How to Make More Art
This (above) is my friend Ron, seated, exhibiting and selling his paintings at a California Art Club exhibit held at the San Juan Capistrano Mission a long time ago. Ron was a creative executive at the Walt Disney Company at the time. Even with a demanding job, and a family, he still made time to create paintings for himself. Do you wish you had more time to make art? I suspect everyone who enjoys creativity wishes there was more room for it in each week.
Having Time vs Taking Time
Many of us wish we had entire days – or at least a full afternoon of painting time. When there are no open slots on a calendar stuffed with work, family and home obligations, people dream of making loads of art after retirement. There’s a mystical land somewhere over the horizon, with all sorts of Free Time. The truth is that you can make art in a busy life, but it may require a mind-shift. Instead of targeting whole afternoons that are few and far between, look for 30 minute increments. Instead of waiting to get time, try taking time.
Big Tasks into Bite Sized Joy
You can make more art than you think in regular, incremental mini-sessions. Part of the strategy is adjusting your mindset. Another ingredient is a tote bag of art supplies . (I describe my approach in this free online course.) You can sketch, draw, or paint in 30 minutes over breakfast, during lunch, or after dinner, or just before bed. Really; find a 30 minute window, and grab it for yourself.
The Math of Mini Art Sessions
If you work on art for 30 minutes Monday through Friday – you’ll have 150 minutes of art time secured at the end of each week. That’s 2.5 hours of drawing or painting or carving. And that adds up to 130 hours of art-time each year. How does that compare to your current totals of art-making time?
You could use that 30 minutes to make room sketches, grid a drawing for a watercolor, carve line work for a mat board collagraph, lay washes in a landscape painting. If you’ve never tried this, and you’re feeling skeptical, please reserve judgement until after you’ve spent 30 minutes a day making art for one week. ?
Two Art Links for You
- Cheryl Arkison is a writer and quilter in Canada. As a competitive swimmer, and then rower in her youth, Cheryl is accustomed to getting up before dawn. More recently, she’s used early mornings to read email, and surf the net before her children wake up. And then she heard four words that changed everything: Create Before you Consume. Read about her year of what she dubbed the Morning Make – quilting or writing for just 15 minutes each morning. She includes 9 tips to help you make more art in your life too.
- Do you subscribe to the Strathmore Paper company’s artist newsletter? This week, they published their Fall edition newsletter. Watercolor and Gouache artist Myriam Tillson has written a piece about her journey to become a better artist by leaning into her weakest areas of skill. The concept of practicing the type of art you fail at the most is not new. But it doesn’t sound like much fun, right? Her approach is compelling, and I think it will resonate if you’re feeling a little stuck right now. You can read it here.
I hope your art-making season is swelling with ideas, imagery and inspiration. I’ll be rooting for you to grab-and-make during your 30 minute art session over the next few weeks. Just try it, and see how you feel after the first accumulation of two and a half hours of art time is finished on that first Friday. C’mon – you’ve got this!
Thanks for stopping by and I’ll see you in the next post –
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One day when I was studying with Schoenberg, he pointed out the eraser on his pencil and said, ‘This end is more important than the other.’John Cage