Art On Your Own Time

Today I want to tackle a topic that resonates with many of us: finding the time for art in a bustling world. (And if you’d prefer to listen to the audio click here.)

So I recently received an email that sparked some introspection. It delved into the realm of artistic skill development, citing a study or expert opinion suggesting significant progress can be achieved with 40 hours of painting a week for 12 months, or 20 hours a week for 24 months.

Forty hours a week? Even twenty? Such numbers can be daunting, especially for those of us juggling careers, families, and, well, the need for a good sleep. I typically spend about 8 hours a week in the studio, and even then, I’m doing a delicate dance with my calendar.

But here’s the thing — those big numbers? They’re not the be-all and end-all. Not by a long shot. I’ve been a delivery manager for years, and time management is at the heart of everything I do in my day job. And if there’s one thing I know, it’s that it’s not just about the quantity of time, but the quality.

Every moment we spend with our art is a moment of growth and exploration. It’s not about clocking in hours like a factory shift; it’s about what we bring to those hours, how we use them, and what we take away.

So, for those of us who can’t devote half our waking life to painting, here are a few ideas to make the most of the time we do have:

First, Focus on Small Projects. There is such a beauty in bite-sized victories! Picture this: completing a quick sketch, adding a touch of colour to a small canvas, or if you’re like me and like to mix in a bit of poetry with your art practice, writing a short poem. They’re like little bursts of inspiration sprinkled throughout your day, and trust me, they add up! So, definitely embrace those small wins; they fuel your artistic fire, and you will see your motivation soar!

Next up, let’s talk about Setting Clear Goals. Imagine this: you’ve got a clear vision in mind for your creative session. It’s like having a roadmap to artistic success! Whether it’s mastering a new technique, completing a specific piece, or simply spending quality time with your craft, knowing exactly what you want to achieve helps you stay focused and make the most of your artistic endeavors. So, jot down your goal for the session and get started; it’s a great way to unleash your creativity and make the magic happen!

Another timeless piece of advice: Quality over Quantity. Sure, it’s tempting to measure your artistic prowess by the number of hours you spend creating, but let me tell you – that’s not always the best approach. Sometimes all it takes is a dedicated hour of focused work to create something truly remarkable. So hone in on what truly ignites your passion, pour your heart and soul into each session, and I know you’ll see your art grow and develop!

And last but certainly not least, let’s take a moment to Reflect on Your Progress. There is a great deal of satisfaction to be had looking back at what you’ve accomplished! Whether it’s completing a series of sketches, mastering a challenging technique, or simply finding joy in the creative process, every stroke is a step forward on your artistic journey. So, take a moment to celebrate your growth, acknowledge your achievements, and get ready to embark on the next chapter of your creative adventure!

Remember, the art world is vast and varied. There are full-time artists, sure, but there are also countless others, perhaps like you and certainly like me, fitting their passion around other commitments.

And that’s okay. Actually, it’s more than okay. It’s real life. Our art is part of our lives, not apart from it. So, let’s cherish the time we do spend creating. Be consistent, yes, but be kind to yourself when life gets in the way.

Because at the end of the day, it’s not about how many hours you put in. It’s about the love, the passion, and the joy you find in those hours. Your art is your own — unique, valuable, and irreplaceable, just like the time you dedicate to it.

So, keep painting, keep creating, and remember: every brush stroke counts, no matter how many you can fit into your week. Thanks for reading, and until next time, keep making your art, your way.