Making art every day

by     /    June 05, 2009   

It has now been around ten days that I have been trying to make some art every day. And so far, it has been a success: you can follow my progress on Twitter. A lot of other artists on Twitter are also trying to get back into the studio and make art. Check out Lori Woodward Simons’ #20hourchallenge on Twitter. But I find that for me, setting a quota like 20 hours a week is too time focused — I just don’t work well under those kinds of constraints.

The business side of my life takes a lot of time, not to mention my family, so finding 20 hours free a week is nearly impossible. Even if I could find it, those other demands are always there, and I feel a little guilt for not spending more time on them. If I want to further my art career (and I do!) that means spending a lot of time on marketing and publicity. Work that I find difficult to do, and oh-so-easy to procrastinate on. So each hour in the studio, making new art, is another hour I am not focused on getting my existing art in front of potential buyers. And then there’s the kids. It’s hard to justify spending another hour in the studio when your 5 year old son comes in, with that sad face, and says “…but we haven’t had a chance to play yet today…!” Maybe other artists are made of tougher stuff, but that just melts my heart. So away goes my work, out comes the old camera, and we play. The art can wait.

My son visiting my studio, and trying his hand at a self-portrait.

My son visiting my studio, and trying his hand at a self-portrait.

But making new art is important – it is vital to who am I and what I am trying to do with my life. So I have realized that I need to find a sweet spot, the “right amount” of time to spend in the studio. One that gives me enough time to be creative, to keep my creative engine constantly cranking away, without impinging on all of the other responsibilities I have. So instead of setting an arbitrary time limit, I am just trying to commit to just making art every day: doing *some* work in the studio every day. It can be hours of shooting new works, or just a few minutes of tweeking old photos. It can be working in Lightroom and Photoshop massaging raw photos into something worth showing, or just a few minutes playing and daydreaming new ideas. My goal is to keep my artistic momentum constantly moving forward. To not let myself stagnate. I don’t have to become some raging river of creativity — I’ll be happy with a swift moving stream. But just keep moving forward.

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Comments on 'Making art every day'

Lisa Guarino  (June 5th, 2009):

Ah, yes, wise words.
As a wife, mom of two girls and artist/biz owners I can so relate.


Jean Levert Hood  (June 5th, 2009):

That precious little 5 year old is going to be graduating from high school before you blink. If your life affords you the extra time with him, seize the day!! You will never regret that decision.

It is a balancing act between creating art and marketing art, to be sure. Daydreaming is a part of both of those!
Best to you, Jean

Debbie Overton  (June 5th, 2009):

You said what I have been trying to say and do….perfectly! “My goal is to keep my artistic momentum constantly moving forward. To not let myself stagnate. I don’t have to become some raging river of creativity — I’ll be happy with a swift moving stream. But just keep moving forward.”

Enjoy that little one, all 3 of mine are in college and what I wouldn’t give to have them say, we have not played today!

Thanks for being a great inspiration!

Kim Hambric  (June 5th, 2009):

It seems that the more marketing venues there, the more overall time required to market grows larger. We still have to enter shows, locate and supply galleries, mail items, email, blog, and now Twitter. It does not seem that we do less on one venue when we add another. What is coming after twitter that will require another chunk of our time?

Of course, if we went to sell our art, then being an artist is hard work. But we have to be creative. Sometimes we will have to give in to the urge to make something even though it is previously scheduled twitter time.

And, oh yes, the sweet “demands” of the kids. This week, my daughter has taken up my after school computer time to play hangman. She is learning to read and spell. How can I say no?!?

I love that photo of your son in your studio. Will he be following in your footsteps?

paula  (June 5th, 2009):

I like your not being too stringent…I think when one gets caught up in how long and how often it doesn’t let things happen the way they would naturally. if i force myself to work it feels more heady and not magical.
and good for you, your son wont be that young or want to ‘play’ forever, you on the other hand will always be an artist. hey, how’d you do that twitter thing under tags? i doubt blogger does that. nice 🙂

cynthia  (June 8th, 2009):

I’m impressed with your schedule, I haven’t been able to make any art since summer vacation started.

I love your son’s self portrait!

Waylan  (December 3rd, 2011):

On May 2, 2007, I made the decision to carve out to do something each day with only one requirement, that I make some kind of mark on a piece of paper. By setting that simple goal, I escaped the guilt of not failing to achieve something I was not capable of each day.

Initially, I had to deal with the temptation to stay in bed and renege. Some days I literally had to force myself to get up. I had to remind myself that I had made the commitment myself and I knew it was important. Four years later, the benefits to this kind of discipline have been greater than I could have imagined.