Tanya Green recently completed her yearlong The Nightly Owl project. Here's her follow-up interview...
When did your project start/end? I started my project on October 2, 2013. I remember that night as clear as can be. I was sitting at my computer checking FB, when I glanced over at my bookcase and spied my copy of your book "365 A Daily Creativity Journal." I obtained your book back in 2012 at an art teacher conference where I first heard your story about your year of skulls. I remember thinking back then, "I could totally do that, but what would my subject matter be?" After pondering it for the weekend and forgetting about it for a whole year, I finally decided that I didn't need to have a specific subject matter...I just needed to start creating.
It took more time for me to create my blog than for me to create my first artwork. I was sucked into figuring out the ins and outs of Wordpress and what my blog would be called. That's why my blog name doesn't match my journey at all! "The Gnomes Studio" is where you can find my Nightly Owl journey, however I didn't settle on owls as my theme until day 3. And no...I was not obsessed with owls before I began. Yes...they are now an obsession...I wouldn't be able to escape them even if I tried. My journey ended October 2, 2014.
What are the biggest lessons/skills you learned from doing your project? I learned that our bodies and minds are amazing objects that can be altered and trained. Because I work full time and have two kids under the age of 6, the only time I had to focus and create was between the hours of 8 and Midnight. It took time for my body to acclimate to my new schedule. There were nights and days that I was exhausted and didn't know how I was going to keep on keeping on. Eventually, I hit my stride and everything became routine. Before I knew it, I was counting down the days to 365.
Another lesson I learned, is that I am the one in control of my life and choices. When I started the project, I was hell bent on sticking to the prompts in your book for every creation. I was probably about 2/3 through the journey when I realized that I was the one in control and that I could change the rules if I wanted. What started out as one creation a night ended up with some works taking more than one night to finish.
Along the way I created owls in lots of different ways. I started out creating with media that I was confident in. I wanted each owl to be amazing (which I quickly learned was an unobtainable goal). There were some nights the prompts gave me new media to try that I wouldn't have other wise considered. Oh, and I wasn't always successful either. There were times that my owls failed. I learned to be vulnerable, to be flexible, and to be committed to the process...not the "perfect" end result.
In what ways did the project change your life? One big way the project changed my life is that I started to create art again. I went through a 13 year hiatus from creating my own art. Life had taken over...job, kids, everyday routines...I forgot about me. It's easy to put others before you. It's hard to stop and change the routines, but it's doable.
Over the past year I've also become a member in a local art gallery and have begun showing/selling my artwork. Nothing has sold yet, I blame the market! ;) My 365 journey gave me confidence in my creative abilities. I probably wouldn't have applied for the gallery if I hadn't started this journey. It also taught me to take risks. I started a new job in November which challenges me daily to learn new things. I am constantly applying the lesson I learned about allowing the process to take place before perfection. I think I've always been that way...ever since I was a kid. I wanted to be good and perfect at everything from the get go. I am constantly reminding myself that it will take time, but I can do it!
Now what? Hmmm.....I know that I need a new commitment...a new goal! I'm not sure what that will be yet. I still have some time to think on it, but I know it's a must! Since starting my new job and ending the journey, I spiraled back down in to my old routines of too much TV and job stress taking over. My days were filled, but I felt drained physically and mentally. Taking the time away from creating helped me realize that the act of creating art was good for my physical and mental soul. It brought peace to my world and allowed me to focus my time and energy on something that would recharge me and make me feel whole. I can't let the last two months happen again. I need to stay committed to creating. More owls? More birds? I'm still not sure....maybe a new Noah Scalin book!
See all of Tanya's owls HERE.
Read Tanya's original 365 interview HERE.