How to Add Two Hours of Art to Every Week

a painter displaying his oil painting in an arcade at the San Juan Capistrano Mission

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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 each week.

the beginnings of a pear still life in watercolor
A rough sketch and the first quick washes of watercolor in 30 minutes of art time over lunch.

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.

how to make more art - two pears, in watercolor, partially painted - to show the process
A few days later – another 30 minute painting session to drop in more color and play with washes

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 for 30 minutes during breakfast, during lunch, or after dinner, or just before bed. Really; find a 30-minute window, and grab it for yourself.

a watercolor of pears leaning to the right as though they're swaying to music - how to make more art
Finished watercolor, painted in 30 minute increments: Swaying to the Music 5×7 watercolor (sold)

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:

If you’ve never tried this, and you’re feeling skeptical, please reserve judgment until after you’ve spent 30 minutes a day making art for one week. Just give it a one-week trial, and then review what you produced, whether you had fun, and how you feel about the notion, ok?

carving a linocut of a man in front of a stag on the couch on a lap desk
Carving (<– these are my favorite carving tools) a small linocut on a lap desk (<— like this one) from the couch before bedtime
  • 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.
a watercolor by belinda del pesco of an arcade with an art exhibit with people walking and looking
Chesley at Capistrano 8 x 10 Watercolor on paper (sold)

Make Art on the Couch

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 –


P.S. If you’re new around here, subscribe to get every new post via email.

making art more often with a tote bag of art supplies on the couch in 30 minute increments
A tote bag of art supplies is a mobile art studio. Take it with you in the car, over to the couch, at the counter in the kitchen, or on the back yard step.

Art Quote

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

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12 thoughts on “How to Add Two Hours of Art to Every Week”

  1. Hi Belinda, I’ve been receiving your Blog for sometime and really enjoy it . Your work is wonderful, so expressive. I noticed in one of your photo’s that you’re wearing magnifying glasses. My work is very detailed and I have been using a large magnifier, but my eyes are getting so bad I need something stronger. Could you let me know which one you use and if you like it . It would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks for your time.

  2. Belinda,
    Thank you so much for this post. I needed to read this today.
    β€œ when god made time she made plenty of it”

  3. Wow! Your post and the two you sent me to were so encouraging and just what I needed to hear. Now to put it all into action in a way so that I am not overwhelmed!!

    1. Hi Sharon! Well, I’m rooting for you from the sidelines. Do one thing at a time, my friend! It’s just art – paints and paper and brushes – and not cancer research. Deep breaths, reach for the joy, and stomp out the naysayer! You’ve got this!

  4. Thank you, Belinda!Your posts are always so encouraging, right when we need to hear it most! Beautiful artwork of the pears and I love the art fair painting!

    1. Hi Celia! Thank you for the compliments, and I’m glad our timing was aligned. I hope the words spur you into mini-steps of action that gain speed and conviction over time. πŸ™‚

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