Being an artist requires superior decision-making skills. What should I make? How do I spend my time? Getting from idea to finished work is very rewarding. Ask any artist, and they will have at least 5 ideas ready to explore. For example, I am currently “exploring” figure drawing, writing and plein air painting. It can be overwhelming deciding how to spend our time. Not only do artists create; if your goal is to sell artists must relate. We have to “find our audience”, maintain a social media presence, etc., oh and for many, work a full-time job! I have found 3 tricks to get from idea to finished work.
Be honest with yourself. It’s not easy. We live in our comfort zone. But you have to identify your weakness as an artist. What is that one thing that makes you uneasy, cringe or avoid? Whatever it is, decide that THIS will be incorporated into your next project. For me, it was figure drawing. While I have been an artist all my life, I never honed my figure drawing skills. So, I enrolled at a local arts center and decided to tackle this weakness. Now, Monday nights, I partake in the open studio sessions. While I knew that good drawing is the crux of all successful realism, it wasn’t until I put into practice that I saw my paintings improve. Newly acquired skills translate to confidence which brings drive.
Tell everyone what you are doing. When we “put it out there” that we are going to do something, we generally commit. Some entity like Facebook or Instagram also holds us accountable. At some point, an idea spoke to you. When you tell someone, you are liberated, free and inspired. Don’t stop at just one person, tell everyone! Next, imagine the project done and before you know it that thing you were putting off is finished. In my life, I have found this works wonderfully. I remember waking up one day and telling my husband “I’m going to be a teacher” and I did. Or once I said “I’m going to open a store” and I did. Once, I entered an art show without even having made one piece. It motivated me to produce and eventually propelled a my production pottery company (Picket Pottery). I’m currently working on writing and illustrating a children’s book. Yup! So now, I have told you-not a secret anymore!
Give yourself homework. Yup! Remember high school? Well, set yourself a goal. One summer, I painted a painting day, the next I painted one a week, the next were 28 paintings inspired by a family vacation. These projects were the result of both working on my weaknesses AND announcing to the world what I was going to do. If your idea is exploring shadows, perhaps produce a body of work with 10 or 12 landscape paintings incorporating strong shadows. Decide when you want them done. Give yourself a deadline, just like homework. Break it down into daily goals and stick to it. Time will come and go and (hopefully) in the end, you will have tangible results showing how you spent your precious time.
Now, off to write that book….!