Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Years Resolution - First Do the Work!

       An artist friend of mine sent me a nice New Years email to compliment my 'pencil work' from recent posts of portrait drawings, and was asking for a bit of advice on how to draw so well. She really answered her own question by admitting she needed to draw/paint more and had set a new resolution for herself to paint at least 3 days a week.

       In replying to her email, I found myself in just the right mood to get out some good advice, so I thought I'd use it to help with my own goal of posting more often and share it here! It's nothing I haven't said before in conversation, and you've probably heard variations of the same advice, but I believe it's human nature to need to hear certain things over and over before they start to sink in...

Hi friend,

Great to hear from you!

Yes the 'pencil work' is all about years of doing it... One project I've left half-done from earlier last year is to scan in all my photos of portrait drawings from '85-'92, from my pre-digital era, and combine those with the images I have in my computer from '93-present, and create a time-lapse kind of fast slide-show zipping through all the hundreds and see how long the video would be at one image per half-second or something. And those would just be the ones I actually took a picture of... I estimate that's only about 25% of all the ones I've done, and that's not counting the profile sketches in amusement parks from '86-'97. =O

So, yes, the BEST goal you could possibly set for yourself and KEEP is to paint/draw/do art every day, or at least 3 days/week. But I gotta tell ya, when I'm away from the easel a few days or more, it takes me a day to get back 'into' the swing if it, so your second and more consecutive days of painting will be more successful most likely!! The subsequent days are also easier and more exciting BECAUSE the work looks better, so keep at it, when your first paintings of the year look icky, just see them as 'practice' and keep going!!

An amazing thing happens when you COMMIT to painting/drawing every day (or at least creating several small paintings a week) -- it gets addictive! I think an important part of the process is to POST them (at least speaking from the standpoint of a 'daily painter and online blog poster') When I'm actually able to post an image on my blog for a week or two of consecutive days, I almost physically miss it when I have to skip a day for whatever reason, I get VERY disappointed in myself, and it's mostly about breaking that good 'run' of posts. The posting almost becomes the end goal, and the painting enough to create 7 things per week to post just becomes the 'assignment' I give myself so that I can do the posting! 

In a strange way, this attitude makes the painting easier because instead of getting to the studio and moaning about "what do I want to paint today?" it's more like "it doesn't matter what I paint, I just need seven things to post this week, and If I can get 3 done today, and 4 done tomorrow, I'll have the rest of the week free!"

Ha, I do think that way, but realistically, I'll get 2 small paintings done, then break for lunch, then get tied up on the computer, then it will be time to take Audrey to her gym class, then it will be dinner time, etc etc. So life does intrude, it's a fact. 

But as I was told by artist Sara Eyestone in one of her Art Marketing workshops, "First thing is, you must DO THE WORK!" She says to fill out your schedule in a datebook, put in all the immovable obligations, classes, appointments, 'real job' work, meals, etc, and put 'paint' or 'studio' in everywhere else. Be flexible whenever possible; delegate some chores, push dinner back an hour so you can get an extra hour in the 'studio' that day, etc. But most of all, stick with it! Make painting a habit! For some people, putting it on the calendar makes it real, so this works.

Happy New Year and Just Do It!

Thanks for reading, and please share!


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