Balance is the key

Hi there,

Past week has been all about learning how to balance the schedule. In Finland everything is so exact, it’s been a true challenge to adapt to a different work environment. Here my employers kept telling me from the beginning they don’t want me to work from 9-5, but to go on with my own pace, but it was not so easy as it sounds. At first for a long time, I was fighting against this and I said, I want to wake up early and start doing, no matter the whole hostel is still sleeping. But it got very exhausting. Painting multiple hours in a row on the terrace in the heat or in a hallway with fluorescent light and no airflow was indeed not ideal but I was so determined to fight through it I couldn’t be bothered whenever I started feeling sick. But it slowed me down and I couldn’t believe it. I worked so hard and it seemed like I couldn’t process the speed I expected to do. I really had to dig deep in figuring out what it is that is slowing me down and how can I make changes to be more affective but also less stressed. That led me to understand something I believe is one of the key points when doing artwork like this.

We are so into planning the actual piece, we tend to forget it’s crucial to find atleast somewhat ergonomic working condition for us. I kept wasting money on massages as I was at a point where I my upper body kept being stuck and headache started to be part of my daily life. Instead of continuing to fix the problem, I decided to start finding solutions to prevent the issue.

It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or the preparations don’t have to take a lot of time. It depends on the position you have to work in, but I strongly advice to anyone who is planning to work on a bigger piece to take care of this part, as it will only help you to get through your process. I know the excitement when you are finally ready with your plan, you have gathered all the equipments you need and you just want to start the piece. But using even just a little thought about how would you feel more comfortable while doing your piece, will help you to be much more effective and prevent issues that could come along your process.

About the schedule, it has been changing a lot now. Instead of waking up to an early alarm and hurrying to the hostel, I have tried to find good working hours during the day, checking when the hostel is not too busy and also listening to my body. At some point I realized I was spending way too many hours at the hostel when it was too hectic, people constantly coming to chat to me while painting, which lead me to plenty of interruptions and delays on the pieces. Don’t get me wrong, I like to have a chat every now and take some breaks and think about something else for a while. But when I paint, I really need the full concentration just to myself. Even the phone is bothering, and sometimes I would need to mute the chats and applications, not to have the temptation to check them and loose the focus on whatever I was doing. My new discovery has been audio books, and I’ve really enjoyed painting while listening to a good book I can get lost in. Also I’ve noticed that having headphones on, helps not to get intterupted so easily. ?

Here is the final picture of the mosaic-style X.

This one took a great amount of time including great amount of interruptions, headache, stuck neck, audio books, singing, thinking, learning and finally – a ready piece.

Now I’ll get back to the hostel to carry on with my current project. I’ll write to you soon also about some other things I’ve been up to!

See you!