One of the challenges as an artist is to stick to self-imposed deadlines. I have been wanting to do a ‘daily challenge’ for some time now – But I often give up on the very first day! Okay, maybe two days :)
So, this holiday season, when I got a week off from work, I decided to create my own private ‘daily painting challenge’, with the intent of learning why I fail so often, and what can I change to be more productive as an artist in future, even when work and other challenges pile up…
So, here are my top 5 tips…
1. Keep studio clean & supplies ready - This goes a long way to provide and retain that much-needed motivation. Nowadays, I clean up my studio before leaving at the end-of-day, so it is waiting for me fresh and pristine when I come back again! This includes throwing away trash, re-sharpening my pencils, cleaning up dried paint from palettes, toning new canvasses, or pre-cutting papers to size.
2. Consistency/Series – It helps to work on a series at a time e.g. similar subjects, or same size artwork, or perhaps same paper/canvas type for a couple of days. The less variables the brain has to process, the easier and quicker it will be able to get in the mode of painting.
3. Idea Board - An idea board is very handy if you like to reflect on your reference pics and spend time thinking about the 'whys' and 'whats' of your painting subjects. The same goes for old artworks that you're not satisfied with. Hanging such pieces, or mounting pictures on an idea board allows me to think through my subjects, and also provides a pool of ideas to choose from when I'm looking to start a new painting.
4. Have your frames and mat ready – This was a surprise to me. And I must admit that it is easier if you’re working on same/similar size artwork in a series. You can buy mats and frames in bulk in same or different colors/styles, and keep framing your artwork on the go, as it gets ready. It is incredibly satisfactory to see the final, finished product; hung on a wall, and it kicks me into gear to create another one again! I have realized that once an artwork is framed, I’m mentally prepared to put it behind me and move onto the next one..
5. The most important one - No matter what you do, and how hard you try, there will always be some crappy days! Don’t let that discourage you. Have a drink and move on. Tomorrow is another day!
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