I just made what will hopefully be the very last art room move. I have had my art stuff in every room in the house except this one, (and the bathrooms and kitchen, of course) although it's the one that has probably always been best suited to the task - it has windows on three sides (hence lots of natural light, which you can't see in this evening photo) plus many built-in shelves that are perfect for various art supplies.
One thing I decided when I moved into this room was that I want to go Back to Basics as far as visual art - which for me, means literally LEARNING the basics. Since I have always been "naturally" creative and had a moderate amount of "natural" talent, I have been lazy and not done the simple stuff that is the backbone of art, the boring sketches, the study of light and shadow, the still life paintings, and all that.
As I get older, I am less mortified by the fact that I am ignorant about a lot of things. It's not as humiliating to embrace what, in Zen, is called Beginner's Mind. Beginner's Mind is an attitude of curiosity and a willingness to do something without necessarily doing it well or even understanding it all that well. It is a willingness to put aside preconceived notions of how something "should" look, or how it "should" make you feel or what it "should" accomplish. It is a way to avoid embarrassment when you are not all that good at something, and a way to enjoy it anyway - because your goal is not an impressive product, but rather to experience the process. You paint to paint. You write to write. You will invariably produce a lot of crap and also some good stuff. You will improve, but know that there is always more to learn. This keeps you humble, it keeps you interested, it keeps you joyful in your creative practice. Feeling like you have arrived is a kind of death. It is a barrier between you and new experience, which is what makes life interesting.
Because one of my kids is in a play, I have been out more than usual, waiting to pick him up from rehearsal. I have taken to drawing in Starbucks and drawing self-portraits in rear view mirrors. I am taking notes on the drawings so I can know what colors to use when I get home to my paint. I am trying a lot of different "styles", using different kinds of paint, different pens, and generally having a peace, knowing that I am learning something no matter what the finished product looks like.
Since my ultimate creative identity is as an Everyday Memoirist, I am enjoying the fact that these drawings are very evocative for me as far as memory, far more than a photograph. I'm a bad photographer anyway (and in fact am actively disinterested in photography as a medium) so I am glad to see that these drawings are not only practice towards artistic growth, but also a legitimate addition to my Everyday Memoir paper trail. For example, I love that ceramic cat in the photo above. You can see that one of his or her ears is already broken. Now that I've painted him or her, I (and my children) will always have a tangible memory even if he or she ever breaks. It would be great to someday make painting that someone would actually pay for (and looking at my paintings, the time has obviously not yet come) BUT freeze-framing life for my future self and also for my descendants is the ultimate goal of my creative practice. So, my plan to learn the basics will hopefully have multiple benefits.