Down Time

I’m just coming off a week of being too sick to work. The enforced down time seemed strange to me, since I’m never sick or not working. It was an interesting time to reflect.

Not going into my studio for an entire week. That’s unheard of. Stuck at home, your mind goes to weird places.

But did I get anything useful to share with you or am I just ranting?

Filling the time

There was, of course, the requisite TV binging. Well, watching the screen, large and small. [Opinions expressed are my own. Void where prohibited by law.] There is nothing useful to watch on TV or cable. There might be a few decent shows, but they are so broken up by commercials that it’s pure frustration.

Netflix, Amazon, and iMovies have a lot of good shows and series. That was mainly where I got my movie fix. It was a good chance to catch up on movies I had been wanting to see, especially those my wife didn’t want to watch.

Where’s the beef?

I enjoyed the movies and am still watching them, but that became very unsatisfying. There was no substance. My mind craved something better for it. It was like going to the buffet and gorging on dessert. I needed meat, vegetables, salad, too.

One excellent source of nourishment was Creative Live. It has a very good selection of quality instruction and inspiration for creatives and makers. I watched several courses, including some I had already seen before. Being able to watch in uninterrupted blocks is better than a few minutes at a time whenever you can grab it.

Another focus in the time was a Selective Color workshop by Alain Briot that I’m trying to work through. It’s pretty dense material, but I’m determined to dig more into luminosity masking and color enhancement. I’m getting the luminosity masking pretty well, but the color enhancement is far behind. For one thing, the realist in me sometimes digs in and blocks me experimenting with extreme transforms.

Old school

The whole world isn’t video. I went back to browse some of my old books (remember them?) on various aspects of photography and art. Especially helpful were books by the distinguished Michael Freeman. He has a fantastic talent for communicating in writing. Being able to grasp a complex subject and make it understandable to other people is a real art.

I even dug into a history book I am reading. For some reason this year I got curious about Pearl Harbor and picked the excellent book by Gordon Prange, “At Dawn We Slept“. Wow, there is so much here. Mr. Prange was a very diligent historian. You find out what the relevant players on both sides were thinking and doing almost minute by minute. This is going to take some time but I’m definitely going to finish it.


Sorry, no blinding revelations from the mountain. I didn’t change my life much.

I did, though, conclude it is healthy to have some down time occasionally. If you spend your days nose-down working on projects, marketing, whatever busy work we have to do, it is good to pull out occasionally to rest and regroup. Sometimes we have to disengage from the demands of the urgent and let your mind rest.

How you do it is probably very personal. Having private time to think and meditate works for me. For some getting together with friends is what they need. That’s a great idea too, but being sick for the week prevented that. Or schedule yourself into a retreat or a spa. We all have our notion of how to recharge.

So I’m going to start scheduling down time (without the sickness).

Try it! Let me know what you think!