Time Management for Artists

work-in-progress, oil on canvas, 18x24
work-in-progress, oil on canvas, 18×24

It’s 5:45 in the morning and I’m sitting here updating this blog because I was just too tired after teaching all day yesterday, followed by family/kid maintenance, etc. to do it last night. The painting is a work-in-progress of more bottles, I’m going to do a whole series of these, but I’ll write about that more in another post.

We all know that the only way to excel and grow as an artist is through practice, yet one of the things I hear most frequently from students is that they have no time for it. I fully appreciate the concept of not enough time–with full time teaching, exhibiting, promoting my classes and exhibits, and  the responsibilities that go along with having a 12-year-old, I do understand the time crunch.
The way I get around it is by setting priorities. I always put my parental responsibilities first followed by my job, which in my case IS art: teaching and exhibiting. But even if your job is not art-related, it’s probably possible to make time for it if you get creative. Here are a few things you can try:
  • Stop watching TV – I only watch movies with my daughter, other than that TV is of no interest to me, I get the news either on the radio when I drive to classes or online from NY Times web site
  • Limit your time on the computer – one of my associates asked me why I never go on “chat” in Facebook or any of the other social sites.  I use my computer for work-related communications enough, I rather spend my time in real life (in the studio or with my family)
  • Spend less time on the cell phone
  • Try to sketch for at least 10 or 20 minutes a day, set up a small kit that you can keep with you on the go (charcoal, sketch pad, etc.)
  • Keep your studio organized and clean up immediately after each work session so it’s ready for you the next time you have time to paint
  • If you work full time, set aside a set day and time during the week or weekend for an extended session of painting (at least a full hour)–and always use it for that as if it were an appointment
  • Get up earlier or stay up later

The only way to see growth and improvement in your work is through regular, consistent practice and application of your skills, only you can decide how important that is to you as an artist. As you begin practicing, let the improvement you will see over time be your motivation. Just like working out at a gym, it takes time to see results, but when you do, you know it’s worth the effort!

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2 Responses to Time Management for Artists

  1. gianchiglia says:

    lol ‘associate’. Funny. I like my chat! its my only social life!

  2. kullaf says:

    lol 🙂 chat drives me crazy! I type too fast and it doesn’t show up at the same time, plus it distracts me like mad…but I actually went on to talk to you the other night but you were offline!

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