me in the shed below:

Valerie Khoo Artist

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