I know better than most how hard it can be to find the time to create. Running a business and raising a family take up most of my time, and I am so thankful for both! However, I am always trying to find a bit of extra time to create. My creating days are few and far between, but when I do finally have that time alone in my studio, I am usually ready to go! You see, even when I am not actually putting paint or charcoal on canvas, I am actually still creating! These are some of the things that I do when I can't actually get to my studio:
- Reflect - I think about my most recent work and ask question.
How do I feel about what I have created. Do I like where my art is going? Am I getting bored and ready to try some new things? Should I add some of what I used to do back into my work and see if I can marry some ideas? What do I like from the past and current work? Can I marry the two?
When I take the time to reflect, it helps me with my direction, which helps me to continue to grow as an artist. I don't want to stay in the same place as now. I want to continue to move forward. So, trying new things is important and crucial to my growth.
What are some questions that you ask yourself?
- Make a list of things to try - this can be a mental note, or you can jot this down in your journal. In my earlier work, I used to use mark-making and collage quite a bit. I keep thinking about how I can bring that back into my current work. Will it work with what I am currently doing? Can I add some papers, some patterns, some words, a message? I love having a message and have been thinking about bringing that back quite a bit.
What are some things that you would like to bring back into your own work?
- Peruse - Who doesn't spend time on Pinterest? Instagram? Facebook? I mean for artists, this is how we see other artists' work, learn about them, become inspired, etc. So, I spend time every day perusing art. However, I do try to limit that time, because time is precious! I want to be sure not to get stuck surfing the net because I am trying to make sure I have time to create!
I also spend a lot of time looking at photographs that I have taken, or that I have saved, and create albums of inspiration on my phone. I have albums of photos that I think would work well in my painting style, and albums of photos that I think would work well in my charcoal work. For both, I play around with apps to help me get an idea for the composition and design. This is a lot of the leg work for my work in general! This gets me so inspired! Also, once I have that window of time to work, I already have a bunch of inspiring images to work from.
Do you peruse the Internet looking for inspiration? What about having images ready to go when you finally have some time to create?
- Balance - I am often trying to balance work, family, and creating. Of course, creating takes a back seat, but it is important to take the time. When my kids are in school, I try to stick to a pretty strict schedule to allow myself to get into the studio. So, I have a schedule. Monday is definitely a computer day. This is my day to get things all set for the week, lessons, classes, emails, etc. There is so much to put together to keep the community and network afloat. I have also started to hand over jobs that I can no longer handle on my own. This also allows me the time to create. I try to get to my studio by 11:00 Tuesday through Friday so that I can have a couple of hours to create. I am not really a journaler or sketcher, so the ten to twenty minutes a day don't really work for me. However, if I can have a couple of hours a few times per week, this does me good! So, I try to stick to it!
Do you have a schedule for yourself?
My most recent work was something that I had been working on for some time, in my mind, and on my phone. I knew that I wanted to go back to charcoal and play. One of my recent lessons in Let's Face It 2021 really got me inspired! I had been thinking about my workshops with Paul Cristina, and also with Robert Kelley, and wanted to merge a few techniques that I had played around with.
So, I created a couple of portraits using some of these techniques and found it quite satisfying! It was super playful, and I couldn't really control the outcome. With this technique, you get what you get, and have to be okay with it. Because I am a bit of a control freak, I actually found some freedom in this. I found it quite exciting! You sort of learn to go with it, and problem-solve around the results of the marks. Since creating that lesson, I hadn't had time to back to the charcoal until two days ago. I had been looking at images, playing with filters, and preparing for when I would have the time. Finally, this past week, I got to try it out again, but on a larger scale, and I am so pleased with the results!
I keep discovering on this art journey that TIME is PRECIOUS. PATIENCE is PRECIOUS. So, if you are struggling to find the time to create, think about all of the ways you can create in your mind or how you can prepare for your next date with your studio. Be patient and trust that the time will come, and you will be ready, and the ideas will flow.
Share in the comments below ways that you stay actively creating when you are unable to actually create in studio! I can't wait to hear all about it!