You’re busy. I get it. But you have this bug of creativity that keeps biting you, and day after day you regret not being able to satisfy it. So do it. Make the time and the space, and add art (back) to your life. Here are some ideas to get you there.
1. Create a permanent spot in your home for your art. It doesn’t have to be big or fancy, but if you have to set something up and take it down every time, you are far less likely to stick with it.
2. Make your spot cozy and inviting. Tack up pictures of your favorite art. Buy a comfortable chair or mat to stand on, and a nice set of art supplies. Don’t settle for that old set of dried up paint and crappy brushes.
3. Pick a start time and stick with it. Give yourself at least an hour. Set a timer if you have to, and don’t check your email or facebook or answer the phone during that time!
4. Make a sign that says, “Artist at work – do not disturb.” Tell your family how important this time is for you, and to save any questions/requests/catastrophes until the timer goes off. Or, follow my example and paint during your kids’ naps, or when they’re at school.
5. Pick a theme or series that interests you. If you focus on one thing at a time, and do a little bit every day, you will see rapid improvement! Your theme could be something specific like an apple a day, or it could be more profound, like “things that move me.”
6. Do research in your off-time. This is different for everyone but it could include going for walks in nature for new ideas, looking at art books, or browsing Pinterest. The latter is my favorite. It’s easy to think of this time as “wasted,” but I like to think of it as “research,” because I get a lot of ideas and inspiration from it.
7. Post your paintings/drawings to a blog from blogger.com. It’s free and easy, and it records your work chronologically. It can be private if you want, or you can share it with your artist friends. It’s great to get feedback at the end of the day from people who know what you’re doing (rather than just our spouses, who don’t always know the best thing to say about our art). And when you’re ready, you can share it with the world!
8. Expect some frustration. It’s part of being an artist. If you aren’t frustrated sometimes then you’re not doing it right.
Don’t know what to draw or paint? Here are some ideas that are near at hand:
Still life – Choose a collection of objects (cups, bowls, apples, etc.) from around the house and challenge yourself to a new arrangement each day you can draw or paint. Try lighting them with different bulbs, different angles, etc.
Faces – Take close-up pictures of your family and friends and draw/paint one each day. They can be silly or serious. These make great gifts by the way!
Abstract – Find photos online with colors that make you happy. Use these colors as a jumping off point for an abstract painting. Have fun!