You just got back from a great workshop. You learned a LOT and had a great time with the other students. You got inspired. You vow to find more time to paint. But you get home and life sets in and you keep putting off painting and six months later you find your art stuff has a light layer of dust on it.
Most of us have lives outside of art. Regular jobs, families, and other responsibilities. We want to get better at our painting but we really don’t have time for it…or do we? Here are some tips to consider to help you create some consistency in your art life.
1. Set up a permanent work area. You really don’t need a huge space. Talk to your spouse or partner about setting up a committed area in your home or apartment so as to avoid unnecessary set up and break down time. If you fear it’s unsightly when guests come over, find a creative way to hide it. A Japanese screen. A decorative curtain.
2. Schedule consistent time to paint. Yeah, I know, you’re laughing at me already. But get creative and be determined. Also, don’t derail yourself by thinking you have to block out huge amounts of time. One hour is better than nothing. Even thirty minutes a day, or every other day, will be beneficial to your craft.
3. Be healthy. Eat right and exercise regularly. I’ll not insult you by listing the benefits. You already know them. Just do it!
4. Join an art club or co-op studio. Find a place locally where you can join others in consistently scheduled painting sessions. I get together with a group most Friday mornings to paint the portrait from life. It’s great practice and I find working in a group setting to be energizing. If something like this is not available in your area, look harder, you might be wrong. If all else fails, start your own group.
5. Plan to enter a contest. I think one of the best ways to help keep you consistent is to find an art competition and plan to submit an entry. This can help motivate you and keep you on track with your schedule. There are lots of competitions and contests out there for artists of all levels. If you’re not world class yet find something local and low key. Just give it a try. Check out this website for some ideas: http://www.artistsnetwork.com/category/competitions.
6. Set achievable goals for yourself. I think many aspiring artists set the bar WAY TOO HIGH for themselves at the beginning which can set them up for failure and disappointment. Set up smaller projects. Do something that’s not going to take you six months. Succeeding in smaller projects that won’t take too long will not only grow your abilities and confidence, it will eventually propel you to larger and more ambitious projects.
7. Define a stylistic path. Once you can create some consistency in your painting schedule, capitalize on it by being consistent in your artistic direction. Defining a path can take some time and soul searching, so don’t rush it. I’ve seen many people jump from style to style. They attend many workshops with teachers who paint very differently from one another. The result is they NEVER master anything. Now some people just love this. They don’t really care about getting better. They just like the excitement and fun of attending workshops. I get it. But if you really want to get good at what you do, you need to settle into a particular methodology and master it. I touch on this in another post “Dave’s Tips to Becoming a Better Artist”. Check out points 2, 3, and 4.
Have a great day!