November Painting Prompt – Get Organized


How do we make room for art in our busy lives? I’ll tell you that even as a professional artist, I find it difficult to carve out time to paint! We all paint during our lives that are full of joy and sorrow, illness, addictions, ups and downs.

My life is full of family and friends and obligations. Everyone has this if you are a living breathing human, right? And then there is this strong disinclination to work! I don’t know what it is, but even though I have plenty of motivation, financial, personal satisfaction, I have a great place to work and all the materials, I still find myself choosing to clean house or fiddle around the house rather than going to the easel. A student recently told me that cleaning house gives instant! It is also assured satisfaction whereas painting is risky business and doesn’t always turn out so well! That blank piece of paper is daunting and certainly not instant gratification.

All that being said, I suppose over the years I’ve managed to overcome that disinclination more than give in to it. Here are a few of my strategies. Maybe they will be of use to you on your journey in art making.

1. I always have something set to go for the morning: studio organized, paper ready, subject and or reference material chosen. I start something even if it’s just blocking in or a few marks. That way, I’m never facing a new day with a blank piece of paper.

2. I work in a series so that some of the work is figured out for the next piece. A series can be really simple like visiting the same location maybe during different times of day or different seasons. This inherently creates a thread that connects all the work.

3. I work in a variety of sizes so that I can do something small if I only have a few minutes to work.

4. I buy my materials for a whole body of work rather than for a piece at a time. I know this means making an investment, but for me this is essential. It makes me invested!

5. I think of it as work and similar to a yoga or workout regime, not something that I do only when I feel like it. A lot of times, I don’t feel like it!

6. I’m stingy with my time. I protect my studio time from outside influence. Sometimes that means turning down a friend when they call. This can get tricky depending on the time of year! Watch out for the holidays!

7. When I’m painting, I build on what is working, and I don’t get caught up in the parts that aren’t working. In other words, I’m kind to myself. This doesn’t mean, I don’t try to push myself to get better, it just means I concentrate my attention on the positive.

8. I make sure that I’m comfortable in my space, heat or air, water, a place to sit down. All of this so I can sustain my attention for the longest possible period of time. But I’m also realistic about this!

9. I’m kind to myself and know that some days procrastination is the best way to work!

I think that one of the hardest part of being an artist is making a choice and sticking with it. I have so many ideas and things I’d like to pursue, but only so much time each day. I have to maximize that time.