Thursday, November 6, 2008

Creativity and Self-discipline

You must be wondering how I can link the above two concepts? I have found that if I am to live my life creatively, I have to have some sort of self-discipline. In order to work on my creative projects every day, I have to organise my time and show up in the studio, even if I am not feeling particularly creative.
Although I love painting with a passion, I can be very easily distracted, since having no immediate boss to take note of how much time I spend at the coal-face, a million other things can come between me and my work.
I need to plan my day carefully if I am to get a good bit of painting done. The other distractions come from phone-calls with friends and a husband who also works from home and is a great one for taking a break and having chats over regular cups of tea.

Below are two interesting quotes:-

“Self-discipline without talent can often achieve astounding results, whereas talent without self-discipline inevitably dooms itself to failure”.
Sydney Harris (newspaper columnist)

“I know quite certainly that I myself have no special talent. Curiosity, obsession and dogged endurance combined with self criticism have brought me my ideas”.
Albert Einstein

I am participating in an exhibition at Kirstenbosch, our National Botanical Gardens, from Saturday for a week, so wish me luck!
Due to the current economic climate, I am not sure if the sales will be any good. A painting is a luxury purchase and everyone is being careful in these uncertain times.

I have a lovely new concept for my art journal, I now print out all the wonderful comments left on my blog and paste them in my journal next to the relevant entry.


Kim said...


I really like this post. I know you are so very right. I am a person who flies by the seat of her pants and as you say many things can get in the way of me painting and doing my creative work. Of course, nothing at all comes between me and my relationship with my husband and children - not even painting. :) But I live an unusual transient life, too.

I really love your posts as well as your paintings, Dianne. They are a special place in their days.

Dianne McNaughton said...

Dear Kim,
Thanks so much for your input. You are right, your husband and children come before all else. My beloved children have grown up and now live in a different hemisphere (UK). It is strange, but good to be just a couple again. My husband and I are the best of friends.
I felt the loss of my children acutely, I used to walk into their empty rooms and feel such a sense of emptiness. My whole self image had to readjust, I was no longer a “mum” in the true sense of the word – my children are now adults with their own lives to lead. They cannot now be my first priority; I would drive them nuts with interfering. I had to learn to step back from them and create a new path for myself. We artists are so lucky; we can divert our passion into our creative endeavours.
I am now absolutely fine, I have gone through this transition which I think every mother on the planet goes through. It is a new era for me.

Kim said...

Oh Diane,

I am so much in the transition you speak about. My youngest has just started his university career. But my children are still needing me from time to time. Like you, we are close so they are very aware of the struggles I have. Also like you, we sometimes live on different continents or different countries. I think you are just now where I will be in a few years.

I have to say how nice it is to have you understand where life is for me at the moment.

Thanks Dianne!

Anonymous said...

Hi Dianne,

A very inspiring post, as always, you are a very good writer as well as artist. The self-discipline aspect of art is so important, especially as now I have a studio, so no excuses. I have 3 grown up children, all living away and leading independant lives. So now is "me" time. I do try not to get distracted with other things in life, especially the garden, but now its wintertime I don't spend so much time on it. My goal is to improve my painting and work hard at it. Best wishes for your exhibition Dianne.

Lynette said...

Diane, your blog is wonderful with wise and insightful words, and I would like to thank Kim for telling us about your blog. (hi Kim!) I was really paying attention to the part about needing discipline as an artist and I believe you opened my eyes about myself as an artist as I am lacking in discipline sometimes. I'm going to bookmark your blog for further reading!

Dianne McNaughton said...

Hi Carolanne, you are so right about the "me" time, it is definitely a time in our lives when we can become more "selfish" again. The only way for me to get through the "empty nest" thing is to really concentrate on myself, physically, emotionally and mentally for the first time in my life!
You mentioned you have no electricity in your new studio, I hope you have some sort of heating now that the winter months have come along?

Dianne McNaughton said...

Hi Lynette, thanks for your kind words, I really appreciate your input. Thanks, again Kim for featuring me in your blog.
I visited your blog, Lynette and love your paintings, words and photos, you have a very creative space and I will also bookmark your blog.


Hi Dianne,I'm also finding you via Kim.
I've enjoyed visiting your blog, and love the painting in your previous post!
Aaah, the ol 'self discipline' thing,,,,sometimes so hard to make and/or take the time,,,but so necessary. We can all agree on that one for sure!
I'll be back,,,,,I adore abstracts!

Mineke Reinders said...

Again a very thought-provoking post, Dianne. Without discipline, all that talent remains latent. If we don't show up for the job every day, distractions have a way of taking over, especially when you have a studio in your home, like I do. I've learned to be very strict about my priorities, and I think this is especially difficult for women, because we are so used to being there for others, taking care of the home, etc. That quote from Einstein is especially revealing, because he was such a genius, but without discipline, even his talent would have been wasted.

Dianne McNaughton said...

You are so right, Mineke, we women are the carers and have to multi-task. I find myself painting in the middle of cooking, which can sometimes get a bit confusing! I set the alarm on my cell phone to ring when the food in the oven should be done!

Dianne McNaughton said...

Hi Babs, thanks for the comments re my painting! Always good to get positive feedback!

mrs. tioli said...


I love your idea about the art journal. I've been tossing around the idea of starting one, but didn't really know what I wanted to put in there. The idea of printing out the blog and comments is grand.


...imitation is the highest form of flattery.

- Charlie