“I’ve learned to surrender myself to both family and art and to make the most out of the time I spend with each.”
-- Chris Liberti
Earlier this year, I sent an email to the artist Chris Liberti, expressing my love of his paintings and my desire to write about him on my blog. His response was kind and encouraging. Not long after that, I heard an interview of Chris on the Savvy Painter podcast! The interview is fantastic and I highly recommend listening to it. I especially love the way Chris describes being a parent of two small children, and how he manages to balance parenthood and painting. He also briefly mentions yoga and meditation as being important to him. I was curious to know more, so I sent him another email. His answer—simple yet profound-- has been so helpful to me and my own personal struggles (as an artist, parent, and human being), so I am sharing it with you. Here it is:
A Guest Blog Post by Chris Liberti...
I’m not a Yogi or meditation guru by any means and I’ve only started practicing one year ago, but here are my thoughts in brief. I realized that by doing yoga and meditation, I was able to improve other aspects of my personal life and well-being. Instead of laboring in the studio as much as possible, I began to carve out time to practice yoga, meditation, and exercise in general.
Focusing on my mental and physical well being has helped me more than any amount of time spent overly consumed working on paintings. It has allowed me to think clearer and to imagine the kind of paintings I want to make. There is also a certain confidence that comes with this sense of clarity that has allowed me to make bolder, more interesting choices in my work. I feel I spend less time struggling to get a painting somewhere. It has become easier for me to step back, when the time is right, instead of overworking it.
I believe that thinking about painting is equally important as painting itself.
As for advice on balancing family and art:
Schedule, consistency and pattern are highly important. Also, an easily accessible studio space, preferably at home. Try to limit distractions that provide little value. If the family is around and I’m distracted at the easel, I’ll usually turn to doing more mindless tasks that need to get done regardless, like gessoing panels, taking photos etc.
I’m learning to turn off the “painting brain” when I’m with my family and tune into them. I’ve learned to surrender myself to both family and art and to make the most out of the time I spend with each. I recall my wife saying “we only get one chance to raise our children”. I took my 6 year old daughter to one of my galleries and told her she should bring a painting of hers to show them. She loved the idea and was proud to do so. The owner played along and she talked about it for days.