I spent some time thinking about what keeps me from painting and I came up with some
ideas. I have a nice quest room with a murphy bed that keeps the bed out of our way so I can have a nice big table sitting in there with all my stuff on it. I say this to let you know I have no excuses. I run through periods where I cannot get in there to paint, don't ask me why.
I thought I'd run through some of my issues.
Being on line, Pinterest, texting, reading facebook and researching things I'll never do- We all can benefit from cutting back on this great time waster. Try using the apps that are available to track your time and set limits for yourself. You don't have to constantly be checking your phone. I turned off the noise that my phone makes when I get a text etc. so I'll not always be looking at it. I stopped taking my phone with me if we go to a friend's house because I don't want to be interrupted. I leave it in the car.
Not having a place to paint- I found that I could streamline what I needed down to just a few brushes, my palette (use a travel one if your's is big), some smaller paper, a small roll of toilet paper, a pencil, an eraser and a towel. I got two of those cute little OUI yogurt glass containers (I ate the yogurt and washed them) and put velcro stickers on the bottom and put the other part on a tray. I can get everything I need on the tray. I can paint on the tray on my lap or I can sit at the table and everything goes back in quickly. The velcroed water containers keep it from spilling if my dog jumps up and knocks into it. I can quickly put it away and it doesn't bother anyone. I can be with my husband, watch tv etc. and still get in some painting time.
TAKE A CLASS - It really helps if you take a class because it inspires you. I teach in retirement communities in Arizona. At the end of the season when I go home, everyone has all these good intentions to spend the summer painting and only two or three people actually do that. It's the discipline of going to a class that keeps you painting. Some folks also have a difficult time coming up with ideas of what they want to paint. You need to be challenged and presented with new and different ideas for painting.
Paint with a friend set up a time that you can spend with a friend. Two hours is more than enough time to get together and paint, visit, eat cookies, whatever. Do it once a week or twice a month. You'll be amazed at what you do.
Paint Plein Aire - Okay plein aire is just a fancy term for painting outside. It's wonderful. One of my friends and I started it two years ago and we are hooked. That's not to say we get beautiful things when we paint. We don't but we talk and paint and it is beyond fun. Being outside is the most amazing experience.
Okay those were just a few of my excuses. I'm sure you have more. Try some and see if you
can't get motivated. An hour or two a couple of times a day with pay huge dividends. Have fun.
I'm pretty sure that I could just go on and on and on with ideas to make your paintings better but you know what, there is one proven way to improve. It's simple too, that's what's so frustrating. Show up. What showing up is actually painting. Lots of painting. That's how you learn. One of the artists that I've taken classes from told us once that she has to paint over 30 paintings to get one good enough to go in a gallery. WHAT! I thought everything she did was wonderful and it was but she was looking for something special and that takes a lot of time with your seat in the chair (or standing) painting even when you are good.
When you paint a lot, everything will not turn out. In fact when you start out, most of it isn't. Just like golfing or driving or kissing. It takes practice. Lots of practice. Okay, with kissing maybe not so.
I read the book Big Magic this summer and loved it. She used an example of an instructor who divided his sculpting class into two groups. One group would be graded on quality, one group would be graded on quantity. Guess who did the best? The quantity group.
If you pay attention to what you are doing and try to figure out what went wrong, you'll learn. You'll improve. Try it, what have you got to lose? I see it in my classes all the time.
In my next post I'll work on some tricks to get yourself to paint more.