Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Finding Time to Paint

I think in my 30+ years of teaching I have heard just about every excuse there is as to why a student can't find time to paint. It is so easy to find reasons not to do what you want to do. This seems especially true of women...the care givers. Being one myself I fully understand the need to be needed and the need to be of service to the family, community, etc. Men on the other hand may have trouble divorcing themselves from their "working" career long enough to pursue their creative side. However, if a person wants to paint, wants to succeed at art, then some obvious decisions have to be made.

First, find a place to paint where materials can be left out and ready to be used. Such a simple thing makes a world of difference on mentally finding time to work at your art. If you have to move your art materials every time a meal is to be served you will quickly quit painting.

Second, let your family know how important this is to you and that you want to set up business hours for working. If they care about you your needs will be important to them. Communication is a priority here. Speak up! Don't buy into the guilt of doing for yourself before others. After all, it's only for a couple hours out of the whole week. The earth wont stop rotating because you want a couple hours a week for yourself.

Third, treat your hours in your studio as business time. No personal calls, no cooking, no running errands, etc. Even if it's only 2 hours a week. They are your hours...keep them and use them.

Four, have more than one project going at different stages in the creative process. This way when you enter the studio there will be something to do that fits your immediate emotional makeup and time frame for working, albeit it may only be 15 minutes. If you don't "feel" like painting then gather items and set up a still life, do some thumbnails, check through references, plan a painting trip, read that art article you set aside a month ago. It all counts towards your business hours.

Finding time to paint is really not that difficult. What is difficult is giving yourself permission to do it and then sticking with it.

Happy painting!

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