One of the challenges you’ll face as you try to get to your art is finding the time. Aside from the various excuses you’ll manufacture from pure fear and avoidance, life does ask a lot of us and there are genuine tasks we must address before we can paint (or sculpt, or photograph, or throw a pot). Despite being a professional artist, working very hard to create space for my art on a daily basis, it can be difficult. But be strong. Making art is a choice, one you must be devoted to, if you really do want to create.
Between the holidays and visitors and other responsibilities, I’m only finding bits of time to get into the studio. But here’s a very freeing concept: You can paint (or do whatever your art is) if you only have an hour or two—less even! Yes, it’s really true. You can. That’s a revelation to many people. You don’t need the whole day to begin. Some people actually use this notion of too little time as an excuse, saying things like, “Well I only had two hours before leaving for the dentist so what’s the point?” Here’s the point: In a couple of hours today (and it’s true I wish I’d had more time), I advanced my work. And I’ll do the same tomorrow, and the day after that if necessary. Small blocks of time, when put to good use, can actually result in something important.
Here’s what I did in roughly two hours:
1. I base coated the big canvas. Can’t WAIT to get into that one!
2. I mixed one of my two versions of black. If I haven’t told you before, NEVER use black from a tube. As my color theory prof. said, and I agree, “Black straight from the manufacturer is a dead black.” And, trust me, it is. So today I mixed mine using Raw Umber and Cobalt Blue (I also added some Golden brand Super Loaded Matte Medium to the mix. I’ve found, with acrylics, certain colors need the matting medium or they look like plastic when they dry. And Golden’s Super Loaded is, in my opinion, the only matting agent to use). You should play with various mixes of these two. You’ll get some very “alive” blacks, i.e. blacks with a little underlay of color; blacks with soul. Yummy blacks.
3. Then I painted one of the canvases I’d previously plastered and base coated, totally black. Yikes. It’s not very pretty.
4. Next, using copious amounts of water and a rag, I rubbed the black pigment both off and into the texture of the plaster. I LOVE this! It rocks something inside me or, as I often say, it makes my teeth itch. I see the painting being born.
5. I choose some lines to accentuate with black and I feel/envision the next steps. I can “see” the piece pretty clearly now.
6. Maybe the most important thing I did today was reconnect to my art. I honored my inner artist. It felt GOOD and it felt productive.
And then I had to stop, but that’s OK. Tomorrow is another day and soon the holidays will be over and life will return to normal, whatever that is, but it will return. In the meantime, I’m sticking with my art, in whatever moments I can find, and that matters. Oh, and in spite of the limited time, BEFORE the two hours of painting, I took Kelee for a walk. Always remember to feed your soul, otherwise there’s just no point.