Thirty in Thirty, 2014: Emerging

Emerging,2014:copyright_Michaela_Harlow:pastel_on_paper:michaelaharlow.comEmerging, 2014 – Michaela Harlow – 15″ x 20″, pastel & pencil on paper (19″ x 24″)

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from thirty-in-thirty, it’s that getting into the studio and getting to work is the key to creating art. Surrounding myself with my materials is the only inspiration I really need. Even under ideal work conditions —bright, indirect light, quiet surroundings, focus— I may not always produce something that I will want to show. But that isn’t the point. The point is to keep working and growing. I’ve learned that showing up is 95% of the battle.

I’ve also learned that the conditions need not be perfect in order for me to create work that I am happy with. Take today for example: the studio was dark, the dog was restless, and the interruptions/distractions were relentless and myriad. I was ready to give up and admit defeat; throwing my pastels and pencils into the air.

And then, from the chaos, this happened . . .

Emerging,2014:Michaela_Harlow:michaelaharlow.comEmerging, 2014

This entry was posted in Thirty-in-Thirty 2014.


  1. Jen January 20, 2014 at 8:44 pm #

    Yep. Inspiration finds you when you’re hard at work. Sometimes it finds you when you’re lollygagging around have a good old time, too. I mean, I don’t want to sell inspiration short. But you can’t wait for that to happen or you’ll never get much of anything accomplished. Except a lot of lollygagging, which maybe isn’t such a bad thing. Hmm. Good work today sticking with it.

  2. Michaela January 22, 2014 at 6:37 pm #

    I used to subscribe to the inspiration theory when I was in my 20s. Paint when you feel inspired to do so. Fortunately, I often felt inspired. But then life got very busy, and now, I am often too tired when I feel inspired! And, when I have time off in the summer, I have a million other tasks that need tending. So the need for clearly defined studio time is obvious. Now, I need to set a slightly less intense schedule for February, and promise myself that my other work will not encroach upon it! I have a few ideas this year. And yes, down time is critical too …Filling the well. Right? Lollygagging has high value!

  3. Deb Weyrich-Cody February 1, 2014 at 9:56 pm #

    Hi Michaela, Been working my way backward through your postings here, marvelling at your productivity, and have thoroughly enjoyed witnessing vision transformed to hard copy… Pretty sure I recognise “Emerging” as your leaf under glace photo from a Vernal pond posting? And one my absolute favourites too, btw: )
    Many thanks for the unintentional encouragement – to just show up so something can happen – as I’ve been stuck in a bit of a rut… So, “filling the well”? Ab so LUTELY! (But now it’s time to start haulin’ buckets; )

  4. Michaela February 2, 2014 at 6:05 am #

    You have a fantastic memory, and eye, Deb. Thank you so much for visiting and taking the time to look at my work. One of the hardest parts of working in seclusion is that the only living creatures in my studio have four legs. While great companions, they can not provide any sort of feedback on my artwork.
    I am also happy to hear that the process of thirty in thirty was encouraging. I think the act of just doing works well to break any procrastination ruts. As for coming at things with fresh eyes …I realize I need to get back out now and be with the world a bit. xxx M

  5. Deb Weyrich-Cody February 2, 2014 at 3:12 pm #

    Oh geez M! You knew that (smart-arse) remark was meant to be directed at me, not in your direction, right?
    P.S. Hope you’re not being over-run by snow storms and crappy weather like we’ve been here. Haven’t had a winter like this since I was a kid… xo 😀

  6. Michaela February 2, 2014 at 8:19 pm #

    I totally got you, Deb. 😉
    We had that jaw-clenching cold last month, but this month has started mild. I see three storms threatening the New England states at the moment. The first forecast is Wednesday with moderate snow predicted. Another on the weekend; looking like a long and painful romance. And then a potential burial the following week. Could be time to stock up on provisions and just go back to work. xxx