“Help! I can’t seem to find time to paint!” Some tips that have worked for me…

Supercatman Races Against Time, KGTaylor, watercolor and ink

Barbara asks, “How do I find time for my artwork?” This question comes up so often! Many things in life make it tough to make time to paint: fatigue, not feeling very creative at the end of a day, family obligations, not knowing where to begin, to name a few. I have a busy schedule and I do not want to give up my painting!

Here are some of my strategies to keep me painting:

• Paint “warm up” exercises for 15 minutes a day if that’s all the time you have.

• Paint small paintings, working up to larger ones.

• Start a larger project on a weekend or day when you have a good 2-4 hours to devote. Collect all your materials in one place so you can return and pick up where you left off without hunting for tools all over again.

• Develop momentum: Paint a few short sessions a week on the same project so you can easily remember what you need to do when you return. Sometimes I make notes at the end of a painting session to remind me what I want to do next.

• Mix an oil palette or acrylic palette and cover with plastic wrap so it’s ready for you at the next session. (Spray the acrylics with water before covering.)

• Join a class or artist group online or in your community so you will have people supporting you. Help keep each other accountable and set goals.

• Give yourself deadlines. When I have to deliver a piece of art by a date, I get it done. Entering art competitions is always good for this, since there is always a deadline. Creating a painting or card for someone’s birthday requires a deadline too!

• Keep a sketchbook and pencils, etc. ready at the side of your sofa or chair. (My sister’s tip!) Sketch for 20 minutes at night when you are relaxing by the tv or music.

• Have a secondary craft handy you can do at night to keep you creating, which may be less demanding than painting. Relax and enjoying just making things, putting colors together, etc. will satisfy your creative juices and keep your wheels turning. (I like quilting as my alternative craft to painting.)

• Keep a journal. Writing releases creative energy and stimulates new ideas that can turn into visual work.

• Collect favorite images, photos, Pinterest boards, magazine clippings, favorite art books, etc. These all feed creative impulses and keep the juices flowing. This is FUN for me, not highly demanding in energy, and is a low-key exercise requiring only have 30 minutes or less in my day. We need activities like this that we can do when we have many interruptions throughout the evening, and can return to.

Finally, don’t be too hard on yourself if you can’t find time for art. Get a wall calendar and mark the days you did something creative, even if it was for 15 minutes. Make it fun, and allow yourself that priority to do small steps to work art time into your life. You will be happier when you get more “moments” to have art time, and you can set up a challenge to yourself to build up these creative times over the months to come. Artists are wired to create, so let’s recognize our gift and make good use of it, to the benefit of ourselves, and all the people around us who know this too!


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2 Responses to ““Help! I can’t seem to find time to paint!” Some tips that have worked for me…”

  1. Leslie Ann Clark Says:

    These are very good ideas! I have a canvas all ready to go! Its sitting there waiting. I need to open that sketchbook now!!!
    I love the kitty cat painting! I always loved that one!!


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