10 Tips: Making More Time for Art
Here are 10 tips to motive us to use time more creatively and do something art-filled at least twice a week. Plus ten ’10-minute art ideas’. Sorry for the misleading title. You can’t make time any more than you can save it.
Work, school, family and friends and all the other priorities we juggle daily offer enough excuses for procrastinating about making art. When I came across several lists of “10-minute Household Chores” I realised two things. First, housework might be less time-consuming if tackled a little at time. Second, some people have crazy expectations for the perfect home.
Here are 10 tips to motivate us to use time more creatively and do something art-filled at least twice a week. At the bottom of this article are ten ‘10 minute art activities.’
“Guilt is a load of bricks; put them down.” It is my husband’s favourite quote (from the movie Devil’s Advocate). Be ruthless with how you use your time. Prioritize lists, crossing off what is not important to you. Delegate to others by asking for help.
Newton’s Law is right. Bodies in motion stay in motion; bodies at rest nap on the couch. It is important to take small breaks during art-making in order to keep eyes fresh and objective; to prevent overworking details in a painting; and oddly enough, to keep focused. So, I say, ‘Yes, I will tackle a 10-minute chore during these breaks.’ Then, when I go back to my art, it will be like a reward and I will feel less guilty about my quality time alone.
Turn off the TV. Turn on the music. We are visual thinkers; we don’t need visual distractions. Podcasts and the Sonza App for smart phones are great for helping select music to set the mood.
Carry art supplies with you wherever you go. Keep it simple. Watercolour pencils, a pocket brush, a sketchbook and a couple of good markers can fit into a purse or jacket pocket. Life provides many situations where we may find ourselves waiting for others. Coffee shops, doctors’ offices, and lunch rooms are just some of the places where we can steal time for a little sketching.
Join an Art Association. There are many art societies seeking new members, and beginners are always welcome. Attend various meetings before making a decision on which group to join. Meet the members. Learn about their projects, workshops and opportunities. Be ready to volunteer where you can. Many hands make light work.
Visit Galleries. See what’s going on and what other artists are doing. Sometimes a simple brushstroke, colour scheme or subject matter may spark a thought you can develop further. Remember, copying from only one source is stealing. Copying from several sources is good research. It is how we combine ideas and present subject matter as well as our choice of techniques and materials that will make our art unique. The possibilities are endless.
Make space for art. Everyone needs a little a space to work. It doesn’t have to be a big space. Scale your art to fit your space. The important thing is that your art supplies need to be out and ready to use. Work-in-progress needs to be seen and contemplated. Here is an example.
Take an Art Class. Read our previous blog note.
Less Sleep = More Time Turn off the snooze alarm. We will regret a lot of things in our life but I bet none of us will say, “Gee, I wish I’d slept more when I was younger.” Some prolific artists have worked at The Paint Spot. When I asked them their secret they replied, “Who needs sleep?” Warning: if you are still in school, you may not believe that many of us remember fondly the all-nighters spent finishing projects for our portfolios. Sigh, those were great times. Yes, it was good to discover I could be creative even under pressure with impossible deadlines. Productivity and creativity come at the oddest times – usually when I have a lot of conflicting deadlines.
Deadlines are motivational, so set your goals on the calendar. I have five art deadlines every year: the annual staff show; The Whyte Avenue Art Walk; the fall and winter workshop seasons; and I try to make a painting for a different family member every year. Of course, it’s not just five pieces of art. There are many drawings and sketches leading up to the actual artwork. There are also a few disappointments that get abandoned. Sometimes these abandoned challenges start to pile up. They can lead to frustration, self-doubt and procrastination. We’ve designed one solution for this problem. Join our Unfinished Painting Challenge. Every January, we invite customers and friends to bring in one unfinished painting and trade with someone else. Everyone signs a promise to finish the piece in time for the February exhibition of complete works. The ‘before’ and ‘after’ images are wonderful.
Just do it! Lastly, there is only one way to tackle procrastination. So much has been written about time management but it really boils down to… Just do it.
So, as you step into your art space (even if it is just a mental space) here are some 10 minute art-activities.
© Kim Fjordbotten (December 2014) As owner of The Paint Spot, Kim Fjordbotten is passionate about helping artists use materials and make art. She is available as a speaker and educator for teachers and art associations.