What is it like to be an artist? Sometimes it is pretty ordinary in an extraordinary sorta way.

Animal Artist BZTAT painting in studio
BZTAT – an ordinary day in the studio

Yesterday, I posted about how being an artist can be pretty fabulous. Most days though, are boringly ordinary.

I usually awaken later in the day than most, pick up my iPhone while still in bed, take a photo of whichever of the 5 cats around me is looking the cutest, check my email and social media sites, get up out of bed, and then I am off to my day.

Nothing all that extraordinary about that.

Creating and marketing my artwork is my job, so my day is sorta like yours. I do various tasks involved with “my job” which includes: researching ideas, acquiring materials, networking through face to face and social media connections, updating my website, writing newsletters, writing blog posts, reading other bloggers’ blog posts, catching up on the latest news and current events, and reading email.

I get lots and lots of email.

After I do all that, I get around to the actual creating. I usually paint or draw or do other creative activities later in the evening. That is the time I am the most creative for some reason, and it is when I have less distraction.

So if you had the idea that artists are out in some kind of dreamy world that is separate from yours, you would be a bit off base.

My mental world, though, is probably a bit different than yours.

When I paint, I go into a creative place that takes my mind in different directions. I go into a semi-trance of sorts where I am basically doing a mindless task, yet my intuition and creative vision are always on auto-pilot.

My eyes scan every detail and every brushstroke. Although not everything I paint is intentional, my mind is alert for where I am at, where I am going, and where I have been.

I sometimes know exactly where I am going, and other times I engage in an adventurous experiment. Sometimes I think I know where I am going, and then I step back from the canvas for a look. “Crap, that’s not right at all,” is my next thought. And I change directions.

There is always a visual and verbal dialogue going on in my head. I really can’t explain it. Sometimes it is a swirling mix of visual and verbal snippits – ideas or images that crossed my path during the day, or issues and circumstances that stick in my brain and need to be processed.

Despite all that noise, I also am feeling a very visceral and somewhat spiritual connection to the subject of my creativity, especially when I am painting the portrait of an animal. I pour and pour over the photos of the animal, and I try to get a “feel” for the character and spirit of the creature I am painting.

I also think of what that animal means to the person who has so lovingly commissioned their portrait.

I am a very fussy painter. I fuss and fuss and fuss for hours to get a certain color or shape or composition correct. I make constant changes and I work and overwork areas obsessively.

I cannot explain why. It is just my process. If I did it any other way, my art would not be my art – it would just be some other painting.

When I complete an artwork, unlike some artists, I am very pleased. I enjoy my artwork and I am thrilled when others do too.

I do not complete an artwork everyday, and some days I go to bed feeling very unsettled or unsatisfied with my work.

And I wake up the next day, ready for another ordinarily extraordinary day.