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The Disciplined Artist – by Raette Meredith

The Disciplined Artist
by Raette Meredith

Years ago I was scheduled to go to management training through my work. I was a vibrant, shiny skinned 20 year old, completely clueless about what I was doing. When I say clueless I mean that I had no idea why I was going to training. I figured it was because I was a girl. Usually I got to do things like this because my manager needed to say he was was an equal opportunity employer. I was good for the numbers. You see, I worked in a male-dominated workforce. In fact, it was extremely rare for women to work on the sales floor. We were usually kept behind registers. Which is where I worked. I never liked being told I couldn't do something because I was a girl. I felt a sense of unrivaled confidence when I succeeded at boy tasks, so this manager training looked like an exciting challenge in the beat the sexes game that played out in my mind.

So I went to the training. Yes, I was the only girl, not to mention the youngest trainee. Oh, we learned lots of business skills like how to read reports, write reviews, schedule associates, order merchandise, stripe, stock, inventory. All very interesting things that I had no idea I would ever use. I loved learning how the business operated. On the last day, we were given organizers, also known as day planners. Okay, this is before the digital revolution where everyone carries their entire brain in the palm of their hand.

This day planner was the size of a small Bible. It was divided into sections including addresses, a weekly planner, calendar, business cards, photographs and more. I thought, Okay, I'll use the handy address book for sure, but the rest of it was foreign. For the next four hours (yes, I said four hours) we were taught how to use every section and how to make the planner work for us. How to store our memories in a little book. I don't remember every detail of the five-day training, but I do remember taking away the value of the planner. I learned how to schedule my life and to get three days worth of work done in one.
The training (now almost 20 years ago) was the best spentĀ four hours in training I ever received.

So, how does this trickle into being artistic and creative? Because in our extremely busy lives, we schedule everything that is important to us. For the most part, Day Runners and Planners are extinct and have been replaced by IPhones, Droids, Netbooks and Notebooks (though I still prefer a good old fashioned pen and paper calendar).

In fact, it is when we are the most challenged for time and ideas, that we grow the most as an artist. By setting aside time for creativity, we have demonstrated to ourselves that painting is a priority, just as important as grocery shopping, or paying bills, and have committed to working. It doesn't matter if what we are creating is a masterpiece or a (in our eyes) flop, we have pushed ourselves beyond what we thought we could do. We have become a disciplined artist.

Raette is a mother of three, wife, artist, founder of ARTAZINE, and student. She is working on her BA in Marketing at CSU, Chico and resides with her family in Redding, CA.

Now go paint something!

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1 Responses »

  1. Raette,
    Loved your article. Today I have so many things to do I didn't know what to do first. Now, I do know one thing for sure, I will be painting today, right after I run my morning errands. I have a two hour window that isn't filled yet!
    Thanks!

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