Let’s say there’s a day you just don’t feel like painting. You have time, and even some energy… but you just don’t feel like it. Now let’s say you decide to push past this and just paint for 30 minutes. Half an hour, and then you can flop on the couch with your favorite book and a hot cup of tea. But first just give that 30 minutes to the canvas. This is a life-changing concept that has improved my own painting (and joy) immensely.
It’s so easy to brush off an activity because it just seems too large. “Do I really want to spend 3 hours painting today? Watching a few episodes of Game of Thrones sounds like the better option.” And just like that the painting doesn’t happen. Don’t get me wrong: binge-watching Netflix is a perfectly awesome way to spend time - I love it! (Black List, anyone?). But you don’t have to choose between that and your art… you don’t have to make your painting this big production. When you commit 30 minutes to the activity, it gives you practice in your craft. Multiply this by every half hour that you put in over the course of a month or two, and you have quite a few hours of practice under your belt, and maybe even a finished painting or two.
This relieves the pressure on those afternoons when you DO have hours that you want to spend at the easel. You don’t have to worry about “getting something done” now that you are finally painting. Forget this idea of making that finished product. Try an abstraction. Do a self-portrait and experiment with strange colors. You KNOW you have ongoing work being done, so you can put aside any silly pressures that you MUST get a painting done today. Just dive in and play – you’ve had a lot of practice at it already (all those lovely 30 minute increments) so just hit play on your favorite tunes, pour a glass of wine, and dive in.
photo by Ales Krivec