Anne Shopp is an emerging artist living in Broomfield Colorado. She loves acrylic portrait painting and drawing, and creating handmade art journals. This is the third installment in her 4-part series as Artist Strong’s Resident Artist. You can find Anne on her instagram account @art4anne.
Art as a practice.
I am noticing how my art process is turning into a daily practice similar to my yoga practice—committing time to create art simply for the act of creating. There is no goal, end product, or need to accomplish anything. I’m enjoying just being in the moment. Being in the moment is an aspiration that occasionally happens in art and yoga. My yoga teacher, Laura Inbody of Kaiut Yoga Broomfield, often says, “find the ease in the shape.” Sounds easy, Right?
Stepping away from overthinking, judging, and trying to do more can become an obstacle in art-making and yoga. Finding the ease for me in art making is breathing in and out, noticing the tension and releasing, allowing myself to listen deeply to what color is next or to step back and look; sometimes, it’s making a bold move.
Yoga teaches me how to listen to myself, trust myself, and know where my edge is. I’m constantly finishing the balance of coming to an edge yet not pushing too hard to the point where I crash. I’ve learned pushing tends until I crash tends to suck the joy out of life. With time and consistency, I’m learning to come to the edge and trust the process.
As I move more into art as a practice, I find more joy in creating.
I started a painting this past week and was rushing to meet the deadline to get feedback from Happy ever Artist. Well, it became a hot mess, from the drawing to the underpainting, such that the kindest thing to do was gesso over the whole painting and start again. This reminded me that when I push and race, it shows in my artwork and my whole life. I suspect I will have many opportunities to relearn this lesson.
One of the challenges I have found in yoga is understanding how to rest.
The rest between poses is as important, if not more important than the time in a pose. To me, this is mind-blowing. I have operated from a place of “do more, work harder, and keep going.” It’s essential to take the time when painting or creating any art; I need to let the painting rest, notice, reflect, and allow it to speak to me. It doesn’t serve me to rush through a painting. This is where I’m at today: do I keep going today to get past the green faces and post the green faces here, or do I rest and start again tomorrow?
In yoga lately, Laura has been talking about sustainability; how can we stay in a pose, without pain, for a period of time such that we want to come back and practice yoga again? While making art for September’s Digital Artist Residency, sustainability has become a driving factor. While the fantasy is to create all day, the reality is impossible for me. Painting is physically demanding; standing on my feet for hours, hunched over the artwork, holding brushes or pencils in my hands all can cause long-term issues.
I am learning to set healthy limits physically by knowing when to stop each day—also setting limits on my ideas. There is so much I want to do and try, and I can lose focus or overwhelm myself. My goal is to keep my creative process manageable. Most importantly, I have other responsibilities, so finding the sweet spot daily with my art practice creates a sustainable art practice. Lately, I’ve been slowing down each day to create my daily sketch, stopping long before it’s finished, and posting the image as is without judgment is part of my learning process.
This week, I have another opportunity to hang art in the library with the Broomfield Art Guild. I’ll be working on more framing and varnishing paintings.
As I move my focus from product to process, the art-making time becomes an enriching part of my whole life. While exploring my art as a practice, I am discovering more about myself, how to listen deeply, trust my decisions, rest, and build sustainability; this leads to joy in creating.
To follow my art journey, check out my Instagram @art4anne
Thank you for being on this journey with me!
Every month, 1-3 artists show up in our Artist Strong community to share their artistic process, journey, explorations with us over the course of a month.
The goal is to normalize the MANY, VARIED experiences of being an artist.
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This entire piece spoke to me. I will re-read it over the week because it was much appreciated advice. I don’t practice Yoga but do daily 15 minute “express” classes. I enjoy your “face” gallery. It encourages me to proceed with my October challenge of drawing portraits.
Oh yes go for it! The daily drawing has been an amazing process. Any quiet time in the overstimulated world is nourishing.
So much of what you have written resonates with me…slowing down, trusting the process, making time to rest, and stepping away to let the work rest, too. Not easy to do sometimes, for sure!
I have really enjoyed seeing your portrait sketches on Instagram. So many interesting faces and expressions!
Thank you for your comments. It’s wonderful what I wrote resonated with you. As you know not easy share your heart.
These words so resonate!!! Its an ongoing quest…sustainability can look so different season to season.
PS-I love your green faces!