Do You Take Your Art For Granted?
We all do from time to time. Actually it's impossible to not do. Art is always there for us, right? At any moment we can pick up a paintbrush and go to work. But can we?
Well, not really. You see an art session has to 'fit in' with our daily lives. For many of you art is a hobby, or perhaps it's more and you aspire to become more professional one day.
And some of you reading this article may be a full-time artist. Or, maybe you are retired and paint whenever you wish. If you are one of these, congratulations! But you (and me) can still do a lot better with our art sessions!
Here's the reality check
Most of you have a full time job. Plus we need to do certain tasks to survive like eat, sleep, domestic duties and so on. Some of us have kids, or take care of an aging parent. The point is before we even get out of bed our time is owned by the things we have to do!
The Daily Chart
Here's a breakdown for the average day. Segmented in the chart are the things most of us have to do every day. Each one is allotted time which will eventually eat away our twenty four hour day.
Sleep - 8 hours is what we need. I choose 7 because that's what I've trained my body to do. Plus I like the extra hour each day to do more things I enjoy.
Work - 10 hours! This includes driving to our job and returning home.
Eating - At least two hours a day and that's being generous. If you are the one doing the cooking you can easily add another hour unless you are super efficient in the kitchen.
Tasks/Errands - Things like stopping by the grocery store, doing laundry, sweeping the floors, and the like.
Social - Making phone calls to say 'hi' (not sure people do this anymore since texting is the preferred method of communication), texting, checking Facebook status, perusing Pinterest for the latest Chicken Cordon Bleu recipe, and so on.
Wasted - Yes! This is a thing we do every single day. Wasted time doing nothing, or making decisions that truthfully can be avoided if you had a good routine.
Art - If you are VERY lucky this is the time left for you to create! Puny isn't it? If you are curious how much time 4% is, it's one hour.
Do you get my drift?
As you can see art sessions represent a very small sliver of time that we are allotted to be creative. And if you aren't careful even that one hour will disappear. And for many of you it does! You opt to fill that slice of your day with other things. The undersized, frail fragment of art time gets pushed away to another day.
Here's another smack in the face
If you are one of the few smart, stubborn and determined artists that will take advantage of the one hour of creativity every day you still need to understand what I'm about to say.
Your art sessions need to be fruitful, or you will ultimately decide it's just a waste of time.
Basically, you need to be productive with that hour so that your art is moving in the right direction. If not, it will become a bad experience and your brain will eventually convince you to do something else.
However, good experiences will do the opposite. They will convince your mind, and body, to make more time to do them! That's where you want to be with your art! It's not easy but it can be done if you are clever.
The reality of an art session
Again, let's look at the one hour of art time and break down what that really means for most of you.
Finished art - oh yeah! Gotta' paint a masterpiece or the session is a complete waste of time. Unfortunately this is what's many of you think they have to do.
Check Facebook, Social media - It happens all the time, right! You are there in the studio with a loaded paint brush and decide to check-in with all your followers to see what they're up to! Who's liking my pics? Need to get back to that comment she made, and so on.
Texting - another distraction. Got to reply to this text about what we are doing this Saturday because that simply can not wait!
Where to begin? - yes, a biggie. It's easy to not know where to begin because we forget where we left off! Plus we have no clue what to do. It's probably been two weeks since you last painted. There's no momentum, or continuity, so you start to go backwards.
As you can see an art session is often mistreated! Even-though we only have a a small amount of time we still abuse it.
How to take advantage of your sessions
Making consistently good art is something that seems so easy yet it's so challenging. It eludes most of us. And even when it's good we need better.
To pull all the elements together and make quality art requires skill. Honing these skills requires time, experience and practice doing the right things.
We all have weaknesses. And if these flaws aren't corrected that leads to frustration. When you keep hitting the same wall most of us will quit! Find something else to do.
Make a list of your weaknesses. Where do you need to improve? Be honest with yourself because these are the tasks that will give you laser focus and turn your mushy sessions into an hour of excitement. Thus making you giddy about tomorrow's session.
Here's an example of what one artist could do to take control of their session.
Don't try to paint finished art if you determine you have weak drawing skills. It's okay to back away from the paintbrush. What you can learn with pencil and paper will be far greater than brush and paint.
I know what you are thinking! I want to be one of those artists on Instagram posting beautiful landscapes! Well, it's not your time! Relax and do what's important and that's building a foundation. Your paintings will always look inferior if you lack good drawing skills! No $100 brush is going to fix that.
If your drawing is up to par then develop a keen understanding for design and composition. Make your subjects jump off the canvas.
And when you become a talented designer make your next goal color. Become a color master! Create color charts and explore as much as you can. Do small color and value studies! Build an arsenal of color combinations that you discovered on your own.
If you take the time and do an honest assessment you will come up with a list of what you need to focus on. Now break them down into bite-sized chunks and dedicate your hour each day to becoming better.
- Cherish your art time.
- Be stingy and stubborn with it no matter how much you have.
- Develop an awareness to all the distractions that pop-up when you are creating. Get rid of them!
- Let everyone know, including yourself, that this time is yours. And you deserve it!
- Now work smart. Divide and conquer!
- Don't try to be a hero and paint finished art all the time. This will teach you nothing!
- Instead, work on quality fundamentals. If you do this the majority of the time then you can afford to reward yourself by dedicating one session per week to finished art.
If you try this approach for a few months you will find making finished art is much easier since you have focused on improving your weaknesses.
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