This year has been a true gift. I have found so much time to paint and to reflect. As a general conclusion...I LOVE TO PAINT. I realize that I am very lucky to be able to paint. Here is my list of ways that I have modified my own life to fit art in.
1) Make a schedule of all your engagements
This is quite simple. I learned this awesome and easy tool while at University. I was swimming varsity and our team made all the rookies follow a time management workshop. Write down all the hours from 6 am to 9pm and fill in everything that you have to do (work, study, train, sleep etc). The more precise you can be with your time the easier it will be to stick to the schedule. I am really visual so seeing my free time and then scheduling painting allows me to stick to it.
2) Making space in your week
I took the decision to listen to my health and I reduced what I was willing to do. I went from coaching 40 + hours a week, to only teaching a select few classes. Right now I teach 10-12 classes a week. Around 15-20 hours of my time. Quite a bit less. This has freed up enough time to paint. I now paint (or work on something related to my art career), three and a half days a week.
Reducing your hours of work will have an immediate financial impact, make sure that you can afford to reduce your income before you do it.
3)Get your blood and creativity following
To paint, I need to feel good. So I need to move. Everyday. Luckily, my job (apart from art), allows me to have fun and get paid while I move. I teach 5 pilates classes, 2 yoga classes, 1 spin class and some privates. I also walk my dogs everyday.
Do not underestimate the importance of keeping your creative energy flowing thru movement. Get outside, feel the light, see the colours and bring that all to your canvas.
4) Create a space in your house where you can paint
Over the last few years, I have slowly been taking over our storage room in the basement as my painting studio. It is by far, not the prettiest place to paint, but it really allows me the privacy that I need to paint. Also, because it is in an area that is not used per se, I do not have to clean up. I have literally taken over.
My dungeon, as I like to call it, has really poor lighting but I do not mind. I have a ritual of bringing up my paintings every day, to the daylight to see how they evolve with the different lights. I have yet to paint in natural light...perhaps one day.
My studio, is MY STUDIO. I have my candles, my music, my comfy slippers...all is good. I really set the mood for painting. Sometimes I have Janis Joplin, other days I have the Lumineers. Music really has an impact on me. Lately, I have been listening to the new A star is Born soundtrack, so good...
6)Build up your supplies
I have started to grow my supplies, slowly. I realize now that I have my favourites. I take care of them like they are my own children. I really do. I have 5 brushes that I use for blending. They need to be cleaned and put a certain way after use. To me these 5 brushes make my paintings live.
I am still playing around with paints. There is an art store literally 5 minutes walk from my door. I have grown to love this store and actively support it. They have a few different quality of paints. I am becoming a fan of the AMSTERDAM paints. I like them because I can trust them. I really do not use that many different colours in any given painting. I usually use Burnt Sienna or Raw Umber for my underpainting, then a white, a black, I pick one blue (all depending on how I feel), usually yellow ochre (most always), and sometimes a red but not always. With those colours I tackle anything..So I decided because I do not need a ton of different colours I go for very high quality and enjoy them.
7)Keep a painting journal
This one is important. It keeps me focused. I sort of layout my next series of paintings. What I want to do next. I will write down how I want to approach the painting etc. When I first started painting I did not know the names of all the blues, greens etc. Sometimes I would start with one bleu and then finish with another, not realizing how profoundly different they really were. Now I know what colours are on my palette and how I mixed them. I used my journal a lot at the beginning.
I am lucky, my husband and my family are literally my fan clubs. When my kids come home at lunch and I say, I worked on a painting, they run to see it. Everytime they tell me it is their favourite. Makes me happy. Find people that will encourage you in your art.
Have fun painting!