Secret Power of Idleness

"Some are always in a state of preparation, occupied in previous measures, forming plans, accumulating materials, and providing for the main affair. These are certainly under the secret power of idleness. Nothing is to be expected from the workman whose tools are for ever to be sought. I was once told by a great master, that no man ever excelled in painting, who was eminently curious about pencils and colors." ~Samuel Johnson

Samuel Johnson

Imagine you haven't looked at your work email in almost ten days. You left a polite vacation message about when you would return to the office. While you were out, you spent every minute of your time without an agenda. Without a to-do list. Without a care about your productivity.

Is it overly dramatic and somewhat pathetic to wonder if the "pencils and colors" are emails and administrative tasks that distract from the painting? What if you present this idea to a friend who seems to have the ideal occupation?

Andrew Vallee 2014

Andrew Vallee, Link a woodworker, challenges the idea that "small business owners" have more freedom than people who work a traditional Monday-Friday schedule. "Sure," he says, "I own my business, and I can set my own hours, but I work twice as hard to set an example for my employees. Our success matters for our whole team." Conversations with him remind us that we need to patient for the time we have in our studios.

By "providing for the main affair" as a carpenter, he is left with few hours in the day to do his art. In the sculpture above, he has taken two different pieces of two different trees to create something new. As a co-owner of an art gallery Link , he spends a tremendous amount of time showcasing the works of other local artists. He and his partner Wes Smith, have created something from nothing. It's lovely to see this fruit of his idleness. And yes, patience is needed for time in the studio. Well said.