“I want to get back into painting, but I just don’t have the time.”
I hear it every day. “Maybe that’s because you’re in the art world,” you might say. Well, I’m here to tell you, I’m not only messenger of the Society of Degenerate Painters, I’m also its president. Correction – it’s former president. I’ve resigned that commission. And, it was easier than I thought. I’ve now discovered that the statement made by those, including myself, is not a statement of disadvantage but a statement representing lack of real desire.
But for years, I actually believed this statement. I said it so often, that I actually began to believe that I did not have a single moment of the day to make art. I therefore, committed one of the fatal sins of the unsuccessful despite my mother’s constant iteration: “Can’t never could.”
Most of us with an artists mind have one thing in common: an insatiable urge to create. Some are able to carve out time to make… some are not. It’s getting out of the rut of the forever block that separates us creating time to make art instead of finding reasons not to – in whatever way they can. You see, I’m an acrylic artist or I had been in my former life. But kids, house projects and other hobbies took the studio space and time for art. But not really… that was just the excuse I had conjured. And in the end, I had to step outside of my comfort zone to satisfy my urge.
A year or so ago, the urge took control. I had to paint or I was going to burst. But as I said, I had to step out of my comfort zone – make art in a way I had not before. In my previous post, I recalled that the masters sketched in watercolor… and it seemed like less baggage.
So, how would I advise other degenerates looking to defect?
1) Make a commitment.
I really don’t have a lot of time. With a new child and another one on the way, I feel like I have a very good reason to hang my hat on the “I can’t” hook. But, that simply was not true. I had 15 minutes a day – just 15 minutes to paint. That doesn’t seem like much… but I could commit to it.
With only 15 minutes, coming up with a subject was the next difficult challenge. So, I joined a doodle challenge. It made the commitment that much easier as my subject was chosen for me.
Because, I knew I was so scatterbrained at this point in my life, I also couldn’t commit to finishing a complicated painting. Each painting must be finished in 1 day – in just 15 minutes. I repeat that, because it even sounded crazy to me. But, I just wanted to paint. Not make any statements at this point.
So I had 15 minutes everyday, and a subject. I also determined that I couldn’t accomplish a large painting in that time frame, so the painting had to be no larger than 6” x 6”.
This was my commitment to satisfy my artistic urge. (Full disclosure: As I got “into” a painting, I sometimes went over my allotted 15 minutes. But, that’s kind of the whole point isn’t it?)
2) Stick with it.
Like you would breakfast, lunch or dinner.
3) Stick with it.
Like it’s your job.
4) Stick with it.
Like it’s your passion.
Here’s my month worth of painting. I’ve misplaced some of the originals, posted in no particular order, and will add the images back as I can. As you can see, some are successful… some are not. But, I learned so much from this exercise. Most importantly: “I can”.
One more thing that gives me a creative outlet and provides me peace of mind.